Saturday, 18 August 2018

Much over-rated donuts, but quite good coffee

That 9500 mile 'bus trip was indeed a great adventure.  It had its wonderful days, and others which were trying.

I look back with gratitude to the people who opened their homes to us,  in Tulsa, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Bellingham, Calgary, Toronto, Marblehead and Washington DC.  Comfortable beds, good food, hot showers and the like were a gift to be treasured in the light of many overnight 'bus rides and fast food meals.

Here are a few of  my memories, culled from the Journal I kept that September.


*Entranced by Manhattan.  We stayed at the Episcopal Church's General Theological Seminary (Chelsea area) with my friend Paul G who had studied there and who knew the Island well. He was our tour guide and driver.

NYC, especially Manhattan Island, attracts tourists from all over the world. Ann and I were the 1975 tourists who were energised by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, Times Square, St. Patrick's Cathedral,  The Cloisters, and a Ferry Ride to and back from Staten Island  (an inexpensive way to view Lady Liberty!).

* Having a rest break in Lynchburg VA en route from NYC to Atlanta.  In those days 'Bus Stations often had a little Cafe.  We had time for breakfast.  Now that I was in "The South"  I had to have grits.  

I was back in Lynchburg for a wedding a few years ago.  Grits and Lynchburg are an acquired taste!

* To my/our shame feeling more than a little uneasy in the presence of many African American young men outside the 'bus station in Atlanta  (Why oh why?) So much so that we caught an earlier 'bus to New Orleans.

* Karma caught us.  It was a slow 'bus which wandered through the small towns and cities of Alabama (blast furnaces still working in Birmingham),  and Mississippi. (Lunch break in a very sleepy Jackson, MI.  Almost missed the connection to New Orleans).

* Relaxing 51/2  hour cruise on the S.S. "Mark Twain".

* Taking the St. Charles Ave Street Car, just because we could. 

Spotted  the Episcopal Cathedral  on the return journey so  we decided to visit it.

Stock photo', not mine.

So we visited the Episcopalian Cathedral.  

We viewed  the tomb of the first Bishop of Louisiana Leonidas Polk.  

Polk resigned as Bishop to serve as a General in the Confederate Army.  He was killed in battle.  His remains, and those of his wife we re-interned in the New Orleans Cathedral as late as 1945.  The docent told us that the Bishop's Chair in the Cathedral had been made by his slaves.

When we visited the Cathedral another tomb was being prepared. It was for their most recent Bishop.  See this: The Rt. Rev. Iveson Batchelor Noland, Bishop of Louisiana, was among more than 100 persons killed when an Eastern non-stop jet from New Orleans crashed while trying to land during a thunderstorm at Kennedy terminal on June 24. Bishop Noland was en route to a meeting of Provincial Presidents with Presiding Bishop John M. Allin. Bishop Noland was President of the Fourth Province, a group of eighteen southeastern United States dioceses.

Ann and I got a fair bit of Episcopal Church history in that brief visit to Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans.

* Of course we visited the world famous (?) Cafe du Monde.é_du_Monde

There we ate beignets and drank coffee 

And here is what makes me laugh out loud forty three years on.  Of the Cafe du Monde I wrote in my journal

" much over rated donuts, but quite good coffee".

Of course.  This Englishman, back in 1975,  was quite the expert on beignets and coffee!

Tomorrow on to Memphis and Tulsa

Steve Povey 18th August 1953

Born on this day in 1952.

Passed from this life 22nd June 2016

He was my brother, and a good bloke.

With his super wife Ange

Friday, 17 August 2018

The Summer Of My Beard.

I have writer's block re the fourth and final posting about the 9,500 mile 'bus trip Ann and I took around the U.S.A. and Canada in 1975.  

So here's a bit of huma to tide us over.  It comes via the website "Grammar Monster".

Irony 1


Irony 2

Thursday, 16 August 2018

School Daze

Pet Therapy Teams at The New College of Florida in Sarasota today.  Four accidental humans. Four essential canines.

