Snow again! I will not bore you with even more tales of woe regarding the winter pummeling we are taking here in New England because I don’t want to get monotonous and I do want to get in the Spring state of mind. It may not actually come til late May, but I will keep my eyes on the prize. We are getting little tastes of warmer days to come, as if Mother Nature was saying “No, no-put down that pill bottle! Don’t kick out the chair. The bleak winter will end soon!” Of course, we all know Mother Nature does like a laugh…

We have enjoyed a day or two here and there when the temp got into the 50’s (!) That’s when these happened:

photo 1
‘Oh! Is it time for us to sprout? Thank goodness, we have been waiting forever! Wait-this isn’t Spring. Oh no!….”

*Warning! The next picture is NSFPWWF ( Not Safe for People With White Furniture)!*

photo 2
In the Spring a walk outside becomes an ordeal because upon our return we must scrub off the undercarriage. X2 dogs-(Sugar won’t allow her picture to be taken when she is untidy)

But speaking of sunshine, the beautiful Tabitha at Bourbon & Pearls, the one and only, nominated me for the Sunshine Award. As a recipient I am to reveal a list of 11 tidbits about myself. I was so excited that I made an acceptance speech to the pooches. But then I realized that I would have to reveal a list of 11 tidbits about myself. This is not the sort of thing I do easily, because I am a bad liar and a list full of taradiddles would be far more entertaining. But everyone else has been honest so I will be too.

1. I have no practical knowledge of the words qualitative and quantitative. Oh sure, I know what they mean,  but I cannot use them in conversation because I draw a blank. Many years ago they were stored in some now defunct part of my brain and try as I might to release them, they are stuck. I will go through life without them.

2. I want to marry into an aristocratic family. I know, it’s hard when you are already married. I don’t want to align myself with the Windsors or anything but a family with a title, a coat of arms, a large ancestral home, a house in the city. I am not bothered with the husband-marry the first time for love, the second for money I say. Is the Laird of Glenbogle still single?

break-Im not so sure this was a good idea. After only two entrys I have portrayed myself as both stupid and shallow. But in the true, hearty spirit of my ancestors, I will press on.

3. Every Friday night I make homemade pizza. My favorite so far is butternut squash, caramelized onions, ricotta and bacon. I also made one with dollops of mashed potato with cheddar cheese and bacon that was tasty. I make the dough half whole wheat, it still looks white but it is a bit heartier.


4. I have no thyroid gland. It was causing trouble- it thought it would take over the show so I had to take a hit out on it. I had to swallow a pill of radioactive iodine which necessitated a short vaca  while the heat died down. In other words I had to stay at our cottage for a few days all by myself because I couldn’t be around people due to the radioactivity. Weird, no? Now I have to take a pill every morning to compensate for the distinct lack of thyroid.

5. I am not a vegan but it is easier to say than “I eat high-nutrient, plant based foods every day but two or three times a month I will eat delicious steak and I do have milk in my morning coffee”. And if you read this blog you are familiar with my carnivorous dalliances

6. When I was about 23 or so I joined the navy. But before I could start they told me the navy MD heard a heart murmur on my physical so they rejected me. Maybe my heart was quivering at the idea of joining the navy…

7. Before I was married, I was a paramedic. Created to be a prehospital extension of the emergency physician, most people think of them as ambulance drivers. People would say “oh, you drove an ambulance?” to which I would reply “Not if anyone was sick”. I am particularly adept at starting an IV in difficult circumstances and had an affinity for cardiology. It was a hard and sometimes dangerous job and has never been accurately portrayed on film which is always irritating. You know all those things that an ER doctor yells on tv when a patient is rolled in? Well in real life they have already been done, sans yelling, in the back of a moving ambulance, or while kneeling on broken glass on the side of the highway. Suck it, House.

