Saturday, 24 March 2018

March 24th 2008 / March 24th 2018

March 24th 2008 was the day I adopted my beloved Penne, the first canine love of my life.  I still miss her.  I cried for three days when she died.

Penne was not very comfortable with other dogs  (but she and Chardonnay - (a golden retriever owned by my friends G and J ) tolerated each other.

Penne loved people,  especially my neighbour Ed G. and my friend Bob L.  She would sing for joy when she saw them,

She learned to recognise Bob L's car and would sing like crazy when she saw it,

Penne would take pills without resistance, and when I drew near with her ear drops she would bend her head to one side so that I could squirt the drops, and she would love it when I massaged her ears.

I still miss her.


March 24th 2018

I took my new love Zion to the Humane Society of Sarasota County for a programme for children;  one hour of which was to chat to and listen to youngsters about Therapy Teams.

We were about seven teams  (owners and dogs).

The  Chihuahua (front and right) had a crush on Zion and whimpered for 45 minutes, all to no avail!  We kept them separate.

 We'd been told that our programme was not a "meet and greet" for the dogs  but an opportunity for children to learn about therapy teams.

The dog front and centre at the back is a Pit Bull.  His owner was at pains to tell us that Pit Bulls are not inherently dangerous, but that there are bad Pit Bull owners.

Take note: A gentle Pit Bull as a therapy dog!

One girl child learned that my Zion loves to have his belly rubbed. 

She kept it up for at least ten minutes.

Zion Belly rub and my left  knee. 

I cropped this pic. to protect the young girl's anonymity.

Friday, 23 March 2018

The old man and a dog. The old woman and a dog. Stock photo's and true stories.

Stock photo'

Stock photo'.

The old man leaned far forward in his wheel chair as the dog drew nearer.  The gentle dog placed his head on the old man's knee.

The old man buried his head in the dog's head.  He sat upright, the did it again.

He began to weep.  "Oh" he said, "you remind me of the two dogs owned. I wish that you could stay with me".

The man at the end of the leash said "he won't be able to stay with you, but he will visit you again next week".


The man at the end of the leash knocked on the door, walked into the room,  and greeted the woman in her bed.

He introduced himself and said "I understand that you like dogs".  "Oh yes" she said.   The gentle dog lifted his head to the bed so that the woman could touch it.

The man at the end of the leash asked "how long have you lived here?"  She replied  "a long time". "We used to live at K. (retirement home), then we moved to A. (assisted living), then my husband died.

"When" asked the man at the end of the leash.  "Last August" she replied. The man said "I guess that you will never get over your grief. Maybe the best is to wish is that somehow you will get used to it."  

"You are right" she said, "but I sometimes think that he is still with me.  I talk to him when I am watching T.V.".

The man at the end of the leash replied "I think that he is still with you".  

(He, the man at the end of the leash, has a conviction that the spirits of our dear departed grace us with their presence.)

The woman in her bed was so relieved to hear that it is absolutely right and necessary to commune with, and talk to our beloveds who have died.


The stories above relate events which happened today.

The photo's above are taken from Google images. Neither of them are of today's events, they are simply illustrations.

Crème brûlée tops off the evening.

Good Connections

Dinner 22nd March 2018

Mediterraneo, Main St, Sarasota.

One of Sarasota's best!

With good friends Ron and Charlotte Thompson, and Fred and Diana Emrich.

English family members Maureen and Bern, Jean and John, Andrew and Izzy, Martyn and Sam, Ruth and Dennis, and Janet have met the Thompsons and the Emrichs when they have visited Sarasota, so these photo's are to make them just a wee bit envious.


Charlotte T and Fred E  (They knew each other years ago in Reading, MA)

Diana E and Ron T

jmp and Charlotte T

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Star Dog (and good food)

"As I walked out"  (title of a fine book by English Author Laurie Lee) in Sarasota's Arlington Park yesterday I met a very pleasant man who was walking his very small dog.

He warned me that the dog could be growly, but in the event his dog and my Zion did well together.

