Saturday, 19 February 2011

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Friday, 18 February 2011

The Orange Vest (Waiscot) Man

I wore a bright orange vest (waistcoat) today.  Thus I fulfilled one of my minor ambitions.

The occasion was a fundraiser for the Historical Society of Sarasota County (HSOSC).  HSOSC sponsored an antiques sale, and antiques appraisal event down at Sarasota’s Philippi Creek Estate.  (There were some appraisers who’ve appeared on the American “Antiques Road Show).

I am a member of the HSOSC, so I put in a bit of volunteer time on its‘ behalf. I was asked to be a parking lot attendant.  My ambition was fulfilled!

There I stood, resplendent in my orange colored vest, ready to direct vendors and volunteers to their assigned parking spots, and to take the $10 fee (per car) from those “members of the public” who were attending the event.

I was in my element, ready to greet all and sundry with a smile; a word of welcome; and a request for ten bucks.

One young man declined to “pay up”.  I was not about to spoil for a fight so I turned a blind eye when he decided to park in a “non-parking area”.


A woman who was alone in her car exploded in anger.
“Why” she asked, “should she be required to pay $10 for her car, when other folks probably had three or four passengers yet were able to park for the same $10 (per car)?

I tried to explain that her parking fee would help cover our many expenses (such as having an overnight security detail to protect the valuable antiques), but she would have none of it.

She asserted that she could have had 14 midgets in her car, but still would have only been charged $10.

At this point I wanted to direct her to Disney World to pick up her imagined midgets (“It’s a small world after all”!), but instead I waved her through, and suggested that she should take up her complaints with the President of HSOSC.

Most visitors coughed up their $10 without complaint. They understood that the event was a fund-raiser and not a commercial venture.

One couple ( I would guess in their 70’s) stopped at my booth.  The man was driving.  The passenger (a woman) said that they were present only to pick up her husband. 

Then as she looked at the male driver she said, with a twinkle, “this is my boy friend”.

First I congratulated her on her good taste.  Then I added (with my own twinkle) -  “your husband is here with a gorgeous blonde woman”.

She rose to my bait, and responded “oh that blonde”.

The three of us giggled, and I waived the car through.

I liked being a volunteer parking lot attendant, replete and resplendent in an orange vest.  It was fun for three hours.

But I am not looking for another career.



Thursday, 17 February 2011

Sundry and un-important musings

Why do I not see dust or dirt until 5 minutes before guests are due to arrive?

When a glass object is broken( e.g. a tumbler, a light bulb, or a vase [I knocked a glass vase to the ground two days ago]) why is it that some tiny bits of glass hide away?  Sweep up as I might, I still discover tiny fragments of class weeks later.

The story of the Virgin Birth, (more correctly “the Virginal Conception“)  of Jesus is a bit of theology.  It is not about biology.

Closets are great places for clothing, dishes and foodstuffs.   They are dreadful and dangerous places for humans.

Why is the British Premier, David Cameron, so inept?

Will President Obama ever learn that his republican opponents are not “reasonable people” with whom he can forge compromises?

Why are my democratic friends in the House of Representatives and in the Senate so wimpy?

Will my junior cat, Adelaide, ever learn that I am not a teet: i.e. a never ending source of food?

Speaking of which -  why do males have nipples?

It’s been a great day in SRQ with lovely balmy weather.

I often think too highly of myself.

Penne and I went for a pre-twilight walk.   The full moon was low in the eastern sky.  After dark it will shed so much light.  Even though we know so much about the moon, it is still capable of filling us with wonder.

I sautéed far too many vegetables (brussels sprouts, parsnip, sweet onion, mushrooms and green pepper) for my dinner this evening.  Not to worry, I will eat the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow.

That’s that!


Wednesday, 16 February 2011

"Keeping up appearances in SRQ"

There was more than a wee bit of Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced “Bouquet) in my mother.   Mum  “kept up appearances” in a way which both exasperated and delighted her children.

So it was that she decided that her son the *Vicar should own some “bone china” cups and saucers. 

She knew that as a Vicar he would spend endless hours drinking polite cups of tea with suitable parishioners.  So she supplied him with the cups and saucers that would be suitable for his status!).

(I am that son. In England, “*Vicar” is a generic term for ordained men and women).

I rarely drink tea, and I have next to no interest in polite afternoon tea parties.

And yet…… those cups and saucers came into their own this afternoon. 


