Saturday, 13 July 2019

Bastille Day Vive la France

The French National Anthem is indeed stirring.  

There is an "over the top" version of "La Marseillaise" as arranged for soprano, chorus and orchestra by Hector Berlioz in about 1830.

This version  "goes on a bit", but it is magnificent in its grandeur.   I listen to it every Bastille Day.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Here I sit, broken hearted.

Zion and I have good adventures twice a week when we visit residents of memory units in local retirement communities.

He is so well suited to this canine ministry  -  he doesn't tug at the leash, jump up, or try to lick people.

He seems to know that his role is to be gentle.  As one of my friends said this evening  "Zion is an old soul". 'Tis true, and he is loved where ever we go.  I am blessed.

There are moments of humour in the memory units.  One woman asked me about a month ago  "why do you have such a  fat belly?"    

But in a different facility earlier this week a woman told me "I like your belly".

This morning I began to recite old nursery rhymes as Zion and I visited -  "Hickory dickory dock" and "Little boy blue" etc.   So many memory impaired residents joined in.

The rhymes stirred the memory of a dear woman who was born in Manchester U.K. many years ago.

She remembered another ditty.

Here I sit, broken hearted,
paid a penny,
only farted.

This dates back to the "olden days"  when in the U.K.  public toilets you had to insert a penny in the lock for a sit down stall.

Hence  "spend a penny":  a U.K. euphemism for a visit to the ...bathroom?.... rest room?....toilet?... loo?...lavatory   -  what the heck are we supposed to call it!

In those old days men could urinate for free at a urinal, but women had to "spend a penny" in order to sit down.

Female or male, one might see a bit of graffiti in a sit down stall

                         Here I sit, broken hearted,
paid a penny,
only farted.

In other words, I paid a penny in order to sit down and evacuate my bowels. But it was a false alarm and a waste of money -  all I needed to do was to fart.

I grinned from ear to ear this morning.  This dear memory impaired woman from Manchester could remember only this rhyme from her childhood days -  a rhyme which we young British kids thought to be very funny -  and a wee bit naughty because it used the forbidden word "fart"!


We are so coy in the matter of perfectly normal bodily functions, so we use euphemisms to describe them.

We hear and say "pass gas", or "blow off", or "fluff", or "cut cheese" instead of the perfectly good English word "Fart"  - a word which has been used in our language for at least six centuries.

It is not a bad word.  It's an English language word with a long heritage.

So there!

Bye bye  from your old fart friend Michael.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Oh no! Back to bloaters - and other comestibles,

Bought some smoked herrings at my local supermarket today.  Produce of Canada (most likely from the Maritime Provinces).  

Probably the nearest thing to bloaters this side of Lowestoft.

I have to soak them in cold water for at least for four hours before they are fit to be cooked.  I'll probably pan fry them for breakfast with a poached egg on top.

Dear friend D'Arlene Llewellyn  -  I won't make you eat them, but I will let you know if they are gooood!


I've been on a Macaroni and Cheese binge for a few weeks. (Please don't tell my Primary Care Physician!)

Here is my latest home cooked offering  

Macaroni, morbier and cheddar cheese, with chicken sausage.

I cheat (or take a short cut) so instead of making a white sauce, I mix up the whole mess of food with store bought Alfredo sauce before baking it.  Works for me,  and adds a good garlicky flavour. 


And there is healthy food!  My local market has been selling extraordinarily good peaches from Georgia -  the ones that are so ripe and juicy that you need to eat them over the kitchen sink.

These great and tasty peaches have afforded me a good breakfast these recent days. Great peaches  -  even better when eaten  with a smear of  Almond Butter.


Let me know know what you think and what your taste buds say!

Smoked Herring: yes or no.

Mac ' Cheese:  good but could be better.

Peaches with Almond butter:  Well worth a try.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

10th July 2019 NADA from me

No 'buses

No coaches

No Bristol

No Lowestoft

No nothing


                                 BE AT PEACE TODAY!

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

That 'bus journey again. My bad behaviour. Fish for breakfast.

So we changed coaches in London on that 1955 trip from Bristol to Lowestoft.

The change was made at the splendid Victoria Coach Station, a great semi art deco building, built in 1932

I was in awe -  not only because of the magnificent Coach Station (we didn't even have one in Bristol) but because I saw Coaches from many parts of England which bore the Bristol Marque

In those days some buses and coaches were built in Bristol and in Lowestoft.  The engine and chassis were made in Bristol, and then driven to Lowestoft to be out-fitted at the Eastern Coach Works.

Heady stuff for a proud Bristol boy and his Lowestoft born Mum!


We set off from Victoria Coach Station for the long drive to Lowestoft.  And then I behaved badly.

A fellow passenger pointed out to me the great sites and sights of London.  I ignored him and refused to respond to his commentary.

