Saturday, February 21, 2009

Another side of Cardiff

Half term week has been a time when not much has been going on apart from routine worship. With Rhiannon's fifth birthday (already!) being celebrated over the weekend, Clare went up to Kenilworth and spent the latter half of the week with the family there, leaving me to a time of solitude and reflection and home. It's given me time to work on writing an account of my experiences of ministry over the past forty years, examining what sort of story about myself I tell to myself. The richness and diversity of my journey is something I want to record, not only to remind myself, but also, perhaps, to leave behind a story which my descendents might at some time cast a curious eye upon.

I find it takes time to get used to being on my own. It's not always a comfortable experience, and having such a writing project helps. It allows me to adjust to living with my sense of dissatisfaction with life, my inability to make things the way I think they are meant to be. In the end, when I look back I realise I have so much to be thankful for, even if I shall never be cured of my idealism, and sense of disappointment that only fragments of the social and spiritual vision we saw in our youth have ever been realised.

Young men 'see visions', says Joel the prophet, and 'old men dream dreams'. I'd love to know what we're supposed to be dreaming about, and whether or not it's meant to have any impact on the rest of life.

Today was beautiful weather. I walked up the Taff Trail as far as Radyr, risking life and limb with so many other people out on bicycles. I caught the train back, and discovered a rail route around the West of Cardiff I hadn't travelled along before, a route along which a significant number of new houses have been built in recent years, along the west bank of the Taff. It gave me a sense of just how much the City has grown, not only down the Bay area, but also in the hinterland below the M4.

Further south, the mile long ex-paper mill site below Ely Bridge has now been cleared for another new development, not only of houses in an eco-village, but supposedly a new hi-tech business park, if the youthful visions of strategic planners come to pass. However, at the moment recession is shackling the ambitions of our 'proud Capital', and the only growth in sight at the moment is colonising shrubs and trees. So in a way it's less of a wasteland than when it was all one big empty industrial site. I wonder if the natural haphazard greening of the site will survive the bull-dozers, as and when they (hopefully) arrive?

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