Friday, 9 February 2018


Such a good day!   

Walks with my dog (who spreads joy all around)

Simple and gracious conversations with others; 

* Relaxed and at peace at a regular Friday gathering known as  "Ben's Bar" ( hosted this week by Rick and John).
A fabulous and unexpected phone call from an old friend.

* Nothing to make me whine or complain.   That's unusual!

Gratitude is a good attitude!

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Back to school for His Highness (and a dog)

My 'phone rang and I did not recognise the number.

The male voice at the other end said "Is this His Highness?"

Then I knew who was calling.  It was John, the dog behaviourist  at the Humane Society of Sarasota County. He knows me as "Your Highness".

When John first called me about my Izzy/Cat issues he asked "what should I call you?"  e.g.  Michael or Mr. Povey.

I responded "Please call me Your Highness "

That tickled his funny bone!

John called me today to ask if Zion and I would be willing to take some HSSC training which would clear us to visit Nursing Homes and Schools where Zion could charm, delight and educate frail seniors or young children.

"Betcha" that I said yes.  Zion could charm a squirrel out of a tree!  He is my daily joy and delight.

School for Zion and for me begins on February 9th 2018.

Who would not love him!

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Why I am not uncritical about Winston Churchill.

If we are determined to be wise we must de-construct and examine  our personal, social, religious and national myths.


The 2017 film  “The Darkest Hour” has once again fanned the embers of interest in Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill.  Churchill played an important  role in British History (1940-45), to the extent that he has been lionized to the point of idolization.

1. It’s most likely that he got the job of Prime Minister because no one else wanted it (and he wanted it badly).  He built a strong coalition Cabinet.  

2. And to most British people he was the rock of stability in those dreadfully uncertain and dangerous years.

3.He could be an irritant to his Generals when he wanted to micro-manage military strategy.

4. He treated Charles de Gaulle most shamefully.

5. Roosevelt thought him to be pesky “pain in the neck”, but he knew that the Old Man was susceptible to flattery.

6. Stalin knew this too.

7. He was thrown out of Office in 1945 because the British working people knew that he would never have their best interests in his heart (When Home Secretary he had mobilised the troops against striking workers).

(See this for clarification).

8. He was an unrepentant imperialist who wrote that Gandhi should be tied to the gates of Delhi, and then trampled to death by a large elephant bearing the Viceroy of India.


With this in mind I have been in some correspondence with friends about the power of national myths (e.g. the myth of young George Washington and the Cherry Tree which gives expression to our hope that the President of the U.S.A should be truthful beyond reproach).

Seventy years on after WWII the myths of Churchill still dominate much political discourse in the U.K.(Some people still say “If only Churchill were here now”)

9. We must reject the uncritical myth of “Saint Winston the Perfect”, and whilst acknowledging his greatness also give due attention to his very dark side.
  • 10. Churchill on Eugenics from a site friendly to him
11.Churchill on the use of gas in warfare from:
  • Paris, 24 January 1919. Churchill: A Life. Gilbert, Martin (1992). New York: Holt, p. 408. ISBN 9780805023961
  • I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. We have definitely adopted the position at the Peace Conference of arguing in favour of the retention of gas as a permanent method of warfare. It is sheer affectation to lacerate a man with the poisonous fragment of a bursting shell and to boggle at making his eyes water by means of lachrymatory gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gases: gases can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet would leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected … We cannot, in any circumstances acquiesce to the non-utilisation of any weapons which are available to procure a speedy termination of the disorder which prevails on the frontier.
  • ------------------------------------------------------
12. On White Supremacy: Churchill to Palestine Royal Commission, 1937
I do not admit... that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia... by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race... has come in and taken its place.


If we are determined to be wise we must de-construct and examine  our personal, social, religious and national myths.

Monday, 5 February 2018

What breed? (or "For such a time as this")

My best beloved Penne lived with me for nearly ten years.  I cried for three days when she died.

The Humane Society pegged her as a terrier/retriever mix.  But when people asked "what breed is she?" I would reply "she's a darling".

Now I have a new best beloved dog. His name is Zion.

The Humane Society think that he is mostly spaniel.  I am not so sure, but he has the Spaniel "sad eyes".

English Cocker Spaniel

A neighbour suggested "maybe a Brittany Spaniel mix".  Apart from the colouring I think not.


The Brittany were once called Brittany Spaniels and were bred to be hunting dogs and companions. Bred mostly for bird hunting they still have that absolute focus on birds today wanting to chase them. It is an energetic dog who takes parts in activities such as pointing, retrieving and hunting. While it might have once been named as a spaniel it is more like a setter or pointer.

My best guess is that there is a lot of Golden Retriever in Zion's DNA.

Golden Retriever.

He certainly has the sweet and gentle disposition for which Goldens are renowned.

It doesn't matter.

In truth, like Penne he is a  "darling".

Zion has come into my life for such a time as this, my time of grief.

His companionship is a blessing.

1) He helps me to understand that life is not  
about me and my needs.

2) Zion reminds me that in the wonder of creation/evolution, canines and humans can form such wonderful inter species partnerships.  


Sunday, 4 February 2018

When I get really ticked off (what not to say when someone has died).

When my good friend Bruce W died at home, his partner Ben M and some of Ben's friends took ourselves to the Lanai with our backs to the home 'cause Ben couldn't bear to see Bruce's body being removed by the undertaker.

That being done the hospice worker joined us on the Lanai and said "at least he is in a better place now".

I wanted to hit the roof and scream "you mean the mortuary".

My brother Steve died in his sleep,  His wife, children, grandchildren and siblings/siblings in law were (and are)  cut to the core.

On my return to the U.S.A. I was telling some friends about Steve's sudden death,  An acquaintance listening in to our conversation said "what a way to go".

This time I did scream, and was very angry. "What do you mean" I said, "my brother has left so many family members and friends who are in deep grief.  How dare you say "what a way to go" without even saying "I am sorry he died".

The same thing happened on Friday evening.  I was talking about Allan Rogers' sudden death and some idiot said "what a way to go".

I felt my anger rising.  I responded "you may think that, but never say it to people who are in in the shock of grief.

So many times at wakes and funerals I have heard well meaning people say to the grieving spouse or family "call me if you need anything".  Don't say that.  They won't call.

If all you can say is "I am very sorry" then say that, and no more.

Don't utter platitudes such as "time will heal" or "you have to process your grief".

The passage of time may numb the pain of grief, but it will always be there".

And it's ridiculous to say "you have to process your grief".  

Grief cannot be processed.  It possesses us. 

One last thing. The next time I hear some numskull say at the death of a child "God needed another angel" I will strangle that person there and then, all the while saying " now you can find out what it's like to be an angel".

Your friend jmp whose grief is real at Allan's death, but is nothing to be compared with that of his parents, his sisters, his daughter and her spouse.