We were there to provide support and encouragement for the 2018/19 Resident Advisors  (R.A's) who are being trained before the new students arrive on Sat 18th/Sun 19th; and the returning students on Weds 22nd.

On a day of intensive training the R.A's took a break at lunch time and got their dog fix.

Two of the other therapy dogs with their human caregivers.

A staff member greets two dogs 

Zion goes belly up at the slightest invitation.

Three new R.A's pay him tribute.

And of course I also got some therapy.  Nothing better than (albeit brief) conversations with splendid and bright young women and men.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

A horrid tragedy in Genoa.

We've all see photo's or videos of the ghastly and tragic bridge failure in Genoa, Italy.

We've probably given it more attention than we have devoted to the 500,000 Syrians who have been killed in the Syrian Civil War. After all Italians are US,   Syrians are THEM.

I am as certain as I can be that I drove on this Genoan elevated highway back in (maybe) 1985 when I was in Italy with my good friend Joe R, and his friend John F.  I certainly remember  driving on an elevated Motorway which overlooked the port area, and some of the urban sprawl. The traffic was fast.  I was as nervous as a live chicken in a supermarket parking lot. Joe, John and I beat it hastily from the City until we  found a Tent Camping area in the nearby countryside.


Please look at these photo's

Oh the indecency, the horror, the evil, the health consequences when cars and trucks are more important than standards of life for working class people.  An overhead highway over the modest apartments of ordinary folks.  What a disgrace.


Note also how U.S. Interstate 91 has cut off the ordinary folks of Springfield, MA from the Connecticut River;  how Interstate 290  has ripped the heart out of Worcester, MA;  and how the U.K.'s extension of the M4 - known as the M32 bulldozed its way through the working class areas of Eastville and Easton.

Please resist urban super highways with all your might.

People matter more than cars, trucks, lorries, and fast traffic.

Oxygen matters more than petrol/gas and diesel fumes.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Hail to the beard (and a long journey by bus)

SUMMER 1975  - my second great adventure in travel.  

The first was in 1973 when I spent a month in east Africa (mostly Kenya but with a few days in Tanzania) with a group of men from my Seminary (St. John's College, Nottingham, U.K.).

In 1975 after eight weeks of "labouring in the Lord's Vineyard" helping to run Vacation Bible Schools in Western Massachusetts, my girl friend Ann flew from LHR to JFK.  I met her there and we began our long trip by 'bus around the U.S.A. and Canada.

Are they still in business?


Of course you'd like to meet Ann!

Here are some of the statistics:

The trip lasted for twenty nine days.   We slept on the 'bus for eleven nights, in a run down New Orleans Hotel for two nights, in a nice Hotel in Vancouver for one night, and in the homes of friends and acquaintances (may their memory be held sacred!) for the balance.

And those long journeys.  

New York to New Orleans 
Thirty four hours - changing buses in Atlanta (about which you will read tomorrow).

New Orleans to Memphis 
 Fourteen Hours

Memphis to Tulsa 
Nine hours - changing buses in Muskogee (about which place I remember not a thing!)

Tulsa to Flagstaff  
Sixteen hours

Flagstaff to Salt Lake City  Fourteen hours

Salt Lake City to San Francisco Sixteen hours

In San Francisco I bought my ticket for a flight home from NYC-LHR, having bought a one way from LHR-BOS at the begiing of the summer.

(Remember when tickets were hand written and placed in a nice cardboard folder).

San Francisco to Bellingham WA Twenty Seven hours (including a long wee hours layover and bus change from Trailways to Greyhound in Portland, OR. on a hot and humid night in a crummy area of town, and another long wait in Seattle (with time for sight seeing).

Vancouver BC to Calgary AL 
Seventeen Hours (a midnight 'bus from Vancouver, through the moonlit Rockies - I refused to sleep so as to enjoy the mountains).

