Tuesday, 30 July 2013



Edgar Allan Poe - Quotable Quote

Edgar Allan Poe

“But our love was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we
Of many far wiser than we
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.”

― Edgar Allan PoeAnnabel Lee

Wild Eyed Southern Celt's photo.
Nos da, beautiful Celtic people......

"If you don't believe in dragons,

It is curiously true

That the dragons you disparage

Choose to not believe in you."

~ Jack Prelutsky

Monday, 29 July 2013


Still miss her so much

But, as I turned to heel away,
A tear fell from my eye,
For all my life I never thought
That I would have to die.
I had so much to live for,
So many sits and downs to do,
It seemed almost impossible,
That I was leaving you.

I thought about our lives together,
I know you must be sad,
I thought of all the love we shared,
And all the fun we had.

Remember how I'd nudge your hand,
And poke you with my nose?
The frisbee I would gladly chase,
The bad guy, I'd "bark and hold".

If I could relive yesterday,
Just even for awhile,
I'd wag my tail and kiss you,
Just so I could see you smile.

But, then I fully realized,
That this could never be;
For emptiness and memories
Will take the place of me.
And when I thought of treats and toys,
I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you and when I did,
My dog-heart filled with sorrow.

But then I walked through Heaven's gate,
And felt so much at home;
As God looked down and smiled at me,
From His beautiful golden throne.
He said, "This is eternity,
And now we welcome you,
Today your life on earth is past,
But here it starts anew.

I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last;
For you see, each days's the same day,
There's no longing for the past.
Now you have been so faithful,
So trusting, loyal and true;
Though there were times you did things,
You knew you shouldn't do.

But good dogs are forgiven,
And now at last you're free;
So won't you sit here by my side,
And wait right here with me?"
So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don't think we're far apart.
For every time you think of me,
I'm right there, in your heart

George Lucas lives here. Do you think he'd like a lodger?


Offside for girls

Local Cathedrals


Cathedrals – churches – abbeys . . . The landscape is dotted with the evidence of faith through the ages. In Wales, one finds many words, towns, and place names beginning with the term ‘llan.’ It has come to mean a ‘place with a church’ or a ‘place of a saint.’ Thus Llandudno means the place with the church of St. Tudno.
Having a church or an abbey or a cathedral was important for a community. If that place actually had the relics of the saint involved, all the better. It would become a place of pilgrimage. And pilgrimages were both good for the soul and for the local economy! Being a site of pilgrimage meant people came to your place and while there they needed housing and food. Thus, traditionally, pride was taken in the preservation and promotion of one’s saint and the particular church or cathedral.
Of course, things have changed over the past thousands of years . . . still, I have found, especially in this area, that, frankly, though there don’t seem to be a lot of people attendingchurch, there is still a sense of pride in the church itself.
The Church of St. Asaph is one such place. Small by cathedral standards, it is incredibly well cared for.
And I even had got to hear the organ played! Dave and Fay would have loved it!
Yesterday, I got back to the Chester Cathedral. It is dedicated to St. Werburgha, 7th century woman, born to royalty who gave it all up to become a nun.
She lived a long and dedicated life and, after her death, was declared a saint. Eventually, to protect her relics from invading armies, they were moved to Chester where a church was built and where they were protected and honored (and provided a great place of pilgrimage). The Cathedral we see today was constructed between 1092 and 1220 on the site of this church. It originally served as a Benedictine Abbey and was raised to cathedral status in the 16th century.
I was struck with how well cared for the place continues to be. It is truly a refreshing place to visit.
This is the nave of the church.
And the West Window:
I continue to marvel at the incredible craftsmanship – and faith – so evident in these buildings. This poem by Welsh poet John Ormand made me smile. I share it with you as well as a final picture of the Chester Cathedral.
Cathedral Builders
They climbed on sketchy ladders toward God,
With winch and pulley hoisted hewn rock into heaven,
Inhabited sky with hammers, defied gravity,
Deified stone, took up God’s house to meet Him,
And came down to their suppers and small beer;
Every night slept, lay with their smelly wives,
Quarrelled and cuffed the children, lied,
Spat, sang, were happy or unhappy,
And every day took to the ladders again;
Impeded the rights of way of another summer’s
Swallows, grew greyer, shakier, became less inclined
To fix a neighbour’s roof of a fine evening,
Saw naves sprout arches, clerestories soar,
Cursed the loud fancy glaziers for their luck,
Somehow escaped the plague, got rheumatism,
Decided it was time to give it up,
To leave the spire to others; stood in the crowd
Well back from the vestments at the consecration,
Envied the fat bishop his warm boots,
Cocked up a squint eye and said, ‘I bloody did that.’
- John Ormond (1923-1990)
Welsh poet and film-maker

