Portrait of a Woman: According to a Pole

Wisława Szymborska, who was born in 1923, was a Pole, a reformed socialist, and an extraordinary poet who (very deservedly) won the 1996 Nobel Prize for Literature.  The citation read, in part, that she composed “poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality.”… Continue reading Portrait of a Woman: According to a Pole

Animals, Book Review, Family, Quote of the Day

“The Gift of My Childhood”

My childhood in Corfu shaped my life. If I had the craft of Merlin, I would give every child the gift of my childhood--Gerald Durrell I was a voracious reader as a child. If it came between endboards, I read it. Too young for me (I loved the Peter Rabbit tales for years longer than I should… Continue reading “The Gift of My Childhood”

Culture, Literature, Poetry

Mad, Bad, And Dangerous to Know: “Ghostly Galleons” and “Dark Red Love-Knots”

Well. There I was, noodling around a few hours ago during a hydration break (it’s been in the mid-90s today, and I have three rather large trees to plant), looking for something to write about so I could sit inside, turn on the air conditioner for a bit, and allow the sweat to dry up. … Continue reading Mad, Bad, And Dangerous to Know: “Ghostly Galleons” and “Dark Red Love-Knots”

Biography, Book Review, History, Travel

Patrick Leigh Fermor: A Gift for Adventure

A recent, and very enjoyable, perusal of a book review in the Daily Telegraph (apologies if you can't get behind the paywall, but it was of this book: From Utmost East to Utmost West--My Life of Exploration and Adventure, by Colonel John Blashford-Snell**), put me in mind of a post from almost exactly a year… Continue reading Patrick Leigh Fermor: A Gift for Adventure

Alternate History, common sense, History, Plain Speaking, Politics, Reality Check, Royalty

Dear Daily Telegraph….

....frankly, I can't be arsed to look around your website any longer to try to find the link that allows me to send you a question, or to request a reason why my recent comment on your article titled "Prince William praises 'selfless' officer killed defending US Capitol." was removed from your site.  (Something one… Continue reading Dear Daily Telegraph….

Britishness, Plain Speaking, Politics

Dear Prince William: Put a Sock in it. Please

I've mentioned before that I subscribe to only one online "mainstream" publication, and that's The Daily Telegraph.  Fond memories from my childhood of its being rolled up in a paper sleeve and posted to us, first in Nigeria, then in the States.  Arriving weeks late, but still interesting and informative, and with excellent features and… Continue reading Dear Prince William: Put a Sock in it. Please

Animals, Love, Pets and Livestock

Happy Birthday, Xena!

She is, indeed, my Warrior Princess.  Eleven years old today.  And a survivor. She was born on June 17, 2011, and–as a Great Pyrenees puppy–somehow ended up living in an apartment in center-city Philadelphia PA.  God knows why.  Or how.  GPs are not–as a rule–high-energy dogs, and they can do quite well without an extensive… Continue reading Happy Birthday, Xena!

Beauty, Family, Love

That Moment When You Realize You’re Old

It happened to me last week during a conversation with my darling Auntie Pat. (Ninety-nine next month; may she live forever.) I’d phoned her up, and after a false start in which she may have been holding the phone upside down and speaking into the earpiece (shades of my dad in the months before he died;… Continue reading That Moment When You Realize You’re Old

Beauty, Love, Patriot, queen elizabeth

A Very Un-British Feeling

I’m proud of my country.  Not in the Michelle Obama “first time” sense, but one which, for once, I’m comfortable “sharing” (as the abominable Markle might put it.) My Lord.  So many flag wavers.  You’d think the country had turned “American” all of a sudden.  Loved it, from the Horse Guards, to the Trooping the… Continue reading A Very Un-British Feeling