Showing posts from 2013

Thank You and Deep Joy

Thank you to my friends and family members who live in so many places.

2013 has been a year in which you have loved me, blessed me, encouraged me, laughed with me, and corrected me.

 I know that my life would have been miserable without you.

I also know and rejoice in the fact that your presence in my life has blessed me immeasurably.

I am deeply grateful.

I dare to believe that the truth of the following bible verse has been lived out in my life during 2013

If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:18)

By God's grace I believe that I am at peace with all those who love and care for me, and with all those who I love and care.  I enter 2014 with deep joy.

Bob's your uncle, and adventures with Ben.

1.  For reasons which I do not understand, I was thinking earlier today of the expression "Bob's your uncle",  which is/was in common use in the U.K.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about this idiomatic expression:

"Bob's your uncle” is an expression of unknown origin, commonly used in Britain and Commonwealth nations. Typically, someone says it to conclude a set of simple instructions, similar to the French expression "et voilà!" or the American slang expressions "...and that's that," or "...and there you go!"

What Wikipedia did not say is that if a person says "Bob's your uncle", some other person will invariably add "and Fanny's your aunt".Who knows why?

I say "God bless Uncle Bob and Aunt Fanny".  Are there any dissenters?


2.  My morning plan was simple.  As well as engaging in the traditional task of…

A Sunday with my English family.

It does not get much better than this!

My good niece Anne (daughter of my oldest sister Maureen and her husband Bernard) is on holiday at Disney with her excellent husband Stuart and their daughter Olivia (13)

I assisted at the wedding service for Stuart and Anne at St. Philip and St.Jacob Church in Bristol, U.K. back in Nineteen ninety ?? something.

So Stuart, Anne and Olivia came over to SRQ from Orlando today. (They have been here before),

First they came to my home where Anne fell in love (again) with my dog Penne; and the cats Ada and Adelaide decided that a simultaneous "sitting on Olivia's lap" was just the best thing. (Sorry no pics).

Then we went off to Marina Jack's restaurant for lunch.


It has been unusually rainy for this time of year, so we ate inside.  It was wonderful to be together.

On our way home we drove through SRQ's Pinecraft area, home to many Mennonites and Amish.  Few people know that SRQ has this Anabaptis…

Caught in the act

I heard a strange noise this evening, coming from the hall closet where I keep two litter boxes for my two cats.

As I walked into the hallway from bedroom, Penne emerged from the closet. Lord knows what she had been up to.

In a very quiet voice I said "What were you doing there Penne? I don't think that you were up to anything good".

She slunk away from me and walked to her bed, tail between her legs.


A woman who lives down the road has one of those "little white dogs" which never stops yapping.  The woman often takes her yappy dog for a ride in a baby-buggy/push-chair.  When the dog (named Coquette) sounds off, her owner yells "Oh shut up Coquette, be quiet will you".

In the same vein a man in our neighbouring community uses his electric wheelchair when he takes his Airedale named "Scout" out for walks.

Scout is energetic and rambunctious. He wants to c…

Some silliness and other matters

 Daisy is a cat who lives six houses away from me with her doting "parents" Bert and Polly.  Daisy likes dogs.  When any dog passes by Daisy rushes out to go nose to nose, and then rolls on to her back.

I am not sure what to say about this sign at our local Walgreens.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A chair that I used at my desk collapsed under the weight of its own responsibility. Perhaps I could have repaired the split wood -  if I'd had some good wood glue, a strong clamp, and some skill.

Those things being absent I bought a handsome new chair at a local thrift shop for the princely sum of $8.

==============================================   Betty M is a fabulous octogenarian former Marine (as was her late husband),  Betty is adored by all we old queens.
My pal Ben and I each gave her dark chocolate for Christmas.  We know all about her sweet tooth.

Betty responded with gifts for Ben and me.  S…

My sermon for Christmas Day 2013

Sermon for Christmas Day 2013
The Revd. J. Michael Povey at St. Boniface, Sarasota FL

What are your favourite hymns?I’ll wager that they are the ones you learned as a child.

What are your favourite Christmas carols? “Hark, the herald angels sing?”, “Joy to the World?”, “O come all ye faithful?”, and “Silent Night”, especially “Silent Night”. You’ve been singing them for fifty, sixty or seventy years, and your Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

That’s partly because three of them have endings which we can belt out without a hymnal and with abandon. “O come let us adore him”,and “Hark the herald angels sing”, and“and heaven and nature sing”.(I sang these ending lines from the pulpit )

Mind you, one of the repeats in “Joy to the World” is odd: In verse three we sing “Far as the curse is found” three times. (I sang from the pulpit again ) and then said “these are such strange words to be belting out at Christmas!”That’s why we’ll omit that verse today.

