CANON PATRICK’S 87th LETTER

Dear friends,
Things are gradually beginning to look more hopeful. More and more of us are getting Covid
jabs, while the smallest children are cheerfully back at the Model School and can see their
friends and teachers again. Like Mark Drakeford (“our Prime Minister, not the one with the
yellow hair,” as one of our parishioners described him to me the other day), I’m looking
forward to getting a haircut before too long (if Jayne can find an appointment slot for me
when the re-opening comes). At the moment, whenever I catch a glimpse of myself in the
mirror or on Zoom, I look like a cross between one of the more obscure and disreputable
nineteenth century American presidents (‘His Fraudulency’ Rutherford B. Hayes, perhaps)
and Robinson Crusoe on a particularly bad hair and whiskers day.

A wonderful antidote to lockdown blues is Julie Ma’s delightful novel Happy Families.
Glenda tells me that it’s on sale for half price at W.H. Smith, as part of their ‘new books
offer’ (too late for me – I’d got a copy already). Julie’s book is about several generations of
the first Cantonese family to establish a Chinese take-away in the strangely familiar and
wonderfully named West Wales town of Cawsmelyn. It is full of fascinating characters,
carefully hidden family secrets that are revealed in unexpected twists to the plot, flashes of
wit (Helen and I often found ourselves giggling at the same things), and penetrating insights
into the nature of a community like ours both at its best and its sometimes not so best.
Happy Families is both extremely readable and thoroughly entertaining. As a frustrated cat
person, I particularly enjoyed the dynasty of family cats, named after the prime minister at
the time when the cat was acquired: Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher (a tom-cat) and
Tony Blair – each of which seemed to take on the characteristics of its namesake. Julie has
also solved my own perennial family conundrum: what to get my four sisters for their
birthdays. This year they will each be getting a splendidly enjoyable book about an amazing
Chinese family from Cawsmelyn. Perhaps you should get one too.

SERVICES and OTHER IMPORTANT OCCASIONS (all on Zoom): Wednesday 24 February 10.30am
HOLY EUCHARIST (readings, p.343); Thursday 25 February 7pm LENT COURSE; Sunday 28 February
(ST DAVID/DEWI SANT) 9am ST DAVID’S DAY FAMILY EUCHARIST (children’s readings); 11yb
CYMUN BENDIGAID GŴYL DDEWI (darlleniadau t.241); 5pm EVENING PRAYER. The Mothers
Union ‘Wave of Prayer’: 1pm on Thursday 25 February (members to take part in their own
homes). ‘World Day of Prayer’ (on Zoom) Friday 5 March. Delyth will be leading the Welsh
service at 11am, and Kristie leading the English service at 2pm. Canon Patrick

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