Saturday, 14 January 2012

Hophni and Phineas with Steak and Kidney Pie.

The first reading at Church tomorrow is chapter 3 of the first book of Samuel.  It has to do with the call of Samuel to be a prophet.  

I am preaching on this reading at 11:15 a.m.

In order to understand the context of the story I read the first four chapters of first Samuel.

As I wrote my sermon “spell check” had great problems with some of the names from the story, viz – Hophni, Phineas and Ichabod!


About 25 years ago (I exaggerate) I gave a can of “Fray Bentos” Steak and Kidney pie to my pal Ben, with the promise that we could eat in on a cold day here in South West Florida.

Today was that cold day! Ben and I ate it, together with our friend Bob.

Many American friends of mine turn up their noses, or simulate a “gagging” noise at the very mention of Steak and Kidney pie. 

But even Bob (no “foodie” he) agreed that it was delicious.

I have two more cans of this in my larder.  I have been hoarding them for use in case of a major catastrophe. I’ve had them for at least five years, cos I know that they travelled with me from Cambridge to Sarasota.

I will ignore any “use by” dates – I think that they are good for at least another generation.

If you are very well behaved you may discover that I have left them to you in my will.

“Steak and Kidney Pie” is a British delicacy. In my mind it ranks right up there with Faggots, with Pork Pie, and with Kippers! 

The French have no concept of  good food.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Amish in Florida (more specifically in Sarasota)

My brother Martyn, my nephew Sam and I enjoyed ice-cream at Big-Olafs - Mennonite/Amish owned ice cream parlour.

I get most of my produce at Yoder's Market - also Mennonite/Amish owned.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Bruff and flustrated

I dreamt the other night that one of the people in my dream was described as being “bruff”.  I knew exactly what it meant in the dream.

Then I woke up, and puzzled for five or ten minutes.  I could not remember whether or not “bruff” is a real word.  

It’s not, but I think that it could be.  We should use it to describe someone who is both “brusque” and “rough”.

The dream reminded me of a woman I knew who often said that she was “flustrated”.  It was nice combination of “flustered” and “frustrated”.

I got a bit flustrated last week when at the Doctor’s office a clerk told me (in a loud voice which could be heard by other patients) that my account was in arrears in the princely sum of $13 and unless I paid it immediately the delinquent amount would be handed over to a bill collection agency.

I was not in the least bit bruff, but I reminded her that my track record is to pay bills promptly, usually within a week or receipt.

I was bothered, so I wrote a very polite letter to my Doctor, letting her know of my displeasure.  The Doctor handed my letter on to an administrator.  

I received a reply today.

It read in part “Let me start by apologising to you. It is never our intention to make our patient’s feel uncomfortable when they come into our office.  You are not in collection status and she should not have stated that you were. She misread the information on the computer.  What she read was your date of service... and not the statement date.  She has since been put through more training”.

It was a good and thoughtful reply to my letter, and it restored my good feelings about the Group Practice which I use. 

I am glad that I complained, and I like to think that my complaint and the administrator’s response will help ensure that other patients will not be given “duff” information”.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Dumb animals?

My dog and my two cats can:

See things which I cannot see.

Hear things which I cannot hear.

Smell things which I cannot smell.

Makes me feel dumb!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

And I say to myself........

.... what a wonderful day.

I was “up and at it” (as usual) by 5:00 a.m. today.

By 9:00 a.m. I had walked Penne twice, had my breakfast, and fed the cats.

I had also taken care of the “three S’s”:  showered, shaved and s.....  (you can fill in that word).

At 9:15 a.m. I left my good dog Penne with her local care-givers Ron and Lee.  (As I let her jump out of my car she tried to run home, but once she was in their house she relaxed and settled down).

10:00 a.m. saw me leading the St. Boniface Sunday adult bible class. There were about 30 people in attendance
We’ll be reading a lot from St. Mark’s Gospel this year, so I read about six chapters of Mark aloud (without interruption), hoping that we could all hear it “anew” – i.e. as if we had never heard it before.

I know that many of us heard it with fresh ears.  Some folks said that they had heard it “as if they were there”.  It all speaks well of the power of story-telling.

At 11:15 a.m. I presided at the third of St. Boniface’s Sunday morning services.  There was more than a decent attendance, and our “training choir”  (the Schola) sang well and to great effect -  conducted by our good musician Neil Page (he is an Englishman from Exeter who lives here with his wife Sue for part of each year).

The ever-splendid Barbara Roth Donaldson was at the organ.  Our interim Rector (Dean Taylor) preached.

I shot out of Church as soon as it was decent, and rushed up to “Marina Jack’s” – a “pretty good” restaurant right on Sarasota’s marina and bay-front. 

(‘Twas  a tough drive since Sarasota was awash with “Harley” bikers, here for their annual “Thunder on the Bay” gathering.  One does not tangle with Harley bikers!.)

Once at “Marina Jack’s I threw caution to the wind and used their valet parking service. ‘Twas the only thing to do since every “free” parking space was already taken.

I met my good pals Ben and Bob at the restaurant.  They both lunched on Eggs Benedict.  I contented with a simple spinach salad.

We hoved off after lunch, and headed to Sarasota’s Van Wezel Performing Arts Centre.  It’s less than a mile away from the restaurant, but such was the volume of traffic that the wee journey took us about twenty minutes.

We were there for a fabulous concert by the Sarasota Orchestra.  In the first part we heard Mozart’s Piano Concerto # 21 -  a splendid piece indeed. I’ve heard it many times, and it never ceases to delight.

After the intermission we listened to Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances op  45” – composed in 1940.

I was raised to believe that nothing good had been composed in the classical repertoire since the death of Johannes Brahms in 1897.  So was prepared to be unhappy with this classical music which had been composed just four years before my birth.

Instead – I heard music which had me sitting on the edge of my seat.  The piece has wonderful melodies, fascinating and unusual harmonies, and fabulous syncopation.  

I was enchanted. What a wonderful bit of music in which strings (including harp), brass, woodwinds, piano, and timpani all play a vital part, (even the lowly triangle stars in this music).

So I was on a high as I drive home. Penne was also on a high as a retrieved her from her dog-sitters’ home, (where she had been an angel).

Good food. 

Good church.

Good music.

Good dog!

Good friends.

Lord above - I am so blessed and privileged!