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Showing posts from June 12, 2016

A wonderful book for gardeners, environmentalists, and students of American history.

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I have just read a superb book:  "Founding Gardeners" by Andrea Wulf.  It is a must read for gardeners, environmentalists and students of American History.




Here is the blurb from the dust jacket:


From the author of the acclaimed The Brother Gardeners, a fascinating look at the founding fathers from the unique and intimate perspective of their lives as gardeners, plantsmen, and farmers.
For the founding fathers, gardening, agriculture, and botany were elemental passions, as deeply ingrained in their characters as their belief in liberty for the nation they were creating. Andrea Wulf reveals for the first time this aspect of the revolutionary generation. She describes how, even as British ships gathered off Staten Island, George Washington wrote his estate manager about the garden at Mount Vernon; how a tour of English gardens renewed Thomas Jefferson’s and John Adams’s faith in their fledgling nation; how a trip to the great botanist John Bartram’s garden helped the delegates of…

I sang to a fabulous Russian man I met today.

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Friday 17th June 2016


Off I went this morning to my local Publix Supermarket  to get some more supplies for my 10th anniversary in SRQ party (by the way the party was great fun!).

I was in and out of the store in ten or twelve minutes but, "woe is me"  my car would not start,

I have a jumper cables, so I asked a man (I call him "man number one") who was returning to his car if he would help me.

He said that he was in a bit of a hurry, but that he would be glad to help.

Just then I caught sight of one of my local acquaintances (Dan), "man number two"  who had also been shopping at Publix.

I told the first man that I could cope without his help (and thank you very much!) because Dan was nearby,

Of course Dan was glad to offer his help, but man number one did not rush away for he wanted to make sure that I had gotten a charge,

Dan and I hooked up my jumper cables, but all to no avail.

Then "man number three" drove by in his huge Ford  F150 truck,  …

16th June 2016 Ten Years In Sarasota

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I took possession of my condominium in Sarasota ten years ago today.

My pathway through retirement had been magical. I sold my condo. in Medford in two days. When I flew to Sarasota I bought a condo here within to days.  That was in April. The purchaser in Medford was glad to delay the closing until June.  The sellers in Sarasota were also happy with a June completion date.

All was going so very smoothly until I set out to fly from BOS to TPA via ATL using Air Tran.

The Air Tran desk in BOS was in a corridor, and it was a scene of chaos. Air Tran was canceling and changing flights at will.  My flight had been canceled,

When I reached the front of the line I asked the clerk if I could be routed via Chicago.  He said that Air-Tran did not fly in or out of Chicago. I told him that I had indeed used Air Tran to CHI.

"Are you calling me a liar?" he asked.

At which point a thirty something man in line behind me stepped up and said "He did not call you a liar, he simply stated…

"Somewhere along the road" A song which is haunting me - (sung here by Steeleye Span).

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Of course I'd heard of Steeleye Span, but I didn't know much about them.

In recent months I've become a fan of the fabulous Maddy Prior, never knowing that she had been a part of Steeleye Span.

In my search of You Tube for her songs  I came across "Somewhere along the Road" as recorded by Steeleye Span.   In the mystery of  synchronization , or coincidence this was on Monday 13th  June 2016, a day on which the full impact of the killings at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando was sinking into my consciousness.

Thus the song is haunting me, and allowing me to bring a wee bit of hope to my maudlin heart.

https://youtu.be/Zk8YB3lMmms


Somewhere along the road
Someone waits for me
Beyond the present storms that blow
Waiting patiently
No secrets held in an open heart
A spirit that soars over mountains
Somewhere along the road
Someone waits for me

Somehow a guiding light
Always shows the way
To those who lose their way by night
Searching for the day
A day away from happines…

When Gwen lost her knickers and other silly tales

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I was reminded yesterday of the time when my boss, Gwen, lost her knickers.

This would have been in 1965 or 1966 when I worked as a Civil Servant in the U.K Ministry of Defence "Inspectorate of Armaments" in an office on Woodland Rd, Clifton, Bristol.  We were housed in one of those marvelous old Victorian Houses.

I was a "Clerical Assistant", (office dogsbody) - the lowest rung on the Civil Service hierarchy ladder -  a ladder which I did not plan to climb.

My boss Gwen was a cheerful and kind woman who took the country  'bus into Bristol from her home in the country village of Bitton.

I too took a city 'bus.  Gwen and I would then face a short walk up a fairly steep hill (Elton Rd) to get to the office.   As  fitted my station I had to be the first to arrive.

One morning Gwen arrived, already chuckling. She said "Michael, I am an old lady and you are a young man so I shouldn't tell you this.  But I lost my knickers when I was walking on Elton Rd&…

Orlando FL June 12th 2016 - not a time for politics or instant analysis.

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This ghastly massacre  has left us all stunned.

The tragedy has opened the flood gates for political comment from the right and from the left.

I am not ready for that.

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Here are the latest figures  "Orlando Police say the death toll in the early morning shooting remains at 50, with more than 50 others injured in the attack at the nightclub. It is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history".

No political statement or meme is helpful to me.

For you  see, if I were to be killed or maimed in such a massacre I know that at least eighty of my family members and friends would be shocked to the core.

So I cannot but think of the (at least)  eight thousand people  who are living in deep grief and despair today.


I cannot but think of the Police and Sheriffs Deputies  who had to make a decision in the face of the tragedy, knowing that they were damned if they did, and damned if they didn't,

I cannot but think of the scene of carnage wi…