The weather in Birmingham, as so often happens when we depart Cyprus for a few weeks, has been amazing since my arrival on Thursday. Blue skies, sunshine, 18-20 degrees Celcius. It probably won't last, but I'm enjoying it in the meantime.
When we're here, we usually visit Christ Church Selly Park (except when Richard is doing something at St Stephens). Christ Church is where Tim goes regularly to services, and where we attended before moving to Cyprus. This morning Tim was playing in the music group, and his girlfriend Jo was on welcoming duty, so we had be there by 9.30am (for a 10.30 start). That meant leaving the house shortly before 9.00 since it's a pleasant half-hour walk.
I very much enjoyed reading a few recent leaflets and the weekly bulletin while listening to the music group practising:
Yes, those are four Mission Praise booklets under the piano stool, which is apparently just slightly too low for Tim.
Then someone moved, so I got a better one from the front which shows Tim in profile rather than from behind:
Despite some reservations about the final song, all went well during the service. There was a dedication of a baby, done with plenty of other noise from children - there are a lot of families in the church. When the children went off to Sunday School, there was a sermon that was interesting, with anecdotes and visual aids and a powerful YouTube video in the middle. I don't know how long it was, but it only felt like about 15 minutes.
It's strange, even though the building itself is only a few years old, and most of the congregation have arrived since our time, I always feel at home in a Christ Church service. People chatted to me before and afterwards - friends, acquaintances, someone I'd never seen before, and someone I used to know well but hadn't seen in over thirteen years.
At 12.00 Tim said we should probably leave; he was cooking a Sunday roast (chicken, sausages, roast potatoes and peppers, broccoli) and wanted to get back in plenty of time to finish it. So we set off back, and since I was much more awake than I had been, I had time to appreciate the green lushness of English parkland:
I realised that although we came just in time for daffodils last year, they're mostly finished this year - they look rather sad, just about finished now:
Then we turned a corner, and I saw something I haven't seen in many years: a group of people enjoying a game of cricket:
Lunch was excellent, then we talked, and I read a bit, and did some email, and generally relaxed. A very pleasant day.