Tuesday, 31 December 2019

An End Of The Year Message From J. Michael Persnickety.

Despite what you may have read, said, seen on T.V., heard on the Radio, or believed  this is not the end of a decade.

The decade began in January  2011 and will end in December 2020.

Think about it.   We count from 1-10, not from 0-9.

The Gregorian Calendar  (Pope Gregory XIII) was introduced in 1587.  It revised the Julian Calendar (Julius Caesar 45 BC), a noble work which had small errors in the calculation of the Earth's annual journey around the Sun.

The Gregorian calendar ( now the international calendar for trade, diplomacy and travel) corrected most of the errors of the Julian.

Pope Gregory, for good or for ill, decided that the first year of  Our Lord (the birth of  Jesus)  would be A.D. 1 ;  prior years were designated B.C,  (before Christ).

Thus the first decade, in the Calendar we all use,  began in January A.D. 1, and ended in A.D. 10.

So  it is that our current decade began in Jan 2011 and will end in Dec 2020, not in Dec 2019.

These things are important  to old coots such as I!


If I'd had better eyesight I'd have seen this New Year coming.

Monday, 30 December 2019

I Have The Chief Ingredients

I'll cook them on 31st December 2019.

Once  cooked in vegetable stock, with celery, green onion and diced tomatoes,  I plan to enjoy the finished meal on 1st January 2020.

Wish you could be here.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

The Good And The Ghastly

The Good

So much prime rib with the fixings left over from Christmas Day!

Enough to give me re-heated Christmas dinners on December 26th and 27th.

Even then I had a huge chunk of leftover meat.  "Waste not, want not";  so it went into pretty decent Beef Curry.

Beef, onions, red peppers, plum tomatoes with Thai style green simmer sauce. YUM
The Ghastly

Bought a baguette at the Lakewood Ranch Farmers Market this morning (29th Dec) from a so called French Bakery.

What a fail!

You can see that the crust is under cooked.  Beneath the crust the bread was horribly chewy (as chewy as Alligator meat - which itself  is similar to  munching on slightly salty rubber bands). 

What a disappointment.

Never Mind.

Life is not perfect.   

The Beef Curry was great 

The Baguette will be redeemed when it is  toasted for breakfast.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

St. John's College, Nottingham U.K -My Theological College (Seminary) is closing

St. John's College, Nottingham, U.K.  my theological  Alma Mater, and dear to my heart in many ways will close in September 2020.    I trained there for ordained ministry between 1972 and 1976.

St. John's had a life span of 135 years,  It flourished in the olden days when the typical path to ordination in the C of E  was for men
who had completed high school; had taken a Bachelors Degree at Oxford, Cambridge  or some lesser University!; and almost immediately (at age about 23), had entered a Theological College.

Even by my time that pattern had begun to unravel.  I was 28 years old when I enrolled at St. John's, sans any prior degree,

My way was paid by a generous grant from the County Council of Oxfordshire  - in which County I was living at the time,

Those County grants have all but dried up. 

The typical seminarian is now more likely to be female than male; and/or in her or his thirties or even forties. For such there are  no Government grants.

The dough is no longer there.

So my College (St, John's, Nottingham, U.K. )  will close its doors next yearIt's sad, but inevitable, 

Here is what I wrote to some of my former class mates and professors.

I will always be grateful for the College;  the friendships I made which have endured; the pastoral care from staff such as Colin Buchanan and Steve Travis; the high quality of my education;  at College and at the University of Nottingham..


Friday, 27 December 2019

Savour the Season

The Christmas Season for Christians begins on December 25th and ends on January 6th.  

Jan 6th is known as "The Feast of the Epiphany" for some Christians; or as  "Little Christmas" for others.)

I anticipate and savour the twelve day  season by not opening and enjoying my Christmas Cards until December 25th.

I got behind this year, so I did not open my Cards until December 26th (Boxing Day, or St. Stephen's Day.)

Not to worry.  December 26th is still in the Christmas Season.

I enjoyed the slow process of opening each and every one; savouring the love and care which each card offers.

(And I use  a paper knife which my brother Martyn and his wife Wendy gave me for my 65th birthday.  I  reserve it  for use only in the Christmas Season).

Thursday, 26 December 2019

A Belly Laugh On Christmas Day

Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas.

