Saturday, 14 June 2014

RIP The Revd. Dr. Ellen Bradshaw Aitken (and some less important stuff)

Many of we Episcopal Priests and other Ministers heard today of he untimely death (as a result of a very aggressive form of cancer) of the Revd. Dr. Ellen Bradshaw Aitken.

Ellen was a superb theologian who taught at Harvard Divinity School,  and more recently  in the Department of Religion at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.

I first met Ellen back in the days when we both served in the Episcopal Church Diocese of Western Massachusetts. She played an important role in my appreciation of the ordained ministry.

When I went to St. Stephen's in Pittsfield, MA to be their Rector I was mildly opposed to the ordination of women to the priesthood.  (Oh for goodness sake don't ask me why -  I was simply a slow learner!).

My dear and beloved colleague (and now firm friend) was the Deacon at St. Stephen's. We stood together at the Altar Sunday by Sunday and enjoyed our shared ministry.  One day I asked myself  "would it make any difference if Gwen were a priest?"  My answer was a resounding NO. But I needed to affirm that change of heart and mind with action.

Thus it was that no long afterwards I took myself to St. Paul's Church in Holyoke MA where Ellen Aitken was to be ordained Priest.  I shared with other Presbyters in the laying on of hands for Ellen and the roof did not fall in!

Later I was able to tell Ellen the story, and rejoice with her that she enabled that sacramental moment which was vital to my ministerial growth.

May the saints and angels rejoice with Ellen in Paradise.

http://publications.mcgill.ca/reporter/2014/06/ellen-aitken-loses-battle-with-cancer/

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TRIVIA 1

Linda, the temporary dog sitter for Penne,  came to my home today for a get acquainted session .  Of course Penne uttered her "big dog" bark when Linda came to the door, but that was to be expected.

Linda and I sat down to talk business.  After a minute or two Penne left her bed, and moseyed over to Linda for some TLC (ignoring me completely!).

Phew and wow.  Penne will be in good hands in the fewer than 48 hours when I will be away next weekend.

(And of course my super friendly cats edged their ways into Linda's affection).

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TRIVIA 2

"Itchy nose, scratchy throat, weepy sinuses, lots of sneezes, runny eyes" all this has been my lot whenever I have been in my bedroom (but nowhere else in my home).

That's frequently - 'cause my computer is in the bedroom.

"Enough of this" I said, and took myself to Target to buy an air-purifier. 

I have been pretty darn skeptical about those machines, but "by golly" the one I have is doing the trick.  It probably picks up pet dander and tiny bits of fluff from my ancient carpet, bout whatever is the case I am glad to be in my bedroom without the snuffles and sneezes.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Back to normal - Penne, NPR, Sermon - this and that.

Someone asked how Penne reacted when I met her at Ron and Charlotte's home (her holiday camp when I was away).  To put in bluntly -  she went stark raving mad with joy.
 
When we returned home she began to sing just as soon as we entered the driveway.  Then she whooped and hollered all around the house, sniffing the cats and flinging her toys every which way.
 
She will have a shock to her system quite soon.  I am taking a 48 hour break to attend a wedding in Lynchburg VA.  That's just before R and C take their trip to Normandy, so I have hired a pet sitter who advertised on the web.  She and Penne will have a "let's get to know each other" session on Saturday 14th.
 
By the by, when Penne was with R and C she was on an anti-histamine med.  Rather than placing the pill at the back of Penne's mouth, C decided to bury it in a scrambled egg.  That whetted Penne's appetite, so now I scramble an egg each  morning and evening and mix it in with Penne's food.
 
Just as soon as I crack the egg Penne comes rushing to the kitchen.  She likes it!
 
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On  the Diane Rehm show (NPR) this morning a pundit said that she did not have a magic ball. She meant either a magic wand or a crystal ball, but I suspect that she thinks the words are "magic ball".
 
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My sermon for Sunday (two services)  is written, but not completed.  I will fret over it until about 7:00 a.m. on Sunday at which time it will be too late to make it better.  That's O.K.  the congregations will have forgotten it by Sunday lunch time.
 
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I have edited and labelled about 80% of my UK/Norway pics.  With any luck I'll upload them to Flikr by Monday.  Then you will have the chance to be bored.
 