I was an EMT for the city before I gave it all up to move into the country and start a family (not in that order)

break again-I doubt I have redeemed myself. Now I am coming off as a man. If you could see me you know that is indeed, not the case. Let’s see if I can turn this around:

8. Here comes the crazy: I hate showers. Oh, I will take them of course because I am a very germ-adverse neatnick. But bathtubs, drains, shower walls,- I cant stand having any contact with any of them. Dont even like to look at ’em. I will never use someone else’s and I cannot use a hotel shower without a shot of whiskey and flip flops. When we moved in I had the entire bathroom torn out and replaced. I scrub the shower at least once a week and you will never see me sit in a tub. I can’t even look at a hottub, its just a big vat of human soup.

9. I don’t eat fish. Nothing that swam in, crawled around, or undulated through the ocean . Strange for a New Englander, I know. But to me they are all just bugs that swim. And who was the first person to look at a lobster and say ‘yum’. Can’t even stand the smell of seafood.

break 3-nope, just shallow, manly and crazy. Maybe I should make some things up. Bah-too late now

10. I can recite the entire Preamble to the Constitution. Thank you, Schoollhouse Rock

11. I went to college in Texas and loved it there so much that I was branded: I have a little tattoo of texas on my…….actually never mind. That’s 11, right?

ps nominations to follow. Get ready Blue Booby, Jody Brettkelly and Admiral Cod..


American Cool


smithsonain seal

The National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian

and the blog American Alconleigh

invite you to the opening ceremony of the newest exhibit

American Cool

Wednesday the Twelfth of March at now o’clock

dress is American cool. Blue jeans, nautical attire, Mardi Gras beads and feathers, cheerleader dresses and cowboy boots will all be appropriate.


Did you feel all that coolness wafting your way? It’s not the polar vortex again, (though that is making a return later this week). No, it is the newest exhibit at the Smithsonian, American Cool, a collection of images portraying the people who made cool what it is today.  The originals, the rule breakers, the style makers all collected together in  a pictorial display exploring the evolution of this uniquely American cachet. Over 100 photos of the men and women who came to be associated with the styles and trends that have a uniquely American identity. The Smithsonian covers the ‘who’ American Alconleigh will add the ‘what’. Both exhibits are free of charge

Not as easy to define as it is to recognize, I would see American cool as a confident individualism and independent style. I don’t think of cool as just rebellion, but many of the people that have come to personify it were rebels.  However you define it we must all agree its nursery was the smokey dance clubs and neon lit streets of the jazz world.


Lester Young~He had his own relaxed and laid-back style with his music and he believed each musician should play his own way: “tell their own story”. He brought an individualism and freedom of expression to jazz that undoubtedly helped it to blossom. His talent brought forth not only great music, but a new language. ‘The Prez’ coined the lingo, you dig?


Bessie Smith~The first female jazz singer to become well known and the gritty ballads she belted out were not pretty stories for polite society but woeful tales of abuse, neglect, poverty and lust. When she wasn’t belting out tunes she was belting out adversaries.

Raymond Chandler - The Big SleepBlackMaskFalcon2

The Detective~As a great devotee of Christie/Sayers/Doyle et al I cannot possibly claim that the detective mystery is a facet of American cool. But the tough, gritty, anti-hero imagined by Dashiell Hammet, Raymond Chandler and the like became the archetype for a new genre. Hard boiled, dollface.


Each so cool in their own right, Bogey and Bacall have separate entries in the Smithsonian top 100, but here I am putting them together to even better appreciate the glacial coolness resulting from the combination.

“You know how to whistle, don’t you Steve? You just put your lips together, ..and blow”


Frank~The crooner, the tough guy, the actor, the high roller. If I may drop a veil with my readers, I can admit that I would have gladly spent an indiscreet weekend in Vegas with Ole Blue Eyes and his cronies. He could even call me Sweetcheeks, to which I would gush and bat my eyelashes. And I would not have an ounce of regret. How any woman could go from this to an ugly whine-y pathetic movie director I cannot comprehend.

“You can be the most artistically perfect performer in the world, but an audience is like a broad-if you’re indifferent, endsville.”