As a matter of fact, neither did the earliest Christians.

On Christmas Day 2019 two middle+ aged J.W's (a woman and a man)  were making their quiet witness in Arlington Park.  They sat quietly on a bench opposite the dog park, with an easel which announced their presence, waiting with patience in the event that some person would care to hear their witness.  

As I walked by the woman made a wee fuss of Zion, and the three of us said hallo,

Then, knowing that J.W's do not observe Christmas, and with  twinkle in my eye I said  "Happy Wednesday"

The man caught my humour and burst into a great belly laugh.  He knew that I was not being unkind.

"You caught my humour" I said,   "Oh yes" he replied, and this time the woman joining him, we all laughed again.

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Christmas Feast 2019

Bone in prime rib roast.

A rare treat (as it should be).

Delicious of course  (seasoned with an appropriate amount of  liberal guilt, and  a modicum of self justification)

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

O Holy Night -- Nat King Cole Nails It

I post this every year at Christmastide.  Nat King Cole sings "O Holy Night" .  I love his voice, and I admire his diction .



For more about this song; the prejudice which almost damned it; and the faith which renewed it, read on:-

The History of "O Holy Night"

The following is not my writing.  I "lifted it" from the WWW

Stories Behind the Music: "O Holy Night"

"O Holy Night" remains one of the world's most beloved Christmas carols, with uplifting lyrics and melody.

The lyrics were written by Placide Cappeau (1808-1877), a resident of Roquemaure, France (located a few miles north of the historic city of Avignon). Cappeau was a wine merchant and mayor of the town, as well as an occasional writer of poetry.

 Known more for his poetry than his church attendance, it probably shocked Cappeau when his parish priest, shortly before Cappeau embarked on a business trip, asked him to pen a poem for Christmas mass.

In a dusty coach traveling down a bumpy road to France's capital city, Cappeau considered the priest's request. Using the gospel of Luke as his guide, Cappeau imagined witnessing the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Thoughts of being present on the blessed night inspired him. By the time he arrived in Paris, "Cantique de Noel" had been completed.

Moved by his own work, Cappeau decided that his "Cantique de Noel" was not just a poem, but a song in need of a master musician's hand. Not musically inclined himself, the poet turned to one of his friends, Adolphe Charles Adams, for help, when he arrived in Paris.

Adams was an acquaintance of Monsieur and Madame Laurey, who were friends of Cappeau. The son of a well-known classical musician, Adams had studied in the Paris conservatoire. Adams was at the peak of his career, having written his masterpiece, Giselle, only a few years before, in 1841. He was also the composer of over eighty operatic stage works. His talent and fame brought requests to write works for orchestras and ballets all over the world.

Yet the lyrics that his friend Cappeau gave him must have challenged the composer in a fashion unlike anything he received from London, Berlin, or St. Petersburg.

As a man of Jewish ancestry, for Adams, the words of "Cantique de Noel" represented a day he didn't celebrate and a man he did not view as the son of God. Nevertheless, Adams quickly went to work, attempting to marry an original score to Cappeau's beautiful words. Adams' finished work pleased both poet and priest. The song was performed just three weeks later at a Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, 1847, in Roquemaure.

Initially, "Cantique de Noel" was wholeheartedly accepted by the church in France and the song quickly found its way into various Catholic Christmas services. However, the song's popularity declined after its initial acceptance, based on the reputations of the lyricist and composer. Late in his life, Cappeau left the church and became an active part of the socialist movement. He was described as a social radical, a freethinker, a socialist, and a non-Christian.

Church leaders also discovered that Adams was a Jew, and the song--which had quickly grown to be one of the most beloved Christmas songs in France--was suddenly and uniformly denounced by the Church. The heads of the French Catholic church of the time deemed "Cantique de Noel" as unfit for church services because of its lack of musical taste and "total absence of the spirit of religion." Yet even as the church tried to bury the Christmas song, the French people continued to sing it.

Fortunately, more rational perspectives have prevailed. By 1855, the carol had been published in London, and has been translated into many languages. The best known English translation is " O Holy Night" authored by John Sullivan Dwight (1813-1893), a Unitarian minister, an American music critic and journalist who made his home at the Transcendentalist community of Brook Farm, Massachusetts

. Dwight felt that this wonderful Christmas song needed to be introduced to America, and he saw something else in the song that moved him beyond the story of the birth of Christ. An ardent abolitionist, Dwight strongly identified with the lines of the third verse: "Truly he taught us to love one another; his law is love and his gospel is peace. Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother; and in his name all oppression shall cease." The text supported Dwight's own view of slavery in the South.

