Saturday, 25 October 2014

My odd dream about cars

I had a series of dreams last night, in all but one of which I was determined to buy an "Austin Westminster" car for myself.  I dreamed of scouring U.S. based vintage car dealers in order to purchase one.
The scene changed a bit in the final dream. In that one I had been asked to buy an Austin Westminster for Hillary Clinton. Go figure!
When I awoke I wondered "was there ever such a car?"
There was. 
 Here is a picture of a 1966 Austin Westminster.
The Austin Westminster had a twin car which used the Wolseley Marque - The Wolseley 6-110
This Wolseley was greatly favoured by the (London) Metropolitan Police as an area car.
Maybe my dream was spurred by my reference in yesterday's blog to the Morris Minor.  It was introduced by Morris Motors in 1948.  Vintage car buffs favour the earliest models with the split front windscreen.
Morris Minor 1948
I once owned a Morris Minor.
Many British (English?) Police Forces introduced what we called "Panda Cars"  -  smaller vehicles for the police "beat". See below for more information.
Here is a Morris Minor Panda Car.
 In 1959 the British Motor Corporation introduced the (for then) revolutionary front wheel drive car the Mini.  (See below).
In deference to the component companies of B.B.C.  the mini was offered under various marques, using titles which referenced older cars
There was an Austin Seven.
(This is the Austin Seven of my youth - essentially a pre- WW II Car)
 Here is an Austin 7 mini
 Then there was the Morris Mini-Minor (with a name which tried to remind purchasers of the formerly successful Morris Minor
Muni-Minor 1961
The venerable car manufacturers "Riley" and "Wolseley" were by now part of B.M.C.
So there were modified Mini cars which were pretending to be in the classy traditions of Riley and Wolseley.
The Wolseley Hornet.
The Riley Elf
 The four "minis"  (Austin, Morris, Riley and Wolseley) were essentially the same car, all manufactured by B.M.C. -  but sold by rival dealerships.  This marketing stupidity, and British Government policies,  helped to drive B.M.C. to destruction.  (See "British Leyland -  below).
The modern MINI  (*note spelling) is manufactured by BMW.  Its name and style is a tribute to the original minis (but no more).  I want one!
Here are some references.

Friday, 24 October 2014


There were two motor cycles  (with riders and pillion passengers  - is the word "pillion" still in use?)  just ahead of me as I drove into nearby Calliandra Drive this afternoon.
Both bikers used their flashing indicators to show that they were turning right, this helped me to slow down and take extra care.
My memory immediately took me to the days when flashing indicators had not been invented.  In the U.K. (and maybe in other places) cars had what were called trafficators.
Here is a photo'  of a trafficator on a "Morris Minor" ( a British "Peoples Car" if ever there was one)
Trafficators were hard to see on small cars, and almost impossible to see at night, and on larger vehicles. 
Engineering technology advanced to the point where the flashing indicators became ubiquitous and trafficators became redundant. In the U.K. many older cars were retro-fitted with indicators  (I suspect that "the law" insisted on this).
We in the U.K. also learned various hand -signals to indicate the driver's intention to slow down, to stop, or to turn right or left.  (They were useful in daylight, but not too helpful after dark when street lights were not very bright, and when car/motorbike/lorry/ and bicycle lamps were dim and dull).
Here are three examples  -  remember that we drive on the left in Great Britain (and in many other wise and cultured nations!)
There were similar rules for horse-back riders, cyclists, and motor cyclists.  These rules were enshrined in the "Highway Code", first published in 1931
That first "Highway Code"  made reference to driving on "The King's Highway". 
Here are some of the rules:
We should indeed pay special attention to children, cyclists (and motor cyclists) [not mentioned] .
In a spirit of respect for the "old rules", I will be ready to stop when meeting a flock of sheep or a herd of cows or a pack of hounds on Sarasota's busy roads.
I failed my first driving test in the U.K. back in 1965.  The tester was mean and unreasonable.  After all,  I had driven through only one Stop sign.

