An early start. The alarm kicks off at 6.00 am and it's 15 minutes and three snooze buttons later that I eventually rise from bed. Kitty wants to be fed and sniff the cold air, and as I sneak open the front door I hear the squeek or squeal of 'Blackie' sitting outside, waiting, patiently, for warmth and breakfast. It is a cold morning. I feed him, and his black fur is cold. His ears are even colder. Half an hour (and a shower and shave) later I am making my way to the station, the lights of the city centre still bright against the autumn dawn sky. The 7.11 train to Aberdare is always relatively quiet and I spend the time reading The Times and writing notes. Today it is Mass and Blessing of Pets at St John's School, and there are several dogs, three small kittens cwtched together in a cat box, a tortoise called Shelly and a stick insect called Sticky. The Mass is outdoors. It is lovely and frosty, the sun low in the sky, offering only a gentle warmth. It has almost burnt out, it seems. The animals do not seem to mind being splashed by holy water.
I arrive home at One. The afernoon is spent meandering over the keyboard of my laptop, writing school assemblies for the new website, putting together the parish bulletin, arranging the Mass for the October Walsingham Devotions in Aberdare on Saturday and replying to various emails. I escape for an hour to watch TV. Repeats. Replays. Killing time. I have kicked off my shoes. Before I know it, it is after six and time to leave. I splash water on my face to revive me.
Tonight is Mass at St Saviour's. As I leave, as I sneak open the front door I hear the squeek or squeal of 'Blackie' sitting outside, waiting, patiently. I give him what he wants. He is satiated by a dish food. It is a brisk twenty minutes walk for Mass, there and back. On the way home a woman with red high heeled shoes stands on the corner of Sanquahar Street, waiting, patiently, for warmth and breakfast. She will get neither. It's been a while since I have passed any of the women who walk (or rather, stand) this way from time to time. I think they move from place to place or, perhaps more accurately, they are moved on from place to place. I keep my head down. Tonight I am not asked if I would like to trade. Across the Magic Roundabout, Tyndall Street is quiet and, for a while, I am trailed by two insinificant significant men who mean no harm but I always have my wits about me. The traffic makes it ways up and down, up and down, the neon lights of hotels glimmering in the night. It is dark now.