Showing posts from December 14, 2008

The gregarious loner

Folk who meet me, encounter a man who is friendly, who smiles a lot, and who as the “Mystery Worshipper” at St. Hilary’s Church (earlier this year) said “is jovial”.

I come across as a very gregarious person.

At heart, I am a loner. More than anything, I like to be alone.

Give me a “stage” and I am that apparently gregarious person. All of life is acting - and I can play that role so well.

It’s fun while it lasts. But I’ve often said that my epitaph should be “He played to a thousand audiences, but never received the accolades he felt that he richly deserved”.

“Off stage” I retreat into that “loner”. (I am happiest alone, but I am NOT lonesome).

I putter around the house. The T.V. and radio are rarely on, for I love the silence.

My cat Ada is the dozer. She spends most each day eating or sleeping.

The other cat, Adelaide, is a prowler. She wanders around the house all day, looking for Lord knows what.

I am an “Adelaide”. I prowl around my home, always restless, and always quite content…

In 1971

Ben tells me that I “remember everything”. There’s more than enough truth in that. I have vivid memories which go back to my childhood. Of course I cannot trust then all, for memory is tricky.

As I walked today I remembered a trip I took in Wales and England many years ago. I had thought it to be from 1968, but a quick check of the facts revealed that it was from 1971 when I was 27 years old.

I would have been working as a Staff Tutor for the National Westminster Bank in that year.

I took off in my car to visit parts of north Wales and also Chester in England. I had never before seen this part of the U.K.

I saw Caernarfon Castle, Conwy Castle, Llandudno (a coastal town in north Wales), “Snowdon” the highest peak in Wales, and Chester. All on my lonesome!

When I reached Chester I was so tired that I decided to stay in the first hotel which I saw. It turned out to be the “Blossoms” Hotel (3 star), and naive as I was, I was in awe of staying in such a “grand place”.

I wondered if there…

Welcome to Mildred, plus "A long and full day"

What a long and full day.

My friend Betsy has been long awaiting the arrival of Mildred. (Betsy and I agreed on this name). Mildred arrived today. Her photo’ is above.

I awoke at 4:45 a.m. this morning at the “Day’s Inn”, near Miami International Airport.

After a quick shower I drove at high speed to the Airport itself, trusting my GPS/Sat Nav. to get me there – which it did.

10 minutes after my arrival my friend called my mobile ‘phone. He had arrived on time from Brasil, via Chile; breezed through immigration, baggage claim and customs, and ready for me about 35 minutes after his ‘plane had landed.

I “high-tailed” it through the airport, from one concourse to another. Five minutes after his call we met with hugs and great laughter.

Then came the hard part: - a four hour drive back to Sarasota. Luckily for he was so happy to do most of the driving.

Back at home, we chatted and “caught up”, then I persuaded him to rest. (He had been travelling for 24 hours).

We enjoyed a late lunch of ham and…

Too much on my mind

Where shall I start! There is too much on my mind.

There are my cats, one of whom is sick.

There is the impending visit of my friend from Brasil. (More about this tomorrow).

I have more to write about Christmas hymns and carols.

Then there is BEN.

Ben is a good friend. I met him via his late partner Bruce - a good friend and colleague of mine since 1976.

Ben has a wonderful background in the Theatre. He has met and worked with all the greats.

He and his first partner Louis were together for 40 years until Louis died.

Then Ben was with Bruce for 15 years until the latter’s death.

Now Ben and I pal around together. As my good brother Martyn said “We are good for each other”.

Ben and I are not lovers, let alone partners. But we see each other most days. We drink coffee together; eat lunch or dinner together; clown around and make horrible puns, or tell hoary jokes. We make each other laugh.

I called Ben this morning and invited him to share lunch with me. Of course he accepted.

I served a “Fray Ben…


We love our bridges! Great Cities have fine bridges. Here are a few of them.

Sarasotans truly like the Ringling Bridge. It connects downtown Sarasota with the offshore Keys - “Bird”, “St. Armand’s”, “Lido” and “Longboat”

I walked it both ways on Saturday Dec 13th. It took about 40 minutes, and I enjoyed every moment despite the cold wind.

Here are some great bridges.

In order they are

Ringling Bridge at sunset

Ringling Bridge at night

Ringling Bridge daytime

Old Severn Bridge - Bristolto Wales

New Severn Bridge - Bristol to Wales

Incredible viaduct in France

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Tower Bridge, London, England

Longfellow Bridge - Boston to Cambridge, Massachusetts

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

George Washington Bridge - New York to New Jersey, USA

Forth Bridge, Scotland

Clifton Sispension Bridge, Bristol, England