What an eventful few days! On Wednesday, I CHOOSE EVERYTHING received the final go-ahead from the publisher, and so it's now full-steam ahead for a July publication date - which is amazing. I'm particularly pleased because Jozanne is so ill now. The only change they asked for is a different sub-title, which is going to be more descriptive 'Two terminally ill Christians explore their experience of God's love'. There's some sense in saying what it is about on the front cover, rather than in the small print.
On Thursday our two good friends, Des and Angela, from Croxley Green came over for lunch. Although Angela who had stroke 8 years ago and I are physically somewhat changed - 'crocks together' - the years fell away as we caught up on news of old friends and of course our respective families. We also reflected of course on the frustrations and blessings of weakness and dependence. Angela is still able to sing - which she loves - and I'm still able to write, and if those go we'll still be able to enjoy the beauty of the spring and the kindness of people.
Yesterday we drove to Bristol for the funeral of one of the great figures in our life. Netta Milnes was 94. She came from the far North-east of Scotland, and was a bright and tough cookie. While doing her nursing training in Aberdeen, she found a living faith which never deserted her. She cared for her eldest brother who was very ill with MS until his death. Her faith led her to medical missionary work in Peru, where she married an English doctor. I first met her when they came to visit my parents with John and David their two sons something like 52 years ago. They went to the same school as us, spent holidays with us - and John ended up being my best man and marrying Jane's bridesmaid. When David and Netta Milnes retired, he found work as a hospital doctor in Bristol. He died 22 years ago, but Netta continued to live and was well-known for the fact that she continued to ride her moped around the hills and streets of Bristol to visit and encourage people until last year. And I know she regularly prayed for me and our family. The church was packed for her thanksgiving service - not surprisingly. A modern saint.
After the excellent lunch, we made our way to see Bryan's new pad, which he shares with three others. Set in an up-and-coming part of Bristol, with views over the city, it's a des res. He arrived back from work just as we were parking, and we had a cuppa Miles West Country tea (recommended) before heading home. Came home to find the news from South Africa that Archbishop Desmond Tutu has agreed to do the foreword for our book. What a privilege! Such good news. Spent the evening writing to ask a couple of people if they'd do an endorsement as well. It's a big ask, as obviously you tend to ask people who are already busy. Of course publishers like such things.
And today - Qualification for the Australian Grand Prix and Rubens Barrichello is 8th on the grid for Williams, our local team. Well, we're working up. I suppose I wouldn't mind Mark Webber winning this one. I gather he's a nice chap.