Home | Letter From America

April 12, 2012

The Family Tree

Ronnie Bray brings a poem to set you thinking.

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April 05, 2012

My Doppelgänger Is Having A Heck Of A Time!

...I was, therefore, surprised in 1970 to learn that my wife’s sister reported to her that I had been seen, frequently, gambling in a night club called the Pink Flamingo. June passed the report on to me. I have to admit it was rather like it must be to be told that I had been seen doing the tango on the moon during my lunch break...

Is there someone out there in the world pretending to be Ronnie Bray?

Continue reading "My Doppelgänger Is Having A Heck Of A Time!" »

March 22, 2012

Another Fallacy Exploded!

Ronnie Bray paints a portrait if a land of sudden death - then tells of an extraordinarily brave and resourceful lady of senior years.

Continue reading "Another Fallacy Exploded!" »

February 02, 2012

When Tomorrow Comes

...Nothing is more noble or makes a finer sight to the dog lover than the rippling black mane of the Chien de Berger Belge moving in the evening’s breeze as she surveys all the land around with stiff erect pointed ears...

Continue reading "When Tomorrow Comes" »

January 12, 2012

On His Blindness - A Lucan Tale

"It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I have been thus flattered by a little lump of love called Luke, who is my grandson,'' writes Ronnie Bray in this warm-hearted article.

Continue reading "On His Blindness - A Lucan Tale" »

January 05, 2012

Seeing The New Year In!

"Our chosen method for seeing the New year in these past few years has been to watch the Waterford crystal Ball fall in New York’s Times Square, wish each other a Happy New year, and then take to out beds. It is a sound plan, and it works to our advantage – usually! This year, it didn’t go according to plan thanks to a few local law breakers and an elephant of a dog called Belle, our sweet Groenendael,'' writes columnist Ronnie Bray.

Continue reading "Seeing The New Year In!" »

December 29, 2011

It All Comes Back To Me Now!

"They told me was that when I reached my dotage, and there is evidence to suggest I am anchored at that mooring, then the memories of my childhood years would come flooding back as clear as the day they were printed on my tiny mind. They haven’t and I am losing faith that they ever will,'' writes Ronnie Bray.

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November 24, 2011

Quiet! Genius at Work!

So what were those soliders focusing their minds on at the start of every day? REME vet Ronnie Bray brings a surprising answer.

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September 15, 2011

A Yorkshire Proverb

Here's a dialect poem rit bi sumdi called ‘Anonymous’ but fixed up a bit bi Ronnie Bray.

Continue reading "A Yorkshire Proverb" »

September 01, 2011

The Question Was Asked: Christians Why Do You Take Medicine If God Can Cure You If You Pray?

Ronnie Bray raises an intriguing question, then provides a most satisfactory answer.

Continue reading "The Question Was Asked: Christians Why Do You Take Medicine If God Can Cure You If You Pray?" »

July 28, 2011

Your Money Or Your Wife!

...He called on his sweetheart and bluntly told her that he could not afford her and they must part. She ran indoors, slamming the door behind her without telling him how she felt about his announcement...

Ronnie Bray tells a delicious cautionary tale about a farmer who was too canny for his own good.

Continue reading "Your Money Or Your Wife!" »

June 30, 2011

Gazin’ at ‘Is Babby

Here's a poem with a chuckle in its tail written by Ronnie Bray in his native Broad Yorkshire.

Continue reading "Gazin’ at ‘Is Babby" »

June 23, 2011

Love Thy Neighbour - It Could Save Your Life!

Ronnie Bray tells a magical tale to confirm that selfishness must be avoided.

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May 19, 2011

Blame Landseer!

Ronnie Bray tells of a meeting which failed to take place - and all because someone chose the wrong lion!

Continue reading "Blame Landseer!" »

May 12, 2011

The Mystery Of Godliness

"The truth of the position that God hears all prayers in whatever language and at whatever time even when millions of voices are raised in petition in an hundred or more languages amid the clamour of an ugly and noisy world is incapable of being understood by any that has not known the fulfilment of urgent pleading in these and similar circumstances,'' Ronnie Bray avers.

Continue reading "The Mystery Of Godliness" »

May 05, 2011

Dancing Dick

...Dick was a labourer and had few marketable skills other than his strong back, his mighty muscled arms, and his solid sense of humour. He worked for minimal wages at maximum cheerfulness, and was ever ready to lend a hand whatever the task and the smile was a gift for which there was no charge...

Ronnie Bray tells of a much-liked chap who discovered the key to family harmony.

Continue reading "Dancing Dick" »

April 28, 2011

Starting Problems

...I got a six-cylinder three and a half litre Dodge Grand Caravan with almost seventy thousand miles on the clock, and sailed off into the sunset feeling happy with the deal.

Next morning when I went to start it, all I got was a rapid clicking sound that reminded me of a troupe of Flamenco dancers somewhere underneath the engine....

Ronnie Bray tells of an efficacious $5 solution.

Continue reading "Starting Problems" »

April 21, 2011

Mam, Let Me in!

"Picture the sad scene: a young man, somewhat the worse for wear, is standing outside the front door of his mother’s house at half past one in the morning, ringing the bell and knocking in a frantic effort to be admitted,'' writes Ronnie Bray, introducing a memorable tale.

Continue reading "Mam, Let Me in!" »

April 14, 2011

Do Acorns Drive You Nuts?

Tormented by an unwanted slough of acorns on your manicured lawns? The Wise One has the wisest possible advice for you, as Ronnie Bray reveals.

Continue reading "Do Acorns Drive You Nuts?" »

April 07, 2011

The Flying Scotsman

Ronnie Bray tells of two flying Scotsmen - one with wheels, the other with legs.

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March 31, 2011

Holmes In Need

Ronnie Bray needs outside help as he investigates The Case Of The Missing Liquorice.

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March 24, 2011

A Wanted Man

Ronnie Bray tells of a handcuffed man, and a policeman who has every good reason to blush.

Continue reading "A Wanted Man" »

March 17, 2011

Musical Knowledge

Eh ther's some reight argey-bargeyin' when they get ter talkin' music i' yon' Yorkshire clubs.

Ronnie Bray was inspired to write this piece by a remark made by John Victor Collier on FaceBook.

Continue reading "Musical Knowledge" »

March 10, 2011

The Time Has Come

The time has come the old man said to think of many things, of rubber spouts and donkey stones and dolly blue and possers.

"There is a strangeness comes into a life when familiar things become less familiar and disappear, one by one, in a silence that makes their going hardly noticeable,'' says Ronnie Bray.

Continue reading "The Time Has Come" »

March 03, 2011

As The Woman Said..

Trust Ronnie Bray to blend tapioca, Snow Birds, the Amish and a silent husband into a delicious reading dessert.

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February 24, 2011

The Irish Pimpernel

Ronnie Bray tells a tale that will leave you gasping.

Continue reading "The Irish Pimpernel" »

February 17, 2011

Before You Eat That Cracker!

...He believed that eating meat and fats resulted in sexual excesses, and thus were sinful, and advocated strict vegetarianism to combat these propensities. Graham also campaigned against alcohol, tobacco, stuffy houses, and sedentary life styles...

Ronnie Bray introduces us to Sylvester Graham, inventor of the famous cracker which bears his name.

Continue reading "Before You Eat That Cracker!" »

February 10, 2011

Marx, Lenin, And The Underclass

...The underclass part of this story relates to the time I was living in Southampton and heard that the branch of our Church in Portsmouth was holding a Tramps Ball. Dave Butt, two young ladies, and me dressed up in make belief tramp togs and drove to enjoy the dance. Unfortunately, my muse of mistaken dates and places that has accompanied me through life was on top form and on arriving at the venue we discovered that he had struck again and that we were either a week early or a week too late...

Working class lad Ronnie Bray gives his reasons for being a socialist.

Continue reading "Marx, Lenin, And The Underclass" »

February 03, 2011

Tuppentahn In’t fer Suppin’

Ronnie Bray's poem tells a cautionary tale in the language of his boyhood, Broad Yorkshire.

Continue reading "Tuppentahn In’t fer Suppin’" »

January 27, 2011

The Rocking Chair

...It was my wife’s hospital room and she was in recovery after having knee surgery. She was sedated but still in pain, and I was moaning to myself about a rocking chair. Suddenly it hit me that of all the people in the world, apart from my worry about Gay and her recovery, never a sure fire thing at her age and with her medical history, I was among the most blessed...

That rocking chair made Ronnie Bray appreciate his many blessings.

Continue reading "The Rocking Chair" »

January 20, 2011


Should you need any bobbins sorted or sandwiches fetched you may have found your man.

Ronnie Bray recalls job-hunting frustrations.

Continue reading "Qualifications" »

January 13, 2011

Now There’s A Word You Don’t Hear Every Day!

...Anaglypta is not cheap, it is expensive, but because it is durable and paintable it will last longer than a lifetime and so represents an economical purchase for those that do not need to make economies. It has found a rival in blown polyurethane wallpapers that can have almost as much fine detail, but are less durable and more likely to be damaged by careless contact with hard or sharp objects.

So much for praising the durable and æsthetic properties of anaglypta. But, I must ask, when was the last time it came up in conversation?...

While musing upon the language of which he is a master-user, Ronnie Bray shines a light on the word "anaglypta''.

Continue reading "Now There’s A Word You Don’t Hear Every Day!" »

January 06, 2011

Wisdom Ancient And Modern

...With his own rich dark humour, Will Rogers offered: "It’s not what we don’t know that hurts; it’s what we know that ain’t so!" That prolific writer, Anonymous, added his own twopenn’orth with, "Those who know least argue most." While GK Chesterton chimed in with, "People quarrel because they cannot argue!"...

The irrepressible Ronnie Bray offers some wise words on wisdom.

Continue reading "Wisdom Ancient And Modern" »

December 30, 2010

Why I Love Montana

...When Gay and I drove from Arizona in the Summer of 2002 to live in the wilderness outside the City of Troy, Montana, we were met by an advance guard of around fifteen local people that had news of our coming and they all turned up to help us move our stuff to where we stored it until we found a place to live, and then all turned up again to help us move it from storage into our home...

Ronnie Bray is reminded of why he enjoyed living in the "Last best place on Earth''.

Continue reading "Why I Love Montana" »

December 23, 2010

All The World’s A Stage - But, What’s The Play Called?

Now what did those three letters scrawled on the back of Ronnie Bray's hand mean? NAT? Could it be something to do with Christmas?

Continue reading "All The World’s A Stage - But, What’s The Play Called?" »

December 16, 2010

Guid An’ Bad Noos Abaht Legs

Yorkshire lad Ronnie Bray brings us a reight grand tale told in rhyme.

Continue reading "Guid An’ Bad Noos Abaht Legs" »

December 09, 2010

Farewell To Corrie

...There are times when it is time to part company, and these days Coronation Street is a closed book. I know it is not the programme of Ena Sharples, Minnie Caldwell, Len Fairclough, Emily Nugent, Mr Papadopoulos, and all the former inhabitants of the old Coronation Street that reflected life in the North of England in better, more decent, and more community-spirited times. I know that times, communities, and nations change, but must it always head downhill?...

Ronnie Bray says a sad farewell to Coronation Street, his favourite TV programme.

Continue reading "Farewell To Corrie" »

December 02, 2010

I Have Seen The Enemy!

"Hatred is never rational, is always beyond the reach of reason, and is the most common and widespread insanity.'' declares Ronnie Bray.

Continue reading "I Have Seen The Enemy!" »

November 25, 2010

"The Test"

Ronnie Bray tells why he will not forward a despicable "Test'' which is going the e-mail rounds.

Continue reading ""The Test"" »

November 18, 2010

To Dream The Impossible Dream

Ronnie Bray tells of a bumbling military attempt at bridge building. And it's up to the reader to cobble a moral from the tale.

Continue reading "To Dream The Impossible Dream" »

November 11, 2010


...The virulence, hatred, and disruption engineered by political brutes has to be seen to be believed. No other country in the world could have given rise to such mindless behaviour, especially no country that holds itself to civilised standards of behaviour....

Ronnie Bray takes a perceptive look at the current political situation in America - a situation which cries out for mutual respect.

Continue reading "Himdag" »

November 04, 2010

The Gift

...Bertie, the scion of wealthy and socially elevated parents, was used to more noble and valuable gifts, and balked at the box of grubs, certain that a grievous mistake had been made by the uncle over whose name the gift was sent.

"Worms!" he cried, ready to blubber. "Worms! What good are worms?"...

But Bertie is about to learn an important lesson, as Ronnie Bray reveals.

Continue reading "The Gift" »

October 28, 2010

Chinese Jews

Ronnie Bray tells you a tale that will leave you laughing from now until year's end.

Continue reading "Chinese Jews" »

October 21, 2010

Excuse my Guffaws, But Did You Say You Wanted A Piano?

...In pre-radio days, a home without a piano was like a coffin without a lid: curiously incomplete. People played the piano, children took piano lessons, and many a house had a brass plaque announcing the residence as that of a "Teacher of Pianoforte," as did Miss Moss’s house on Bow Street, just to the right of the ascent to the Springwood footpath. However, times changed...

The inimitable Ronnie Bray charts the rise and tumultuous fall of his favourite instrument.

