Yesterday started with a call from a Ugandan friend in Kampala, phoning to check if all was ok because they've been getting news and pictures of the UK's serious floods, including places in Oxfordshire that are cut off. It seems surreal to be able to assure Sam that I'm ok, while at the same time knowing many thousands of people are far from ok, and some won't be ok for a long time; and knowing that the secondary school along the road has been made refuge for hundreds of travellers 'detrained' at Oxford Friday night; and that train lines north of Oxford are closed and buses are unpredictable, so though I have a lift there with friends, I won't be able to make my way back from the 60th wedding anniversary celebration I'm heading for in Coventry.
Next a call from my brother who, it turns out, is also going to the celebration and continues to Radley in the evening for the National Youth Orchestra summer school (including preparing for the BBC Proms) so can drop me back home on his way past.
On the way to Coventry in my friend's car we stop by the home of other friends - a West Papuan family - to drop off a token gift because dad Suriel and I share the same birthday. Two West Papuan families live locally and worship with our church and while the friendship is a joy, the West Papuan plight is painful.
Allen and Mary Edwards' Diamond Wedding Anniversary was a happy occasion of many reunions and gathering of at least 4 generations; thanks to their family.
My sister and brother had also plotted together and surprised me with a detour from the Edwards' party to my sister's house where her two adult children had also gathered, and we shared some bubbly to celebrate my birthday. Cheers all!
A happy day with some bittersweet dimensions and, thankfully, safe travelling.