Friday 30 August

Wow! Another blog only 4 days after the last. Something must be afoot? And it is!

You’ve probably already heard that hurricane Dorian is gathering pace and intensity and heading for my house. To be fair it will affect the whole state of Florida and more besides.

It is unlikely that I’ll be evacuated. During Irma I was evacuated from my apartment close to the sea only to reach the house I had bought two days earlier with a chair, a plastic sun lounger for sleeping, a radio and 4 bottles of wine. As readers will recall Irma sent a tree into my roof and I have only recently completed the repairs.

Since Irma I have a new roof, new tiled ground floor, new patio doors, hurricane proof windows (!) and have regretfully had to remove most of the trees from the property as they were becoming dangerous. I still have the mighty oak in the front garden but a limb fell from that on Monday!

Yesterday I visited the local supermarket and there was madness. Shelves were emptying and water was being rationed. I only needed a few bottles of water. I normally drink from the tap but water can become impure during these situations. They would only allow me to take a case of 24 bottles and then insisted I take another because it was BOGO! Ridiculous eh?

I have a bbq as everyone does over here so if I need to cook I’ll be able to. In fact I have a joint of pork grilling away now even though there is torrential rain right now.

On Tuesday I collected Rose from Tampa Greyhound Station. I had met Rose 5 years ago at a Society of St Gregory Summer School at Worth Abbey. I was one of the speakers. She must have remembered me and having moved from the Columban Mission in Birmingham was now serving as a lay missionary in El Paso. Much of her work centred on immigration from Mexico and beyond to USA.  I’ve always tried to be hospitable in the past so her request to stay for a couple of days in between visiting relatives in N Florida and a retreat with the Benedictines at St Leo Abbey was accepted. I had promised to take her kayaking but I only managed to get a few yards down the road when the trailer fell off the hitch which would not engage. I beat an undignified return and instead we did some gardening in between bottles of Prosecco! In the evening we went out for meal and returned for more wine and a game of Monopoly which, note my family, I won of course!

On Thursday morning I dropped Rose at the retreat house at St Leo Abbey and since it was gloriously sunny I headed for the beach as any wise Floridian would!

Later that evening I found myself in the neighbourhood bar. One of the locals walked in and immediately caused some concern. He seemed disorientated and was just skin and bones. I don’t think he been eating. The bar did not serve food but they found some nuts and a sweet drink before allowing him to proceed to beer. Since I had earlier dispensed some Ibuprophen to a gent who had terrible back ache I was feeling rather like a medical practitioner! For my own part I dispensed a few vodkas with water.

Yesterday I received an email from a senior member of staff of our school requesting that I include some of the older girls’ favourites in the music list for September. This is just symptomatic of  a prevailing attitude which determines that ‘they must have what they want because they are paying fees and we must keep them happy’. Poppycock. And I would not mind but the request came with several misspelt words. I would have expected that an educational establishment knew the difference between ‘there’ and ‘their’!

Well the usual August afternoon storm has passed for the time being and the joint of pork is cooked so I’ll nip out soon and rescue it.

Tuesday is the day when I’ll be asking for prayers. The hurricane is forecast to strike the east coast sometime during the early morning and will affect Tampa later in the day.  Forecasts can always be wrong but there is a science to this and all the models show it affecting Tampa. When it turns will determine how deep I ‘hunker down’. I have a collection of candles, torches, batteries and radio all ready to be engaged and a good book about how the concerns of the multinationals have dominated American politics for years. That should take my mind off things.

See you the other side of what Trump calls ‘a monster’.

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