Showing posts from June 21, 2015

Flags and Statues etc

In the centre of my native City of Bristol, U.K. stands a statue of  Edward Colston (2 November 1636 – 11 October 1721).
He was a Bristol-born English merchant and Member of Parliament. Much of his wealth, although used often for philanthropic purposes, was acquired through the trade and exploitation of slaves.

The name Colston is commemorated in the name of the concert hall in Bristol  (The Colston Hall); in three schools, and in several streets.

From time to time there have been calls to have the statue removed on account of Colston's important role in the Slave Trade. 

Those who wish the statue to remain say that it honours his philanthropy.

Please note that the statue was erected in 1895  -  a time when British Imperialism was at its zenith, (that should tell you something).

Nonetheless, I am amongst those who believe that the statue should be left as it is: save for an additional inscription, viz  "He was a Slave Trader".

I am disturbed by cultural iconoclasm.

I …

Such a long journey in such a short time

J.M.P.'s Dreamland.  Thursday/Friday 25/26 June 2015

I began my journey in Carey's Lane, an old street in the centre of Bristol, U.K.  (It was destroyed in a fit of "urban renewal").

In conversation with me were two United Church of Christ Ministers, the Revd. J. Mary Luti and the Revd. Richard Floyd.

They steered me up towards Old Market Street, but as we passed the "Tatler Theatre" I found myself to be surrounded by a group of woman and men in gorgeous medieval type costumes.

They, in turn, steered me into the Tatler.   There a gorgeous coach with horses awaited me.  I mounted the coach.  Trouble was, the two horses were facing towards, and not away from the coach.

On of  the horses took my left lower arm into his/her jaws.  I was not afraid, it seemed to be a friendly gesture.   We paraded in a circle and reached the entrance of a great banqueting hall where I was supposed to eat.  I saw my two older sisters.

But we never ate.  For my entire family was tr…

Ninety One plus Fifty equals One Hundred and Forty One.

Ninety One plus Fifty equals One Hundred and Forty One.

It was a lovely party last Monday (22nd June 2015), hosted by a generous and warm-hearted couple, Bill Byers and Pat Cosgrove.

We were there to celebrate the 91st birthday of the inimitable Ben Morse, and the 50th wedding anniversary of the ever-wonderful Ron and Charlotte Thompson.

Our nonagenarian WWII veteran (Marine Corps), Betty Mullen was there.  So were our local pals Bob Lewis, John Vogel, Gordon Cory, and Rick Farrell.

It was a joyous and enjoyable celebration.


The food was "pot-luck", and disgustingly unhealthy!

Hors d'oeuvres (shrimp wrapped in bacon) were provided by  another friend, Kay.

The main course included fried chicken (from the Publix supermarket)  - (too much batter and not enough chicken in my opinion);  red potatoes slathered in butter; and baked beans: Bush brand "Boston style" (high in molasses and …

The Confederate Flag. Wisdom from Benjamin Watson, a former N.E. Patriots player.

From Benjamin Watson's Facebook page

It's hard to explain how I feel when I see the rebel flag. The emotional bucket overflows with anger, trepidation, sorrow, a perverted pride and apathy. As hard as I try not to make assumptions about whoever is flying the flag or driving around with it mounted on their truck, my mind can not hold back the painful images of the past generations.... and the current one. The nine racially motivated murders of last week, have written a new chapter in the annals of race violence in this country. And at the center of it all, proudly displayed in images of the killer, the rebel flag.

When I moved to South Carolina in 1996, albeit from the southern state of Virginia, I was somewhat taken aback by the frequency of which I saw the flag. It was on vehicles, displayed on homes, and worn on t-shirts. Like grits and sweet tea, the flag was just part of the culture, an enduring symbol of all things southern. This never changed how I felt about it, but it…


When I visited my friends Hani and Rula Asfour in Lebanon some twelve years ago I had a most wonderful dinner at the home of Rula's parents.

Rula's  father was in the hospital in Beirut.  I visited him there.

Rula's mother created a great feast, including the best Tabbouleh I have ever eaten.  It must have been made from fresh and local ingredients.

I was thinking about this the other day, so I purchased some ready made tabbouleh at my local supermarket.  You know the stuff  I mean -  all prepared and served in a plastic tub.

It was dreadful.

So I took myself to a local Specialty Market and bought a box of the ready assembled ingredients, which needed no more than hot water and olive oil to be brought to life.

I knew that would not be enough, so I added some finely chopped tomatoes (skinned and de-seeded), and a ton of finely chopped fresh mint.

It was "not bad", though I would be ashamed to serve it to Rula's Mum!

I ate some for lunch today, together with so…

Joy all around in Bristol, U.K. (Chrisman/Andi Taylor/Povey)

Last Wednesday (June 17th 2015) my youngest brother Martyn met my Sarasota friends Jack and Donna Chrisman at London Gatwick Airport, and drove them to their hotel in Bristol.

(Martyn met Jack and Donna here in SRQ a few years ago when he was with me for a holiday.)

Jack and Donna were in the Bristol area for the wedding of their grand-daughter Rachel.

The Chrismans were so happy to see Martyn, and to meet his wife Wendy for the first time  (she does not fly).

They had a pub dinner, saw the sights of Bristol, ate fish and chips, and enjoyed each other. 

Wendy and Donna went shopping so that the latter could buy a lovely hat for her grand-daughter's wedding.

On Friday Martyn drove the Chrismans to Tortworth Court, Wotton-under -Edge, Gloucestershire, the venue for the wedding.


By cheerful serendipity Martyn's route home took him by Bristol Parkway railway station, where he was just in time to meet my SRQ friend and collea…