Saturday, 28 April 2018

There's a dog in this blog, but the blog is not about a dog.

The dog is called Hershey.  He lives in Wivenhoe, Essex (near Colchester) with my friends Rosalind and Nancy.

Nice dog  but it was the Bluebells which caught this Englishman's eye, and gave him much joy.

Ah Bluebells, bringing so much beauty to U.K. woodlands (such as still exist) in Spring-time.

An utterly gorgeous carpet.

It was forbidden to pick them at least fifty years ago.  That is good, for picked and placed in a vase did them a severe injustice. It is now illegal to dig them for sale in garden centres.

They are a gift to be enjoyed in the woodlands for just a week or two each spring.

Be grateful for them, and hope for a new spring next year.

A Bluebell Carpet via Google images

Friday, 27 April 2018

The unexpected in Sarasota

Photo essay from the "New Yorker"

Please enjoy this.    Those of us who live in Sarasota  (SRQ)  are grateful that Amish/Mennonite  friends remind us of a simpler and wiser way of living.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Stop RIGHT NOW! (and a gracious encounter)


Four way stop signs are common in the U.S.A.  (and maybe in other lands)  They are a very efficient means of traffic control at the intersections of two lane urban streets.


The simple rule is "First Come, First Served".

The rule works well, and it is usually observed by most  drivers, even those who are in a tearing hurry.


The rule works well  unless you are J. M. Povey who is driving north on Shade Ave, SRQ  and A.N.Other who is driving east on Floyd St.

JMP completely ignored his stop sign.

A.N. Other ignored his too.



Not a bit of it.  Just in time JMP slammed on his brakes and veered right.  And A.N Other slammed on his brakes are veered left.


Two distracted drivers

A near accident.

No collision, no damage, no injuries.


JMP and A.N Other did better than to get angry and to play the blame game.

We looked at each other as we realized were both at fault, and that we were grateful that there had been no accident, no damage, no injuries.

What would you do in such circumstances?

A.N. Other and I grinned a grin of gratitude, gave each other the thumbs up, and proceeded on our lawful ways.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Amanda Card Ray ( see my blog from yesterday)

Below is the published obit for Amanda.

I will not be able to attend the services. It's all too complicated to book (very expensive) air flights at short notice, and to arrange dog care etc.

But of course I will get up to Atlanta to see my dear and good friend  Steve Card and his partner Rick as soon as it is feasible.

I knew Amanda's great grandmother Annie Speed; her grandmother Ruth Card; and her mother and father Steve and Susan.

When I first met Steve and his family when they were visiting Fitchburg, MA  (1977?) I quietly wondered "why is he married?"  

My gaydar was accurate!

But the times they are a changing. In due course Steve and Susan were divorced. 

Then Steve met Rick.  When the law was changed they were able to marry. 

I think that it is bloody marvelous that Rick was identified in the obit. as Amanda's step-father.  Such utter graciousness in the face of grief.

Shared grief eh?   Steve, Susan, Rick, Kasey, Emma, Sophie, Lola, Matthew Card  et al are smitten to the core by her death.

I share that grief at one step removed.

The death at aged 42 of a beloved wife, mother, child, parent and daughter is horrendous.


Obituary for Amanda Card Ray.

Amanda Card Ray, age 42, of Canton, GA passed away Monday, April 23, 2018 at Emory University Hospital Hospice. She has been an Early Childhood Educator for 20+ years with 19 years of that time teaching at High Meadows School and Camp in Roswell, Georgia.

Funeral services are scheduled for 12:00 PM, on Friday, April 27, 2018, from the Chapel of South Canton Funeral Home with Rev. Terry Caylor officiating. Mrs. Ray will be cremated following the service.

The family will receive friends from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Wednesday, April 25, 2018, and from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Thursday, April 26, 2018, and from 11:00 AM until the Funeral Hour on Friday, April 27, 2018 at South Canton Funeral Home.

