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Locating the centre of the cosmos

With a relish, worthy of Salvador himself, I produced my passport. On Tuesday I had already queued for some 80 minutes for a ticket for the remarkable Dalí Theatre and Museum in his Catalan hometown of Figueres. Once at the ticket window, I naturally checked if there was a pensioner discount. “ Yes,” said the senyoreta (that’s Catalan), “but you have to be over 60!” Wonderfully, she simply refused to believe I had a decade to spare – and insisted on seeing my ID. Any reservations I may have had regarding Salvador Dalí’s idiosyncratic imagination were immediately dismissed as she allowed me a five euro discount.. This converted theatre, essentially Dalí’s mausoleum, displays the sin

How to disagree when everything is at stake

"Yellow ribbons everywhere." Not a Tom Jones song but what you can see here in Catalunya, the Catalan 'autonomous community' in north east Spain. You see them everywhere: on trees and lampposts, bridges and on roundabouts. They are a sign of rebellion against Madrid. It seems that the Spanish electoral authority has ordered the removal of these yellow ribbons in support of those Catalan independence leaders on trial in Spain's Supreme Court from the front of public buildings - but some local councils, like here in Tossa de Mar where we are on holiday, are refusing to give in without a fight. Clearly this is a hugely emotive issue which goes back centuries.?? However, the Spanish central

For the Church to be everywhere, it has to be local

Greetings from Castelldefels, Catalunya – from our Airbnb near Barcelona airport. We’ve now become regular user of this online marketplace for arranging accommodation, usually in people’s home. In fact, we only arrived last night, turning up in Avinguda in the dark, to be greeted by our welcoming ‘superhost.’ We began using Airbnb in Australia last autumn. The first two stays were with friends but then in Canberra, we stayed in a soulless Holiday Inn Express just like every other HIX. However, our subsequent two stays en route to Melbourne, were in real homes - thanks to Airbnb. Real people, locals. We felt plugged in. I recall a conversation some years ago with a clerical colleag

Treasure, not trash.

Existential doubt and purpose, individuality and identity. These are big issues of life addressed by the film I went to see this week. I refer, of course, to Toy Story 4, which I watched with four of our grandchildren on Monday. In fact, I have to admit I fell asleep for the opening scenes which meant I had to work hard to work out what was happening for the remainder of the film. Spoiler warning. Forget the romantic attachment between Woody and Little Bo Peep – that’s just a sideshow: the key player is this Pixar-inspired Disney movie is Forky. Bonnie, prompted by her faithful toy Woody, creates Forky from random items out of the bin: a plastic fork, a pipe cleaner, some goo

Soaked at New Wine (again)

"Expectancy," mused pentecostal pioneer, Edwin Louis Cole, "is the atmosphere for miracles." I could have done with a miracle on Sunday as both soaked and frozen I arrived at Hub 1 to find a small crowd huddled around the entrance to the marquee: the seminar was already full. Too many of us had turned up to hear ex-Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, along with Andy Flannagan, influential leader of 'Christians on the Left' address the contemporary issue of Brexit. There was no point hanging about in the heavy rain and so in water-logged trainers I squelched back to Silver 3, all of 800 metres in the mud. "Sometimes," I thought, "it pays to be early." You have probably guessed by now that th

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