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  • A Good (Monster-free) Morning

    This is Naples Nick, an elderly cat who guards a restaurant, and various other emporia, near to where I live.  He is friendly - alwas glad of a stroke and a friendly word - and has the wisdom to remain on the footpath, as his home is on a very busy road... a less sensible cat would not have lived so long.

    Pausing to stroke Nick on my way to conduct Uni Chapel prayers set the tone for a good morning - yesterday's monster stirrings have gone away (hurray!) - and I enjoyed the sunshine as I hurried along the road after the slight delay it caused.

    I always find leading prayers a positive, encouraging epxerience, the small congregation always appreciative of whatever I offer.

    Next I rushed back home to 'collar up' and take a taxi to a care home where I have been invited - and now agreed - to offer a very tiny level of chaplaincy support (around 1/80 time). The taxi-driver, observing my (Barbie) pink clerical shirt opened up about his experiences as an RC Eucharistic Minister, and we had a great chat.  The meeting at the home was lovely, and the place seemed as welcoming and friendly as it could be.  I had an inner chuckle at the stoic silence of the taxi driver who brought me home and whose body language said he did not like clergy one jot.

    Then it was a visit to one of own folk in a care home, just next door, and more fascinating revelations of her younger life!

    Sort of fitting then, that I spent a few moments stroking an elderly cat, who cares for the locale I inhabit, at the start of a morning focussed on care for elderly people.

    Now, after some scrummy over chips and M&S mushroom and red onion sausages, it's back to my desk and service prep...

  • Luke 5 and a Poem

    The study notes we have for uni chapel prayers, which I am leading in 45 minutes time (!), alluded to this poem - I love it.

    The Skylight

    You were the one for skylights. I opposed
    Cutting into the seasoned tongue-and-groove
    Of pitch pine. I liked it low and closed,
    Its claustrophobic, nest-up-in-the-roof
    Effect. I liked the snuff-dry feeling,
    The perfect, trunk-lid fit of the old ceiling.
    Under there, it was all hutch and hatch.
    The blue slates kept the heat like midnight thatch.

    But when the slates came off, extravagant
    Sky entered and held surprise wide open.
    For days I felt like an inhabitant
    Of that house where the man sick of the palsy
    Was lowered through the roof, had his sins forgiven,
    Was healed, took up his bed and walked away.

    Seamus Heaney