Wednesday 22 July

I want to start this blog with a good news story. We need this with all the bad news threatening us.

Mary Daniels of Jacksonville, Florida was heartbroken when her husband’s Alzheimer’s disease meant that she could no longer care for him in the way she wished. She found a place for him in a care home/memory centre but once Covid-19 kicked in a few weeks later she could no longer have direct access to him. She made a few visits separated by glass but the experience was clearly so upsetting for both of them that she vowed not to put him through this.

A few months later she asked the center if they had any employment vacancies. After a while she got a call inviting her to take a part-time position as dishwasher for a couple of days a week. Mary admits that she did not agree to this for any financial reason – she was paid a minimum wage – but the real reward was being able to see her husband for a couple of hours after work. Her husband seemed more at peace when he knew that she was in the building even though he would have to wait a few hours to see her.

Mary now runs a support group to enable access via employment to people in a similar position.

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Here in Florida things have taken a turn for the worse. Last week the daily toll of infections was 11,000! It is good that there are not so many deaths but that may change. I am beginning to hear people report that only now they are learning of a friend or neighbour getting the virus and even knowing someone who has died from it.

Masks are mandatory in all buildings. Last week I told a parishioner, whom I found praying in the church, to put her mask on. She asked me if I was Irish. When I enquired what that had to do with anything she said that sr Briege McKenna had informed her that an eminent Irish scientist had declared that wearing masks was dangerous. Somewhat mystified I asked her which country we were in and asserted that it was the law of this land to wear a mask in Tampa. Only when I added that the bishop had instructed the wearing of masks did she seem to agree. I understand that her family are pharmacists!

Since midday it’s been raining here. The temperature is still in the mid 90sF but it is a bit miserable. It’s my day off so to kill time while I wait to watch Chelsea play Liverpool I’m typing this blog and half-watching West Ham draw with Manchester United who got trounced by Chelsea last weekend.

My airbnb has started up again but I’ve had so many cancellations. you might be excused for thinking that these are because of Covid but in reality it is more often because people don’t read the listing and expect to have the house to themselves! I have a cancellation policy in place which often means that the guests don’t get much of a refund. People are so stupid!

I was delighted that Her Majesty the Queen took time out from knighting Captain Tom to grant me a new passport. Apparently they are made in Poland and appear black though they are really navy blue (apparently).

Last week I finally got down to revisiting a setting of psalm 27 (The Lord is my light) I’d aired at the composers forum meeting in January. It was well received there although someone mentioned a melodic similarity to Christopher Walker’s setting. Having conferred with CW I now have changed the melody to avoid legal issues. One of the OCP staff advised me to consider setting the same psalm for an Easter week with a different response. I was amazed to discover that the text fitted well to the response I had created for ‘The Lord is my light’. There is a new translation of the psalms and canticles which looks as though it will be the standard text in the new Lectionary when that arrives in approx 5 years.

Earlier this month I was expecting to speak to the City Council on the behalf of Goodwill, a national charity store. Behind and adjoining my local store is a residential center for folk who are re-entering society having served their time. Goodwill are hoping to be able to accommodate more clients in the same building than the present code allows. My presentation was biblically inspired and presented a different stance to other presentations. In the event the meeting has been postponed due to Covid-19. Did the Council only just realise that we are in a pandemic???

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