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Earlier this year we travelled to Northern Ireland to inter the ashes of my uncle.  The reason was that his wife, my aunt, who preceded him some years before was born in Hillsborough in Northern Ireland and despite having lived in Wales for over sixty years she never lost contact with her family or her lovely Irish accent.  It was her wish to be buried in her home town, so following a memorial service in Llanelli we travelled to Hillsborough to fulfil that wish.  Following my uncles passing we made the journey again so that his ashes could be interred alongside hers.  A sad journey yet one full of good memories as both Tom and Evelyn had lived full and long lives and were much loved by their daughter Lorna and her family and indeed all of us who remember them with great affection.

We made the journey in a matter of hours.  Flying from Cardiff to Belfast, followed by a short car journey we were there in no time.  My uncle often told me of the time when they lived in Northern Ireland, in the days before air travel and cheap flights had entered our way of life.  The journey from Belfast to Llanelli would take over 24 hours, sometimes with overnight travel and all dependant, of course, on weather conditions.  By today travel and communication times have entered into realms unheard of even a generation ago.  Long haul flights may seem to be long and even tiresome, but incomparable to pre air travel days when weeks and even months were often the norm to get to your destination.

At this time of year millions of people travel to all parts part of the world and will share in new cultures seeing sights which before the days of easy travel were confined to the geography books.    Within this experience of travel comes appreciation of other cultures and languages, traditions sometimes far removed from our own.  There again in the exploration of new continents we begin to realise in a new way the truth that God has created a vast and wonderful world as diverse in its beauty and peoples as ever we could imagine.   So if you are jetting off somewhere this summer take time to relax and to enjoy these new and often wonderful experiences and with the Psalmist proclaim ‘O Lord, our Lord, how wondrous are your ways in all the world!’


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