Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Quote du jour/Dominique Browning

When we make a home, we honor life and its blessings.
Dominique Browning, Around The House and In The Garden

Today's Short Story by Guy de Maupassant

What to do to celebrate Hallowe'en. My little ones have grown, so no trick or treating. I'm not a party-goer. So I thought that the perfect "bookish" activity for me today was reading Guy de Maupassant's The Horla, the October short story choice on a blog I've recently joined, A Curious Singularity. And I thought this would be just the ticket; a scary little psychological tale to chill my sensibilities. I made the conscious choice to read it in the daylight hours just in case. :<) The story is written in diary form, with dated entries. It begins with soothing, beautiful descriptions of the natural world. It feels utterly peaceful and such an appealing place to have spent one's childhood, and moved into adulthood. But the next entry shows us a whole different state of mind. Anxious, not sleeping, fearful. I wondered what brought it on, as does the writer. Is this a mental condition? Is he lacking in nourishment, exercise, sleep? The latter is a definite problem, for when he is able to sleep, he has nightmares. He takes a trip to Mount Saint-Michel, and speaks with a monk who tells him of otherworldly happenings, and says:

Do we see the hundred-thousandth part of what exists? Look here; there is the wind which is the strongest force in nature. It knocks down men, and blows down buildings, uproots trees, raises the sea into mountains of water, destroys cliffs and casts great ships on to the breaker; it kills, it whistles, it sighs, it roars. But have you ever seen it, and can you see it? Yet it exists for all that.

As I read on, it seemed to me that these nighttime scares happened only at his home. If that was so, I wondered why he didn't just leave permanently. Of course, later on, he seems unable to do so.

I think this could have made a good scary movie, but reading it for me was boring. His ramblings became tiresome. I wanted him to go see people, to move, to change his life. He was completely self-absorbed. Did he have no friends? What about that cousin or other family? Could he not have talked to someone?

I liked the writing, the images, the words chosen, but I just got so annoyed with the man. Maybe he was going mad, and I should have sympathy for him, but I found it hard to do so. I wondered too much about his background, his family, even the house itself, and that took away, perhaps, any concerns about what was happening to him.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Book Report/The Castle in the Attic, 1985

I'm not a very fast reader, and so sometimes it is a delight for me to read a juvenile or young adult book because I finish it quickly. I have the double pleasure of an enjoyable book and a quick read.

Recently there was an interview on Vermont Public Television with Elizabeth Winthrop. Her latest book, Counting on Grace has been Vermont's 2007 Community Reads choice. During the interview, she began talking about The Castle in the Attic, a book I remember being on our bookshelves when my children were young, and I wanted to read it.

William is a boy of ten, who is small for his age and does gymnastics. His parents are gone quite a bit and he is taken care of by Mrs. Phillips, a woman who has been with the family all his life. Now she plans to move to England to be with her brother. William is bereft. As a going away present, she gives him a toy castle which has been in her family for generations. It is beautifully made with all the features of a real castle. There is only one figure, though, the Silver Knight. Mrs. Phillips says there is a legend surrounding him:

He was thrown out of his kingdom long ago by an enemy of some sort, and it's said that one day he'll come back to life and return to reclaim his land. But the whole time I played with the castle, he was as stiff and cold as lead.

She goes on to tell him that family tradition says that "you're supposed to meet the Silver Knight on your own." And William does. When he picks him up, the little figure comes alive. This sets in motion a fantastical adventure, which seemed utterly real to me as I got caught up in the story. As all good children's books do, this one buoys up the young character. He faces problems and adversities, and must learn how to deal with them, using what is inside him.

The knight tells William:

The words my father said over me when I became a knight: rules of conduct we must respect, be we knight, squire, or page. Be compassionate to the needy. Neither squander wealth nor hoard it. Never lose your sense of shame. If questions are asked of you, answer them frankly but do not ask too many yourself. Be manly and of good cheer. Never kill a foe who is begging for mercy. Be ever loyal in love.

Pretty good words for any young or old reader to take to heart. This was a wonderful book and now I'm off to begin the sequel, The Battle for the Castle.