My Bristol provincialism took over and I was determined to disdain and ignore anything that London might have to offer (apart from coaches/buses made in Bristol and Lowestoft!)  

I was a rude and churlish little eleven year old.!  Mum was utterly vexed with me, and gave me a stern dressing down.  I deserved it.


But then we arrived at Nirvana (Lowestoft)  and the sun shone again for me.  Aunt Ada and Uncle Jim met us at the Lowestoft 'bus station and we walked to their wee home at 13 Gun Lane (long since demolished).

We probably had a cup of tea and a sandwich before bed, but I can't remember.

But I well remember the next morning.

I descended the stairs to be greeted by a wonderful smell. Aunt Ada was pan frying our breakfast on an old fashioned coal stove (nothing as fancy as a modern AGA range).

She was pan frying bloaters.  Bloaters are herrings which have been wood smoked intact for 48 hours, unlike herring kippers which are gutted and divided before they are "cured".

What a breakfast.  It was a breakfast feast fit for Poveys, if not for Kings and Queens. I loved every bite. Thanks Aunt Ada!

I am still fond of smoked fish for breakfast.


It was probably some ten years ago that my American born ( and now U.K. citizen) friend Joe S, took a trip from London into Suffolk, U.K.

We stayed one night at the fabulous 

White Lion Hotel on the Suffolk Coast in Aldeburgh, very near to "The Maltings"  (c/f Benjamin Britten and Peter Peers).

Guess what was on the breakfast menu. 

You have it  ---   there were bloaters.

Of course I had bloaters for breakfast that morning.

I thought that I had died and gone to Lowestoft!  But I was alive and in Aldeburgh!

Monday, 8 July 2019

The Chocolate and Cream Coloured 'Bus - and a feel good movie

Until last Saturday, 6th July 2019 I had not been to the Movies since 2011 when my friend (the late) Ben Morse and I went to see "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".  We could not abide the violence, so we left the cinema when the film was about half way through.

Eight years later I was enticed to see "Yesterday" because my Cambridge MA friend Donna T wrote on Face Book that she had seen it.

She was especially pleased because the film is set in Lowestoft, Suffolk, U.K.

I've never met an American who has heard of Lowestoft, let alone been there.  Donna was the exception -  it turns out that she has visited a first cousin who lives there.


Lowestoft:- it might as well have been Nirvana according to my Mum who was born there.  (By a nice coincidence, my friend Jeff who I  have known since 1950 also had a Lowestoft born mother).

I think that I was about eleven years of age (1955) when Mum took me (and I think my brother Andy - then five years old) on a trip to Nirvana.

We went by coach ( the U.K. word for a long distance 'bus) and the maybe 210 miles journey took at least ten hours ( no Motorways/ Interstates in the U.K back then)  including stops in Marlborough, Wilts for a cup of tea!, and in  London to change coaches.

Our coach looked something like this

Thirty five seater, gas/petrol engine.

We arrived in Lowestoft. My Mum's  Aunt Ada and her husband Uncle Jim met us, and we walked to their modest cottage at # 13, Gun Lane, now demolished.

I was more or less happy to be in my mother's home town.  Above all else I was intrigued and delighted with the Lowestoft Corporation 'buses, all decked out in Chocolate and Cream.

Lowestoft Corporation 'bus.
All the 'buses I knew (in Bristol) were painted green.


Thanks to Donna's tip off, my friend Ashley and I went last Saturday to see "Yesterday", set in Lowestoft.

The Movie has many references to Lowestoft  which made me happy. But it made no attempt to honour the East Anglian accent.

They  sounded my mother's natal town as LOW-ES- TOFT (three syllables) rather than the indigenous   LOES TUFF

Nonetheless "Yesterday" is worth seeing. As Utah Public Radio puts it --

"It's not an award-winner but a fluffy feel-good treat for the summer"

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Don't be a POVEY

Yesterday afternoon (6th July) I set out to Lakewood Ranch  ( a horrid and huge housing  "development", which has swallowed  up much good agricultural land east of Interstate 75  -  mostly in Manatee County, FL).

* I call LWR a "desert with grass": there is no 'there' there.  It's a place to get lost. 

I was at LWR to meet my friend Ashley Lloyd, and  to see a Movie at the Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, very near to the modern and faux Main Street (Disney light!). 

The Movie was "Yesterday".

BUT DAMMIT I could not find the Cinemas.  Yep they had vanished from view.

In semi-desperation I pulled to the side of the road and asked a pedestrian " do you know how I can find the Lakewood Ranch Cinemas?" 

He grinned and said:  "see that building across the road, the one that has a huge sign reading "CINEMAS".

Then he added " did I pass the test?"


In plain sight!

Oh dear  -  don't be a Povey.