Saturday, 18 July 2015


An elderly man in Florida had owned a large farm for several years. He had a large pond in the back which was properly shaped for swimming. So he fixed it up nicely with picnic tables, horseshoe courts, and some orange and lime trees.

One evening  the old farmer decided to go down to the pond and look it over, as he hadn't been there for a while. He grabbed a five-gallon bucket to bring back some fruit. As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee. 

 As he came closer, he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his pond. He made the women aware of his presence, and they all went to the deep end.
One of the women shouted to him, 
 “We're not coming out until you leave!'
The old man frowned, and said

 'I didn't come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or to make you get out of the pond naked..
 Holding the bucket up he said,
'I'm here to feed the alligator.'

Some old men can still think fast.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Eyes at the back of my head.

Did your mother, like mine, tell you that she had eyes at the back of her head?   I never saw them,  but she knew how to use them.

My cats are learning that I have inherited this reverse sight from my Mum.

Junior cat Adelaide can be a bit whiney, but she is usually well behaved. She occasionally transgresses by trying to sleep on the sofa (forbidden by me on account of her coat shedding).

Of course I never hear her get onto the sofa,  but I wherever I am in the house, I "know"  that she has done so.    My reaction is simple.  I enter the living room, and simply point at her, whereupon she leaps off the sofa.   No words are needed.

Senior cat Ada is more "loving" than Adelaide,  but she is also a bit sneaky.  Here are two examples:

Both cats get a "treat" of a tablespoon full of canned food at 6:45 each morning, and 4:15 each afternoon.  (They know those times, and start prowling and yowling about fifteen minutes beforehand). I have to set out this food in different rooms, Ada's in the kitchen, Adelaide's in the screened in porch.

Ada eats her share immediately.  Adelaide is a more leisurely eater.  She picks at her share, and takes her time.  Ada knows this.  So she will creep into the porch, and inch herself very quietly around the perimeter, in the vain hope that I will not see her snitching the food Adelaide has left.  Of course I always see her, for I have eyes in the back of my head.   A quick click of my fingers, and Ada retreats from the room in shame

She tries the same game with my dog's food.  Penne is also  careful diner, eating some now, and saving some for later.  That which is left is a tempting target for Ada (especially as I usually add a bit of cooked chicken or cooked ground beef to Penne's meal).  Ada loves to pick out those tempting bits.

But I have eyes in the back of my head, and I know what Ada is up to her tricks.  A quick rustling of my newspaper is all that's required to remind her that she is transgressing.


On the canine side, Penne, like her "Dad"  is sensitive and neurotic.  The other day she was putting out all the signs that she wanted her afternoon meal ninety minutes early.  I told her to lie down on her bed.  She did not move.  I told her again.  She did not move.

Then I used my quiet but very firm voice -  and Penne skulked off to her bed, tail between her legs.

I left my home to go to the supermarket.  When I got home, I sat down to read.  Penne trotted up to me, all bashful, and carrying her soft toy in her jaws, as  if to say "here's a present for your Dad, I really am a good girl).

(Or so I thought!).

And you get prattle such as this from me on a day which has been overcast, muggy, and very rainy - and I needed some silly activity to help. me take my mind off the weather.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

The Smithsonian Institute Gets It Right

I received a letter from the Smithsonian Institution today.

It was addressed to  THE MICHAEL POVEY.

At last someone has got it right, and that "someone" is the prestigious Smithsonian.

So, listen up all you pretenders, imitators, wannabees, and groupies who share my name.

The Smithsonian certifies  that I am THE MICHAEL POVEY.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Bastille Day: Vive la France (and a bit about "God Save the Queen").

Every year on Bastille Day I play the Hector Berlioz version of La Marseillaise, as recorded by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, with soloists Sylvia McNair and Richard Leech, and with the boys from the choirs at St. Michael and All Angels Church,  and St. David's Episcopal Church.

On the same day my friends Jean-Pail and Lizzie Chausatt always listen to the same recording at their home in Bordeaux, France.

They and I are tickled pink that they had never heard the Berlioz arrangement, until I gave them the C.D.

It's a fond toast across the ocean.

