After a ten-hour flight spent happily catching up on unsuitable films and rejoicing at God’s sense of humour at sitting me next to a physiotherapist (my back has been playing up), I wondered how I would know who was meeting me at Vancouver airport amongst the huge crowd of people waiting to greet arrivals. But there was a massive T-shirt with the Messy Church logo splattered on it and a sign the size of Wales with my name on, both being wielded by a couple with hugely smiling faces.
Elizabeth and Susan couldn’t have been warmer and kinder, taking me for a lunch and some time to chill before going on a round trip of Vancouver (past the university campus and faculty of theology in all its tree-filled panoramic glory) out to a bistro serving the most delicious food: I now know what a Spot Prawn is and have welcomed a Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake into my constitution.
It was about 4am by my body clock by this time, so when I was dropped off at Claudette and Walt’s farmhouse, I wasn’t in a fit state to appreciate the heron starting up from the field or the old and well-kept buildings around the house. They kindly shooed me to the most comfortable bed in the northern hemisphere where I collapsed for eleven hours. Now, the following morning, after strong coffee and egg, we’re trying to find a way of outwitting Walt’s wifi and getting online… man versus machine. We will overcome.