Saturday 11 May

Life has been a bit crazy since I last blogged. My furniture has been in the middle of each room as I had the replacement woodwork (damaged by Irma) painted . I also had a laptop collapse on me soon after I had had a screen replaced. Then I had the good fortune to find a bargain in the form of a Hobie mirage Outback kayak together with a trailer for two kayaks. The downside was trying to get it registered when I had no paperwork from the previous owner. It looks as though I’ll be able to get that sorted soon.

My new preoccupation was my weight. Not too long agao I weighed in at 252lb and now I weigh only 208lb. Everybody is saying wonderful things!

Enough of the general, let’s be a bit more systemmatic.

On Monday of Holy Week I awoke to news that Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was on fire. I had played there on many occasions and had such fond memories. Indeed the Maitre de Chapelle, Jean Revert, had often said that I knew that organ ‘like the inside of my pocket!’ The city firefighters did a great job in aiming their hoses judiciously so that as little damage as possible would result.

On the morning of Good Friday I attended the doctors for the results of the previous week’s blood tests. All the results came back with massive improvements. The doc was truly staggered.

I was really pleased with the choir and musicians this Triduum. Holy Thursday and Easter Vigil were bilingual celebrations in English and Spanish. This meant that we combined both the English and Spanish choirs to achieve it with each choir singing everything regardless of language. We had done this last year for the first time and all the work done then paid off. It did seem that this Triduum was the easiest I had experienced. There were some changes in that the new Pastor reduced the number f readings from 7 to just three but when it came to baptisms each candidate got three jugs of water poured over them. It was quite a spectacle! I also wrote a Spanish language version of the Exodus Psalm. I had intended that the choir shout ‘Ole!’ at the end but short-term memories affected this! Good Friday was celebrated separately with my choir doing superbly. Unfortunately a storm  threatened and this kept many people away. In Florida you really have reason to be afraid of the elements.

Easter Sunday I was up at 4.45am and playing for the Sunrise Mass at 6am. This was well attended by 400 people so it was worthwhile. I was astonished by how many of the choir returned for the 11am Mass.

There were only four further masses to play and I was free. The new Pastor had cancelled the Sunday evening Mass. The parents of one of our staff had invited me over for a meal so I joined then at about 4pm.

I was off work during the week that followed and spent many days at the beach or at home tidying the place while painters did their best to untidy it!

Saturday 27 April I played for a funeral in the morning and then nipped over to Walmart for something to eat. There was a deal on regarding immunisations so I had a tetanus booster and shingles for free!

Sunday 28 April I awoke feeling terrible. I was certain that it was a bad reaction to the jabs the previous day. I ventured into work to meet the cantor of the first 2 masses to explain how to cope without me. Meanwhile I returned home to sleep. Not even the Chelsea match could keep me awake! By the evening I was bored but felt able to play for the evening mass.

Tuesday 30 April

I had come to know Bertrand Olivier through the Iona Community. He had been Rector of All Hallows by the Tower in London but was now dean of Montreal Cathedral. He was attending a conference in nearby St Petersburg so when he asked to arrive early to spend a couple of days with me I was delighted. I collected Bertrand from airport after a long day followed by organ lessons so I was pleased that the flight was on time and that his passage through security was quick. We went homeward for a bite and a wee drink before tiredness set in.

On Wednesday I played for the school mass then returned home to collect Bertrand and drive with 2 kayaks on the new trailer to Dunedin Causeway from where we kayaked to Caladesi Island. In the evening we dined at Sacred Pepper and returned home for more vino.

Thursday morning we drove to Fort Desoto and spent a while at the beach before dropping Bertrand at his hotel for the start of the conference.

I returned to work and choir practice.

Weekend usual stuff but at the 11am the choir sang Cochereau’s Victimae Paschali Laudes for the first time.We planned to repeat it at the end of every 11am Mass during Eastertime because it would not be heard in Paris this year and maybe fpr several years to come. The 1230 Mass was notable for a massive storm blowing through. Weather is extreme here!

I spent Monday at home and then attended a benefits meeting followed by some admin at work.

Tuesday 7 May I was in early to prep weekend music and send out material to singers/instrumentalists. Later I met with the School Cantors and gave an organ lesson for Kegan and Alex my two Zipoli Scholarship pupils.

A month ago my laptop had failed to power up so I took it back to the retail outlet and left it for repair. I was please to be re-united with it that Tuesday evening.

Wednesday was a long work day … school mass then a team meeting to review triduum. My proposal to celebrate Morning Prayer and Office of Readings for Good Friday and Holy Saturday next year was accepted. I met with one of our singers who gets married next month. It was one of the most delightful wedding planning sessions so far!

During the afternoon I attended Jesuit High School to audition contestants for the Zipoli Organ Scholarship. Two successful candidates would receive $2000 and free lessons from me. Back at work the choir rehearsal was thankfully short!

The long working days enabled me to take two consecutive days off. So on Thursday and Friday I could be found getting used to my new kayak and its new sail around Caladesi Island.

On Saturday 11 May I played for two first communion masses and then the vigil mass. The pastor had decided to give a flower to every mother (it is Mother’s Day over here) but ten minutes before Mass the flowers were nowhere to be seen. They were discovered in good time but I was still able to amuse some folk with an improvised ‘Where have all the flowers gone’!

In the evening benefit event for John in Cornerstone Pub. He had nursed his wife during her final year and had fallen on bad times. The caring community of this local ar came together to celebrate his wife and make his life a little easier.



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