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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005
    In the various hearts of London
    Where is the heart of London? Eros? St Paul's? Centrepoint? I'm in my regular capital-city internet cafe just beneath that daunting tower block, its lights blinking through these windows; but it seems to me the heart is wherever you may be that makes you tick; or glow; or 'be'. After yesterday's celebrations (Linda's graduation ceremony in another, ancient, city power-centre, Southwark Cathedral), today a day of meeting friends.

    In The New Piccadilly Cafe, before-hours, Pip posed the question he's been asking on his website lately, "How do you love people?" I turned it around on him and we had a good conversation.

    In a restaurant on the Holloway Road Jonathan and I caught up with the joys and pains of present-clergy life and rehearsed possibilities about our futures, a roundabout way of working towards answers to that same earlier question, before exiting into a rainstorm.

    And back at my digs I dried my soggy body out whilst listening to a talk given at Greenbelt this year by Micheal O'Siadhail. He, too, was talking about how you love people. Some of his concluding words make great sense in a Bloomsbury turning golden with autumn, and throw some light on some of the various conversations I've enjoyed here over the past couple of days. They make astonishing sense knowing that when he spoke them his wife of 39 years lay gravely ill in a Dublin hospital, but had insisted he travelled to Cheltenham to share them with us:

    "Extraordinary how so many times trees reserve their most beautiful hues till the end. It's almost as if, at the end of a love life, we come to love life the most."