Custom Harley choppers for riding across the country~There are long open roads out there, winding through mesas and dusty towns, through big cities and around majestic mountains. Roads just waiting for you to straddle a hog, don a leather jacket and do-rag and leave everything behind. Ride from coast to coast then back again. Get in a little trouble, make a little noise (though not with the pipes-that’s just obnoxious), flout the law and feel the wind in your hair.


Cowboys~ No matter how sophisticated or urbane you may be, you would do well to spend some time with real cowboys. They will show you what it means to get up early, keep your word, bow your head, care for animals, take a fall, stand up in a fight, be tender and tough, humble and confident, hard working and hard playing. Especially now when our mantra is instant gratification, effort is an imposition and common sense isn’t common, cowboy life will impart upon you a perspective that will be invaluable, whatever your life path. Mothers, you should send your daughters to live for a spell in cowboy country before they go out in the world. I’m not saying they should only marry a cowboy, I’m just saying they should only marry after meeting some.

photograph of jfk and jacqueline sailing victura mo 636122

The Kennedys~ youth and power. They raised the tone of style and lowered the age of power brokers. As individuals, perhaps not the most upstanding of citizens but their wealthy and youthful lifestyle set a standard on the beach or in the White House.

snow bowl again
Good game. Mr Bebe is in the crowd there somewhere. I was home tending to the offspring, minding my place

Football~ Combining the best of all other sports, football is the pinnacle of athleticism. If you put together a group rugby players, track stars, dancers, and an orchestra conductor and made them play a full game without stopping for feigned injuries or bad weather, you would have football-a game of both strategy and strength, because you cannot win without both. Meaty linemen, cerebral quarterbacks, agile and swift receivers, every game is a display of physical performance


Baseball~I have to include baseball in the American Alconleigh addendum to American Cool. It is such a part of the national identity that I would be remiss to skip it. Whereas football makes our list for the sport itself, baseball is the players, the fans, the parks, even the food. The very sound of a baseball game makes me think of hot lazy summer afternoons.


Skyscrapers~Not just any skyscrapers, but the beautiful art deco ones that you find in the older cities. They make you want look skyward as you walk, but I would recommend you watch out for cabs.


Did you think I was going to include apple pie? I’m sure it wouldn’t be out of place. But my idea of an American dessert is a big ‘ole ice cream cone. The only thing missing from this one is jimmies.

Seeking a seisuin, I did myself no favors

For our weekly flight into the city I was in the mood for some Irish music and a good old fashioned pub style lunch as the starting point for a ramble through town.  I like a city Sunday; we often start with a nice breakfast at home and we tend to approach these excursions with only the briefest outline of a plan.  Invariably there is food involved, and much walking. And last Sunday something directed my mind toward an early St. Patricks day.


the financial district has more Irish pubs than any other part of the city. Not sure why
the financial district has more Irish pubs than any other part of the city. Not sure why


photo 2

My first mistake was skipping breakfast. My thinking was that I wanted to get this trip underway before any pubs became crowded and to give us plenty of time to wander at our leisure before people started to complain about getting home to catch the Walking Dead. By the time we arrived at a place called Dooleys I was well and truly famished, with that complete emptiness that drives any other awareness from your mind. Hungry.

photo 1

The waitress was slow as molasses in January so I assessed my situation accordingly: we would break the habit of a lifetime and order appetizers, or I wasn’t going to make it until our lunches arrived. This dubious decision was lubricated by the three sips of Smithwicks I had immediately upon arrival.  What other excuse is there for this:

don't judge me too harshly.
don’t judge me too harshly-we only finished half of this monstrosity amongst the four of us

I ordered the meatiest offering on the menu: whiskey marinated steak tips, sausage, Irish bacon, mashed potatoes, baked beans, and brown bread. I wanted to try each of these meaty delicacies, and give the vegetables a rest for one afternoon.

