Thursday, May 21, 2020

Today's pictures/Generations

Here is Margaret reading to Hazel this afternoon on the porch.

She is reading

This was my childhood book, given to me by my grandmother.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Today's song/The Dance - Garth Brooks

A week ago Monday we went to the burial of our close friends' son. This man had faced the demons of drugs for so many years, and finally accidentally overdosed. We read that story all too often, but we rarely hear about the real person behind the newspaper article.

This 46-year-old man was one of the kindest, most thoughtful people you could ever know. On the obituary page, one person wrote that the last time she had seen him he cleaned all the snow off her car while she was in the store. Never expecting thanks, he lived his life this way. He even got a medal of honor once for jumping into a moving car when the driver was having a medical problem. He was funny and intelligent and dynamic, and one of the best athletes I've ever seen. But the drugs got a hold on him that he could not escape, as hard as he tried.

I read a quote once and I've never forgotten it. Drugs or any horrible addiction can be substituted.

Booze is like a mean old cur who goes after those who can't bite back;
people with big hearts and sad souls.

 After the burial service, his father said that years and years ago his son told his brother that he wanted a certain song at his funeral, and this song was played on a car CD with the windows open, while we all stood there sobbing.

"The Dance"

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared 'neath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance

Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn't I a king
But if I'd only known how the king would fall
Hey who's to say you know I might have changed it all

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance

Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Quote du jour/Peter Davison

"You're very fortunate if you're born in a very beautiful area, aren't you?" says Peter Davison to Christopher Timothy in the wonderful Vintage Roads Great and Small, which I watch on Acorn TV.

They are a delightful pair who first met when they played Tristan Farnon and James Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small. They have stayed friends all these years and are traveling companions. They love history and old cars, and we viewers get to see lovely countryside, and get to listen to their conversations, which I'm quite sure are not scripted.

Here's a clip from the start of every show.

I am one of those "fortunate" people. I feel so grateful to live where I do, snow in May or not!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Today's pictures/Snow in May

First - compare to the blog header picture which was taken April 25th!

We got a lot of snow!

The animals and chickens said "no thank you" to going out today.

I fear the daffs are gone. I didn't go out, but I can't see any blossoms. The daylilies can deal with snow but the cold has hurt the tips of the leaves. From now on warm temps and sunshine please!

These flowers from two different growers sure do cheer up the house.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Quote du jour/Susan Hill

I came upon these words today and thought they were particularly apt during this time.

The Gardener

Of all human activities, apart from the procreation of children, gardening is the most optimistic and hopeful. The gardener is by definition one who plans for and believes and trusts in a future, whether in the short or longer term. To sow seeds and plant out, to graft and propagate, whether it be peas and beans, apples and plums, roses and peonies, is to make one's own positive stake in that future, a gesture, declaring that there will be weeks, months, years ahead. And he who plants sapling trees, which will not arrive at their full maturity for fifty or a hundred years, is not only an optimist but a benefactor to coming generations.

Those who constantly think of war and dread its prospect, who see an end to mankind and his planet, whose spirits are shriveled and hearts bowed down by the troubles and threats of the age, who refuse to have any hope, take any comfort, see the glimmer of any new dawn, should be gardeners. The gardener learns to be by turns daring and adventurous, tender and ruthless, meticulous and haphazard, gentle and patient. But above all, he learns to revel in today, while being ever hopeful of tomorrow.

Susan Hill
Through the Garden Gate
published 1986

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Midsomer Murders

Years ago, I watched the first episode of Midsomer Murders, and couldn't take the music. That seems silly but I found it interfered with the story. I tried watching it again a while later, and felt the same way. I just decided I wasn't going to be one of the zillions of fans of this English television program.

But then ... I follow both Acorn TV and Britbox on Instagram, because we subscribe to both channels. I'll make a plug here, which I've made before, IF you are an Anglophile, and/or you like well-written television, you ought to subscribe. Their pages on Instagram had a lot about the upcoming season of MM - series 21! It has been on since 1997. I got caught up in the hoopla, and thought I would give it one more try. I still didn't care for the music in that first episode, but I continued on, and well, that was it. Love at third sight. I wish I could remember exactly when I started watching, but I know it was in the late fall. Over the holidays I usually watch quite a few Thanksgiving and Christmas movies. This year I watched two. Every other night I was in my comfy living room chair happily visiting Midsomer. Even when cast members changed, I still loved the show. I finished at 12:55 am on Friday, April 10.

