Showing posts from 2017

The answer to yesterday's quiz.

The answer to yesterday's quiz is "Hoppin' John"

Those of you who knew the answer "knew the answer". 

Others were befuddled or disinterested.

I am not an American Southerner and I do not believe in "good luck", or bad luck. Nevertheless I make Hoppin' John every year to eat on New Year's Day,

It's so tasty.

Can you guess what I am preparing?

To be eaten with

Can you guess when I will eat it?

2017 The Year of Three Dogs

Penne I cried for three days when she left this life in February.  She was a good friend for nine years.

Ben was with me for just three months then he had to be re-adopted because his separation anxiety when I left my home was pitiful. He is now happily living with a family who already had a Greyhound, so Ben has a good pal. But I still remember that as we walked he would often nudge my hand, a lovely sign of affection.

Izzy the new light of my life. She is not usually allowed to be on the sofa, but I allowed her to stay there until I took this picture of her- in all her majesty and beauty.

I am that bewildered old duffer

I have a new car.

It is a silver grey coloured small car, a Kia Forte

There are too many silver colored small cars.

So I am that poor old duffer who wanders around parking lots trying to look confident, but in truth utterly unable to find which of the silver colored small cars is his, and hoping that no one notices that he is trying to unlock every single silver coloured small car until he finds his own.

"But there he goes"  they think or say.: "that poor old senile fool who cannot find his car".

YUP.  That's me!

CHRISTMAS DAY POST SCRIPT (and a bit about Rolls Royce/Bentley cars)

My new car.  Not really.   My Christmas Day meal was at a  pretty swanky Club.  This Rolls Royce (**) was not in the general parking area. nor in the valet parking area.  It was parked immediately outside the main entrance -  where the valet parking staff could keep it under their watchful eyes.

W hen I was a parish Rector I left the opening of my Christmas Cards until after "Midnight Mass".  I needed to wind down after the various Christmas services before I was ready for sleep. 

No parish duties these days but I still leave the cards unopened until Christmas Day.

I especially like the photo' cards.  Some of the babies I baptised are now teenagers. 
Some of the teenagers in the youth groups are now college graduates, some of them are married, and some of them have children of their own. 
I feel so old, and so very grateful.

It's against the rules, but I allowed Izzy to sit on the Sofa on  Christmas Day.  She is so utterly handsome!


Super friends and good meal on Christmas Day 2017


For the fourth year in a row I was with my friends (the Revd) Fred Emrich and Diana Emrich. 

We enjoyed a splendid buffet lunch at their Club on Longboat Key (Sarasota) FL.

Terrific salad bar with oysters on the half shell, shrimp, salmon, asparagus etc.

Over abundant and tasty main course buffet.

Desserts "to die for" especially if you like chocolate.

(I chose Flan for dessert - Spanish/American style. not British style.)


Boxing Day - myths, and the truth

December 26th is a public holiday in the U.K. and in some Commonwealth Countries.

There are many tales and myths about its origins (see Snopes article below).

I have uncovered the truth.
It's a public holiday created by and for cats.

O Holy Night - The Slave Is Our Brother.

I post this every year at Christmastide "O Holy Night" Nat King Cole sings with beauty and with such superb diction. The History of "O Holy Night" The following is not my writing.  I "lifted it" from the WWW

Stories Behind the Music: "O Holy Night"

"O Holy Night" remains one of the world's most beloved Christmas carols, with uplifting lyrics and melody.

The lyrics were written by Placide Cappeau (1808-1877), a resident of Roquemaure, France (located a few miles north of the historic city of Avignon). Cappeau was a wine merchant and mayor of the town, as well as an occasional writer of poetry.

 Known more for his poetry than his church attendance, it probably shocked Cappeau when his parish priest, shortly before Cappeau embarked on a business trip, asked him to pen a poem for Christmas mass.

In a dusty coach traveling down a bumpy road to France's capital city, Cappeau considered the priest's request.…

KEY CHORALE: Such a gift - and out of the clear blue sky (so to speak).

