Thursday, 7 May 2015

Hung UK Parliament Blues: Thursday, May 7th!

The sparrow is sorry for the peacock at the burden of his tail. -Rabindranath Tagore, poet, philosopher, author, songwriter, painter, educator, composer, Nobel laureate (7 May 1861-1941) 

Preliminary results of final Guardian/ICM campaign poll show Labour and Conservatives tied at 35% each!

Dear motley bridge crew Since none of the promised 5 Euro' appear to have arrived from my last prophesy I am reluctant to pronounce However I may with confidence state that it will be a Conservative sweep with the new Roal babe riding the crest of the wave like the cute cherub she is. That will be another 5 Euros please. The oracle has spoken All bow down in awe. Cheers from Paree Byron and Anne Agog we await the pronouncements of the good people of England.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon voted with her husband Peter Murrell
Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I will be in Paris with Comrade Stewart. Returning 24th. Roger Still aboard and waiting for HMS Pinafore to sail. Southampton? Ha! Just wait till next season with Bournemouth coming as the local derby. Les Hi Robert: I will be there Regards: David  
Hi Patrick and Corinne, Loved your newsy letter but sorry to say your courier is very slack, our tickets haven’t arrived yet and I need to organise a baby sitter for our chickensJ Have you arranged a holiday in early February 2016?

[Who is that weirdo bloke with the ever-lovely Anne?] Hi Patrick and Corinne, Loved your newsy letter but sorry to say your courier is very slack, our tickets haven’t arrived yet and I need to organise a baby sitter for our chickensJ Have you arranged a holiday in early February 2016?

I am having a week’s break from skiing and will be going to Kelowna for a few days so I thought as it is only 2 hours from Penticton I could catch a bus and come and free load? We are coming to Canada on 10th January with Mark, Kirsty. Mya, Jade, Kirsty and Chris. They are staying for 2 weeks and then are going home. I will go to Kelowna for a few days and hopefully catch up with you guys, then back to SunPeaks for the last week of skiing with Trevor xxx

The weather has turned cold and raining so indoor jobs are taking preference. I am decluttering, so each room is getting a once over, much like you are doing I suppose with your impending move?

Conservative leader David Cameron and his wife Samantha
Mum has finished her radiotherapy but it has left her with very bad burns, so she is in a lot of pain, poor thing. No fun getting older! Cheers for now as Downton Abbey is coming on. Love Tina

Hi Teens!Terribly sorry to hear about your poor Mom's burns, resulting from her treatment. Please give her our best wishes. Have just tracked the ticket package on the FedEx system and it was delivered and signed for yesterday, by Mya, so perhaps you might speak to your granddaughter!

At this point, we don't have any travel plans for January or February, 2016, at least that I am aware of! Would be a treat to see everyone in Sun Peaks in January, for a day or two. We have close friends in Kamloops so if things work, we'd probably stay with them over the course of any visit. Bit early to plan but it might be an idea to see if we could dovetail our visit with your visit to Kelowna and then we could drop you off, en route home, or else you could come to our place in Penticton first. Give it some thought and I'm sure we can come up with a suitable plan.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg & wife, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez
Downton is finished here so we are Netflixing most nights, House of Cards, US version, 9although I'd like to watch British original at some point), with only a few episodes to go. Then Cora lee wants to watch Marco Polo while I am keen to see The Shield, ("Vic Mackey is a rogue cop in an experimental division of the Los Angeles Police Department, willing to sink to the criminals' level in order to take them on -- but his misdeeds eventually come home to roost. He breaks the law to, in his mind, bring some semblance of order to a chaotic world."), and/or The Sweeney, with John Thaw, of Morse fame, and Dennis Waterman of New Tricks. no time to even think about packing! Buona Fortuna with your own de-cluttering. Cheers, Patrizzio! Pic: Islay Inn vases yet to be packed!

Rachel Notley Wins Alberta NDP Leadership
Thx, P. Snow shld be gone soon. Meant to be 18 by the weekend, crazy AB weather. Took me 10 mins to clean off the car yesterday, very heavy snow.

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and his wife Justine
We too are most impressed with RN. However, she does have a very inexperienced group with her, but one has to learn somewhere. I am certain they will tread cautiously with much advice from sage advisers. Prentice screwed up big time. It was a tough lesson. The PCs shld get over their war with the WR and form a coalition. We will wait & see what comes down. People in the oil sector are nervous as are some in big business. I just hope they don't start moving out of the province. We don't want to suddenly become the have not province.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage
Last evening, we reviewed about 4 or 5 homes on-line, all strata, most patio homes. I think we have a pretty good idea now of what we want & price, too. Hopefully, we'll be putting in an offer within the first week of being in Parksville. I am not looking fwd to Sunday & the good byes as I am so close to our three girls. The grandchildren are all at such a sweet age, between 10 down to 2 & 21 mos. The little ones especially will change so quickly. Frank & I both have been quite involved with them these past few weeks: driving, babysitting, going to skate lessons, soccer, tap & ballet classes, early dismissal from school, recitals, gymnastic competitions & spring concerts. It's been a lot of fun! Hopefully, we will see them enough times a year for long enough for me to handle the separation. Frank seems to be fine in that department.

Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party
I'll keep you posted on our final decision. Have fun at your farewell party. We have a dinner tomorrow evening with our gourmet group. Only one couple will be missing as they have ill relatives down east. Cheers, Maggie

Hi Snow-Woman! Focusing on latest reports from the UK now. Another fascinating election, of course. I'm sure it will be tough on you, moving away from your three girls and grandchildren.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood
After a busy day of packing, (Mainly Cora Lee, as no time to even think about packing, on my part, only riding!), we seem to have an increasing number of social obligations to fulfill. Our social calendar, until the end of the month, is almost completely blocked off! Out to dinner next two nights in a row. Not complaining but time is evaporating! Buona Fortuna in Parksville. Cheers, Patrizzio!

David Kessler Hope you are happy about Alberta-is Texas next??? Patrick James Dunn Ecstatic! With apologies to Leonard and Bob, "Next we take the UK and then San Antonio, Comrade Kessler! All in good time, all in good time, since the time's they are a changin'!"

As Miliband & Cameron gallop closely on the back straight I had this report from bellweather Solihull via a metallurgist mate I used to play with daily in the 1950's at the old grubby Tech - so looked down upon by Roger and the posh Uni toffs at Edgbaston. Oxford then beckoned a political hotbed as always - and unlike the midasian Roger I renounced wealth & industry for the povertied, saintly, wine-soaked cloisters of academe.  Exit Poll are usually accurate and a Tory win indicated! Blimey! David

Hi Working Stiff! Trust your re-entry went as well as possible. Quite a shock to your system, I imagine! Thanks for forwarding updates and fundraising events for Pat. You may well have seen the article in today's Sun.

We are hoping to attend. Haven't been to the Rio since I contributed to the fund-raiser to help refurbish their neon sign. Received a T-shirt and four tickets to films there but I suppose Chloë will have the benefit of the latter now! Buona Fortuna with work! Cheers, Patrizzio!

Hi again, Margaret! Corinne says hello and sends along best wishes to you both.
Cheers, Patrizzio!

Hi Raymond! Sorry I've not been back to you sooner! Blink my eyes and week is almost over! Perhaps we could arrange something for tomorrow if you are still free then. Let me know and we'll plan accordingly. Cheers, Patrizzio!  

Tomorrow morning is good, Pat, your choice of time. A 2-hour ride will probably do me. In the garden all morning getting tomatoes etc planted. Ray Hi Raymond! Sometime between 9:00 and 10:00 am if that suits. Give me a shout when you are up and about and we can talk about where to meet, where we might ride. Cheers, Patrizzio!

Hi Jean and John! Trust you are both well. Guess you will be "manicuring" your phenomenal garden, readying it for the weekend. Buona Fortuna with tours. Wish we could attend. Really enjoyed the video link. I suppose you will become the host of a Garden Show in the near future. You have a wonderful TV presence. Congratulations indeed! 

Corinne says hello and sends along best wishes to you both. She just left for a dental appointment and then a series of meetings! Hope we'll see you, somewhere, soon! Cheers, Patrizzio! Pic: Master and Guest bedrooms, now storage units; hootch and vases yet to be packed!

Spent a goodly part of the day cleaning up my desktop by updating many earlier posts, inserting photos, and missed correspondence, listening to UK election coverage. When I watched BBC's live streaming I was very impressed with the technoligical wizardry used to explain the results, everything from a giant jig-saw puzzle of the UK to a virtual House of Commons, populated by sitting MPs, to a virtual House of Cards featuring the faces of UKIP MPs on the cards, the precarious structure tumbling down as the defeats were registered! Found the broadcast so fascinating that I took my laptop out on the patio so I could continue watching as I gave my Trek a good cleaning and oiling. 
By the time I was suited up and slathered with sun-screen it was close to 3:00 pm so I had a fairly circumscribed window of opportunity to complete my ride. Decided best solution was to run the, by now, standard Olympic Village/Place de la Concorde/Granville Bridge Loop, focusing on the empty parking lot for most of my mileage, circling, almost ad nauseam Stats for ride:

Home by 5:30 pm to prepare the hors d'oeuvres, (olives, dolmades, two dips, salmon and hummus), we were taking to dinner, then a quick shower and change by the time Cora Lee was back from her latest meeting.

After she had changed her outfit we were off to Lynn's, to her place in Kits. Great evening with Brenda, Liisa, Joan and Paul. Had never been to Lynn's new condo so she took us on a tour before dinner. Certainly a lovely spot indeed, extremely comfortable and spacious, right in the heart of Upper Kits!

After a delicious meal with plenty of animated conversation and liberal amounts of wine, we were served a terrific raspberry torte for dessert and I opted for a java, into which I put the ice-cream others had on their cake, the better to help me navigate the short drive home! 

Bit sad to say goodnight to one as it is certainly the last time we will see the group, in such a dinner setting, before we move, although we've invited everyone to our Farewell Bash on May 23rd. Suppose a sit-down will only be possible when we visit Vancouver as it seems highly unlikely that everyone will be in Penticton at the same time. Who knows? 

Hello my Scotch lovin pals! Just got a wonderful email from my Visit Scotland newsletter. I tried to forward it to you but it isn't sending. It is all about whisky and the different regions and types. There are things to download etc. and super maps etc. World Whiskey day is May 16th. We should raise a dram on the 23 rd. Slainte Mhath! Jane xo 
Guess Whisky is the right spelling for true Scotch lovers!! Jas😉 xo 

Thanks so much for the very cute card! We will miss you both when you move to the "Bench" Luv S  

From Between You & Me by Mary Norris. Some thoughts on the humble comma, from long-time New Yorker proofreader Mary Norris:

The comma was refined by Aldo Manuzio, a printer working in Venice, circa 1490. It was intended to prevent confusion by separating things. In the Greek, komma means 'something cut off,' a segment. (Aldo was printing Greek classics during the High Renaissance. The comma flourished during the Renaissance.) 

Aldus Manutius
As the comma proliferated, it started generating confusion. Basically, there are two schools of thought: One plays by ear, using the comma to mark a pause, like dynamics in music; if you were reading aloud, the comma would suggest when to take a breath. The other uses punctuation to clarify the meaning of a sentence by illuminating its underlying structure. Each school believes that the other gets carried away. It can be tense and kind of silly, like the argument among theologians about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. How many commas can fit into a sentence by Herman Melville? Or, closer to home, into a sentence from The New Yorker?