Christmas Books

I was prompted to bring out the Christmas books today after reading Simon's post about The Christmas Mystery. I've owned the book for over ten years, and it's about time I read it. This will be the first read of the holiday season, which to my mind begins tomorrow, Hallowe'en.

I love these seasonal books. They live in a box in the closet for most of the year, but now is their time to take the spotlight. Most of them are books we bought when the kids were younger, but some are newer purchases, such as Dave Barry's book, which was one of my first blog book reports, a great collection of Robert Benchley short pieces, Lee Smith's The Christmas Letters, and A Happy Book of Christmas Stories by William J. Lederer. I'm excited to revisit my old book friends.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Today's picture/One of many Red Sox heroes

If it were up to me, I would give the whole team the Most Valuable Player award.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Supper/Corn-Apple Hotcakes

Here is another recipe from my beloved cookbook with the long name -

Mrs. Chard's Almanac Cookbook
Hollyhocks & Radishes
by Bonnie Stewart Mickelson

The others I've offered thus far are Rhubarb Pie and Onion Rings.

The recipe begins:
For lumberjacks and Sunday mornings... serve with gobs of butter and warm maple syrup.

2/3 cup cornmeal
1 1/3 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon allspice (I used cinnamon)
2 large apples, unpeeled (I peeled them)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (put some lemon juice or white vinegar in a measuring cup and add milk - let sit a little)
1/4 cup melted butter

Sift together dry ingredients into a large bowl. Core apples and shred or grate (I grated) them, and stir into dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs until frothy and then whisk in the buttermilk and melted butter.
Add to the apple mixture and combine.
Let rest while heating griddle.
Ladle batter on to hot, unoiled griddle to form 5-inch pancakes. Cook until small bubbles form before turning to brown other side.
Should yield 12-14 delicious hotcakes.

My notes:
I used an electric fry pan set at 325º F, sprayed with cooking spray.
The recipe made 24 pancakes.
We did indeed add butter and maple syrup.
These are really wonderful, and they made a perfect autumn Sunday supper.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Today's poem by Sam Walter Foss

Moat Mountain, 1893 (in Jackson, New Hampshire) painted by Frank Henry Shapleigh

Information reproduced from the Web site White Mountain Art & Artists. Visit their Web site.

This painting seems to go along perfectly with the words to a poem which hung on the wall of my childhood home, and is still in my life today. The poetry may not be the kind taught in college, but it still gets the message across. This type of poem was very popular in older times, and was often memorized in those little one room schoolhouses. Foss was born in New Hampshire and was a journalist as well as a poet. He wrote the following in 1894 about his home town.

There is something woefully wrong in the moral nature of the man who is not loyal to his native town. Such a man would forget his own mother and neglect his own children. He is lacking in the essential sentiment that makes a man a man. In this age of easy movement comparatively few men continue to live, during their entire lives, in the places of their birth. But to a true man--no matter where he may wander-- the focal point of all the earth, the center of the universe to him, is the town where he was born. And so today we know that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, throughout the breadth of the land, from sea to sea, who look back with unspeakable love to these old hills and valleys of Candia. All their lives long the brooks have murmured in their ears, the orchards and cornfields have waved before their eyes, the homes and firesides have been shrines and temples in their thoughts, and the soil, to them, will be forever holy ground. For the soil that has upborne our baby footsteps and holds the forms of those we loved, is always sacred in our thoughts, though we may wander to the very ends of the world.

These famous lines are really only a stanza in a longer poem.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by.
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat,
Or hurl the cynic's ban:
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Quote du jour/Theodore Roosevelt

On this 149th anniversary of his birth, I offer a quote from a letter TR wrote to his son, Ted, when the boy was in college.

Blessed old fellow, you had a pretty hard time in college this fall. But it can't be helped, Ted. As one grows older, the bitter and the sweet keep coming together. The only thing to do is to grin and bear it; to flinch as little as possible under the punishment, and to keep pegging steadily away until the luck turns.
Theodore Roosevelt,
from A Bully Father
Theodore Roosevelt's Letters to his Children

Friday, October 26, 2007

Book Report/Jane and Prudence, 1953

The two books I have read by Barbara Pym, Excellent Women and now, Jane and Prudence are not as I expected - straightforward, serious stories; rather they are really quite humorous. Jane reminds me of the "Lady" in E.M. Delafield's Provincial Lady series. They both have a wry way of looking at life and quite often make me laugh.

