Monday 16 January

In my last blog I mentioned the death of one of our priests here at the age of 71. Fr Rock’s Memorial Mass was amazing. In fact I reckon it was the most joy-filled Mass of this type I have experienced. He has chosen all the music two years before and I reflected on why he made the choices. He had wanted to come in to ‘Angels we have heard on high’ regardless of when the funeral might have taken place! Other choices included ‘Gift of finest wheat’ (he had worked with Owen Westerdorf), On Eagles’ wings, and the Franciscan hymn ‘All creatures of our God and King’ for which I provided a snappy arrangement which, I hope, gave new life to the old German tune. I remember John Bell complaining ages ago that the life had been sucked of this tune by the organ accompaniment! The homily was full of memories of this delightful man. A full church gave its farewell and I was delighted that so many of the choir attended, much to the delight of the Franciscan Friars present. I even played the Sortie in Eb by Lefebure-Wely at the end. He would have laughed!

The weather turned really cold after that and over the weekend the temps dropped to 32f which is a temperature rarely experienced in Florida. The cold snap, known as Floridian Winter, passed within a few days and the beach beckoned again as usual. However not for a few weeks have I ventured out with the kayak.

Stephen Hicks, my old organ teacher, will visit St Lawrence in March to give a concert. I am really excited about this as I have not heard him play for about 30 years. On Thursday an engineer from Rodgers Organ company visited to deal with some poor contacts and an historic amplifier issue which had been detected in 2015 but probably had existed some years before that. I had hoped that it would be a simple matter of replacing fuses. Indeed this did work for a while and enabled me to hear the organ as it was intended to sound. After a few further minutes the fuses blew and a few more capacitors to boot. There is no alternative to replacing the amplifier at a cost of $3500.

On Friday afternoon I managed to complete my UK tax return and was quite pleased that I had only to pay 14 pounds this year! I went off to Charann’s Bar to celebrate and fortunately chose to get an uber taxi. The combination of friends and a very strong beer (Space Dust 8.2%) proved too much for me and I’m afraid I cannot recall much at all!

I awoke on Saturday feeling pretty terrible … the only satisfying aspect was that I appeared to have lost some weight! I confined myself to the office and routine tasks before playing the Vigil Mass and returning home.

The rest of the weekend passed smoothly enough with the usual Sunday Masses.

Weather forecasts here are not to be trusted recently. Monday had promised to be sunny all day but as I type at midday there is no sign of it so my day off could be one of domestic admin and packing for next week’s Composers’ Forum in St Louis, MO.

By the time my next blog appears Trump will have been inaugurated and the world might have changed somewhat in the process.


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