"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Montréal, Jazz, Food & Diana Krall

Had a lovely drive through Québec on the way to Montréal. Strawberries are in season, so we stopped to buy some at Ferme Reid, in St. Anne Sabrevois.

The farm also has animals!

Not long afterwards, we reached Montréal.

Visited a friend at the corporate offices of some radio stations, and generally enjoyed wandering about familiar parts of the city.

Square Victoria always reminds me of Paris...only there's a statue of a British Queen gazing over it.

It's the week of the International Festival de Jazz, which we attend every other year.

Vieux Montréal is always a good place to be at mealtime.

I can't resist moules et frites.

But I withstood the temptation of these Belgian pastries.

The Diana Krall concert was spectacular. Our third time seeing her, and each time has been so very different. This was a solo performaance, she played piano and sang. But for her encore she demonstrated her nascent skills on the ukelele.

We waited for her at the artists' exit/entrance, and watched someone else have her photograph taken with Canada's national treasure.

Monday, June 27, 2011

History Geek-ism

The Carousel of Life carried me to Vermont, where I spent 2 delightful days touring the Shelburne Museum and Farm.

I also had a chance to see Lake Champlain. (And, apparently, Champ, it's resident Nessie-type monster, who generously popped up as I was taking this photo.)

Now I want the t-shirt!

Some scenes from the Shelburne.

The Webb House, built to house the Park Avenue apartment and collection of English & French antiques & French Impressionist paintings belonging to the foundress of the museum.

The formal Bostwick Gardens.

Historic weaponry collection.

Antique squirrel cage. "A jail for squirrels," my companion called it.

Motif from French wallpaper.

A basket phaeton in one of the 2 carriage and sleigh museums.

The bandbox room. There were about twice this many bandboxes on display.

We also saw the printing press shop, the weaving house, the doll and dollhouse and automata collections, the porcelain, the household items (cookware) the farm implements, the stonewall building displays, several 18th century dwellings and furnishings, and the steamship Ticonderoga, which bears a striking resemblance to our own M.S. Mt. Washington on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Fresh adventures coming soon.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Even More Roses

Was it the cool spring weather, with plenty of rain? The abundant snow cover of the seemingly endless winter? I don't know the reason, but the roses are especially splendid this year.

Here's' John Davis, a pink climber, a re-bloomer, not an antique, added a few years ago as a tall central focal point. I can't imagine the garden without it.

It's the time of year when I think I don't have enough flower vases. (It's not true, I do have more than enough, a variety of shapes and sizes.)

But for maximum impact, I eschewed vases altogether and "re-purposed" a tall silver ice bucket with glass insert, a family heirloom.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Yes, it's that season again. And as I suspected, this is turning out to be a banner year for roses. Life is quite hectic but I've carved out some time to weed my rose and perennial beds, meaning I've been up close and personal with my beautiful, fragrant friends.

Quatre Saisons, aka the Autumn Damask, dating from Roman times.

Rose de Rescht, another Autumn Damask type, age unknown, discovered in the 20th century in an old Persian garden.

Rosa mundi, a Medival gallica.

L'Eveque aka The Bishop, another gallica from 1790.

A form of Rosa canina, wild species. (In England, a hedgerow rose.)

Alba semi-plena, aka White Rose of York, known from about the 1500's.

More to come. Many more! At the moment I must race out and cut these blossoms and others, so the coming rain doesn't spoil them. The Lodge will soon be smelling of roses!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Long & Busy Days

When the dogs woke me at 5:00 a.m. to feed them breakfast and take them outside, I noticed the full moon shining on the bay...a lovely view at dawn. After taking the photo, we returned to our beds.

We arrived here yesterday. I've not spotted my favourite fish and am unsure about the current stage of his reproduction cycle. But the little phoebes have sprouted! The nest contains these downy lumps, and the parents dart about the property collecting food for the hatchlings.

So many meetings--3 on Tuesday, all related, and I wasn't home till 10 p.m. In the midst of deadlines and assorted mayhem, I've been desperate for the peace of the lake. The place isn't as quiet as usual, the Annual Motorcycle Week are wrapping up on the opposite side of the lake and there's a constant low hum from the bike engines as they travel up and down Route 11-A across the Bay. But it's so nice being here that I don't mind a bit. The Chap joins us later.

It's the season when I feel torn about leaving the Lodge. My roses are quite a bit later in blooming, nearly 2 weeks late, I estimate. But the bushes are laden with buds--even plants that have not bloomed for several years. (I'm so thankful I didn't "shovel prune" them, i.e. dig them up and toss them on the rubbish heap!)

