Friday, 29 November 2019

I (ahem) "acquired" this.back in about 1970

I still own it.

It's a plastic 15" ruler from the old U.K. Westminster Bank.

I worked for the Westminster Bank;  (which originated in 1834),   from 1961 - 1965 , and again from 1967 - 1972 in which year I went to Theological College/Seminary.

The Westminster Bank was the smallest  of the "big five" in England and Wales; alongside the Lloyds, Barclays, Midland, and National Provincial Banks.

We catered chiefly to small businesses, and farmers, and to "middle class" individuals. We were unambitious bankers. 

Note well that I (with great loyalty)  served the Westminster Bank in the south Gloucestershire town of Chipping Sodbury, and the north Somerset village of Chew Magna

This was hardly City of  London,  or Wall Street Banking!

Back in 1968  the London (U.K.) financial markets were roiled when it was announced that the National Provincial and the Westminster Banks would merge -  becoming the National Westminster Bank in 1970.

Sometime later the merged NatWest was acquired by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS),  which has made a pig's ear of retail and commercial banking. 

That's why my sentimental heart hangs on to the old Westminster Bank ruler which I acquired "somewhere along the way".

Delicious Naughtiness

A friend of mine "christened" her turkey "Devin Nunes" before roasting it yesterday.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

And the beasts give thanks!

I set out Zion's food twice a day.  He is not a vacuum cleaner eater, so he takes his time to chow down.

Twice each day, each  and every day,  after he has eaten, he seeks me out wherever I am in our home.

I know what he is doing. 

He is giving thanks! Twice a day  -  not once a year!

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

A hymn for Thanksgiving

We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing.

I did not know this hymn until I came to live and minister in the United States, but I soon learned that it is "The Hymn"  for Thanksgiving.

I suppose that it is popular because the tune is eminently singable, and easily "belted out". I learned quickly to like it.

This is the best version I can find on You Tube. The camera work is awful, but I love that the organist keeps a good pace (otherwise it can sound like a dirge).

Scroll down and read the text; and also  a bit of the history of the hymn. It was originally a semi patriotic Dutch hymn to celebrate the Protestant ascendancy over the Catholic King Phillip of Spain. 

With that in mind you will understand that the hymn has more than its fair share of polemic.  "The wicked" are Catholics who oppressed Protestants.

These days Roman Catholics sing it with joy and fervour!

And the words happily lend themselves to interfaith Thanksgiving services.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Have pity on me! Porringers and Blumenthals in my sleep.

Three nights ago I woke up in the middle of the night with a word which raced around and around, and  would not leave my mind.

It was the word "porringer".

Why in the blazes should this word disturb my sleep?   I never use it;  and I had but the vaguest idea of its meaning.

Here we go!

A porringer.

But what is it?

A porringer is this:


Last night, in the wee hours I awoke with  a name which would not leave my mind.

It was "Hester Blumenthal".  I thought that I knew her, and I sleepily rejoiced in an old fashioned forename.

When  I awoke this morning I did a Google search,  and discovered  that there is no Hester Blumenthal, but there is a British chef named Heston Blumenthal.

That's neither here nor there.


What is  odd is that my "sleep thought" led me first to the word "Porringer"; and two nights later to Chef Blumenthal.

How very odd!

If your name comes into my mind during the wee hours do you want to hear about it?

Monday, 25 November 2019

The failed promise of the internet.

"We were promised a global village: Instead we inhabit drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information".

A lot of it on the net.

But information does not necessarily lead to knowledge. Thanks to the internet, the man at the bar" may have a lot of  information, but next to no knowledge.

Nor do information and knowledge in and of themselves lead us to wisdom.

We have sadly and tragically allowed ourselves to believe that the over abundance of information and knowledge on the web will make us wise.  It ain't necessarily so.  

Stephen Marche, in the May 2012 edition of the Atlantic Magazine offers us this counter cultural view of the web.***  

"We were promised a global village: Instead we inhabit drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information".

*** (As quoted in "Faithful Friendships", a book by my friend Dana L Robert. Eerdmans Publishing 2019)

Sunday, 24 November 2019