Tues 1

Is March really here! A busy morning in the office, Mass at 12 noon & HC visits in the a/noon.

Wed 2

I have now packed 7 suitcases at home….& still there is too much stuff left! After 9.30 am Mass I go to get a fingerprint scan. If I want to work with any Anglican Church I will need to have a background check of my 7.5 years in the USA. A final HC visit this a/noon – then more packing!

Thurs 3

I have too much stuff to pack! This morning I took 14 boxes of “stuff” to St Paul’s Thrift Shop. A Staff meeting with the Senior Warden this morning went very well…….there will be no problems with Clare being in charge until the Interim Rector arrives. The 6 pm Mass was a Requiem for my good friend, James Fraser, who died in Melbourne last Saty.

Fri 4

I packed another 14 boxes last night, & took them to the shop this morning. Other practical matters occupied me after 9.30 am Mass, incl banking, haircut & sermon. At 4.15 pm I had supper with my lovely parishioners at St Paul’s Villa.

Sat 5

My last Daily Mass at 9 am. Norma commented that she would miss coming in early & finding me there  – with my cheery smile! This a/noon is the farewell reception, with 200 expected. It was a wonderful a/noon: gr8 food, aussie wines, 15 min slide show of my life at as rector…& a very generous farewell purse. Thank you everyone 🙂

Sun 6 – My last Sunday as Rector

When I drove to church at 7 am there was fog everywhere…..symbolic perhaps? Before each Mass I prayed that I would not get emotional or teary – & the Lord heard me! 8 am was full, with 61 communicants. 10 am was packed, with 126 communicants. I was glad to see several friends present who were not parishioners. The music was superb, with a choir of 22 + 3 brass. Bob was in excellent form, & the choir rose to the occasion. I chose 4 of my favourite hymns & some stunning music.

We began with my favourite prelude, Rhosymedre. The choir entered to War March of the Priests, & the sanctuary party to Parry’s magnificent, I Was Glad. The choir sang Stanford’s Psalm 150 & the Offertory anthem was one of my favourites, One Faith, One Hope, One Lord. During communion the choir sang Elgar’s, Ave Verum & a beautiful anthem based on the hymn, O Jesus I Have Promised. There was one anthem at the end, Go Forth With God – sung at my 30th anniversary Mass last year – & I forgot the Dismissal! We went out singing, Ye Watchers, & it all concluded wonderfully with Widor’s Toccata. It was an inspiring & unforgetable Mass! Afterwards much hugging & embracing, & best wishes expressed, with a few tears. Hard to believe I am now Rector Emeritus!

Mon 7

Today begins the rest of my life! An not sure how I should feel – but it doesn’t feel like I am retired. Off to China today. Beijing, X’ian & Shanghai. 

Tues 15

I was unable to access my website in China, so here is a resume’ of my week in China. I arrived in Beijing on Ash Wed….a strange way to begin Lent! From my hotel I walked 30 mins to Our Saviour Church – the largest church in Beijing.

Thursday I flew to X’ian, arriving in what seemed a part of rural China, but soon driving into the suburbs of a modern city. As usual, the staff of the hotel were anxious to make me feel welcome. Friday I visited the Terracotta Warriors (the purpose of my visit), as also the Wild Goose Pagoda & BanPo museum, containing the remains of a village from 6,000 years ago.

Saturday I spent the day in the old city. Visited the oldest church – built on the site of the stone erected by the Nestorian christian missionaries from Assyria in the 7th cent. The young priest was very friendly & said that the local seminary had 70 students & 100 nuns studying there! I then walked along the city walls – the oldest in the world of intact city walls (& the longest, it seemd to me!). Sunday I went to 7 am Mass in the RC cathedral – completely in chinese, of course, with a full church & enthusiastic worship. That a/noon I caught the plane to Shanghai. 

Monday I spent the day enjoying the sites of Shanghai. Walked along the Bund, which is now restored. Last year when I visited it was undergoing reconstruction of the sidewalks & buildings. It was lovely to walk along the river, despite the smog! Finished up at the Peace Hotel, which has had such guests as Paul Keating, & now marvellously restored. On the mezzanine floor there is an exhibition of its history from the 30’s, & I engaged in wonderful conversation with the Aussie guide.  

Tues I flew back to San Diego, & was greeted by beautiful sunny weather. Now to do final packing, laundry, etc!

Fri 18

My last night in SD (sigh)! Off to the symphony – Berlioz’s Harold in Italy – then to the airport tomorrow morning. I have 3 bags to check + carry-on bag & briefcase.

Tues 22

I have landed in Sydney….& quite emotional it was. As I walked to the lounge to wait for my connection to Melbourne I could hardly believe that I was returning to my old home. I am excited at the thought of landing there, whilst feeling so much fondness for SD. It will take some time to comprehend – thank goodness I have planned to travel for 3 months!

Wed 23

After I arrived in Melb yesterday I picked up a hire car & drove to the home of my friend, Val. She has generously offered to host me until I have settled back & we had much to talk about. She wanted to know all about my farewell Masses – she has wonderful memories of her visits to All SS in 2003, 2005 & 2009. I was very tired & had 8 hours sleep last night. Woke up to an overcast morning, which made me wish I was back in SD – but later the sun came out. I went to 11 am Mass at St Mark’s, which was a lovely experience as I reflected on my 18 years there. Then went into the city to collect my tickets for the 4 football games I will be attending this w/e, which is the opening of the AFL season. After that I walked around the city, getting re-acquainted with my old home town. Val & I went out for dinner & I then watched TV, adjusting to Aussie accents & humour 🙂

Thurs 24

Today I leave Val’s & go to stay at the Melbourne apartment of my friends, Ian & Dale, for the w/e. The apartment is very nice, with a view of St Patrick’s cathedral. More importantly, it is a 15 min walk from the MCG – perfect for the football! It also gives me the chance to explore the city at my leisure, as well as starting to sort out practicalities of being retired.

Fri 25  The Annunciation

Up at 5 am & went to 7 am Mass. The footy last night was gr8. A good game in tyypical Melb weather. I really enjoyed being amongst typical Aussie families – but I will not buy junk food again! A leisurely day today, then off to the MCG again tonight. Tomorrow it is Port Adelaide vs Collingwood….what am I to do??? Then on Sunday I get to choose where I can attend Sunday Mass 🙂

Mon 28

A gr8 w/e of footy, catching up with friends & experiencing life back in Melb. This city has certainly gone ahead since I left in 2003 – a marvellous city to live in & enjoy life. People have been pleased to see me, & to hear about All SS. I was disappointed with the Masses I have attended….which made me miss All SS – & the people! Today I return to Val’s, & she has a few quiet dinners with old friends planned.

Wed 30

I have had a lovely 2 days exploring Melb. Have been catching busses from Val’s – an experience I never had when I lived here. The drivers even give change! Tues I caught the tram thru Fitzroy – nothing seemed to have changed. I then walked thru Studly Park & along the Yarra back to Val’s – a delightul 1.5 hour walk in beautiful sunshine. Wed I went to the Melb Flower & Garden Show. In my time at Fitzroy I had walked thru it before & after, but never paid to see it! I had a lovely 2 hours, admiring some wonderful floral decorations, & re-acquainting myself with the stunning Royal Exhibition Hall (where the Commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed in 1901). Tomorrow I go into the city & stay at the Intercontinental Hotel. This is so I can get the speedy airport bus in the morning for my flight to Adelaide. Getting to the airport any other way is crazy.