Summer Leave: July 2016
For the first time for many years we headed off for our summer leave at the end of June rather than august, primarily so we could attend our son-in-law, Dan’s ordination on Sunday 3rd July in St Alban’s Cathedral, a proud and very happy occasion followed by a picnic lunch in a lovely garden on a beautiful sunny day. We both robed, which freed up some family seats for others in the cathedral, which was packed for the occasion. We were able to hear Dan preach his first sermon in St Mary’s, Hitchin, where he is serving as a part-time curate as well as giving oversight to a pioneering church The Hub that meets in a bar of a small theatre and also had the opportunity to visit Alex in Youthscape, the converted flour mill in Luton, which is now fully up and running and meet some of the young leaders. Later this week will be visited by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, an indication of the good work that they are doing.
From St Alan’s we flew to Cork and spent a week in a little octagonal cottage near Bantry, deep in the south-west of Ireland that we’d booked through airbnb – in fact almost everywhere we stayed was through airbnb and Alex and Philippa joined us for a long weekend. We hit a classical music festival in Bantry and attended two lovely afternoon concerts in a local church. We also bumped into Rob Millner, now teaching in Abu Dhabi. He came into the café, where we were catching up on our emails, looked at Tricia and said “you look awfully like the wife of a priest in Bahrain!” I’d just appointed Rob as our part-time Music Director when the troubles of February 2011 hit Bahrain and sadly he had to leave as his job folded. We had another unexpected meeting later in the holiday, when we were having a bite to eat in an Italian restaurant in Rochester, Kent and I overheard in an adjacent table’s conversation: “Archdeacons of Cyprus and the Gulf”. I turned to see Harry Ching, newly ordained in Nicosia and leading the church in Famagusta, Cyprus! We loved exploring that part of Ireland and seeing the seals off the coast and enjoying our cosy cottage.
From Limerick, we returned to Alex and Dan and in particular helped Philippa, our youngest move out of her flat in London as she prepared for her move to Australia via some travels in south-east Asia. Philippa hadn’t driven for sometime so launching out in London and immediately having to cross a very busy road in the largest vehicle that she’d ever driven was a big challenge, but one she accomplished and gave her confidence to get behind the wheel again, if she needs to, in Australia.
We then had our final ten days in “a cottage” – the end part of a wing of an old manor house in Chilham, near Canterbury in Kent. It had a lovely garden and on several occasions we would eat out in the garden, on one occasion with friends from our previous parish. We also met up with Carol Byers, who’d just moved from the Scottish Borders to West Malling, so we were able to visit her in her lovely new home.
We took the train up to London on one occasion and met up with the Rev’d Bertrand Olivier, who had generously run the London Marathon on behalf of our Building Project, so I dressed up for a photo op of the handing over of the cheque in All Hallows-by-the Tower, just adjacent to the Tower of London. The last time we were there was for an interview for my present post!