My Penne
 
Purdy. She belongs to my niece Laura.  Purdy was a more than acceptable "Penne substitute" when I was in England.
 
 
 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Peregrinations 5

Final re-posting of my Facebook entries from my holiday


 2 June Back in Bristol

'Tis family week. Yesterday my brother Andrew met me at the Port of Bristol, so I was able to spend a good afternoon with him and his wife Izzy. My nephew Daniel Povey was also there with his fiancĂ©e.  
Today I will have lunch with my friend for 65 years Jeff, his wife Mary, and our mutual friends Colin and Lorraine (I've known them for 50 years).
Tonight I will have dinner with my youngest sister Ruth and her family.
 Tuesday will see me take the train to Birmingham (U.K.) to have lunch with my twin Elizabeth,
and on Wednesday I will have dinner with my brother Steve and his family. Oh the great joy of visiting with these friends and sibs. I am one of nine children and by the end of this vacation I will have seen all  of them. Cheerio!

 

Yesterday, Monday 2nd June, I had a lovely evening with my youngest sister Ruth and her family members. We ate Chinese takeout and enjoyed each other. "We" included Ruth, her daughter Leah and Leah's six year old daughter Bree, Ruth's partner Dennis, and their daughter Beth. It was a lovely time. I had previously met daughter/grand-daughter Bree when she was but one year old. Yesterday the six year old Bree and I enjoyed being silly and giggling together. I will do my very best to see her/then again before I return home.

 

 Today 3rd June  I took a speedy little train from Bristol to Birmingham. ( 80 miles in 80 minutes - and no traffic jams!) It was a lovely ride through the pastoral counties of Glos. and Worcs. This is mostly arable farm land, but I glimpsed a few flocks of sheep, some cows at pasture, and a proud mother horse with her foal. At one point I glimpsed the sturdy tower of Gloucester Cathedral. I also enjoyed wild lupins, foxgloves and Queen Anne's Lace growing alongside the rail tracks. Great Britain is an overcrowded island, yet there is an abundance of farm land, fells, woodlands, and sheep strewn hills.

 

 In Brum (Birmingham) I took a cab from the historic New St Station to Sutton Coldfield in order get together with my twin sister (for the first time since 2002). She cooked a good salmon and pasta casserole which we ate together as we shared common memories and rejoiced in the gift of our twin-ship

 
4 June

AND THEN THERE WERE EIGHT I came to England with the express hope that I would be able to spend time with each of my eight siblings. Because of the constraints of time and distance some of us have not been able to get together since 2002 (at our mother's funeral).

 

 Today there was a completion of these  visits with my sibs. . I took a bus to the City of Bath. My younger brother David drove there from Warminster, Wilts. We were able to break bread together over a lovely restaurant lunch, together with gracious and loving conversation.

 
 'Twas back on the 'bus to Bristol to spend evening time with another brother (Steve). We had been together on May 22nd for a birthday celebration for Sam, one of our nephews. But tonight was the night for the blessing of being with Steve and his wife Angela, with their children Lee and Nicola (my nephew and niece) and with their children Reese, Ebony, Thea, Luna and Ryan whose great Uncle I am. Oh such fun, oh so many memory builders.

 

 These family gatherings have been so precious. We nine sibs are each in excellent health. Nevertheless I am deeply aware of the shortness and uncertainty of human life. Our ages range from 77 to 58, thus my hope (now realised) to see each one has been prayerfully intentional.


6 June


Thank you for coming along on my holiday. I will have two more days in England, time enough for a second round of family visits.

 June 6th

Last evening " The Norway Cruisers" met for a "reunion dinner" at a country pub near Bristol.
 This afternoon I will be with my sister Ruth again, and will enjoy the bright company of my six year old great niece Bree.
This evening Martyn and Wendy will host a part for various and sundry Poveys and "Povey Wannebees".
Tomorrow morning I will have time with my first cousin Janet and her partner Steve.
 Then tomorrow afternoon all manner of Povey related kin will gather at the home of my sister Jean and her husband John. Some of the crowd will include nieces and nephews of mine ( i.e.  they are first cousins to each other) who have never before met (we are a spread-out family).

