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Searching for the Bright Side

The night before last I was giving a talk to members of the Tabernacle Chapel in Ffairfach, just outside Llandeilo. I needed to be there by 6.45 in order to set up my projector ready to start by 7.00 and for reasons of 'belt and braces' I had left Swansea in plenty of time in order to compensate for the tail end of the evening rush hour. My campervan which I normally use for such journeys was having some alterations done so I had to use the car (it's the awkwardness of carrying the projector screen that is the problem). Anyway I arrived at about 6.25 and parked outside the chapel to wait for the first arrivals, I started becoming concerned when there was no sign of activity by about 6.40 but I carried on waiting. A van appeared several times and tried to park in various slots in front of me, failed, went on to turn at the roundabout and came back and parked right behind me. By this time a car that was in front of me drove off leaving a not inconsiderable space whereupon the van pulled out with the intention of taking that space. Unfortunately he made his turn too quickly, scraped my wing and proceeded to drag off my front bumper. From my comfortable driving seat I could feel the horrible vibration of the scrape and, worse still, the jarring tearing apart of my car.

I was both stunned and sickened.

The driver apologised immediately and we exchanged details, many passing members of my audience stopped to look and I grabbed my equipment and followed them to the hall which was just beyond the chapel. They all wanted to know what had happened so I had to recount the distressing incident whilst at the same time I tried to concentrate on setting everything up. My main concern was whether the car was fit enough to be driven home, I was really not sure.

I was conscious of being a bit distracted when I started the talk but was soon under way, it helped me put everything to the back of my mind but my worries soon returned when the talk was over. Then came the refreshments and my problem is that I dislike tea so when I decline the offer of tea I am offered the alternative of coffee. And that is when people realise what an awkward so-and-so I am because the only coffee I can drink is espresso. Social traditions dictate that I have to have something and I have recently found the answer - I carry with me a hip flask, just a small, flat bottle with a chrome cap over the screw top and a green beize wrap emblazoned with the word 'whisky'. For some reason it prompts people to look at me with a mixture of surprise and what is probably sympathy until I explain that the flask is just a convenient container for a mixture of elderflower cordial with a dash of cider vinegar. You should try it because it is really pleasant and cider vinegar has great curative properties (you should see my shiny coat!). Anyway I sit there with my elixir and gratefully accept the offered biscuits whilst I worry increasingly whether I can drive the car home.

They were lovely people with a genuine concern about my plight so much so that some of the men came with me to the car, one of them bent the bumper so that it was clear of the ground. They helped me make sure that the lights and indicators were working and I was soon on my way, there was very little traffic and I was pleased and relieved to get home safely.

Whenever adversity knocks on your door it is important to look for a bright side, that's not always easy but there is one somewhere. As I am writing this I have a smile on my face as I remember the kindness and concern showed by all those people who helped in my hour of need.

So to all those members of Cymdeithas Tabernacl - Diolch yn fawr am eich holl garedigrwydd a'ch cymorth. Dw i'n edrych ymlaen at eich gweld chi eto. Thank you for all your kindness and help. I look forward to seeing you again.

You see, there's always a bright side.

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