Friday, 5 April 2019

if I've been asked once, I've been asked a hundred times......

..... "what breed is he?"  "He" of course being Zion.

For the longest time I've been saying - "maybe a bit of Golden Retriever, and some Brittany Spaniel".

I think that I've been correct about the Brittany Spaniel bit, but not about the Golden Retriever.

One day last week a couple (probably in their early thirties) hopped off their bikes to take a look at Zion.   Turns out that they own two Great Pyrenees Dogs, and they saw a lot of G.P. in Zion -  his coat and feathering, his stance, and his beard (or ruff).  And they noted his double dew claws (front and back legs) - which is very common in Great Pyrenees.

The next day I saw another walker, who said that he had owned two Brittany Spaniels and that he saw some Brittany in Zion.


Great Pyrenees, note the beard/ruff

 Brittany Spaniel Pup, note the colouring patterns.

Zion, with his beard/ruff and colouring clearly visible.


So now when I am asked, I should say "maybe a cross of a Great Pyrenees with a Brittany Spaniel".

Or I could say "a noble and ancient breed which only top drawer Englishmen are allowed to own".

But I could also revert to my usual explanation which is "he is an attention hound".

Better still  



Thursday, 4 April 2019

Jesus Loves The High School Boys(and a bit of huma)

Stock photo' via Google Images

Those who follow this blog will know that Zion and  I very much enjoy the City of Sarasota's hidden gem - ARLINGTON PARK.  In truth we have walked there four times today.

Once in a while we'll encounter a group of High School Athletes as they run around the park, young men without a inch of fat, and with washboard abs.  (They are probably the cross country team from Sarasota High School - just a mile away from the Park),  

(The photo' above is not of them -  it is a stock photo' from Google images which I am using to illustrate this blog).

A few weeks ago,  as they ran,  I heard the team captain (?) sing out " Jesus loves me this I know" to which the runners responded "for the Bible tells me so"


Earlier this week as Zion and I walked clockwise we saw these young athletes as they ran counter clockwise. We stepped to one side to allow the  young men to pass.

My inner clown took over and  I sang out "Jesus loves me this I know"

Right on cue the athletes responded "for the Bible tells me so!"

They came around a second time.  This time I sang "Little ones to him belong, they are weak but he is strong"

The young men saw the funny side of this and laughed out loud as they ran.

HOW WONDERFUL  that a nearly 75 years old coot, with a fat belly,  can evince laughter from some High School athletes!

Zion pretended that he did not know me!

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Hooray for Tax Dollars Well Spent

Stock photo' via Google Images.


On Monday evening (1st April 2019) as I walked out with Zion I saw what I took to be a juvenile Great Blue Heron as he (and it was a he) struggled to swallow a fish from our retention pond.

I didn't get too concerned as the the Great Blues often toss fish into the air, and line them up in order to swallow them whole.


On Tuesday evening (2nd April 2019) [twenty four hours later] another neighbour spotted the same Great Blue, but by now the fish (half way out of the bird's beak), was surrounded by flies.

I happened be out and about and saw this sad sight.

My neighbour 'phoned Animal Services of Sarasota County,(Sheriff's Dept).

Their agent (*Amber) was on the scene within four minutes  (she happened to be in the area). The agent ascertained that the Heron was still alive, but very passive.  

The agent, with great tenderness, wrapped the the bird in a big blanket, and took him to her van for transportation to an avian rehab. centre in Venice, FL.


Another neighbour called that centre this morning for information.  It transpires that one of the fish's fins had lodged in the bird's gullet. The rehab extracted the fish with great difficulty.

The Heron is still alive, and is being hand fed for the while. The rehab centre has every hope that he will eventually be released to the wild.

Laus Deo for our Sarasota County Animal Services Dept. (taxes well spent!) for their prompt and tender response to a bird in need.

This afternoon I left a message with one of the supervisors at Animal Services asking her/him to commend * Amber for her good and caring work.

Be Grateful for those all-volunteer organisations which nurse sick wild animals back to health, and freedom.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

I'm going to be in a play!

It's based on the life of Van Gogh.

Things did not go well at the rehearsal today.

(In truth my Dermatologist took three samples today for biopsy, one on my right ear, one on my right eyebrow, and one on  the left side of my neck. Eleven hours later the three places are still bleeding.)

Monday, 1 April 2019

A very great man of "the greatest generation"

I rejoice in the memory of Kenneth D Holmes of Cambridge, MA who passed from this life on 30th March 2019.  


Here is how his son-in-law Derrick Z. Jackson (former columnist for the Boston Globe) speaks of him.

A quiet, determined patriot, father and community pillar departed Earth after 94 rich years,  my wife Michelle's father, Kenneth D. Holmes. Purple Heart on WWII Italian Front (Buffalo soldier). First African American city councilor in Medford, MA. Helped charter his area NAACP. Working class metallurgist and post office worker who put three kids through Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth. He passed away peacefully Saturday evening after being surrounded by family. He was my No. 1 reader in my years at the Boston Globe, always ending his voice messages with: "Keep Up the Good Work." The best father-in-law a son-in-law could have. Photo is from the West Medford Elders Photo Project


jmp continues Here am I with Ken in 2004

Honouring Ken at St James's, Cambridge, MA. 6th June 2004 commemoration of the 60th anniversary of D Day

It was one of the rich privileges of my life to know Ken, his wife Mary,  and his daughter Dr. Michelle Holmes (together with her husband Derrick Jackson and their sons Omar and Tano Holmes) during my brief Rectorship at St. James's (2000-2006).

Ken was a man of God and a Godly man.  All who knew him will remember his great gift of encouragement to others in all and many endeavours.  I think of him as a Barnabas type Christian -  Barnabas who is remembered in the bible as a "son of encouragement". Acts 4:36 

I believe that Ken's middle name is David - who according to the scripture was "a man after God's own heart".

Kenneth D. Holmes - a son of encouragement and a man after God's own heart.  AMEN

I last saw him in a nursing home in Lexington MA when I was in Massachusetts in December 2016.  What a joy!  "Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love!"

And of course I saw Michelle, Derrick, Omar and Tano when I was in Austin TX the other week to celebrate Tano's marriage to Clarissa Martinez.  Omar and I had a nice conversation about his beloved grand father Ken.