Why do I love it so much? Well, the cast is a big part. Wonderful acting by everybody. A lot of famous actors show up, and many are my particular favorites: Phyllida Law, Edward Fox, Owen Teale, Toby Jones, Clare Holman, Tony Haygarth, Peter Egan, Joanna David, Anna Massey, on and on and on. You may read the entire show's cast here. So, that's one thing. Another is the Barnaby family, both the first and the second. The series begins with John Nettles, whom Tom and I first "met" long ago in A Family At War, as Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby. He is married to Joyce, and has a grown-up daughter named Cully, a name I've not heard before which I'm quite fond of. This cast was there from 1997-2011. Then it changes to Tom's cousin John, and his wife Sarah who have an unbelievably adorable dog named Sykes, and later a little girl named Betty, and later another dog named Paddy. The detective sergeants change in both shows, but I like them all.

Both families are happy and loving, and interesting in their own right. They are sometimes involved (not killing people!) in the crimes in one way or another, and sometimes they are just there for the Chief Inspectors to be with.

When I finished watching, I felt a bit lost. I had been involved with these people for so long. They were my evening company! I began following MM on Instagram, and suddenly they were asking people to list their top five episodes, and then they would calculate the top 50. I didn't get involved because except for that first episode that I ended up watching three times, I wasn't familiar enough with all the episodes to choose. A few days ago, the site began the countdown with number 50. I decided I would watch each one on the list! So far, Tom is watching with me, but who knows how long he will last? Even if he stops, I will happily go on, watching 50 episodes in a row! Oh, and by the way, I have come to love the music!

I am going to offer this for British Isles Friday which was yesterday, but better late than never.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Today's song and video - Purple Haze/The Jimi Hendrix Experience

When Hazel was a baby, I'd hold her and she would stare at the ceiling fan in her house while I sang her this song. When she was just a few months old, I showed her a picture of Jimi which amazingly fascinated her. She would stare and stare and begin wiggling her arms and legs. Hope he was smiling down at that sight!

When Margaret, her mother, was a little girl, she asked me once, in all seriousness, "Was Jimi Hendrix gay?" I asked her why she asked. "Because he says "scuse me while I kiss this guy." Years later I saw a book called 'Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy: and Other Misheard Lyrics. 

This is the first song I heard today on our local community radio station which is being run from the founder's home and via zoom these days, keeping us all connected and content in our musical lives.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Essential items!

So very many wonderful and delightful things during this time, and here is one!

Olive Veronesi SOURCE: Coors Light/Twitter

There's a whole lot of discourse going on right now around the subject of what does and doesn't constitute an "essential" item during life in quarantine.

For Olive Veronesi, a 93-year-old resident of Seminole, Pennsylvania, there is one thing that makes lockdown a whole lot easier: beer.

Veronesi has been doing the responsible thing during the COVID-19 pandemic, by self-isolating in her home and not going outside unless it's absolutely necessary. This led to her running dangerously low on Coors Light, her brand of choice, so she fashioned a sign last week informing her neighbors of the dire situation:

"I was on my last 12 cans," Veronesi told local news station KDKA-TV. "I have a beer every night... You know what, beer has vitamins in it, it's good for you, as long as you don't overdo it."

While Veronesi is correct that beer does contain vitamin B, alcohol destroys the vitamin B complex, so the vitamin benefit is largely only found in unfiltered beers.

Her public plea for more beer soon went viral, and led to a surprise delivery on Monday; 150 cans of Coors Light, along with some Coors Light merchandise, which she proudly modeled. Delighted by the gift, Veronesi quickly made a new sign updating the world: "Got more beer!"

Saturday, April 11, 2020

A six-year-old's letter to the Easter Bunny

Margaret sent me this, and said it was fine to put it here on the blog.