Monday, July 29, 2013

10 of the Best Free Classic Mysteries for Your Kindle

Amazon makes it difficult to find free books, and that’s understandable: they are, after all, a business. The lack of a browsable list of all free books, though, means that those who want a bargain have to know what they’re looking for in the first place. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that Amazon is also listing fewer and fewer free books in the “customers also bought …” recommendations.

I’ve come across quite a few classic mysteries in my own searches, and I’ve gathered some of the best here for you. These are all public domain books, so the free price isn’t part of a limited-time special. 

Most of these are also available at Project Gutenberg, if you need them in alternate formats. Click the titles below to download the free copies at Amazon.

Last photo of Jacques Futrelle, taken on the Titanic.

 Jacques Futrelle has been a favorite of mine since reading “The Problem of Cell 13” in one of The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes anthologies. This short is a great introduction to Professor Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen, known as “The Thinking Machine” for his logical approach to crime. Futrelle’s writing career was unfortunately cut short at age 37 by his fatal trip on the Titanic.

Early edition of Orczy's The Old Man in the Corner.

Most people know Orczy’s name as the author of The Scarlet Pimpernel, but they don’t often know that she penned more than a dozen sequels to it, plus piles of other novels and short stories. Her stories featuring an old man who solves mysteries from his chair in a tea room while in conversation with a journalist may be the first examples of a literal armchair detective. 

Tommy and Tuppence, Christie's cool couple.

Most Christie fans fall into either the Miss Marple or the Hercule Poirot camps, but now and then you run into Tommy and Tuppence people. The Secret Adversary is the first book featuring the young and carefree couple (Thomas Beresford and Prudence Beresford), who seem to evoke the spirit of the ‘20s more than any of Christie’s other creations.

Rinehart's novel was revised as The Bat.

Rinehart isn’t for everyone, but her books are notable for several reasons. She’s credited with being the source of “the butler did it” (not from this book -- no spoilers!), and with The Circular Staircase began the trend that came to be known as the “Had I but known” style of writing. The book was turned into an immensely successful stage play with the addition of a character called “the Bat”, after which she rewrote the book as The Bat, incorporating the changes. Bob Kane cites it asthe original source of Batman.

A later pulp edition of The Thirty-Nine Steps.

You’ve likely heard of The Thirty-Nine Steps even if you’re unfamiliar with the novel. It’s been filmed four times, including the famous Hitchcock version. Published in 1915, it’s credited with popularizing, if not inventing, the “man on the run” type of thriller that is now a Hollywood staple.

The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu, first in the series featuring the now-iconic villain.

The first of the Dr. Fu Manchu series (titled The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu in the UK), this book introduces the character that has become synonymous with evil criminal masterminds. He’s referred to as "the greatest genius which the powers of evil have put on the earth for centuries."

Philip Trent makes a mess of the case, but the end result is plenty entertaining.

E. C. Bentley supposedly wrote Trent’s Last Case in 1913 as an answer to Arthur Conan Doyle. Bentley was annoyed with Holmes’ perfection, so he created artist-cum-journalist Philip Trent, who is more notable for what he gets wrong. Agatha Christie called it one of the three best mystery novels of all time.

A Spanish version of Raffles' exploits.

Don’t think for a minute that the likeable bad guy is a modern invention. A. J. Raffles, “the gentleman thief”, was wooing Late Victorian-Era readers in 1899. Raffles moves in high society, plays cricket, and is also an ingenious burglar. In many ways, he’s the anti-Holmes.

One of the original illustrations for Mortmain.

This short was one of my favorite discoveries of last year, and the inspiration for the hand-with-a-mind-of-its-own that turns up in films like The Hands of Orlac and Mad Love. It’s the wacky surgeon rather than the victim that really steals the show, though, and his bizarre experiments make this a story to remember.

Frontispiece to the original French book.