I've never seen so much hearty food on one plate. Not a green vegetable in sight
you can just barely see the one little piece of lettuce under all that hearty meat, like a little verdant patch under a rugby scrum

Obviously I couldn’t come close to finishing it, but I gave it a good try. My regular diet is almost exclusively vegan with occasional carnivorous splurge. A surprising result of this little gastronomic dalliance is that my appetite has transferred its attentions from nuts and seeds to meats, potatoes, and sugars. My stomach has discovered food and it likes it. I had successfully tricked my body into being satisfied with nuts & berries, but somehow this pub lunch has opened a Pandoras box and now I am desirous of hearty meals and sugary treats. If this keeps up at my age, I will be in trouble.

Winston’s muse

Difficulties, setbacks, misfortune…these things sent to try us. What else can be done other than to batten down the hatches and ride out the storm til everything is yare again? The human spirit has a fail safe for turmoil: retreat to a place of safety to convalesce and eventually re-evaluate.  For one young man, the muse of painting was his salve, and throughout his long life he would employ brush, oils, and canvas to nourish his soul and keep the ‘black dog’ on a leash.

Born at Blenheim, and cousin by marriage to our dear friend Consuelo, this young man had ambition beyond measure.

Conseulo and Winston
Consuelo and Winston

Straight out of school, he attacked life with vigor, eager to take his place among his noble and heroic ancestors.

Marlborough Tapestries at Blenheim
Marlborough Tapestries at Blenheim, featuring the noble and heroic ancestors

Our young man traveled the world to find battlefields upon which he could test his mettle and as he collected commendations, he wrote books about his adventures and campaigns, and prepared himself for a life in politics.


He dodged the blades of Dervishes as he rode in the cavalry charge at Omdurman. He faced down the barrel of a Boer’s gun as he was taken prisoner in Africa. He spent his birthday getting shot at in Cuba. Eventually he made his way in to politics and in a very short amount of time he was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty.

His meteoric rise was to suffer a terrible setback when his plans for a major campaign in Turkey had disastrous results calling in to question his suitability for the post. He was forced to resign from the position he had worked so hard to achieve, and he retreated with his family to a country home in Surrey where he brooded over his misery. His family and friends were very worried about him, and he himself believed that his career was over.  But one day he noticed his sister in law Goonie painting in the yard and he was inspired to try it himself.  So enamoured was he that he outfitted himself with all the trappings of an artist and immersed himself in his new hobby.

a dab hand indeed-one of his very first paintings
Hoe Farm, his refuge at a time of self doubt and misery. Our young man was a dab hand indeed-this is one of his very first paintings

His friends and family did all they could to encourage this diversion from his troubles and they were very pleased to see his spirit renew. His neighbor, Sir John Lavery  was an accomplished painter and mentored our young man with delightful results.

photo 1
Sir John Lavery in the studio where they worked together so often. This was painted at the very start of Winstons painting career
Lady Gwendoline Churchill ("Goonie")
Lady Gwendoline Churchill (“Goonie”)

“The Muse of Painting came to my rescue- out of charity and out of chivalry, because after all she had nothing to do with me-and said ‘ Are these toys any good to you? They amuse some people.’ “

Soon our young man was able to gather his wits and start over, returning to the scene of his previous successes: the field of battle . Off he went to the frontlines where he took over command of a battalion in Belgium-and painted.

fighting in Ploegsteert,Belgium
fighting in Ploegsteert,Belgium
photo 2
Lawrence Farm, headquarters at Ploegsteert

He built his career back up from there, and for the rest of his life, our young man would paint to reflect, to relax, and to keep the worries if not away, then at least abated.

photo 1
Pyramids of Cairo
A State Room at Blenheim
photo 4
photo 2
Cap d’Ail, near Monaco
photo 4
Ruins of the cathedral at Arras. A copy of a work by our other dear friend John Singer Sargent
photo 5
Tea at Chartwell. Diana Mitford is second from the left, our friend in the center
photo 3
when our dear Consuelo ditched Sunny Marlborough she married Jacques Balsan and they settled here, at Chateau St-Georges-Motel in Normandy. Our friend visited often.
photo 2
Marrakech.The only painting our friend ever made during the Second World War. He gifted this one to President Roosevelt who was with him at the time it was painted

“Armed with a paint-box, one cannot be bored, one cannot be left at a loose end, one cannot ‘have several days on one’s hands'”

Im terribly afraid that Ive killed a man

A quick story this morning, not really the sort of thing I imagined I would be writing about, but it may assist my defense if I tell my story now, before any charges are filed.

