Friday, 24 August 2018


Reportedly from a gas/petrol station in Seattle.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

1975 memory - Beethoven - 2019 anticipation.

As (thanks to my journal) I have delved into memories of my 1975 summer in the U.S.A. (the year I grew my beard). I have been back at the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra -  Tanglewood in Lenox/Stockbridge MA.

My summer supervisor Bishop Alexander Stewart paid for his Vacation Bible School student teams (of which I was a member) to attend a Boston Symphony Orchestra Concert at Tanglewood. 

They were the inexpensive lawn tickets, but the concert was grand. It featured Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

I had heard this magnificent music on the radio, but I'd never heard it "live".

It was a magical moment for me.    So much so that I could not sit  on the lawn. So I stood at the back of the Music Shed and savoured every sight and sound.

Music Shed

It was not only the music. It was also the twilight, the end of evening, the starlight, and the beginning of night.  It was the goosebumps on my body and in my soul and spirit.


Forty three years on I am anticipating  with  joy yet another Beethoven's Ninth. I bought my tickets today.

It will not be until April 2019 - at the Van Wezel Performance Arts Centre in Sarasota. It will be the final concert of the Sarasota Orchestra 
  under the leadership of the fabulous Estonian Conductor Anu Tali who will be returning to her beloved homeland.

Sarasota Orchestra ****

Anu Tali *****

Better still  my dear Estonian friend Kadi Kool will fly  down from the  Raleigh/Durham N.C. area to spend some time with me, and to enjoy  Anu Tali's  swan-song in SRQ.  I have already bought the tickets.

Kadi and jmp a few years ago.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Sarasota Stink

Fancy Condominiums.  Dead Fishes.

If you do not live in south west Florida you probably have not heard enough about this major environment disaster.

That's because it seems that for many purveyors of news the Narcissist in Chief's Tweets are of the utmost and crucial importance.(He is bamboozling the media so well). 

I live about three miles from Sarasota Bay (as the crow flies) and the stench of dead sea animals, turtles. and fishes is ever present in the air. 

Red tide will most likely abate, but the damage to the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico will take a generation to be undone (or longer if we have another Deep Water Horizon disaster). 

Of course it is ghastly  for those whose livelihoods depend on tourism or fishing, and it is horrible for those whose homes are near Sarasota Bay or the Gulf of Mexico. 

It is the death sentence over and over again for marine life, and most likely for those avian species which depend upon the waters for food. 

If this ghastly mess was on Florida's east coast, let's say near Trump's Mar-a-Lago,  there would have been an immediate Federal response. 

But it's on the west coast, so never a tweet from the tweeter-in-chief.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Such a delicious lunch today

Children of the depression in the U.K. and the U.S.A,  and children of  World War Two and the following years in Europe/UK will remember that if there was meat on the plate it was always from the cheapest cuts.

The cheapest cuts were always those with a lot of fat.

Our Mum was a genius in making tasty and nutritious meals for her brood of nine using the least expensive meat.

In my home that would be "best end of neck of lamb" for lamb stews, or roasted belly of pork slices, or roasted breast of lamb, or brisket (uncured) of beef, or lamb shoulder.

Today for the first time in forty two years I saw belly of pork slices in my local supermarket.  I couldn't resist and bought some.

I roasted them in  a 450 degree electric oven, with red potatoes and plum tomatoes.

Oh so good!

Taste buds are an important part of memory.

The fat on the meat was almost as crispy as my memory told me it should be. The meat was better than good.   Thank you Mum for bequeathing taste to my memory bank.


In my forty two years in the U.S.A. I have only once seen breast of lamb in a supermarket (Market Basket, Somerville, MA.)

I bought one and cooked it.  It was a failure.  I had forgotten to roast it at a very high temperature, until the fat was all crispy.  

Mum was wiser than I.  Her high temperature  roasted breast of lamb was on a par with her roasted belly of pork slices.

Some people ate breast of lamb which had been de-boned, stuffed and rolled. Dear Mum didn't have time for such a procedure!

Nor do I!

Monday, 20 August 2018

Only 24 hours from Tulsa

Ann and I left New Orleans to head for Tulsa, via Memphis.  I think now that I was mistaken when I wrote that our journey from Atlanta had been via Jackson.  It was on this NOLA to Memphis journey that we stopped in Jackson and (according to my journal)  had a hassle there as we tried to find a Bank to cash travelers cheques.  Remember them?

I also forgot to say that en route to New Orleans were were amazed when we came to Lake Pontchartrain having never heard of it.  The causeway "blew our minds away".


We arrived in Memphis in the late afternoon and had enough time to take a River Cruise, about  which I said we were feeling very romantic.

This is not our boat and photo' is from the web, but I remember being mightily impressed with the magnificent bridge.

After the cruise we had three hours to kill at the Continental Bus Station. I noted  "staff very friendly - cashed our (travelers) cheques".

And so to Tulsa.   Why Tulsa?

Well of course because Ann had a long term pen friend there.  They were meeting for the first time. Wunderbar!   The friend was named Janice - she was newly wed to John.  They were every young and already owned their own house with all mod cons, exceot a/c

 It was Labor Day weekend  (1975) and the temps reached 100 f, unheard of for we Brits!  We all went to see "Jaws", not because of the film, but to get into an air conditioned Movie House.

John was good enough to take us to the Oral Roberts University Campus with his (in)famous Prayer Tower.   He was also smart enough to drive us to downtown Tulsa with its Art Deco district including the famous Boston Ave United Methodist Church.

Reckoned, with good cause, to be one of the finest Art Deco building in the USA.
I noted that our second dinner in Tulsa was at a Mexican American restaurant where we each had a "De-luxe" all you can eat dinner for $3.25

After Tulsa we took yet another bum-stunning bus ride to Flagstaff via Oklahoma City, Amarillo, and Albuquerque where for the first time in our lives we saw beggars.  After thirty two hours of travel time we arrived in Flagstaff at 5:30 a.m. and it was cold!

I suppose that Flagstaff is forgettable, but there we saw one of those huge American Freight trains, with maybe three engines and was it seventy or one hundred freight cars.

We were there not for Flagstaff but for the Grand Canyon.

Of course it was awesome.  In my opinion there are few words, descriptions, or photographs which come anywhere near doing it justice.  So I'll say no more than that Ann and I were filled with awe.   Those who have been there know what I mean.

Gosh, we were seeing much of the U.S.A, and there's more to come - Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Bellingham WA, and then into Canada.   Watch  this space!

Early morning sun Arlington Park SRQ 20th July 2018