Category Archives: Life

Kayaking

I recently got into kayaking,  and find it so peaceful and relaxing. Exploring the various ponds is an excellent way to spend time with nature and to see the wildlife that inhabits the places. Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware is one such place that is wonderful for kayaking, with two ponds, Fleetwood and Turkle.

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Fleetwood Pond 5

Fleetwood Pond 9

Fleetwood Pond 8

Fleetwood Pond 1

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Love Creek

The weather was perfect for an early morning photo shoot at the old Love Creek bridge.  Crabbers now use this bridge, and a new bridge was built alongside to take the Rt 24 traffic. (Click on each photo to enlarge it. Click your browser back button to go back.)

My wife’s car is the only one in the parking lot.

The fog effect was achieved with a fog filter on the lens.

The old Love Creek bridge from which people go crabbing.  A new bridge was built alongside.

A seagull perches atop a piling.

My Childhood Catholic Church

I don’t remember my age when I first attended the Catholic church. My mother was a Protestant and had no interest in it. My father seldom went but there was trouble if I failed to go.

Fathers Mills and O’Neil were the ministers of ‘Our Lady of Good Counsel’ church, and both as miserable as a cold, wet day. Solemn? Even Jesus would have balked at spending time in that place. I wonder why the organization chose to give their ministers the title of “Father” when Jesus said we must not call any man “father” apart from our Father who is in heaven. He was referring to spiritual leaders, of course, but I’m told it’s a mark of respect toward the priest. Really? How about some respect for Jesus and doing as he says?

I was baptized in this church, received First Communion and Confirmation, all of which I had no idea what it was about but it pleased the people, so it seems. Later, due to extreme boredom, I became an altar boy and learned the Latin mass. Boredom? Yes, when a child has to stand among the adults for an hour, and do everything they do, like stand, sit or kneel at the appropriate times, it’s boring! Then for one quarter of that hour, the priest stands at the altar rail and preaches something that goes right over my head. Whenever a baby cried, Mills would stand there and glare at the person until they got up and removed the offending child.

Tuesday evenings brought more misery when Miss O’Reilly came to my home to walk me to the church about a mile away. In the winter time it was bitterly cold. Little or no heat was on in the church, and I’d sit there and shiver, while one solitary fluorscent light glowed over O’Reilly, me and about six other children.All around us in the semi-darkness, were statues which took on a scary appearance. I was always in trouble because I could never remember the Catechism. I had no idea what it was about, anyway!

In the summer time I’d have to be in that God-forsaken building when my friends were out playing in the street. And still O’Reilly would be on my case for not learning the Catechism! Is this any way to teach children to know God?

My time as an altar boy brough some relief from the boredom but as I went through the text of the Latin mass while serving at the altar, I still had no idea what I was saying. And even preparation for service had their down times. The head altar server was an adult by the name of Tuckett. He didn’t wear black cassocks and plain white cotters as we did. No, he had a purple cassock and a lace-trimmed cotter. He was bald with hair on the sides of his head, and he had a beaky nose which seemed to be permanently stuck in the air. High and mighty? You bet! And he had a son, my age, who was following in his dear daddy’s footsteps, with the same “my poop doesn’t stink” attitude.

One Sunday evening there was a special service which I was required to attend to serve the mass. While waiting in the sacristy I found a small stack of Catholic newspapers and draped them across my arm, pretending to be a newsboy. Other altar boys got a kick out of it but the priest – O’Neil – took a dim view of it and told me off. He made me go and kneel at the back of the church and ask God’s forgiveness. It was embarrassing as the church was filling with people.

Let’s see, what else can I complain about? Ah, yes… those dreadful Stations of the Cross every Sunday afternoon during the Lenten season. Another hour of boredom that followed my one-mile walk to the church for mass, my one-mile walk back home, my one-mile walk back to the church for this awful ritual, which would also be followed by another one-mile walk back home. For six weeks, my Sundays would be shot while other kids played in the streets.

My final dealing with the Catholic church took place as we prepared to move from the city of London to a city on the East Coast of England. It was midday on Friday and O’Neil came to see us off. He gave me a missal and a cheap rosary, then asked my father for our address so he could stay in touch. At least, that’s what he said he wanted it for but I soon found out his ulterior motive. We arrived at the coast at 8.30 p.m. that night. At 8 a.m. the next morning, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to find a priest standing there and welcoming us to the neighborhood. He told me where the local church was and asked me to attend. So on the Sunday morning, I went. It was during that mass that I became very angry at O’Neil’s duplicity. He made quite sure the church would keep it’s nasty, evil hands on me, but I had other ideas. It was that day that I became an atheist, and remained that way for the next twenty years. I decided that if this organization represented God and was a glimpse of what to expect in heaven, I’d rather go to hell. I was approaching fifteen years old at this time.

One incident that had me concerned about the London church was a time I wandered into a dark corridor that was not used by the members, and in an alcove to one side was a set of tom tom drums but they were skulls. I stood and stared at them, wonding what the priests used them for. In thinking back about all the horrible feelings I had in that church, I wouldn’t be surprised if those priests were indulging in some kind of Satanic ritual. It happens!

Below is a recent photo of that church that was located on Bouverie Road, Stoke Newington.The low garden wall and the shrubs have replaced a tall brick wall which partially hid the building.

I am so glad to be away from it and away from the Catholic religion because of its many conflicts with bible teachings. As much as I hated that church and the priests, I now regard the experience as valuable because I minister to people who have gone through similar bad experiences and turned their backs on God. And where Mills and O’Neil are today, only God and they know that, but I doubt heaven knows it.

Would You Look At That!

The guy is clowning around, of course, but his victims don’t seem to realize it.

Trashy People

Everyone is encouraged to recycle to save so much waste going to the landfill. Recycling bins are placed in many locations and are free to use. It’s a good system but there are those who abuse it. I have seen trash that isn’t suitable for recycling, such as a foam cushion with a vinyl cover that apparently came from an old sofa. There were also long slats of wood paneling. Such abusers know that somebody else will pick up their trash and dispose of it.

Today, I saw a huge cardboard box dumped by a recycling bin. The bin was empty, so there was no excuse for leaving the box on the ground for somebody else to deal with. It’s this kind of ill-mannered, loutish behavior that makes it necessary for security cameras to be set up. There are no cameras there just yet but perhaps the time will come when it will be necessary. Meanwhile, if I see somebody dump trash by the bins, I will get a tag number and report them to the state. Such people are dirt bags and deserve to be fined for illegal dumping!

So who is going to clean up this mess and take it away? The trucks that handle the recycling bins are not equipped to deal with other trash, but I guess this doesn’t matter to the person who dumped it.

London No Longer An English City

Monty Python star, John Cleese, has come under fire for saying that London is no longer an English city. As a former Londoner I can vouch for that, and saw how London began to change back in the sixties.

It was in the sixties that Idi Amin threw thousands of people out of Uganda, and England took many of them in. It was said they would have a better way of life. That did not seem to materialize, though, even if they were safer. Yet it wasn’t only Ugandans who came to England but Greeks and Asians, too. We soon began to see shops taken over and used as gambling dens, and the police did nothing about it. I recall walking past one such shop and seeing a group of Greek men sitting around a table, gambling. The window was filthy. What was once a thriving store was now a dirt hole. The Notting Hill district became a black ghetto where police were reluctant to go when festivals were held.

Whole areas, apart from London, became ghettos, and this was broadcast on a local TV station in the Midlands to where I had relocated. Asians literally took over a large section of Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, and property prices dropped dramatically. I know because I lost a lot of money on my home due to the influx of Asians who were not accepted by local people.

Did the quality of life improve for all the foreigners who made England their home? Or was the collective effect responsible for the demise of the country, and particularly London? Unless you actually lived there, you can only go by whatever the media says. And some play the racist card. It has nothing to do with racism but is a fact of life.

Perhaps Cleese – like many of us – had grown used to the culture in which he was raised, and doesn’t like the new culture especially when many of the people around you don’t speak English. To those who are born into the present culture, London is an English city! To those of us who were born and raised there many years ago, it isn’t an English city! Multiculturalism is here to stay, whether or not we like it.

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Retirement of Former Air Force One

A McDonnell Douglas VC-9 that has been used as Air Force One and Air Force Two, was flown into Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on August 18th, 2011. It now sits in their museum which is open to the public, Tuesday through Saturday.

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