Sunday, 21 December 2014

Catalan Carol yesterday. French carol today

Back in the day when John Cheney was the music director at St. Stephen's, Pittsfield, he chose the French carol " Il est le petit enfant"  as one of the songs for the choir at "Midnight Mass".  John was wise enough to have it sung in French.
It so happened that a young Frenchman (an exchange student) was in the congregation with his host family.  He had never before been in an Episcopal Church.
Can you begin to imagine how much he felt "at home" when he heard a French carol sung in his native tongue in an American congregation.  
(He said after the service that the pronunciation had been perfect).
" Il est  " has had a warm place in my heart ever since that Christmas.
Here are two versions, each lovely in different ways.
And here are the lyrics in French and in English.
,Il est  le divin Enfant
Words: Traditional French Lyrics
Music: Traditional French
Chorus:Il est ne, le divin Enfant,
Jouez, hautbois, resonnez, musettes;
Il est ne, le divin Enfant;
Chantons tous son avenement!
1. Depuis plus de quatre mille ans,
Nous le promettaient les Prophetes;
Depuis plus de quatre mille ans,
Nous attendions cet heureux temps. Chorus
2. Ah! qu'il est beau, qu'il est charmant,
Que ses graces sont parfaites!
Ah! qu'il est beau, qu'il est charmant,
Qu'il est doux le divin Enfant! Chorus
3. Une etable est son logement,
Un peu de paille, sa couchette,
Une etable est son logement,
Pour un Dieu, quel abaissement! Chorus
He is born, the holy Child,
Play the oboe and bagpipes merrily!
He is born, the holy Child,
Sing we all of the Savior mild.
1 Through long ages of the past,
Prophets have foretold His coming;
Through long ages of the past,
Now the time has come at last!
2 O how lovely, O how pure
Is this perfect Child of heaven;
O how lovely, O how pure
Gracious gift to humankind!
3 Jesus, Lord of all the world,
Coming as a Child among us,
Jesus, Lord of all the world,
Grant to us Thy heavenly peace.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Catalan Carol

I get a bit jaded with all the old traditional carols, those which are trotted out each year, as if there was not a world wide repertoire of Christmas music.
So here is a variant for our tired ears   -  it's a Catalan Carol  --- "Fum, Fum, Fum"

Friday, 19 December 2014

Lunch al fresco in South West Florida, 19th December 2014

Of course I would not create envy, nor would I want to "rub it in" for friends and family members in colder winter climes (ahem!), but I knew that you'd like to know that I enjoyed lunch out of doors today.

I was at the Dry Dock Water Front Grill on the intra-coastal side of Longboat Key, FL  see

I ate "Fish and Chips"  (for the first time since I was in the U.K. last May/June).

The fish (haddock?) was entirely delicious, cooked as it was in a light batter.

The coleslaw was no more than "O.K.".  (I find that most restaurant coleslaws have too much mayonnaise, and not enough seasoning. This was the case today. -  I prefer my home-made 'slaw).

The chips  -  well what to say about the chips?

Chips  (french fries) should be crispy and brown on the outside, and fluffy in the middle.  I know that, 'cause my Mum's chips were the best ever. Maybe it was because she deep fried them in lard.

The chips at the Dry Dock looked good, but there was no crunch on the outside, and no fluffy texture inside.   I should not fault the "Dry Dock" alone, for such is the sad case for most restaurant "fries" in the U.S.A. - and even for the chips I had in the U.K. last summer.

Bring back "twice-fried" in lard chips will be my next crusade!


HOWEVER  (despite my Gordon Ramsey without the F word review of the Dry Dock) I had a lovely time.

This was in part because it was more than wonderful to be able to dine outside in mid-December, with a lovely view of the intracoastal waterway  to boot.

Good as that was, the best part was that I was the guest of my dear friends Fred and Diana. 

Fred and I were colleagues in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts,

I got to know Diana after she wed Fred,  and they bought a winter home on Longboat Key.

They are a delightful couple, and their company is to be cherished.

So much so, that having met them at the Dry Dock at Noon, I was so utterly relaxed that I did not glance at my watch until we left the restaurant.  It was 2:15 p.m.

That's a mark of good friendship:  to sit at a meal table for two and a quarter hours, but to be unaware of the passage of time.

Thanks Fred,

Thanks Diana.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Stupid Inc., (or Stupid Plc). John Michael Povey, C.E.O.

My nonagenarian friend Betty M has not been well for about three weeks.  She's had intense abdominal pain, with an accompanying lack of appetite.  Her primary care physician, (a good, competent, and caring man), has been unable to find the reason for her malady.

With no relief in sight, and at the urging of Betty's neighbour (Linda), Betty went to the E.R. yesterday. 

Betty called me from the E.R.  to tell me about this, and to let me know that she had been admitted to the hospital.

So, of course, I visited her today.

Today the "Front Desk" people at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital told me at first that that Betty was not in their data base; and then they said that she had had been discharged. This seemed to be very unlikely, so I  'phoned Betty.

She assured me that she had not been discharged, and that she was in Room 413.

I relayed this to the front desk staff member who checked the computer records again, and told me that Betty was indeed in Room 413.

I trudged endless corridors, took a lift (elevator), trudged more corridors and (almost) got to room 413.  Except that 413 is in a section devoted for folks recovering from day surgery.

A staff member on that unit, trying her best to help me, called the admitting folks, only to be told that Betty was not in their data base.

"But she is", I protested, "I talked to her a wee while ago".  The gracious staff member said, "maybe she is in a room near to the E.R.  Some of those rooms have numbers in the 400 range".

I was grateful, so once again I trudged endless corridors, took a lift (elevator), trudged more corridors
until I found the E.R. There  I had to wear a face mask in order to ask a simple question, viz  "are there rooms in the 400 range near here?" There are/were not.

I loped back to the front desk, and asked again where I might  find Betty. The young man on  duty checked the data base, and told me that Betty M was not in their records. I protested and said "but she is here, I talked with her earlier".

He asked "could she be registered under her maiden name?"  I thought this to be unlikely since she had tied the knot some seventy years ago.

He asked if I knew her date of birth - that being another way of checking the data base.

I responded by saying that I would check it by 'phoning Betty.  That I did.

Betty gave me her d.o.b.  and then asked "Michael, are you at S.M.H.?"

Indeed I was.

Betty said "but I am not at S.M.H., I am at Doctors Hospital".

DUH.  The C.E.O. of "Stupid Inc." (one John Michael  Povey)  was in  the wrong hospital,


He  (I) drove to Doctors Hospital; had a great visit with Betty; and discovered that her pain and distress is real  - she has colitis.

Nevertheless Betty was filled with gratitude, for two reasons.

First that, even though colitis is miserable,   she does not have cancer,

Second, that she does not need surgery.