I recently started using Dr Hauschka for my face. Gone are the days of glycerine soap and gentle moisturizer, Ive found that my face needs a bit more pampering now. It’s not easy to find a non toxic lotion that is also gentle enough for my skin, but Dr Hauschka has been working well, although it’s a bit pricey.  I can buy it at Whole Foods, but somehow, it’s cheaper if I buy it directly from the website and have it delivered.

So my little box arrives and it is filled with packing peanuts to protect its precious cargo. These packing peanuts, I thought, looked just like organic cheese puffs. I knew right away what I had to do. I took a handful and put them in a sandwich baggie for Mr Bebe’s lunch.

my kitchen at 6am

I felt a twinge of guilt of course, but as I saw it, there was really nothing else that could be done. One cannot simply ignore an opportunity like this.
My assumption was that he would take one out and as soon as he touched it he would know that they weren’t edible. He would be disappointed for a moment or two, denied cheesy goodness, but he would heal.

Can you see where this is going? As it turned out, he ate one. Then three. Then, in a move I didn’t anticipate, he gave some to one of his colleagues who also ate a few. He said he found them tasteless and he wanted his friend to try them to see if he agreed. Then he left the bag around the office in case anyone wanted to finish them.  When he told me this I didn’t know whether to be proud at the success of my practical joke or worried that I may have just poisoned several people- It never crossed my mind that he would actually eat them. “you didn’t know, when you were eating them, they weren’t even food?” I asked him. He told me that he just thought they were organic.

Mr Bebe made it through the night with out any sort of acute distress but his colleague wasn’t at work this morning, and although that’s not unusual, I have packed a few bags in case I need to make a run for it.

I would not do well in prison. It looks worse than camping.

We spend our Sunday on Mt Whoredom

It is not a rare occasion that we find ourselves heading into the city for a day long stroll. No destination in particular, no plan. Just to wander at a decent clip through some of the most interesting parts of the city. Last Sundee found us on Beacon Hill.


Back before  the time of the Revolution there were three hills here, one of which had a beacon at the top-Beacon Hill. To the south was a town common where British soldiers would drill and farmers would bring their cows to graze.


Off to the east was the harbor and the docks were busy with the comings and going of sailors with goods for the New World.  When these soldiers and sailors were inclined toward unseemly activities  they would saunter over to the northern slopes of the hills for cheap grog and a wench. This area became known as Mt Whoredom. It was so disreputable that (gasp!) ne’er do wells could be found playing nine pins in the middle of the night.

“Dissipated the players at Nine Pins at Mount-Whoredom. Benjamin Davis, Chairmaker, and Jacob Hasy were two of them. Reproved Thomas Messenger for entertaining them.”

-excerpt from the diary of Judge Samuel Sewell, 1715

As the city grew and more homes were required, these hills were flattened, the land used as fill,

John Bufford lithograph

and mansions were built overlooking the Common for the city’s prominent residents. Over the years the unsavory element was replaced by a more genteel crowd and Mt Whoredom eventually became one of the most affluent locations in MA.


home of Louisa May Alcott  10 Louisberg Sq
home of Louisa May Alcott
10 Louisburg Sq
Charles St


After winding through the brick-clad back streets we sauntered down to Beacon St where it runs along the parks.

photo 2

A quick picture I took just for the lamp. It’s difficult to see but that is a charming little art deco lantern.  There are many architectural treasures to reward a stroll around this area and I didn’t take nearly enough pictures

knock, knock-may I come in?
knock, knock-may I come in?