Jane is described by her 18-year old daughter, Flora, as "vague" which is perfect. She lives in a bit of a dream world and very often has quite inappropriate responses to various situations. Quotes pop out of her memory and her mouth that have no connection with the actual conversation. She has a funny, almost wild, sense of humor that I just adore. There's a quality of the old screwball comedies and sometimes I could hear Katharine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby, as she goes on and on talking nonsense that is clear and correct only to her.

I feel that a crowd of our new parishioners ought to be coming up the drive to welcome us, said Jane, looking out of the window over the laurel bushes, but the road is quite empty.
That only happens in the works of your favourite novelist, said her husband indulgently, for his wife was a great novel reader, perhaps too much so for a vicar's wife.

I do hope my daughter has been entertaining you, said Jane easily. I was suddenly called away, she added, thinking as she said it that this was the kind of thing some clergy wrote in parish magazines when people had died. Called away or called home, they said.

A piano tuner is in the other room, doing his job, when she spots his "bowler" hat.
She seized his hat and placing it on her head, pirouetted round the hall singing.

Someone comes to the door, and after a few words exchanged between them, Jane ponders:
He thinks he has come to a private mental home. The patients are not dangerous, but are allowed to take walks in the grounds.

A neighbor speaking of another woman says that one can learn a lot about men through their wives, and we see Jane's response:
Oh, dear... Jane considered herself ruefully. Yes, I suppose one can.

These sorts of things happen constantly. When the reader thinks the book is proceeding in a logical manner, Jane thinks or says something that makes us stop and laugh.

Jane is a settled matron of 41, and Prudence a "spinster" of 29. They became acquainted at college when Jane tutored the younger woman. Their lives are very different, and they don't always understand one another, but there is a great friendship. Prudence seems much older in some ways. She is "experienced" in love, and is oh, so serious. Jane is quite the opposite; married to a vicar, naive about the ways of the world, and very funny. In their own separate ways, they are quite content in being who they are. There are men in their lives, but each woman has a sense of self which is not dependent upon those men.

As the Talking Heads sing, "Heaven is a place, where nothing ever happens." This book is heavenly, and nothing very much happens. There are ineffectual men, and "excellent" church women. They live their lives from day to day. Along with the humor, there are some beautifully written descriptions such as:

I love Evensong. There's something sad and essentially English about it, especially in the country, and so many of the old people are there. I always like that poem with the lines about gloved the hands that hold the hymnbook that this morning milked the cow.

... a novel of the kind that Prudence enjoyed, well written and tortuous, with a good dash of culture and the inevitable unhappy or indefinite ending, which was so like life.

His own home was one of several standing round the little green with its chestnut trees and pond which formed the real centre of the village.

I expect that the many passages I've quoted say more about me than about the book. I love these characters and I love how Barbara Pym writes. She is intelligent and funny and kind, three of my favorite qualities. Her characters don't always end up in the lives they planned for themselves, but they don't complain. They have a moment or two of regret, but then go on in their mostly happy ways. I find them inspirational.

Quote du jour/Ellen DeGeneres

When I was a kid, the news was on once a day. You either caught it, or you missed it. Now the news is on twenty-four hours a day.
Ellen DeGeneres, The Funny Thing Is...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Joy of Baking - Cranberry Apple Crisp

Cranberry Apple Crisp

From Susan Branch’s Autumn

She begins the recipe by saying: It doesn't get better than this!

4 large apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
3/4 t. cinnamon
3/4 t. nutmeg
1/3 cup softened butter

Preheat oven to 375 º F.
Butter an 8 x 8 pan.
Place apple slices and cranberries in the pan.
Mix together remaining ingredients and sprinkle over fruit.
Bake about 30 minutes.
Serve hot with ice cream or cold with whipped cream.

My notes:
1. Everytime I make this I think, well that's it. This is hands down my favorite crisp. Two of my favorite fruits together.

