Home And Hearth Centuries On

I like to joke occasionally that I consider the eighteenth century the beginning of everything. That’s an exaggeration, I know. But by that I mean the second half of that century sees the beginnings of “ourselves” in a myriad of ways that we today would easily recognize.

We have moved well-beyond what nearly all of those people living then would have imagined the future to be. While, for instance, Thomas Jefferson, who owned enslaved persons, held that African men in that degraded position still possessed an innate human equality with white men, he also wrote (privately) that he could not abide the idea of any woman in government. (A “woman’s trade” was to produce children and maintain “domestic felicity.”) It was still widely accepted that a man should own a goodly amount of property (usually land) in order to vote (because owning property meant you had a true stake in the society). The likes of LGBT equality would have simply been unfathomable to them.

Yet Jefferson’s noting he believed women were unsuited to government also meant that he had at least thought about it. It was by then among the many other no longer “unthinkables.” He, and so many others of that time, helped get “a process” started.

French dog, taking himself for a walk on a hot day, attempting to figure out how to jump into the Gironde River (leading to Bordeaux) from an elevated promenade. [Photo by me, 2016.]
French dog, taking himself for a walk on a hot day, attempting to figure out how to jump into the Gironde River (leading to Bordeaux) from an elevated promenade. [Photo by me, 2016.]

With France’s defeat by Britain in America in 1763, we see the beginnings of the “modern” Great Britain, France and United States that we all live in today.

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High Street Mornings

I wouldn’t have trouble making “that 9:30 lecture” this morning. I woke up at 4:30. I’m typing this now with a first coffee at just after 6 AM.

We know it isn’t just university students who’ve returned to school. We live on our Hertfordshire village’s high street, which is a busy stretch of road in the morning and late afternoon “rushes” (and it’s officially 30 MPH, and if some few idiots insist on speeding – as they do – they’ll be a speed camera here eventually because that’s how this country is). The rest of the day, it’s an unpredictable flow.

Our village high street, Hertfordshire, England, seen from my office about 6:30AM today. Still quiet. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Our village high street, Hertfordshire, England, seen from my office, about 6:30AM today. Still quiet. [Photo by me, 2016.]

There’s also a bus stop right in front of our house. Mostly it’s only lightly used, with the exception of weekday mornings when a few dozen teens in the same school uniforms appear from every direction and congregate on the sidewalk (“pavement” in English) to wait for a bus that passes around 8 AM. They don’t generally have “yellow” school buses here in England; kids use the public buses. (At that, some American parents clutch their chests; but it is safe.)

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From Across The Irish Sea

Only minutes after I published yesterday’s post, my shaken mother-in-law phoned us with sad family news.

Excerpt from "Distances." Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Distances.” Click to expand.

My wife’s uncle-in-law, who was an inspiration for a gregarious, friendly Irish tourist in Rome in Distances, died at home in London early Sunday morning.

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In The Shadow Of Windsor

Friday night we went to an, uh, fiftieth birthday party at a hotel two minutes’ walk around from Windsor Castle:

The Queen Victoria statue in front of Windsor Castle. [Photo by me, 2016.]
The Queen Victoria statue in front of Windsor Castle. [Photo by me, 2016.]

The castle is along the edge of Windsor. I’d never been to Windsor or so close to the castle before.

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Your Mark On Forever

I just got a text from my 18 year old niece. Her flight landed a little while ago in Belfast. She starts at university there on Monday.

How can she possibly be 18? Because that’s life for all of us. It’s the inevitable passage of time.

Thinking this morning about what I’ve worked on in recent days (examples are here and here) while the wife was away in Lisbon, and also in total over the last few months, I’m pleased for the moment at least.

Among what I listen to while writing. When the wife arrived home, she had, uh, caught me...listening to Sara Bareilles in the house. [Screen capture of my iPhone yesterday.]
Among what I listen to while writing. When the wife arrived home, she had, uh, caught me…listening to Sara Bareilles in the house. [Screen capture of my iPhone yesterday.]

Having finished another chapter, as I skimmed and re-read other more complete parts of that Conventions manuscript yesterday, briefly I’d disjointedly thought something along these lines:

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A Pivotal Introduction

I had some “fun” yesterday after leaving you here. As I had noted in yesterday’s post, there’s always something that needs writing, or just more cleaning up. Aside from simply not wishing to write, there’s really no excuse for any author (or an aspiring one) to be idle.

Write, write, write.

View over the Potomac River, from the back porch of George Washington's Mount Vernon home. [Photo by me, 2011.]
View over the Potomac River, from the back porch of George Washington’s Mount Vernon home. [Photo by me, 2011.]

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Alone Again In Hertfordshire (But Not Really Alone)

The wife is off to Lisbon for two days again for work. I got back a little while ago from dropping her off at the airport. So I’m home alone… with the British spiders:

Photo of a small spider (well, maybe not that small) hanging outside my home office window the other night. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Photo of a small spider (well, maybe not that small) hanging outside my home office window the other night. [Photo by me, 2016.]

It’s been reported here and there in media that British homes are facing an incursion this autumn of LARGE spiders (as mating season begins). We spotted one walking down the fireplace the other day, and WOW you could’ve put a lead on it and named it. Yesterday, I found another potential “pet” in the small rubbish bin in the lounge… and was I glad I found it before my wife did. (A happening which she did not know about until she reads this post. 3,2,1…)

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Fifteen Years Ago

Part of a personal experience of mine, placed in September 1994 for fictional purposes:

Excerpt from "Passports." Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Passports.” Click to expand.

That indoor observation deck was indeed superb. (I’m a bit better with heights now than I was then.😉 ) The roof walkaround just above it was reached by escalator with no guided escort being necessary, and was a more “open” viewing experience than the Empire State Building. There was no problem seeing from the top of the old World Trade Center:

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“A black statue of a bird”

Yesterday was, I know, not the type of post you expect here. It’s Saturday. Let’s smile.

Okay, I want you to name a classic film….

In the hallway, outside my office. A writing inspiration. [Photo by me, 2016.]
In the hallway, outside my home office. A writing motivation. [Photo by me, 2016.]

…No, no, hang on, not that one. Come on, I mean the title is right there! What kind of “challenge” is that?

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Say What?

Reading a Jack Reacher novel here in France on our holiday, my [English] wife told me she noticed this from author Lee Child, who’s English of course. We had a laugh. Can you spot it?:

From Lee Child's "Never Go Back," a "Jack Reacher" novel. [Photo by me, 2016.]
From Lee Child’s “Never Go Back,” a “Jack Reacher” novel. [Photo by me, 2016.]

As Bernard Shaw is famously quoted, “England and America are two countries separated by the same language.”

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