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.

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

Setting

Husband and wife discuss:

“What awaits us in Bucharest, anyway?”

“Not Bucharest.”

“No?”

“A village near the town of Brasov, in Transylvania.”

“Transyl. Good God.” I stared at him. If Roumania was a realm of dragons, then the province of Transylvania would be the creature’s lair: dark, mysterious, and potentially deadly. There was a reason why Bram Stoker chose it as the home of his ancient vampire — a novel that has given me nightmares even before I knew I was going there.

“It is actually quite a pleasant piece of countryside, Holmes insisted. “Mineral resources, rich agricultural valleys, the Carpathians for defense. A fascinating source of folkloric traditions and superstitions.”

“One assumes their farmers grow plenty of garlic.”

Castle Shade, Chapter Two

ATFTOOD, pp. 155 – 156

When Donner gives us the ages of Reinhard Heydrich, Heinrich Himmler, and Hermann Goring — self’s jaw drops to the floor. Heinrich Himmler, “leader of the SS and architect of the concentration camp system” is thirty-three. THIRTY-THREE! Reinhard Heydrich, the head of the Gestapo, is thirty.

The oldest, Goring, is forty-one.

omg. Rank amateurs, all three. The Night of the Long Knives was their rehearsal.

  • In Munich, a man is playing cello in the study of his apartment while his wife prepares dinner and their three children, ages nine, eight, and two, play a game. The doorbell rings. Four SS officers march in and arrest him. Later, they shoot him and deliver his casket to his wife with an apology. The man wasn’t who they thought he was. They’d confused Willi Schmid, a music critic, with Willi Schmidt, a Storm Trooper.

Stay tuned.

Today: Alta Mesa Center for the Arts Kicks Off Reading Series 2022

Featured Readers:

  • Lillian Howan
  • Maw Shein Win
  • Dawn Angelica Barcelona

Sunday, Jan. 9, 4 p.m. ON ZOOM.
Register here.

And It’s Back to the Challenge!

So who has the gall? The gumption? The guts?
Who’ll spring from this seat and snatch this weapon?
I offer the axe — who’ll have it as his own?

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A New Verse Translation by Simon Armitage

Back to Reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the verse translation by Simon Armitage

Self is reading three books at the moment: My Heart, by Semzedin Mehmehdinovic (which she is hugely enjoying — it’s her first ever book by a Bosnian writer); Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; and All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, by Rebecca Donner (about Donner’s great-great-aunt, Mildred Harnack)

She reads according to her mood. This morning, the mood is verse:

The Green Knight:

I’m clothed for peace, not kitted out for conflict.
But if you’re half as honorable as I’ve heard folk say
you’ll gracefully grant me this game which I ask for
by right.

Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge (CMMC) and Flower of the Day (FOTD) AND Water, Water Everywhere (WWE)!

Self multi-posting/multi-tasking like mad!

There’s a brief break in the rain. Self has to fetch a book from the library, then dash to the post office.

In the meantime, she did a quick check of her backyard. And found her plants doing quite well, thank you very much.

Here’s a close-up of her loropetalum razzleberri “fringe flower” for three photo challenges: CMMC, FOTD, and Jez’s WWE!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Challenge # 180: Favorite Images of 2021

Thank you to Tina Schell of Travels and Trifles, host of this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge, Favorite Images of 2021.

  • First and foremost, let me begin by wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year. As always, the turn of the calendar page to January 1st brings with it an opportunity to begin anew ā€“ having learned lessons, accomplished some of our goals, or perhaps having simply survived to start a new day. Whatever our thoughts about the year just passed, we once again have a chance to make the new one even better. — Tina Schell

Without further ado, here are self’s favorite images of 2021:

Despite the pandemic, self managed to do quite a lot of things in 2021.

HUH. Who would have thought?

Seems the vaccines do work!

Simon Armitage’s SIR GAWAIN and the GREEN KNIGHT

What we know about the original:

  • It was “probably written around 1400.” It was recorded as being in the collection of Sir Robert Cotton, who also owned the Lindisfarne Gospels “and the only existing manuscript of Beowulf . . . but it did not come to light again until Queen Victoria was on the throne.”
  • Its official name is Cotton Nero A.x., and it sits (of course) in the British Library “under conditions of high security and controlled humidity.”
  • It was written down by “a jobbing scribe,” probably not the author.
  • A line from the manuscript: “Forthi, iwysse, bi yowre wylle, wende mi behoves.” (This was what medieval English sounded like! It has almost no similarity to modern English)

Self hopes she will actually be able to stick with this translation, all the way to the end. She has never read Sir Gawain in verse form. Verse (as opposed to poetry) isn’t really her thing. That said, she did read Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey, and loved it. And she loves the story of Sir Gawain. Earlier this year she saw The Green Knight, supposedly based on this translation, which struck her as mysterious and strange. Which is what led her here.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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