TRAVEL SAFE. VISIT BOTSWANA AND MEET THE NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY

You don’t need a flight reservation.  You don’t need your passport.  You don’t need to pack your valise.    Make yourself a pot of tea.  A pot of red tea.  Make it properly.     Tea leaves added to a warm teapot.  Water that has just come to the boil.  Let it steep about five minutes.  Perhaps add a little honey to your cup.  Now  relax and enjoy armchair travel.

Several  years ago I read a slim book about an unusual woman who became the first lady private detective in Botswana.  I am always looking for well-written detective novels.  I collect them like pearls, for like pearls a well-written detective novel is something to treasure.  This slim book. The NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY, by Alexander McCall Smith, and all the  delightful books that followed, are not pearls, they are Botswana Diamonds.  They are not exactly detective novels, more like mysteries that happen in life.

Then I  discovered  another Botswana Diamond.  I found in the DVD section of our Ladner Library a TV series made from the novels.  It had appeared on HBO.  Was it possible to create the magic of the books?  I dared to hope and dream.    I was not disappointed.  The series captured  all and more of  every nuance, every bit of  the charm and sensitivity, and all the understated humour of the books.

Each night The Good Husband and I traveled to Botswana, and each night reluctantly returned to the West Coast and the rain forests.  Last night was the final program.  I suggested we could watch it again from the beginning. You always miss things first time around.  “We’ll see”,  said the good husband, as he poured himself a cup of bush tea and clicked on travel information to Botswana.  In these difficult times it is nice to dream.

These are the actors who created the poetry we watched evening after evening.

I would like you to meet Mma Ramotswe, Precious Ramotswe, the first lady detective in Botswana. (Jill Scott)

The very prim and proper Mma Makutsi,  Grace Makutsi, assistant private detective. (Anika Noni Rose)

Together Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi solve mysteries with style, grace and humour.

Mr. JLB Matekoni,  a mechanic magician and all around renaissance man. (Lucian Msamati)

BK, owner of the Last Chance Salon, hairdresser extraordinaire and sometime assistant to the lady detectives.(Desmond Dube)

Back to the books.  It is important you realize that The Ladies’ No. One Detective Agency is NOT simply detective fiction .  It’s a novel that takes you to Botswana, introduces you to characters you would want in your life, and a country you do not want to leave.

To my great joy Alexander McCall Smith continued to write many more books, and through the years I continued to travel to Botswana.   I’ve made many cups of bush tea  and read my way through the lives of people whom I would feel honoured to know.

Precious Ramotswe, the first lady private detective in Botswana.  Strong, intelligent, compassionate Precious.

Grace Makutsi, graduating  with a 97% average from secretarial college, refreshingly prim and proper.

Mr. JLB Matekoni, a renaissance man, a mechanic of magic abilities with motors and cars.

JB,  flamboyant hairdresser and owner of the Last Chance Salon, steadfast friend and sometimes accomplice to the lady detectives.

This as  not just a series of detective novels.  Don’t  presume it is simply “light reading”.  It is more than the sum of it’s parts.  It is about life with dignity and love.  There’s understated humour.  A great deal of wisdom.  Some unpleasant facets of life.  Most important the books contain all that is good, positive, respectful  and honourable about Botswana.

How can you not love books with titles like…

Tears of the Giraffe,

Morality for Girls

The Kalachari Typing School for Men

The Cupboard Full of Life

In the Company of Cheerful Ladies

Blue Shoes and Happiness

The Good Husband of Zebra Drive

The Miracle at Speedy Motors

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built

The Double Comfort Safari Club

I’ve just made myself a cup of bush tea and now I am reading another book in this rare and wonderfully gentle series about the first lady detective in Botswana, The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party.  I can’t wait to see if Grace Makutsi finds true love.

Oh yes, my fellow tea lovers.  You must  drink bush tea.  Find it under the name Rooibos or Red Tea in any good tea shop.

COLD WEATHER COMFORT FOOD …. FRENCH STYLE BOEUF BOURGINGNON … beef bourgingnon

 

A little over ten years ago a popular French cookbook  was published in English. I KNOW HOW TO COOK by Ginette Mathiot’s has been the best-selling cookbook in France for three generations.  The book first published in l932 has been regularly revised and updated.   This book has been an essential fixture on the counters of French kitchens for over 75 years.  You could call it the definitive cookbook for French home cooking.

You’ll find the all the French basics, but what I appreciated was the unusual;  recipes for Barley Sugar,  Ash Leaf beer, Cuissot de Sanglier (hindquarter of wild boar)   and Becasse Rotie Sauce Crème (Roast woodcock in cream sauce).  It makes terrific bedside reading.

The recipes are brief and concise.  But here’s the codicil.    The author requires one to have enough general knowledge to navigate the recipes.     For example;  some of the cake recipes don’t give exact pan sizes. So be aware.  Be brave.     You won’t be disappointed.

When the cold winds of November have you longing for something hearty and deeply satisfying this so very French recipe from I KNOW HOW TO COOK  is absolutely perfect.

BOEUF BOURGUIGNON (Beef Bourguignon)

Preparation time: 20 minutes.  Cooking time: 2 ½ hours.   Serves 6

1 tablespoon oil,   3 oz. pearl onions or shallots.   3 ½ ounces small bacon cubes,   1 pound 8 ½ oz. stewing beef, cut into pieces,   Scant  ¼ cup flour.   1 ¼ cups any stock, hot.   1 ¼ cups red wine.   1 bouquet garni.   Salt and pepper.   3 ½ oz. mushrooms, peeled and chopped.

In a heavy pan over medium heat, heat the oil and pan-fry the onions and bacon cubes until browned.  Remove them, add the meat and brown it on all sides.  Sprinkle with the flour, stir until browned.  Scrap up the brown bits in the bottom of the pan  then add the hot stock.  Mix well to combine.   Add the bacon cubes, onions, wine and bouquet garni, and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer gently on low heat for 2 hours, then add the mushrooms (see chef’s note below) and cook for 30 minutes more.  Bon Appetit

Chef’s Note:  The recipe is according to the book.   I suggest when you add the hot stock you scrap up the brown bits in the pan.  Before I added the mushrooms I sautéed them in a little olive oil and butter.  Delicious

I READ TO LIVE

Can you remember when you were four years old?    Some of the children at Froggy Pad Day Care are four years old.  Some are younger.  Some are older.  Some need to be read to.  Others can read.    The postcards from Mr. Nobody are important to every single child.

I remember my fourth birthday  gift.   A school bag, red plaid edged in brown leather.  With a big strap to go round my neck.  With flapped pockets closed tight by shiny buckles.  With pockets where I  store treasures.   My Pinocchio book.  Pine cones I hold close to smell the forest.  A tiny pink stone.

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My Mother reads to me.   From thick pages close printed with tiny letters.  From books  with dark covers smelling of  leather that captures and holds the flavours of the book.  These books have no pictures.

“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”  Her voice became David Copperfield.  The words tumbled into my mind where I would turn them over not always understanding, not caring, simply lost in the joy of  hearing the words.

More than anything else I wanted to read those books.  Thick, fat books without pictures.   Books with  close square  print holding secret stories.

“When can I read?”

“When you are six.  When you go to school”

“But I will be old when I’m six.  With white hair”.

I am six.  I go to  Cottage School.  Two rooms, one up one down.    The school smells of  wooden desks deep carved with initials.  The desks have circular openings that hold bottled ink.  Mine is empty.  I am not old enough to use a pen.  I write with a thick, broad, flat pencil.    The black boards are gray with old chalk.  There’s a map of the world so enormous it covers an entire wall.   I am going to learn to read.   I am given a book  words worn thin by countless eyes.  DICK AND JANE.

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I am six.  I am furious.

I tell my mother “I am NEVER going back to school.   Nobody says “Look  Jane look, look.  See Dick.  see see, see Dick” .  That’s not a real book! Where are the words from The Old Curiosity Shop,   Oliver Twist? The words from Gulliver’s Travels and A Christmas Carol?  Where are the words from your books?”

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I am more than six.  I am a compulsive reader.  I read the backs of cereal boxes at the breakfast table.  The fine print in advertisements standing in line at the grocery store.  I cannot pass a bookstore even  when the books are in another language.  My silver memory box holds library cards from Edinburgh,  Amsterdam, Calgary, Regina, Toronto, Vancouver.  My oldest card, dated 1941, from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan,  the place where it all began.

This holding a book in my hands.  The feel of the pages.  The smell of the ink.

This cadence of the prose.

This losing of one’s self to another place and time.

This reading of the beautifully written words.

This utter delight of being able to live a thousand lives.

I read in order to live.

SROOGE’S NEPHEW TELLS US HOW TO KEEP CHRISTMAS . . . 174 years later.

“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say, “Christmas among the rest.  But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round-apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that-as a good time:  a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time:  the only time I known of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.  And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it HAS done me good, and WILL do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

(Charles Dickens.   Published in 1843.  Copied from the pages of  “THE ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF THE WORKS  OF CHARLES DICKENS  FEBRUARY, 7 1812” .   In the quiet evenings leading to Christmas Day I have been reading from my copy of this book (1911 edition).  More than one hundred years ago other hands turned these pages.  Read “A CHRISTMAS CAROL. IN PROSE.  BEING A GHOST STORY OF CHRISTMAS”.  Other eyes studied intently the illustrations then turned to the next story.  “THE CHIMES.  A GOBLIN STORY OF SOME BELLS THAT RANG AN OLD YEAR OUT AND A NEW YEAR IN”.  This was followed by “THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH.  A FAIRY TALE OF HOME”.    Then “THE BATTLE OF LIFE.  A LOVE STORY”.     Dickens took me to dark places with “THE HAUNTED MAN AND THE GHOST’S BARGAIN”.    A waiting me in the New Year “PICTURES FROM ITALY”.  This classic book, with introductions to each tale, has insightful critical comments, and notes by  critics and writers including Wm. Makepeace Thackery.  Dickens’ peers judging him.  Some not kindly.

I found my faded, red book with sepia illustrations, years ago in a second-hand book store in our tiny village of Ladner.  It was like rediscovering an old friend from the past.    Through the long, bitter cold winter nights of Northern Saskatchewan, we would huddle around the kitchen stove and our Mother would read to us.  A Christmas Carol and The Cricket On The Hearth were our favorites.

. . . . . ” it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.  May that be truly said of us, and all of us! 

And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!”

CHRISTMAS GIFT WRAPPING . . .HOW TO WRAP A BOOK WITH A BOOK!

 

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I adore giving books as gifts – especially at Christmas.  Come Boxing Day there is nothing more delightful than snuggling under a cosy blanket, a cup of tea by your side, and reading your Christmas gift book.

Through the year I keep a sharp eye out for unusual and interesting books.  I check used book stores for vintage books and books out of print.

I also collect books that are destined for the recycling bin,  out-of-date reference books, old atlases, worn art books – all are grist for my work with altered books.  I save the pages I am not using and use them as gift wrap.   You can use the pages as gift wrap, as I have done here , or you can cover boxes and the lids with pages for a more permanent gift box.

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Look for over-size books.  It makes gift wrapping easier.  For the final touch be bold and make a paper bow.

My slow Christmas continues as I take time  each day to wrap a few presents.   It has turned very cold here (cold for coastal area).  I’ve taken my basket of paper and ribbons to sit by the warming fireplace.  There’s just the smallest sprinkle of snow covering the green grass.  Perhaps we’ll have that rare thing – a white Christmas.

LUNCH WITH MICHAEL ONDAATJE

 

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Last week I had lunch with Michael Ondaatje.

Lunch in a warm, comfortable  pub in Toronto’s  Cabbagetown.  House On Parliament is the kind of place where old friends linger and talk into the quiet after-noon.  Across from our table tucked into a corner sat two elegant white-haired gentlemen.  One looked very familiar.    “That’s Michael Ondaatje”, said my dining companion.   My heart skipped a beat.  Sitting just a few feet away from me was a writer who had written books so extraordinary, so evocative their imagery has become part of me.

“She had always wanted words, she loved them, grew up on them.  Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape.” -Michael Ondaatje, THE ENGLISH PATIENT.

Set in Tuscany THE ENGLISH PATIENT is the tale of a passionate love affair during the brutal conflict of the Second World War.  It was awarded The Booker Prize.   The movie received nine Academy Awards.

Lankan-born Canadian Michael Ondaatje is a poet, novelist, filmmaker, editor.  He is five times winner of the Governor General’s Award, The Giller Prize, The Booker Prize, the Prix Médicis étranger.  He is an office of the Order of Canada, making him one of Canada’s most celebrated living author.

“He came to this country like a torch on fire and swallowed air as he walked forward and he gave out light.” -Michael Ondaatje, IN THE SKIN OF A LION.

In l989 I was riding the ferry to Salt Spring Island.  Desperate for something to read I searched the book store shelves for a novel to fill the hours of travel.  IN THE SKIN OF A LION – the title intrigued me.   A love story and a mystery set in the turbulent 20’s and 30’s in Toronto.  I began to read and  left behind the boat passengers, the flapping sea birds.  I was IN THE SKIN OF A LION.

I passed by his table as we left the pub.  I stopped and quietly said “Thank You”.  He smiled and replied “Your welcome”.

On my bookshelves a few of the novels  by Michael Ondaatje – The Cat’s table,  In the Skin of a Lion,  Anil’s Ghost,  Divisadero,  Running in the Family,  The Collected works of Billy the Kid,  Coming Through the Slaughter.  And …

“If I were a cinnamon peeler

I would ride your bed

and leave the yellow bark dust

on your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek.

You could never walk through the market

without the profession of my fingers

floating over you.  The blind

would stumble certain of whom

they approached

though you may bathe

under rain gutters, monsoons.”

– Michael Ondaatje THE CINNAMON PEELER

 

HOW NOT TO LOOK OLD … HOW TO NEVER LOOK FAT AGAIN

These are two books that every women, of any age, should read.  I PROMISE YOU .  These books are worth their weight in gold.  They will change the way you look (for the better) for ever.

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How Not To Look Old by Charla Krupp.   Fast and effortless ways to look 10 years younger, 10 pounds lighter, and 10 times better.

How To Never Look Fat Again:  over 1,000 ways to dress thinner without dieting by Charla Krupp

 

Aging isn’t great.   Age-spots,  crows-feet,  gray hair,  chin hair,  saggy boobs and other things I’m not even going to go into.    I would love to give these books to every woman I know.   Here’s some excerpts from How Not To Look Old:

TEN NEW RULES FOR HOW NOT TO LOOK OLD

l. Up is better than down (brows  glasses,  bust,  bum).

2. Soft is better than hard (makeup).

3. Illumination is better than darkness (face, hair).

4. Warm is better than cool (hair colour,  makeup).

6. Moist is better than dry (skin,  lips,  eyes).

7. Smooth is better than dry (eyelids, lips, shape-wear).

8. Casual is better than fussy (hair, makeup, clothes).

9. Less is better than more (nails, jeans, legs).

10. And anything is better than nude hose!

TEN THINGS YOU CAN DO IN THE NEXT TEN MINUTES TO TAKE OFF TEN YEARS.

l. Pick pink for your pout.

2. Arch your brows upward.

3. Cover gray brow hairs with pencil and powder.

4. Slim down your eyeliner.

5. Falsify a few lashes.

6. Don’t outline your lips with dark liner.

7. Lighten up on the foundation and powder

8. Unchain your reading glasses.

9. Lose the suit.  Switch up the pieces instead.

10. Slip on heels or high-heeled boots.

TEN THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR LESS THAN ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS TO TAKE OFF TEN YEARS

1. Slim down with shapewear bike shorts.

2. Boost your bust with the right bra.

3. Slough off old skin with a microdermabrasion kit.

4. Switch from powder to cream blush.

5. Cut some bangs.

6. Polish your toes – black, burgundy,  whatever.

7. Pick up a hip accessory.

8. Spring for “body bling”.

9. Whiten your teeth.

10 Have a tailor shorten (and narrow) your skirts.

Here’s the deal my darlings.    Why shouldn’t you look good no matter how old you are.   If you don’t like your hair – find a new hair stylist.    Update you make up with help from a professional (most department stores offer this service).  Buy a perfect fitting pair of jeans.  Never wear sneakers with them.    Treat yourself like you are worth a million dollars.  You are!

ROMANTIC LADY OF SHALOTT . . . A DAVID AUSTIN ROSE

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I have a Camelot garden.  In it grows a  gorgeous rose of such fragrance and beauty the  very stars  look down in envy.    Its beckoning orange-red buds open to form  a magnificent chalice-shaped bloom.  A rose that perhaps long ago would have graced King Arthur’s table.

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There she weaves by night and day a magic web with colours gay.”  Each perfect rose petal blushes salmon pink  then quietly reveals a secret  that unfolds to golden yellow.    This Lady of Shalott rose has an old-fashioned  fragrance that conjurers up  thoughts of  exotic tea  spiced with cloves and apples.

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The Lady of Shalott is a fairy tale  rose.  Eachmorning I visit my Camelot garden and gather a  bouquet of rose.   And every morning  the rose bush is covered once again with more sweet roses.  If your soul yearns for romance  whisper the words LADY OF SHALOTT ROSES by David Austin  and the glorious days of Camelot will enter your garden.

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The very, very best part of this unique rose is –  it is simple-to-grow.    It is highly resistant to disease and blooms with unusual continuity.  It is low maintenance  and will bloom from early spring until frost. It’s highly recommended for rose beds and border.  It would be spectacular in a flower bed with deep blue flowers.  It can be trained against a wall or trellis  or  planted in large pots and containers.  It loves full sun or a little shade.  If you are an inexperienced  gardener you will adore this  Lady of Shalott David Austin rose.

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The Lady of Shalott was a popular l9th century  ballad inspired by Arthurian legend.  It was written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.    Reading this poem one discovers the  words and phrases that inspired the naming of this old-fashioned rose .

THE LADY OF SHALLOT  …  Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro’ the field the road runs by
To many-tower’d Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro’ the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow veil’d
Slide the heavy barges trail’d
By slow horses; and unhail’d
The shallop flitteth silken-sail’d
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
Down to tower’d Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers “‘Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott.”

Part II

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving thro’ a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair’d page in crimson clad,
Goes by to tower’d Camelot;
And sometimes thro’ the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror’s magic sights,
For often thro’ the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights,
And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
“I am half sick of shadows,” said
The Lady of Shalott.

Part III

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro’ the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel’d
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter’d free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon’d baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell’d shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn’d like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro’ the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow’d;
On burnish’d hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow’d
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash’d into the crystal mirror,
“Tirra lirra,” by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro’ the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott.

Part IV

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower’d Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river’s dim expanse –
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance –
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right –
The leaves upon her falling light –
Thro’ the noises of the night
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song.
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken’d wholly,
Turn’d to tower’d Camelot.
For ere she reach’d upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame.
And round the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross’d themselves for fear,
All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, “She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace.
The Lady of Shalott.”

 

 

 

 

 

RIVER OF DARKNESS … A TALE OF A RIVER PILOT

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The mighty Mississippi River.

The Red River.

The Ohio, The Kanawha and The Tennessee.

Silver ribbons twisting and winding.

Beckoning, beautiful and dangerous.

Siren calls for the river pilot.

In the silent darkness of the night Obadiah Smith scanned the river banks. Searching for the lights that marked safe navigation of the river.   Mile 771.5, Black Hawk,  on the right side of the channel he searched for a white light.  Then mile 773.6 Black Hawk Point, right side again, white light.  Next 2 miles up river Consort Point, left side of channel, white light.

Night running of the river was made possible by this List of Post Lights.

As each beacon passed he ticked the entry.  He scribbled quick notes.

“High Banks at Fort Adams.”

Then at Row Land “all night”.

Then the note.  One word.  A word of sadness and loneliness.  “Thanksgiving”.

Dark clouds lifted and the moon shone brilliant on the water.   The beacon lights disappeared.  It is too dangerous to continue.   Tonight  they would camp the rest of the night at the river’s edge.   He thought of home.    Thanksgiving away from  his wife,  his only child.

Remembering with a smile.

A calloused finger caressed a lock of hair

This was a river pilots life.

 

GATHER YOUR WORDS TO KEEP THEM SAFE

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She  gathered the words and held them tight.

Words   colored with joy and delight.

Words that  cut with razor brilliance

Words  weeping with sadness.

 

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They tumbled from between the book cover.

Some giddy with happiness.

Some shuddered with suspense.

 

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She gathered the pages tightly in white.

She gathered the words to keep them from sight

 

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White to protect the beginnings and endings.

White around each chapter and verse.

White to keep the stories safe.

She gathered them to her mind forever.

 

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(There are  books in my library that for various reasons are so extremely important to me I have covered  them with a simple protective covering of white  paper. Not all the books have titles.  It is not always necessary to identify old friends you visit on a regular basis.)

 

At various times I am so taken by a book I am reading I simply have to share it with all my dear friends.  Th following is a few of my “book blogs”.

A TRICK OF THE LIGHT

GRANNIES WONDERFUL CHAIR

CHARLES THE BOLD

THE PARIS WIFE

ROMANTIC READS

A WINTER TALE

THE CAT’S TABLE