Continue reading "Excuse my Guffaws, But Did You Say You Wanted A Piano?" »

October 14, 2010

The Hydrant Puzzlement

...At first sight, it looked as if there was an emergency. Pulling out of the petrol station I glimpsed four men dressed in workday black and wearing safety tabards hunched around something that I imagined was someone collapsed on the ground in extremis and more in need of extreme unction rather than whatever medical skills I might have retained from an earlier profession. As I drew closer, I saw that my provisional diagnosis was wrong...

And the sight resulted in Ronnie Bray drawing a wrong conclusion - then indulging, to our good fortune, in a highly entertaining muse.

For more of Ronnie's delicious columns please visit http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "The Hydrant Puzzlement" »

October 07, 2010

No Contest

Ronnie Bray's delicious poem in Yorkshire dialect tells of a chap who turned out to be more of a man than some folk thought he was.

Continue reading "No Contest" »

September 30, 2010

Romeo And Juliet Meet Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

...I turned to see a pair of handsome kids, not handicapped by awesome good looks, but with attractive honest faces that smiled a lot and shone as only love can shine. However, something was not quite right with the picture. It is customary in Western culture to look into the face and eyes of the adored one and for the adoree to do the same to the adorer. This was not happening...

Ronnie Bray is bemused by the behaviour of a couple of "modern'' youngsters.

Continue reading "Romeo And Juliet Meet Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat" »

September 23, 2010

Fighting Fish Friars

Ronnie Bray, writing with pugnacious vigour, tells of a confrontation in 1260AD between the priora of Meaux Abbey in Holderness and St Mary’s Abbey in York over the rights to fish in Yorkshire's Hornsea Mere.

To read more of Ronnie's vigorous words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "Fighting Fish Friars" »

September 16, 2010

In Prqaise of Typosp

Randi Brue... Sarry. Sturt agin...Reonne Btray writs abut thos akward tiuping errurs.

Continue reading "In Prqaise of Typosp" »

September 09, 2010

Famous Last Words

...General Ethan Allen was told by his doctor, "General, I fear the angels are waiting for you." Allen’s response was, "Waiting are they? Waiting are they? Well – let 'em wait." They didn’t...

Ronnie Bray, in this column which will keep you amused for many a day, tells of the last words of the famous and infamous.

Continue reading "Famous Last Words" »

September 02, 2010

Simian Retribution

Ronnie Bray recalls the defensive act of a chimpanzee - and the lesson it taught him.

Continue reading "Simian Retribution" »

August 26, 2010

The Trouble With Hollywood!

..."Get me Amundsen at the North Pole," barks the big boss. The secretary punches a button and two seconds later Amundsen is on the telephone with Mr Big. Even in less remote areas such as the big cities, the screen telephone experience has the one being called with his or her hand resting on the instrument waiting for the call.

Two rings maximum, and the connection is made, no matter how remote or important the person is....

Ronnie Bray is amused by the wiles and ways of Hollywood.

Continue reading "The Trouble With Hollywood!" »

August 20, 2010

Not Quite The London Times

...Missing from this operation were the hustles and bustles, throbbing veins, scowls, and desk thumping that were the stock-in-trade of Hollywood portrayals of the internal engines of the newspaper world. Also missing were the brilliant but drunken reporters, glamorous female reporters, and world-weary photographers, to say nothing of fast cars, crime bosses, snitches, rat finks, dying victims that wrote clues in their own blood, and crooked politicians. Still, we were only thirteen...

Ronnie Bray recalls an early venture into the enticing world of journalism.

To read more of Ronnie's superb columns please visit http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "Not Quite The London Times" »

August 13, 2010

Talking Toes

...It is wonderful to me that a small chink in the dark windows of memory can unfold so much that is pleasing. By this means the darkest days of old age can be illuminated by bringing to mind so much that seemed forgotten, and in doing so brings both smiles and gratitude to help ease our passage through some of life’s most troubled waters...

While travelling down the memory trail Ronnie Bray recalls trees - though not of the kind which produce leaves.

Continue reading "Talking Toes" »

August 05, 2010

Come, Fly With Me

Those Google journey-planner details can be a trifle optimistic, as Ronnie Bray reveals.

Continue reading "Come, Fly With Me" »

July 15, 2010

Sumer Is Icumen In

A centuries-old English song which welcomed in the English summertime fills Ronnie Bray with nostalgic longings.

Continue reading "Sumer Is Icumen In" »

June 30, 2010

It’s All In The Mind – Or Not!

...So far I have not forgotten the names of my wife, my dogs, nor the rest of my family. I know my way to the supermarket. I know the names of most of our doctors and specialists and how to get to their offices. Other than that I can find my way to Church, to the chemist, the hardware store...

Ronnie Bray remembers many important things - but not where he put that wretched cell phone!

To read more of Ronnie's brilliant columns please visit http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "It’s All In The Mind – Or Not!" »

June 09, 2010

Memorial Day

...As a common soldier I was not involved in making such determinations, in fact the thought never crossed my mind. However, those days of careless youth have passed and my view of the world and humanity has widened and I am permitted to see a bigger picture. Therefore, today, whilst recognising the part played by the military of all nations, I do not let my gratitude for them swell into the delusion that they are responsible for all that is good in the world, for they are not...

Ronnie Bray challenges the idea that all those who wear military uniforms are automatically heroes.

Continue reading "Memorial Day" »

May 14, 2010


Ronnie Bray tells a tale involving rat-like cunning.

Continue reading "Rats" »

March 19, 2010

IKEA Syndrome

If you are one of the millions who have shopped at an IKEA story you will associate with every word in Ronnie Bray's brilliantly funny article.

Continue reading "IKEA Syndrome" »

November 27, 2009

Elegy For Buster

Ronnie Bray and two other men go on a snake hunt after Buster the dog is bitten by a Diamondbacked Rattler.

Continue reading "Elegy For Buster" »

August 01, 2009

"That’s the So-und of the ? Working on the Cha-a-in Gang!"

An old and familiar song comes on the radio as Ronnie Bray is driving along - and at the very moment he sees a sign: "Sheriff’s Chain Gang. Please Slow Down."

To read more of Ronnie's scintillating prose please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading ""That’s the So-und of the ? Working on the Cha-a-in Gang!"" »

May 30, 2009

Wanted, Hexapodic Ballet Dancers!

...There was a special nurse subtitled as “The Nit Nurse,” or as "Nitty Norah the Bug Explorer." This major celebrity visited our school every month or so. She was a no nonsense stranger with grim aspect, quick fingers, eyes like ‘an ‘awk’ that wielded her ivory-coloured double-sided fine-tooth comb did not speak to us nor we to her. The whole procedure was as enjoyable and as entertaining as being hanged would likely be. It was rumoured that she was descended from fire-breathing dragons, and that an atavistic recall was expected any day soon.'''

Ronnie Bray ruminates upon an itchy subject.

For more of Ronnie's superb columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "Wanted, Hexapodic Ballet Dancers!" »

May 23, 2009

My Ship Is Coming In

Ronnie Bray is keeping a lookout for a sail on the horizon, but will his ship really come sailing in?

For more of Ronnie's sparkling prose please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "My Ship Is Coming In" »

May 09, 2009

Same Difference

...“You ignored the STOP sign,” said the avuncular patrolman, ready to give the driver a break.

“Oh, no, I didn’t, said the driver, “I slowed down.”...

Ronnie Bray tells of a linguistic difference of opinion that had a most persuasive outcome.

To read more of Ronnie's brilliant columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "Same Difference" »

May 02, 2009

The Uninvited

...Forgetfulness is as normal to ageing as horns are to a goat. That is the most probable reason why it took so long for the penny to drop...

But 83-year-old Stacy Ferrance could never have imagined why things were going missing in her house, as Ronnie Bray reveals in this astonishing tale.

For more of Ronnie's invigorating columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "The Uninvited" »

April 25, 2009


...Brigadoon’s charm is its re-creation of unaffected and simpler times that reveal the Great Truth that our lives are not meant to be lived in frantic races to nowhere and nothing, by showing the Greater Truth that good hearts, courtly manners, and affability shorten the distance between existences as cold and dreary as river damp, and the ecstasy that is the sanctuary of those whose congenial spirits procure priceless endowments of their happy lives...

The skirl of bagpipes in the Arizonan desert reminds Ronnie Bray of a timeless and magical musical show.

To read more of Ronnie's wonderful and equally magical columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "Brigazona" »

April 04, 2009

Whatever Will They Think Of Next?

...We must never underestimate the dynamism of a child’s curiosity. Multiply one child’s robust compulsion to explore a place. Though the Devil’s name is on the doorplate, through the flames and thunders will the inquisitive child march, not even waiting for the brass band to strike up....

In this joyful column Ronnie Bray reminds is of the exciting imaginative "worlds'' created by children at play.

To read more of Ronnie's gloriously satisfying columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "Whatever Will They Think Of Next?" »

March 14, 2009

"It Was the Dickens of a Beard!"

...Not that the prospect of making a speech in front of ten thousand – oh, all right then, a hundred – people phased me. Any hesitancy my informant thought he read in the throttled trill was only because the event was to take place on the morrow, and the fellow was talking to me in an almost intimate, soothing voice such as heralds a request for a favour. I was not wrong...

Ronnie Bray takes part in a public speaking competition at which he learns three life-changing lessons.

Continue reading ""It Was the Dickens of a Beard!"" »

January 27, 2009

Cable News

So where were those jumper leads hiding?

Ronnie Bray tells a tale of rescue.

To read more of Ronnie's entertaining words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "Cable News" »

January 24, 2009

Wisdom Belongs (Only) To The Wise

The folly of being too inquisitive can land one in a shocking fix, as Ronnie Bray reveals.

To read more of Ronnie's sparky columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "Wisdom Belongs (Only) To The Wise" »

January 17, 2009

Three 'Alves

In this splendid column Ronnie Bray tells of the day he learned that the British Army is made of of three halves.

Continue reading "Three 'Alves" »

November 29, 2008

The Coveted Blood Line

Those fire ants, mozzies and other biting things know a good blood line when they sample it, as Ronnie Bray reveals.

To read more of Ronnie's brilliant columns please click on

And do visit his famous Web site Retold Yorkshire Folk Tales http://yorkshiretales.com

Continue reading "The Coveted Blood Line" »

November 22, 2008


...Perhaps you have noticed that mechanical and electrical problems do not often put themselves right without surgical intervention. So it was with the estate car. It got worse and worse, then worser and worser, then worserer and worserer, until it gave up the ghost and refused point blank to go anywhere....

Ronnie Bray tells of car problems in the days when he was an itinerant musician - drawing from the experience a lesson for life.

To read more of Ronnie's luxuriantly-phrased columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "Sucker!" »

November 08, 2008

Old Soldiers Never Die

Ronnie Bray remembers those who fell in battle - and wonders whether they will continue to be remembered.

Continue reading "Old Soldiers Never Die" »

October 11, 2008

The Mausoleum

...It was heartrending to see such a man sit in the dim quietness of his darkened house day after day with nothing but his memories to keep him company, and no one to break the silence with a kind word...

Ronnie Bray writes movingly about the deadliest of all human enemies – loneliness.

For more of Ronnie’s richly-gifted words please click on

Continue reading "The Mausoleum" »

October 04, 2008

Keep Your Windows Closed

Zucchinis, like rabbits, are prolific breeders and a single three-gallon bucketful of seeds will produce a thousand-fold come harvest time. And that is when the trouble begins!

Ronnie Bray brings news of the "plague'' of Montana.

To read more of Ronnie's richly entertaining columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "Keep Your Windows Closed" »

September 27, 2008

Loving Billy Mays

Ronnie Bray’s acute dislike of a loud-voiced huckster, king of US commercials, leads him to profound religious thoughts.

For more of Ronnie’s brilliant columns please click on

Continue reading "Loving Billy Mays" »

September 20, 2008

Crystal Clear

So what would you expect to happen when the Council send a man round to fit a door closer

Ronnie Bray tells a grammatical tale.

To read more of Ronnie's satisfying columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "Crystal Clear" »

September 13, 2008

Early Retirement

Some sackings are just downwright wrong, as Ronnie Bray reveals in this tale of a great injustice.

To read more of Ronnie's wonderful columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "Early Retirement" »

September 06, 2008

Heavyweight Champions III - Bessie Braddock

Ronnie Bray pays a fitting tribute to Bessie Braddock, a doughty heavyweight politician from Liverpool who never flinched from battling to enact legislation for the relief of the marginalised, the sidelined, the forlorn, and the forgotten.

To read more of Ronnie's unmatchable columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_america/

Continue reading "Heavyweight Champions III - Bessie Braddock" »

August 16, 2008

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

...I have always wondered why those people on TV who advertise a sure fire way to make millions without risking more than a few pounds waste what they have by spending it on expensive commercial advertisements instead of busying themselves at applying their own secrets to make even more money...

The inimitable Ronnie Bray admits that he is no genius when it comes to arithmetic - yet he is able to tell you how to become a millionaire by handing over a couple of dollars.

For more of Ronnie's delicious columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_shout_from_the_attic/

Continue reading "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" »

August 09, 2008

Happy Birthday!

...When I had unceremoniously stripped off the fancy gift wrap paper, I was stunned to find one of Gillette’s state-of-the-art five-bladed Fusion™ razors, together with a salutation that wished me a "Happy 18th Birthday!"

You will apprehend the cause of my bewilderment when I mention that whilst the gift was appreciated, as all gifts are, they had missed the actual event by a few years - fifty-five, to be exact...

And there was another surprise - nay, a shock - for the inimitable Ronnie Bray when he set out to discover his real age.

Continue reading "Happy Birthday!" »

July 26, 2008

Our Time Will Come

Do not be impatient when elderly fumbling fingers delay your progress through the supermarket check-out. Your time will come!

Ronnie Bray, with an unmatachable flow of of thoughts and words, pleads for patience, compassion and love.

To read more of Ronnie's brilliant columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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July 12, 2008

Are You Smarter Than A Border Collie?

...One of our dogs doesn’t know when to stop growing. That’s Belle. The other doggie, Frankie, has not yet become attuned to the prevailing feng-shui in our household....

Ronnie Bray tells of the dogs who share their lives with him and his wife Gay.

Ronnie's words skip, dance, sing, do somersaults...and always make you glad that you read them. For more of his wonderful columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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June 21, 2008

Cups For The Use Of

Cups officers, Cups staff, Cups patients...

Three different kinds of tea cup established social divisions in the hospital where Ronnie Bray worked as a psychiatric nurse.

The march to political madness can begin with something as seemingly innocuous as a cup, says Ronnie, a most persuasive advocate of fair play for all.

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June 14, 2008

I Must Slow Down

...Gabriel says, "You need to slow down," and then, as demanded by the particular occasion, gives me a sane reason to ease my lead boot off the accelerator pedal to at least the level required by law.

However, Shabriri counters sanity with, "Going for slow is for sissies. Put your clog down hard and show ‘em whose the Racemeister!" and away I go, hurtling up to a high speed as the fuel gauge needle hurtles down to a squandered nothing...

But the effervescent Ronnie Bray is finding that economic need, fostered by rising petrol prices, is modifying his driving habits.

To read more of Ronnie's glorious prose please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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June 07, 2008

The Wrong Socks

...Gay, who is kindness personified, has been and gone and bought me some loosely knitted diabetic socks for those with tender tootsies and legs. I qualify, and so my sock drawer teems with these most comfortable of socks, ready for when the Englishman hath need of them...

The inimitable Ronnie Bray muses upon the contents of his sock drawer, the theology of St Paul and myo-fibrositis lethargica.

To read more of Ronnie's splendid columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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May 31, 2008

Jimmy’s Magic Patch

...The conservatory was a portal into a world that most of us would never see, but of which we ceased not to dream, so close to paradise it seemed. It was a good place in which to seek for escape from the staggering cost of war, the burden of austerity, the pain of abandoned hope, or the agony of love lost either to fickle caprice or to the insouciant blows of death...

The ambrosial scent of a flowers growing against a wall in Arizona carries Ronnie Bray back to his boyhood in a Yorkshire mill town.

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May 24, 2008

The Heavyweight Champions II

...Tessie made us forget our woes and worries by warming our souls and stealing coldness from our hearts, replacing it with optimism and a joy that makes us want to deal with our disappointments by kicking as high as we can, singing as loudly as we can, and by being a fountain of golden sunshine, friendliness, and good cheer...

Ronnie Bray pays tribute to the British entertainer Two Ton Tessie O'Shea.

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May 17, 2008

Just Another Sunday

Ronnie Bray tells a marvelous story - a story for all time.

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May 10, 2008

A Glossary Of Broad Yorkshire Dialect

Ronnie Bray, who grew up in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, but now lives in Arizona, presents a glossary of the language still used in the county of his birth.

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May 03, 2008

Sophie Tucker

...In an age when largeness is frowned upon, if not openly, then tacitly, and slim and lithe are often requirements to attract affection, there is much to be gained for liking people less for how they look, and more for what they are...

Ronnie Bray, in a proposed series paying tribute to folk of ample size who have crossed his line of vision, pays tribute to the entertainer Sophie Tucker.

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April 26, 2008

A Tyre And Attire

...By one of those unfortunate happenstances, Joshua not only found the tyre, but he also found it fascinating. The next time I saw Joshua he looked a sorry sight. He was always immaculately dressed and spotlessly clean. Except when he wandered in through the back door with his clothes and his person covered in nasty brackish water. He had stood on the edge of the tyre and it had flipped up and delivered several gallons of muddy slime, most of which stuck to him like glue...

Ronnie Bray tells a heart-warming tale. For more of Ronnie's satisfying words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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April 19, 2008

Lights In The Sky

Ronnie Bray sees things in the sky which are not what they seem to be.

For more of Ronnie's entertaining columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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April 12, 2008


Ronnie Bray pays tribute to his canine friends.

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April 05, 2008

It Started Out As A Scarf...

Thirty parrots, more than a hundred cats, six hundred dogs...There are pet lovers, then there are PET LOVERS.

Ronnie Bray is reminded of a Punch cartoon as he contemplates the statistics in a recent US news story.

To read more of Ronnie's exuberant words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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March 29, 2008

Just Another Sunday

With Easter still in our minds, Ronnie Bray tells a tale to set us thinking for the rest of the year.

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March 22, 2008

The Therapy Kid

…Matthew went up to every bed and geriatric chair and gave them his Matthew smile and fluttered his long curling eyelashes for them. The effect he had on them, my three year old cherub, was electric. Their dim eyes lit up, they sat up, and they reached out their arms for him. As they embraced him as if he were their own, they stroked his hair, planted kisses on his chubby cheeks, and shed an abundance of smiling tears. Matthew evidently enjoyed it, and spoke nicely to them.

Writing from experience, with warmth and understanding, Ronnie Bray explains how light can be brought into the lives of those who suffer.

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March 15, 2008

The Strong Arm Of The Lawyer

Ever heard of an unfriendly handshake? Ronnie Bray tells of a curious incident in a Florida court.

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March 08, 2008

What's In A Seat?

This week Ronnie Bray tells a short story - a delicious tale that will leave you chuckling for the rest of the day.

Read also in Open Writing chapters from Ronnie's autobiography. Click on A Shout From The Attic in the menu on his page.

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March 01, 2008

. dot

Ronnie Bray tells a dot-dotty tale..........................

For more of Ronnie's well-punctuated columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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February 23, 2008

Death's Dark Vale

...Numbers are meaningless to me, so the statistics of war, although they sounded grand, never helped me grasp the cost in human life that demanded by insatiable Mars. I little thought as I walked through the gateway what impact the sight I was about to see would have on me...

Ronnie Bray is moved to feelinhgs of immense gratitude on a visit to a United States War Cemetery in Cambridgeshire, England.

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February 16, 2008

Atavistic Emergence

...I will be honest. My heritage comes, by and large, from wandering sea peoples who travelled far from their old homes to make new ones. I am mostly descended from Viking invaders who scrambled ashore in Yorkshire over a thousand years ago and decided to stay put after their tasting Yorkshire Pudding and Dandelion and Burdock. Their first taste of Lancashire Hot Pot almost sent them straight back, but a quick rub down with a Yorkshire Pudding spread with mucky dripping cured their fever!...

Ronnie Bray ponders on the effect of the genes that went into the making of him.

To read more of Ronnie's splendid columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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February 09, 2008

Spit Jumping

...Her other occupation is flying out of the living room, down the corridor, across the bedroom and through the doggie-flap at ninety miles an hour, to skirt the patio and small flower patch to get to the far end of the garden and bark at any birds that might be in the trees just beyond the wall. She does this speculatively, and there are not always any birds about, but she is persistent....

Ronnie Bray reveals that you should prepare yourself for an active life if you are thinking of becoming the owner of a Border Collie.

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February 02, 2008

Night Fog

...I stared dead ahead hoping to catch a glimpse of something familiar should I encounter a thin patch of the encircling gloom. But the curling tongues of soot-laden mist seemed to thicken, and my gaze became like that of a man mesmerised at the mercy of another’s will. The imaginings began to form shapes in the darkness. Small shapes seemed like common objects, except they would not have been outdoors. It was not long before the shapes assumed immense proportions, looming over me like houses on the move threatening to crush me...

Ronnie Bray tells a terrifying tale.

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January 26, 2008

The Bullet

...When we were in our normal senses, Pete and I picked our way through the minefield cautiously, hoping that our feet stayed somewhere near the centre of the path that ran through the maze of adult thinking with its hidden trapdoors, through whose sudden breach unwary children would be swallowed into the dark maws of goodness-knows-what and never see the light of day again....

Ronnie Bray tells of the day when he and his mate Pete engaged in a highly dangerous game.

For more of Ronnie's satisfying words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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January 19, 2008

The Fruit Of Character

Ronny Bray tells a cautionary tale about a crafty antiques dealer and an unsuspecting Yorkshire farmer.

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January 12, 2008

La Guitarra

...My knuckles dragged themselves across the wires whilst my face took on one of those looks that Spaniards adopt when playing broad necked guitars and thinking about life, love, and death. But instead of a breathtaking melody there came a series of discordant twangs...

Ronnie Bray tells of an untuneful encounter with a guitar which he found in a dustbin.

To read lots more of Ronnie's good-humoured columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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January 05, 2008

Anna Vee

...We are determined to face whatever life brings to us in our sunset years with smiles and good humour, and to keep bitterness and regret at a good distance. We want to be mellow, gracious, dignified, useful, dispensers of simple wisdom, and retain our affection for all those we love...

Ronnie Bray considers the positives and negatives of old age.

For more of Ronnie's thoughtful and invigorating words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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December 29, 2007

Western Stimulation

The morning Western on TV leads Ronnie Bray to muse upon good, evil and Armageddon.

For more of Ronnie's sparkling words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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December 22, 2007

Hearts Of The Children

“What must I do to raise the despairing to hope, the suffering to well-being, and the disillusioned to a realistic view of themselves and the true nature of the human condition, and assure them that God has not lied?”

Ronnie Bray tells the story of one sad young woman which illustrates the need for us to regularly ask ourselves this question.

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December 15, 2007

The Thermogene Protocol

...There are points in our lives when making a different decision would have fundamentally altered the course of history. I did not know it at the time, but this was one of them.

I grasped the box, stuffed it up my jumper, then, after closing the big brown door and turning the key in the lock, I crept upstairs with my prize, and began the experiment...

Ronnie Bray was about to discover the fiery force of Thermogene.

To read more of Ronnie's wonderful words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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December 08, 2007

Brimham Rocks

...The old rocks have seen much of life, and are associated with much folklore, and are thought to have been the place where ancients worshipped pagan gods in the spring of time. Some believe them to have been carved into their odd shapes by Druids, although their weathering is entirely natural...

Ronnie Bray recalls visits to one of Yorkshire's most famous landmarks - Brimham Rocks.

For more of Ronnie's enjoyable words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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December 01, 2007

The Clothes Line Mitzvoth

...Making a clothes line dirty was a bad thing, an illegal thing, infraction of which provided penalty that produced music, if ringing in the ear can be described as music...

Children had to tread carefully when just-washed clothes were pegged out on a line to dry, as Ronnie Bray (with ears ringing) vividly recalls.

For more of Ronnie's choice words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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November 24, 2007

Cheers, Guido You Rascal!

...He for whom the day is named, Guido Fawxe, had two claims to fame. The most substantial of them is that he was a Yorkshireman. The minor assertion is that he almost blew up the English Houses of Parliament and James the First with them. As his confession shows, he was tortured severely, and in that circumstance it is possible that his confession is unreliable. If you even threaten to tear but one of my finger nails off with red-hot pincers I will immediately yield the full postal address of Osama bin Laden, including his postcode, landline and cell phone numbers, email address, and shoe size...

Ronnie Bray tells of England's most spectacular celebration of the year. Here is history and tradition served up in its most enjoyable and palatable form.

To read more of Ronnie's excellent columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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November 17, 2007


“Ming,” he said with an air of confidence that I found troubling. It was a beautiful vase. If it was Ming it would be worth a fortune....''

Ronnie Bray tells a tasty haggling tale.

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November 11, 2007

We Will Remember Them

Today, in two minutes of solemn silence, Britain honours and mourns those who died in armed conflicts.

Old soldier Ronnie Bray, remembering the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice, tells of a very special man - Henry John Patch, known as Harry to his mates.

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November 03, 2007

Stop, You're Going Too Fast

...I do not live in the past, but I do visit it. The distance travelled for each visit grows longer each passing day for the past and I are headed in converse directions...

How disturbing is it to talk to a star of the future who has not heard of Elizabeth Taylor? Ronnie Bray has a request to make of speeding time.

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October 27, 2007

The Skinningrove Merman

..Instead of voyce he skreaked and showed himself courteous to such as flocked farre and neare to visit him; faire maydes were welcomest guestes to his harbour, whom he woulde beholde with a very earnest countenaynce, as if his phlegmatike breste had been touched with a sparke of love...

Ronnie Bray tells the astonishing tale of the Skinningrove Merman.

For more of Ronnie's glorious columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

To read selections from Ronnie's unfinished biography click on A Shout From The Attic.

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October 20, 2007


Ronnie Bray writes of the sad last game of a giant of the baseball world.

For more of Ronnie's columns please click on Letter From America. And do read his slices of autobiography by clicking on A Shout From The Attic.

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October 13, 2007

Come Blow Up Your Horn - But Don’t Stick It On Your Hat!

After wending his way through many a fascinating historical alley and down many an intellectual byway Ronnie Bray dispels a monumental head-encumbering myth about his ancestors, the Vikings.

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October 06, 2007

Blowin' In The Wind

..I had seen the Chinese Gum trees outside the north wall of our home thrashing wildly for some time, and Frankie, our border Collie who is unusually sensitive to thunderstorms had been in her ‘hull down, storm coming’ mode for a good hour before the faintest whiff of wind wandered through the willows...

Ronnie Bray thinks of reefed sails and murderous reefs as a violent storm assaults his home in Arizona.

To read more of Ronnie's gusty columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on his page.

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September 29, 2007

De Profundis

...I have long been convinced that the best way to find something is to replace it. That seldom fails to produce the missing item...

Ronnie Bray tells the hilarious tale of two "lost'' watches and one sparkling new timepiece.

For more of Ronnie's wonderful prose please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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September 22, 2007

Ozymandian Education

...We were led to recognise that we did not know others only because we failed to look on them...

Ronnie Bray's educational pilgrimage has taght him to boldly look behind masks, steeling his courage to question judgements, his own as well as those of other people.

For more of Ronnie's distinguished and encouraging words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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September 15, 2007

To Ail Or Not To Ail,,,

Best watch what you say when barging along with an actor on board.

Ronnie Bray tells a splendidly theatrical tale - then muses on attitudes to illness.

For more of Ronnie's words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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September 08, 2007

Welcome Words

Ronnie Bray, a man whe can make words sing, dance and dazzle, presents examples of some of the finest written and spoken words which have influenced people and changed the course of history.

But a simple sentence written by a child can be the most heart-warming of all words, as Ronnie reveals.

To read more of Ronnie's columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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September 01, 2007


...Although a prolific writer, Dumas could not count. His inability to do the most simple of sums was his downfall. He could spend all that he earned, and more. Once, he married an actress, blew her dowry and then blew town leaving her blue...

Ronnie Bray brings a new understanding of the prolific author of The Three Musketeers, and many another novel.

For more of Ronnie's effervescent prose please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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August 25, 2007

In Praise Of Punkah Wallahs

Wallah is the Hindi word for man - attached to anyone and any occupation. Ronnie Bray pays a dazzling tribute to the wallahs of the world.

For more of Ronnie's effervescent prose please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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August 18, 2007

Customer Service

When there's cause to complain about poor service Ronnie Bray recommends the further up the executive tree you go, the better you will be treated.

For more of Ronnie's invigorating words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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August 11, 2007

Symphony In F

In a fecund symphony of Fs is a ph fair play?

Read Ronnie Bray's fortitudinous flight of fancy involving the sixth letter of the alphabet.

For more of Ronnie's fine columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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August 04, 2007

Cuisine à la Wray Castle

...Everyone appointed in his course to tend the sacred flame made burnt offerings at the shrine of ignorance, and quickly became so proficient at burning sausages, eggs, bacon, and everything else in smoking beef dripping, that they could leave it sizzling for long periods of time and return at the critical moment when everything was reduced to cinders. What a talent! And how odd that so many of us shared it!..

Ronnie Bray recalls a camping holiday in England's Lake Distridt when the culinary products of the teenage campers were a long way short of being appetising - particularly so in the case of a floppy, sloppy chocolate pudding.

To read more of Ronnie's brilliant words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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July 28, 2007


...there was not one of us who doubted that the dead beneath our feet were not altogether dead and had the power to do things that we might not like...

Ronnie Bray tells of ghostly goings on.

For more of Ronnie's redolent prose please click on Letter From America in the menu on his page.

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July 21, 2007

Fish Tale

Ronnie Bray tells the splendid tale of how, with the aid of a piece of sticking plaster, he came to the aid of a stricken goldfish.

For more of Ronnie’s richly-worded columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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July 14, 2007

The Diet That Failed

...I had two very good friends who were interested in making money. That was not their only interest, for they were consummate musicians, but musicians have to live and that takes cash. They ventured into sales of one kind or another, including Tupperware, timeshares, stainless steel pan sets, gallons of miracle cleaners, and the Cambridge Diet....

Ronnie Bray has that most essential ingredient of every good columnist - he grabs your attention and compels you to read on.

For more of Ronnie's entertaining and amusing words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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July 07, 2007

Child's Play

…Tag, The Big Ship Sailed Through the Alley Ally O, I draw a Snake on the Old Man’s Back, Tin Can Squat, Hide and Seek…

Ronnie Bray recalls childhood games.

For more of Ronnie’s sparkling words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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June 30, 2007

The Interpretation Of Dreams

Ronnie "Sigmund'' Bray finds out what a dream most definitely does not mean!

For more of Ronnie's entertaining words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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June 23, 2007

The Royal Road

...As a child I struggled to find out how long it would take a static water tank to empty if it held forty-thousand gallons and leaked at a rate of three gallons a minute. My answer "It depends whether the tank was full to begin with and how far the site of the leak is from the bottom of the tank" drew biting comment from my teacher, and mirthful support from my classmates who recognised its validity...

Even thinking about doing sums hurts Ronnie Bray's head - but is mathematics the royal road to the enrichment of life?

For more of Ronnie's sparkling columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on his page.

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June 16, 2007

The End Of Dailies And Weeklies

So how long does it take to swallow a pill? Ronnie Bray carries out an experiment.

For more of Ronnie's columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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June 09, 2007

Peruvian Gold

...The visiting fairs that set up on the muddy ground between the tram sheds and the abattoir were enchanted means of escape from the drudgery of life...

Ronnie Bray recalls the enchanting excitements of the fairs which visited his home town in Yorkshire.

Do please read more of Ronnie's superlative columns by clicking on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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June 02, 2007

Bang Goes Another Theory

...Testing theories prevents a body from committing too many mistakes, especially in the area of pet theories where opinions can be formed and clung to that have no basis in fact. It is easy to challenge the theories and opinions of others, but we humans tend to hold our own opinions and theories as apart from the common herd’s and so sacrosanct that a whole basketful of archbishops would spontaneously burst out into pious psalmody at their mere mention...

Ronnie Bray, with customary jollity, tells of the testing of a theory that involved the consumption of an almost unbeliebable amount of tasty liquid.

For more of Ronnie's words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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May 26, 2007

God Moves In Mysterious Ways

...When as child I asked what all the noise was during a thunderstorm, I was told, "It’s God moving his furniture"...

When the lightning flashes and the thunder crashes you will find Ronnie Bray at the window of his home, watching the Greatest Show on Earth.

For more of Ronnie's choice columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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May 19, 2007

Amaroia - The Disease The World Needs

"What the world needs is a disease fully as consuming of the mind as is paranoia, but which convinces the sufferer that everyone loves them deeply, however deceived they might be,'' says Ronnie Bray.

Oh, if only this could be!

To read more of Ronnie's brilliant thoughts and ideas please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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May 12, 2007

There's Camping - Then There's Camping USA-Style

...It is not widely known that one of my great-grandfathers was killed at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. He was not actually involved in the battle, but was camping nearby and went over to complain about the noise...

Ronnie Bray has great good fun in comparing camping in merry little England and in the all-comforts-taken-with-us US of A.

For more of Ronnie's ebullient columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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May 05, 2007

Spray It Again

Ronnie Bray recalls the day when an exploding tin of baked beans blotted more than his copybook.

For more of Ronnie's cheerful columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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April 28, 2007

Some Baby!

...Unlike modern, more humane, maternity facilities, in nineteen fifty-eight, the practice was to remove babies from the mother’s side and put them in a nursery that resembled a place where battery hens were raised. Row on row of little cots covered with downy blankets, some blue, some pink, filled the room...

Writing with wonderful warmth and humour Ronnie Bray tells of the birth of his first-born child, and "eight stone'' baby girl.

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April 21, 2007

What's In Your Food?

...Here in the USA it is not possible to buy sausage that is anything like it ought to be. The fault lies with the descendants of Europeans whose forbears brought with them their odd concoctions that rivalled the plain no-nonsense English sausages: beef or pork, and nothing fancy. Sausages here have to be highly flavoured. What’s wrong with tasting beef in a beef sausage, or pork in a pork chipolata? But the choice that lies before us is either spicy this, hardwood smoked that, and herbed who-knows-what? They are all likely to have mixtures of beef, pork, chicken, and what-the-heck-was-that! in them...

Ronnie Bray considers the British sausage - and the horrors of its Trans-Atlantic cousin.

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April 14, 2007

Tell Me The Stories Of Jesus

Ronnie Bray tells of the hymns that moved him deeply when he was a boy – and indeed they still do so.

For more of Ronnie’s delightful words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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April 07, 2007

Cat And Dog - Personal Diaries

In this astonishing world exclusive Ronnie Bray reveals the contents of the iaries of a pet cat and a pet dog.

For more of Ronnie's wonderful ebullient words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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March 31, 2007

Getting Out Of The House

...In childhood, barriers to egress were the symptoms of parental anxieties of what might happen to their ingenuous offspring when abroad in the world without their flawless guidance. They imagined peril in every footstep, blood spilled from amorphous but inevitable accidents, and death standing mockingly in the shadows, beckoning their young with a skeletal finger and skullish grin.

They were right to consider the possibility of accidents, because trees were easier to climb, walls were much higher, and canals further from side to side, than the stunted trees, low walls, and narrow cuts of today’s world. But in a simpler time there was little to go wrong, hence nothing to worry about...

Ronnie Bray, thanks to some strict questioning during his childhood, always ensures he has on clean underwear before he crosses a road.

For lots more of Ronnie's ebullient articles please click on Letter From America in the menu on his page.

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March 24, 2007


...It was a green and balmy day full of springtime sun and that sense of freedom that comes when winter has been driven away and out of mind, and the earth breathes again as it drinks deep of April’s blessing and thrusts the shoots of green through the softening ground to match the greening of the trees, and hope fills tired hearts as the days of warmth return to spread their glow over and into everything...

Ronnie Bray recalls his squeals of laughter on that balmy day when a man pronounced the name of his home town in a most peculiar way.

For more of Ronnie's wonderful words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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March 17, 2007

Farewell To Time - Almost

...That reminds me of the lad who went home from Sunday School and who in answer to his mother’s question as to what he had learned there, said, "Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt and when they got to the shores of the Red Sea they all climbed inside this massive space ship and zoomed to the moon before Pharaoh’s soldiers could bring them back."

"They taught you that at Sunday School?" gasped his flabbergasted mother.

"Not exactly, mother. But if I told you what they told me, you’d never believe it!"...

Ronnie Bray goes on a speculative journey into the deeper reaches of space and time, by way of doggie sandwiches.

To read more of Ronnie's exuberant words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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March 10, 2007

Herr Göbbels Flunks The Ballet Egyptien Test

...The triad presented pallid mask-like unblinking and expressionless expressions that gave the impression that they couldn’t care where they were or who was there, and gave off an aura of pathological boredom marinated in indifference such as is common to month old corpses..

Ronnie Bray recalls the deliciously funny Wilson, Keppel, and Betty, an English stage act denounced by Nazi minister Joseph Göbbels.

Read more of Ronnie's sparkling columns by clicking on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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March 03, 2007

A Cautionary Fish Tale

...Work is a blessing, according to the Book of Genesis, but fish who only have to face upstream with their maws agape and let dinner flow in, do no work, expend no effort, and thus grow to jaw-dropping size...

Ronnie Bray tells a tale involving two extraordinarily large fish - and draws a moral from their fishy fate.

To read more of Ronnie's irresistible words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page. And do visit the Libby Heritage Museum Web site http://www.libbymt.com/areaattractions/museum.htm

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February 24, 2007

The Souvenir

So how much would you pay for a signed photograph of Osama bin Laden?

Ronnie Bray tells a cautionary story with a chuckle in its tail.

For more of Ronnie's luscious columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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February 17, 2007

Talking Teapots

...Despite being tealess for almost sixty years, I have not lost my affection for teapots. The august British teapot was part of the spearhead that was thrust into far-flung places of the world to give birth to the primordial British Empire, and the cheery pot is still found wherever the Union Jack flutters, and even where it once fluttered yet flutters no more...

When he became a Mormon at the age of 15 Ronnie Bray stopped drinking tea - but he still has a small collection of teapots in his Arizona home.

For more of Ronnie's choice columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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February 10, 2007

Nothing Is Impossible

...At lunchtime, he unwrapped his sandwiches and chewed on meat paste between two slices of whole wheat, the nearest to delicatessen fare he ever got. At the third swallow he was inspired to do the impossible. This meant facing and taming his mother-in-law, a crude woman who cracked walnuts by putting them in her eyes and blinking, who had been the bane of his life for greater than two score years...

Ronnie Bray writes a grand Yorkshire tale about the alleged magical properties of Turog bread - then muses on human gullibility.

For more of Ronnie's sparkling prose please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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February 03, 2007

Make Do And Mend

...All our dessert spoons had deformed handles from being bent to serve as bicycle tyre levers, and then straightened out, ostensibly so as not to be noticeable. My scientific researches prove that you cannot bend a spoon and straighten it without leaving forensic evidence of the crime...

Ronnie Bray is a firm believer in the principle of Make Do And Mend, but home repair enterprises can leave a trail of damage in their wake.

For more of Ronnie's fizzy words plese click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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January 27, 2007

The Year Of The Door

...I am among those fortunate to be blessed by having reached the level of maturity necessary to forgive his parents for not bringing him into the world through a royal dynasty and heir to a fortune in gold, diamonds, palaces, horses, and gilt carriages, rather than being born to a drunkard and his abused wife in theatrical lodgings with not a penny to their name and seemingly even fewer good and rational ideas in their heads...

Ronnie Bray muses on life, death and automatic doors which are not truly automatic.

For more of Ronnie's exhilirating columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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January 20, 2007


It's not just what you say, it's how you say it. Ronnie Bray has a good chuckle while writing on the subject of pronuncitation. Sorry...Ronnie's a Yorkshireman...that should be pernunciation.

For more of Ronnie's delightful columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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January 13, 2007

The Shouting And The Tumult

Ronnie Bray recalls meeting Rosie, a lady with an inextinguishable smile who was involved in organising entertainment and "turns'' in a Yorkshire working men's club. However there was just the one occasion when Josie's smile temporarily failed her...

To enjoy more of Ronnie's sparkling and fun-filled columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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January 06, 2007

The Tell-Tale Heart

Ronnie Bray recalls the haunting, fear-inducing heart beat that thunders through Edgar Allen Poe's story, The Tell-Tale Heart - then he tells of the unsual clicking sound of a much-loved heart that he reassuringly hears during the night.

For more of Ronnie's engaging, engrossing columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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December 30, 2006

Check Your Facts

Ronnie Bray quotes a poem and tells a couple of stories which highlight an incontrovertible truth: facts are facts.

For more of Ronnie's delicious words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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December 23, 2006

Christmas Is Coming...

...It is a time of questions: Do the fairy lights work? When does the tree go up? Turkey, pork, or goose for Christmas Dinner – or all three? What about the vegetarians – nut cutlets – again? Who exactly is coming? Do we need to fill up with petrol – again? Did you get a pack of toilet paper (remember last year!)? Is there room in the fridge for a quart of heavy whipping cream? What can I throw out to make room for the trifle? Where’s my recipe for royal icing? Has the Christmas Cake matured yet? Where – oh where – can we get Christmas Crackers? Did Cousin Georgia say she was coming – or not coming? Where is her letter?...

In this wonderful, warm-hearted must-read column Ronnie Bray takes us to the heart of why we celebrate on Christmas Day.

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December 16, 2006

The Good Groenendael

...Sitting at the computer, waiting for a story to write itself, I heard a strange sound. My initial impression was that my hard drive was grinding itself to powder and an uncharitable thought about Mr William Gates flitted through my mind. I sat silently, not clicking the keys to see if I could hear it again. Hear it again I did, but this time in the silence I could tell that it was coming through the window. I went outside to investigate the source of the whine.

In the area between our house and next door I saw the smallest kitten I had ever seen...

But what will the resident dog in Ronnie Bray's Arizonan home make of this tiny creature?

For more of Ronnie's splendid columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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December 09, 2006

Rose In Hand

Ronnie Bray tells the tale of a dour Yorkshire chap and a pair of crozzled boots.

Ronnie's reflections which led to the writing of this column, which has been maturing in the Open Writing vaults, occurred as summer heat was about to grab hold of the town of Mesa, Arizona.

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December 02, 2006

The Folly Of Conventional Wisdom

...Conventional Wisdom has it that "You are what you eat." If this were true, then my dog Belle would be a bed-settee, which, patently, she is not...

Ronnie Bray, brain fizzing with creative good fun, imagines a Refutation of Conventional Wisdom contest. Of course the international panel of six referees will need to be armed with The Books of Platitudes Volumes 1-5...

To read more of Ronnie's exuberant words click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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November 25, 2006

The Antidote

You're a Yorkshireman, living in Arizona. You go to the dog park one morning, taking your friends Frankie and Belle for their daily gambol. Then an angel speaks to you. An angel with a Texas accent. Not only does she speak. She hands you six tins of Ben Shaw's Dandelion and Burdock - a fizzy drink that every true son of the County of Broad Acres regards as nectar...

Ronnie Bray tells of an astonishing encounter.

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November 18, 2006

Linnæus Didn’t Do It That Way!

Although Carl Linnæus, the Swede who devised a system for naming, ranking and classifying organisms, died in 1778, we minimally educated folk are still trying to come to terms with and understand the names of plants over two centuries later, declares Ronnie Bray.

To read more of Ronnie's entertaining columns please click on Letter From America in the meny on this page.

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November 11, 2006


...People doing what they can, whether it is much or little, make a difference in the world. Gay and I stand alongside such charitable souls as Oprah Winfrey, Joseph Leek, Alyssa Milano, and Bill and Miranda Gates. On the off chance that any on the list with us are unknown to you, I will tell you something about them...

Ronnie Bray and his wife do their bit for good causes.

To read more for Ronnie's sprightly words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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November 04, 2006

We Are Not Alone!

"It does not matter how large or well knitted your jumper is, when that tiny thread catches on an invisible nail point or sliver of wood and you go on your merry way blissfully ignorant that an unknitter is at work, it is amazing how soon not only the ravelled sleeve becomes unravelled, but the back and front of the garment are also candidates for re-conversion into the yarn from which it was painstakingly forged...''

After catching a mental "thread'' Ronnie Bray finds himself deep in the wonderful world of the weevil. To read more of Ronnie's fizzingly entertaining columns please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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October 28, 2006

Cocktail Capers

Ronnie Bray, a Yorkshireman living in Arizona, longs for the favoured carbonated drink of teetotal folk in his native county - Ben Shaw’s Dandelion and Burdock. Unable to regularly satisfy his thirst with the "Real Thing'', he has invented make-do cocktails. Meet the Castle Hill cocktail, the Yetton Rant cocktail, the Trolley Bus cocktail...

To enjoy lots more of Ronnie's fizzy words please click on Letter From America in the menu on this page. Enjoy also slices of his autobiography A Shout From The Attic.

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October 14, 2006

Pelican Pie

Ronnie Bray was taken aback when a chap said that his favourite desert was Pelican Pie...

After sampling Ronnie's delcious slice of lexicographical pie do please read more of his tasty columns
by clicking on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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October 07, 2006

Ma And Modernity

Modernity has finished with Ma and Ma with modernity...

Ronnie Bray writes with philosophic wisdom about the fitful fevers of human life.

To read more of Ronnie's well-crafted words, which are often funny, always interesting, click on Letter From America in the menu on his page. Read also his life story A Shout From The Attic.

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September 30, 2006

How To Tell If Your Kid Is An Alien Replacement

"I was driving along, getting home earlier than usual, when, lo and behold, what do you think, Gladys? Out of the blue I was dazzled by bright lights that caused all the electrical systems in the car to fail!"

Ronnie Bray offers a humdinger of a theory to explain the intervnetion of aliens in human affairs. Read this, chuckle for a while...then turn around and closely inspect your children.

Read more of Ronnie's delicious columns by clicking on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

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September 23, 2006

How Not To Lose Your Hair

...A fellow soldier back in the Fifties was completely hairless. He was a pleasant chap from Liverpool in the days when the Beatles were still grubs. If he minded being bald he didn’t say so, although he did keep his hat on at times when his brother warriors had theirs rolled up under an epaulette or parked on a nail driven into the barrack room wall for a cheap hat peg...

Ronnie Bray contemplates immanent baldness, then reaches a conclusion on how not to lose one's hair.

To read more of Ronnie's entertaining columns click on Letter From America in the menu on this page. Read also chapters from his life story, A Shout From The Attic.

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September 16, 2006

Who Calls?

...It was at that point that I decided I was either in the grip of intelligent visiting aliens, or else one of my dental fillings was enigmatically connected to the Cox telephone system through chemico-salivary action converting the amalgam into a passable analogue of crystal quartz... While working at his computer Ronnie Bray becomes convinced that his printer is "talking'' to him.

To sample more of Ronnie's good humoured words click on Letter From America in the menu on this page. Read also chapters of his life story A Shout From The Attic.

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September 09, 2006

Wanted - Men With Pluck

Ronnie Bray recalls the day when he learned that pluck is required of everyone, not just of guitar players.

For more of Ronnie's columns click on Letter From America in the menu on this page. Read also his life story A Shout From The Attic.

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September 02, 2006

Sola Denouement

...Once upon a time I had a memory like a steel trap. Anything admitted therein was locked up safer than the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London..

But now Ronnie Bray has reached that stage in life when he cannot remember whether or not he has previously seen a film or television programme.

For lots more of Ronnie's delicious words click on Letter From America in the menu on this page. Read also chapters of his autobiography A Shout From The Attic.

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August 26, 2006

My Kingdom For A Spanner

The rig needs new brake pads? Auto service centres charging too much? No problem. Fit the pads yourself. All that's needed now is a spanner. But trying to buy a spanner in the US of A can wrench one's enthusiasm lever from Positive to Negative, as Ronnie Bray discovered.

Read more of Ronnie's effervescent words by clicking on Letter From America in the menu on this page. Read also chapters from his autobiography A Shout From The Attic.

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August 19, 2006

Hot Of The Press

...I once looked through the open door of the Huddersfield Examiner printing press room when it was down Victoria Lane. I saw what looked like the engine room of the Queen Mary. Massive cast iron machines with acres of paper shooting through its innards at what seemed intergalactic speed. "Now that’s a printer!" I told myself...

Ronnie Bray tells of a life-long desire to be a printer/publisher/editor, finally assuaged by the arrival of the home computer and laser printing.

(Those Huddersfield Examiner presses printed hundreds of thousands of my words. I worked for that paper as a reporter and news editor for nearly three decades. - Peter Hinchliffe, editor, Open Writing).

Continue reading "Hot Of The Press" »

August 12, 2006

George Purdue

Ronnie Bray has a passing-strange dream involving a talking dog and George Purdue. Surely you all know of Senator George Purdue?

Read more of Ronnie's engaging columns by clicking on Letter From America in the menu on this page. Read also chapters from his autobiography A Shout From The Attic.

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August 05, 2006

You're A Good Man, Jocey Kleinman

Jocey Kleinman spotted that something was wrong when she went to see her brother play the lead in "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown''. The four-year-old longed to set matters to rights, but she was also aware of the the best possible reason why she should not interfere. Ronnie Bray draws an inspiring message from a small incident at a school play.

For more of Ronnie's upbeat columns click on Letter From America in the menu on this page. Read also episodes from his life story, A Shout From The Attic.

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July 29, 2006


...I have known well-meaning visitors whose stock-in-trade ranged from paperhanging to firewood chopping march into a sick room on the pretext of visiting a sick friend and immediately lift the impressive array of pills and potions from the patient’s table and denounce them as poisons more potent that the invading organisms that made their presence necessary.

Their Oscar-winning denunciations display all the confidence of Adolph Hitler at Munich in the thirties, all the charm of Genghis Kahn with a festering boil where his body interfaced with his saddle, and all the insight and finesse of a rampaging bull elephant...

Ronnie Bray deplores the Cassandras who bring gloom to the sick room. He also introduces us to a new and deadly disease - matrimonial thrombosis.

Continue reading "Diagnosis" »

July 22, 2006

Eight Essential Elements Of Englishness

Ronnie Bray compares the social behaviour of the English to that of the Americans.

Do also please read episodes of Ronnie's autobiography by clicking on A Shout From The Attic in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "Eight Essential Elements Of Englishness" »

July 15, 2006

Yo Ho Ho

...It was not until I was clearing away the detritus of the meal that I read on the Yule Log carton that the cake was enriched with cherry brandy...

Ronnie Bray reveals that alcohol can come sneaking into the most resolute teetotal life.

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July 08, 2006

Give Me Multiculturalism

...Take a moment to peer through the kaleidoscope of my multicultural world, and I will tell you why I embrace it as dearly as life itself. I love the colour and bedazzlement of the Asian Mela, the swirl of the Bagpipes, Braw Bricht Moonlit Nichts, the confident swing of the Kilt, Greek Omelettes, the skirl of Northumberland Pipes, Sacred Choral Music, Irish Pipes, Yorkshire Pudding, Italian Opera, Pandas, Scots Dialect, Great Organs and Grand Pianos, George Jokl, Belgian Groenendaels, Wolves, Kiri Te Kanawa, Sharan, Jamaica Salt Fish and Ackees, Didgeridoos, Iris Murray's Bangalore Curried Chicken, Wagner, Norfolk Jackets, Shakespeare, Yurts, John McCormack, Fish and Chips, Honky Tonk Music, Shahida's Samosas, Banjos, Irish Brogue, Mahalia Jackson, Giant Saguaros, Cesar E Chavez, French Piano Accordion Music, Mariachi, Chinese Chicken and Cashew Nuts, Male Voice Choirs, Bakewell Tart, Edith Piaf, The Sands of Egypt, Richard Tauber, English Border Collies, Welsh Rarebit, George Formby, Eagles, Saint Paul's Cathedral, Mice, Hawaiian Baked Tilapia, Bangra, the View from Castle Hill, Bats of all Nationalities, Victorian Ballads, Arroz con Pollo, Irish Stew, Beethoven, Ukuleles, Cypriot Orange Orchards, Horned Lizards, Mullgatawny Soup, Silken Saris, Quesadillas, Bach, Bar Mitzvoth, Smorgasbord, Willie Nelson, Mohandas K Gandhi, Spike Milligan, Irish Dancing, Purcell, Elephants, Cheongsams, Mascarpone, Frederick Ferrari, Montana, Welsh Bonnets, Eisteddfodds, Chow Mein, Folk Music, Donkeys, Broad Yorkshire, Bouzoukis, Southern Fried Fruit Pies, the Welsh lilt of Subcontinentals speaking English, Zydeco, Custard Tarts, Arab Music, Koalas, and a thousand and more gleaming spectacles, soaring sounds and tantalising tastes that are funnelled into my life by my brothers and sisters of all nations, tongues, and traditions...

Ronnie Bray puts in the wittiest, the wisest, the best possible plea for mutliculturalism.

Continue reading "Give Me Multiculturalism" »

July 01, 2006

Matt's Cloak Of Invisibility

Ronnie Bray tells how his son Matt, then aged 11, invented a Cloak of Invisibility to magic away the objects in his littered bedroom.

For more of Ronnie's good-humoured columns click on Letter From America in the menu on this page. Read also chapters of his autobiography, A Shout From The Attic.

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June 24, 2006

Hole In One!

Ronnie Bray tells an absorbing tale involving incompetence - alleged and actual.

To read many more of Ronnie's delicious columns click on Letter From America in the menu on this page. Read also chapters of his autobiography A Shout From The Attic.

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June 17, 2006

Three 'Alves

...He stepped forward three paces, which, considering that there had only been two paces between us to start with, brought us very close. His eyes, though a good foot and a half above mine seemed to meet as with lowered voice he entreated, "Listen, laddie! The British Harmy is made up of three 'alves: Church of Hengland, Roman Catholics, and hother denominations! Which are you?"...

Ronnie Bray announces that he is a Mormon, presenting the Regimental Sergeant Major with a problem.

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June 10, 2006

Dining In The Dark

There could be a surpise in store when you ladle soup into your dish while the lighting is dim, as Ronnie Bray reveals.

Read more of Ronnie's good-humoured columns by clicking on Letter From America in the menu on this page. Read also chapters from his autobiography, A Shout From The Attic.

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June 03, 2006

Night School

"Her bright accepting humour warmed them to her and her methods. None of them was afraid or anxious to expose his or her thoughts and ideas, however entrepreneurial they were, to the lady who looked them straight in their eyes and who not only lauded, but applauded, their gallant efforts, aspirations, and amazing achievements...''

Ronnie Bray's wife Gay has all the attributes required of an inspirational teacher. But all Gay's talents were put to the test by poorly equipped inadequate buildings when she started to teach Night School.

Read also Ronnie's memory-rich autobiography by clicking on A Shout From The Attic in the menu on this page.

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May 27, 2006

To Everything There Is A Time

The Deacon said in a gentle but firm tone that left Greb under no misapprehension that he had earned his disfavour, “Stick your thumb in my eye if you have to, Mr Greb, but don't take the name of the Lord in vain!”

Ronnie Bray recalls a famous fight between Theodore Flowers, the Georgia Deacon, and Harry Greb, the original Dirty Harry.

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May 20, 2006

Mad Dogs And Arizonans

Ronnie Bray muses upon the words of a famous Noel Coward song as he recalls hot days in the desert. Then, as rains drench Arizona, a revised version of Coward's lyrics occur - Mad Dogs And Arizonans Go Out In The Midday Rain. Tap your toes to Ronnie's tuneful column.

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May 13, 2006

Just The Ticket

Ronnie Bray dreams of winning one of those multi-million-dollar Lottery prizes, but he never will. Guess why not.

Continue reading "Just The Ticket" »

May 06, 2006

E-mail Cuisine

Ronnie Bray applies a touch of Einstein to a frying pan swilling with bacon fat to produce his amazing theory of e-mail cuisine.

To read many more of Ronnie's cheerful columns click on Letter From America in the menu on this page. And do please read his autobiography, A Shout From The Attic.

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April 29, 2006

Cup Final

"I used to weigh the doggies by standing on the bathroom scale without and then with them in my arms, and then subtract the lesser weight from the greater to determine their avoirdupois. Of late, while Frankie has remained at a constant thirty-seven pounds, Belle’s weight has been unobtainable because my back will not stand the strain of hefting her pleasant but daunting plumptiousness...''

Ronnie Bray wakes in the middle of the night to consider an overweight problem of the four-legged kind.

For more of Ronnie's delicious columns click on Letter From America. Read also his autobiography, A Shout From The Attic.

Continue reading "Cup Final" »

April 22, 2006

Although I Am Not An Accountant...

"They must have taught sums on one of the many days I was missing from Spring Grove School because numbers still flummox me,'' declares the inimitable Ronnie Bray. But he is up to the task of spotting a catch in the guarantee on a £5 telephone in the shape of a nineteen-fifty-seven Chevrolet ‘Bel Air’ two-door coupé.

Read more of Ronnie's brilliant columns by clicking on Letter From America in the menu on this page. Read also his autobiography A Shout From The Attic.

Continue reading "Although I Am Not An Accountant..." »

April 15, 2006

The Camera Never Lies

Ronnie Bray, in his youthful naivety, once believed that everything he saw on he silver screen was true. And now, with a digital camera "I can produce a photograph of Prince Charles at my dinner table slopping down one of my Erdine’s Fish Pie Specials, show Lord Lucan riding Shergar down my drive, and produce a snapshot of sweet little faerie-folk at the bottom of my garden!''

Read more of Ronnie's richly humorous columns by clicking on Letter From America in the menu on this page. Read also Ronnie's autobiography A Shout From The Attic.

Continue reading "The Camera Never Lies" »

April 08, 2006

The 110 mph Convenant

...After ten minutes, the telephone at the desk rang. A doctor came out of the room to answer it. He explained to the caller that he could not come now because he was admitting a patient who was “Absolutely clapped out … slipping away.” He hung up and returned to her bedside. I was stunned. I was stung further to hear another doctor say that she was “so weak she could succumb at any minute.”...

Ronnie Bray remembers the traumatic night on which he made a solemn promise.

For more of Ronnie's thoughtful and uplifitng columns click on Letter From America in the menu on this page. Read also Ronnie's autobiography A Shout From The Attic.

Continue reading "The 110 mph Convenant" »

April 01, 2006


Ronnie Bray casts a cool eye on electronic miniaturisation, concluding that all the world’s knowledge will eventually be put onto a memory chip of such sub-micro-micronic dimensions that it will be invisible to the naked eye, even when wearing glasses. "When that happens, one misdirected sneeze could launch the sum total of human knowledge and wisdom into the nearest up draught, never to be seen again.''

Read more of Ronnie's splendid columns, each one of which displays a Dickensian zest for the miracle that is the English language, by clicking on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

And enjoy Ronnie's autobiography A Shout From The Attic, also listed in the menu.

Continue reading "Miniaturisation" »

March 25, 2006

A Nation At War

On the surface America does not seem to be a nation at war. But there are now 2,000 homes in the US in which thre is deep mourning because a beloved child - a "child'' who wore a military uniform, will not be coming back.

In this thoughtful Ronnie Bray considers the cost of war.

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March 18, 2006

Wind Talkers Talking

Ronnie Bray introduces us to his native tongue, the Broad Yorkshire Dialect, “a language of more ancient provenance than English, whether the Queen’s, King’s, or any other.’’

(Ronnie’s columns are always a great delight – and this one has a particular significance for me. I too am a Wind Talker, raised in a village some seven miles from the industrial town where Ronnie was born. Eleven blissful boyhood years passed by before I had to learn how to speak “standard’’ English – Peter Hinchliffe, Editor, Open Writing).

For more of Ronnie’s entertaining words click on Letter From America in the menu on this page. Read also Ronnie’s autobiography, A Shout From The Attic.

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March 11, 2006

High Jump

In all my attempts at the high jump I barely left a mark, unless you count the time when two triangular tubes of aluminium were tied in the middle with string to make a longer bar, and as I sailed – I use the word in its loosest sense – across it I caught the seat of my flimsy PT shorts on the end of the top tube and suffered a 'wardrobe malfunction.'

Ronnie Bray recalls his sporting day - and the occasion when a snake boosted him towards a record.

Continue reading "High Jump" »

March 04, 2006

Really Useful Things

Ronnie Bray, back to life after a bout of Valley Fever, has been busying himself doing useful things and thinking up useful ideas.

"I am working on an 'Internet Extension' that can be added to the Internet’s present capacity so that it remains available to as many as want to use it. The first module will be ready in a few months if I can get the wood cut to the right size...'' says Ronnie.

Chuckle over his wonderful words in this edition of Letter From America. And enjoy lots more good reading by clicking on Letter From America in the menu on this page. Read also Ronnie's autobiography. Click on A Shout From The Attic.

Continue reading "Really Useful Things" »

February 25, 2006

The Mouse That Roared

...Mice are scrupulously clean, eat only what they need, do not start wars, tell lies, jockey for political position, or steal the affections of loved ones. They do inhabit human homes, mostly because humans are untidy and drop food on the floor without cleaning it up completely...

Ronnie Bray speaks up for the mice of the world - and the mice could not possibly have a more loyal and entertaining advocate.

Read also Ronnie's autobiography which is being serialised in Open Writing. Click on A Shout From The Attic in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "The Mouse That Roared" »

February 18, 2006


"A small box advertisement on the page caught my eye. It said "Freecycle," and promised anything and everything all for no monetary outlay. I was transfixed. This was a new idea to me. A site that let people list what they want to get, and what they want to get rid of. It has to be stuff that would otherwise take up space in a landfill, and so the organisation is saving the planet and moving goods between people who have and don’t want, and people who want but don’t have. Moreover, it is all free...''

Ronnie Bray enthusiastically joins the Freecycling band who are helping to save our planet.

Read also Ronnie's autobiography which is being serialised in Open Writing. Click on A Shout From The Attic in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "Freecycling" »

February 11, 2006

The Last Tyrant

The last tyrant "ruling'' Ronnie Bray's life has nothing to do with politics, but everything to do with the sound of running water.

To read more of Ronnie's absorbing and enjoyable columns click on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

Also click on A Shout From The Attic to read slices of his autobiography.

Continue reading "The Last Tyrant" »

February 04, 2006

It's In The Bag!

...It has to be acknowledged that the handbag is a world that men do not understand, and that is why they do not go there. As Mavis Gallant wrote: "Sensible men understand all this. They know your bag is out of bounds. Tell a man he can find a pen in your handbag, and he won't go rifling through it!"... The ebullient Ronnie Bray writes about territory that is foreign to all males - the interior of a woman's handbag.

Continue reading "It's In The Bag!" »

January 28, 2006

Watch The Birdie!

"In a few days I will add another consultant specialist to the lengthening list of physicians and surgeons who keep my soul housed in my body, and I am quite confidant that I will be having more photographs taken. These will be either MRIs or CT Scans. Then, probably a CT Scan guided biopsy, or, perhaps, more invasive surgery...'' Ronnie Bray writes a bright and bold column about a situation that would stifle the creative urge of all but the brave.

Read also Ronnie's vividly-told autobiography. Click on A Shout From Tthe Attic in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "Watch The Birdie!" »

January 21, 2006

Alright! I've Got The Message

"The main thing about feeling immortal is that it does not last forever – the feeling, that is...'' The ebullient and resiliant Ronnie Bray receives intimations of his own limited span.

Read more of Ronnie's irrepressibly good-humoured columns by clicking on Letter From America in the menu on this page.

Read also Ronnie's autobiography by clicking on A Shout From The Attic.

Continue reading "Alright! I've Got The Message" »

January 14, 2006

Sav'n Top

...Hazel’s method, as explained to her watchers, was to throw in "a handful or so" of this, "a smidgen" of that, "stir it until it looks right" and cook it "until it’s done." It always came out perfect... Ronnie Bray pays tribute to a remarkably good cook and tempts us with details of a most alluring recipe book.

If you would like a Word Document of the Clawson Recipe Book, e-mail Ronnie at rbray7@cox.net

Continue reading "Sav'n Top" »

January 07, 2006

Somebody Stole My Legs

A prolonged bout of Valley fever compelled Ronnie Bray to consider the history and antecedents of his legs.

Continue reading "Somebody Stole My Legs" »

December 17, 2005

The Order Of The Bath

"Since I contracted Valley Fever four months ago, mornings have become slower and slower, or else I have got slower and slower. I would be able to tell which it was except my brain has also become less active at the same time, and sometimes I don't know the difference between coming and going...'' It takes much more than a bout of Valley Fever to stop Ronnie Bray writing an entertaining column though. Reading Ronnie is the best way to brighten up a day.

Continue reading "The Order Of The Bath" »

December 14, 2005

Alice's Letter

Six-year-old Alice has wormed her way into the affections of those wise beings who can live with the idea that not all little girls are "made of sugar and spice and all things nice, all of the time!" In this delightful column for Christmas Eve Ronnie Bray tells us of Alice's letter to Father Christmas.

Continue reading "Alice's Letter" »

December 10, 2005

The Garden Chair Protocol

Are those plastic garden chairs holding night-time frolics in that dog park in Mesa, Arizona? Are they knocking plastic lumps off each other as they engage in nocturnal warfare? Read Ronnie Bray's delicious report from the mystery zone.

Continue reading "The Garden Chair Protocol" »

December 03, 2005

Give Me The Country Life

Ronnie Bray tells of his time in Montana. Now what is that phrase involving a tongue and a cheek?

Continue reading "Give Me The Country Life" »

November 26, 2005

Four Pairs Of Boots

"I watched incredulously as he sidled through the door, as spiders do, then he sat down on his haunches and pulled on the four pairs of boots...'' Fancy seeing such a thing, just as you are settling down to sleep. Ronnie Bray calls this piece "imaginative fiction''. Be it fact or be it fiction, Ronnie is invariably vastly entertaining.

Continue reading "Four Pairs Of Boots" »

November 19, 2005

An Amish Wedding Dinner - or The Light That Failed

"As we sat in the quaint simplicity of an ancient culture to which the Amish cling, one that our forbears had left behind more than two hundred years ago, we were treated to a feast fit for monarchs...'' In this glorious, tasty and altogether unforgettable column Ronnie Bray tells of the time he dined with the Amish.

Continue reading "An Amish Wedding Dinner - or The Light That Failed" »

November 12, 2005

Forks, Spoons And Knives

Be to her faults a little blind;
Be to her virtues very kind…

Little things, such as the arrangement of knives, forks and spoons in a cutlery drawer, can annoy the orderly mind. But as Ronnie Bray sadly discovered, such matters are a mere nothing when the person who did the “misarranging’’ is no longer there.

Continue reading "Forks, Spoons And Knives" »

November 11, 2005

Old Soldiers Never Die - They Simply Fade Away

They shall grow not old,
As we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning,
We will remember them.

We will remember them.
Ronnie Bray, who served in the British Army, writes a poem in remembrance of all those who fell in all the wars for civilisation, and in honour of all those who returned forever changed by their experiences, especially those who return to the battlefields to remember their comrades-in-arms.

Continue reading "Old Soldiers Never Die - They Simply Fade Away" »

November 05, 2005

Out Of An Orange-Coloured Sky

"Orange is the colour of the season. Pumpkins are everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. Americans decorate their houses according to what season it is or will shortly be....'' Ronnie Bray introduces us to the sport of Punkin Chunkin, and the pumpkin cannon.

Continue reading "Out Of An Orange-Coloured Sky" »

October 29, 2005

Derrick's Day Out

“Motorcycling is probably the most exhilarating form of travel available to man…’’ So crank up the motorbike, and off go young Derrick and his new bride to Bolton Abbey? But where exactly is it? Ronnie Bray tells of an outing which ended with acute embarrassment all round.

Continue reading "Derrick's Day Out" »

October 22, 2005

Autumn Comes

Autumn has finally arrived in Arizona, says Ronnie Bray. But autumn in that part of the world means that the coldest day between October and March is likely to be no cooler than sixty degrees Fahrenheit.

Continue reading "Autumn Comes" »

October 15, 2005

The Wafter

Ronnie Bray tells of his adventures in the rag trade, recalling the day when he became a wafter.

Continue reading "The Wafter" »

October 08, 2005

Brains Versus Brawn

"Only on Sundays were breakfasts cooked from scratch. Sunday was a special day; the day of fried eggs and bacon. Even in my rooftop haunt, I could smell Sunday, as its special aroma drifted upwards through the house...'' Ronnie Bray recalls a disaster day on which he decided to help his Granddad prepare breakfast for the residents of a lodging house.

Continue reading "Brains Versus Brawn" »

October 01, 2005

Fire Faeries

“Mine was a coal fire world. In the blackened grate the coal fire spluttered as a coal exploded into flame, gassed long white spumes of white fumes that ignited into long lances of yellow flame, and sent curling smoke on its way up the soot-laden chimney to blacken the outside world…’’ Ronnie Bray admits that electric and gas fires have many advantages over coal fires, but he misses those quieter times when a coal fire blazed in the family hearth.

Continue reading "Fire Faeries" »

September 24, 2005

Erkie Day

Erkie Day was a bright and cheerful lad - but the cheerfulness probably hid a dark pool of sadness. Ronnie Bray remembers, with deep compassion, one of his school friends.

Continue reading "Erkie Day" »

September 17, 2005

A Bird In The Hand

"Sometime, somewhere, we come across those whose journey through life has been halted, temporarily, by an unexpected blow. All that is needed is for someone to discover them and take enough time from whatever they are doing to set them back on their feet and help them fly again...'' Ronnie Bray tells an inspirational story of finding a stricken bird.

Continue reading "A Bird In The Hand" »

September 10, 2005

Mouldy Waffles And True Love

"How wonderful that each of us can laugh at our own eccentricities...'' says Ronnie Bray as he bites, with great delight, into a "mouldy'' waffle.

Continue reading "Mouldy Waffles And True Love" »

September 03, 2005

Tom And The Tractor

"Tom, smiling his BigTomSmile, scaled the tractor, leaned forward to grip the steering wheel, and set off for the fields of his desire to plough his wavy furrows until the going down of the sun...'' Ronnie Bray writes of the rich imagination of a child.

Ronnie has the special knack of pinpointing what is really important in life, then writing about it in a way which leaves his readers feeling privileged at having been in his company.

Continue reading "Tom And The Tractor" »

August 27, 2005

What's A Potato?

Our memories bless us and curse us, but most of all they help us lay our troublesome ghosts to rest, purge ourselves of regrets, and bring us, not cowed but accepting and understanding in gentle ways, to comprehend that we are part of a world that was and will never be again, except to the extent that we endow the young with the lessons we learned from it and with the wisdom that helped us make sense of it, so that they know that however confusing and puzzling their world may be, that answers do eventually come, even to such vexed human problems as "What’s a potato?''

A surprise question overheard in a restaurant takes Ronnie Bray on a journey into the past.

Continue reading "What's A Potato?" »

August 20, 2005

Water Babies

"Humans, while capable of creating inspiring delectations, are also capable of making dangers through their thoughtlessness...'' Ronnie Bray tells of the terrible toll of children drowned in family swimming pools. In the US pool drowning is the fourth leading cause of accidental death.

Continue reading "Water Babies" »

August 13, 2005

Miss Rushworth's Great Sadness

Ronnie Bray returns to his home town and visits the school where he was a pupil during the grim years of World War Two. There he recalls Miss Rushworth, a beautiful young teacher who had a great secret.

Continue reading "Miss Rushworth's Great Sadness" »

August 06, 2005

The Desert Shall Blossom

Ronnie Bray writes of the unusual rainfall which turned the Arizona desert a lush green for a short time earlier this year.

Continue reading "The Desert Shall Blossom" »

July 30, 2005

Like Blummin' Mushrooms

"Further north, beyond the palm tree lined avenues of Scottsdale, the red rock mass of Sedona, once the background of a John Wayne film, still stands nobly on the skyline, but its lower reaches are built on so densly that 'Duke' would no longer be able to get through on his horse without clopping through a multitude of gardens...''

The inimitable Ronnie Bray recalls housing development in his home town of Huddersfield, Yorkshire - and the massive new developments taking place in the part of Arizona where he now lives. It sometimes seems as though all America is rushing to live in Phoenix.

Continue reading "Like Blummin' Mushrooms" »

July 23, 2005

Birthday Girl

Please, please don't miss this chance to read a wonderful, emotional, heart-warming account by Ronnie Bray of a visit to his elderly mother.
Ronnie travelled from Arizona to his former home town of Huddersfield, there to find a lady with a fading memory who did not at first recall his name.

This excellent column is about parenthood, love, life..and you will feel a whole lot better for having read it.

Continue reading "Birthday Girl" »

July 16, 2005

Sorrows And Joys

"Human hearts are capable of extraordinary flexibility and accomodation in the tangle of emotions with which they must deal,'' says Ronnie Bray, who, on a recent visit to England, beheld one of life's greatest joys and one of life's most anguished torments, all in the same moment.

Continue reading "Sorrows And Joys" »

July 09, 2005

Fourth Of July

In a firecracker flow of words, Ronnie Bray tells of what gave him cause to celebrate on America's Independence Day - then he writes of a modern-day Wyatt Earp, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who forces convicts to wear pink underwear and detains them in Pink Tent City.

Continue reading "Fourth Of July" »

July 02, 2005

One Of Our Soldiers Is Missing

"We regret to inform you that after extensive requests to various archives where Service Records are stored, we have been unable to obtain your Service Record...''

After discovering that he is an Unknown Soldier, Ronnie Bray reviews his military career, doing the job that the Ministry of Defence should have done.

A Ronnie Bray column is alway entertaining. Here he is on peak form - and Ronnie's literary peak is consierably higher than Everest.

Continue reading "One Of Our Soldiers Is Missing" »

June 25, 2005

The Shop At The End Of The World

"As I turned into the street to park the car I took quick readings of the neighbourhood and instantly knew that we had left civilisation behind...'' Ronnie Bray and his wife Gay go looking for the OK Furniture Company - the shop at the end of the world.

Continue reading "The Shop At The End Of The World" »

June 18, 2005


After a miscalculation involving a jet of water that was stronger than was wise, Ronnie Bray's long-serving calculator refuses to do sums.

Continue reading "Miscalculation" »

June 11, 2005

Cowboy Jake, His Unreliable Truck, And The Unfamiliar Voice of Heaven

Ronnie Bray, who delights Open Writing readers with his weekly letters from America, today presents something different; his adaptation of a rollicking poem which contains an important reminder.

Continue reading "Cowboy Jake, His Unreliable Truck, And The Unfamiliar Voice of Heaven" »

June 04, 2005

Salmon Chanted Evening

So what DO you do with a two-foot long salmon that has been lurking in the fridge for weeks and weeks? Ronnie Bray excels himself in this fishy column.

Read more of Ronnie's tasty prose. Click on Letter From America in the menu on the right-hand side of this page.

Continue reading "Salmon Chanted Evening" »

May 28, 2005

By Any Other Name

"I have a thing about weeds,'' says Ronnie Bray. "They have to die!'' Yet in this profoundly moving story about a family re-union in Montana Ronnie discovers the extent of his love for a woman who loves weeds.

Continue reading "By Any Other Name" »

May 21, 2005

Brains Versus Brawn

"Sunday was a special day, the day of fried eggs and bacon,'' writes Ronnie Bray, recalling his youth. "Even in my rooftop haunt I could smell Sunday, as its special aroma drifted upwards through the house...'

Continue reading "Brains Versus Brawn" »

May 14, 2005

Black Bottom

"Clowns make me incredibly sad,'' says Ronnie Bray. "I have looked behind their masks and seen the pain behind their smiles...''

Continue reading "Black Bottom" »

May 07, 2005

Going To See Ma

"We shall sit together one last time...'' In this profoundly moving column Ronnie Bray tells how he is preparing to say goodbye to his mother.

Continue reading "Going To See Ma" »

April 30, 2005

The Little Fisherman

This luminescent account of Ronnie Bray's chance meeting with a Cypriot fisherman will make you feel good about today -and all the other days on which you remember it.

Continue reading "The Little Fisherman" »

April 23, 2005

Bessie Ford - Our First Car

Ronnie Bray, writing with his customary good humour, recalls his first car, bought for £20. "She wasn't perfect. The best things are well-worn and conmfortable...''

Continue reading "Bessie Ford - Our First Car" »

April 16, 2005

The Wisdom Of Solomon's Mother

Speaking the truth will save you a whole lot of trouble and embarrassment says Ronnie Bray in this laugh-out-loud column.

Continue reading "The Wisdom Of Solomon's Mother" »

April 09, 2005

Derrick's Day Out

From his home in Arizona, Ronnie Bray remembers Bolton Abbey, one of the most beautiful places in his native Yorkshire. And in remembering Bolton and its Abbey, he also recalls the laughable motorbike outing of a chap called Derrick.

Continue reading "Derrick's Day Out" »

April 02, 2005

How Writers Write

"Not knowing how I write but managing to write means that if I am going to explain how I do it I will have to suppose a lot, and guess a bit, and see if anything comes out that makes sense...'' Ronnie Bray's written words are always hugely entertaining, even when he is writing about how to write.

Continue reading "How Writers Write" »

March 19, 2005

Enter The Groenendael!

Ronnie Bray's beloved dog Belle is a horse of a dog. At first he thought she was a Border Collie, but as she grew and grew he was finally forced to accept that she's a Gtoenendael. Now you just try o pronoune that...!

Continue reading "Enter The Groenendael!" »

March 05, 2005

Angel In The Shadows

"The violin piece was breathtaking. I was not so much concerned with how anyone could play such an arrangement of speeding notes, breaks, trills, arpeggios, and everything else that tumbled out of the sound holes of his fine instrument at breakneck speed; I wondered how anyone on earth could annotate it!'' Ronnie Bray is filled with thrilling wonderment at a Phoenix Symphony Orchestra concert.

Continue reading "Angel In The Shadows" »

February 26, 2005

Into The Mouths Of Babes

Ronnie Bray once thought that tomato sauce was for babies, and brown sauce was for men. Now he has been forced to eat his words, with a dash of red ketchup. Here, in his wonderfully exuberant style, he gives a brief history of the red stuff that adds so much flavour to food.

Continue reading "Into The Mouths Of Babes" »

February 19, 2005


In the Yorkshire town where Ronnie Bray was born a shiboleth becomes a shiberlith. And as for the pronunciation of the place named Slaithwaite -well you'd need to take a demanding year-long course in the Yorkshire dialect to master that one. (Ah wer browt up i't same bit 'o Yorksher 's Ronnie so ah fair lahk this 'ere bit 'o ritin -Editor, Open Writing)

Continue reading "Shiberliths" »

February 12, 2005

The Gorilla Protocol

Ronnie Bray goes strolling in Santa Monica, California - and suddenly becomes the delighted owner of a large white gorilla.

Continue reading "The Gorilla Protocol" »

February 05, 2005

Eat This

"Eat this,'' said the eight-year-old boy, offering Ronnie Bray a stick of brilliantly yellow seaside rock. "It will male you cheerful.'' Young Edward was wiser than he knew...

Continue reading "Eat This" »

January 29, 2005

Uncle George And The Minute Waltz

In this gloriously uplifting story Ronnie Bray tells of his Uncle George - a man dismissed by thoughtles people as "a bit slow'' - who once diplayed his musical skills to two internationally famous pianists.

Continue reading "Uncle George And The Minute Waltz" »

January 22, 2005

In Praise Of Print

"When I want a little light entertainment, I look over Bray's shoulder,'' said the art teacher. Ronnie Bray recalls his brief schoolboy career as newshound, cartoonist and assistant editor of The Pickwick Paper - then reflects on the impact newspapers have had on his life.

Continue reading "In Praise Of Print" »

January 15, 2005

Intimations Of Mortality

When he was a young man Ronnie Bray was convinced that he was immortal. "Whatever Life poured out upon my noble head could never harm me.''

That feeling has persisted throughout his life until the coming of he tsunami, which slaughtered thousands of people. Ronnie is now "watching the distant horizon for the Visitor who beckons me to abandon those whom I have so dearly loved.''

Continue reading "Intimations Of Mortality" »

January 08, 2005


Most Americans have more stuff than they can fit into their homes, but every little piece of it is essential to their lifestyle and happiness. Ronnie Bray thinks that the storage unit industry is the perfect business to be in.

Continue reading "Stuff" »

January 01, 2005

Differential Diagnosis

You inquire about your spouse's state of health "I'm fine'' she says. You ask a second time. "There's nothing wrong with me,'' she replies. You inquire once more. "If you have to ask, it doesn't matter!'' she snaps.

Ronnie Bray provides a valuable lesson in human behaviour.

Continue reading "Differential Diagnosis" »

December 18, 2004

Men In Black

After a soloist gives an outstanding rendition of a Chopin concerto at a concert in Phoenix, Arizona, Men in Black trundle the piano off the stage. The "disappearing'' piano prompts Ronnie Bray to think of things that have vanished from his life.

Continue reading "Men In Black" »

December 11, 2004

The Birds

Ronnie Bray, who is still haunted by Alfred Hitchcock's nightmarish film The Birds, welcomes birds of a different feather who flock into Arizona to enjoy winter sunshine.

Continue reading "The Birds" »

December 04, 2004

The Steel Fist

Ronnie Bray sees a fairground machine with a steel fist in the stores of the world's biggest retailer - a machine which brought nothing but disappointment when in boyhood he first encountered it at an English seaside resort.

Continue reading "The Steel Fist" »

November 27, 2004

Lifting The Curse

Ronnie Bray says that those who struggle under the injustice of having their hopes dashed by a naysayer should draw inspiration from the winners of this year's World Series, the Boston Red Sox. The Bosox, as they are called in newspaper headlines, finally overcame a so-called curse, placed upon them in 1918. "Think of the Red Sox,'' says Ronnie, "and fight for your life!''

Continue reading "Lifting The Curse" »

November 20, 2004

The Changing Face Of Banking

A new US banking law - which may bring a rude awakening for many American citizens - prompts Ronnie Bray to recall how bills were paid during the days when he was growing up in a West Yorkshire industrial town.

Continue reading "The Changing Face Of Banking" »

November 13, 2004

An American Hero

Some mornings Tom is on his rounds for over an hour, carrying out his self-appointed task cheerfully and without complaint. Read Ronnie Bray's absorbing column which reveals the surprising details of Tom's heroic duties.

Continue reading "An American Hero" »

November 06, 2004

Apache Attack

There you are driving along in Arizona, minding your own business, when you suddenly discover that there's a roaring Apache on your tail! Here's another splendid column from Ronnie Bray. I you want to reach the final sentence of an article with a smile on your face, read Ronnie.

Continue reading "Apache Attack" »

October 29, 2004

I Vote For Peace

Because he is not an American citizen Ronnie Bray cannot vote in next Tuesday's presidential election. He casts his non-existent vote for truth, honesty, integrity, responsibility and rationality - "because I firmly believe that when these qualities are found in those who engage in the political process, however wide their differences might be, issues will be discussed and weighed in an atmosphere of peace, and I vote for peace.''

Continue reading "I Vote For Peace" »

October 22, 2004

Initial Diagnosis

It seems as if no week goes by without some new and interesting condition being described and immediately reduced to its initials, says Ronnie Bray in this deliciously funny column. So what is ODD, BRATS, CAB, CML. DNS? Don't overwork your brain trying to work it out. Just read Ronnie - and enjoy!

Continue reading "Initial Diagnosis" »

October 15, 2004

Some Questions Don't Need Answers

Englishman Ronnie Bray teaches the folk he meets in an Arizona dog park how to talk about the weather.

Continue reading "Some Questions Don't Need Answers" »

October 02, 2004

The Theory Of Relativity

Thanks to his Auntie Alice, Ronnie Bray now has an explanation for Einstein's theory of relativity. Join him in the chuckle zone as he uses Yorkshire-Arizonan science to help him on his way to enlightenment.

Continue reading "The Theory Of Relativity" »

September 24, 2004

Fruit Cake Missionary

In this delicious column Ronnie Bray extols the delight of eating fruit cake. "Anyone who has not had two slices of the tasty sticky slab with a thick slice of best English cheddar sandwiched betwixt has not entered the door of Paradise.

Continue reading "Fruit Cake Missionary" »

September 18, 2004

Charles Atlas

The east side of my face is nut coloured walnut, but the west side is pale knotty pine. It's all the result of my dog exercising habits, says Ronnie Bray in another hugely enjoyable column.

Continue reading "Charles Atlas" »

September 10, 2004

Revenge Is Sweet

"The wound took seventeen stitches to close, and Brian, who regained consciousness in the ambulance on his way to the Infirmary, was assured that he fell inside the house...'' Ronnie Bray tells a remarkable story of a violent conclusion to domestic discord.

Continue reading "Revenge Is Sweet" »

September 03, 2004

Anyone For Cricket?

So what is that droning sound emanating from some place near Ronnie Bray's garden wall? Could it be a singing tree? Read on - and find out.

Continue reading "Anyone For Cricket?" »

August 19, 2004

Farewell To Montana

Ronnie Bray and his wife Gay say the saddest of sad farewells to home and friends in the magnificent state of Montana - then set out on what turns out to be an eventful journey to a new home in Arizona.

Continue reading "Farewell To Montana" »

August 05, 2004

The Code Of The West

The Code of the West encourages folk not to crowd their neighbours, but to keep an eye on them and, unbidden, turn a hand to their welfare whenever it is needed. Ronnie Bray writes of some of the things he will miss when he leaves Montana.

Ronnie and his wife Gay are in the process of moving to Mesa, Arizona. The good news is that he will continue to regularly contribute to Open Writing. From now on his columns will appear under the title Letter From America.

Continue reading "The Code Of The West" »

July 29, 2004

Keeshond Attack!

Corky the Keeshond is cuddly, affectionate, loyal and easily bribed. However he is also forgetful, as Ronnie Bray reveals in this dog-lover's-delight of a story.

Continue reading "Keeshond Attack!" »

July 22, 2004

The Gold Mine

Ronnie Bray stops off at a rural Montana grocery store - and to his astonishment discovers a gold mine.

Continue reading "The Gold Mine" »

July 15, 2004

I'm A Yorkshire Doodle Dandy

Writing with his customary panache and humour Ronnie Bray tells us how he raised a few eyebrows on July 4, America's Indpendence Day.

Continue reading "I'm A Yorkshire Doodle Dandy" »

July 08, 2004

Loose Moose Talk And A Daniel Come To Judgement

Ronnie Bray tells us that some of those good-hearted folk in Montana enjoy sharing an impromptu MooseFest.

Continue reading "Loose Moose Talk And A Daniel Come To Judgement" »

June 25, 2004

Lo, He Comes - Eventually!

After a day's delay, and the unhappy experience of finding a suitcase flooded with Dandelion and Burdock, Ronnie Bray finally welcomes his son to Montana.

Continue reading "Lo, He Comes - Eventually!" »

June 17, 2004

To Hell And Back

Ronnie Bray tells of the numerous trials and tribulations experienced while getting the documents which allow him to legally live in the United States.

Continue reading "To Hell And Back" »

June 11, 2004

Dam Attack

Writing with great compassion, Ronnie Bray tells the extraordinary story of Karl, and an all-too-vivid dream of explosives being attached to local dams.

Continue reading "Dam Attack" »

June 03, 2004

Home Away From Home

They're right neighbourly in the last good place on Earth. Ronnie Bray enthusiastically sings the praises of the good folk of Montana.

Continue reading "Home Away From Home" »

May 27, 2004

Lo, The Morn!

What should a man dream of while mowing a lawn. Ronnie Bray's thoughts turn to Dandelion and Burdock, black pudding, honeycomb tripe, fish and chips...

Continue reading "Lo, The Morn!" »

May 20, 2004

The Birds

In this colourful introduction to Montana's avian population, Ronnie Bray finds that he is as much use as a chocolate fireguard when he tries to impose a pecking order at the birds' dining table.

Continue reading "The Birds" »

May 13, 2004


Share in Ronnie Bray's delight as he acquires a new pet Border Collie. Lucky dog, Ronnie! Lucky dog, Belle!

Continue reading "Belle" »

May 06, 2004

Spring Fever

Spring has arrived early. Or should that be Summer? The temperature soars to 84 degrees. Then rain... and snow... Ronnie Bray sets the scene so vividly that you can readily imagine yourself to be in the great state of Montana.

Continue reading "Spring Fever" »

April 29, 2004

"Timmy's Down The Well''

So was canine film-star Lassie really talking when she went "Woof, woof, woof-wooff''? Ronnie Bray has his doubts, but his Border Collie Frankie-Belle does tell him things he needs to know.

Continue reading ""Timmy's Down The Well''" »

April 22, 2004

What Did Wordsworth Know About Nature?

Ronnie Bray and his wife Gay live 10 miles away from the nearest grocery store, 23 miles from the local hospital, 110 miles from medical and surgical specialists and 260 miles from the airport. But why care about that when Whitetail deer are daily visitors to their garden?

Continue reading "What Did Wordsworth Know About Nature?" »

April 15, 2004

Beef Paste

So what do you expect to get when told you are having a beef paste sandwich? Ronnie Bray talks about confusion in regard to sandwiches - and also marriage partners.

Continue reading "Beef Paste" »

April 08, 2004

Long Before The Twist, Was Twist!

In this vividly nostalgic article Ronnie Bray recalls his first attempt to smoke a briar pipe. Excuse me a moment while I waft away the smoke fumes so that you can see the words.

Continue reading "Long Before The Twist, Was Twist!" »

March 31, 2004

Goodbye, Old Friend

In this wonderful and profoundly moving column Ronnie Bray bids farewell to his pet dog Shep.

Continue reading "Goodbye, Old Friend" »

March 25, 2004

Only God Can Make A Tree

In another sparkling column Ronnie Bray lists 50 reasons why you might be a Montanan - then he tells of a close encounter with a tree.

Continue reading "Only God Can Make A Tree" »

March 18, 2004

Bald Eagles And Small Fierce Dogs

So there you are, driving down Hummingbird Way with an eagle for company...

Ronnie Bray brings us another adventure from the wide-open spaces of Montana.

Continue reading "Bald Eagles And Small Fierce Dogs" »

March 11, 2004

The Robin's Return

Six inches of snow, temperatures well below freezing - then ten red robins come bob, bob bobbing along. Ronnie Bray is on top form in this ediion of his diary as he describes the tail-end of winter in the glorious state of Montana.

Continue reading "The Robin's Return" »

March 04, 2004

Ross Creek Cedars

Ronnie Bray, who brings us a weekly breath of fresh Montana air, takes us to a must-see beauty spot.

Continue reading "Ross Creek Cedars" »

February 24, 2004

Adventure on Swede Mountain

Ronnie Bray faces the unappealing prospect of a night on Swede Mountain.

Continue reading "Adventure on Swede Mountain" »

February 17, 2004


If you know anything about Australia you probably know what a didgerydoo will do. But what about a didgery-don't. Ronnie Bray lets us into a little mystery.

Continue reading "Didgery-Don't" »

February 10, 2004

Gayless in Troy

Ronnie Bray finds himself alone in his Montana home - and realises he should never again be parted from his beloved wife Gay.

Continue reading "Gayless in Troy" »

February 04, 2004

The Last Of My Marmite Days

Ronnie Bray describes with his usual affectionate humour a savoury but sad treat as he gobbles up the final scrapings of his Marmite supply.

Continue reading "The Last Of My Marmite Days" »

January 28, 2004

A Montana Singularity

Ronnie Bray tells of having fun in a trailer home dentist's surgery - if fun is the right word.

Continue reading "A Montana Singularity" »

January 20, 2004

Frost at Midnight

Ronnie Bray tells of the magic of midnight in Montana when the moon is big and bright.

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January 15, 2004

Manna in the Wilderness

Ronnie Bray writes about life in Montana - and the search for a pair of Wellington boots.

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January 06, 2004

Until the Well Runs Dry

My wife, Gay, and I live on a three-acre spread, ten miles outside the City of Troy, population 900. The City boasts a doctor, a dentist, a veterinarian, a library, three schools, a bowling alley, a medium sized grocery store, a variety of eating places, a cinema, a music shop, three second-hand shops, two petrol stations, and no traffic lights, writes Ronnie Bray.

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