On Friday 22nd I went shopping and tuned in on my car radio to WUSF our local public radio station.

WUSF (University of South Florida) was beginning yet another dreary political taking heads programme (lots of opinion, few facts), so I switched over to WSMR  (Sarasota Music Radio). there to encounter Christmas music of such immense beauty that my heart was filled with wonder and joy.

It turned out to be an (edited?) version of the recent Christmas Concerts given by Sarasota's fabulous KEY CHORALE under the direction of the storied choral conductor Dale Warland.

Since I was driving and shopping I could  not enjoy every moment of this wondrous Concert,
but there were three pieces which took me back into "lovely memory land".


Es ist ein Ros entsprungen  by Michael Praetorius (translated or paraphrased ) into English as "A Great and Mighty Wonder".

MEMORY As a High Schooler in a "pretty good" School Choir I set out with others  at one Christmas-tide to …

Not that I am bragging (but of course I am!)

I am teaching Izzy to stay in place.

Here she is near the sliding glass door to the Lanai.

She is still there when I am about  20 feet away at the end of the hallway

She waited until I told her to come to me.

She will also sit and wait when I hold a treat in the palm of my hand, and not take the treat until I tell her do so so.

When we get back home after a walk I drop her leash to tell her to wait until I have opened the porch door.

She does so until I  I bid her enter the porch.

Then I ask her to sit until I have removed her leash, and to wait until I open the front door.  She sits and waits until I welcome her into my home.

Good Dog!

Lots of work ahead especially in training her to stay in place out of the home, and to interact with other dogs, large and small.


Here she is at rest  in her 33" long/20" wide crate  (which she loves) -  giving you a better sense of he size than does the above photo's.

Not to be ignored, or forgotten.(Others who serve America).

1.  Shane my USPS mailman.

2.  Eddie the WastePro guy who picks up my trash every Thursday.

Both are excellent in work and friendly in attitude.

I can count on them.

They too serve America, for which I am glad.

I depend upon their service

A gratuity to them at Christmas-tide was utterly appropriate  (and gratefully received).

A tangled web of metaphors

My favourite football (soccer) team is the Bristol City Football Club.  I have supported them through thick and thin (an awful lot of thin) since I was about nine years old.

Lowly BCFC met the mighty Manchester United in a * "Carabao Cup"  fixture today.

The result? 

BCFC 2 -  MU 1

We won!

Such was the excitement that a Bristol Sports Reporter/Journalist posted this to our local newspaper, the "Bristol Post"

"When Smith drove into the box, he almost laid the ball on a plate for Reid but for Daley Blind to pour cold water on the move, intercepting just as the forward looked to pull the trigger."

Untangle those metaphors if you can!


* The Carabao Cup

The EFL Cup (referred to historically, and colloquially, as simply the League Cup), currently known as the Carabao Cup for sponsorship reasons, is an annual knockoutfootball competition in men's domestic English football. Organised by the Englis…

What a difference a day makes

One swallow does not make a summer.  But I had a very good first session with Izzy and Michael Harvey: The K9 Coach


Mike told me of the shortcomings of training methods  (e.g. "treat training" rewards good behaviour, but does nothing for bad behaviour [you cannot "untreat"  a dog!].

He favours electronic collars.

The idea is that you use the collar to emphasize behaviour alongside  a verbal command. The collar emits tingles of varying intensity to teach  the dog about desired behavior.

(These collars are controversial in some quarters.  Do they cause pain?  I think and hope not.    I gripped  a collar in my hand - and found that the sensation is similar to "pin and needles").

Mike equipped Izzy with a collar, and in fewer than five minutes she was responding to commands.

The serious training will start on Boxing Day.  Mike will come to my home for the first two sessions, the third will be at his place.

Thereafter I can j…

Should Auld Aquaintace

Regular readers will remember that I bought an excellent Thanksgiving Dinner from "Fresh Market".

On the day itself my brother Andy and his wife Izzy (from the U.K.) enjoyed the feast, together with my neighbour Ed.

Then the leftovers.