Can you see the words, if you enlarge it? If not, here it is.

hi Easter Bunny
I love you
Here's a carrot
from Hazel

My heart is so full of love for my dearest granddaughter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Today's song - When I Get To Heaven/John Prine

John Prine has been the soundtrack of my life. It was hard to choose one song to honor him but I decided this is the one that I hope he is living right now. May he be enjoying that vodka and ginger ale cocktail and the nine miles long cigarette.

John Prine

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Today's song - The News/Carbon Silicon

This should lift your spirits and get you dancing! I love this song.

People started caring about
What they eat
And people started
Smiling at everyone they meet
And people started looking
For good instead of bad
Realize what they could lose
In what they always had

People started growing
Instead of being crushed
And people started slowing down
Instead of being rushed
And people started looking
With very different eyes
And this information
That comes as a surprise

Good morning here's the news
And all of it is good
Good evening here's the news
And all of it is good
And the weather's good

People started calling
Those in power to account
And people started saying
"I want my voice to count"
And people started learning
That they don't need to fight
And they control their future
And try to make it right

And people started feeling
That better's on the way
And people started feeling
Some peace and calm today
And people started liking
The way that good life feels
And every precious moment
Becoming what is real

Friday, April 3, 2020

Today's song/video - Another Story by The Head and the Heart

One of the people I follow on Instagram is my Governor's wife. She has wonderful postings, and today she had this song. The Head and the Heart is one of my favorite bands.

"Another Story"

These are just flames
Burning in your fireplace
I hear your voice and it seems
As if it was all a dream
I wish it was all a dream

I see a world
A world turning in on itself
Are we just like
Hungry wolves howling in the night
I don't want no music tonight

Can we go on like it once was

Every time I hear another story
Oh the poor boy lost his head
Everybody feels a little crazy
But we go on living with it
Yeah they go on living with it

These are just flames
Burning in your fireplace
I hear your voice and it seems
As if it was all a dream
I wish it was all a dream

Can we go on like it once was
Can we go on like it once was

Every time I hear another story
Oh the poor boy lost his head
Everybody feels a little crazy
But we go on living with it
Yeah they go on living with it

I'll tell you one thing
We ain't gonna change much
The sun still rises
Even with the pain

I'll tell you one thing
We ain't gonna change love
The sun still rises
Even through the rain

Can we go on like it once was
Can we go on like it once was

Everybody feels a little crazy
Like it once was
Everybody feels a little crazy
Like it once was

Can we go on like it once was

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Food for the Soul and Body

I'm stretching Weekend Cooking as far as it will go!

For many years I have been doing a yoga exercise on youtube with a fellow called Bhaskar Goswami. Recently, he began a series especially for this time. Every day is different, and ends with a very special story and /or meditation. I could do all of them except the couple days it was floor work. He is a wonderful teacher. I'll tell you how to find him in a minute, but I want to tell you a story he told one day. I put it up on Instagram, as well.

Jack Cornfield speaks of a time when he was studying in a monastery for many, many years under a great master. One day the master was going for a walk in the forest with his students following. And the master suddenly stopped and pointed at a boulder, a massive rock, and he asked the question, "Is that boulder heavy?" The students very sincerely nodded, saying, "Yes, master, the boulder is very heavy." And the master responded, "Not if you don't lift it." 

Bhaskar went on to connect this to what we are all living through as a way to say not to worry about every horror that we read about, but to take what we need from the news reports and not let the rest give us too much anxiety.

I subscribe to "daana" on youtube which is where you will find him. And here is the first "Home Health Practice during Coronavirus". He is going to continue with a "musing" one day a week, and a practice another day. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Today'video -- Peace sung by Norah Jones

There's a place that I know
Where the sycamores grow
And daffodils have their fun
Where the cares of the day
Seem to slowly fade away
In the glow of the evening sun
Peace, when the day is done

If I go there real late;
Let my mind meditate
On everything to be done
If I search deep inside;
Let my conscience be my guide
Then the answers are sure to come
Don't have to worry none

When you find peace of mind
Leave your worries behind
Don't say that it can't be done
With a new point of view
Life's true meaning comes to you
And the freedom you seek is won
Peace is for everyone
Peace is for everyone
Peace is for everyone

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Local restaurants

All the restaurants and bars in the state have been ordered to close. So the local eateries are offering take-out only. There are all kinds of options. You can go in and pick it up, or they will leave the food outside for you to pick up, or they will bring it out to your car, and at least one has a delivery service and more are considering it.

