13 September 2015

Good morning to you all and welcome to the inaugural edition of the Moreton Pinkney Picayune! We received hundreds/dozens/loads/a few/one or two suggestions for what we should call this weekly pox on your inbox now that we have moved from Byfield to Moreton Pinkney. Most of the suggestions we received were too rude for a family publication but my father suggested we call it the Moreton Pinkney Picayune and the name fits exceedingly well.

A picayune was a Spanish coin, worth half a real. Its name derives from the French picaillon, which is itself from the Provençal picaioun, meaning “small coin”. By extension, picayune means “trivial” or “of little value”, “an insignificant person or thing,” all of which encapsulate the publication formerly known as the Befouled Weakly News – trivial and worthless. Many of you will know that there is already at least one newspaper carrying the same name – the New Orleans Times-Picayune although why any reputable newspaper would want to describe itself as having little value is a mystery to me.

Profound apologies for the lack of communication over the past couple of weeks. As we mentioned before the hiatus, we’ve been off in the States helping my mother celebrate the beginning of her tenth decade – she turned 90 on 1 September. We enjoyed a wonderful outing to Hanover for the celebrations as well as a splendid opportunity to spend time in the glorious environs of Lake George in upstate New York with all the Stragnell siblings and their decidedly better halves.

I have to say, the whole trip, while being profoundly enjoyable, was also quite surreal. We’ve been packing, unpacking, sorting, organising and struggling to remember where we last saw the particular item we need at this precise moment for the past few weeks following our house move. Packing for the trip to the States was an adventure and, for me at least, at times serendipitously amusing. Most of our clothes are, by now, where one would expect them to be – in a chest of drawers in our bedroom. Some, however, are still somewhere else – in a box or thrown in a cupboard or perhaps even in another chest of drawers somewhere else in the house. As I was searching for some additional pairs of underwear in the chest of drawers in the “Guest Room” I miraculously stumbled across my swimming trunks. Hmm, that’s a bonus – I better pack them too. Still, it all felt as if we were utterly unprepared for such an excursion due to a multitude of other distractions.

Lake George was, as always, gloriously beautiful and, because many schools had already started back in session there were considerably fewer people about than when we often visit. The weather was great – it was hot and sunny for the most part if occasionally somewhat humid – and the water as well as being extraordinarily limpid, was refreshing and pleasantly comfortable. In what was a new experience for Penny and me, we got to witness the social habits of a resident porcupine which took up residence in a couple of trees near the Ritz for a few days. Who knew that porcupines spent most of their time up a tree? I certainly didn’t. Fortunately, my brother Sandy held off shooting it until we had vacated the premises. The more adventurous of us climbed Anthony’s Knob and, as usual, we ate like kings.

My mother’s birthday was a great success and she and my father were in fine form. My father had arranged for dinner to be catered in one of the function rooms at Kendal and it was splendid. The highlight of the evening was the entertainment, provided by a one-time only reunion of the Stragnell Boys and Girls providing special renditions of some old favourites including that well-known classic “Libby on the MTA.” We certainly enjoyed ourselves and, more importantly, I think my folks did too. My mother looked radiantly wonderful at her birthday celebrations and everyone enjoyed some good laughs and a good time.

We took a time-lapse of the evening’s extravagant entertainment. It’s not the most exciting I’ve ever seen (or done) but, as you can tell, we sure had a wonderful time.

The visit also gave us an opportunity to intrude on our friends Chip & Leca Boynton in Boston once again. You really have to feel huge sympathy for those of our friends or family who happen to live near airports that we are obliged to use from time to time. Ben and Donna know how tedious it is whenever we visit LA – their house is about a five-minute drive from LAX. Similarly, a visit to Miles’ beach house in San Juan Capistrano was always on our itinerary whenever we visited southern California. Now, the Boyntons endure a similar fate as they are so conveniently situated for Logan Airport in Boston. And, of course, they haven’t learned yet – they are splendid hosts who indulge all of our inclinations. For me, at least, that means baseball at Fenway with a copious quantity of oysters beforehand. As if that weren’t enough to satisfy anyone, the next morning they took us out to breakfast at the Little Depot Diner in Peabody, Massachusetts which was simply outstanding – heartily recommended.


All too quickly, it was all over and we were off back to the UK. The flight home was tolerably good, the jet lag not so much. The older we get the more difficult it seems to become. Penny’s sister J had held the fort in splendid fashion during our absence and Molly seemed utterly unperturbed that we were home – I suspect she never really noticed that we had disappeared as long as her food bowl appeared at the appropriate intervals.

So, after a week back we are slowly getting settled back in, just in time to jet off again at the beginning of October on another adventure! We must be mad.

Much love to you all,