Many priests and church musicia…

A perfectly wonderful Christmas Day

I presided and preached at the 10:00 a.m. Christmas Day service at St. Boniface.  It was good to be back in the saddle.

I'll publish my sermon tomorrow.

After service a visitor said  "you are a very good actor".  I took that as a great compliment. Good liturgy is also good performance  as we enact the great themes of our faith.

The congregation  (mostly visitors) numbered 58.  That included the two Churchwardens who made it their business to be present (good for them), and our Director of music playing his fourth service in eighteen hours.

I saw from the attendance book that the Christmas Eve attendance topped 1,000 (in three services).

This afternoon I was at the home of Chris and Greg for a Christmas Feast.  Chris is a professional chef with an international reputation, and Greg is a gracious host.

They open their home on Christmas Day for those who otherwise might be alone.  There were about 35 of us. It was a fantastic feast, with good company (old and new friends) a…

Late breaking news

It's a boy!

"O Holy Night"

The "history of "O Holy Night"(and Merry Christmas everyone!)
N.B The following is not my writing.  I "lifted it" from the WWW

Stories Behind the Music: "O Holy Night"

"O Holy Night" remains one of the world's most beloved Christmas carols, with uplifting lyrics and melody.

The lyrics were written by Placide Cappeau (1808-1877), a resident of Roquemaure, France (located a few miles north of the historic city of Avignon). Cappeau was a wine merchant and mayor of the town, as well as an occasional writer of poetry.

 Known more for his poetry than his church attendance, it probably shocked Cappeau when his parish priest, shortly before Cappeau embarked on a business trip, asked him to pen a poem for Christmas mass.

In a dusty coach traveling down a bumpy road to France's capital city, Cappeau considered the priest's request. Using the gospel of Luke as his guide, Cappeau imagined witnessing the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Thoughts o…

Happy pre-Christmas thoughts

Christmas-tide  is great --- even if you are not an observant Christian, or if you profess another faith, or if you are agnostic about belief, or if you are an atheist.

1.  It brings people together to enjoy good food and to enjoy each other.  In my case it was the blessing of a gathering on Saturday 21st December with my good friends Ron and Charlotte, with Ron's sister Karen and her husband Den, and with Cindy -  a new friend in this area.  Such good food. Such lively conversations.

2. It provides a good reason to be in touch with friends and family members who we rarely see, or who live far away.  In my case it was a long 'phone conversation today with a fabulous friend in Massachusetts, my dear Gwen S.

3. It encourages people to "put on the ritz".  In my case the "ritz" was a totally gorgeous display of Christmas lights outside a home some four doors east of Ron and Char's home.   The home is ablaze with white Christmas lights on every bush and shru…

Small and harsh world.

I attended a funeral at my Church (St. Boniface, Siesta Key) this morning.  It was for a wonderful man named Joe Hinds (1924-2013).  I always loved to greet Joe and his wife Nancy after services, so was happy to be able to show my respect and love for Nancy this morning.

At the reception which followed the service I chatted with another of my favourite parishioners Carolyn W.  I said that I had seen (but not been able to greet) her Marine son, Jody.

Jody is just back from a tour in Afghanistan with the Marine Corps Special Forces.

Some of you will have read in the British and American press about the young American couple who were on their honeymoon in Australia this week.  They sky-dived (the wife in tandem), and the husband, an experienced jumper went solo.

Something dreadful happened on the way down, and as a result the husband was killed.  I glanced at this story and thought: "how awful, to die as a result of an accident on one's honeymoon".

My life went on.  It'…

A novelist and Pope Francis:The Joy of The Gospel.

In her novel  "Flight Behavior"  (Harper-Collins 2012)  the great novelist Barbara Kingsolver writes about  the struggles of life in rural Appalachia. 

In the early pages of the book a number of women are working together to comb sheep fleeces for burrs and bits of straw.

They are presided over by a very religious family matriarch  named Hester.

Hester's daughter in law Dellarobia is not so sure about the certainties of conventional religion.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter Two:  "They (the women) all attended Hester's Church, which Dellarobia viewed as a complicated  pyramid scheme of moral debit and credit resting ultimately  on the shoulders of the Lord, but rife with middle managers"


Good Lord above, as a semi-retired Priest , I know that I have often been a controlling middle manager.

I think that the tantalisingly wonderful Pope Francis also knows all about this.

Here is a commentary about,  and excerp…

Senior cat Ada's day at the Vet.

Dear and sweet Ada (now aged 13) spent most of today at my Veterinarian's place.

