Friday, 20 March 2015

Lunch with dear friends on Longboat Key (and comments about traffic).

My blessed and dear friends Jack and Pat McL are "in town" for their annual sojourn  on Longboat Key, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, west of Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

Jack and Pat were fabulous parishioners when I was the Rector at St. Stephen's Parish, Pittsfield, MA.  Pat worked with me as an extremely effective (lay) minister for Christian Education.

The McL's retired to Wolfeborough, N.H., where I visited them more than  once, (and participated in the wedding of their younger daughter Jen - a super young woman - to Scott D).

Jack and Pat were more than delighted when I retired to Sarasota, a town with which they have become familiar for (say) forty years.  (Pat's parents had retired here).

Jack and Pat come down from New Hampshire to SRQ for three weeks every year.  They always stay at White Sands on Longboat Key, just fifteen miles from my home.

(In Florida the "Keys" are off-shore barrier islands),

With that in mind we have been able to get together each year (usually in March).

We did so today, and had lunch at

It's a cool and unspoiled  place on the bay side (intra-coastal waterway) of Longboat Key.  We ate inside (rather than waiting forty minutes for an outside table).  I ate three very good fish tacos (with flounder), and we shared some Key Lime Pie for dessert.

It was a lovely time. 

Jack, Pat and I will get together again next Saturday afternoon  for the season finale of the Sarasota Opera:  a performance of TOSCA, after which we'll have a bite to eat.


BUT OH THE TRAFFIC!  It took me nearly fifty minutes to drive the fifteen miles from my home to White Sands.

 Clearly we are over-developed, no thanks to  a process which I call "the Miamification of Sarasota".

 Sarasota used to pride itself  on  being "not Miami". 

But with the election of "pro-growth  Republican" majorities to  our City and County Commissions we are becoming more like what we did not wish to be - i.e. Miami.

It's very similar to what is happening in my home City of Bristol U.K. which is fast becoming a replica of the over-developed London (some 120 miles east).


The builders, developers and politicians call  this "development", which in their minds is an unassailable good.

And in our so-called democracies,  the builders, developers and politicians call the shots, regardless of the wishes of the voters.


Utterly over-developed  as we are  ( I could weep),  I was saved from angry tears,  by the pleasure of being with Jack and Pat.

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