These are the wonderful old doors behind which the Cabots and Lowells enjoy a quiet whiskey. The Somerset Club is a enclave of old Boston Brahminism that sounds to me like a little slice of heaven. But since my forebears came over on a steamer from Glasgow only 70 years ago rather than a wooden sailing ship from England almost 400 years ago, my family cannot be found on the club list. I would be very responsive to an offer of membership, if there is anyone out there that can put my name forward…

photo 3Walking down Arlington St. we turned into Boston Garden where we discovered people traipsing around the frozen pond. I was hesitant at first and rapidly tried to calculate the rough displacement of a swanboat when it dawned on me that the pond is probably no more than 4ft deep.

photo 1

summer in the Public Gardens
summer in the Public Gardens

photo 3

photo 2

Good afternoon General.

photo 4

Then we headed out of the Public Garden and into the fashionable boulevards of Boylston & Newbury Streets.

When I returned home that evening I happily informed Mr. Bebe that I wished to move into Beacon Hill. He responded to my enthusiasm with a patient but clearly dismissive grunt that caused a sharp frost to settle upon my countenance-obviously I will have to reconsider my options.

Alva’s house

Some time ago, just this past summer, we went to Alva’s house. A certain book that I have been reading lately reminded me of this little visit, and I found myself searching for the pictures I took that day.*

But first, in a matter completely unrelated to my narrative, this is a picture of the vertiginous bridge we have to cross in order to get to her part of town:

:newportbridge IMG_6307




Alva Vanderbilt Belmont 1911
Alva Vanderbilt Belmont 1911

When one thinks of ambitious marriage plans,one thinks of Alva. As a young girl in Mobile Alabama, her wealthy family came up against some hard financial times. So stressful was this for the family, that her mother took ill and died. Alva didn’t like the feeling of helplessness that resulted as she was a very resolute and ambitious woman, so she arranged a introduction to one of the richest men in the world from whom she managed to get a marriage proposal. Alva proceeded to work her way into the highest of NY high society and set about building mansions. Her summer cottage, Marble House, a gift from her husband for her 39th, is in Newport and that is where we visited.

Marble House, Newport
Marble House, Newport
around the back
around the back

photo 2

Alvas boudoir. from my iphone
Alvas boudoir. from my iphone
a better picture
a better picture

Alva had a daughter, the lovely Consuelo and it was very important to Alva that her daughter align herself with the sort of money and prestige that would give her more options than the staid and suffocating drawing rooms of New York would provide. To Alva this meant marriage into the English aristocracy where wives could enjoy something of a life beyond the home; the title would come with a job-something to actually do.

It was decided that Consuelo would be married to the Ninth Duke of Marlborough. Poor Consuelo had fallen for a Mr Walter Rutherford of New York (a society dandy whom Edith Wharton called ‘the protagonist in all my early novels’), but Alva wouldn’t hear of it and used many methods of coercion until she finally got her way and Consuelo became Duchess of Marlborough. As this was going on, Alva was divorcing her own husband, a very challenging move socially, and the illustrious marriage of her daughter served also to subdue much of the scandal.

Duke of Marlboro Family John Singer Sargent 1905
Duke of Marlboro Family
John Singer Sargent 1905

Consuelo lived at Blenheim and took to her ducal (can that be used in the fem.?) responsibilities with grace and kindness, and although her husband was an oaf, she was much adored in her adoptive homeland.  Back at home Alva married another, lesser millionaire and moved into a smaller mansion, keeping Marble House for later use. After her second husband died she threw herself and her fortune into a cause she felt very strongly about:photo 5

part of Alvas service
part of Alvas service
rally at Marble House
rally at Marble House

Consuelo had two sons, stuck it out for as long as she could bear then left the Duke and married a French balloonist who made her happy.  Alva spent the rest of her life working to forward the cause of women’s suffrage and was president of the National Womens Party until her death.

A happy ending, and plenty of jewels and mansions along the way.

