14 September 2015
From summer in the Mediterranean
to a wet, rainy weekend in Ireland
Arriving back in Dublin from Greece in the early hours of Sunday morning [13 September 2015] was a real shock to the system.
The temperatures in Crete all last week were in the high 30s each day, the skies were blue, and I was able to swim in the warm blue waters of the Mediterranean and walk along the long sandy stretch of beach east of Retymnon each day.
But I awoke to a chilly Dublin, and as two of us set off for Belfast late on Sunday morning or early on Sunday afternoon, it was a cold day, and it rained heavily for much of the journey, making driving conditions on the M50 and the M1 quite treacherous.
I was in Saint Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, for the ordination of four students as deacon. It is not possible in this ordination season to get to all the ordinations, but happily many of the other students whose ordinations I have been missing were there too.
There was a warm welcome from both Bishop Alan Abernethy of Connor and Dean John Mann of Belfast, and I was asked to read the Epistle reading (Romans 12: 1-12).
It was a pleasure too to find that the preacher was an old friend, the Very Revd Pete Wilcox, who is Dean of Liverpool Cathedral. He and his wife Catherine Fox have has been good friends since he was the Chancellor of Lichfield Cathedral and they lived in the Cathedral Close in Lichfield.
On the road back from Belfast, the rain had eased off and the fields of the Down and Armagh countryside were arrayed in autumn colours of green and gold.
In Carlingford, Co Louth, two of us stopped for a meal in the Bay Tree. This is a charming mediaeval town, with a number of castles and mediaeval houses and buildings.
Before darkness closed in on Carlingford and before going to eat, I went for a stroll around the harbour, and then through the narrow streets of the town, where some of the vacant buildings are decorated with captivating and amusing paintings.
Later, after dinner, I had another brief walk along the shoreline. It was dark by now, but Carlingford Castle was lit up, and bird calls could still be heard from the waters of Carlingford Lough.
Summer is gone, and I shall have to wait until next year for hopes of Mediterranean summer sun. But hopefully autumn may linger a little and allow some more walks in the countryside and the beaches.