"Even something as ostensibly simple as the serial comma can arouse strong feelings. The serial comma is the one before 'and' in a series of three or more things. With the serial comma: My favorite cereals are Cheerios, Raisin Bran, and Shredded Wheat. Without the serial comma: I used to like Kix, Trix and Wheat Chex. Proponents of the serial comma say that it is preferable because it prevents ambiguity, and I'll go along with that. ... [But] isn't the 'and' sufficient? After all, that's what the other commas in a series stand for: 'Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!' A comma preceding 'and' is redundant. ...

"Fortunately, the Internet is busy with examples of series that are absurd without the serial comma:

We invited the strippers, JFK and Stalin.' ...
This book is dedicated to my parents, Ayn Rand and God'

"And there was the country-and-western singer who 'was joined by his two ex-wives, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings.'

"The bottom line is to choose one and be consistent and try not to make a moral issue out of it. Or is it? Maybe it's better to judge each series on its merits, applying the serial comma where it's needed and suppressing it where it's not. Many newspapers, both American and British, do not use the serial comma, which underscores the idea that the news is meant to be read fast, in the dead-tree version or on the screen, because it's not news for long. 

It's ephemeral. Print -- or, rather, text -- should be streamlined and unencumbered. Maybe the day is coming when the newsfeed-style three dots (ellipsis) between items, like the eternal ribbon of news circling the building at One Times Square or the CNN crawl, will dominate, and all text will look like Celine. Certainly advertising -- billboards, road signs, neon -- repels punctuation. Leaving out the serial comma saves time and space. The editors of Webster's Third saved eighty pages by cutting down on commas.  

"But suppose you're not in a hurry. Suppose you move your lips when you read, or pronounce every word aloud in your head, and you're reading a Victorian novel or a history of Venice. You have plenty of time to crunch commas. If I worked for a publication that did not use the serial comma, I would adjust -- convert from orthodox to reform -- but for now I remain loyal to the serial comma, because it actually does sometimes prevent ambiguity and because I've gotten used to the way it looks. It gives starch to the prose, and can be very effective. If a sentence were a picket fence, the serial commas would be posts at regular intervals." Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, Mary Norris, W. W. Norton & Company, 2015

Dear Friends, Well it seems our Japanese Stroll Garden is Media hot. Shaw & CTV, CFAX & CBC Radio have all been in our garden Today in the Times Colonist a full page picture of our Red Bridge  in ‘Go Explore’ Looking forward to seeing you all out, bring your neighbors, friends & don’t forget your camera To Blue Skies Above, Jean, John, Benson & Tess

Pictures with Adam Sawatsky Host of CFAX Radio & the Dean of Music Stephen Green taping the garden tour. Go on line to "The Conservatory of Music Mother's Day Musical Garden Tour 2015'Scroll down and it will say:

Adam Sawatsky chats with Garden Tour 2015 with Dean of Music, Stephen Green and Gardener Jean Anderson  Press the Red Arrow.  Wait for ‘The Eye of the Arts with Adam Sawatsky’ Interview will start

From The Fortunes of Africa: A 5000-Year History of Wealth, Greed, and Endeavor by Martin Meredith. Muslim pirates (or corsairs) in North Africa, in retaliation for the encroachment of Spanish kings, enslaved at least a million European Christians in Algiers and other port cities. The most famous was Barbarossa:

Barbarossa Hayreddin (Hizir)
"Spanish kings, having conquered the Muslim emirate of Granada and brought an end to nearly eight centuries of Muslim rule in Spain ... established a string of fortress colonies, or presidios, along the coast from Morocco to Tripolitania and forced local dynasties in Fez (in Morocco), Tlemcen (in Algeria) and Tunis to pay tribute to the Spanish crown.

"The main resistance to Spain's occupation came from local sailors who armed their ships and plundered Spanish vessels for cargoes and captives. In Europe, these corsairs were regarded as a barbarian menace, reviled for selling thousands of Christian sailors into slavery. But they themselves viewed their war as a religious conflict against Christian invaders and were seen by Arab and Berber inhabitants of the coast as local heroes.