*in the end, I couldn’t find my pictures- downloaded into oblivion, I guess. Only a couple remained

It was elementary

I make assumptions, that’s my problem. When I  began watching Sherlock I was pleasantly surprised with its clever writing, adherence to the original Doyle and rich production.  It was clever without self-admiration, intelligent without heavy weather and amusing enough to coax from my lips the occasional chuckle. It had just about everything I enjoy for a tv evening in (which almost all of my evenings are).


I like my tv shows like my men: intelligent, rich, witty, and a little exciting.

It carries on in the tradition of fine British mysteries made for tv like Morse, Poirot, Lewis, et al.

the one and only
the one and only
Lewis and hubba-hubba Hathaway
Lewis and hubba-hubba Hathaway

But whereas those remained consistently stimulating over the years, Sherlock, dear Sherlock, has put on its leather jacket and swim trunks, donned its jet skis, and, if it hasn’t quite jumped the shark yet, it’s confirming hand signals with the spotter.


I assumed they knew what they had, and would continue on in the same vein. This is British television, after all. The gold standard of drama.

I started to get  worried when, after only two seasons, they made a self congratulatory ‘making of’ series with long winded interviews of the actors and producers. A little premature, I thought. Not a good sign, but perhaps the quality of the product won’t be adversely affected by the marketing push. When series three finally premiered, it had several redeeming qualities, but rather light on plot and heavy on the recycled material.  Episode two was even worse. In place of a plot we had a mere pastiche of all the things that the ‘fandom’ have been squealing about on twitter: Sherlocks social inadequacies, his affection for Watson, unspoken thoughts popping up as text on screen, sibling rivalry with Mycroft…..all of these work if lightly accessorizing a well fleshed out plot, but they cannot hold a show on their own. What happened to the brilliance of the Moffat/Gatiss team?  Such a display of self awareness and pandering was more like a 90 minute commercial for the show. The murder was so preposterous  as to be embarrassing.


The destructive hand of popularity has grabbed Sherlock firmly around the neck and, with bloated fingers, has begun to squeeze the intelligence out of him leaving a previously clever and rich characterization just a revenue zombie set to roam through episode after episode as a prop for merchandise.

Like the original Mr Holmes at Reichenbach-the show has fallen far.

Sidney Paget illustration
Sidney Paget illustration

But who knows-he may have a resurrection. I have my fingers crossed.


photo 2

So here I sit, nestled in my flannel sheets, dripping and deshabille, wishing that the recent “blizzard” had actually lived up to its name and blanketed my town with at least a foot of snow.

Dustin, respectful & concerned, remains just inside the doorway while Sugar, proprietary & demanding, steps over my slippers to lay paws on the dais
Dustin, respectful & concerned, remains just inside the doorway while Sugar, proprietary & demanding, steps over my slippers to lay paws on the dais

Here in Woodcock Pocket if we get over a foot of snow the dogs cannot see when they go outside-the snow would be over their heads.

Sugar leaps out the door then abruptly reconsiders
Sugar leaps out the door then abruptly reconsiders

So trails must be made with the snowblower, around the house and through the back 40, allowing them to get outside for fresh air and tend to their little puppy business.


The dogs love this because they are off leash and can run and sniff to their hearts desire. They run madly, with wild abandon, round and round the house, in different directions, like little furry electrons circling their nucleus.


But the snow is not deep enough for such frivoliy today, therefore I will have to take them out on the leash. In my weakened and feeble condition I am afraid that exposure to the subzero temps will be the death of me, if the exertion of gearing up doesnt kill me first. I could just manage to drag myself to a door and open it, but without the trails to contain them, Im afraid I wouldn’t see them again til Easter and that would upset the offspring.


There was always someone in attendance at Alconleigh so the day to day care of animals was never much of a difficulty. And our pets always roamed free, we hardly ever used a leash and we never ‘walked’ the dogs. We would hike or play or roam around, and the doges would come with us, but that’s not quite the same. If the dogs ever had any business to attend to outside whilst the family was otherwise occupied, a simple, polite, half-bark would prompt the opening of a door and another would open it upon their return. I am not sure why I adopted different system….

If I make it back, there will be another blog post. If not, you have only these 7 to remember me by.