Saturday, 17 March 2018

The gifts of friends

Jacob Taylor is a sophomore at New College, Sarasota.  His parents Jonathan and Andi  (the Revd) moved from Sarasota to West Yarmouth, MA  when his mother was called to be the Rector of St. David's Church there.  Jacob's brother Noah is an Army Ranger.

Jacob and I munched at Panera Bread on University Parkway, SRQ

I have known Jack and Pat McLaughlin since 1984 when I became the Rector of the Parish they attended, St. Stephen's, Pittsfield, MA.

Upon retirement they moved to the  (truly lovely) town of Wolfeboro, N.H. where I visited them many times;  then more recently to Nashua N.H.

Pat and Jack visit Longboat Key, FL every March and we always look forward to getting together.

Today we had a great reunion and a  picnic lunch at Sarasota's sometimes under appreciated City Island.  


The photo's have a common factor, but you'll never guess what it is.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Gone but not forgotten

It was a year ago that I adopted the ever wonderful Ben.  I had to say farewell to this great dog 'cause his separation anxiety when I left him alone was pitiful.

He is now re-homed with a family who have another Greyhound, and he is doing so very well. 

As we walked Ben, on my left, would often nudge my left hand.  Sweet!

Thursday, 15 March 2018

I am not antediluvian or luddite by nature...BUT

When it comes to text messages I am a flop!

My old fingers and thumbs are no longer nimble, so I use a stylus. 

It works for me.

But that's not the issue.  

You see,  I text in sentences, using fullstops, commas, parentheses,  and capitalization etc.

Silly me!


I have been trying to arrange  a late lunch with Jacob T  (son of Jonathan T and the Revd Andi T, (formerly of Sarasota).

Jacob stayed in the area as he is enrolled at New College, Sarasota.

I sent him by text what was almost an essay as I made a suggestion for our lunch rendezvous.

He replied with one word:- "Solid", indicating that my suggestion was good for him.

I write a term paper by text.  Jacob T replies with one word!

I suppose that I should master the texting language and etiquette.  

Jacob is decades ahead of me in this learning.

Whatever  ( I can be with it!)  I look forward to lunch with this fine young man.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018



I awoke this morning (14th March 2018) at about 1:00 a.m. with a very dry mouth.

I began to walk towards the kitchen to find a hard candy, but did not turn the light on.

All unbeknown  to me Zion ( a.k.a. "Mr Perfect) had decided not to sleep on his bed, but in the bedroom doorway (protecting me?).

I tripped over him and fell to the ground, (no bruises or blood shed by  me or Zion) but I manged to knock a container of blood thinner meds to the ground. Pills all over the floor!  I had to sweep them up in the wee hours lest Mr.Perfect should decide that they were dog treats.



Later in the morning Mr. Z decided that he'd rather sit in the front passenger seat of my car than in the back seats.

All well and good but he also decided to lie on his side with his head on my right thigh so that I could caress him,  (oh  how sweet).

Oh  how sweet until I could not move at the green signal at a nearby traffic light,  'cause Mr. Z had pushed my gear stick into neutral. 

The drivers behind me were wonderfully patient!

Back seats only Zion.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

A Jolly Good Day! (with a lachrymose moment),

13th March 2018

Off to the Goodwill used book store on Clark Rd/Derek Rd SRQ at 10:00. today.  There I bought two good priced books by my current favourite authors Joyce Carol Oates ("Beasts"), and Isabel Allende ("The House Of The Spirits").

From there to Trader Joe's to get their good and low priced dog food; their excellent Ciabatta Bread; and "Irish Style" bangers, a new product in their range.

"Bangers and Mash" soon!

See this


That being accomplished I met my good friend Rick P for lunch at  Sabrosa on South Osprey (opposite P.F. Chang's).

Here is a puff piece about Sabrosa

The food is good!

I had  


Pulled pork, Sabrosa Sauce drizzle.  

with CHIPOTLE SLAW (MEXICO) as a side.

Oh Yum!


EXCUSE THE FOLLOWING UPPER case letters. My computer is being silly and will not allow me to use lower case.


My plan had been to eat outside 'cause Zion was with me. BUt it was a bit chilly so rick asked a server if we might inside.  She (with the deepest wink you can imagine) said "Only if it is a service dog".

So zion became a service dog, we ate inside and he behaved!


Since we were in the area i took zion to sarasota's bay front park for a half mile walk after lunch. It's a lovely area.

There we encountered some nice children walking out with their parents. Two of the children asked if they might pet my lovely dog.

Of course i AGREED: what a PLEASURE it was to share my lovely and gentle dog with THESE youngsters.


each morning and evening i prepare zion's food.

as i do so he comes into the kitchen.

the food being set out i say (in a gentle voice) "what do we do now?"

my gentle beast immediately sits down and does not move until I give him the "o.K.".

He did so this morning.

(Now lower case is working!  Go figure)

This morning my eyes filled with tears at the very sight of this beautiful beast who brings such joy to me and to others. I should be so lucky!

Monday, 12 March 2018

Divesting from plastics (and a question about soap flakes).

My plastic jug of liquid laundry detergent being empty I looked today for a replacement in my local supermarket, with the hope that I could avoid plastic containers.

There were only two brands of powdered detergent in cardboard boxes on the shelves.

I opted for this 

But even the cardboard box has a light plasticy laminate, so I am not sure how recyclable it is.

(Incidentally, contrary to public lore,  the origin of  the Arm and Hammer brand name has nothing to do with an oil tycoon named Armand Hammer.  But he was wealthy enough to buy some shares of the Manufacturing Company and to gain a seat on the Board - see  )


Other notes:

1.  I am not persuaded that detergents are good for us, or good for the environment  (waste water etc).

2. I looked in vain in the supermarket for soap flakes, as a more environmentally friendly product.  When I found this product on-line it was to discover that some soap flakes are made from Palm Oil, and Coconut Oil.  Is this any less harmful to the failing health of planet earth?   Are there green soap flakes?

Environmentalist and Scientist friends, please let me know.

3. Fabric softeners are unnecessary (we no longer dress in serge or sack-cloth!), and are bad for the environment.  Stop using them please!!

4.  Most of our washing/laundry garments are not very dirty.  They can be safely and efficiently washed in cold water, with just a tad of detergent (about a quarter of the manufacturer's recommended amounts).

5.  In a like vein it is unnecessary and harmful to wash our hair with shampoo every day. Maybe once a week is enough, and then only using about a third or half of the printed instructions on the shampoo bottle.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Mothering Sunday (and some griefs observed)

In the English speaking Commonwealth Countries 11th  March 2018 has been Mothering Sunday.  It's a quasi-religious celebration which is observed on the Fourth Sunday in Lent, this its date varies from year to year.   

It is not the same as the fixed date American Mother's Day - although thanks to the baleful influence of American cultural imperialism it is now widely known as Mother's Day in Commonwealth Countries  (Boo!).

There are various theories as to the etiology of Mother Sunday.  I suspect that some of them are a bit bogus. 

(Did people truly go to their Mother Church on this day  -  and if so why?).  

(Did servant girls get this Sunday off to visit their mothers - and if so why not servant boys?)

Perhaps it has a connection to a passage from the fourth chapter of Paul's letter to the Galatians which in the olden days was always read in Anglican Churches on Lent IV -  it contains this somewhat odd reference to the heavenly city as  "Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all".

My Face book page has been filled today with wonderful greetings from my nieces and nephews to my sisters and sisters-in-law (and now that I am getting on in years from my great nephews/nieces to their Mums.  'Tis sweet.

I've had some sombre family thoughts today.

I think of my maternal grandmother Kate Ames Finch whose daughter also called Kate (she was my mother's sister) who died from what was then called lockjaw, (maybe in the 1920's).

I think of my mother Evelyn who gave birth to my sister Sylvia 
(1941/42) whose very brief life ended as a result of Spina Bifida.

I think of my sister Ruth whose son Jack died of sudden crib/cot death when he was three months old.

I think of my sister in law Wendy whose precious child Thomas died very soon after birth (I had the enormous privilege of baptising him in the neonatal intensive care unit of St. Michael's Hospital, Bristol -  I happened to arrive in England the day he was born)

I think of my aunt Phyll whose daughter Rosemary died in her early twenties.

I think of my aunt Irene whose first born son Alan died when he was in his fifties.

And I think of those precious babies who died in the wombs of my sisters, sisters-in-law and nieces. (I hate the word mis-carriage).

So my thoughts today have been of grandmother Kate, mother Evelyn, sister Ruth, sister-in Law Wendy, Aunts Phyll and  Irene (and the others) whose children died before or after birth.

I know that their grief  was, or has been never utterly assuaged.

(The husbands and fathers also grieved deeply, but since this is Mothering Sunday I have been thinking of the mothers in my family.)