Saturday, 29 July 2017

Relatively speaking

I have seven surviving siblings.  One sister, Sylvia, died soon after her birth in 1942. My dear brother Stephen died all to soon and all too suddenly last year.

Thus we are/were a family with ten children.

I have nineteen nieces/nephews.

Through them I have twenty six great nephews/nieces.  I think that in the U.S.A. they would be called grand nephews/nieces.

Later this year I plan to be in the U.K.  I will see many (but not all) of this gang of fifty two descendants of my Mum and Dad (fifty three when I am included).

As I have planned this trip I have arranged to take two or three of my great nephews/nieces on a boat trip down the Bristol Avon on the M.V. Balmoral on Oct 1st.    (See the MV Balmoral  website for details of trips from Bristol).

My guests will be Ryan, the son of my niece Nicola; Bree, the daughter of my niece Leah, and (maybe) Isaac, the son of my niece Emma.

My question for those of you who are expert in such matters is "How are Ryan, Bree, and Isaac related to each other?"  Their parents are first cousins. What are they?

MV Balmoral on the Bristol (U.K.) Avon

Friday, 28 July 2017

German Shepherd Dog and Trader Joe's

" To sleep, perchance to dream"  (Shakespeare), or in my case, "to sleep and always to dream".

Take last night  (Thursday 27th)

I was in a big gym.  About 3/4  of the space was devoted to free weights, treadmills, and fitness machines.

I was exercising  in a corner in the empty 1/4 of the room. Across from my was a huge gym mat on which I saw a long-haired German Shepherd Dog.

I couldn't find a stock photo' of a G.S. dog on its ba

He was lying down on his back,but had twisted his head to look at me.  His tail never stopped wagging.

I whistled him over, but he ignored me. I could not figure out of he was there to protect me or to attack me.

Then I "sort of" woke up.  When I got back to sleep I had the same dream all over again. ( I have no way of knowing if I had been half awake for ten seconds, ten minutes or longer, but I remember thinking "I've already had this dream").

This dream revisited went on.  I decided to leave the gym, only to discover that I was driving out of the parking lot at Trader Joe's on Mass. Ave in Arlington Heights, MA.

Trader Joe's, Arlington Heights, MA

My Cambridge, Arlington, Lexington friends who have used this store know that the (usually crowded) parking lot is a bugger to enter and leave.

As I was leaving my foot got stuck on the accelerator pedal, and I zoomed out, narrowly missing an elderly couple who were pushing an occupied baby buggy/push chair. They glared at me.

I drove west on Mass Ave at high speed until I cams to an intersection with a road sign pointing to Eastville a district of  Bristol U.K. (very near to where I grew up).  I turned left, but never got to Bristol!

Go figure!  My dream is fairly easy to interpret.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

The Rabble Rouser in Chief (and a request to my Church friends who are Republicans)

Under the current Occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, D.C the very word "immigrant" has been tarnished and demeaned.

As an immigrant (and now a citizen of the U.S.A.) I find this hard to take  (to put it mildly!).

Of course he means undocumented immigrants (I refuse to call them illegal immigrants, because although there are illegal acts there are no illegal people).

But who, in the mind of D.J.T., are the undocumented immigrants? Are they the hundreds of thousands of undocumented residents;  people from Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, and India?

I think not!

You know, I know, and his acolytes know that he is referring to children, women and men from Mexico. from Central America, from some countries in South America, and from Haiti etc.

In a speech in Youngstown, Ohio earlier this week he described these immigrants as "animals".

(See the video below, and see also the apparent enthusiasm of his acolytes).

With no reference to authentically reported criminal events (except for those in his mind) he referred to those who slice and dice young women.

Of course there is immense cruelty in some criminal activity in the U.S., but to suggest that such cruelty is the exclusive province of immigrants from Latino countries is to fly in the face of the facts. (But when did facts bother our Rabble Rouser in Chief?).

In truth, most immigrants who have been deported under D.J.T. have been law abiding and productive citizens.  And in case you think that I am blinded by my biases I add that President Obama (in danger of being deified by we progressives) was no slouch when it came to deportations of undocumented immigrants).

But he never called them animals.

And that's what bothers me about "The Occupant".  He is all too willing to use the same kind of  rhetoric as did the Na-i propagandists  under Joseph Go-bels in their references to Jews.

Such rhetoric inevitably leads to hatred, cruelty, persecution and death.

It's all too easy to demonise "the other".


When ever we have a baptism in the Episcopal Church we all say "yes" to this solemn promise.

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
I pray that my Episcopal Church friends who are Republicans will remember this holy promise and then urge our President (whose third marriage was solemnized in an Episcopal Church)  to respect the dignity of all immigrants, and never ever refer to children, men, and women who are made in the image of God as Animals.


Monday, 24 July 2017

Getting my dog fix.

My friends Rick and John live in the adjoining Glen Oaks Manor community.  They have four dogs between them and they often walk out at about 5:00 p.m. Rick has two Poodles, John has two Labradors.

Yesterday (Sunday 23rd) I called to see if they were about to walk, 'cause I needed a dog fix.

They were, and I got my fix.

There is Vittone.  He is a handsome, bright and self confident Standard Poodle, and he knows it.  All the girls dogs adore him.  He is like the handsome star quarterback on a High School team.  He knows that all the cheerleaders have a crush on him.  He says (to himself) "just because I am very nice to you it doesn't mean that I'll invite you to the Prom.

Vittone is that kind of "stud" dog.  (And he loves every bit of attention I give him).


Vittone belongs to Rick, as does Louis.  Louis was the runt of his litter, and he's a bit smaller than most Standards.

Louis is the the modest, shy, self-effacing dog.  "I am a nothing and a nobody" he says, "there is no need to make a fuss of me.

So I do make a fuss of Louis, telling him over and over again that he is a wonderful, splendid beast and that he has a special place in my heart.  (He remains unconvinced!)


Annie and Kate (or is it Katie and Anne) come with Rick's partners John.

They have discovered the secret of perpetual motion.  It's almost impossible to scratch their ears or haunches 'cause they can't stand still.  They run around me, between my legs, and around me again.

They always walk together, and they have the particular skill of "synchronised tail-wagging"  it's fun to behold.


The "Ever Ready Bunny" Labs.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

It's (vaguely) salmon, but don't' call it bacon

I picked up a package at Trader Joe's. thinking it to be Smoked Salmon. (if only I had read the label!)

Well, it is salmon (reconstructed bits?)  but by no stretch of the imagination is it bacon.

I think the same way about "Turkey Bacon''

It's "O.K" in its own right, but it should never be called "bacon". (note that it is chopped and formed).

Some Americans rave about Canadian Bacon.

It's good in its own way but I doubt that the "Canadian Bacon" made and sold in the U.S.A. would recognize the Maple Leaf Flag.

Americans encounter "Canadian" Bacon most often in Eggs Benedict. (Made well they are superb),

I grew up in England eating
Back Bacon if we were flush
Streaky Bacon in less prosperous days.

These days I am reduced (and delighted) to eat American Bacon

Cooked well it is entirely delicious and dripping in pork fat.  Oh so good!

Oh so good and entirely unhealthy.

That's why I sometimes eat "Salmon Bacon" and pretend that it is the real thing,