Showing posts from October 2, 2011

The Washburns of Maine - a noble family.

Israel Washburn (1784 – 1876) and Martha Washburn (1792 – 1861) ran a store, and then a farm in Livermore, Maine. They had a hard-scrabble life.
Israel had moved to Maine from Raynham, MA.
He had been a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1815/16 and 1818/19.
The Washburns had eleven children (one of whom died soon after birth) – seven sons and four daughters.
Here are some notes on five of the sons:
Israel Washburn Jr 1813-1883 was a Representative to the U.S. Congress (Maine 6th District from 1851 -1853.He was Governor of Maine from 1861 -1863.
Elihu B Washburne 1816 – 1887 (he added an “e” to the family name) was a United States Representative from Illinois between 1853 and 1869. 
He became the United States Secretary of State under President Ulysses Grant (President from 1869 – 1877). Washburne had the briefest term of any Secretary of State -a meagre ten days, for then he accepted the post of Minister (Ambassador) to France.He served there for the whole of Grant’s Pr…

The Greater Journey

I rarely purchase books these days because we have an excellent library system in Sarasota.   But I could resist buying David McCullough’s “The Greater Journey” (Simon and Schuster 2011), especially because the book was discounted by 33% at my local “Target” store.
McCullough has an easy style and I had previously read his biographies of John Adams and of Harry Truman, so I was glad to return to this Pulitzer Prize winning author.
“The Greater Journey” is about (to quote from the dust jacket) “ the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in  the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work”.
The book is a bit uneven, and sometimes reads like a listing of names from an Hotel register.
But McCullough is particularly good on folks such as 
Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America; 

Mary Cassatt – the great American Impressionist painter;

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr  (pioneering Am…

Eastville Methodist Church

Here is a picture of Eastville Methodist Church.  I happened upon it whilst I was looking at some Flickr photos of old Bristol U.K.
This is the place at which my parents “plighted their troth” on Boxing Day in 1935 (?).  The photographer failed to show up that day, so Dad and Mum never had any wedding photo’s.
This is the place where my older sisters, Maureen and Jean were baptised.
This is the place where my twin sister and I were baptised in 1944.
This is the place where I did a bit of lay preaching in the 1960’s. Dad and Mum, who had left Eastville Methodist Church soon after WW II were glad to be there to hear me preach.
But not a thing had changed in all those intervening years.  For all intents and purposes it was the same Church that they had known in their youth and early adulthood. 
Same people (but fewer of them); 
same organist and choirmaster (stuck in the 1930’s); 
same lack of vision; 
same desire to do nothing more than survive.
So it was little wonder that Eastville Methodist Ch…

What do you think?

I drove up to Tampa, FL on 25th September 2011 to have lunch with my pal Noah B (formerly a parishioner at St. James’s, Cambridge when I was their Rector).

My journey took me via the “Leroy Selmon Expressway” – Florida’s first all-electronic toll highway.

This expressway charges tolls by photographing a driver’s vehicle and tag (number plate in the U.K.).

I received my $3 bill yesterday, and paid it by check (cheque) by return of post.

On the one hand, this electronic toll system saved me a bit of time.

On the other hand, the system renders toll collectors un-necessary, and so they lose their jobs.

On my third hand, this system seems to be a bit “big-brother-ish”.

What do you think?

Musings on a a cooler day.

The meteorologists called it a “cold front”. It came through South West Florida on Friday.

Having lived most of my life (so far) in more northern climes I thought of it as a “cooler front”.

Early morning temperatures on Saturday and Sunday dropped to 59 F (15 C), and the “heat of the day” reached about 80 F (26 C), each day being sans humidity.

This is wonderful “walking weather”, and I think of it as S.W. Florida climate at its best.

Penne and I walked out mid-morning today. It was balmy and breezy – maybe about 75 F (23 C).

We heard birds singing in the shrubs, bushes and trees.

Butterflies with pale yellow wings danced in the air (often there were two of them, engaging in lovely aerial ballets).

Double-winged insects were swirling all around. They were impossible to identify "on the wings", but perhaps they were "Broad Winged Chasers" (see below)

We heard the cry of a hawk, and the chatter of an osprey.

The pond around which we walked gave off a slightly …

Say that again

1. I listened last Thursday, to an NPR (National Public Radio) call-in programme. The caller had words of praise for the actress who was being interviewed. But he started his comments with “me, myself, I am in the military”.

Granted that he may have been a bit nervous, but why “me, myself, I”?

He should have said “I am in the military”
This caller was probably nervous about using the personal pronoun “I”. That’s a common trait in the current use of the English language.

2. A bit later an NPR announcer, in a commercial break, advertised a programme which was to be aired on Saturday 1st October.
She said: “listen to this at 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. in the morning”.
Excuse me – but I cannot imagine 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. in the evening.

3. A friend sent me a text message the other day. We’d enjoyed lunch together on September 25th 2011. His text message read “let’s meet again in the not too distant future”.

I liked his sentiment. I also thought that “soon” would have been simpler than “in…