Earlier today my American friend, the Revd. Mary Luti reminded her Facebook friends that the words of the French National Anthem are filled with blood and gore. 

Not to worry, 'tis a good tune and our heads don't need to be bothered with a troublesome text since it is sung in French.

'Tis a good tune:  good for the French I suppose.

 But I was raised in England  and was led to believe that the tune for our U.K. National Anthem is rather un-exceptional, or bland.

Ludwig Van Beethoven thought contrary-wise. He liked the tune so well that he wrote a set of seven variations on the melody, arranged for the piano.

Believe it or not, the same tune is used for the National Anthem of Liechtenstein  see,5753,-6784,00.html

Few know the entire text  (see below).

It first surfaced in 1745, the year of a Jacobite rising in Scotland.

See this for a brief account of the various Jacobite risings, scroll down for details of 1745, Bonnie Prince Charles and all that good stuff

Thus, the genesis of "God save the Queen/King" is in an uprising which, had it succeeded, would have destroyed the Union of the Scottish and English Royal Houses.

Few know that it too has some bloody lines.

God Save The Queen Lyrics

God save our gracious Queen
Long live our noble Queen
God save the Queen
Send her victorious
Happy and glorious
Long to reign over us
God save the Queen

O Lord our God arise
Scatter her enemies
And make them fall
Confound their politics
Frustrate their knavish tricks
On Thee our hopes we fix
God save us all

Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour
Long may she reign
May she defend our laws
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice
God save the Queen

Not in this land alone
But be God's mercies known
From shore to shore
Lord make the nations see
That men should brothers be
And form one family
The wide world over

From every latent foe
From the assassins blow
God save the Queen
O'er her thine arm extend
For Britain's sake defend
Our mother, prince, and friend
God save the Queen

Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
Victory bring
May he sedition hush
And like a torrent rush
Rebellious Scots to crush
God save the King

(See this re Marshall Wade )

P.S.    'God Save the Queen' has never been officially adopted as the UK national anthem (the nearest it has come has been a 1934 Army order, laying down rules on interpretation and tempo).

Monday, 13 July 2015

Is my dog able to spell?

My beloved mutt Penne "loves" to ride in my car.

If and when such rides are convenient and possible  I stand by the inside of my front door and say "CAR". 

At this Penne will come dancing and prancing; yipping and yapping, and verily singing to the door.

Today, instead of saying "CAR",  I spelled out the word, and said  " C-A-.R".

True to form Penne,  came dancing and prancing; yipping and yapping, and verily singing to the door.

Does this mean that she can spell? 

I want to believe so, but I have my doubts,

After all, spelling out  " C-A-.R"  most surely sounds like  "CAR".

That being said, I am tickled pink that my beloved mutt Penne "loves" to ride in my car. 

It seems to be a genuine treat for her whether she hears me call "CAR", or "C-A-R".

I am delighted when Penne is dancing and prancing; yipping and yapping, and verily singing .

Human life needs more dancing and prancing; yipping and yapping, and verily singing -  n'est pas?

Sunday, 12 July 2015

'Tis the gift to be simple (2)

As I walked out with Penne at about 3:00 I happened upon some "strangers". 

I saw a youngish couple as they fished from the Gazebo at the neighbouring Glen Oaks Manor pond.

I also saw a middle aged man, as he wheeled a baby buggy in which there were two infants. A small boy (maybe aged three) raced ahead.

Then the small boy stopped, and began to cry.  Something had bothered him.

Without a word, the middle-aged guy hoisted the weepy small boy onto to his shoulders.  He walked on,  with the infants in the buggy, and the small boy on his shoulders.

It was a lovely scene --  peace had been restored.

A bit later I walked again with Penne,  Once again I came across the two guys.

I said to the older man  "that was  a lovely moment when you hoisted your weepy son onto your shoulders".

He responded with "that was not my son, that was my grandson".

Well I never.
The middle aged man was the grandfather. The youngish couple who were fishing were the parents of the infants in the baby buggy, and of the toddler.

Yet it was a lovely scene.  It was lovely to see a grandfather (as it turns out) to be so gracious and gentle with his one generation removed youngsters.