Friday 12 July

On June 10 I joined the group at the local bar who bet on Nascar. On this the first time I managed to win $165 with a $20 stake. Some people have since accused me of becoming a redneck!

On June 14 I hosted the choir party at my place. Some 35 people attended and it was wonderful. During the proceedings we recorded a version of Happy Birthday for my brother Chris whose 60th was that very day. He was pleasantly surprised to receive it. Unfortunately the bottle I had ordered as a gift for him did not arrive and now one month later I am still waiting for Amazon to find a supplier. Why did they advertise something which was not in stock? A month later I am still waiting!

The end of June would mark the departure of our 4-year old assistant priest Fr Chuck. He would start work as Director of Vocations in July. I later mused that I felt that the Holy Spirit was the Director of Vocations! The departure was so prolonged that it seemed like a lingering death! On 23 June, the Feast of Corpus Christi the 11am Mass was a bilingual celebration to celebrate with Fr Chuck his departure. The parish had been very generous to him. In addition to making a gift of his woodworking shed a few clubbed together to buy him a new paten and chalice which he used for the first time at his farewell Mass. After the Mass there was a party in Higgins Hall with the opportunity for individual goodbyes if you wanted to join the long line to do so.

I had adapted an earlier setting in English of Psalm 109 to make a bilingual setting. I posted this on Facebook and it attracted attention in UK and USA. A further setting in Spanish was sent to a few interested people.

At the end of June our Pastor wrote to staff offering  3 days’ vacation to celebrate Independence Day. Having completed a weekend of the usual stuff I spent Monday with my kayak at Fort Desoto. The weather was fantastic so I stayed out all day. When I returned it was low tide so I was unable to land at the same point so I had quite a walk to fetch my car and return to collect the kayak. When I got back to wifi I discovered that a workman had paid an unexpected visit to my house and had tripped the alarm. Neighbors appeared from everywhere and my workman was somewhat embarrassed. Then the police came and, having checked the place out for signs of a felony, they withdrew.

With a few days vacation I decided to drive to the East coast to Titusville where I had booked a cheap Airb&b. I spent three days on the beach with record temperatures. In the evenings I retired to the PlayaLinda Brewery in downtown Titusville where I supped my first beers for 5 months and then returned to my lodgings for some wine and TV.

I returned to Tampa on the evening of July 4. Locals at the bar wished me a happy Independence Day and I, in turn, wished the ungrateful colonials a Happy Traitors Day.

I spent the Friday morning rushing around doing some errands and then making up beds for two visitors. I had originally met Dawn from Louisiana and Maddie from Australia on Iona where they volunteered on several seasons. They had visited me in Sheffield and later when I arrived in USA they invited me to join them as they explored New Orleans and the surrounding area. When they reached me at 2pm they had already been travelling a month so I poured a fine bottle of Prosecco to welcome them. Soon after we headed off on a brewery tour care of uber. We managed four breweries but at the first we met a guy who worked at Disney Orlando and his wife from East Kilbride!

On the Saturday I had to work. I had two weddings as well as a vigil Mass. This was also the first weekend with a new assistant priest. He seemed surprisingly humble! He replaced another of whom the same could not be said. When I returned on the Saturday evening my guests had a salmon dinner prepared. After eating we just chatted (and drank) the evening away.

On the Sunday morning I bade my friends goodbye and went to work. During the week I swopped my day off so that I could manage 2 days off on Thursday and Friday. On Tuesday I had my first meeting with Fr Felipe the new priest. This was a very positive experience and it was clear that we would be able to work well together. His arrival also signalled a diminishing liturgical control for our deacon.

Today Friday 12 July I visited the doctor to review my lab results. To my surprise they still show a positive trend in dealing with the type 2 diabetes diagnosis. I am surprised at this because although I have stopped drinking craft beer (which I love) I have found myself drawn to vodka and water. I have also changed my diet significantly which is also helping things.

I have workmen here again today. They are repairing my back fence which borders the park and which could have put me a risk of litigation if it had fallen on someone. They are also replacing my front double gate so that I can store and move my kayak and trailer more easily. In a couple of weeks they will return to address some issues with the sidings on the exterior of the house and install gutters covers so that the rain can pass through but not the tree debris.

If you are thinking of visiting here you would be welcome. You might wish to know that at this time of the year it can be hot but this in turn causes torrential monsoon-like rainfall. My pool is always overflowing with the rainfall and there are daily storms. Somehow Florida remains a great place to be as long as the hurricanes keep their distance!



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