My plan is to get take-out a few times a week to support our local restaurants. Yesterday we got delicious homemade Irish soda bread from our town restaurant run by a mother and daughter of Irish heritage. If we ate meat, we could have gotten corned beef and cabbage along with it.

Tonight we got pizza, and Tom got beer from the local brewery, which will also deliver if you want. Each place was very grateful.


Mine - Lucy is all for supporting local restaurants!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Going back to older days

I am feeling a wee bit brilliant today. Here is how it all began. I buy Kleenex from Amazon. They come in packages of four, and cost no more than at my local Walmart. But buying them online saves me driving a dozen miles, parking, making my way through the store.

When I looked today, they were not available. So I put on my thinking cap and remembered that when I was a girl, my father always had a handkerchief. I tried to find a photo of him with it in his breast pocket, but I guess he must have kept it in his side pocket.

So I visited Amazon, and found several offerings of cotton handkerchiefs. I read some reviews, made my choice, and ordered. I am just so tickled!

As I was writing this, I checked back to be sure that I had been right about the package of four (I was), and, lo and behold they are available again so I bought eight boxes. I figured they will suffice for the nationwide lack of toilet paper, even on Amazon where I usually buy it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Winter activity

Not the human kind, but the animal kind. There is a lot of living that goes on in wintertime under the snow.


A little trail with a hole at the end. Squirrel, chipmunk?

It is lovely seeing the vegetable garden again! There are a few deer tracks in there.

This may not look cheerful to those of you who have blooms now, but to me it is lovely! And even if snow comes again, it won't last. The saying here is that the back of winter is broken.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Today's poem by Iva E. Reed

I haven't posted a poem by this woman in a lot of years. She was a friend of ours who has since died. You may find more of her poems here on the blog by going to the Poems button under the blog header picture, and then scrolling down to her name. I have been thinking of this poem for a few days as I've been seeing more crows. I know they are around in winter, but it is only in March that they begin showing themselves.

Crow in March

Heard a crow this morning!

what a great sound
when winter is still
thick and cold and white
upon the ground.

Iva Everesta Reed

I did a search and found her obituary. What a life she led!

Iva Reed

Iva Reed Obituary
Iva Everesta Reed
Passed away in San Francisco on October 15, 2014.
Iva Everesta Reed was born December 25, 1924, one of eight children, to Adelaide Kaziah Woods and Dwight Reed, in the tiny town of Landaff, New Hampshire, in the foothills of the White Mountains. She graduated valedictorian of her high school class in Lisbon, N.H., and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Iowa with a BA in Sociology in 1948. She studied for a Master's Degree in Sociology at the University of New Hampshire.

As a young woman living in Boston, she acted in soap operas on the ABC and NBC TV networks while supporting herself as a waitress, hat checker, and part-time office worker in order to pursue her love of theatre. She played the lead in a live production of Joan of Arc in Summer Stock, Westborough, MA. In later years, she lived and worked in New York, where she became a member of the Communist Party and worked for political causes with Black activists in Harlem. She also lived for a time in Columbia, Missouri.

In 1958, she moved to San Francisco, where, in 1979, she published a book of poetry, Time Before Winter. Many of the poems in the volume express through a child's eyes Iva's love of the natural world in the White Mountains where she grew up. Many are whimsical stories about the wild animals she saw in the woods and fields she played in as a child, others a poignant search for meaning in a world of loss.

Iva is survived by her niece, Sue Malone, of Jacksonville, Florida, and by myriad other nieces and nephews scattered across the country. She will rest in peace with her parents at the Landaff Center Hill Cemetery in New Hampshire.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Oct. 26, 2014

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Quote du jour/John Galsworthy

From In Chancery, published 1920.

A character is pondering the death of Queen Victoria who lived from 1819 to 1901.

"Never again would a Queen reign so long, or people have a chance to see so much history buried for their money."

She reigned for 63 years and 7 months.

It just shows that we can never know what may happen in the future. Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee (60 years) in 2012, and five years later celebrated her Sapphire Jubilee. It is remarkable. And all due to unexpected circumstances. Who knew that Edward VIII would abdicate and George VI would die?

Galsworthy at 65.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

February Books

February - 5

7. Overdue - book two in the Village Library series
by Elizabeth Spann Craig
mystery 2019
finished 2/6/20

I liked this, and will read on in the series.

8. The Man of Property - book one in The Forsyte Saga
by John Galsworthy
fiction 1906
finished 2/20/20

It was The Forsyte Saga that made Tom and I television Anglophiles. I think it was on in the US in 1969, but was seen a couple years earlier in England. Beautifully written about a certain branch of society at a certain time in history. This is a family that shows hardly any real emotion and whose raison d'être is to accumulate property and money. The property sadly includes human beings, like wives. Well worth reading. I'm going on with the series.

9. Bread and Jam for Frances
by Russell Hoban
Illustrated by Lillian Hoban
children's fiction 1986
library book that Margaret took out for Hazel
finished 2/21/20

The other day we were down at Hazel's house. She was quietly playing and Tom was sitting down, and I began reading aloud a most beloved Frances book. I wrote about this series years ago here. As I read along, Hazel went upstairs for something but I kept on and Tom and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It tells of a very wise mother's handling of a tricky situation - that of a child not liking too many foods and not wanting to try any new foods. Being myself what the world calls "picky" and I call "discerning", I appreciated how there was no cajoling on the parents' part to eat what she didn't want to eat. My folks were excellent about this. If I wanted spaghetti with butter in a restaurant, they had no problem ordering it for me. My mother never made me eat tripe which I found unbearably disgusting. I have grown up to still be a "discerning" eater, but I eat a lot more foods than I did as a child. Becoming a vegetarian introduced me to a world of eating I had never known growing up.

10. Indian Summer of a Forsyte - an interlude between The Man of Property and In Chancery
Now would be called 1.5 in a series
55 pages long
by John Galsworthy
fiction 1918
finished 2/23/20

This short novella, what Galsworthy called an interlude, was sublimely beautiful. Old Jolyon is different from his brothers and sisters, and especially so when he is in his eighties. He is mellower, and a great appreciator of nature, and beauty, and his grandchildren. The writing is lovely.

11. Lassie Shows the Way
by Monica Hill
pictures by Lee Ames
children's fiction 1956
my childhood Golden Book
finished 2/25/20

Hazel ate supper at our house on my birthday as her parents had to go out. We rented the movie Home on Amazon Prime. It is currently her favorite movie. It was really quite delightful, and warm spirited. Afterwards, she picked up one of my childhood books, and "read" through it, and then asked me to read it to her. I so enjoyed going back in time. Lassie was very popular when I was a child, in books and movies and television. Though played by a male dog, Lassie was a female in the shows. I have had a lifelong love of Collies, and we had one for seven years until the dear boy died young.

This is our MacIntosh in 2002.

I wrote about him on the blog here, and just a few months later wrote about his death here.

We wanted to get another but just didn't dare. We didn't think bear going through possible epilepsy again.

Anyhow, back to the story. Timmy stops in at the store for his mother, and there is a stranger there. The guy thinks his dog will win the dog show. As Timmy leaves he hears the man asks for his address. Today a store keeper would never give a stranger a child's address!! Lassie is later stolen, but comes back home as she always does! And leads the sheriff to the "bad guy". Pretty much par for the Lassie course, but to Hazel it was all new and she enjoyed it.

So that ends my reading month. Not many finishes, but lots of reading joy.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Today's song - All Things Must Pass/George Harrison

On this our shared birthday here is George singing. I'm sorry there wasn't a live version, but this one is kind of nice because it shows the lyrics. Such a loss to this world.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Today's poem by Midge Goldberg

Busy Signal

No busy signal from his cell,
Instead I'm on "call waiting."
I can't hang up the phone and so
I'm left anticipating

Whether when he sees my name
He'll want to take the call,
And if he doesn't, am I on
His contact list at all?

Or am I still a nameless number
In this three-way hell,
Will he know it's me or think
"That doesn't ring a bell"?

And who is on the other line
He might prefer to me:
His mother, sister, college friend,
That girl on speed dial 3?

But if I choose to end it then
"missed call" gives me away.
No anonymity will hide
The things I didn't say.

Times have changed, these days there are
No hang-ups any more;
I'm strong enough, so go ahead:
Accept or else Ignore.

Midge Goldberg
from Snowman's Code

2020 Book Facts

Only a collecting post.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

My mother's muffin recipe

These were the best cranberry muffins I've ever tasted. In fact, I had a couple other recipes for them in the recipe box, and I threw them away, knowing this is IT from now on. So many recipes I see call for 1/2 - 1 cup of sugar. That's a lot for twelve muffins, I think. This one calls for 2 Tablespoons, and even with tart cranberries, they were perfectly sweet. The same goes for butter - most of the time, recipes call for more than 3 Tablespoons.

The things I changed - I didn't separate the egg, and I used the whole egg. Also, as you must know by now, I only ever use butter in baking. And I greased the muffin pan with cooking spray.

Can you tell what is under the word "preheated"? Is it 400? Well, I wasn't sure enough so I put the oven at 350 F. I've made these muffins almost half a dozen times, and they have turned out perfectly. I baked them for about 20 minutes, but check because all ovens are different.

You may use fresh or frozen cranberries, and I put them in the food processor to break them up.

I love that she called them "standard" and that the cook can use any fruits she or he wants.

Please visit Weekend Cooking for more food related posts.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

January Books

I had a good reading month, though I still mean to read more of my print books. I've begun my reading from the 1920s.

January - 6

1. Mrs Caldicot's Cabbage War - book one in the Mrs Caldicot series
by Vernon Coleman
fiction 1993
finished 1/2/20

As I read a line in this book, I had a flash of seeing a television production of it. I looked it up, and it starred Pauline Collins and John Alderton. I don't remember much about it, but from what I read, the film was changed some from the book. The story is about a very passive, very sheltered woman whose overbearing husband suddenly dies. Her son feels that she should go into a retirement home. She is my age (gulp!). The book is all about how the residents become empowered about their living conditions, and their lives. It is quite inspiring, with a happy ending, though there is sadness for the reader seeing how this place is run. And that there is such little regard for the inhabitants until Mrs C shows up.

2. The American Agent - book fifteen in the Maisie Dobbs series
by Jacqueline Winspear
mystery 2019
library book
finished 1/8/20

Gosh, a lot of time has passed since we readers first met her in 2003. I so enjoy these books and the characters. One of the very great pleasures of my reading life.

3. The Nine of Us
 Growing Up Kennedy
by Jean Kennedy Smith
nonfiction 2016
finished 1/8/20

Jean Kennedy Smith is the last surviving child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy. She has written a really lovely telling of her life. Even if you've read everything about the Kennedys, she offers a new perspective. I loved this book, and am so happy she wrote it.

4. Mavis of Green Hill
by Faith Baldwin
fiction 1921
finished 1/13/20

My first book of the 1920s, and such a joy it was. This wasn't about flappers and gin, but about a young woman who was bedridden from a train accident a dozen years before. She begins a correspondence with a young poet, and rather falls in love with him through his poems. She is a romantic soul who doesn't have a lot to amuse her in the life she leads. A new doctor comes into her life who suggests new treatments, and suddenly her whole life changes. One of the treats of the book is seeing Cuba in those days.

5. Brooklyn Legacies - book five in the Erica Donato series
by Triss Stein
mystery 2019
finished 1/16/20

I do so enjoy this series. The reader learns something new about Brooklyn in each book. This one focused on the tensions of development between the Jehovah's Witness church and an historical home. The only negative for me is that I got annoyed at the main character's little criticisms of older times, while she is an historian!

6. The Cask
by Freeman Wills Crofts
mystery 1920
finished 1/30/20

I've never read anything quite like this 100-year-old book. It is the ultimate police procedural, with the emphasis on procedure. It was almost like reading a police report, and then later a lawyer's report.

