Saturday, 25 August 2012

The ecstasy and the agony.


The ecstasy and the agony

Ecstasy (1)

Senior cat Ada loves to be brushed.  She comes running towards me when she sees that I have the brush in my hand, and mews and wreathes with glee as I brush her.

Ecstasy (2)

Just as soon as I start brushing Ada, my dog Penne lurks nearby.  She also loves to be brushed, so she stands nearby saying “me too, me too”

Agony (1)

Junior cat Adelaide runs and hides when she sees me with the brush. She will not allow me to brush her.

Agony (2)

After all this brushing I need to vacuum clean.  Penne hates this. She sneaks off to get as far away from the noise of the vacuum cleaner as possible.

Agony (3)

Adelaide also fears the vacuum cleaner and hides under a chair when I use it.

Indifference.

As I vacuum clean Ada sits on her perch and surveys the scene with benign indifference.

I suppose that she is the best adjusted of my three animals.

Friday, 24 August 2012

WISDOM from Cicero (106 B.C. - 49 B.C.)


A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation.

If you aspire to the highest place, it is no disgrace to stop at the second, or even the third, place.

Not to know what happened before you were born is to be a child forever

In anger nothing right nor judicious can be done

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.


There is nothing so ridiculous that some philosopher has not said it.

History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity.

Though silence is not necessarily an admission, it is not a denial either.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Alexander McCall Smith - a witty author.


Alexander McCall Smith is a witty author.

I use the word “witty” in its older sense – thus describing this author as one who has his wits about him.

Some people got to know him via his series about the Botswanan private detective Precious Ramotswe - m(first book entitled “The NO. 1 Ladies Detective Agency”).

I missed that series.  But when, a couple of years ago, I heard this author when he was interviewed on a National Public Radio programme I became interested in him and his books.

That interview was about his book “La’s Orchestra Saves the World” which was published in 2009.

 I liked the sound of Mr. McCall Smith’s voice, and I liked the way in which he responded to the interviewer.  So I bought the book.

I enjoyed it so much.  It’s a charming tale about “La Stone”. "She is a widow who, as the Nazi threat looms, assembles a ragtag orchestra in rural Suffolk in hopes of altering  the temper of the world”. (Reviewer's Comment.

My reading of that book led me to seek out more of Mr. McCall Smith’s works.

Next, I had the greatest fun as I read his trilogy about the hapless philologist Professor Dr. Moritz-Maria von Inelfeld  (see “Portuguese Irregular Verbs”. “The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs”, and “At The Villa Of Reduced Circumstances”)

There’s a nice bit of “black humour” in this trilogy, alongside an amusing take on the pretentions of human nature.

This week I have been reading Alexander McCall Smith’s “44 Scotland Street”.  He wrote this as a serial for the Edinburgh newspaper “The Scotsman’ – a la Charles Dickens and Armistead Maupin.

“44 Scotland Street” (2005) has no deep or engaging plot.  But it has (just like the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series) a funny, deep, wry, ironic and witty take on human behaviour.

It is a book which made me grin and nod my head as I thought “Alexander McCall Smith is an astute observer and reporter of our common foibles”.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Isaac - what are you heading?


Tropical Storm Isaac is heading our way, or maybe it is not heading our way.

Tropical Storm Isaac may develop into hurricane, or perhaps it won’t..

A hurricane?

Heading our way?

Who knows?

We'll  have to wait and see.

We’ll have to wait and see, but we can also be prepared.

I began the  preparations today.



1,  The Coleman campers stove is working and I have a back up propane gas canister.

2, I have candles and matches.

3,  I’ve checked the batteries in a big flashlight, they are good,

4. And in an emergency lantern – it  works

5.  Finally  in the little flashlight which I can strap to my head  -  (.it’s modeled on a miner’s lamp) –  it  will be a useful tool should  ( for example) I need to use both hands to open a can of tuna or sardines for  food in an emergency.

6. I bought four gallons of spring water this morning –to make coffee and to cook veggies if the storm hits here next week.

If the storm moves nearer I will fill a bathtub with water (not to drink, but to use to flush the toilet).

So, what I have forgotten?  (I cannot afford an emergency generator!)

Monday, 20 August 2012

The law of unintended consequences


One day last week I noticed a large wet patch on the raggedy old carpet in my utility/storage room.

I was uncharacteristically impetuous (lol) and called the plumber, having convinced myself that my water heater must be leaking.  The plumber came within 90 minutes.  He made a careful inspection.  There was no leak.  I paid him $80.

He opined that I could have a broken water pipe in the slab under the carpet. He went so far as to pull the carpet up (thank goodness it was not glued down). The slab was utterly dry.

That made me realise that the carpet was utterly ratty, so I decided that it should be taken up, and the floor painted.

I had just gotten a lead on a young man who is supplementing his income by doing odd jobs.   So I hired him last Saturday to paint the floor today.

 In the meantime I needed to tidy the room up so that his task would be easier.

“Tidy up I did”.   In fact I “chucked out” a “ton of stuff” which I had been storing, but which I no longer needed, including a rickety and old set of shelves.

(Rule of thumb:  “if you have not used it in a year you probably do not need it!”).


The young man (James is his name) came to my home this afternoon. He brought a friend to assist him   – a young man who I recognised as a former guest at “Resurrection House” (Sarasota’s Day Shelter for homeless people).

 How cool it was to see a formerly homeless man now gainfully employed.

They did a fabulous job. They took up the carpet, broke down the old set of shelves, and painted the floor: all in the space of two hours.

James asked for $50, but I gave him $60.

So now I have a spiffy and uncluttered utility/ storage room.

It will undoubtedly impress my brother Martyn when he visits from England next month.


Yet I still have no clue as to why that ratty old carpet was so wet.  There is no logical reason for this. NO REASON AT ALL.

Life is strange!  There are so many matters which I do not understand.

In the meantime I’ll take a deep breath, and be glad for this mysterious water stain which pushed me to renovate a utility/storage room.

And I recommend James to any SRQ pals who need an odd-jobber.

SRQ friends should call me for his ‘phone number.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Children (on the lighter side)


Having children is like having a bowling alley in your brain  (Martin Mull)

A two year old is like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it. (Jerry Seinfeld)

Everyone should have kids. They are the greatest joy in the world. But they are also terrorists. You realize this as soon as they are born and they start using sleep deprivation to break you. (Ray Romano)

Never raise your hand to your kids; it leaves your groin unprotected (Red Buttons)

The thing that impresses me most about America is the way parents obey their children. (The Duke of 
Windsor)

My mother loved children. She would have given anything if I had been one. (Groucho Marx)

Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.  (Cicero 106 – 43 B.C. )


(Taken from "Funny Times" newspaper.)