2. This is such a quick and easy and delicious dessert for a fall day.

3. Now, here is a tip that might really come in handy someday in your baking lives. I forgot the sugar. I know, how could I do that? Well, here's the reason. At the same time I was making this, I was trying to add a video to my blog; a movie of my own making, a little minute long feature called Black Dogs. After an hour I gave up. I guess a satellite connection just isn't fast enough. So, back to my very helpful hint. When I took it out of the oven, it looked a little dry. I tasted it, and thought hmm,this isn't very sweet. Having nothing to lose, I put it in a bowl and stirred in the sugar, and it worked perfectly. This feels a little like a hint Amy Sedaris would offer, rather than Martha Stewart.

Before: isn't this just so pretty?

After: can you almost taste it?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A win (I hope)

It's 10:45 pm on the east coast. The Red Sox are ahead 9-1 and I'm heading to bed.

Today's picture/October Sunset

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Follow-up on resolution

It is very clear from all the comments you left that many people truly understand about this book buying thing. I wanted to tell (and show) you what I've done. I had the best time the other day. First of all I rearranged some chairs in my kitchen and set up a bookcase. Then I walked around to all the bookshelves choosing books, just as if I were in a bookstore except I had already paid for these books! I spent a very enjoyable time thinking about what I really, really want to read. I saw books I've had for years which have sat sadly neglected, and maybe even forgotten about, on the shelves. I filled the bookcase, and plan to do my reading from there (in addition to the celebrate the author challenge books) in the near (and far) future. If I'm tempted to buy a book, I'll just come and look at all those books, and surely I will find one I am just as excited to read, right? My next resolution is to sit down more often to do that reading. I get caught up in other things, and I miss it when I don't read often or long enough.

Today's picture/Milkweed Down

Monday, October 22, 2007

Evening Light in Mid-October

Today's picture/Bread and Rolls

I just love how the bread and rolls look in the late afternoon sunlight.

Quote du jour/Nathaniel Hawthorne

There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Mrs Bale talks about fall color

To quote Van Morrison, today truly is a "golden autumn day." This has been such a beautiful fall so far. Much sunshine, and the most remarkable color. Around here, we talk about "peak" color a lot, but I've come to feel it is all peak. It just depends where you look. You might see a stand of red maples in September and know they are as beautiful as they can be. Then the red becomes muted, and we see orange and yellow, and the rusty color of the oaks. This goes on for weeks if we are lucky and the rain and winds don't take away the leaves too quickly.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Just before midnight

The Red Sox did it!

Sunday Supper - Waffles

For tonight's supper I chose another recipe from The Tasha Tudor Cookbook.

Tasha Tudor's Waffles or Pancakes

The recipe begins:
Pancakes were a winter favorite with my children. Served with real maple syrup, they are heavenly. And made on the wood stove on a heavy iron griddle, they are really a treat for breakfast or supper. There was the added fun of feeding the first-cooked to the hens – "hen pancakes," they were called. We once had a Jersey cow who devoured waffles. A look of bliss would come to her liquid brown eyes as she munched. The children claimed that her milk always tasted better on Sunday nights for this reason.

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 farm-fresh eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter; melted

Sift into a bowl the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
Beat the eggs lightly in a second mixing bowl.
Stir in the milk and the melted butter.
Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and blend.

To make pancakes, spoon the batter onto a hot, greased griddle or skillet. When the tops are bubbly, turn them and cook the other side until nicely brown. Place the pancakes on warm plates and serve immediately.

To make waffles, spoon the batter into a preheated waffle iron. The waffles will be cooked when steam no longer rises from the waffle iron. Serve immediately on warm plates.

Makes 14 4-inch pancakes or 6 waffles.

My notes:
I used the Kitchen Aid mixer and the electric fry pan.
The butter was salted.
I used half whole wheat flour and half unbleached white, both courtesy of King Arthur.
I put that real maple syrup on top, and didn't even need any butter. These are so, so good!
Our waffle maker made 3 waffles, enough for supper and breakfast and maybe Tom's lunch tomorrow.

Invasion of the pods :<)

I've been meaning to write about this subject all summer. We have a huge, huge iris plant. I don't recall where I bought it, but I've had it a few years. It didn't blossom for a while, but had gorgeous, lush leaf growth so we let it stay, hoping the flowers would eventually come. Well, this summer, they did. We had very, very pretty yellow iris flowers.

