Friday 18 August

It’s been a while so apologies to all my readers.

Soon after my last post my brother Chris, his wife Susan and daughter Bethan visited me in Tampa. They stayed two days in which we drank a fair bit, ate quite a lot and had quality time together. There was one full day we spent together and my schedule for them was tough. I picked them up from their hotel and drove them to breakfast at Panera’s and thence to Dunedin Causeway where we hired kayaks and set off for Caladesi Island. It was Chris and Sue’s wedding anniversary but they insisted on hiring a kayak for two, more commonly known as the divorce kayak! We ran a ground at one point and then continued to the island. Sue got out of her kayak but Chris who was at the rear seat got out of the kayak and had misjudged the steep incline of the beach as he disappeared beneath the waves. Since Chris had already tasted the waters it was time for the rest of us to have a more considered dip.

It was getting very hot so soon after we decided to return. Bathan and I took a more circuitous route but were rewarded by seeing dolphins! When Chris went to return the kayak the hirer, seeing his shirt was rather wet, said “You must have had a real workout!”. “No, I fell in!” said Chris.

We spent a while in the Tiki bar surveying the ocean and other more experienced kayakers. Ten we went in search of food at Cuban Breezes. I had never been there but it was attracting great reviews. The food was wholesome, very tasty and reasonably priced and after the massive portions the night before at Bahama Breeze we were very happy with this.

Then they wanted to see where I worked so I showed them the Church and the staff offices. There we met the Pastor Fr Mike and some of the staff. Then we drove back to Charann’s Bar, my local. There I was able to introduce them to the people I hang out with. We then left the car at my apartment, gave it a quick viewing and waited for the uber back to their hotel where we indulged in some pizza and a few beers. Bethan gave a stunning performance of ‘Valerie’ by Amy Winehouse.

The following day they drove towards Nashville where they would spend much of their holiday. Bethan managed to play at some really prestigious venues. This was no mean achievement.

When they returned to Tampa I visited them at their hotel and we agreed how we would spend the following day. In the event they spent the day relaxing by the pool and after I had finished with the staff retreat I joined them at Charann’s Bar. We drank a Jakobean amount and ended up with several shots which accounted for my headache the following morning. Tuesday 8 August was their last day as they would fly in the evening. I ubered to the hotel and they drove me to Anna Maria Island. There we had lunch at a good restaurant with fine views over white sand to the blue sea. I had become accustomed to such views but they really enjoyed it! After lunch we drove straight to the airport, returned the car and said our farewells.

In between their two visits to Tampa I had found a house that I wanted to pursue. This would occupy much of my mind for the next while. Once my offer was accepted I had to get a house inspection organised. From this I was able to commission estimates for roof and air-conditioning units which were nearing the end of their lives. Then the negotiating started. That was completed last night and today the lender completed the appraisal. I’ll get the results next week sometime. It all happens very quickly and if all goes well I could be in the house on 8 September!

Last week I was super busy. The School re-opened after the summer break and we celebrated a special Mass on the Thursday, the feast of St Lawrence. the following weekend the parish would celebrate its Patronal Feast Day at all Masses. The 11AM Mass would be the biggie and for that I had chosen bilingual music and created a choir out of all the musicians of the parish. The choir met for the first time on the Saturday evening and learned the music which we would sing the following day. After the Mass hundreds of folk sat down for an indoor barbecue. I had to remain in the church for the last Mass of the morning and when I got to the BBQ there was not much left!

Two days later was the Feast of the Assumption so part of my day off was given to the Vigil Mass and there were three Masses the following day.

All this activity meant that I had completed my hours by Wednesday and therefore was able to take Thursday and Friday off. For the first time in a long while I slept really well and woke up late!

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