Saturday, March 30, 2019

A singularly agreeable Saturday

The prospect and inevitability of returning to Canada precisely one week hence does not sadden me though admittedly it heightens the rapture of Longboat Key. A quick glance a moment ago at my iPhone weather app informs me that with the exception of Monday and Tuesday the entire week is forecast sunny and warm. Today was an altogether grand day, another cloudless dome of blue and a light breeze from the southwest. Already the season appears to be winding up, seemingly fewer people about, a pervasive atmosphere of tranquility and purposelessness.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Oh, my!

Whether it was all that stuff I've lately been reading on Country Life about Italy and the Mediterranean or whether it was just my burgeoning voracity for pasta, olive oil and Maldon salt that finally overtook me, this evening I not only went up to the trough but I got into it! Good bye diet and portions control! We had made the mistake earlier this morning of agreeing to go grocery shopping late this afternoon so I had all day during which to plot my scheme. It was not even 4:30 pm this afternoon when I willingly withdrew from my pleasant camp on the beach and headed to the apartment intent upon mischief! I can only add by way of expiation that I had earlier walked on the shore of the beach to the pier and swum back for the last quarter-mile. The sea was amazingly clear today.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

It had to end

You can't expect to be perpetually removed from the sometimes displeasing episodes of life. It's just not possible. Eventually the sinews tighten. Considering the length of time lately I've been immersed in a bubble of rapture - and given the minimal nature of today's gritty sand - I haven't cause for complaint. The adjustment has nonetheless triggered  distracting introspection and bothersome backscattering. It amazes me how ill-prepared I am to cope as though I justifiably expected unending idealism.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Endless Indicia

Upon awakening this morning I checked the weather app on my iPhone. So I knew then that rain was predicted. It began as forecast around 9:00 o'clock, violently thrashing against the apartment windows, suddenly darkening the sky to the point of invisibility and making abnormal noise. I sat alone at the dining room table eating my steel-cut oats, listening to Gustave Mahler and reading the latest issue of Country Life. Occasionally I took screen shots of exotic coastal resorts and emailed them to my vagabond friend and fellow-Sybarite.

I had determined to go shopping for groceries this morning so there was no rush to get to the beach. Already I wore my aquamarine coloured shorts from WestMarine® and a white Polo shirt (my "dressing up" mode for replenishing the larder).  But the sterling silver ring was different, the Links of London item which I bought years ago at Holt Renfrew in Montreal - the "three ring motif which honours our philosophy Love London Life". The silver colour I reckoned would work with my Road ID bracelet when I went bicycling later.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The hour approaches...

Not uncommonly the approach of the end accelerates the dénouement while heightening its spellbinding elements. In just over a week we are bound to depart Longboat Key and return to Canada. As if by an intended mockery the weather lately has been nonpareil - dry, clear air and brilliant sunshine day after day.  Each morning is an awakening to ecstasy! Nor does it make matters easier that each day I discover new advancements and welcome vaporizations - literature, people, music and reflections.

Monday, March 25, 2019

I Wanna go to Marz

Given the indescribable sublimity of Longboat Key it is hard to imagine that going to "Marz" (or anywhere else for that matter) would be much of an improvement.

Recent single "I Wanna Go to Marz" might evoke the cosmic dreaminess of the Carpenters' "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" but it's actually named after the sweet shop in the town of Grant's birth, Buchanan, Michigan, rather than the red planet. Most of its lyrics simply list the sugary treats on offer during his childhood, their names ("Bittersweet strawberry, marshmallow butterscotch") lifted from an old menu he was given by the owner when he made a pilgrimage there a while ago. The album's 70s soft rock sound is deliberate: the period chimed with Grant's first musical memories and a pre-adolescent period of happiness, though he says there was always a "black cloud" hovering overhead. The Guardian

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Savouring the Sea

Sunday morning arrived with its promise of purgation and tranquility. If one is intent upon proving one's righteousness - at least if the project is to be imbued with moral dignity - the thesis has to be based upon logic which while not perfect has the advantage of avoiding purely ad hominem assault. The further danger of attacking the man and not the issue is the very real possibility of merely exemplifying one's own shortcomings. Winning an argument and refusing to make the same mistake twice are not the same. Playing at winning is treacherous and not guaranteed to deliver success much less the smug elevation which attends disregard. It lubricates my resolve that even an innocent child is baptized, pointedly the immersion in water.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Funny, how that happens!

