Sunday, 21 June 2015


Have just watched the final of "Cardiff Singer of the World".  Missed the entire competition all last week.  Had no idea it was on or would have been glued to BBC4.

The five finalists were all very good, the winner absolutely outstanding, and to my great satisfaction is the one I chose.

Of the more than 20  years it has been running I have on all but one occasion always chosen the winner.

What that proves heaven only knows, but it tickles my vanity.

I watched Andy Murray win his match this afternoon on TV of course.  I should have been visiting the "Secret Gardens" in the old town, but was too tired after this morning's service to cope with another trip into town.

This may or may not be related to the fact that I am not very well at present, so am taking things easy/

In this town 99% of the taxi drivers are Asian (usually Muslim) and since I use a lot of taxis many of them have become friendly over the past few years,

As it is now Ramadan many of them are suffering the usual early days of that very testing time and until they become accustomed to fasting all day are not feeling their very best.  The chap who drove me to church this morning told me he is diabetic and is actually  better (or at least his sugar levels are better) during this period than normal.

The one who drove me home says he drinks vast amounts of water in the early hours before daylight which last him well until about mid-day, but after this he becomes more and more thirsty until he can drink again.

One of them has a 10-year old son who volunteers to fast with the adults, has been told he need not do so until he is 15, but insists on doing so and is apparently well and happy.

I cannot tell you how much I admire such strength of will and determined faith, but also fear that taken to extreme, it may be the roots of fundamentalism.

Part of my taxi journeys are always taken up with discussion about the similarities of Muslim and Christian teaching and I always feel that there are more things we have in common than divide us.

Never a particularly gullible person nor much inclined to generalise I still find to my surprise that the vast majority of the muslims in this town are easier to talk to than many of my own countrymen.

At St Mary's we have a very large community of Zimbabwe Mother's Union, who along with their husbands and children add considerable zest and enthusiasm (and noise it has to be said), to our all-age service when they sing with drummers some of their versions of our better known hymns.

One of their number is a valued member of our choir.

I think perhaps the key to good international relations is to simply listen to what (foreigners) have to say.


  1. Absolutely right....too many people don't listen I'm afraid....lovely post Ray!

  2. Thanks Jean. Glad you liked it :-)

  3. I think it must be so hard for many Muslims to witness the recent attacks and hear this perpetrated in the name of their faith. Sorry to hear you haven't been so well though.

  4. Yes, that is a common theme in my 'taxi journey' theology discussions.
    Sadly it is all too easy to speak of 'them' when a tiny misrepresentative group is responsible for an isolated atrocity.
    As for the not too well bit, it is (hopefully) being sorted, thanks.

  5. Sorry to be so late, Ray, and I do hope you are feeling much better. I think one reason you find it easier to talk to your Muslim acquaintances than to many Britons is that you have something fundamental in common - the fact that you have faith, even if you understand it differently. It can be really difficult to talk at depth with people who don't understand what faith means to us.

  6. That's very true Perpetua. The mere mention of anything which smacks however vaguely, of religion, Christian or other and half the population runs a mile.
    I don't know how many times when I've unwittingly said something mildly ethical, the immediate comment, spoken in terms of derision or amusement is "Oh your're religious are you"?