When I accidentally migrated to the U.S.A in 1976 I drove using my U.K. Drivers Licence for about a year.
Came the time when I summoned enough courage to get a Massachusetts Licence.  I was so wary of the road test, (given my propensity to drive through stop signs, and the American custom of driving on the wrong side of the road).
Oddly enough the great and good Commonwealth of Massachusetts required no more than a written examination for me to get a Licence (and that test was multiple choice with only ten (or maybe twenty) questions.  It seemed to me to be very odd that I, a drive on the left person, did not have to take a road test in order to drive on  the right.
I passed the written test with flying colours.
Thirty seven years later I still have no knowledge of   "American" hand signals!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The way is now open for Women Bishops in the C of E. Alleluia.

Royal assent
Mr Speaker:
I have to notify the House, in accordance with the Royal Assent Act 1967, that Her Majesty has signified her Royal Assent to the following Measure:
Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure 2014.
Royal Assent
11.18 am
The following Measure was given Royal Assent:
Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

For your amusement

By a nice coincidence each of my three friends who posted these on Facebook  has a "K" in her name.

via Sheryl K - H.

Via B.K.H.

Via Karen N

Monday, 20 October 2014

That which was lost

Last Saturday (18th Oct)  after walking Penne around the local pond, I drove with her for a shopping trip to "Trader Joes" and to my local 7/11 store.
When I arrived home it was to discover that I had lost my house key.  Not to worry - I had a spare on my car key ring, so I was able to enter my  home.
But where had I lost the house key?  Had it fallen out of my pocket at TJ or at the 7/11.
After Church on Sunday I stopped by at TJ   NO, my key had not been handed in there,
Later in the day I went to the local 7/11 in search of the key.  I retraced my steps, but the key was nowhere to be found.
I entered the store and asked if it had been turned in.  I mentioned that it was on a ring with a purple coloured tag.
The young man at the till grinned from ear to ear when I mentioned the purple tag.  YES indeed my missing key had been turned in, and he knew exactly where it had been stashed,
My key and I were reunited. That was good,
But better still was the "grinning from ear to ear" pleasure on the part of this fine young 7/11 employee.  He was happier than I,  because I had found "that which was lost"..  What a great young man.

Purple Key on my radio

Sunday, 19 October 2014

If you've never eaten Kipppers you've probably never lived.

My good friend Jack C. celebrated his 81st birthday on Saturday 18th October.  Our mutual friend Muriel Q. (born in Oldham, Lancs, U.K.) hosted a lovely dinner party to mark the birthday. Present were our hostess, Jack, his wondrous wife Donna and me.
The four of us have English connections  (Muriel and I through birth); Jack and Donna via his career (see later).
Jack graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy (where he knew John McCain, one of the current Senators from Arizona).  Jack's stellar career raised him to the rank of Captain (he had command of four ships).  At one time he was attached to the U.S. Embassy in Athens (his two predecessors there had been assassinated).
His Athens assignment and his attendance at the Church of England Parish there led to him seeking Holy Orders in the Church of England when he'd retired from the U.S. Navy.
He trained for the ministry at Westcott House in Cambridge, U.K.; was ordained Deacon and Priest in the Diocese of Ely; and served rural parishes in that Diocese.
He (an American) was subsequently appointed to be the Assistant Chaplain at the U.K. Embassy in Oslo, Norway - and in that role he served C of E congregations in Oslo and in Bergen.
On their return to the U.S.A. Jack and Donna lived in Newport, R.I.. Jack served as Rector at the nearby  St. George's Parish (now closed).  For ten years Jack was the Chaplain to the Newport Fire Department.
Jack and Donna (much to my benefit) retired to Sarasota, FL.  We became friends through our association as Priests-in-Residence at St. Boniface Church in that city.
Some months ago (bearing in mind his English sojourn) I asked Jack if he liked Kippers.  Indeed he did  (and Donna likes them too!).  So I mail ordered some for his birthday gift. 
So, if you are not a British or Canadian citizen you may wonder "what the heck are kippers?".  Wikipedia provides the answer:
Damn, they are good!
I bought mine from

My order produced two whole kippered herrings, one for Jack and Donna, the other for me.
Here is mine

I cut it into two pieces, removed the head and the tail, and pan fried one half for lunch today - medium heat for eight minutes, turning often., no oil needed as the fish itself has good oil, eating it with garden peas and lovely ciabatta bread. "Twas the food of the gods".
I am saving the other half for another day.
Should you (in the USA) be adventurous  and decide to order from Markys, do order two -  otherwise the FedEx overnight delivery charge will be more than the cost of the kippers themselves.
You can freeze the surplus  (or give them to me!).