Saturday, 11 July 2015

'Tis the gift to be simple

My nonagenarian friend Betty M  (ex Marine, WWII era, desk job) asked me to be her guest for lunch at a restaurant of my choosing.

I, to her great pleasure, chose the St. Armand's Circle, SRQ branch of the fabled and Tampa based "Columbia".

We were there on Friday 10th July 2015

I am always so happy to eat at the Columbia, whether it be in the original in Ybor City, Tampa, FL, or in the SRQ branch.

Betty likes it too, and in former days would go to the Ybor City  restaurant with her late husband and their four children.

Betty ordered the Meatloaf sandwich (with more than enough to take some home for her Saturday lunch).

I had a cup of the Columbia's famed and fabulous Andalusian Gazpacho, and also the  Black Bean Cakes  (served with sour cream and guacamole).

It's great food, rooted in the peasant dishes of  Spain, Cuba,  and Portugal.

Good food indeed, but made so much more enjoyable because it was shared with the ever wonderful Betty Mullen.

Friday, 10 July 2015

The "F' word, and humour.

If you hate and despise the "F" word in any and all contexts, please ignore this.

If you can tolerate the "F" word in the cause of humour, please see this video,   (which made me giggle). 

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Strange advert. in my local paper, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

"Henry's"  (not their real name) is a Sports Bar on the South Tamiami Trail in SRQ.

This business often runs a quarter page ad. in "The Ticket", a Thursday supplement in our local Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

The ad.  (like many restaurant ads.)  is cluttered and crowded  (this is not the fault of the newspaper).

"Henry's Sports Bar" has a slogan, which I find to be both confusing and amusing.

It reads  "WHAT MAKES us different is our FOOD!"


WTF (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)  "what does that slogan convey or mean?".

It could mean that the food is crummy or inferior.

It could mean that the food is overcooked, or cold, or badly prepared.

The slogan is attempting  to tell us that the food at "Henry's Sports Bar" is first class/excellent/ of superior quality etc.,"


But,   "WHAT MAKES us different is our FOOD!"  is a slogan which is capable of many understandings/interpretations.

So the ad. leads me to  giggle and groan at the same time.

I know what it is trying to say.  I also know that the slogan is, (to say the least), more than a little bit ambiguous.

St. Anthony, my brother Steve, and Annie.

In Roman Catholic mythology the Patron Saint for lost items and objects is St. Anthony of Padua. 

He is the one to whom you pray when you cannot find your glasses, your car keys, or your umbrella.

Such prayers always work, except that in my case Blessed Anthony has never been of any help when I have lost my wits.


In a recent e-mail from my (Bristol, U.K.)  brother Steve, he made reference to a local newspaper clipping which I'd asked him to mail to me.


He asserted that the clipping was "Up in Annie's room behind the wallpaper".

Oh my goodness, I had not heard that saying in  so many years.

Another version has it as "Up in Annie's room behind the clock".

"Up in Annie's room behind the wallpaper" is used in a broad variety of situations, in response to questions such as:

"Where is the cat?",  "Where is my sister?",  "Where is the T.V. remote?", "Where is that bill which I need to pay?", "Where is the newspaper clipping which I promised to mail to my brother?"

In fact, it's a saying which means, (with regard to something which is AWOL), "Who are you to ask, I don't know, and I am too lazy to care?"

It's a tongue in cheek and flip response. In that context, "behind the wallpaper" is much more obscure and silly than "behind the clock".


What is the origin of this phrase?

One website suggests that Annie was a servant girl, and that the missing object could be found in her room.

This seems unlikely to me.  There are all too many urban myths about faceless and nameless servant girls - including the "servant girl" stories about Mothering Sunday and Boxing Day.

Another website roots the saying in the trenches of World War One,  when a Tommy or a Digger might ask about the whereabouts of a comrade. The response, "Up in Annie's Room" could mean:

1. Mind your own business,

2. He is with a prostitute or a paramour.

3. He has bitten the dust.

The website offers no sources for the W.W. I  origin of the phrase.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

I hope that they will be gentle when they take me away.

Some may remember that earlier this year I believed  that my dish-washer needed a repair, or that I would have to replace it.

I thought so, because the "heated dry" part of the cycle was not working. My pots, pans, dishes and cutlery would be well-washed, but not dried.

Then I discovered that the switch for  the "heated dry" option was off when I thought it was on;  and on when I thought it was off.



About a year ago I began to have problems with my oven.  One or the other of the heating elements was not working,  (or so I thought).  as I attempted to cook a casserole.  The oven was not reaching the desired temperature.

This was not a major problem as I also have counter-top convection/conventional oven, which I have been using for these past twelve months, leaving my big oven/stove to its own devices.

Later this year I will entertain various family members who will visit me from England.   With that in mind I decided that my oven/stove needed to be fixed, or replaced. (It's hard to cook for more than one or two in a counter top oven),

With that in mind I called a local service Company -   "Badger Bob's" - with a request for service,  (my Church and Facebook friend Barbara Ford-Coates had recommended them).

"Badger Bob's"  sent a very pleasant service agent (with the unusual first name "Bacon").  He very quickly discovered that there was nothing amiss with the oven.  Both elements (the upper and the lower)  were working well. 

Lord alone knows why  earlier this year  I thought that my dishwasher was in distress, and that over a year ago I thought that my oven needed fixing.  Both were in good working order.

I hope that they will be gentle when they take me away.

Monday, 6 July 2015

My sister Maureen

July 6th 2015, the 78th birthday of my sister Maureen Joy Theobald.

She is one of the very finest women I have known.  I am utterly privileged to be her brother.

Maureen is a wise and loving wife, mother, grandmother, and sister.

She loves God, she loves her family, she loves her neighbour as herself.

When she was born my parents could not decide on a middle name.  The woman who lived next door, (we called her Auntie Charlton), said  "call her Joy, for she will always be a joy to you".    Those were perceptive and prophetic words.

I thank God for her every day, but especially on this, her birthday.

She and her husband Bernard will be visiting me in November, together with my second sister Jean and her husband John.

Maureen and Bern on the cruise we took to Norway last year.