"The most famous of the corsair commanders were two brothers, 'Aruj and Hizir, both known in Europe by the Italian name of Barbarossa. Born on the Ottoman island of Mytilene (now Lesbos), they began their seafaring careers as privateers in the eastern Mediterranean, but shifted their operations to the western Mediterranean where the opportunities for plunder from Spanish shipping were greater.

In 1504, they obtained permission from the Beni Hafsid sultan in Tunis to use the nearby port of Halq al-Wadi (Guletta) as a base. Their raids on Sicily, Sardinia, the Balearic Islands and the Spanish mainland made them widely feared by coastal communities in southern Europe. In 1516, they succeeded in liberating El Djezair (Algiers) from Spanish rule. After consolidating control over the surrounding region and forcing the Beni Ziyad ruler to flee, 'Aruj declared himself the new sultan of Algiers and set out to extend his power to Tlemcen in the west, but was killed there in 1517.

"His place was taken by his younger brother Hizir who inherited the name Barbarossa. Needing the support of a powerful ally against the might of Spain, in 1519 Hizir sent an envoy to the Ottoman court, bearing gifts and a petition from the Algiers population asking for protection in the war against Christian invaders and offering to submit themselves to Ottoman rule. The envoy duly returned home with an Ottoman flag and a detachment of 2,000 janissaries. The arrival of Ottoman forces in the western Mediterranean shifted the balance of power there decisively. ...

"Corsair fleets continued their raids with official approval, making huge fortunes from captured merchandise and from the sale or ransom of captives. Their field of operation widened considerably during the seventeenth century when they began to use square-rigged sailing ships instead of galleys. Their activities formed the backbone of the economy. Corsair loot paid for the wages of government officials, furnished their residences and financed the building of harbour defences, aqueducts and mosques. Christian slaves were used as a ready supply of labour. They worked on construction gangs and as galley slaves, agricultural labourers and quarrymen.

Skilled artisans were consigned to shipyards and arsenals and made a significant contribution to maintaining the fighting capacity of corsair fleets. Women and girls were sent to the harems. The only escape for white captives was to organise payment of a ransom or to 'turn Turk' -- convert to Islam.

"The booming port-city of Algiers became the base for a fleet of seventy-five corsair ships and the principal entrepôt for European slaves. Between 1550 and 1730, the white slave population there stood consistently at about 25,000 and sometimes reached double that number. 

With so much slave labour on hand, Algiers blossomed into one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Contemporary writers remarked on the immaculate state of the streets, the elegant houses, manicured gardens and handsome pavilions. White slave labour helped build the Mole, a large breakwater protecting the harbour, dragging giant blocks of rock weighing twenty tons or more from hills outside the city. Tunis and Tripoli held about 7,500 Christian captives over the same period. The ports of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli also served as a haven for thousands of European pirates, many of whom 'turned Turk' and who joined in the plunder of Christian shipping with equal enthusiasm, sharing the profits with ruling officials. 'If I met my own father at sea I would rob him and sell him when I was done,' boasted John Ward, an infamous seventeenth-century English pirate based in Tunis.

"The white slave population needed continual replenishment. Some were ransomed; some converted; thousands died from disease and ill-treatment. New arrivals destined for the slave auctions of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli numbered on average about 5,000 a year during the boom years of the trade. Modern historians estimate that in all, between 1530 and 1780, at least a million European captives were enslaved on the Barbary coast." The Fortunes of Africa: A 5000-Year History of Wealth, Greed, and Endeavor, Martin Meredith, PublicAffairs a Member of the Perseus Books Group, 2014

[Happy 39th Anniversary Darlin'! Flowers for my gorgeous, gorgeous Red Red Rose of a wife! Warm Love, Patrizzio!]


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