Published in his magazine, Journal of Music, Dwight's English translation of "O Holy Night" quickly found favor in America, especially in the North during the Civil War. By coincidence, Christmas became a legal holiday in Massachusetts the same year as Dwight published his translation.

Adams had been dead for many years and Cappeau and Dwight were old men when on Christmas Eve 1906, Reginald Fessenden, a 33-year-old university professor and former chief chemist for Thomas Edison, did something long thought impossible.

 Using a new type of generator, Fessenden spoke into a microphone and, for the first time in history, a man's voice was broadcast over the airwaves: "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed," he began in a clear, strong voice, hoping he was reaching across the distances he supposed he would.

Shocked radio operators on ships and astonished wireless owners at newspapers sat slack-jawed as their normal, coded impulses, heard over tiny speakers, were interrupted by a professor reading from the gospel of Luke. To the few who caught this broadcast, it must have seemed like a miracle, hearing a voice somehow transmitted to those far away. Some might have believed they were hearing the voice of an angel.

 Fessenden was probably unaware of the sensation he was causing on ships and in offices; he couldn't have known that men and women were rushing to their wireless units to catch this Christmas Eve miracle.

After finishing his recitation of the birth of Christ, Fessenden picked up his violin and played "O Holy Night," the first song ever sent through the air via radio waves. When the carol ended, Fessenden read another selection from the book of Luke: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will." The Christmas program was picked up as far south as Norfolk, Virginia; when the program was repeated on New Year's Eve, it was heard as far away as the West Indies.

Since that first rendition at a small Christmas mass in 1847, "O Holy Night" has been sung millions of times in churches in every corner of the world. And since the moment a handful of people first heard it played over the radio, the carol has gone on to become one of the entertainment industry's most recorded and played spiritual songs. This incredible work--requested by a forgotten parish priest, written by a poet who would later split from the church, given soaring music by a Jewish composer, and brought to Americans to serve as much as a tool to spotlight the sinful nature of slavery as to tell the story of the birth of a Savior--has become one of the most beautiful, inspired pieces of music ever created. The lyrics are reprinted below.

O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt His worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder beams a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born!
O night divine! O night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here came the wise men from the Orient land

The King of Kings lay in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend
He knows our need
To our weakness no stranger
Behold your King! before the lowly bend!
Behold your King! before Him bend!

Truly he taught us to love one another 
His law is love and His gospel is peace 
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother 
And in His name all oppression shall cease

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus rise we
Let all within us praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord
Then ever, ever praise we
His pow'r and glory ever more proclaim
His pow'r and glory ever more proclaim

Monday, 23 December 2019

Christmas Greetings From Florida.

There is a town of Florida in Massachusetts.  Photo' via my friend Bill T.


Massachusetts also has the town of Peru.

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Friday, 20 December 2019

FOOD!! (Yum time)

My breakfast today, Friday 20th Dec 2019

 Smoked trout, heirloom tomato, and toast.   So good!

The toast was made with  the French Batard which I bought at the LWR Farmers' Market last Sunday. The toast  is crunchy and crispy, in the English style;  not like the warmed up and soggy bread which passes for toast in American breakfast joints. So there!

I call it Batard Pain grillé a les Anglais. Ain't that fancy!


And I made a healthy snack food today.

Curried Chick Peas.

I'd heard of them, and I created my own recipe.

Place 1 can/tin of chick peas, into a saucepan with the juices from the can/tin, or preferably with vegetable stock - enough to cover a chick peas by at least half an inch.

Add one or one and a half teaspoons full of curry powder and stir well. Curry snobs will disdain the use of store bought curry powder. So what - I am not James Beard!

Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to simmer and cover the pan. Simmer until the chick peas are soft and the liquid is all but absorbed or evaporated.

Place the curried chick peas onto a baking sheet, and place them into a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for ten minutes, to cook off any remaining liquid.

Double or treble each of the ingredients if you are entertaining a large crowd.

'Tis a healthy and delicious snack for nibbles, or as hors d'ouvres.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Humour for dark days

From my friend Rick F.  (I had to sing the song before I got this!)