I served tea and biscuits to Muriel and Margaret.

Muriel is a fabulous parishioner at St. Boniface Church.

Margaret is a neighbour.  I’ve gotten acquainted with her as I have walked my dog Penne, and she has walked her dog Sophie.

Both Muriel and Margaret hail from the northern English borough of Oldham, in the county of Lancashire.  


I decided that the two Lancastrian women should meet.  So that’s why I held my tea party. I served proper tea in proper cups, with McVitie’s “Milk Chocolate Digestive Biscuits” on the side.

My two guests shared their memories of their natal Borough.  I drank my tea with my pinky extended.  (Not really, but I wanted you to imagine the scene!)

Mum would have been proud.







Muriel (l)  Margaret (r)


The Tea Cups



Tuesday, 15 February 2011

In our wakes

A solitary Merganser duck made her slow progress up a very still pond. 

I watched her early yesterday morning as day was breaking.  It was a gentle and beautiful sight.

Behind her was she left an every widening, and ever lengthening “v” shaped wake.  She could not see it, for she was focused on her destination.


Human beings leave “wakes” as they make their progress through life.

Some leave wakes which are like tidal waves.  They paddle through life leaving behind wakes of dissension, destruction, dismay and death. They create chaos and sadness wherever they have been. 

Others leave wakes which resemble my Merganser’s every widening and every lengthening “v”.

This is a wake of embrace and a wake of inclusion.

As these folks paddle on through life, they leave other people to exclaim:  “I am glad that she/he “paddled my way”, for he/she made my life seem worthwhile“.









Monday, 14 February 2011

Food, glorious food.



My pals Ben and Bob came to my house for lunch today.  

I served them some imported ham from Germany (with a bit of Dijon mustard on it), some pickled asparagus across chicken and apple sausage; sliced beets; roasted red peppers; Canadian herring in a creamy garlic sauce; with marinated mushrooms (in the middle).


I hope that it "looks good".  

I know that it was fabulous to the taste.


Let me know if and when you want to come to my home for lunch!



Sunday, 13 February 2011

Mimi died

1. They sat hand in hand.  “They” were a couple  (I would guess in their 70’s) who sat to my left at the opera house today.  I observed their shameless hand-holding, and then thanked them.  I like it that folks of my generation are still so much in love and care for each other that they hold hands.

2.He is a flautist  (or in more recent usage - a flutist).  He is a terrific musician.  His name is Tim and I met him “back in the day” when I was the Rector at St. James’s in Cambridge, MA.  Tim is a friend of Cambridge parishioners Ken and Tess, and that’s how and why I met him in the Bay State.

Tim and I “bumped into” each other during the second interval at today’s Sarasota Opera production.  He is playing in the opera’s orchestra. Our brief reunion was “cool”!

3. I arrived very early for today’s opera matinee.  That gave me time to watch the “valet parking” guys  (they were all “guys”). What a tough job they have.

To start with, they have to be un-failingly polite to even the most obnoxious of clients.  Then, after they have driven the cars to a vacant parking lot, they have to run their legs off - (Jehus without chariots)- back to the opera house, and then bow and scrape at the next customer.

Next, they have to “sit around”  for the duration of the opera -  and then be ready to run at high speed so that opera goers can be reunited with their cars “tout de suite”.

These valet guys receive no wages.  All of their work is solely for tips.

I wish that they had a good old-fashioned Trades Union.  (Be patient with me.  I am an un-apologetic socialist!).

4.  Victor is a very relaxed, gracious, and approachable guy.  He is often to be seen in downtown Sarasota. He is delighted to chat with all and sundry, friends and strangers alike, and is ready and attentive to both gratitude and criticism. 

In point of fact he welcomes and encourages criticism. 

In truth - his full name is Victor DeRenzi - and he has been the Artistic Director of the Sarasota Opera for lo these thirty years.  You  could not hope to meet a more gracious person.

5. So now you have “sussed me out”.  I was at the Sarasota Opera this afternoon.  It was for a performance of Puccini’s “La boheme”.

“La boheme” is the second most frequently performed opera in the world.

It has an improbable plot, which is allied to the most sublime music,  (there’s opera for you!!)

So I sat and soaked it up.  Such music is good food for my soul,

And even though I know the plot,  and even though I know that it’s all improbable and implausible fiction, I got teary eyed in the final act when “Mimi” (the heroine) died.

6.  I did not go to Church this morning.  Please do not tell anyone!