Here are my earliest bloomers:

Therese Bugnet, rugosa hybrid

Stanwell Perpetual, Scotch rose hybrid.

Many more to come!

Wishing you a happy weekend.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Something Fishy

Anyone visiting this blog at about this time of year has met my pet wild fish, Walter. After he makes a nest on the lake bed and he and Mrs. Walter do their thing down by our dock, she swims away and leaves him to guard the spawn.

I've not seen the missus, and it doesn't look as though any nest-making has begun (the water is probably still too cold for egg-laying), but Walter is here. At the weekend I stocked up on worms, his favourite food. After a busy few days of meeting deadlines and overseeing the final stage of the renovation at the Lodge and attending a dance recital, I rewarded myself (and the dogs) with a quick trip to the lake cottage for an overnight.

Walter was very happy to see me. The instant he heard my footsteps on the dock, he came out into the open and gazed up at me hungrily. (I like to think lovingly, too.)

So I started tossing worms.

My young friends' annual dance recital yesterday was a great treat, they each performed independent dances (beautifully!) and group dances with their classmates--ballet, tap, and jazz.

Here's the "Cruella de Vil" number. The dalmations didn't number 101, but they were cute.

Another animal dance--little yellow birdies.

But these baby ballerinas steal the show, year in, year out.

The rest of the week is impossibly busy. So glad I'm here for the serenity of sky, water, and walking.

Thursday, June 02, 2011


I totally ripped this off from my college and theatre days chum, GG. The reason is embedded in my responses.

1) ONE OF YOUR SCARS. HOW DID YOU GET IT? A scar the right side of my face resulted from an automobile accident when I was very little.

2) WHAT IS ON THE WALLS OF YOUR BEDROOM? A watercolour by my husband's great-grandfather, two watercolours by his dad, a pair of signed and numbered prints of houses in my hometown (our wedding reception was held in one), a similar print of the church in which we married, and a signed and numbered botanical print given to my husband by clients in Ireland.

3) WHAT DOES YOUR MOBILE PHONE LOOK LIKE? Not much. An upgrade from what I used to have. (There's a camera.)

4) WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO? Mostly the same stuff I've always listened too--R.E.M., Dire Straits/Mark Knopfler, Elvis Costello, Arlo Guthrie, Dar Williams, Shawn Colvin, Paul Simon, The Cure, Psychedlic Furs, Elton John, Patti Smith, Todd Rundgren, Cyndi Lauper. Also Bach, Mozart, Handel, Purcell. A lot of traditional Celtic and folk stuff (good for the mandolin). Lady Gaga, The Killers, Counting Crows, Interpol. Can I stop now?

5) DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME YOU WERE BORN? Something like 9:30 at night. Past my grandfather's bedtime. (So he left the hospital for home, and met his first grandchild the following day.)

6) WHAT DO YOU WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING RIGHT NOW? World peace. After that, for our bathroom renovation project to be over. Only another 48 hours to go...

7) WHO DO YOU MISS? My grandparents.


9) WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU KISSED? My husband. (I kiss my dogs, too.)

10) WHAT IS YOUR MIDDLE NAME? Elizabeth. (So queenly!) It makes my full name ridiculously long and excessively syllabic.

11) THE BEST TV SHOW EVER CREATED? Seriously? I'm not sure I've seen it yet. Brideshead Revisited is splendidly done...but the novel is still loads better.


13) DO YOU GET SCARED IN THE DARK? Occasionally, but I snap out of it fairly quickly.

14) THE LAST PERSON TO MAKE YOU CRY? Whoever was the last person to make me laugh really hard.

15) WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOGNE/PERFUME? Penhaligon's Bluebell is awfully special. If I have a signature scent, that would be it. Or their Lily-of-the-Valley. Tea Rose by Perfumer's Workshop Ltd. is another favourite.

16)WHAT KIND OF HAIR/EYE COLOR DO YOU LIKE IN THE OPPOSITE SEX? Dark-ish hair and whatever eyes. It's not really an important metric for me.

17) WOULD YOU RATHER BE SMART OR FUNNY? Smart. Then I would know what to laugh at.

18) COFFEE OR ENERGY DRINKS? I frequently drink coffee and have never consumed an energy drink. Why is tea not an option? I live on tea.


20) IF YOU COULD EAT ANYTHING RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Escargots. Sometimes I get a craving for things I cannot make at home.

21) WHO IS THE LAST PERSON WHO MADE YOU MAD? Not naming names (not a family member) but it was based upon a complete misunderstanding (nobody's fault), and in clearing it all up Larger Problems Will Be Solved. So the anger was fleeting. And strangely productive.