This was on account of Ada's up-chucking for three days, and her inability to retain and digest both dry and wet food.

So what was the diagnosis.  My silly and/or cynical side says "$314".

The locum vet listened to me. He chastised me because I had not brought Ada in for treatment on her first day of vomiting.

He examined Ada.  Her temp was fine. There was no fever. Her vitals were good.  She had lost 1lb in weight since 2011.

Then the  vet injected Ada with an anti-biotic  ( strange since there was no diagnosis).  He also gave her an anti-nausea shot, and took some blood to be tested.

Ada  remained "under observation"  until 4:00 p.m. at which time she was released to my custody, (sans the blood test reports which we will get tomorrow).

The very good "techie" told me that Ada had ingested  some Hill's "Prescription Diet I/D "wet food during the day and had &…

A burial service today at Sarasota County FL Pauper's Cemetery.

It was not until today (Dec 17th 2013) that I knew of a Pauper's cemetery in Sarasota County FL

Here is a bit about it.

Such cemeteries are sometime known as Potter's Fields   see:'s_field

All that being said I was at the Sarasota County Pauper's cemetery this morning   to pray at the internment of the ashes of someone I had never known.

His name was Rich.  He hailed from New Jersey.

Rich had been on his own since the age of 16 by which age both his Mom and Dad had ded.

 He died some weeks ago at the age of 60.  He had been dead for five days when his corpse was found in  a trailer (caravan) in which he lived in SRQ.

The "authorities"  could identify but one contact for the deceased , a retired firefighter named Mike B  from Buffalo NY  who now lives in this part of FL. 

Mike B and I know each other because we have ministered together at the daytime shelter for…

(1) Thank goodness for public libraries. (2) King size bed.

I am a frequent and grateful patron of Sarasota County's public library.  I find it hard to imagine life without them.

This library in Hillsdale N.J. gets my vote for the "library sign of the year".  (Photo' via my friend Regina L.W.)

==================================================== My friend Pam B offers this picture of what may be the first king sized bed. 

The strange ways of Dennis Rodman.

The following (it is long) is from the newspaper of the DRPK.  It is the "rationale" for the execution of  Kim Jon Un's  uncle  Jang Song Thaek.  It is an amazing example of Soviet style "purple prose".

Given the brutality of the DRPK regime I find it hard to understand why Dennis Rodman considers Kim Jon Un a friend, and why Rodman is willing to coach the DRPK National basketball team.

Has Rodman lost his marbles?  Is he naïve?  Is he a buffoon? Is he a self-promoter?

Who knows?  Your guess is as good as mine.


The tribunal examined Jang’s crimes.

All the crimes committed by the accused were proved in the course of hearing and were admitted by him.

A decision of the special military tribunal of the Ministry of State Security of the DPRK was read out at the trial.

Every sentence of the decision served as sledge-hammer blow brought down by our angry service personnel and people on the head of Jang, an …

Gifts by and for the idle rich

In Great Britain we write "pyjamas".

In the U.S.A. it is "pajamas".

The spelling is probably not important  (except that the British are correct (lol).

The word has its roots in Persia.  Wikipedia will tell you all about this.

Who wears pyjamas these days? Not many.  In fact when I moved to SRQ and spent a few nights with my pals Ben and Bruce I emerged one morning wearing them.  Ben stated that he had once seen such garments in a museum!

Ben and I apart there must be a market for pajamas in these United States.  At this time of gift giving I often hear radio advertisements from the Pajamagram Company which offers matching pajamas for all the family.

Horrors!  Who could imagine sitting down for Christmas Day breakfast with Grandma and Grampa, and Mum and Dad, and older sister, and younger brother each wearing matching jammies.

That would put me off my bacon!

What is worse is that Pajamagram company also offers matching p.j's for our cats and dogs.  See:


Winston Churchill and false memories

From Benjamin Shwarz's review in the New York Times of  the book "The Roar of the Lion.  The untold story of Churchill's World War II speeches",  written by Richard Toye and  published by  Oxford University Press)

"The one unassailable aspect of Churchill's career up to now has been the series of speeches in the darkest days of the war,,,,,

Hisorians and commentators have long declared that these speeches (recognizable in a few key phrases - "blood, toil, tears and sweat" "their finest hour" "so much owed to so many by so few") inspired the British to hold on despite disaster and the threat of invasion, and are therefore of  world-historical significance.......

But, as Richard Toye points out in "The Roar of the Lion" nearly all the evidence supporting the speeches' decisive impact on British morale is derived from retrospective accounts   -  ( i.e " in the post war period  jmp ] and people's memories of  the…