There was a time when I imagined the fortuity of coincidence was a mystical feature of life - mine in particular. It is a subject which was well documented by the English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy who wrote in the tradition of the "Victorian realist". Broadly defined it is realism which attempts to represent subject matter truthfully without artificiality and avoiding artistic conventions as well as implausible, exotic and supernatural elements. Realist authors chose to depict everyday and banal activities and experiences instead of using a romanticized and similarly stylized presentation.

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Town of Longboat Key

Though it is not uncommon to hear the most glowing things said about Longboat Key it is seldom that credit is given where so much credit is due; namely, to the municipality itself - the Corporation of the Town of Longboat Key. It is arguable that the employees of the Corporation - like so many others in the private sector - are expected to work silently, unseen and unnoticed in the background. While this may warrant substance in larger urban centres where anonymity is preferred it nonetheless detracts the well earned accolades to which so many people are fully entitled. I have neither the ability nor the intention of naming individuals but I wish to register my heartfelt approval of the assiduous staff of the Town of Longboat Key. These functionaries sustain the sinews of the municipality in cooperation with the equally attentive commercial and retail conglomerate which likewise contributes to the high standard of the public domaine.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The North Wind

Not unexpectedly my introduction today to the noticeable north wind emerged when fulfilling my morning bicycle ride on Longboat Club Road. As smart as it was, the wind was bone dry yet strangely silken.  It heralded what proved to be a robust, clear day below a crystal deep-blue sky.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Sandbar Restaurant, Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island

Whether it is a measure of our advancing age or preference for our own culinary mash-ups, we tend not to dine out often. Occasionally - such as this evening - we have a sudden urge for "restaurant quality" food. When submitting to the impulse the choice of venue is invariably seaside and casual. Tonight it was the Sandbar Restaurant on Anna Maria Island. Our drive there from our residence on Longboat Key took just over half an hour. We found ample additional parking reserved for restaurant patrons about a block past the site.

An account of life

As part of my relentless search for free books on the internet my most recent discovery is the autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States from 1901 - 1909. The book was first published in 1913 (though the E-text was prepared from a 1920 edition published by Charles Scribner's Sons). In many ways the chronicle is anachronistic; but one marvels at its continued relevance.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Irksome Problem of Defining Things

I have always maintained that no matter where you are, if the sun is not shining, everything looks the same. Today was one of those monochromatic campaigns, an engagement more of necessity than anything else. It helped assuage the disadvantage that today was a Sunday, thus lending itself to introspection and uneventfulness. It was however a misguided fortune.  At the beach this afternoon as I lay prone on my chaise longue by the grey sea, casting my eyes heavenward into the equally mind-numbing sky, I caught myself wondering what in the end is the point of it all. Not exactly what you'd characterize as uplifting neither especially relieving.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Art of Living

Today for whatever reason I have been reflecting upon the events of last year at this time - when I was walking in a detached state about the uncommonly wide and sunlit hallways (complete with hanging art) of Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach recovering from a severe bicycle fall at Ponce Inlet. Oddly I have a vivid - almost psychedelic - memory of the diverting medical episode. It was in the nature of a catharsis, a deliverance from a previously undisclosed encumbrance. I am here speaking of the pace maker which was installed to ensure my heart keeps ticking - the necessity of which I have always maintained was conveniently diagnosed after a fall from my bike on the beach rather than a collision in my car at 60 mph. Call me cheery! At the time I don't think the circumstance was viewed by those around me with equal vigour.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Going for a swim

For a minor diversion this morning I cycled to Lido Beach about 4 miles from Longboat Key. There is much more activity there. Nonetheless I hastened to conclude my exercise and get onto the beach on Longboat Key.  Today marks the end of five months here; and our looming departure in about three weeks.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Than this there is nothing finer!