 

 Then on Sunday LHR-BOS-ATL-SRQ

 Hurrahs and Huzzahs abound!

 
8 June Morning


Nephew Nick drove me from Bristol to LHR Delta Flight from LHR arrived in BOS one hour early. Now hanging out at Delta Sky Club in BOS (oh the privilege [well paid for] of Business Class travel). Next leg is BOS - ATL, then ATL - SRQ. Should be at be at home 9:00 p.m.. (US Eastern Time) which is 2:00 a.m. British Summer time - that is 20 hours travel time in all.   BUT early on Monday morning I will get my dog Penne from her Uncle Ron and Aunt Charlotte - then all the travel time will seem so short

 


 8th June early evening

Now at ATL One more flight at 6:55 US EASTERN time, Should be in SRQ by 8:30, Home byh 9:00? Penne at crack of dawn on Monday.

 

 I am so tired, but not yet wiped out


8 June  9:00 p.m.  near Sarasota, FL Phew! Arrived at SRQ early. Friend Bill Byers met me. Now at home, with a full and grateful heart and mind. Bed in 2 minutes! (My cats greeted me with enthusiasm - no sulky felines in this house! Night Night

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Peregrinations 4

The penultimate reposting of my Facebook entries from my U.K. and Norway holiday
 
 
God kveld. Friday May 30th

 

 Yesterday morning saw us arrive in Bergen, for an all too brief visit. We were blessed with sunny and bright weather for our three days in Norway, never was this more important than in Bergen which bosts more than 200 rainy days each year.
We (sister Maureen, her husband Bern; brother Martyn, his wife Wendy; and I) took a 9:00 a.m. 'bus tour of Bergen's highligts. It was a public holiday (for Ascension Day) so traffic was non-existent to light.
We drove by what remains of the Hanseatic.Wharf's high gabled buildings; by King Hakon's Hall (12th Century) and also the13th C Rosenkrantz Tower.
Our guide Hannah was great, filling is in with all manner of information about what we were seeing. It was a whistle stop tour, with very little time off the 'bus (better that than nothing!) - yet with the bonus  of ascending the Mount Floien Funicular, where from 1050' summit we had splendid view of the City, and of the many sub-fjords which make up the harbours.
British hearts swelled with pride as the Queen May II was in port (as was the triple masted sailing ship which is used by the Norwegian Navy to train cadets).

 After the tour the others stayed in the city Centre to do a bit of shopping, whilst I took to my bed - with a cold coming on.
 It's in full bloom today - but not to worry - we are at sea for two days (cuurently north of Scotland) So I've had all the time I need to rest. The weather was foggy in the early hours today, but it's now cleared a bit, so we have view from a distance of the highlands and islands.

 
Gala formal dress dinner tonight,

 

31st May On the last leg. We are sailing south on the North Sea in clear and sunny weather, with Scotland on the port (thinking of Gwen Sears), and Northern Ireland to the starboard (thinking of Rachel Evans). This has been a superb cruise. We dock at Avonmouth, Bristol tomorrow morning.

 
I overheard a conversation which could only be from an English person. She, an older woman said "my rhubarb is suffering gravely on account of the dry weather"!

 
There are many West Country people on the boat. It's been great to hear the gentle and pastoral accents of passengers from Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and |Gloucestershire.

 
Also to be heard is the Bristol accent/dialect. I heard "summat" for "something", and then, as we crossed a drainage duckboard,  a younger woman said to her older mother (who was using a walking stick) "mind thee stick don't get caught in thee ole".

 
The crew members are fabulous. They are entirely gracious and they smile a lot. We understand that they are treated well by Cruise and Maritime (the cruise line).

Most of the chefs and cooks are from India.

Cabin and Lounge staff are from the Ukraine, Serbia, Bulgaria etc.

Some of the young waiters are from Myanmar (would you believe that?).

Two of the photographers are from Bali (yes from Bali).

'Tis an international community on the ship, and all the better for that.

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We are on the MV Discovery (do a Google image search). She is 44 years old with gracious lines - looking like a ship (and not like a floating hotel). We understand that she is to be taken out of service next year and then converted into an Hotel.