From my friend Dave M.

Tee Hee!

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

So tired

18th December 2019, 8:10 p.m.

Nothing smart, wise, or funny from me this evening.

I am utterly tired.

So it's off to bed I go.

Night night!

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

There was no merit in this - and I MUST NOT be praised.

This afternoon I wanted to turn east from a north side shopping plaza onto 17th St. Sarasota.

There was an almost non stop parade of west bound traffic, so it was easier to turn west, and then use a frontage road in front of the Butchers Block shop to effect an U-turn.  

I entered the frintage. She raced over and blocked my way.  "Surely", I thought, "she has come to admire Zion", whose head was hanging out of the driver's side back window.

Not a chance!

"Could you", she said "buy me a gallon of  gas?"  I need to get back to Clark Rd.  (There is a gas station about 200 yards from where we were.)

In such circumstances I'd normally fish for a couple of dollar bills and some loose change, enough for a gallon of gas.

But all I had in my bill fold was a Ten Dollar bill which I handed to her, (without much graciousness on my part),

She "God blessed" me, and we went our separate ways.

Did she need money for gas?  I'll never know.  It's not my job to be investigator, prosecutor,  jury and judge in such cases.

Was I being generous?  Not at all!  Giving ten dollars will hardly break my bank.

But as I drove home I asked myself  "would I have handed it over  so readily if  I had nothing but a $20, $50, or $100 bill in my wallet?"

I doubt it!  Maybe for a $20, but certainly no more.

So why should I expect to be commended for being "generous" with ten dollars, perhaps even $20,  but certainly no more?

When does generosity  move beyond from "what can I afford?" to "how do I respond to this particular need?

It must be much more than at the level of a ten dollar semi-grudging hand-out from my car window. 

Light Headed

via David La D.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

At The Lakewood Ranch (FL) Farmers' Market Today.

My friend Ashley (Chrisman) Lloyd took me there.

I liked it more than the Saturday downtown market in Sarasota which is often over crowded and noisy.

The seasonal Lakewood Ranch market takes place in the parking lot of the local hospital,  so there is more than adequate parking space;  and a spacious market area.

There is so much truly locally sourced food -  grown or made in the  locality. 

My eyes and my nose were almost  more seductive than my budget allowed.

 I settled for this:

Locally made Gouda type cheese (aged for 18 months).

Food as art?

A gorgeous Batard made by local French citizens. ( The French and the Germans know all there is to be known about good bread!)

Heirloom tomatoes grown by local small scale farmers.  As I said to them "once you've eaten an heirloom tomato you'll never buy the supermarket stuff".


Bread, cheese and tomatoes.  All the makings of  a feast:  fit for the humblest peasant;  and for the privileged  monarch.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog

I met one of these handsome dogs at the Park this afternoon.  Such beauty.

His owner told me that he is a fierce and determined watch dog.  Out of his territory he was a gentle sweetheart,

I fussed with him for a bit, then turned to talk to his owner.  He pawed me for more!

I told her  (the owner)  that I will think of him as a Turkish Delight!

Saturday, 14 December 2019

A Slogan And An Enemy


He did not need a programme, a manifesto or a vision. All that Donald Trump needed as he ran for the Presidency of the United States was a slogan, and an enemy.

He successfully demonised Hillary Clinton. She, he said, "lies like crazy about everything".  He called her "crooked Hillary".  His supporters lapped it up.   Who can forget the crowds chanting "lock her up, lock her up", led of all people, by a retired Army General.

The programme, the plan, was summed up in four words Make America Great Again.  He did not have to define the greatness that supposedly had been lost; he did not have to say what a renewed greatness would look like; he did not have to set out a plan to "renew" that greatness.

He did not need to do any of those things - his devoted supporters, perhaps 20,000 of them in a gathering place, all wearing MAGA hats knew what he meant. They were excited. They knew that he was not running against Hillary Clinton.  He was running against the first and only black skinned American President, Barack Obama.

Liberal Democrats could  not get excited about Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign.  It seemed to owe more to  a liberal think tank than to a passion to serve the people.  (even so, she won the popular vote but lost the election because of the American peculiarity of the elitist  Electoral College).


Boris Johnson also had a slogan "Get Brexit Done".  

