Saturday, 1 October 2016

Habitual mistakes

Despite the fact that  my oven/stove/ cooker (whatever you call it) has been out of service for a couple of weeks, I still look at it to check the time.

This is all very silly:

because I could  just as easily check the time on the gizmo which  abides on my kitchen window sill;  a machine which is connected to the Atomic Clock, and shows the current external and internal temperatures, phases of the moon; internal humidity etc and the current length  of Donald Tr-mp's nose.

My window sill gizmo.

And of course there is a watch on my right wrist. It too tells the time


Do not sit near me in Church tomorrow.

You will remember that I have been allowing Adelaide to go outside.  She yowled me into compliance after Ada left us.

It was a big mistake.  Adelaide did not come back in our home alone.  She transported unwanted guests; undocumented immigrants.

Adelaide gladly introduced some  (many)  of this immigrants  to Penne.

I have been de-fleaing my dog, my cat, and my home.  

Luckily the only carpeted room is the guest bedroom entrance to which is banned for my pets.  Nor are the pets allowed to rest or sleep on any of the soft upholstered furniture.

Penne's bed had lots of small blood spots, as did an area rug on my Lanai ( one of those hard textured indoor/out door one)  on which the cats were allowed to scratch, and Penne loved to roll.

I decided that cleaning the rug and the bed (both well beaten-up and about nine years old) would not necessarily rid them of fleas, so they are on the way to the dump. 

Penne will have to wait for a new bed until I am as sure as I have rid my house of the fleas and their eggs.

That's a work in progress - so please do not sit next to me at Church tomorrow.  I may be an unaware carrier of  Ctenocephalides canis

Friday, 30 September 2016

Les Skuse: who the heck is Les Skuse?

I am binging on the novels of John Irving. My current fix is on his 2005 novel "Until I find you".

( I sometimes think that Irving's novels have but one plot. but each with fascinating characters!).

"Until I find you". have to do with the four year old Jack Burns, and his mother Alice who is a Tattooist.

 In an early chapter which is titled "Saved by the Littlest Soldier", John Irving writes "Nevertheless, Tattoo Ole's only comment was that the legendary Les Skuse in Bristol would have been envious of Jack's needlework".  

This reference to Les Skuse jolted my memory. I had not thought about Skuse in ages. I had no reason to so do!  Then his name pops up in a novel  John Irving clearly does not skimp on his research.  

Les Skuse is (was)  a real person. He had a Tattoo Parlour on Mina Rd in my home City of Bristol, long before getting tatts was popular.

His name and business were household words throughout Bristol.He was a nationally famous artist who was a hero  for soldiers. sailors, and bikers etc.

He was a suspicious character  for  respectable Bristolians who had no truck with tatts, and thought them to be a bit "lower class".

Les Skuse

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

A good friendship revisited today

The Very Revd. Andrew B. McGowan is Dean and President at the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale.

He has been in my neck of the woods this week as the guest lecturer for the (Episcopal Church) Diocese of South West Florida's annual Clergy Conference.  His lectures were eloquent, clear, well focused, and at times very witty.

I would not have expected less.  For I know him better as my friend Andrew.

He was a parishioner and priest associate at St. James's, Cambridge, MA  when he taught at the Episcopal Divinity School and I was the Rector at St. James's.

Andrew and his family returned to Melbourne, AU where he took up the post of Warden at the University of Melbourne's Trinity College.  Some of you will remember that I visited Australia in 2011 and spent three or four days with Andrew and his clan.  **

Of course I got a bit "puffed up"  yesterday when Andy told the assembled clerics that I had been his Rector in Cambridge!

I was able to "pull rank"  so that I could be the chauffeur who drove Andy from our Camp and Conference Centre to Sarasota's Airport for his return flights to Connecticut.

This was splendid. We were in good time, so were able to relax for about an hour at the airport;  time to enjoy each other's company.

We caught up on our  family news; we shared our perspectives on Episcopal Church life; and we engaged in a wee bit of scurrilous Church gossip!

I am in awe of Andrew McGowan's scholarship.

I am grateful to count him as a dear and good friend.

I know that St. James's Cambridge friends will be afflicted with a tinge of envy when they read that I had "good time" with Andy today!



Andrew McGowan talked about what I will loosely call "Church services" (not his words). 

We often ask "is this relevant to me?"   He reminded us of the essential  question: "Is this pleasing to God?"


**  see this from 2011

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Perhaps I will be in deep trouble

Ever since senior cat Ada left us last week

Poor skinny Ada

Junior cat Adelaide has demanded attention as only cats can

Adelaide looking at the birds outside.
She has been around my ankles whenever I have been seated;  znd mostly when I have wanted. to read a good book.(This is new behaviour) 

But mostly Adelaide has demanded  to be outside  (to search for Ada maybe?).

Adelaide takes no prisoners.    She begins her yowling to be let out  (and it us a "yowl" not a "miaow") as early as 4:00 a.m., and she keeps it up for up for as much as forty-five minutes; indeed she keeps it up until I bow to her superior will.

I think that domestic cats should also be indoor cats.  In principle I prefer to keep them inside where they will be much less susceptible to disease, and  unable to prey on small birds.

Nevertheless my high minded principles have had to submit  to Adelaide's  incessant pleas.

All this is in the face of the rules of my Condominium Association: rules which insist that cats be kept inside.  

I respect those rules in principle,.  

I disrespect the rules  when "Addie" has worn me down with her sad cries.

The Condo Assoc. has the right to fine me, or to imprison me, or  to transport me to Catalonia.

I refuse to bow down before the rules in the face of these possible penalties. I will allow Adelaide her freedom ........

..... except and unless the Condo. Assoc rules that I be flogged with  this

Do you know what it is called?

Tongue in cheek as ever!

Monday, 26 September 2016

On the night of the so called presidential debates

26th September 2016

“wherever the TV glows, there sits someone who isn't reading.” 

― John Irving

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Of course I am crazy for the novels of John Irving.

I suppose that I read  his novel "A Prayer for Owen Meany"  soon after it was published in 1989.  It blew my mind away, even though I did not entirely comprehend it. 

The "denouement" ( if that is the right word) of the novel devastated me  ( I had missed the clues along the way).

I plan to read it again.

Later on I read "The Cider House Rules"

What a great book.  Irving is courageous and  deeply honest regarding the "taboo" subject of abortion. He goes where  venial politicians, pastors and moralists cannot go for fear that their unformed prejudices will be challenged, whilst women suffer.

Just now I have read  Irving's "In One Person"  (2012)

This novel blew my mind away as had "A Prayer for Owen Meany". 

It made me glad and sad.

GLAD that I am still amongst the living.

SAD that I have tried so hard to keep my soul pure that I have never been able to let my body enjoy sexual pleasure sans guilt.


Thank you John Irving for pointing me to the direction of freedom.  If only I/we could believe what he writes.


As Irving writes:

“Your memory is a monster; you forget—it doesn't. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you—and summons them to your recall with will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!” 

― John IrvingA Prayer for Owen Meany