6 weeks since the last blog and what have I been up to? At the end of the last blog I was despairing about the poor contact from the solar power company. In the end, fed up with constantly being put off I asked to speak to a senior manager and things started to happen. He admitted that things had not gone as they should and sought to take over control of my account. He also promised to pay the first two installments on the loan and within 48 hours had things back on track. Unfortunately the past stage is ion the hands of the energy company and this will take 30 days which means I should be operational any day now.
June marks the start of the hurricane season and as well as high temperatures Tampa also got a return to storms. So far only one sizeable storm Elsa has threatened and to be honest although it passed right over Tampa on 6 July we were very lucky and escaped with only severe winds during the night when everyone was asleep. Over the last month there have been the usual thunderstorms and great periods of sunshine. Today there was such a deluge that my yard was significantly under water and local roads were flooded.
On 7 July Tampa Bay Lightning succeeded in winning the Stanley Cup for the second time in consecutive years. This is a rare and great achievement and the city is bragging about being ‘Champa Tampa’! I had been taking an orchestra of percussion along to O’Briens for the televised matches and frankly I am pleased it is over.
The magnificent organ at Sacred Heart has been giving me some grief. On 3 Sundays in July it has given up the ghost. The room in which the blower is situated is sealed by a thick door (to dull the noise) but it also keeps the temperature in its own bubble and it can get very hot in there. Since the occasions of the fault have all been between 12pm and 1pm on Sundays the motor will have been working for at least 5 hours and although there is AC cooling the loft it has no effect on the blower room. My theory is that it is temperature related and that free-standing AC might be required and also a replacement motor which would be quieter and more efficient. The jury is still out and every Sunday I will wonder when the organ will pack up.
We are also experiencing problems with the microphone system. Fortunately some mics still work but the mics located in the music area do not function. This is an even greater pity since I have discovered some good microphones, hidden for a while.
In the middle of July I was visited for 8 days by and old school friend. Aidan Rossiter was 2 years below me at St George’s College, Weybridge and very much part of the music scene there. Now he is a Josephite priest currently posted to California where he serves as Pastor at the Josephite Church and also is Vicar General for the entire global Josephite Order. Aidan was recovering from an operation and needed a rest so although I was working that is all he needed, a rest by the pool. We got out for some good meals and to visit the Dali Museum, the new Pier at St Petersburg and Ybor City in Tampa. I became quite ill during his visit and this contributed to a lack of energy but Aidan was very understanding.
Sometime around 24 July a dear friend from Sheffield, Peter, was found dead in his house. Peter had lived with many challenges not least of which was his mental state which kept him from working. It did not keep him from drinking and whenever we met up as a group of friends he was always the first to produce whiskey. He was so generous with this and his time and, despite the voices that tormented his mind, he was a really compassionate soul. After the death of his mother he inherited the house and was able to live with greater security than he had previously. The only voice he will hear now is that of God and God is love.
I suppose I’m getting to that age when people I know will die. I was sad to hear from Aidan Rossiter only a few days ago that another Josephite, Fr Adrian Cadwallader, has died. I remember him as something of an aloof character who came into his own when he invested funds on the horses … or is that just a myth? Again the peace of life in God will be more than respite from the paranoia which plagued him in recent years.
During the last week of July I attended the Annual Convention of the National Pastoral Musicians. This year it was held at the Marriott Hotel in New Orleans. With Covid being still a threat and with an alarming increase in spike of the Delta variant it was never going to be like usual Conventions. Indeed many of the sessions were virtual or live-streamed. Hilights included a presentation by Simply Liturgical Music, a talk by Sr Helen Prejean and another Plenary with John Baldovin sj. Happily I met up with many friends from the Composers Forum and the social time was good. I enjoyed some spectacular cuisine and if you are visiting NOLA you must try Irene’s and Evangeline’s, two restaurants almost opposite each other on the same street. I was still ill during the Convention but since it was possible to log in to the online presentations I chose to do this rather than pass on the germs.
On my return to Tampa I had my house to myself for the first time in a while. Angie, a travelling respiratory, had left on the Wednesday having found somewhere closer to her place of work.
Over the weekend my coughing became worse and so I was persuaded by friends to get a covid test. I did this at midday on Tuesday and hope to get the results sometime tomorrow or may be Friday. I’m expecting a negative result as my temperature has been normal despite runny nose, coughing etc symptoms. I took Tuesday off work accordingly and am now self-isolating. This is pretty boring so I wrote some string parts for my Psalm 128 this afternoon for the quartet which will share a wedding with me on Saturday.
My twin brother Andy had his gall bladder removed today. I had mine done 30 years ago and although they tried keyhole surgery at first they discovered that the organ had moved and had to cut me open before the anesthetic became ineffective. Andy was more fortunate and was out the same day. He’ll soon be back to swinging that bassoon or saxophone around North East England!