Saturday, 29 December 2018

A visitor to "my park"



Zion and I walk each day (sometimes three times) in a not well known jewel of the City of Sarasota - Arlington Park.  It's a lovely place, not immaculately groomed like many urban parks, but more like a bit of rural Florida in the middle of a City.

We know many of the other "regulars" and their dogs but we encountered a stranger last week.

Stock photo', not mine

It was an American Mink, instantly recognisable by her/his bounding gait and swimming skills.

My best guess, based on his/her size is that she/he was a "farmed" mink - raised for the pelt  (UGH)  who broke loose.

Wikipedia tells me that minks are usually nocturnal and are solitary animals.

So it was a treat to see one in my park!


Friday, 28 December 2018

The anxiety dreams of preachers and their possible roots

Last night I had one of those anxiety dreams which are common to teachers, doctors, preachers etc.

I often remember my dreams in considerable detail - such was the case yesterday.  

I'll spare you the whole thing but it had one of those "the Emperor's cloths" themes.

I was in the pulpit at St. Boniface Church in Sarasota (my dog joining me), but when I opened the folder which should have held my printed text I found pages and pages of recipes, but no sermon.

I had to wing it.  So I said  "There are two things we all need to know: human beings are capable of great cruelty, and human beings are capable of amazing love".

Then I was lost for words.  (Doesn't happen often in waking life!) 
So I said "let's read Psalm 11".   

I scanned the Sunday leaflet for the text of the Psalm, but it was nowhere to be found.  Someone handed me a Bible, but I couldn't remember how to find the Psalms.  Another person handed me a Prayer Book, but the page on which Psalm 11 was printed had been torn out.

The dream ended after I had scolded a gaggle of parishioners in the front pew who were discussing the comparative prices of foodstuffs in various local markets.  In my best preacher's voice I said "I wish that you would talk about this on Monday, not today"!

A classic anxiety dream:  in the pulpit without scarcely a word to word to say;  unable to find a Psalm in a prayer book or a bible.

I looked up Psalm 11 later today.  It's one of those Psalms in which the writer pours invective upon his enemies (which one of us has not had such horrid thoughts?)

One verse grabbed my attention:

If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?


It's a question I ask about the Brexit fiasco in my beloved native land, and about the Trumpian dangers to my dear adopted land.


New foundations.



















Ruined foundations.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

On meeting someone as wacky as I. (Or "how to curse with elegance")



Remember fondues from the days when they were served at every other drinks party?

Then they went out of style.  Pity the sad Fondue pots banished to storage in the attic or basement.

The good news (or the bad news depending on your taste) is that Trader Joe's is trying to resurrect the fondue with a ready made sauce.

They were giving out samples yesterday. After a taste I said to the staff member in charge of samples  --- "Fondue, now there's a word which has gone out of style".

She agreed.  I suggested that we should resurrect it as an elegant curse e.g. when dropping an egg on the kitchen floor we should not say  "Oh sh-t", but "Oh Fondue".  

Or " Why in the Fondue did the President say that" ( to be used many times each day).

The Trader Joe's employee liked the idea.  When her young daughter steps out of line she will say, with a furrowed brow and a reproachful tone  " Oh Fondue"  ( i.e.  "whatever possessed you do/say that").
  
For fondues sake, please curse with elegance.



Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Yes to Christmas Day 2018



I do not open the Christmas Cards I've received until Christmas Day.  That way I can take an hour or to savour the memories of old friends, and to rejoice in the ways they have loved and cared for me.





After a few chilly days and nights it's been pleasantly warm today.  A day to leave my front doors open, and for Zion to bask in the sun.




For the fourth or fifth Christmas Day in row my friends Diana and Fred have asked me to join them for the "over the top" Christmas Buffet at the Longboat Key Yacht Club.

Here is the raw bar with cheeses, shrimp, oysters on the half shell (yum), cold salmon (and great salads which you cannot see)

There were two other stations, one with a "carvery" (ham, turkey breast, prime rib beef) and great vegetables in abundance; another with desserts to die for.

Fred and Diana are great hosts.  At table with us were three of their church friends who turned out to be delightful company.

---------------------------------------------------------

All this and some fine walks with Zion at Arlington Park where we encountered not a few other dogs and owners who were out and about for their post Christmas meal walks.

A good day.  I am grateful.  And never a word about Brexit or the dangerous man in the White House.  What a bonus!

Monday, 24 December 2018

Merry Christmas

Blessings one and all.

The picture attached is of Park Square, Pittsfield, MA  in the festive season. (thanks Tim McF)

St. Stephen's, the parish I served from 1984-2000 is set back a bit from the Square so it is not always to be seen in photo's, pictures etc.

Thanks to the artist who created this, St. Stephen's is to be seen on the right.

With gratitude to the parishioners who tolerated my foibles, and loved me a lot.





Sunday, 23 December 2018

This made me giggle.

Via my brother David



Christmas in Povey land 1950's/60's

There were treats which always appeared at Christmas-tide



Dates in a box, usually on the stem, never pitted, sometimes with a little wooden fork to avoid sticky fingers.





Always Jordan Almonds.  To suck them gently until the almond emerged, or to chew them and risk ruining teeth? 
Dried figs  (one of my Mum's favourites). I never saw or ate a fresh fig  (yum!) until about twenty five years ago.



Figgy pudding.  I've never seen or eaten this despite singing "we all want some figgy pudding" and "we won't go until we've got some"


Never figgy pudding, but always home made Christmas Pudding made by my mother and oldest sister  (in November).  

Never with white sauce, always with Mr. Bird's Custard.



Invented by Mr. Alfred Bird for his wife who was allergic to eggs which are a staple ingredient in traditional custards.  Bird's Custard is a beloved staple in the U.K.