When the Brexit referendum was approved, Mr. Johnson wet his finger and put it in the air to feel which way the wind was blowing.
He decided that it was a Brexit favourable wind. Not that he had any strong convictions about the matter, but that he had his eyes on the prize of the Premiership.  He had  lied through his teeth before the referendum. His side won.  72% of those eligible voted.  Of that 72%:  52% were in favour of Brexit, 48% opposed, hardly the manifest will of the people which Johnson claimed.

All he had to do was bide his time until Prime Minister Theresa May failed.  Then his moment came.

He and his minions found it easy to demonize Jeremy Corbyn. He was likened to Stalin.  He was villainized as "extreme far left" (even though his manifesto was utterly in line with the traditional Labour Party in the days before Tony Blair moved the party to the centre right).

He was accused of being anti-Semitic.  This is probably not the case, but sadly he was unwilling to condemn the anti-Semitism of the fringe members of the Labour Party.

Odd thing  - the extreme right and the extreme left are often united in their anti-Semitism.

Given the public sentiment in England and Wales  (though not  in Scotland and Northern Ireland) Boris Johnson's win was "easy peasy".  Like Hillary Clinton, Jeremy Corbyn failed to excite a majority of  voters (even though prosperous southern Cities such as my home City of Bristol; and London voted overwhelmingly for Labour).

Corbyn sometimes comes over  to me as a J. Alfred Prufrockian character:

Deferential, glad to be of use,

Politic, cautious, and meticulous;

Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;

From the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Elliot.

f --------------------------------------------------------------------------


It is more than likely that Premier Johnson will introduce legislation to effect the Brexit withdrawal on Jan 31st 2020. His parliamentary majority will approve. (Though Boris may ask the E.U. to delay the date)

But that's not the hard part.  It's a bit like this:  pulling out the plug from the socket for an electrical appliance in your home is not the same as having your house re-wired.

Jan 31st (if that is the date) is pulling the plug.

But the next year or more will be the re-wiring, i.e. re-negotiating the many treaties and agreements which have bound the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the European Community.

Does Prime Minister Johnson have the stomach and patience for these prolonged negotiations?

Friday, 13 December 2019

What made the cut this week.

On the left as you look at the photo' Zion's Wednesday incision.

On the right  Dr. Bogart's Friday incision.  


Incisive comments are welcome, but please, no cutting remarks.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Prince Zion of Sarasota (the perfect dog) bit me

Or maybe he didn't.

Last evening, 11th Dec 2019 I was having my usual good night snuggle with Zion.

He, quite out of character, barked in the midst of our love fest.

And I, to my great surprise, suffered a Zion bite to my forehead.

Oh my dear, precious and wonderful Zion.

I know that you did not mean to bite me;  but as you barked, your teeth and my forehead came into connection. 


Of course I did not scold Zion.  He did not growl or snarl,he simply "woofed".

What I suppose is that as I cuddled with Zion some outside noise spooked him, so he barked, and hit my forehead by mistake.

He always  lets out just one deep throat-ed bark when ever a person or dog is close to my front door.  That's good.

Indeed, if a passing butterfly farts, Z. lets out a strong bark

U.K. General Election

The voting is today.  

We will not know the full result until Friday 'cause the Brits  (thank goodness) still use paper ballots, to be counted by hand. In some constituencies the count will not begin until Friday morning.

Whatever the result, know this

Boris Johnson is a lying weasel.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Do you know this place?

Photo' taken of a postcard which I found in my ex-bankers box of treasures.


It was probably more than twenty five years ago that I, staying in a Hotel in Paris,  tuned into a silly and lovely British sit-com called "Waiting for God".  ( French T.V. in those days was less exciting than watching molasses running up a hill).

As I watched the outdoor shots I thought "surely I know that place".

I waited for the credits at the end of the show which confirmed my suspicions.

The outdoor shots were from a lesser mansion in the village of Farmoor (near Oxford), known as Oaken Holt.

Gosh and be-golly, indeed I knew Oaken Holt.  I worked there in the early 1970's when it was the home of the Westminster Bank Staff College.   I was a tutor at what were called "Induction Courses" for  newly recruited Bankers, which  wasn't that much of a big deal.

When the T.V. programme was over I called my brother Martyn, in England,  who by happenstance had just been watching 'Waiting for God" in England, even as I had been viewing it in France.

