Saturday, 7 July 2018

I had a dream about my parents the other night.  (Dad died in 1974 and Mum in 2001.  They often return to me in dreams.)  'Tis probably also true about your parents.

In my dream Dad and Mum were speaking of their plans to open a one pump petrol and service station in or near the south Gloucestershire village of  Cold Ashton.  Dad would repair the cars, Mum would pump the petrol.  Oh go figure, I can't!

But why Cold Ashton?  Why should this unexceptional village push its way into my dreams forty or more years since I last drove through it?

As I read about Cold Ashton I was reminded of the nearby Gloucestershire hamlet of Pennsylvania  

Indeed there is a Pennsylvania in the U.K.

I've not been able to establish why and how the hamlet was given this distinguished name.

But I do know that many British people in the 18th century were entirely sympathetic to the cause for self government or independence by the American colonies.  Maybe some of  the 18th C. residents of this wee hamlet were Quaker admirers of William Penn, the "founder" of Pennsylvania, U.S.A. 


William Penn's father, the Admiral Sir William Penn is buried in Bristol's famous St. Mary Redcliffe Church.


There is also a Pennsylvania Hill in Exeter, Devon, and this:

Thursday, 5 July 2018

If you see this woman today

If you see this woman today or tomorrow be glad and rejoice.  You could not hope to meet a finer person.

She is my oldest sister Maureen and it's her birthday.

Maureen is loved, respected, trusted and admired without reserve by her husband Bern, by their children and their spouses (she is a *belle-mère par excellence), by her six grand-children, and by her seven surviving siblings and their family members.

Maureen also has a wider circle of friends (many from her Church), and some from her two visits (with Bern) to me in the U.S.A.

Her middle name is Joy.  It is apt.  She was always a perfect joy to our Mum and Dad.  She is anchored in her family life, and in her deep and abiding faith in God. 

It is expected that one should love our siblings.  How wonderful it is when we also trust, respect, and admire them.  

Happy Birthday Maureen, our dear and well beloved sister.


*belle-mère  the French way of identifying a spouse's mother.  So much warmer than the English "mother in law" !

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

A quiet Independence Day for me

Zion and I had four  1/2 mile walks, two at Arlington Park, one at Bayfront Park, and one in the 'hood.

We  visited our friend Bob in the memory unit at Discovery Village in Bradenton.

I treated myself to a 4th of July feast:

Stir fry with asparagus, mushrooms, onions, a purple heirloom tomato (which was about to be beyond its best), and baby white potatoes (boiled first to soften them up a bit), with (drool) rib eye steak.   

The steak was big and thick -  far too much for one meal.    I bisected it, and then cut one half into small slices (a la London Broil) which I sautéed in butter ( a tad above a minute on each side).

My mouth is watering as I write this.

And I have sufficient uncooked ingredients for a repeat performance tomorrow.


Florida leads the country in the number of lightning strikes each year.

This photo' was sent to me by a friend who lives on Siesta Key.  It may have been the storm at dinner time on July 3rd.

There can be such beauty in thunder and lightning storms.  I mostly like them  (and my dog is not bothered).

Beauty, aye!

But also danger.  

A tourist was struck and killed by lightning on Siesta Beach  just a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

A paragraph that helped shape a nation, with disastrous results.

On the cusp of the Fourth of July 2018  I pay tribute to the American Declaration of Independence 1776.

I try to read it every year.  You should do so here:

It is a magnificent statement,  that is until we read this section

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

"our frontiers"   Really?  (whose frontiers indeed!?)

"merciless Indian Savages"   Dreadful.

Thus the noble indigenous peoples were reduced to the status of "merciless Indian Savages" by the so-called enlightened framers of the Declaration of Independence. 

The results were horrifying.  They led  to a virtual genocide of the pre-colonial indigenous peoples.

If you will, raise your glasses to celebrate the Fourth.  Gorge on steaks and corn on the cob.

But do not forget the victims of our freedom from the rule of King George III :  the noble indigenous inhabitants who lived, loved, and prospered here until the framers of the Declaration of Independence decided that they were no more than merciless Indian Savages.

I plan to have a quiet and reflective Fourth.  I'll be back in touch on Thursday.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Worth its weight in gold - and don't you forget it

I read the Sarasota Herald-Tribune each day.  It's a better than average local paper.

I'd let my subscription lapse, so I have been purchasing it from a nearby vending machine, four hot quarters or ten hot dimes in hand, as I have taken my morning constitutional with the dog.

Today I needed eight hot quarters, or twenty hot dimes, or even forty hot nickels for the the price of the daily paper has gone up overnight (so to speak) from one dollar to two.

No the H-T is not profiteering.  It is a victim (with every U.S.A. newspaper you know) of President Trump's arbitrary (?)  tariff whims.

His Dept. of Commerce has placed a tariff on Canadian made newsprint (at the behest of just one U.S.A. based  newsprint producer (?) -  your guess is as good as mine).

So it is that USA newspapers are having to pay 30% more for newsprint  (their second highest expense after labour).

Given the existing stresses on newspapers with the migration of advertisers from print to internet, this new and diabolical tariff  may put many of them out of business.  

Who cares:  unless your local small town paper is the only reliable source for local news.  That local news will most certainly not be available on the radio or T.V.


Two bucks a day -  is that an extortionate cost for reliable local news?   It's certainly cheaper than a Cappuccino at Starbucks.

So I will be compelled to set up a subscription to the H-T. as soon as is possible.  I cannot trust myself to always have those eight quarters for the machine in my pocket.

I need the

for its reportage on the foibles,  follies and successes  of local officials and politicians

for accounts of the worthy or inglorious decisions of  the City Commission in Sarasota, of  the Sarasota  County Commission, and of the Sarasota County School Board

for the paper's editorial page with its judicial reproduction of commentary from left and right

for the letters to the Editor, some of which make me snort with derisive laughter,  others of which inform my mind and will

for the extensive coverage of the arts and entertainment scene

Above all else for  important, courageous, fact based, and necessary investigative journalism (the most recent on prison sentence disparities in Florida' s Duval County). The Herald Tribune sheds light on otherwise dark places.

the list could go on.


Dear Sarasota friends.    Is an extra dollar a day too high a price for the privilege and necessity of the Fourth Estate