Survivors include:
Husband - Kasey Ray
Daughter - Emma Elisabeth Ray
Daughter - Sophia "Sophie" Elise Ray
Daughter - Lola Kate Ray
Mother - Susan Card
Father - Steven Card
Step-Father - Rick Freeman
Father-In-Law And Mother-In-Law - Hugh (Janie) Ray
Brother - Matthew Card & Erin Foy
Brother-in-law - Kyle (Karen) Ray
Several Nieces, Nephews, Cousins and other Family and Friends also survive

Family request Orchids (her favorite flower) be sent or donations are to be made to the Humane Society of your choice in her Memory.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Grief unspeakable and full of misery

In the New Testament letter called  1 Peter the writer speaks thus: "you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:"

That may have its place, but there is also grief unspeakable and full of misery.

When I came to Fitchburg, MA in 1976 to be the pastor of a congregation there, one of the great matriarchs of the parish Annie S urged me to pray for her great granddaughter, a wee babe born prematurely and called  Mandy.  Annie's daughter Ruth C, (Mandy's grandmother) also urged our prayers.  

Mandy was in special care at Mass General Hospital.

She not only survived, ( with one leg always affected by cerebral palsy)  but she blossomed to become a dear wife, a mother of three daughters, and an exceptional teacher.

Over the years I have stayed in touch with Steve C (Mandy's Dad), and Susan C (her mother).

Steve and Susan divorced in due course (but remained good friends).  

Steve was  re-married to the wonderful Rick F.  

I last met Mandy (Amanda) some three or four years ago when I went up to Roswell GA for a wonderful family party to celebrate R and S's marriage. Amanda was there for her Dad!

They entire family are now experiencing grief unspeakable and full of misery.

Dear, good, and blessed Amanda (Mandy) died yesterday from liver and kidney failure at aged 42.

Oh my: grief unspeakable and full of misery.

As well as her parents Amanda leaves a brother and his family in Asheville, N.C. and most sadly her husband Kasey with their daughters Emma. Sophie and Lola.

Yes indeed: grief unspeakable and full of misery.


If I can, I'll go up to Atlanta for Amanda's funeral.  After all I prayed for her when she was a wee child 42 years ago, so I want to grieve with her family these four decades later.

I will not have words of wisdom.  But I hope that my presence will be important to Steve, his partner Rick and to his former wife Susan

Sunday, 22 April 2018

This Robot's not got.......

This robot's not got ........... what it takes.

At first I planned to give this blog the title  "Robot No Go". Then I remembered that "Rowbow"  used to be  (and maybe still is) an eccentric British way of pronouncing "Robot", but it would be a mystery to Americans.

Setting that aside I repeat "This robot's not got....what it takes".

The ever gorgeous Zion sheds so much.  A friend suggested that a robotic vacuum cleaner would be great for scooping up dog hair.

I did some internet research which indicated that a Neato brand machine would be great for dog hair.

So I bought one on Saturday at (of all places) "Bed, Bath and Beyond".  I carefully assembled it, and let it charge overnight.

I set it free this morning and watched with a level of wonder as it trundled around my Lanai. I had removed all possible obstacles.

Then it stopped.  The display said "please clear my path".

I cleared the path, but my non-Neato stopped again six times within forty minutes, each time displaying the same message.

Oh dear, my dreams of vacuuming in absentia were dashed. This robotic cleaner has not got what it takes in surmounting minor obstacles.

I ignored it after the sixth stop.  After a few minutes the bloody machine started to yell at me like a lamb with laryngitis which is bleating for it's mother. 

Enough already!

I took it back to Bed, Bath and Beyond this morning where it was accepted without question and my money was refunded.

Good for them, but I wish that the clerk had asked a few questions so that BB&B would have information about the products they offer.

It's unlikely that I will buy another brand. I'll slave away 😜with a dry mop and a traditional vacuum cleaner.


P.S. (1) The word Robot is derived from (an invented) Czech word - robata- meaning "forced labour", or "drudgery".

P.S. (2)  There was a time in the north of England when traffic lights were called robots.   This usage may have died out, but I am led to believe that it is current in parts of Africa.