Saturday, 28 June 2014

Beauty ( a photo' I found on the web)

Silver-eared Mesia (Leiothrix argentauris), Sikkim, India
photo by Dr. Namgyal T. Sherpa

(via: Project Noah)

Friday, 27 June 2014


The outside temperature reached 101f  (38c) at my home in SRQ today  - the highest since I moved here in 2006.

Fortunately we had one of our traditional late afternoon  thunderstorms at 5:00 p.m.  We had good (and much needed) rain and the outside temperature plummeted to 78f (25c) in the space of two hours.

Despite the daytime heat it was not too humid, so Penne and I were able to take some good walks.


When I got home from Europe my good dog sitters (Ron and Char) told me that they had added a scrambled egg to Penne's food so that they could bury a pill she had to take.

I have continued to add a scrambled egg to Penne's food (she runs into the kitchen just as soon as she hears me crack the egg -  so I think that she likes it.

BUT GET THIS  I had forgotten the difference between omelets and scrambled eggs,  so I had to do a "Google" search to find a recipe for scrambled eggs.  Tut, tut Mr. Povey!


The neighbouring community of Glen Oaks Manor has in recent years employed a splendid handyman whose name is Aldo.   He is a great guy.

Aldo has now left that job. I encountered him the other afternoon as he was doing the rounds with his successor Bob.  I know Aldo well (he has done handyman stuff at my home), but I damn well could not remember his name! 

I covered my absent mindedness by asking him a question about his wife Enid,  (my brother Martyn and some of me friends will remember that she baked a terrific carrot cake for a party I had in my home three years ago). [Enid is from Puerto Rico, so her name is pronounced "Eh-need".]

The next day I was at our local Publix Supermarket when I again encountered Aldo.  Dammit all, once again I could not remember his name!.   He was buying cake, so this time I covered my traces by asking if Enid was still in the cake baking business!

Aldo must think that it is strange that I never greet him by name, and that I always ask about his wife!

Incidentally, Aldo is from Argentina.  We have our own private geo-political joke.  I always refer to the Malvinas.  He always refers to the Falklands.


I took myself to Trader Joe's this morning.  When I got there I noticed volumes of steam emerging from under the hood of my Hyundai.

A passer by in the parking lot said "you have a problem here".  I was amazed at his perspicacity!

I drove home very carefully. Once the engine had cooled I added coolant to the radiator.  That being done I drive to my local K-Mart (less than a mile away) to get another half-gallon of coolant "just in case".

By the time I got home the radiator was bubbling and boiling.

Once again I waited for the engine to cool.  Then I added the additional half gallon of coolant, and then another half gallon of distilled water until the radiator was filled.

I have not dared to drive my car since then.

The good news is that there are no fluids pouring out of the car -  in other words I most likely do not have a leak.

My hopeful self wants to believe that the problem was no more or no less than a grave shortage of fluids in the radiator.  (Please, please, pretty please let this be true).

My cautious self will use the car tomorrow for a short ride to a pet food store, and to a supermarket.

My gloomy self thinks that I have major problems with the car which will take mucho-bucks to rectify.



Thursday, 26 June 2014

THE QUESTION OF AUTHORITY> preaching this morning, and subsequent general thoughts.

I presided at the Eucharist and preached this morning (Thursday 26th June 2014)  at the mid-week Eucharist at St. Boniface Church, Sarasota, FL

The given Gospel for today (in the Episcopal Church we have passages which are "pre-set" for us") [this is good or else we might be tempted to preach from our favourite passages and thereby ignore the more difficult bits!] ended with these words from Matthew

"when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, 29for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes."

As I preached I mused a bit about the question of authority in the Church.

I said that when I was a member of the Diocesan Staff (in Western Massachusetts) whenever a Rector or lay leader called the Diocesan Office and asked "What do the Canons (Church laws)  say about.......(thus and such) " we knew that there was a parish in conflict.

I recounted that when I was the Rector at St. James's, Cambridge, MA. I had a meeting with three parishioners who were angered about a decision I had made. One of the three asked "by what authority did you make this decision?"   I replied from my Rectorial  High Horse and reminded my inquisitor that Church law gave me great authority in this matter.

WRONG!  As a good and honest friend told me the next day I should have said "I have only such authority as you are willing to give me".

In other words genuine authority in the Christian community is never securely based on Church law.

Instead it is based in relationships.

Indeed.  The authority which Jesus had (and of which Matthew writes) is not based on his credentials as a teacher. 

Instead Jesus' authority is based on the integrity of his life and actions, which are congruent with  his relationships with the disciples.

That's the model for Pastors.  Their authority is rooted in personal integrity, coupled with prayerful relationships.


The above is my stumble-bum recreation of an ad-libbed sermon at a midweek Eucharist.  I'll give myself 4 out of 10 -  mostly on the grounds that my sermon was ad-libbed, when in truth it should have been thought through with care and discipline


As I drove home I had these thoughts:

"In my recent flights  Sarasota FL/Charlotte N.C./ Lynchburg VA and back  I never had one thought about the authority of the pilots.

My one and only concern was that they would be competent.

Dare I say that the best leadership,  whether in the Church or in the world,   (business/politics/government  etc. etc ) is that which which is rooted and grounded in competence supported by integrity?

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The background, the couple, my friends, the wedding ceremony, the Shaykh, the Priest,

The background
I have known the Keller/Bonsey family since 2000 when I became the Rector at St. James's, Cambridge, MA.

They (Elisabeth Keller and the Revd. Steven Bonsey with their four children Noah, Sam, Josiah and Annie) had come back to Cambridge from Hawaii where Steve had been the Rector of an Episcopal parish.

Steve had just been appointed as a Chaplain at Tufts University (no Sunday morning duties) so the entire family was able to enrich our common life at St. James's - which they did with great love and joy.

I count them as friends and have stayed in touch with them since my retirement.  Noah, the oldest son is eloquent in Arabic (he spent a year in Damascus when Syria was a safe place).  He has developed a super career as an analyst of social media in the near East. 
Noah worked in Tampa for a while a few years ago, so he and I were able to get together a few times for lunch or dinner. 
 the couple
Last year  both  Noah and Zehra were in Tampa (they met at work) so I met her for the first time, and  joined them for a lovely dinner in Ybor City.  What a joy and blessing it was to be at their wedding last weekend.
 my friends
As I had hoped there were other Cambridge friends at the wedding.  It was super to see Ian Douglas (who I've known since he was in High School) and his spouse Kristin Harris, with their children Luke, Tim and Johanna.
Ian is now "The Rt. Revd. Ian Douglas, Bishop of Connecticut".
Both Elisabeth Keller and Kristin Harris were midwives in Cambridge -  they met at work, discovered that each had a priest for a husband, and created a great friendship for the two families.
( One Sunday after liturgy in Cambridge I found a note on my desk. It was from Johanna Douglas [then 8?].  It read  "Mr Povey you have a loud voice, and I have a loud voice.  Could we sing a loud duet one Sunday?"  Of course we did!  [We sang "She's got the whole world in her hands"]  and we laughed a lot about that at the wedding.)
My good Cambridge friends the Reads were also there: Anne, her husband Nick, their daughter Jo Jo and Jo Jo's husband Samir. Nick and Anne's other daughter Sarah could not get time off from her medical residency in Miami.
the wedding ceremony
It was in the south Indian tradition (the bride's family hail from Hyderabad), in accordance with Virginia's marriage law, with a Muslim "officiant", and a Christian preacher.
the  Shaykh
The Shaykh (Elder) was from a west African background. He lives in Washington D.C.  The bride and groom did not know him; he had been selected/recruited by an uncle of the bride.  He gave us a nice talk on Mohammed's teaching about marriage, most of which would be found to be un-exceptional by most Christians.  In the Muslim tradition he (not the bride and groom) spoke the vows.  The couple themselves signed some papers which ratified the contract/covenant which the Shaykh had spoken.
the Priest
Noah's dad, the Revd. Steve Bonsey gave a homily (in which he gently reminded us that it is often difficult for parents when their children marry away from their own religion and culture, but that the love Zehra and Noah have for each other transcends parental fears).  He offered prayer and blessing in the name of the Holy Trinity.
there was great joy, much laughter, splendid Indian food -  all this creating a fabulous celebration for our dear Noah and dear Zehra.
Both families
Keller/Bonsey family-  Sam, Annie, Elisabeth, Steven, Noah, Josiah
My favourite picture of Noah
Josiah Bonsey, Sam Bonsey, Sarah Read, Noah Bonsey, JoJo Read, Annie Bonsey
Annie, Noah, Zehra, Sam, Josiah
Men Dance
Festive Brass Band - led the men of the wedding party in a festive dance before the ceremony (The men's dance is a south Indian custom)
Bride and Groom -  Picture out of focus, but that's O.K.
Groom and Bride's father
Bride, Groom and Groom's father
Bride, Groom and Groom's family
Bride and Groom with groom's parents.
Harris/Douglas clam Luke, Ian, Kristin, Johanna, Tim (and jmp)
Johanna and jmp (the Cambridge duettists)
Bride's brother (in grey sherwani) Groom, Shaikh
Proud and happy parents
Harris/Douglas clam with jmp (2)

Monday, 23 June 2014

Oh dear

I had great plans to write today about Saturday's grand wedding in Lynchburg, VA (Noah Bonsey/Zehra Asghar) (with photo's)   but I ran out of time and energy after a long and blessed chat with my Cambridge friends Laurie Rofinot and Pat Michaels.

So please thank God for my good friends, and await until tomorrow for the wedding report. (It will be good)

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sophisticated world traveler? - not a chance.

World traveler as I am, I packed very lightly for my trip to Lynchburg VA.;  so much so that I failed to pack a comb or brush.  It's amazing what fingers can do with wet hair.   Sophisticated world traveler -  not a chance.
Of course I was there for the marriage of Zehra Asghar and Noel Bonsey.  That was a splendid affair.  I'll tell you more about it, with photo's,  tomorrow.
Lynchburg is a bit run down and scruffy as befits a declining industrial city.  The chief streets run (north to south?) on the valley of the James River with its steep hills. Some of the streets are linked by  dead end roads and then by very  steep stone stairways.  My Hotel was on the good end of the sad and depressing Main Street.  It has some marvelous old Victorian bank building etc  and some ghastly modern bank buildings.  Some of the clearly handsome old places of business have those dreadful facades which were stuck over grand buildings in the 1960's.
Main Street has a few (struggling?) stores, and almost no restaurants etc  (I did find a breakfast/lunch cafĂ© which had happily never been modernized}, (and where I was able to get a more than decent cup of cappuccino).
I also found the Farmer's Market.   This is the genuine thing with many stands, and with an abundance of locally grown produce and fruit, cheeses, salamis, wines etc.
By contrast the outskirts of Lynchburg are quite lovely, with gentle rolling hills and gorgeous old houses. Most of the modern development, including the airport and some new hotels are in the proximity of Liberty University.  That figures! (Jerry Falwell again).
The airport has two gates and is served by U.S. Airways Express alone with five flights a day in each direction to and from Charlotte, N.C.    I nick-named it "Lynchburg Inter-State Airport".
I encountered some old airline names. My flight to Charlotte from Sarasota was US Airways Express operated by Mesa Airlines. 
From Charlotte to Lynchburg it was US Airways Express operated by Piedmont. (Some us us will remember when various airlines such as Allegheny and Piedmont came together to form what became U.S. Airways).
It was fund to fly between Charlotte and Lynchburg and back on a 50 seater Dash Series 300.  It's been years since I've been on a commercial turbo prop, but it made sense for the flights which have air time of only 45 minutes.
On the way back I was seated behind a daddy and his son. The little one was aged maybe four and he was ceaseless in his questions.  He asked his dad what the seat belt sign meant.  Dad explained, and than the boy said "what does attach mean?"!    His nose was glued to the window.  As we drew near to Charlotte I suggested to the dad that his lad might want to watch for the landing wheels to come down from the engine casing.  The boy did so, as did I.  It's been a long time (if ever) since I saw that moment when the wheels met the tarmac. Sophisticated world traveler -  not a chance.
(And oh what fun to walk across the tarmac in order to get on and off the plane via the steps at the plane's nose). Sophisticated world traveler -  not a chance.
On boarding the plane from Charlotte to Sarasota I fell asleep almost so soon as I was seated.  I came to when the Captain made an announcement.  I opened the window blind and saw the runway. "Oh my goodness" I said to my seat mate, "that was quick. I slept all the way to Sarasota".  He grinned and said "sorry pal, we are still in Charlotte and are about to take off". Sophisticated world traveler -  not a chance.
There's stuff about Lynchburg, Mesa, Piedmont, and the Dash series 300 plane down below.
A bit of Lynchburg from the 20th floor of the James River Bank. First the river valley, then the railroad  made Lynchburg prosper