Saturday, 25 November 2017

In which jmp gets snarky, and "Father Christmas" (a.k.a. "Santa Claus"P) nails it.

It's all very wearisome that at this time of year Christian fundamentalists and right-wing nincompoops get their knickers in a twist and tell us either that there is a "War on Christmas", or remind us to "Keep Christ in Christmas".

It's all a bit of nonsense.  There is no war on Christmas.  Not because Christians are faithful in their witness but because retailers, hoteliers, airlines, petrol (gas) stations and the like wouldn't stand for it.

A war on Christmas it would the case only if Christians were ordered by the authorities to close their buildings and refrain from any religious observances at Christmas-tide.

A word to my Christian friends.  Have you every noted that the Gospels are not terribly interested in the birth of Jesus?  Only Luke mentions it. Matthews account of the three wise man is not about the birth of Jesus, it's there to "fulfill" the prophecy  "out of Egypt have a called my son.  The four Evangelists would be astonished at our modern day Christian obsession with Christmas.  They are much more concerned with the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth his passion and resurrection.

.  A certain class of Christians lament something which is not true! They claim  that we are not allowed to say "Merry Christmas"  (and that we must say "Happy Holidays). They whine that Christmas trees must now be called "Holiday Trees". (How many Christmas Trees are there in the Bible?"

So now for the snarky bit.   Naughty me noted that our local big fundamentalist Church is not having a Christmas Gift Market.  Ooops!

Hoist by there own petared

I tend to be on Father Christmas/Santa's side on this one.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Leftovers - the best part of Thanksgiving

Turkey Soup in the Making

Turkey Breast and Cranberry Relish Sandwich

Thursday, 23 November 2017

A good day was had by all, a love affair, and another great hymn for this time of year.

Brother Andy and Sister in Law Izzy were at my home for a Thanksgiving Dinner.  They were joined by my friend and neighbour Ed Green.  A and I return to the U.K. tomorrow  (boo hoo!)

Izzy and Adelaide had a mutual love affair. Izzy also liked Andy.  Brother in Law Bernard, and Niece Beth will be envious. They were also sweet on Adelaide when they visited me from the U.K.

Thanksgiving Dinner (courtesy of Fresh Market) was excellent.  Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Corn Bread SoufflĂ© (delicious), Green Beans with Bacon, Stuffing and Gravy were excellent  (better than I could have cooked) and without all the fuss and bother.  It was first glass, all I had to do was to heat it.

Of course I forgot to take photo's, all except for  the Fruit Tart (with a custardy sauce on a sort of short-bread base). Yum, Yum.

I eschewed the traditional Pumpkin Pie (which I don't particularly like) in favour of this tart.


Neil Page, the Former Director of Music at St. Boniface Church, in response to my posting about "We Gather Together", reminded me of the superb hymn for Thanksgiving (USA) or Harvest Thanksgiving (UK), (and other times).

It's a strong and vigorous  text by Fred Pratt Green (1930-2000) a Methodist Minister, who wrote 300 hymns in his retirement years.

(Note the strong rhyming e.g. "caring/despairing/sharing", and "astound us/confound us/ has found us")

The hymn is at its best when paired by the tune "East Acklam" an equally vigorous and strong tune  by Francis Jackson, (1917 - ), former Master of Music at York Minster.

Green was from Lancashire, Jackson is a Yorkshire-man.  The Battle of the Roses is over in this hymn and tune.

recorded at Pershore Abbey, U.K.

Thanks Neil.

A hymn for Thanksgiving.

Perhaps the best know Thanksgiving Hymn, certainly one of my favourites.

The following taken from a You Tube site "Your Church" throws light on the meaning of the words.

This is a wonderful, traditional Christian Hymn written originally by Adrianus Valerius as a patriotic song in 1597 to celebrate the Dutch victory over Spanish forces in the Battle of Turnhout. The Catholic King Phllip II of Spain, whom the Dutch were fighting, had forbidden the Protestants to gather for worship. Here are the lyrics: We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing; He chastens and hastens His will to make known. The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing. Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own. Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining, Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine; So from the beginning the fight we were winning; Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine! We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant, And pray that Thou still our Defender will be. Let Thy congregation escape tribulation; Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Fun (but no games) in the air today

Andy, Izzy and I took a Helicopter Ride today. It was terrific.

We took off from the back end of Sarasota Airport  (near Tallevast Road), using the services of Florida Suncoast Helicopters ( ), a business which sells helicopters, services them, houses them for clients, and offers tours for the public.

