Our last evening, and probably my least favourite part of a holiday. Not so much because of going back to work, though that will be a major shock to the system, but more because I can’t help with the clearing and packing up. You can imagine that I bring a lot of clobber with me, and make a bit of mess. And I sit in a comfortable chair while Jane quietly gets on with the hoovering, cleaning, packing and still produces the food. I hate that. I hate feeling so useless and unable to shoulder a share of the work. If I was fit, we could relax together with a glass of wine, some chocolates and watch ‘Good Will Hunting’ or some other DVD. I’m not sure ‘hate’ is the right word. It irks me. A lot.
But, pause for thought: from 'God on Mute' by Pete Greig (see below), I read today.
‘I have come to believe that if Samie had been spared her brain tumour and we’d never been forced to face the possibility of her early death, we would thereby have missed out on God’s best for our lives’ (page 178, Survivor Books, 2007). That takes some writing! You need to read it in context, but I actually think he might be right, for us too.
Swords into ploughshares
It’s raining again, and I’m watching BBC Wales News. It’s featured a firm near Newport called EADS which produces hi-tech ‘defence’ equipment. One of the royal family was visiting. It employs 1200 people, and anticipates expanding its workforce by a fifth each year. I think it’s a ‘good news’ item....
By contrast, we spent the afternoon at Pembrey Country Park, near Llanelli, looking across to the Gower Peninsular. It was dry and at times sunny! It seemed full of friendly people. At least the man on the gate and the girl at the Visitors’ Centre - and Terry, the volunteer ranger, all were. We borrowed, free of charge, a Beamer Tramper from the visitors’ centre. That’s the nearest you get to a mountain bike in electric buggies, and off we went for the longest ‘walk’ I’ve been on for five years, through the dunes and woods, past pyramidal orchids. Here and there are signs of its former uses, rusting military-style fences, a pill-box, narrow guage railway tracks and some major bunkers facing the sea. As we sat having our lunch, Terry came by and chatted. We asked him about its history. It was once an ordnance factory, where they’d made bombs. In fact it had started life when Alfred Nobel (of the prizes) had built a factory there to supply dynamite to the mines. In the first World War it had been turned into an Ordnance Factory and revived again in 1936 when the government began seriously to rearm. He himself had worked there after the war when they decommissioned the bombs.
And now it’s a holiday centre for families, with woodland walks, orienteering, biking, riding, dry ski-slope, camping, caravanning and above all miles of clean sandy beach. Today at least it seemed a haven of shalom, well-being and peace. And I couldn’t help longing for the time when all ordnance factories will be made into country parks, tanks into tractors, and swords into ploughshares. Heaven!