There Is No Other Word for It

STUPEFYING.

Self is on p. 176 of The Reason Why. She sincerely hopes battle will be joined soon, because so far the book’s been about a bunch of squabbling lords.

Anyhoo, four squadrons of British cavalry form “line with beautiful precision” in “the little valley of the Bulganek.” Above them, on the slopes, “a body of Russian cavalry about two thousand strong.”

On the ridge opposite, Lord Raglan and General Airey see what no British commanders “in the valley below could see, that the four squadrons were confronted with a far more formidable force than two thousand cavalry: on the plateau above was waiting an overwhelming body of troops, afterwards learned to consist of sixty-thousand infantry, two batteries of artillery, a brigade of cavalry, and nine troops of Cossacks.”

The 2000-strong squadrons of British cavalry are about TO CHARGE AN ENEMY FORCE OF SIXTY-THOUSAND.

HOLY HELL.

To be fair, Lord Raglan was not completely stupid. He was trying to extricate his cavalry, while providing them with the means for an orderly retreat. Providing rearguard support were “two divisions of infantry, two regiments of cavalry, and two batteries of artillery; and, inexplicably, the Russians allowed these supports to come into place. They were, it seemed, confused by the extraordinary steadiness, the ceremoniously exact formation, of the small force confronting them.”

To be continued.

July #TreeSquare Challenge # 10: Annaghmakerrig Again

I did a post last week about Annaghmakerrig Lake. These are from the same visit (March 2017), but taken of the trees outside my cottege at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig.

For a blissful month each year, I journeyed to this beautiful corner of Ireland, with one purpose only: to write. I was supposed to go in 2020, but of course COVID. My hope is to return, perhaps in 2023?

Thank you to Becky of The Life of B. If not for her #TreeSquare Challenge, I would not have thought to post these pictures.

The Incredible Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava

We are not there yet, dear blog readers.

In fact, up to this point in The Reason Why — self is at p. 142, a little over halfway — self has read pages and pages about the English class sytem and the Irish potato famine, but precious little about battles.

She read the backstory of stupid Lord Brudenelle. And now is reading the backstory of (marginally less stupid) Lord Lucan.

. . . he was leading his staff “a terrible life,” rising every morning at four, never pausing for a moment during the day or allowing anyone else to pause. Kinglake, who accompanied the Army, found it impossible to believe that “this tall, lithe, slender, young-looking officer was fifty-four years of age. He enjoyed perfect health, saw like a hawk, and pursued his duties as commander with a fierce, tearing energy and a dramatic intensity rare among English men. When issuing orders, his face would all at once light up with a glittering, panther-like aspect, resulting from the sudden fire of the eyes, and the sudden disclosure of the teeth, white, even and clenched. Orders poured from him in a stream; no detail was too small to escape his all-seeing eye, no trifle too insignificant to receive his meticulous attention.

The Reason Why, by Cecil Woodham-Smith

Skibbereen During the Potato Famine

  • When the Duke of Wellington visited Skibbereen. . . he discovered “six famished and ghastly skeletons, to all appearances dead, huddled in a corner, their sole covering what seemed to be a ragged horse cloth, and their wretched legs hanging about, naked above the knees. I approached in horror and found by a low moaning that they were alive, they were in fever — four children, a woman and what had once been a man . . . In a few minutes I was surrounded by at least 200 of such phantoms, such frightful spectres as no words can describe. By far the greater number were delirious either from famine or fever . . . Within 500 yards of the Calvary Station at Skibbereen, the dispensary doctor found seven wretches lying, unable to move, under the same cloak — one had been dead many hours, but the others were unable to move, either themselves or the corpse.” — p. 112, The Reason Why

“They turned the Adelphi into a Travelodge …”

The Thursday Murder Club, p. 51:

  • I know that Bernard will be in his customary position at the back. I always feel like I would like to sit next to him — he is jolly company when he turns his mind to it — but I know he visits Fairhaven for his late wife, so I leave him in peace. That’s where they met, and that’s where they lived before they moved in here. He told me that since she died he would go to the Adelphi Hotel, where she used to work, and polish off a couple of glasses of wine, overlooking the sea. That’s how I first found out about the minibus, if I’m honest, so silver linings. They turned the Adelphi into a Travelodge last year, so now Bernard sits on the pier.

Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC) #3: Dromberg Stone Circle

This stone circle was in southern Ireland, a day’s drive from Cork. Much smaller than Stonehenge, but — how beautiful to come upon it in the Irish countryside! Self saw the Dromberg Stone Circle in 2017 (She’s just beginning to appreciate the enormous amount of traveling she did that year!)

This is self’s 3rd posting for the Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC). Read all about it on Cee Neuner’s blog. She and Marsha Ingrao are co-hosts of this challenge.

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

July #TreeSquare Challenge #4: Sunday in Golden Gate Park, Part II

For this July #TreeSquare challenge, self is sharing more pictures she took in Golden Gate Park last Sunday, the Fourth of July. It was a beautiful day: cool! What a nice respite from the heat down on the Peninsula.

The statue is a memorial to Marie Bonner. The log cabin was something self stumbled open while wandering around the picnic area:

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Top Dialogue: The Thursday Murder Club

“I have a job for you, Ibrahim,” says Elizabeth, sipping a mint tea. “Well, a job for you and Ron, but I’m putting you in charge.”

“Very wise,” says Ibrahim, nodding. “If I might say.”

Quote of the Day: The Thursday Murder Club, pp. 37 – 38

  • “She must be fifty,” Ian thinks, same age as him. Different for women, though . . . If that meant having to flirt with a fifty-year-old for a couple of weeks, then so be it . . . As he shakes Karen’s hand, Ian thinks that using a bit of hand cream every now and again wouldn’t kill her. Fifty! He wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Ian’s thinking is apropos of THE VILLAIN. THE VILLAIN. THE VILLAIN!

That is all.

Colors and Letters Photo A Day Challenge: July 2

So many challenges, so little time!

July 2 is a COLOR: Azure.

OF COURSE self has Azure in her archived photos.

  • The latest issue of Pembroke Magazine is a beauty. Cover art is Creative Work Cow by Indian artist Chhavi Sharma. Self has a story in this issue: “Sand.” The editor asked if self could pose with a copy of the issue, preferably in a tropical setting (since her story’s set in the Philippines). She promised a beach picture. Watch this space!
  • Cheap Thrills is a vintage vinyl store on Higuera in downtown San Luis Obispo. Recommended by a friend who is very into vintage vinyl. This was such a great find. Look at that great storefront!

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

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