Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Alternative End- of- Year Awards

You want to have a bit of a laugh, don't you?
Go and look at the photos of the "alternative end of the year awards" on the BBC.  You may see them just here.

There, I hope you were able to see them. That one with the little girl after her first day at school...that cracked me up! The man who hired a clown to come in with him as he was being fired! (They say "made redundant" in England.)  Oh, and at the end... the French postmen...because, sure why not?  So funny!

There are serious photos too but I had already seen those, the funny ones were new to me.  (I love the one of the Korean woman delivering yogurt to the elderly.) I really do read the BBC a lot!

Happy New Year!  Keep laughing, that's my advice.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

SS Meredith Victory, The Ship of Miracles

Imagine a ship designed to carry 12 passengers with a 47 person crew somehow expanding to accommodate 14,000 people...
How can this be? It really happened between Dec. 15- Dec. 24,  1950 in Korea on the ship, the Meredith Victory during the Hungnam Evacuation. It is called the Miracle of Christmas. I had never seen photos of the refugees crammed onto the ship until I read a piece about it from the BBC recently. You may read it just here.  I urge you to do so.

In order to understand this you will need to know the background story of the Korean War...
It was a war between North Korea and South Korea. North Korea had the support of the Soviet Union and China. South Korea was supported by the United Nations.  Never actually declared a war, this "police action" claimed 33,686 American lives. 

The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir was from Nov. 27-Dec. 13, 1950.  This occurred during some of the coldest winter temperatures, estimated to be 36 degrees below Fahrenheit. (That would not only cause many cases of severe frostbite but also cause guns to jam and for the batteries in the jeeps to quickly die down.) 
The Frozen Chosen...that is a phrase you might have heard before, once again I urge you to read more about the desperate plight of those who were there.
Did I mention to any of you about the book " On Desperate Ground" by Hampton Sides? This book is about this battle which actually turned out to be a test of survival. The troops were ordered to withdraw to the port of Hungnam.   There, many Korean refugees waited hopefully to be put aboard one of the naval ships.  With 193 ships, the UN forces were evacuated and also roughly one third of the Korean refugees, about 100,000.  As I told you at the beginning of this post, one of the ships, the SS Meredith Victory, carried 14,000 of them. Here is a quote for you from the captain of that ship, Captain Leonard LaRue...

"I think often of that voyage. I think of how such a small vessel was able to hold so many persons...and as I think, the clear message comes to me that on that Christmastide, in the bleak and bitter waters off the shores of Korea, God's own hand was at the helm of my ship."

Even though there was very little food or water and the people were standing shoulder to shoulder, there were no injuries or casualties aboard. (In fact, five babies were born on ship!)

One of the officers aboard had this to say...

"There's no explanation for why the Korean people, as stoic as they were, were able to stand virtually motionless and in silence. We were impressed by the conduct of the refugees, despite their desperate plight. We were touched by it."

Col. Edward H. Forney was the evacuation control officer at Hungnam in 1950. His grandson, Ned Forney, is a writer who lives in Seoul, Korea and is working on a book about the Battle of Chosin and the Hungnam evacuation. You know that is a book that I will read!  I am happy to direct you to his website, you may find it just here.  (While there, don't miss his blog, where he also wrote about Jimmy Stewart and his military service. I promise that you will thank me for telling you.)

Finally, let me say that I have great respect for all that I have mentioned here.  My mother's first husband died in Korea. I remember the carefully folded American flag and Purple Heart in the cedar chest as I was growing up. I have contacted Ned Forney in Korea and he has told me that the name, Roy Hollifield is on the memorial to the Americans killed in Korea. I am grateful to know that.  

Why did I choose this photo to go with this post? This was taken at almost the same time last year and the contrails from the airplanes remind me a bit of the characters from the Korean alphabet. Once again, I mean this with respect and honor.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas Blue Christmas Tree!

There is something about blue that I find very calming. When I saw this blue tree from Southwark Cathedral from London, I had to share it with you.   My little shiny blue Christmas tree I had on my blog a few posts back? (The photo was from a few years ago.) I seemed to have LOST it! How can you lose a Christmas tree? I don't know but I did!  I must have put it away in a VERY safe place.

This photo is from last year but I just looked and Southwark Cathedral used the same blue lights. At their Christmas Eve service last night, it was standing room only. That pleases me.

My dear friends in Blogland, I looked and I had 91 drafts for posts. 
91!!  Now that I have shown you this blue Christmas tree, the count is at 90.   That doesn't count the slips of paper with ideas stuffed into my handbag/pocketbook.  (I still say pocketbook but I am old and young folks look at me funny!) 

Thankful for my blessings in my life and my blogging friends are a big part of those blessings.  God bless you, every one.

M E R R Y    C H R I S T M A S !

Image result for southwark cathedral photo of blue tree

Saturday, December 21, 2019


This is such a pretty song, you are tempted to sing along but don't...listen to the video I have here for you. Please! It is the great grandchildren of the Von Trapp family singers. (Sound of Music fame, I hope you all know!)  The song is "Edelweiss", the words are by Oscar Hammerstein II and the music by Richard Rodgers.

Now, isn't that incredibly, impossibly beautiful?

 By the way, I really loved the book "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" written by Maria Von Trapp herself! You should read it!


(Thanks to David G. in Kentucky who had this video on his Facebook!)

This is not an Edelweiss flower but a lily in my own back yard from June of this year.   Peace to you all.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Brenda Lee- "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" at #3

Brenda Lee! I hope you know she is the voice behind "Rockin' Round The Christmas Tree"! (A Georgia Girl like me, she is from the small town of Lithonia, which is just 8 miles down the road from me!)  The song was written by Johnny Marks, the same man who gave us, "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", not to mention ALL the songs from the Rudolph stop motion TV show from 1964. (You know them all, don't you? You know I do!)  I read an interview that she gave recently and she said that Johnny Marks specifically asked for her to record this song. And here is her quote, " I was only 12 and I had not had a lot of success...but he wanted me to do it and I did." 

Now, go back and read that...that is NOT a typo, she sang that song when she was only 12 years old! Wow, such a voice! And she is very petite, I think she is just 4 feet, 9 inches as an adult, imagine how small she must have been as a child. She began singing at the age of 4, and her family was very poor.  Her father died when she was just nine years old.  Brenda Lee became the primary breadwinner in her family at the age of 10.  I don't know if any of you saw the series by Ken Burns on Country Music but I really enjoyed hearing of her experiences in music and also of her close friends in the music business. I had no idea that she had toured with Patsy Cline and that Patsy had "taken her under her wing", so to speak. I find that very interesting. Wouldn't it have been great if they could have cut a record together? And what if you could have heard them perform in concert together? 

 Brenda Lee is a fantastically successful musical artist, selling 100 million records worldwide!
Oh yeah, the Christmas song that she recorded when she was just 12? It has always been one of the most requested songs when she performs! It is always popular to hear at Christmas but guess what, just this week...
from digital downloads and streaming, "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" is at an all time chart peak at # 3 for the 2019 holiday season! (Amazing, really since it has been around since 1958.)  

I know I should give you the video of her singing the very song I have been talking about, but that first video I have for you is..."Break It To Me Gently", just because I like it so much!
What you are saying, after all this about the song and you don't have it on here for us? HA! You know I do!

In the very popular film, "Home Alone" from 1990, the song was heard in its entirety and it is from this movie that many heard it for the first time. 

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Background Music for TCM- December 2019

Got it!  I searched for some background music that I heard on TCM and I am happy to tell you that I finally found it and have it for you here!   Please watch it and tell me that you like it as much as I do!
Reading the comments, it is said that the song is called "Got It" by Gabrielle.  Does anyone know if this is correct?  I wasn't aware of this singer. (She is from England, so I should have heard of her but hey, I can't know every  singer in the world, just feel like I should.) I listened to other songs by her...and while this info might be correct, it doesn't sound like her voice to me.  As I say, I could be wrong...let me know!  (And be sure to click on the full screen in the lower right corner, so you can see the film clips better.)  
https://youtu.be/ZdwQvArrSqk                  Just in case you can't see above video!

