Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (CFFC): Which Way by alive and trekking

Self is always happy when she can join in one of Cee’s photo challenges. CFFC’s theme for the next few weeks is ‘other photo challenges.’ This week’s ‘other photo challenge’ is alive and trekkings Which Way:

From alive and trekking:

  • The Which Way photo challenge is all about capturing the roads, walks, trails, rails, steps, signs, etc. we move from one place to another on. You can walk on them, climb them, drive them, ride on them, as long as the specific way is visible. Any angle of a bridge is acceptable as are any signs.

Here are two views of the rails and steps from Ocean Drive to Ocean Beach, Carmel.

Which One Is the Vampire?

This is a question self never imagined herself asking, never in the course of her very long reading life.

She asks it now because Queen Marie of Roumania is a very mysterious person.

There have been hints that it is she: she is the vampire.

Here are the facts: Whenever the Queen spends time in her summer home, Castle Bran, people die or go missing. Once, “a twelve-year-old scullery maid was preparing vegetables in the castle kitchen and sliced open her hand . . . the Queen was passing and heard the child cry out. She went to see what was wrong, seized a bowl to protect the child’s clothing, and started to bind the injury with a dishcloth.”

People who happened upon the scene saw this: “a young girl bleeding copiously into a crockery bowl . . . apparently half-filled with blood.”

As soon as the Queen left at the end of the summer, the series of occurrences ceased.

Further, whenever the Queen is expected, a man goes about the village, instructing the villagers that their dogs should be kept “inside or tied.” The Queen likes to go riding, and if a dog happens to frighten “her horse and makes her fall, that dog will be shot and the family will go to prison.”

Self is completely hooked on this combination vampire/Sherlock Holmes mystery!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Riding on Trains with Holmes

Self has been reading this book for a few days, and she’s only at p. 30. Why? In general, her reading pace seems to have slowed (Six books a month is her average). Perhaps because the past holidays made her broody? She means, broodier than usual? Pandemic Year 2 was a rough year.

In the past 30 pages, Holmes and Russell are (ostensibly married, though they haven’t touched each other once — guess theirs is a marriage of the minds!) on a train. They’ve been on a train since p. 1. While our two leads are riding trains, self had ample opportunity to learn about:

  • vampires
  • Castle Bran
  • Queen Marie of Romania

In fact, she looked up pictures of Castle Bran on Instagram. It exists! And what a name for a castle. (She keeps thinking of Bram Stoker)

Then she googled “Queen Marie of Romania” and found that the Queen died of cirrhosis at 63. Oops. Not quite the image self got from Castle Shade! Her eldest son usurped the throne and made her a virtual prisoner. That must have broken her. She was a smart woman, much smarter than her husband. The Rumanians loved her. Life just isn’t fair.

Meanwhile, there is no indication from p. 30 that this train journey is approaching an end. Which is just fantastic, as our two mains get to discuss Mycroft (Though self hasn’t read a Sherlock Holmes mystery in decades, she does know who Mycroft is!). Oh, and here’s a passage about time passing on trains. Self really likes the way Laurie R. King describes it:

We rode the train — indeed, we rode a number of trains — for what seemed like days. We passed through cities, mountains, farmland, while the restless fever rose again and pulled me into sleep. I would wake, and follow Holmes into the restaurant car, then return to my seat and my stupor. Holmes would be there, then gone, then there again.

When I woke, countryside was passing by, bright fields beneath a blazing sun.

Castle Shade, Chapter Six, p. 30

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