But I began to wonder about the plant itself, about why it was so big, and I discovered that in some places, including my own state -just this year, it is considered an invasive species. Apparently it goes wild if planted near water. Well, ours is along the fence which borders our road and there is no water anywhere, but still it grows. It was planted on one side of the fence, but it has spread to both sides.

This is what I saw when I went out today, and I thought it plenty scary. And this is just one pod. There were many of them, all waiting to grow and grow and grow.

It is overpowering everything around it. So, we've decided to dig it up, and I hope we don't need to rent a backhoe to do so.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Today's picture/Turkeys

Now, you might ask, why is she putting up this photo as a today's picture. It isn't very clear and it was taken through a window. But, this is as good a photo as I will be able to get of the dear wild turkeys that come around. There were nineteen at one point, all eating the thistle and sunflower seeds under the bird feeders. Do you know the book Time and Again by Jack Finney? In it, the man is able to go back in time by setting the scene the way it was in the past. Well, that's how it feels when I see these creatures. If I look really hard, just at them, I can be transported back to the days of dinosaurs. They look so, so old. Apparently they were becoming very scarce, not too long ago, and a few were introduced, and what a success story they have become. They are everywhere; on the sides of the roads, in open fields, in condo developments, and happily at my house. As we enter hunting season, I wish I could tell them to just stay here. Go hang out with the chickens. There will be plenty to eat and you will be completely safe. But, alas, they are wild as the wind and must go where they will. You may see better photos here, as well as read more about these wonderful birds.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I resolve

On this day (mostly) spent away from the computer, I have come to a conclusion. I simply cannot, and will not buy any more new books for a long, long while. It is money I can't afford to spend. But even more importantly, I don't like the feeling that comes from buying, buying, buying when my shelves are filled with unread books. Too often I hear about a book, and think I simply must own it. Well, I don't have to own it. I can borrow it from the library, or I can put it on an ever-growing list of books I'm interested in reading. And if I don't want to read the books in my house, why, oh why did I buy them in the first place? This is a big thing for me. I've resolved to do this before, but didn't stick with it. This time I'm announcing it to the world, or at least the bit of the world who visits my blog. :<)

Here are a few glimpses of books patiently waiting for me to read them.

Quote du jour/Edith Carow

While one can lose oneself in a book, one can never be thoroughly unhappy.
Edith Kermit Carow,
later to become the second wife of Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

October Light

October Light
Robin and Linda Williams, from their Deeper Waters album.

Each day we walk up on the hill
And watch the setting sun
Play on the trees and fields until
It falls and day is done
Yellow, orange, blue and rose
The colors neon bright
The evening sky is all aglow
With this October Light

We sit together in the swing
Our faces to the west
And talk of what tomorrow brings
And what today has left
We trace the dimming day
As dusk fades to night
So we don’t miss a single ray
Of this October Light

Oh the long dark shadows eulogize
The sun fleeing southward in the sky

There ain’t no saving daylight
When the tenth month comes around
September’s memories take flight
As heaven’s lamp turns down
So we feast on eventide
Cause November’s chilling bite
Is waiting on the other side
Of this October Light

Book Report/The Tale of Hill Top Farm

In 1905, a few short weeks after her fiancé died, Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top Farm in the Lake District of England. In the eight years thereafter, she visited often but did not settle there until 1913 when she married William Heelis. Susan Wittig Albert is writing a cozy mystery for each of these eight years. They are called The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and the first in the series, published in 2004, is The Tale of Hill Top Farm. This is my second reading of the book, and this time I listened to an unabridged audiobook read by Virginia Leishman.

The author spent a lot of time researching Beatrix Potter for this series, and the book is a fascinating combination of real life and fantasy. Not only does Miss Potter seem exactly right, but Albert has the animals talk. I think in my heart of hearts I have always hoped that they do talk to one another, and that they try talking to us, but we just can't hear them. This device in the novel works. It isn't cutesy. Rather it is just matter of fact; of course they talk.