These policemen are mostly all men, except for a short time when three women do some work. They don't have families or girlfriends. They have friends, and they eat out, and they go to the movies, but there is no romance. They are totally devoted to their work. This work is slow and methodical.

I actually had to look up the word cask.  It is a large, barrel-like container used for storing liquids. In this book casks also held statues, and a dead woman's body.

The people investigating went back and forth from England to France to Belgium, trying to find out who killed her. The phrase about not leaving a stone unturned absolutely applies to these men. A fascinating book with a thrilling ending.

I have mentioned before, I think, that I subscribe to a publication called Give Me That  Old-Time Detection put together three times a year by a man named Arthur Vidro. The autumn edition featured Mr. Crofts. The 1996 review ofThe Cask was written by Charles Shibuk in the British publication CADS. I am going to quote some of the review.
Crofts suffered a major breakdown of his health in 1919 and, while seeking something to distract him from a slow and tedious period of convalescence, decided to try his hand at writing a detective novel.
The Cask (1920) secured rave reviews, and was translated into many languages, and had sold the not inconsiderable total of 200,000 copied by 1940. 
With the exception of E.C. Bentley's Trent's Last Case (1913), The Cask is probably the best first detective novel in the history of the form, and with Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920), it heralded the advent of the detective story's great Golden Age. Critic Anthony Boucher, reviewing a 1967 reissue of The Cask, remarked: "Probably the most completely competent first novel in the history of crime, it is the definitive novel of alibis, timetables - and all the absorbing hairsplitting of detection..."
Ellery Queen, who considered it one of the ten most important detective novels, described it as the first great modern police novel.
The Cask is available on the Kindle, in paperback, and in hardcover. Not bad for a century-old book! Well worth all the praise. I was completely immersed and fascinated.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Today's picture/napping house

Did you ever read The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood? Wonderful children's book.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Today's video - Nina Simone / Why? (The King of Love is Dead)

Written by her bassist, Gene Taylor, this is Nina Simone singing.

These words were written by the person who posted the video, Baye Kambul:

Recorded on April 7, 1968, live three days after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. and performed at the Westbury Music Fair. Nina Simone dedicated her performance to King's memory. The song was written by her bass player, Gene Taylor. An edited version of this performance appears on Simone's album, Nuff Said (1968). I felt the unedited version captures the true emotional energy of the period surrounding Simone's performance.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

It's (almost) midnight and the kitties are sleeping

Do you remember Letterman singing this song?

Well, we got our kitties today, and it was 11:30 when I took these pictures. That's Gemma on the couch, and Maisy on the floor. They have been wild as sin! Play, play, play and then fall down asleep. I had forgotten the utter joy of kittens. More, and better, pictures to come.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Quotes du jour / Rudyard Kipling and T.S. Eliot

These two quotes are from this year's Susan Branch calendar - A Year in the English Countryside. The Kipling is on the cover, and the Eliot on the January page.

Friday, January 10, 2020

British Isles Friday - The Queen and the future Kings

I am finally putting up a post for British Isles Friday, a weekly event which may be found here. It is rather the perfect thing for me who reads mostly British books, and watches pretty much only British television, and follows many of the Royals on Instagram! In fact my first entry for this weekly event is a photograph I saw on Instagram. You may read more about it in The Guardian here.

I found it such a touching photo. That dear little boy. He has such presence already. It seems like a minute ago his father was his age. The generations match my own family. Tom's mother is almost the Queen's age. Charles and I were both born in 1948. William was born a month before Margaret, and George was born five months before Hazel.

If you are interested, you may read about the succession to the British throne here.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Beginning my posts about the 1920s with some photos of real 20s people

These were in my mother's photo album. Happily she dated them, so I know they are from the 1920s. She grew up on a farm, and went to school in the next town. This was a small place in northern New Hampshire, far away from the cities, but these girls look quite as fashionable as others I've seen in pictures from those years.

Marcel. Is that what it was called when their hair had those folds in it? Yes, I just looked it up!

This is the only one from the 20s that had my mother in it - a brother beside her.

And another brother (there were ten kids)

One of her sisters

 Girl friends

And the teachers! They don't look much older than teenagers themselves.

And life on the farm (my mother boarded with someone in town during her high school years)

Her father