My near the breadline neighbours were given enough for four meals.
I made about 4 quarts of Turkey Soup.
I mashed up potatoes and stuffing, binding them with an egg, for potato/stuffing cakes, (yummy fried for breakfast).
And yet more leftovers!
Enough to make two platefuls which I covered in tin foil and plastic wrap, and froze for future use.
I ate the last one today for lunch: Turkey, green  beans, mashed potato, stuffing. Almost as good as on the day itself  (but sans Cranberry relish).

So that’s where it was

I try to be a creature of orderly habits, but sometimes.....

When I give Adelaide her morning and evening treats of wet food I always put the can and cover in the fridge before Izzy gets to it.


No not always. One of these cans went AWOL the other day. Couldn't find it anywhere.

That’s until it slipped off a rack in my Kitchen Counter Oven today, an Oven I had used this morning to make toast

Oh dear, there could have been a fire.

 Plastic lid all melted, food cooked.

Izzy's not so great first play date.

We went to Sarasota's Ken Thompson Park, one of our local under valued treasures. (Family visitors from the U.K. - the Park is in the same area as the Mote Marine Lab.)

Izzy and I were there to meet my good friends  Diana and Fred, and their lovely dog "Gusty".  Izzy got very growly with Gusty.  (Maybe it's leash aggression).

Fred, Diana and I kept the dogs apart whilst we enjoyed not only the sandwiches we had taken for lunch, but also the pleasure of our friendship,

Diana tried to take some photo's of Izzy -  hard to do because the latter does not know how to pose!

But here's one (which I've cropped from the original )  showing Izzy in her gorgeous hunting dog beauty.

Izzy and I start training on Tuesday 19th December at

Binges in Advent (2) ... in which I break the rules (with impunity and with music)

The immutable laws of the Medes and Persians  (Daniel 6:15) are less severe  than one immutable law of the  American Episcopal Church viz:



I gladly flout that law every Advent.

Weary and deafened by the saccharine "Christmas Season": music which is inflicted on me inside (and outside) various stores, supermarkets etc I seek for an antidote to XMAS MUZAK.

I find such relief every year in Advent in the stirring, powerful and joyous music of J.S. Bach from his Christmas Oratorio.

In particular I binge on this version from the St, Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany.

I rejoice in the passion of the Conductor, the Brass, and the Tympani.

See and hear it for yourself!

Binges in Advent (1)

Tuesday 12th Dec

Lunch at  Oasis Cafe on South Osprey Ave in SRQ

with Ted Copland, former Rector at St. Boniface Church on Siesta Key, Sarasota, FL.

I ate Bean Cakes with guacamole and sour cream.  Delicious.


Wednesday 13th Dec

Lunch at Nellie's Deli , North Beneva Ave, SRQ

with Ev Walk, former Rector at St.Margaret of Scotland on Clark Rd in Sarasota.

I ate a turkey breast sandwich in a Croissant. Just O.K.


Thursday 14th Dec

Lunch at Pho 99 on Clark Rd,Sarasota

with Carla McCook, current Rector at St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Sarasota.

I had Vietnamese Spring Rolls  Excellent!


Food aside, I binged on the lively and edifying conversations with these three partners in ministry in the American Episcopal Church.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing? (No they didn't and can't). (Then some fun)

My friend and Wise Woman the Revd. Dr. Mary Luti has been publishing some delightfully wise and whimsical musings about Angels on her Face book page.

Mary reminds us that the Angels of the Bible don't have wings, nor do they sing.(Wehave confused them with Cherubim  - an entirely different heavenly order).

On a serious and important note Mary reminds us that we do not become Angels in heaven.  We will be resurrected human beings.

She and I also strongly resist one of the popular responses to death in the Christian or nominally Christian world is to say "God wanted another Angel".

That's a particularly cruel thing to think or say when a child dies. God wanted another Angel?  As if God didn't have enough, so God decided that my darling child should be snatched away from me to swell his Corps of Angels.  What a dastardly God that would be.


Angels don't sing so "…