There is a mystery, but mostly the book is about the area, village life, and Beatrix Potter. It couldn't be more pleasant. The author has a really beautiful and informational website with maps, descriptions, and drawings.

Like the English-country-life novels of Miss Read and Angela Thirkell, Albert's Beatrix Potter books are balm for the soul and entertaining forerunners to a good night's sleep.
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Today's poem - October by William Cullen Bryant

by William Cullen Bryant

Ay, thou art welcome, heaven's delicious breath! When woods begin to wear the crimson leaf,
And suns grow meek, and the meek suns grow brief
And the year smiles as it draws near its death. Wind of the sunny south! oh, still delay
In the gay woods and in the golden air,
Like to a good old age released from care,
Journeying, in long serenity, away.
In such a bright, late quiet, would that I
Might wear out life like thee, 'mid bowers and brooks
And dearer yet, the sunshine of kind looks,
And music of kind voices ever nigh;
And when my last sand twinkled in the glass,
Pass silently from men, as thou dost pass.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Supper - Scrambled Eggs and Popovers

It's amazing how an idea comes into one's head. Yesterday I read Robin's great post about Rosamunde Pilcher, and saw the phrase "scrambled eggs for dinner." I've been thinking about them since, so that's what tonight's supper is, along with popovers. If you are interested, the popover recipe is here.

The scrambled eggs recipe comes from a children's book called Mary Poppins In The Kitchen, and they are truly the best ever.

Scrambled Eggs

6 eggs
1/2 t. salt
1 twist of the pepper mill
3 T. butter

Break eggs into bowl.
Add salt and pepper.
Beat lightly with a fork. This is really mixing, not beating.
Melt butter in saucepan.
Pour in eggs and stir over gentle heat with a wooden spoon until they thicken.
Do slowly to give eggs time to digest the butter. Result will be creamy and buttery.
Do not overcook unless you like your eggs dry and grainy.
Stir in T. or so of finely chopped fresh parsley. (didn't do this)
Six eggs will make 4 generous servings.

My note:
We love these eggs. Butter is the secret. I did exactly as the
recipe said, and they were perfect.
PS This photo doesn't begin to do them justice.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Today's cd/Breakfast on the Morning Tram

If you've been coming by to read my letters for a while, you know that I am a huge Stacey Kent fan. I own all her albums, and play them often. Well, I am happy, happy, happy to report that she has a new one. She has gone in a new direction and is on a new label, the famous jazz label, Blue Note. She has been, to my mind, the queen of interpreting all the old standards, and on this one, she does new songs that may become standards someday. There are a few old songs on this cd; one which Louis Armstrong did so well, What A Wonderful World.

I hear babies cry. I watch them grow. They'll learn much more than I'll ever know.

The song that ends a cd is really important to me, for that is the song that stays with the listener, and this one is just the ticket - optimistic, beautifully sung, good words to keep in your head all the day long. She also does one you rarely hear sung these days, Hard-Hearted Hannah (the vamp of Savannah). She sings three songs in French, and I have to tell you I've always been a sucker for French songs. In my youth, I was buying Charles Aznavour and Francoise Hardy. And no, I'm not a linguist. I understand a word once in a while, but it doesn't matter. I just love the way they sound. And one of my favorite, favorite songs of all time is on this cd, Samba Saravah. Have you seen the 1966 film, A Man and A Woman? In it, the woman's husband sings to her about his trip to Brazil. It is, to my mind, one of the most romantic scenes in all moviedom. He is intoxicated with love for the country and shares it with his wife, constantly, at all times of day and night. She says something about she was there without even traveling. You may see the scene on you tube here.

So, what do I think? I love it. You will be perhaps surprised to learn that a few of the songs were written by Kazuo Ishiguro, the writer, with music by Jim Tomlinson, Stacey's husband. And what songs they are! Really interesting musical stories. And the icing on the cake is that she does another favorite song of mine, Stevie Nicks' Landslide.

But time makes you bolder, even children get older, and I'm getting older, too.

She does it beautifully, as she does every single song on this great, great new album.

Today's Pictures/Food for the body and the soul

I went over to another town today to the co-op health food store, and a beautiful library. Note the shallots to make Tara's mashed potatoes!

Further Afield/Pumpkins for sale