While a few of the titles here were inspired by Sherlock Holmes, this one’s the opposite: the Holmes stories were at least partly inspired by Gaboriau’s Lecoq. (Holmes calls him a “miserable bungler” in A Study in Scarlet.) Lecoq himself was a spin-off character from Gaboriau’s earlier L'Affaire Lerouge, in which Lecoq is introduced as a young police officer.

~ If I could Live Life Over ~

If I could live this life over,
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner
even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten popcorn in the "good" living room
and worried much less about the dirt, when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble on about his youth. I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day, because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage. I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life. I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern, if I weren't there for a day. I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, or it wouldn't show soil or because it was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment...realizing that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist nature in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. I need you go get washed up for dinner."
There would have been a lot more "I love you's" and more "I'm sorry's."

But mostly, if I were given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and "really" see it...live it...and never give it back.

~ written by Erma Bombeck shortly before she passed away.


Sunday, 28 July 2013

Boxing hares - fascinating photos

Spotting Image 1 
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  • Barking blondes: A grim tail of grooming

    Joanne Good and Anna Webb
    dog grooming 300x225 Barking blondes: A grim tail of groomingSo the proud owner of Biskit, a golden retriever and Rocky a German shepherd, was fined £50 this week for sprinkling a section of her local park with dog hair. The owner claimed that grooming her dogs helped to relieve them from some discomfort of summer heat.
    The warden, however, considered it to be litter.
    We also groom our dogs in the local park as, being city dwellers, we lack a garden. However, we were always convinced that, rather than causing social issues, we are helping the environment.
    We love removing all the loose hairs from our mutts,  Molly and Matilda, and believe the beady Blackbirds and Blue tits scoop up a beaks full of fuzzy hairs for their nest furnishings.
    We pictured the sight of young chicks emerging from cracked shells nestled into little twiggy homes lined softly with bulldog and bull terrier fur!
    Or maybe some of our animals hair blows into an urban flower bed then mulches down to assist the compost surrounding a struggling rose bush.
    Dog hair is natural and re-cycled sustainably either by birds, mice and other nest builders.
    Granted it’s not sociable to groom a St Bernard close to someone eating an egg sandwich on a park bench.
    Surely local authorities would find their time was better spent fining owners who don’t pick up after their animals? Or penalising the picnic enthusiasts forever leaving chicken bones, bottles and debris strewn around. These offences cost the tax payer over £2 million a year to clear up.
    And what about human hair? Is all public grooming taboo? Is the act of brushing your own locks down at the local tennis courts then removing it from your Mason and Pearson before releasing it to the breeze, going to cost you in fines?
    Our plumber, attempting to unblock our U bend this week, informed us that the main culprit leading to blocked drains in London was human hair. Combined with fat and oil it goes hard and is “the devil to Victorian plumbing”. Our advice, therefore, would be to groom away from sinks and plug holes preferably finding a safe place outdoors, whilst avoiding park wardens.
    Others this week have thought more kindly towards dogs in the blistering heat-wave.
    Peter Jones, the iconic department store in Sloane Square opened a water fountain just for dogs. Hurrah!
    Do they understand the lure of “the hound pound”?
    Is their NO DOGS policy about to be relaxed and is this their first step towards allowing dogs into the store? (Liberty and Selfridges already do/ if they can be carried). So that well mannered mutts can enjoy some retail therapy?
    Or maybe its because many scenes of  the reality series, Made In Chelsea, are shot opposite, in Sloane Square, whenever cast members include their pooches?
    Whatever the reason, offering fresh chilled refreshment for Chelsea pooches has set tails wagging.
    And just how humane is the sight of a dog bowl of fresh water outside a shop?
    For us, it spells out , THIS SHOP IS RUN BY NICE PEOPLE and that bowl is more of a magnet than a red SALE sign.
    The Barking Hour, every Thursday, BBC London 94.9FM

    Saturday, 27 July 2013


    Written by my good friend Ange

    Rain....the sweetest sound
    Falling softly on the ground
    Awakening the land again 
    So bleached by sun 
    And all around
    The trees they breathe, their bows refreshed,
    And creatures take a timely breath
    The scent of raindrops on the ground
    The very sweetness of their sound
    Reminds me that it won't be long
    Until the sun is back to bake the ground...