Showing posts from February 6, 2011

Labels and a Cod-piece

Those labels!
1. On a carton of whipping cream: “Contains Milk”  (you don’t say!)

2. On the packing of an ink cartridge: “Designed For Excellence”, AND “Better Products For a Better Future”, AND “Epson Exceeds your Vision” (I cannot imagine how I survived all these years without Epson!)

3. On a pack of cigarettes: “Craftsmanship is in everything we do at Doral”  (Yeah for those good old fashioned cigarette craftsman.)

4. “Over the top” on a box of Publix brand tissues:  “Publix Facial Tissues are soft enough for the tenderest nose, yet strong enough to handle the mightiest sneeze. Rely on them to be there for you when times are tough, from tears to smears to stuffy snuffles”.  (Block that prose please - for goodness sake they are simply tissues.)

But to move from the ridiculous to the amusing.

Anne Hyde, the first wife of the Duke of York, (later to be King James II of England), not only managed his financial affairs, but she also influenced his political activities.  She was “in char…

When Dad was fined in a Magistrates Court ( and other trivia)

“Guilty as charged”.  Much to his disappointment, Dad could not enlist in the army for World War II because he was blind in one eye. (He might have been “called up” in the event that Herr Schicklgruber  had come walking down our street).

So, during the war, Dad worked as a plumber for a local jobbing builder Ernie Cox,(who would be an important man in our family life later on).

One evening, Dad left a light on in the firm’s workshop, breaking the strict black-out laws.  He was hauled before the local Magistrate and fined.


In the late 1940’s Mum used to shop at the Co-operative Society’s grocery store on Greenbank Road.  Despite strict rationing, one of the shop assistants would always cut off a couple of bits of cheese for my sister and me.  (The cheese was cut from a real cheese wheel, using a wire cutter which would have been strong enough to strangle a grown man.

Later on I asked Mum about this.  Turns out that the assistant wanted to have an affa…

Mum's inconsistency

Down memory lane again (and my confusion)

47 Devon Road, Whitehall, Bristol 5 is an address which is lodged deeply in my memories and of those of my siblings.  That’s where we were raised.

#47 was in a row of five terraced (row) houses just by a railway bridge which crossed over the old London, Midland and Scottish railway line which came down into Bristol from Birmingham. By the time we were born the “LMS” was no more.  After Railway nationalisation, the line had become  a part of the Midland Region of British Railways.

The Halletts lived at #45 and worked from there. Old Mr. Hallett was a jobbing builder. His builder’s yard adjoined our back garden on two sides. 
He and his wife were pleasant enough.  They had one daughter, Phyllis,  who never married.  She was a bit stand-offish, but not unkind.

The Hallets’ son “Don” was a “piece of work”.  In truth he was but a small businessman (having inherited the business from his Dad), but he had a strutting arrogance and disrespect for my Mum and Dad.  His wife (Joyce?) was a lovel…

Episcopal Church -- Yeah!

English women

My English friends Rosemary Lee and Diana Emrich came to lunch today.

Rosemary hails from Axminster, Devonshire.

Diana was born of English parents in India. She was sent from India to England when she was seven years old, and then endured some miserable years in a Boarding School for girls.

I told them that I’d invited them to lunch because I am very fond of English women.  “After all“, I said, “my mother was an Englishwoman”.

To be fair, I also invited The Revd Arthur Lee, recently retired from his Rectorship at St. David’s, Englewood, FL, and the Revd Fred Emrich who was a friend and colleague in Massachusetts.

We enjoyed one of those long and laid back lunches which are the privilege for we retired folks.  I served some home-made black bean and chorizo soup; followed by a cold platter which included excellent ham, soft asiago cheese, (see ) beets, roasted red peppers, pickled asparagus, and asparagus hearts.

Then we had tea or coffee wi…

Homeless people

 There follows a speech which I made this morning at the 7:45 a.m. eucharist at St. Boniface Church on Siesta Key, Sarasota, FL


"There are no homeless in Sarasota County.  There arehomeless people.  In 2009, three thousand, two hundred and seventy six people were served at Resurrection House, the day shelter for homeless peoplein downtown Sarasota.

It’s a place where our laundry can be done; where we can get a shower; where we eat, or have our hair cut, or get basic medical care.  It’s a place where we can get clothing, and counseling, and emergency food supplies.  It’s a place where we pray.

It’s always “we” and not “they”, for there are no homeless, there are onlyhomeless people.

At Resurrection House we will meet the dozen or so St. Boniface folks who are amongst the 180 regular volunteers. 

We Boniface folks frequently promise to respect the dignity of every human being.  That promise is fulfilled in our encounters with homeless people.

The guest…