Calgary AL to Toronto, ON.  
Fifty six hours on the same damn 'bus: the scenery in Saskatchewan and Manitoba is same after same after same for hundreds of miles!  It got more lovely east of  Winnipeg)

Toronto to Boston Eighteen Hours with a break in the journey at the Canadian Niagara Falls on a rainy day, and a mean and miserable layover between 'buses in Buffalo.

Boston to Washington DC - Eleven Hours  back-tracking a bit to visit friends from St. John's, Nottingham now completing their studies at the Virginia Theological Seminary.

I kept a log of the journey and a daily journal so I have an accurate record of the length of the 'bus rides.

Total, about 9,500 miles

It was a great adventure. (I had no idea at the time that I would return to the U.S.A to live, so back then I thought of it as a once in a lifetime experience).  It was tough sledding in some ways, but we saw more of the two countries than if we had flown.  And we got some sense of the differences  in culture and topography of the different States and Provinces.

I'll wrap up this series tomorrow by telling you of some of the wonders of America and Canada which we wide eyed Bristolians enjoyed (or not!).

And the beard which I grew that summer?

Here it is some eleven weeks after that photo'  of a beardless Povey at the beginning of the summer.

This photo' was taken in Calgary when we were visiting my long time Bristolian friend Marilyn and her (now former) husband David.

Who remembers

Kodak disposable cameras?

They are probably best forgotten.

Monday, 13 August 2018

When I was young(er) and beardless en·tr'acte - More tomorrow.

In which I plan to re-visit the summer of 1975 when I grew a beard,  and traveled 9,500 miles around the USA and Canada by Trailways 'bus, with my then girl friend Ann (of happy memory).

I am in my "Operation Clean Up"  as part of which I have opened up a Scrap Book which I made in 1975 - my first summer in the U.S.A.

I've not looked at the Scrap Book in many a long year (probably thirty) -  but even as it is falling apart my memories of that summer have been delicious.  Fortunately I kept a journal that summer so I have a reference point for old memories.

The toy 'bus above?  Yes,  I bought it in 1975 as a souvenir of that long 'bus ride.  It's been on show in so many of my homes,but next to no people have asked me why it is on display.

1975 marked a major and good turning point in my life.  It led to so many good things about which I am deeply grateful. 

I have free time tomorrow (Tues 14th Aug) so I plan to write a bit about my long 'bus ride with Ann, some of the places we visited and the people we met (but not about our sore bums after so many 'bus miles!)

Sunday, 12 August 2018

When I was young(er) and beardless.

This photo' was taken at the former Bement Camp and Conference Centre of the (Episcopal) Diocese of Western Massachusetts.

It was in June 1975.  I was a 31 years old seminarian from the U.K., in between my third and fourth years in Seminary.

I was at Bement to be trained to help lead Vacation Bible Schools in Western MA.  

I was in a team with (l-r)  Debby Jenks, Alan Womer, and Cathy Ambler.   Our supervisor was Noreen Suriner (r), later the Revd. Noreen Suriner.

We served parishes in Greenfield, Worcester, Northborough, and Oxford -  all in Massachusetts - each for two weeks.

That American Summer of 1975 paved the way (all unexpectedly) for me to come to the U.S.A. after Seminary,  to serve parishes in Massachusetts (Fitchburg, Chicopee, Pittsfield and Cambridge); to become an American citizen, and in due course to retire to Sarasota, FL.

I was skinny enough back then!  1975 was the year I grew a beard.  It's been with me more or less ever since then. (I shaved it off in 1983 - hated what I saw - and grew it back immediately.  Hence I have been effectively bearded for  forty three years (and I would not have it any other way).

I try to see the hand and grace of God which led me to that 1975 American summer, and thereafter to life, ministry and rich friendships in the United States.

My siblings, their spouses,  and my nieces and nephews are all tickled pink to have a brother,  or uncle in the U.S. Many have visited me here.

The U.S.A has treated me so very well.But there will always be a part of my heart and life which is English.