There was a big football match on at the Millennium Stadium, and today was Palm Sunday. The early gathering crowds were from Bristol and Doncaster, forty thousand of them, more than had been originally anticipated. The consequence of this was that a Palm Sunday afternoon march through the city centre, proposed by the Ely Council of Churches, inviting all the churches of Cardiff to join in, had to be cancelled at short notice. It would have been possible, with the crowds being in the stadium for the match at the time of the march and service outside St John's at the end, but the prospect of people rallying for the march having no buses to come in on, or having to park miles out because of the visitors from out of town, was enough discouragement to lead to cancellation.
When first asked about the idea of a march, I'd consulted my events timetable and mentioned there was a match this day. But the organisers had been told by the police that the march could go ahead anyway. The police didn't tell the city centre management of their 'giving permission', I did. And to be fair, Paul, the city centre manager, told me that he didn't think that it would be impossible for the two events to go on side by side. However, we're all so dependent on transport to allow us to schedule participation in an event like this into the rest of our busy lives, that most of us wouldn't have the time or the energy to walk across the city into the centre - at the most four miles - to take part. It's a sign of the times. I'm not sure what it reads.
Our numbers were down 20% in the morning, and I undertook to say Evensong alone if returning match crowds made it impossible for people to come in and join me. In the event there were a dozen people with me, and town was almost clear when I rode through on my bike to church.
Later in the evening, I decided to re-cycle a redundant external hard disk by installing a Linux distribution on it. I made the mistake of listening to Radio 4 while I did this. An interesting programme about slavery and the foundation of Sierra Leone. At a crucial moment, I got distracted in my task by the radio programme and destroyed the content of my computer's main hard disk - my new machine, only two months old! Even its recovery partition was unrepairable. I've had hard disks die on me before, but never made such a monumental irrecoverable error.
Thankfully I had most of my data backed up, and only lost a handful of stuff since my most recent backup about eight days ago. But one way or another, quite a shock, and a sobering experience. It made me realise just how much the arrangement of one's little chunk of cyberspace becomes an extension of ones working mind, so to speak. Suddenly it's no longer there. A small taste of bereavement to accompany Holy Week.
Speaking of which, I have noon and 7.30pm Eucharist Monday to Thursday, and the Three Hours of Friday. I wiped the disk just hours after finishing my seven Good Friday addresses, before backing them up. April Fool indeed.
Posted from my faithful lappy, later, after much sleep loss.