Yes I'm way behind, I know. Traal is always busy and the phone can't always get an internet connection. I don't have a USB port of my own, which I sometimes regret.
15/8 11:45pm. Elise is ready to bail and usually wants a gallant young man to carry her bag up the steel hill to Upper Buxton. And the boys always respond to that sort of thing. Dinner again tomorrow? Yay! We'll bring some supplies.
11:55pm. Home and it's not yet midnight. Diary time, this time with the right timezone on the Google Calendar. Several good gunzelling days coming right up!
16/8 9am. Midga gets up and gets ready for church. It's the Sullivan service at the Methodist church, should be good. Mum has emailed, just for an update.
9:45am. Time to think about going. We concluded that the service is at 11am, after being confused by one part of the festival program saying 11 and another saying 10:30. The church's own web site is considered an authoritative source.
10:15am. We walk out. Have Bible, will travel. If Bibles aren't in fashion at this church Midga will be un the unusual position of having started a new fashion.
10:45am. We arrive. The church is packed and the choir is rehearsing. It turns out 10:30 was for the choir to be assembled (it's Festival people as well as church members) and 11 is for the service. We manage to find two seats and I sit on the floor.
11am. The service starts with a Fred Wagstaff style "Good morning!" which, like Gary Slavin's "Do you know where we're going from?" is said in the expectation of a reply. A browse of the news sheet/order of service gives the impression of a fairly traditional church which is trying to unbend a bit - sort of like ours. There's plenty of reference to sin, repentance, forgiveness and Jesus' supremacy so it looks like a good Bible-believing church. A reading from 2 Chronicles too, that's a good start. We open with Ps 95 sung to one of Sullivan's hymn tunes, and the organ plus congregation fills that little church with music! Responsive prayers are not what we're used to, but hey, this is why we visit other churches. Another hymn - Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken, sung to Sullivan's "Lux Eoi" (which we sing another hymn to, can't think which) - which is misspelled Eloi, and the minister says "Some of you can probably guess why", which could be another indication that this is a serious congregation. Then a responsive psalm - we went from Ps 147 at home just before we left, to Ps 98 here. And the downward trend will continue when we get back, so I'm told. The sermon is on John 2, the miracle of water into wine at Cana. It's preached by a high up minister (former Vice President of the Methodist Conference - a sort of Moderator of the GA I guess) who happens to also be the president of a local G&S society. Unfortunately he seems a bit liberal - I can accept straying from the passage to do a thematic sermon, but to say "however you explain the actual event of water turning into wine" and then describe a whole lot of God's common graces as "water into wine moments" is going too far. The boys decide to go again next week to see if the regular Sunday service is better. After the sermon (which seems ridiculously short), our good friend Ian Henderson (Grosvenor in 2007, Prince of Monte Carlo this year) gets up and sings the Lost Chord. Apparently it's a tradition to do it at this service... even though it's hardly worship music. We all join in the last verse and it does sound pretty grand. Just at the end Midga notices there are two pairs of hands on the organ - wish it had been recorded. Then some more prayers (after the sermon!) including the Lord's Prayer, which they considered unnecessary to print in the news sheet. And we finish with Onward Christian Soldiers. A key change for the last verse and a good organist give us a musical high. Love it.
12:30pm. It's probably too late for a family chat session, but it's a good excuse to get out of having to socialise with people who know we're here for the festival and want to talk about it rather than church. It does get tiring saying the same thing over and over. And of course the eternal refrain "Oh Australia, I'd love to go there one day"... at least the guy at Jodi's church who asked "Which side of the Mississippi is that?" gave it variety.
12:45pm. We try to step Gae and David through setting up a voice call in Google Chat, but it seems none of the microphones work. It's getting late anyway so we give up.
3pm. Emerald Isle in the Paxton! We get in and they're all over the stage already, it's a concert version not fully staged. I guess we could have expected that. Elise comes in and sits behind us - she was going to Parsons Pirates at the opera house at 2:30 but she got the times mixed up! The show opens with a bit of narration - which is a good thing because the singers' diction isn't up to the task of telling us the plot. The orchestra are all over the place too, and Elise has a few things to say about the singers' technique. Still, it's an introduction to the piece, and the MIDIs will do the rest until someone produces it properly.