I was tickled pink!  

Did you ever watch "Waiting for God"?  


Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Music for the time of the year: The wild and wonderful; and the deep and peaceful. Good for believers and non-believers one and allli

The wild and wonderful - fabulous for the Christian season of Advent; utterly wonderful for all.

(thank you Mark D for the head tip on this link)


John the Baptist   (as you have never seen him before) in London


The deep and the peaceful from Ireland;  set to gorgeous music by John Rutter and sung by Libera




John Rutter

Monday, 9 December 2019

Cafe Baci nails it (truth in humour)

As well as having a deserved reputation for excellent Italian food, Sarasota's Cafe Baci is also known for its corny or funny signs.

Today's took the biscuit.  I couldn't stop to take a photo' 'cause of heavy traffic.  But here is what it said:

If you are paying $5 for a bottle of smart water then it isn't working.

(Tee and Hee from Mee)

Sunday, 8 December 2019

The Human Costs Of Urban Environmental Degradation..

Little Village, Chicago.

A vitally important paper by my friend Derrick Z Jackson.


Saturday, 7 December 2019

Why do I keep this stuff?

When I moved from the U.K. to the U.S.A. in 1976 I packed a large wooden crate with all manner of items I thought I'd like to have in my new home.

The crate was shipped and in due course I picked it up in Boston Harbour.  It just about fit into the back of a large station wagon I'd borrowed for the purpose.

Lord knows why, but I included files with every essay I had written in my four year seminary stint.   I never re-read them.  They joined Pittsfield's paper recycling programme in 2000, together with every Christmas and birthday card I had received between 1976 and 2000.   

(I had thought that I would revisit the cards  in my dotage, but after looking at a few signed (for instance)  "blessings Harry" or "love Helen" it occurred to me that I hadn't the faintest idea about  which Helen or which Harry had sent me the card!)  Out the cards went.

And there was a cross I had bought in Obersdorf,  Germany in about 1971  (I still have it); some items I bought in Kenya in 1973 and still have;  a gorgeous bone china mug my mother had given me for my coffee drinking in seminary  (gifted a few years ago to one of my nieces).

However I've hung on to some memorabilia  from my banking days.  I shipped it here in 1976, now I don't know what to do as I de-clutter.

Up until the late 1960's British banking had not changed much since Victorian Days.  

We still sat on high stools at high desks, illuminated by lamps with green lampshades, to keep current (checking); savings, and loan accounts by hand.

We had some kind of accounting machine on which customer statements were posted and printed.

All transactions were were made face to face in a branch bank; no ATM's, or  Debit Cards or Smart phone transactions.

Then it all began to change.  In my case there  was the merger between the Westminster Bank and the National Provincial Bank;  the introduction of the decimalisation of U.K. monies  (no more Pounds, Shillings and Pence, now just Pounds and Pence); and computerisation.  

My banking career had nothing to do with high  flying international stuff.   It was the more simple and gracious local branch banking.

And I've held onto some memorabilia from those days.

Chew Magna, Somerset branch where I  worked.

The brass outdoor wall bank sign.  It was replaced with a stainless steel NatWest sign (see below).  I asked the sign contractor if I might have it.  He replied that if it disappeared he would not notice.  So, some fifty years later I have it.  I had thought to have it mounted on a wooden fire place screen,  But that never happened. It is screwed to the wall in a closet in my spare bedroom.  

My bank name plates.  On the top the one we used in open counter days. On the bottom we used when the bank installed a glass screen between cashier/teller and customer.  It was not bullet proof, but it would deter any crazed crazed Englishman/woman who might be tempted to leap over the counter in order to rob the till or give me a kiss.

A brass shovel for use when coins were measured by weight before they were bagged.

On every desk, containing credit or debit slips on the top, and paper clips/rubber bands in the drawer.

 We even had a  Westminster Bank tie


The old Westminster Bank offered these elegant Savings Boxes to  children 

Made with metal, covered with faux leather.

The merged Nat West Bank was less ambitious in its choice of materials for its savings boxes:


In recent years I've done so much de-cluttering.  

But I have no idea as to what to do with these odd bits of banking memorabilia which I still have.  

And I wonder why the heck I shipped it from the U.K. to the U.S.A.  in the first  (1976) place!  😘