I asked him the name of his dog.  With a touch of embarrassment he allowed that the dog is called Luke Sky Barker.

I love it!


My good SRQ and St. Boniface friend Rick P. invited me and two others for dinner at his home on Tuesday 3/20.

He cooked the most delicious Osso Bucco.

Stock photo' (not Rick's wonderful version)

... and served it with his home-made Polenta and a wonderful home made gravy/sauce (sauce or gravy depending on the region of Italy where it is served).

The meal was very good -  thanks Rick.

When I accepted Rick's invitation I told him that I had never before eaten Osso Bucco.

That was somewhat true save that after enjoying his dinner, I remembered have often eaten braised Lamb in England. It's more or less the same thing.

Braised Lamb.

What's in a name.  Is it Osso Bucco or Braised Lamb?

It matters little, save to say that Rick's Osso Bucco was made from scratch with his love and prayers.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Brought joy to my heart, and lifted my spirits.

My good neighbour Barbara B and I meet every ten days or so for an early morning coffee at our nearest Starbucks.

We did so this morning.  On my drive home I tuned into NPR news, but wearied by the chatter I switched over to our local Classical Music Station, WSMR.

I was enchanted by the choral music I heard. Maybe I'd heard it before, but I can't remember having done so.

It was the Sanctus from the Requiem
by Maurice Duruflé  (1902-1986).

This morning my heart was filled with joy and my spirits were lifted.

Such bliss in the car.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Bubble and Squeak

The Bangers and Mash were as good to eat as they looked in the picture.

Another British "ethnic food" is Bubble and Squeak.

If you want to be fancy you can look at Nigel Slater's upscale recipe.

But it won't be the real thing.

Bubble and Squeak  was/is? a Monday evening meal using leftovers,

Before the advent of washing machines and dryers Monday was Washing Day for British Housewives.  (Americans do the laundry, Brits do the washing).

It was a long day, full of hard work. We had no hot running water; whites  (sheets and towels) were washed in a copper boiler, rinsed, mangled, blued, and mangled again, then hung out to dry, (if it wasn't raining).

My oldest sister and I have memories of our Mum being so very tired for most of the time.  Who wouldn't be with nine children and no modern appliances.

Monday was the most labour intensive and  tiring day.   That's why our evening meal was sometimes  Bubble and Squeak, made from Sunday dinner leftovers.

If there were such leftovers then roasted potatoes, cabbage or peas, or Brussels sprouts etc would be cut up, mashed a bit, and fried in a large skillet, (using beef or pork drippings or maybe lard), until it was crispy on both sides.

If we were lucky there might be a slice of leftover Sunday meat, or a fried egg alongside the bubble and squeak, (it bubbled and squeaked as it was being fried).

Nigel Slater be darned!   We ate the poor peoples food.

 I never truly liked Bubble and Squeak! I still do my washing/laundry on Mondays.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Bangers and Mash at home tonight (Sunday 18th March '18) SO DARN GOOD!

About a week ago my American friend Cindy W. said that she and her husband Wesley W. like Bangers and Mash but that they found bratwurst to be an only tolerable substitute for bangers.

Then, through  one of St. Patrick's unrecorded miracles, I saw that Trader Joe's was selling Irish Bangers.

I bought some for Cindy and Wes, and some for me.

Tonight was my Bangers (so called because unless the skin is scored with a fork they pop [or bang] when being cooked) and Mash dinner.

I made mashed potatoes from scratch ( no ready made Supermarket mashed spuds a.k.a. Wallpaper Paste), fried the bangers until they were well browned, and served them with garden peas and mushroom and onion brown gravy.

So very good!

There is a canard spread by the French (minor joke!) that Irish and British foodstuffs are inferior.

I beg to differ!  I think that travel writers could well describe Bangers and Mash as an Irish/British peasant dish, much to be desired.

The same is true of "Bubble and Squeak" of which I will   
write in the future ( N.B.  you cannot make it in the U.S.A.).

The French be damned!  My Bangers and Mash today was utterly delicious.  Ethnic food at its best.

(Listen to Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren)