UIN photo

A discarded vacuum awaits a new owner at the London Grove intersection.

WEST MARLBOROUGH: The new Polar Vortex model

Friday morning I was driving through the 926/Newark Road intersection and saw a vacuum cleaner propped up against the road sign, its green cord neatly folded. I had to stop and snap a photo. Considering there was a new "for rent" sign at the house next door, I suspect the tenant, while moving out, just decided he didn't want it anymore.

It was still there the last time I checked.

RAFFLES: A good cause

It may have looked really fishy to an objective observer, but honestly the fix was not in: it was purely coincidental that almost everyone at our table at a recent fundraising event went home with some excellent goodies. One woman scored a basket full of premium chocolates; another friend took home some spa-quality deep-gray towels that she said would match her bathroom perfectly; and I won a basket full of cat paraphernalia (toys, catnip, cat-patterned socks and food bowls). The man across the table from us was looking increasingly forlorn at not being a winner -- until they drew the 50/50 raffle and he went home $120 richer.

KENNETT SQUARE: New business

Noelia Scharon, founder of the La Michoacana ice cream shop and La Michoacana Grill, is clearly not the only entrepreneur in the family. Her son, Andres Avalos Scharon, has just opened the Blue 52 barbershop at 331 East State Street (at the corner of State and Willow Street, where the Metamorphosis new-age shop used to be). The barbershop's hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

LECTURES: Planets and birds

Lower Brandywine Presbyterian Church is hosting a couple of interesting lectures this month.

At 3 p.m. Sunday, February 10, Janet and Kevin Witman will present their "Astral Harp" astronomy program, with Kevin showing his slides of the cosmos accompanied by Janet's harp music. (We saw this presentation a few years ago at Kennett Friends Meeting and enjoyed it very much. Kevin and Janet live in Cochranville.)

And at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 21, bird photographer Laura Densmore will talk about avian "hot spots" she has visited around the globe. The photo on the invitation shows a loon feeding a fuzzy, eager chick seated on another loon's back.

The church is at the corner of Old Kennett Road and Kennett Pike (Route 52), across from Winterthur Museum.

ANNIVERSARY: Back to the future

Dr. Jenna Fitchett and the team at Fitchett Chiropractic threw a surprise party for Dr. Mike Fitchett on Jan. 25 to celebrate the practice's 30th anniversary. Dr. Jenna, his daughter and now his colleague, told me that her father was completely surprised, as he thought the reason he was summoned to the Bog Turtle Brewery was for a start-of-2019 all-staff meeting. Also in attendance at the party were patients past and present, family members, and former employees.

Dr. Mike opened the practice in January 1989 in downtown Kennett and now has offices in Willowdale and Jennersville.

Oh, and the start-of-2019 meeting? It was held the following Friday afternoon.

SPCA: Summer camp

Even though it's snowing and in the single digits as I'm writing, I'm already seeing some social media chatter about summer camps for kids. Here's one option that just came across my desk from a nonprofit that's close to my heart.

The Brandywine Valley SPCA is offering a "Critter Camp" at its facility at 1212 Phoenixville Pike, West Chester. Their description sounds like a lot of fun: "This week-long camp is for children between the ages of 7 and 12 looking to give back to animals in need while learning to be the best furry companion they can be. At camp, young animal lovers will learn about animal care; hear from guest speakers in the animal world; meet many of the BVSPCA’s adoptable pets; engage in creative and educational activities; participate in team building workshops; and practice their reading skills by reading to our companions."

There are separate camp sessions for kids ages 7 to 9 and ages 10 through 12. The sessions for the younger kids will be June 17 to 21; July 8 to 12; July 22 to 26; and August 5 to 9. The sessions for the older kids will be June 24 to 28; July 15 to 19; July 29 to August 2; and August 12 to 16. Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day and costs $300; after-care until 5 p.m. is available for another $50.

AVONDALE: At the gun range

On Saturday afternoon we arranged to meet another couple at TSS, the gun range in Avondale, for an hour of enjoyable, head-clearing target practice.

We were waiting in the lobby for our friends when a slim, hardy-looking woman with a braid down her back walked in carrying a couple of long guns in their cases, a hefty metal box of ammo and a large range bag. Two male friends joined her shortly afterward, and as they were moving their equipment toward the check-in desk one of the men turned to her and asked, jokingly, "Need some help?"

His intonation was perfect: he was acknowledging that she was more than capable of schlepping not only her own gear but probably theirs as well.

GIANT: The digital age

Between the predicted snow and a major sporting/social event, the New Garden Giant was very busy on a recent Sunday, and, as often happens when they are overloaded, the self-service machines were acting up. As instructed, I'd moved my bananas into my shopping bag, but the fickle machine refused to acknowledge that I had done so. And it really wasn't happy with me when I shifted my groceries around in the bagging area (which, by the way, is wholly inadequate if you bring your own bags).

At the next register was a minister, all in black except for his white clerical collar, who had apparently been tasked with buying pies for a large church function, as his shopping cart was full of them. He too was having U-Scan issues and was looking around with confusion.

"Father," I said to him (hoping that was the right form of address), "If you're having problems, what hope is there for the rest of us?"

He let out a huge laugh and gave me a really quite amazing smile.

Write to Tilda at uvilleblogger@gmail.com. Thanks!

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