A travelling day – actually a good opportunity to sit in the airport, drink coffee (I am now a Tim Horton addict) and catch up on emails and Skype while I waited between planes to take me from Kamloops to Vancouver and Vancouver to Edmonton. Good to have a break as once I got to Edmonton it was all systems go at the diocesan clergy conference. Sarah, the bishop’s assistant, met me and drove me the hour or so to the Star of the North Centre, apologising all the way for the lack of air conditioning in the car. I have added to my embarrassingly small tally of wildlife by observing a gopher running off the road. It was either that or a very undernourished bear.
I was unpacking in my room (The Garden Suite – psychedelic floral wallpaper) when there was a tap on the door and I opened it to find our old Messy friend Thomas Brauer, who was the first Canadian regional coordinator, grinning on the threshold: great to see a familiar face and to pick up with him again. He took me down to the barbecue, which might have helped the evening pass painlessly, with the first session of three on Messy Church covering a lot of ground: some sharp questioning, as you would expect from a theologically clued-up group like this, which Thomas said was a bit harsh, but which I thought was fair enough and stimulating, if in a slightly masochistic way.
The bishop couldn’t be present but had left a barload of snacks for the clergy so I enjoyed a convivial end to the evening, hearing about Arctic ministry, what happens if you drive a truck flat out at a bear, and the improbability of seeing a moose. Bison however have been promised on Sunday, but I am developing a sad cynicism and refuse to believe anything larger than a gopher will ever cross my path.
I am now only seven hours behind the UK, but this alteration in time has led me to hideous recalculations to try to reset my alarm clock. Wish I was more numerate.