 
But before that when our cruise is past and done she will take British WWII vets to Plymouth, St. Peter Port, Cherbourg and Honfleur for the 70th anniversary of D-Day. That's good work.

 

1 June  early morning.

The Bristol Pilot just boarded our boat. We are sailng up the Bristol Channel to Avonmouth, our home port. A nice ending after a perfect cruise.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Perigrinations 3


May 24th

Today's the day. We embark in about three hours for the cruise to Norway (and back). WiFi will be limited on board ship, so I will be in touch when and if I can. Oh joy!

 

May 25th

(Using very slow Satellite Internet) We are on the MV Discovery somewhere between Scotland and Ireland on the Irish Sea. Weather OK, not too sunny, but no stormy waves. We are all well

May 26th

1.  Oh joy! My birthday celebrations started with card and gift opening at breakfast with family members, and ended at dinner with a special birthday edition of the menu and a hearty singing of happy birthday by dining room staff. Super!

We travelled most of yesterday north of Scotland and south of the Orkneys in a slightly rolling sea, and with misty horizons, which had their own beauty. The... sun broke through later and we were followed for many many miles by eight snow geese, and passe through a small forest of oil wells. Sunset last night was 11:oo a.m., sunrise this morning has been at 4:20 a.,m. (we are on Norwegian time). My frtiend  in Fairbanks Alaska knows all aboit this!The coast of Norway is now in sight. We will have an inland day trip later this morning. Great staff on the boat (300 of them for 640 passengers). I saw one young man washing the rubberised stair treads on his hands and knees. Our lounge/bar steward is a 35 year old from Serbia. He is very funny, and keeps us well supplied with tea, coffee and other adult beverages. My sister Maureen and her husbands Bern, togther with my sister in law Wendy are sailing on a cruise for the first time - they are more than enjoying every mThe... sun broke through later and we were followed for many many miles by eight snow geese, and passe through a small forest of oil wells. Sunset last night was 11:oo a.m., sunrise this morning has been at 4:20 a.,m. (we are on Norwegian time). My friend Don Morton in Fairbanks Alaska knows all about this!The coast of Norway is now in sight.

 We will have an inland day trip later this morning.

Great staff on the boat (300 of them for 640 passengers). I saw one young man washing the rubberised stair treads on his hands and knees.

Our lounge/bar steward is a 35 year old from Serbia. He is very funny, and keeps us well supplied with tea, coffee and other adult beverages.

My sister Maureen and her husbands Bern, together with my sister in law Wendy are sailing on a cruise for the first time - they are more than enjoying every minute (As are brother Martyn Povey and I who have sailed before.

The sun broke through later and we were followed for many many miles by eight snow geese, and passed through a small forest of oil wells. Sunset last night was 11:oo a.m., sunrise this morning has been at 4:20 a.m. (we are on Norwegian time). My friend Don Morton in Fairbanks Alaska knows all about this! The coast of Norway is now in sight.

We will have an inland day trip later this morning. Great staff on the boat (300 of them for 640 passengers). I saw one young man washing the rubberised stair treads on his hands and knees. Our lounge/bar steward is a 35 year old from Serbia. He is very funny, and keeps us well supplied with tea, coffee and other adult beverages.

My sister Maureen and her husband Bern, together with my sister in law Wendy are sailing on a cruise for the first time - they are more than enjoying every minute (As are brother Martyn Povey and I who have sailed before.)

May 27th

In the Episcopal Church Prayer Book we pray that we may have the gift of "joy and wonder in all God's works".  I felt that joy and wonder yesterday, but not only in the beauty of nature/creation, but also in the many ways by which human activity can enhance that beauty.  A wee cabin on a mountainside, a bit of land cleared for cultivation, and a boat made by humans for Fjord exploration all add to a sense of joy and wonder.  Such was the case for me yesterday. 

We entered Hargdanger Fjord at 4:30 a.m. at sunrise.  The beauty of the Fjord was all that I had imagined and hoped for  -  and more!  Hargdanger Fjord is 75 miles long. 

My family members and I alighted at the pretty little village of Ulvick, there to take a bus/coach tour alongside the fjord, across the 1380m Hargdanger Suspension bridge, and then up through the mountains |(still snow capped) to the gorgeous Voringfoss waterfalls.  Such rugged beauty! 

