Saturday, 2 April 2016


I bought a melon, only to discover that it was not fully ripe.

"Waste not want not" -  so I liquefied it and made a simple and nutritious beverage.

Phew! and Wow!

As I was planning my trip to Vietnam in 2013 my Lawyer recommended that I should have a second signatory for the locked box I have at a local bank.

(Sans an alternative signatory in the event of something bad happening to me, the Lawyer would have to get Court permission to access the box).

My friend John V agreed to be this person, and we tripped off to the bank to register his name, address and signature.

Three years later it occurred to me that John should have possession of one of the two keys issued by the bank,  On Wednesday of this week I set off for a walk with Penne.  Since I often see John or his partner Gordon on our dog walks I took with me one of the keys in the little envelope which the bank supplies.

I saw Gordon, but even as I offered him the envelope I realised that it was empty. "Ah well" I thought "maybe I gave a key to John three years ago,

I saw John on Thursday evening at the home of a mutual friend,  I asked "did I give you a key for my locked box?"  John confessed that he could not remember, but that he would search for it when he returned to his own home.

A bit later that evening as I walked home I encountered an acquaintance named Dan as he took his rest in the lovely Gazebo at the end of a pond,  He said "take a look at this,  I found it on the flat railing in this Gazebo".   I took a look at "this".

You've got it!  It was the missing key.

I must have dropped it as I fished the envelope out of my pocket the day before.  Some kind soul had found it and placed it on the Gazebo's railing in the hope that the owner would find it.   I never use that Gazebo, but "heavens to Betsy", Dan was there at just the right time to reunite me with my key.


Fred and Diana Emrich are dear friends who live on Longboat Key, FL, and on the Island of North Haven in Maine.

Fred always goes back to North Haven a month or so before Diana.  So yesterday we had a valedictory lunch at one of my favourite restaurants "The Columbia" at At. Armand Key. (As well as enjoying a good lunch I made sure to buy a quart of the Columbia's EXCELLENT Gazpacho for later feasting at home) 

I took with me some very good biscuits for Fred to enjoy on his long drive north.  He had a gift for me, all nicely wrapped etc.

I opened it after lunch, and then grinned from ear to ear.  Here is a photo' of Fred's gift

WOW!  It's already my favourite mug.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

ALL IN ONE DAY: Czech Mates

A gracious moment

This morning I was a waiting room, waiting to be called for my scheduled endoscopy/colonoscopy.

In walked three people, two men and a woman.  They approached the receptionist's desk.

 It turned out that one of the men was at the clinic for a "procedure".   He was with his wife,  The other man was a friend and translator. (All three were from the Czech republic, the translator was a Czech man who spoke flawless English, and was himself a physician ).

The grace for me was that as these three people talked with the receptionist, and as they chatted with each other they never stopped smiling.

Their smiles and their cheerful demeanor were a gift.  They helped my to relax ahead of my own "procedure".

My intake Nurse, "Bonnie'",  was also a joy.  I told her about the "three cheerful Czechs".

"Oh" she said, "that is a pass it on moment".  

Yes indeed,  When you experience joy  "pass it forward"

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

When I have shuffled off this mortal coil (my funeral plans)

For the longest time I'd hoped that my mortal remains could be placed (un-embalmed) in a plain pine coffin, and buried six feet under, with no concrete vault.

Such a hope is unrealistic.  The  American funeral industry is devoted to selling a high end package, involving a hermetically sealed "casket" (not a coffin), guaranteed not to leak for aeons (and at a high end price).

The cemetery industry demands that said casket be placed in a vault, to prevent, (they say) the  land sinking.

(How did we manage to bury without vaults for hundreds of years?)

I've thought of the option of a "green burial" in which one's remains, clothed in a simple shroud are buried in a "green cemetery, (sans coffin or casket).  What a great idea - a true return to mother earth. Unfortunately it is not easy to make arrangements for such a disposal.

My hopes and ideas have had to take a back seat because of the high cost and the  unnecessary "extras" (embaling, burial vaults etc)  of traditional burials, and the difficulty in arranging a green burial,

I have no next of kin in the United States, so I wish to keep things simple for the benefit of my family, friends and the executor of my will. Therefore it has become imperative for me to pay in advance for the cremation of my remains, and for their internment.

I have opted for "direct cremation"/  This means that my remains will be burned as soon as possible after the State of Florida's mandatory forty eight hour minimum before cremation.  It also means that there will be no "wake" or "calling hours", and no little box of ashes at any church service.

Then it will be off to Pittsfield, MA  for the internment of my remains.

Hurrah, the Pittsfield Cemetery does not require vaults for cremated remains.


I set out to make these arrangements  (long overdue) last week,

The first Funeral Home I called does not offer prepaids.

I visited another Funeral Home.  They offered me a prepaid plan at the ghastly sum of $2594  (not including shipping and handling to Pittsfield!).  When I said that this price was "over the top", the "sales agent" excused himself for a while, then returned saying that they would match their competitors price of $1794.  Good Lord, I felt like I was buying a car.

Then to Funeral Home #3  (which has a price list on its website).  This family owned business offered a basic deal at about $1700.  However  (God bless him)  the man who attended to me said

"We own a parallel business on L.R. Road, Sarasota, which is designed with people like you in mind, people who do not need calling hours (wakes), and  tranportation of remains to and from Church etc."

I liked his honesty.

I went to the parallel business on Monday and Tuesday and signed up for the full package  (including shipping and handling) for $1270.

I signed the contract and paid the bill!

Then I called my friend Fred D,  a partner in his father's Funeral Home in Pittsfield.  He will send my the paper work so that I can pay in advance for the opening and closing of the grave (and the internment of my ashes).


Phew!  That's done and paid for. And of course I have a Florida will,  I am glad that I have been able to free my family (and lawyer) from decision making about this after I die.

But even as I took care of these matters, I thought of the possible vulnerability of those who have been suddenly bereaved, and who are called upon to make important and possible costly choices right at the point of their immediate grief.

The formal gateway at Pittsfield Cemetery,

Funeral Director Humour

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Merde Alors

Wednesday 30th March 2016 -  a day of preparation for jmp

Colonoscopy on Thursday 31st March 2016

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Easter Day: Indian Christian Male Voice Choir

A lively Easter song, recorded by a Male Voice Choir of Indians Christians who live in Muscat, Oman

( Small world eh?)