Whenever I set off to bicycle in the accomplishment of my matutinal agenda it is not uncommon for me to sigh with restrained marvel (a well of near amazement and thankfulness) upon assimilating myself to the awakening day. Nor was this morning an exception. To my further enchantment the spectacle exceeded the pinnacle of sublimity. The sky was an unchanging dome of blue above the vast sea-level horizon. There was a smart, fresh breeze. The air was soft and dry. The sprinklers along the paths were spraying their nourishment (albeit laden with sulphur); the Municipality was industriously trimming the large shade trees. The invitation to overwhelming awe was toxic! Any accommodation of life's inevitable mortality was handily brushed aside in favour of limitless vaporization and contemplation.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Important Detail

A very long time ago in the full strength of pride and youth I was engaged to be married. It is a period of my life which I have largely ignored not because it was particularly undesirable or unsettling but because it happened and ended so precipitously. To remove all curiosity about the affair I can report that I and the lady to whom I was engaged continue to be on no less civil terms than we ever were - though admittedly now with a huge gap of time between us. And yes the reason for the dissolution of the engagement was that I am a member of the committee.  Otherwise it was an alliance of perfection - at least from my point of view. But as with so many other tales of romance it was not to be.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Hazy Day

What has man of his own to give to his fellow-man, but his own thoughts and feelings, and his observations so far as they are modified by his own thoughts and feelings?

Samual Taylor Coleridge, "Literary Remains, Volume 2"

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Old Boys Network

As I lay on my chaise longue on the beach today I immersed myself listening attentively to the banter between three teenage boys sporting together nearby. My guess is they are here on the Gulf of Mexico for "reading week" to visit their parents or grandparents. It set me musing about the effect of privilege upon their awakening minds. By coincidence when I returned to the condominium at the end of the day I received an email from my eldest niece enquiring whom I would recommend as a chartered accountant.  This in turn put the wheels in motion about the general subject of friends and the Old Boys Network.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Salty Sunday

The gusto was lacking today.  At four o'clock this morning (actually three o'clock "old time" if one ignores the Daylight Savings Time change overnight) I tore myself from under the sheets and plopped myself before the computer screen to complete some literary changes about which I had been ruminating. It was after all Sunday morning so I had nothing better to do. Even if it were not worth the slog it at least satisfied the nag.

Saturday, March 9, 2019


Vulgaris a Latin adjective meaning common, or something that is derived from the masses of common people.

The common people, also known as the common man, commoners or the masses, are the ordinary people in a community or nation who lack any significant social status, especially those who are members of neither royalty, nobility, the clergy nor any member of the aristocracy.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Speaking from the Bench

My main office on Longboat Key is a bench at Bayfront Park on Gulf of Mexico Drive overlooking Sarasota Bay. Though I thought I had overslept this morning I nonetheless removed myself from the virginal lair shortly after 7:00 am and immediately instituted my habitual morning performances.  The only difference this morning - well actually there were two - was, first, I had organic honey with my walnuts instead of the usual Savannah honeycomb (both equally tasty); and, second, I carried my new tiny Greadio to the dining table and used it to listen to a classical Florida FM station and one of my latest Apple Music library collections through Bluetooth (remarkable little device).

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Sorting my papers at the beach

After my father died in 2014 my mother remained for a time living alone in the large house which she and my father had custom-built over 50 years earlier. Though we were able to get her to relocate to an apartment in a retirement residence, my mother never abandoned her adoration for her former home. Almost until the day of her death, she unhesitatingly proclaimed her remorse at having left the house - which she preposterously insisted she was perfectly capable of managing and maintaining. Like so many others, her house was to her central.