22) DO YOU SPEAK ANOTHER LANGUAGE? French (read it better than speak it), Spanglish, a very little Manx Gaelic and Irish and Scots and Welsh.

23) WHAT WAS THE FIRST GIFT THAT YOU REMEMBER SOMEONE GIVING YOU? At a very young I was given some paper dolls to play with in my hospital bed. It's my first memory, period. (See #1)

24) DO YOU LIKE SOMEONE? I like many someones.

25) ARE YOU DOUBLE JOINTED? Not that I know of. It sounds painful but I don't think it actually is.

26) FAVORITE CLOTHING BRAND? Normally I don't care, I like what I like. I do tend to hunt for Per Una skirts and things whenever I'm in England.

27) WHAT IS YOUR DREAM CAR? The one I drive now. My dream come true!

28) WHAT COLOR IS IT? A really nice green.

29) WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE KIND OF EXERCISE? Ballet and walking the dogs.

30) WOULD YOU FALL IN LOVE KNOWING THAT THE PERSON IS LEAVING? Not again. Although it worked out wonderfully well the only time I did!



33) BLONDES OR BRUNETTES? Not sure of the context. I like people with all hair colours and types. Or none at all.

34) WHAT IS THE ONE NUMBER YOU CALL THE MOST OFTEN? My husband's office line.

35) WHAT ANNOYS YOU MOST? Right now? A certain female politician. In general? Rude people.

36) HAVE YOU BEEN OUT OF THE COUNTRY? WHERE DID YOU GO? WHAT PLACE DID YOU LIKE BEST? Yes, lots of times. At least a couple of times per year. France, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Italy, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Sint Maarten/St. Martin and Dominica in the Caribbean. And mostly England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Jersey, C.I. I liked each one, for different reasons. I return most often to England, Ireland, and Wales.

37) YOUR WEAKNESSES? Where do I start? I can be very stubborn. ("Determined" sounds a little better.) I do have a temper and sometimes I'm too weak to keep it in check.

38) FRIES/CHIPS, RICE OR BEANS? My favourite fries are Arby's curly fries (I probably haven't had any in the past decade) and sweet potato fries. My favourite chips are the soggy, soft, greasy sort that come with fish & chips in Britain, with vinegar poured on. That might not sound so tasty...you'll have to take my word for it.

39) FIRST JOB? Gift shop clerk & ticket seller at a planetarium/museum

40) EVER PRANK CALLED SOMEONE? All too often, when I was a child.

41) WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU FILLED OUT THIS? Chatting with husband on phone.

42) IF YOU COULD GET PLASTIC SURGERY, WHAT WOULD IT BE? I endured facial plastic surgeries in my extreme youth, before I was even 3 years old. (See #1 & #23).So I'm basically done with all that.

43) WHY DID YOU FILL OUT THIS MEME? I needed a blog topic that didn't involve the second laptop/hard drive meltdown within a year, the major & minor aggravations of intensive home improvment projects, scary weather disasters somewhat close to home, deadlines, too many meetings in one week, and no time at all for relaxation or recreation.

44) WHAT DO YOU GET COMPLIMENTED ON THE MOST? My dogs (unless they're misbehaving) and my clothes. Plus certain rings and earrings I wear.

45) WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF ALCOHOL BECAME ILLEGAL? Whatever I had to. I will not give up wine or hard cider. Or taking communion. I'm chronically law-abiding, so I think I'd have to move somewhere else.

46) WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY? Something practical, I suppose. I have everything I want and far more than I need.

47) HOW MANY KIDS DO YOU WANT? I have two dogs.

48) WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? I was named after almost everyone. My first name goes back in my dad's family a couple of centuries at least. My middle name (see #10) is the commonest middle name in my whole family.

49) WHICH FINGER IS YOUR FAVORITE? The one with my wedding ring on it.

50)DO YOU WISH ON STARS? Practically every night.

51)WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Chobani Greek Honey Yogurt and roasted, salt-less sunflower seeds.

52) DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? I used to, when I could still read it.

53) WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Hardly ever eat it. Given a choice, I go for the very thinly shaved roast beef.

54) ANY BAD HABITS? Blogging.

55) WHAT IS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING CD ON THE SHELF? Godspell? Jesus-as-Hippie-Clown seems so dated. But I have soundtracks to nearly every show I was in. So there!



58) DO LOOKS MATTER? Sometimes. For models and actors and dancers, livelihoods can depend upon it. But I don't value other people according to their looks.

59) YOU RELEASE YOUR ANGER? Stuff (always unbreakable) gets thrown and flung. Very dramatically. With sound effects.

60) WHERE IS YOUR SECOND HOME? On New Hampshire's largest lake. If you read this blog regularly, you already know that.