We had a superb lunch (te best salmon you could imagine)  at the 1890's Fissli Hotel  (built then for intrepid British skiers and hunters) - the Hotel retains its original charm (and hosts a piano which was played by Edvard Greig). 

Then it was down into the town of Eidfjord and into a very modern nature centre where we viewed a spectacular 20 minute wide-screen movie of the flora and fauna of the area.  It was breathtaking. 

Back in the centre of Eidfjord we waited in line to take the tenders back to MV Discovery.  We encountered a funny group of local teenagers who were "people watching" at we exotic tourists.  One young man was offering "free hugs".  There were no takers until I (egged on by brother Martyn) got my hug.  Such fun.

May 28th

We (the family) are enjoying what for us is a perfect visit to parts of Norway :- blessed also yesterday by sunny skies and 70'2 f temperatures.   Today we are on Norway's longest fjord - the 110 mile long Sognafjord.  We are keenly anticipating a ride on the 12.4 mile long Flam railway (built by Germans in WWII) which will take us up to 2845 feet in 40 minutes  (and then will take 53 minutes to descend) 

Joy!

Monday, 9 June 2014

More Peregrinations

Povey Prattle has been out of commission  for a while  as I have been on vacation.   Now I catch up with some reports of my three week vacation in the UK and in Norway. Facebook friends have probably read some of this. 
 
17/18th May
 
Saturday and Sunday: - good and safe flights, SRQ-ATL-LHR. 
Spent Sunday with London friends, then took train to Bristol. 
A quiet day with family today.
 
19th May
1.      The good English weather continues. Yesterday I took a 'bus (remember them?) to have a reunion lunch with three of my seminary classmates and their wives. They each had traveled for more than a few hours so that we could be together. We ate "Italian" and were in the restaurant for four hours as we shared stories and memories, and got caught up on each others' lives, It was a blessed time. Strangely enough we four men each sported a white beard!
  My first cousin Janet drove me to see her Mum, my Aunt Irene. Irene has always been my favourite aunt, and she is the only one who survives. Now aged 89 Aunt Irene has some memory problems, but she was alert and with it today, so we were able to enjoy a cuppa and have a good long chat. Later in the afternoon I had a brief but tender visit with my youngest sister Ruth.
 
May 23rd

(1) MUSINGS AND NEWSINGS:  When I arrived at LHR last
Sunday I had a speedy encounter with the Immigration officers.  It
was just so great to see that most of the U.K.'s ethnic groups were
part of their ranks.
 
 It's cool when immigrants encounter "border enforcement" staff that look just like them.
 
 (2) did a bit of shopping in Bristol's City Centre yesterday and then stopped by a quite nice restaurant to have a Vietnamese Chicken Salad for lunch.  The seating was on approx. 2'6" stools at benches.  I sat down, went "ass over tip" and ended in a state of disarray and indignity on the floor. Three servers immediately rushed to the aid of this sorry old man from the States!
 
Yesterday was my nephew Sam's 18th birthday.  We had a low key celebration at a local pub/restaurant.  (Sam is essentially low key).  I had a "Cajun Veggie Burger" (!)  with an extra topping of guacamole. In this picture you will see Toby (Sam's best pal), Martyn (Sam's dad), Sam and jmp.  This is the quartet which was last together in Sarasota two years ago.
 
May 24th
Today's the day. We embark in about three hours for the cruise to Norway (and back). WiFi will be limited on board ship, so I will be in touch when and if I can. Oh joy!

 
 
 

 
Reunion lunch in Bristol May 20th with Seminary friends and their wives.  We were all at St. John's, Nottingham, UK from 1972 onwards. Now all the men have white beards.
 
My only surviving and greatly beloved Aunt Irene (aged 89). We had a cuppa together.
 
These four blokes were altogether in SRQ back in 2012. Now they get together in 2014 at a pub near Bristol. L-R they are Toby (Sam's  pal) Martyn (my brother), me, and Sam (Martyn's son).  We were celebrating Sam's 18th birthday
 
MV Discovery  our beautiful cruise ship.