Tuesday - and it seems ages since Fr James left, but it was only yesterday. In fact it was at 4.30 - in the morning! Always the last minute operator, James was still fussing around doing last minute stuff, so there was no chance of me getting to bed and then getting up to see him off. So I shut myself in my living room and watched a bit of telly off and on until he was due to leave. From 3am various Keralites began to arrive. They were taking him off to Heathrow in a convoy of three cars! Apparently in Kerala when you move from one parish to another, the number of cars that accompany your arrival is a sign of your popularity! So eventually, James' car pulled out of the car park here at St Brigid's, and he was gone.
But three hours later I was up again to greet a new day - and a new priest, because Fr Dennis, our summer "relief" was arriving later that same morning. He's settled in very well, and we've already had some great chats.
Someone has combined several people's photos of James' Farewell Mass into a slideshow on a DVD, and I just played it for the first time. It brought back vividly that wonderful celebration last Thursday, that moved so many people. The end of five years - strange to think that it's quite likely I'll never meet James again - but, there again, who knows? I think we are moving into very interesting times, when anything could happen.
Meanwhile - here's another of my holiday snaps, this time the view from my hotel room. It's right in central Milan, but as so often in Italy behind the city facades are beautiful courtyards and small gardens. Unlike the clergy at our 3 Churches, most of the view from my room probably hadn't changed in 200 years...