Don't forget your sunglasses!

Most of us have a lot going on in our lives at any one time - at least doing and planning things we either prefer or must do - like vacations and going to work. As a result we sometimes overlook doing and planning the things that aren't on our immediate agenda.  While we think nothing of going grocery shopping to prepare our meals, we are less inclined to accommodate provisions for less compelling matters.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Split Screen

If evolving technology is a copper-bottomed indicator of anything, the "split screen" vernacular seems to be the latest rage. It is a feature with which I have only recently acquainted myself following the purchase of a 6th Generation iPad.  As with so many other technological advancements the split screen is not something I imagine will be of immediate persuasion or necessity to me in my comparatively diminished employment of computers but it will for the time being reside as part of my on-going hoard of detail.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Idle Afternoon

Listening to Holst "The Planets, Op. 32: II. Venus, the Bringer of Peace" is remarkably pacifying, even soulful. It is the perfect complement to a dull Tuesday afternoon on the Gulf of Mexico. The day has thus far been uniquely dedicated to a measure of duty and obligation, quite unlike the customary agenda of bicycling, sunbathing and swimming. First was a scheduled 30-minute "On-line Session" with an Apple representative (who called from the Pacific Northwest) exploring some of the lesser-known features of my newly acquired Sixth Generation iPad. Then there was by contrast a wearisome communication regarding our upcoming winter sojourn to resolve next year's contract negotiations with the estate agency to which the rental portfolio has lately been transferred. Finally there was an interlude of percussion arising from a failed attempt to "gift" some music on-line to acquaintances.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Not long now!

Just over four weeks from now we'll be on our way back to Canada, winding up our 6-month stint on Longboat Key. Although our plans may change slightly in the meantime we're currently scheduled to depart on Saturday, April 6th and estimated to return on Tuesday, April 9th just shy of 180 days on April 13th. I am anticipating that the next month here will afford ideal weather. Today was an insight into that forecast.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

On the beach at Longboat Key

As seemingly shallow and monotonous as it must appear to be to the casual observer, I never tire of trumpeting the unsurpassed rapture of the beach at Longboat Key. I hasten to add that my idolatry is not confined to the immediate area adjoining our condominium where the beach is narrow by most standards (though it is precisely that which I relish for purposes of facilitating my conveyance to and from the sea between dowses of radiation). The primary advantage of the beach is its overall seclusion and lack of frequency except from a very small stream of relatively tranquil pedestrians. In addition when walking along the beach (which, if one were able to fulfill the trek from beginning to end, would likely be no less than eight miles one way) the margin widens considerably, pushing the other condominiums and occasional resort far back off the seashore.  The nature of the shore also alters, sometimes deeper in one place than in another.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Back home on Longboat Key

From the moment late yesterday afternoon we swung over the bridge from Sarasota to Longboat Key on the tail end of our near week-long jaunt across the Florida Everglades to Key West and Key Largo we were thrilled to be back on terra firma. We unintentionally prolonged our return home for about an hour by exploring Second and Seed, a CBD (cannabinoid) hemp apothecary shop.

Second and Seed-A CBD Story

My current euphoria is perhaps evidence that the oil has provided undeniable relief from my annoying neuropathy and pain in lower back and limbs. For the past twenty-four hours I have avoided the necessity of consuming Tylenol Arthritis pills.  I normally take between six and eight per day.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Last day on the Keys

We had been so impressed by Playa Largo Resort that we enquired about staying an additional day.  The suite was however not available.  We didn't wish to downgrade to a smaller room - nor endure the inconvenience of having to relocate. Our breakfast server has told us that another resort located nearby is also very attractive.  I suspect that upon our subsequent returns to the Keys it will be somewhere on Key Largo rather than Key West (which we feel we've exhausted).