Odds and Sods Around Our Home

As well as collecting this and that on our travels there are things about the house from my childhood or that we got in the course of day to day life.

I remember this from my mother’s kitchen. There was big tin of flour on a shelf in one of the lower kitchen cupboards and along with it sat this flour sifter. For some reason when I closed up my mother’s home back in 1996 it was one of the few things I kept.

Though I have used it frequently to this day I have never really paid much attention to it. Obviously tin, otherwise it would not be quite as battered and bruised as it is, it still works and does what it is suppose to do. I know that modern flours don’t need sifting however I still find its a good way to incorporate salt, baking powder and spice into a flour mixture. And it may be my imagination but sifted flour folds into liquid easily with fewer lumps.


Last week when I was making banana bread I, probably for the first time, read the embossing: BROMWELL’S ServicE PAT. No 1,753,995. So who or what was Bromwell’s and when was the patent issued. Well it turns out that Bromwell was a person and his company is still in existence.

The design for Bromwell’s Flour Sifter approved
by the U.S. Patent Office in 1930.

In 1819 Jacob Bromwell, a veteran of the War of 1812, moved his wire goods manufacturing operation from Baltimore to Cincinnati. He set up his business providing household products to the pioneering families heading westward. The 3 cup flour sifter was one of the more popular productions amongst the 1000 items in their catalogue.

The company continued to manufacture household goods for the next two hundred years and in 1930. Patent #1,753,995 was issued by the US Patent Office for their flour sifter. To this day it is lauded for it’s simplicity: only one moving part, easily cleaned, and it requires neither electricity nor batteries.

Bromwell’s produced items in copper, brass, tin, and steel and as well as the flour sifter produced the box grater, the first popcorn popper, and the iconic tin prison cup. There is a certain twisted irony there as according to Google much of their manufacturing was done in prison workshops using convict labour.

From what I can gather the ServicE brand was their cheaper line and the flour sifter was made in tin up until the 1950s. I have no idea how old mine is but given that I remember “helping” in the kitchen by sifting the flour when I was a child I’m guessing sometime in the 40s if not earlier. Bromwell’s is still making them but now they are a high end product in stainless steel selling for $100.00 USD, when they are available.

The word for August 3rd is:
Flour /ˈflou(ə)r/: [1. noun 2. verb]
1. A powder obtained by grinding grain, typically wheat, and used to make bread, cakes, and pastry.
2. To sprinkle (something, especially a work surface or cooking utensil) with a thin layer of flour.
Middle English: a specific use of flower in the sense ‘the best part’, used originally to mean ‘the finest quality of ground wheat’. The spelling flower remained in use alongside flour until the early 19th century.

Memes for a Monday

Some dogs, some cats and a human.

To be honest I haven’t been watching the Olympics – it is so beyond the original intention of the Games and so mired in corruption that it’s not worth it. IMO

However for Joan, Vicki, Deb and all those who are feline fanciers, here’s a few sports you may be familiar with:


This is Nicky logic to a tee!


Perhaps if more of us spent time doing this than staring at a screen (yes I do see the irony) the world would be a better place.


Can you blame him? I mean sometimes a cigar butt is just something you pick up off the street to munch on. Until the human you own pries it out of your clenched jaws. Hey Sigmund you want to talk about trauma?


A now for a break from the canine:


I mean was there ever a doubt?


I had to Google the reference but I do like the idea that Emily’s immense love for Clifford made him grow so big.


And this is definitely our Nora.


This is probably not a Charles Schultz original but the thought is pretty close to the truth.


And to end on a human note. This is how I’m feeling after tests, x-rays, pokings and prodings.


The phrase for August 2nd is:
Fits to a T (or tee)
It means “exactly, precisely, perfectly” and is an old expression dating back to the late 17th century (“All the under Villages and Towns-men come to him for Redress; which he does to a T,” 1693). The “t” is a shorten form of the word tittle “a tiny amount or part of something” or “a small stroke in writing” – such as the cross mark on a T.

Throwback Thursday

Several of our old friends and colleagues are packing up to either return to Canada or head off to new postings. Their pictures and descriptions of farewells, packing up, moving boxes, and the general uncertainty of it all had me revisiting our final days in Italy 10 years ago.

As you acknowledge that your time at the post is finite (something I avoided for almost four years) you try to get in all the things you meant to do into those remaining weeks. In June and early July 2011 I was no different.