From the airport we flew due west across the inter-coastal to Longboat Key just about where the old Colony Beach and Tennis Resort was.  (President George W. Bush stayed there the night before he read to students at Sarasota's Emma Booker Elementary School.  It was whilst he was at the school that he heard the report of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center on 9/11).

Then we flew south looking at Longboat Key, St. Armand's Key, Lido Key, Siesta Key and then Casey Key, all to our east.

We then flew north up the inter-coastal with the Keys to our west and the mainland to our east.

We didn't fly in straight lines. Our good Pilot (named Mike) swooped here and there so that we could look at Manatees, a Shark, and Dolphins in the water below.

Izzy and Andy have been here for almost two weeks, so they were able to recognize the south and north drawbridges from the mainland to Siesta Key; Siesta Village; and Turtles on the Bay where we ate last night. Mike also swooped around so that they could see from the air the Condo Unit  they are  renting.

We saw Stephen King's home on Casey Key; and the homes of Jerry Springer and Brian Johnson (of the band AC/DC fame)  on Bird Key.

See from the air I was shocked to see how much the various Keys (except Casey) are overdeveloped. This is not apparent when driving on the Gulf of Mexico Drive (LBK), or Siesta Drive, Higel Road SK).

The following photo's are not great.  Note to self  "next time take a real camera, and don't depend on an I-Pad").

Our "Bird". The same one on which I flew about flew when I treated my nephew Sam and his buddy Toby to a flight about six years ago.

Brother Andy to the left of the Pilot in the front seats.

Longboat Key and the Golf Course (Golf by the Gulf)

The Passenger Terminals  at SRQ Airport.

The authentic 'copter from a Batman movie.  "Garaged" at Florida Suncoast Helicopters, and still  flyable.

A flight with Florida Suncoast Helicopters could be just the treat for your next SRQ visitors. 

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Queen Adelaide I and II

Queen Adelaide I was the wife of King William IV of the United Kingdom.

Adelaide,Australia is named for her.  (The City also has a King William St.)

I have been to Adelaide, and I liked it very much.


Few people have heard of Queen Adelaide II of Sarasota.

She is very fond of cheese (but only if it's Cheddar).

But Her Imperiousness would not eat it whilst on Camera. 

What else would you expect from a cat?


Brother Andrew, sister-in-law Izzy and I went down to Turtles on the Bay  (Siesta Key) today for an almost valedictory dinner.

Turtles is ever reliable with "pretty good food". I took my sisters Maureen and Jean (and their husbands Bernard and John respectively) two years ago for their valedictory supper.  So I am developing a tradition to take my English Povey kin to Turtles just before they return to the U.K. It's "cool" that my family members like to visit me here.

Our waiter's name was Phillip. He was pleased that I knew that his name means "Lover of Horses".


With a nice view of Little Sarasota Bay.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Another good day with family members: St. Boniface Church, Siesta Key and UBER

So off I went to Siesta Key this afternoon to see my brother Andy and my sister in law Izzy.

My plan was to watch a sunset, but Old Sol was hidden behind the clouds.  Ne'er mind.  I paddled in the Gulf, and then had a good dinner at their Villa.

They are staying in a comfortable and spacious Villa at the Island House Beach Resort.  There is no beach view, but the sugar sands of Siesta Beach are but a three minute walk away.

The Villas at the Island House Beach Resort


Andy chose to attend St. Boniface Church this morning.  Although the liturgy baffled him .....
 (we Episcopalians take it for granted and like to believe that Christian from other traditions will automatically like and understand it NOT SO!)

Apart from this, Andy received a warm welcome from the always welcoming Betsie Danner, and enjoyed Jonathan Evans' sermon (which was short by Andy's Evangelical Church perspective).


 I chose to use UBER to get to the Key and back today. Even a glass or two of wine can lead to impaired driving judgment, so it's better to be safe than sorry.

I have mixed feelings about UBER.  On the one hand I wish that the drivers were treated as employees with Health Care and Pension plans (rather than as Independent Contractors).

On the other hand I like the UBER app.  which indicates exactly when the ride will arrive, and the fare (comparable with a traditional taxi at peak times, and much cheaper at off peak times).

In the event both drivers today were pleasant and efficient. They both like working with UBER in order  to gain a supplemental income.

My second driver told me how he had evacuated a 90 years old woman to Atlanta to escape Hurricane Irma  (a twelve hours drive to Atlanta and a thirteen hours drive back) and that her Georgia family provided him with bed and board for five days , and added  an utterly generous tip.