Looking over posts from that time I found one on the last historical walk of so many that I took with our friend Nancy. We had been celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Risorgimento that year and Nancy took us to the site of one of the early battles for the unification of Italy. And she revealed a story of an incredible woman who had fought alongside her husband. A story that, to my mind at least, bears repeating.

Willy Or Won't He

Ana Maria de Jesus Ribeiro di Garibaldi, best known
as Anita Garibaldi, (August 30, 1821 – August 4, 1849)

Tuesday I took my last tour – for a while at least – with a dear friend who is an art historian par excellence. One of the joys of living here has been to see so much of Roma through her eyes, with her guidance and encyclopedic knowledge. And often, because of her contacts, I’ve gotten into places on her Monday/Tuesday walks that most people – even Italian friends – have only seen from the outside. But with her as your guide even the “regular” walks take on a special flavour because she has the enviable ability to make things spring to life.

In 1931 Mario Rutelli designed this equestrian statue in tribute
to the Heroine of the Two Worlds which stands in the Piazza
named after her on the Juniculum…

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Mercoledi Musicale

While googling* information for programme notes I came across several videos that interested me. One had to do with a composer I am writing about; the other is a favourite piece played on an unusual instrument.

Sir Edward Elgar was one of the first composers to take recording as more than a novelty. He saw the potential of the medium and as early as 1914 was recording his works using the acoustic-horn. When electronic recording came into being in 1925 he was one of the first composers to take to the studio and he formally consecrated EMI’s famed Abbey Road Studio One on November 12, 1931.

Here he is, on that day, conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the well-known trio from his Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1, better known as Land of Hope and Glory.

“Good morning, gentlemen. Glad to see you all. Very light programme this morning. Please play this tune as though you’ve never heard it before.”

His last recording was of his Elegy for Strings – a tribute to his closest friend and advisor Augustus Jaeger recorded in 1933. However in January of 1934 he supervised a recording of two of his minor pieces by telephone from his sick bed. He died a month later.

While I was looking at various Elgar related items on YouTube I received on of their many “suggestions” for things I might want to view. I’m not sure what lead the algorithm to decided I should hear Mozart played on a banjo but it did; I did; and I enjoyed it.

Luca Stricagnoli has a wide range of popular covers on his YouTube channel most on guitar including several on a multi-neck guitar. I believe this is his only banjo guitar piece in his repertoire, for the moment. The only other classical piece is also Mozart – Rondo alla Turco on the guitar.

He explains that he uses a “double tapping” method which I had never heard of – but then what do I know about guitar playing. He has also designed several guitars including a triple neck guitar. It also doesn’t hurt that the Italian born Luca is not difficult to look at. Does it Pierre?

*For a while I was calling this “research” but realized that what I was actually doing was simply trusting websites and information provided from internet. Research is more than that as anyone who has written a proper term paper, essay or (god help us) thesis. As with many words “research” is thrown around far to easily these days.

The word for July 28th is:
Guitar /ɡəˈtär/: [noun]
A stringed musical instrument, with a fretted fingerboard, typically incurved sides, and six or twelve strings, played by plucking or strumming with the fingers or a plectrum.
Early 17th century: from Spanish guitarra (partly via French), from Greek kithara, denoting an instrument similar to the lyre.

Lunedi Lunacy

I’m happy to say that both Laurent and I are amongst the 64,478 (July 21 data) people on our fair Isle who have received their second shot. He got Pfizer and I got Moderna which I suppose means we’re a mixed household!

As they tend to do the lads over at Foil, Arms and Hog take a bit of the piss out of the whole vaccine scene.

I was saddened to see that one of the greats of American comedy of my generation died this past week. Jackie Mason was a rabbi turned comedian who was a mainstay of the old Ed Sullivan show until he ran afoul of old Stone Face in 1964. The story of how that blotted his career for over 20 years is well known as is his reemergence on Broadway and in films in 1986.

Here’s one of his routines from October 1962 when he was still in Ed’s favour. Save for the price of rent, it hasn’t dated one bit.

RIP Jackie. You made us laugh and for that we thank you.

The word for July 26th is:
Luxury /ˈləkSH(ə)rē,ˈləɡZH(ə)rē/: [1. noun 2. adjective]
1. The state of great comfort and extravagant living.
2. Of the nature of a luxury.
Middle English (denoting lechery): from Old French luxurie, luxure, from Latin luxuria, from luxus ‘excess’. The earliest current sense dates from the mid 17th century.
As my former roommate John use to say, “These days a ‘luxury’ apartment means that you get door knobs on the kitchen cabinets.”