TCM (Turner Classic Movies). Back when Ted Turner just had a small Atlanta TV station (Channel 17, anybody remember?) , he used to show old films on there which I really enjoyed. (This was in the 1970's.) Why now, I think they have TCM in England, so it must be all over the world! I love all the old films that they show on TCM and the way the bits of film are put together with this song...I just think it's great.  (And Jimmy Cagney, the way he rolls his eyes when he tells us that he is Santa Claus, Robin Hood and the goose that laid the golden egg. ...oh I just love him!)  I love ALL of it, each and every shot.  Why, I even like the dancing squirrel towards the end!  I am crazy about movies, can you tell? Not to mention ALL the films I want to be made about interesting people. (How many times have I said I wish a movie could be made about so and so?)
Do I have everything ready for Christmas? HO HO HO! (I do have the wreath on my front door that I made myself!) How about you?
"A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears!"

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Silent. Listen. Tinsel. (And A Few Things I Want To Tell You.)

Before this day is over I have to tell you that it is National Poinsettia day in the USA.   We love poinsettias, give us the red ones please and don't dust any glitter over them, thank you! I'm sure that I have told you before that they were brought back from Mexico by a man by the name of Joel Poinsett. Something that I just learned about him recently is that he was instrumental in the development of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.
(Smithsonian Gardens, which is a division of the museum, has two thousand poinsettias.)  Why has no one thought to make a film about Joel Roberts Poinsett? I think he is fascinating, you may read about him here.  
Something I read on the BBC about Olivia Newton John...did you see it?  Remember the black leather jacket she wore in "Grease"? She put that up in an auction and it sold for 185,000 pounds. (I think that is about $243,000!)  The buyer gave it BACK to her!
Isn't that something? He said, "It should not sit in a billionaire's closet for country club bragging rights."  Don't know about you, but that just made my day!

I saw Olivia Newton John in the 1970's. My sister and I saw her at Six Flags Over Georgia, an amusement park near Atlanta. She was great in concert! Before it started, she was brought up in a small golf cart and she glided right past us on the pathway to the stage.   She is even more beautiful in person than she is on film. Olivia Newton John is currently taking cancer treatments. In 2012, she set up the Olivia Newton John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Melbourne.


Mt. Everest is named after Sir George Everest.  Guess what, he never climbed it and it is doubtful that he ever laid eyes on it! Remember when I told you that I had been saying Andrew Carnegie's name wrong? George Everest, having been born in Wales, pronounced his name like this...EVE-rest.  So...should we really say Mt. EVE-rest instead of EVER-est?  This does make me wonder...did those who wanted it named after him try their best to make folks pronounce it the way he said it?

Anyway, I find the story of his life fascinating also! You may read more about him just here.   

A was once an apple pie...
Pidy, widy
Pidy, tidy,
Nice insidy
Apple Pie!     

(Our son always loved Edward Lear's alphabet.) And Richard really liked this gluten free apple pie I made him!
 Hope all of you are looking forward to the Christmas holidays, they are right around the corner now!

(What do those three words have in common?)

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Four Things I've Learned


Hello, my friends! You know those bloggers who say they have very little to say? Not me, my purse is stuffed with slips of paper of things I want to share with you.  I will tell you seven  four things in this post...

1.   Col. Sanders-  Kentucky Fried Chicken 

Turns out, that being a colonel in Kentucky is a real thing, I had no idea!  "Kentucky Colonel is the highest honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions for Kentucky Colonels are given by the governor and the secretary of state to those in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation."
Col. Harland Sanders (1890-1980) was a fascinating man. You may read more about him just here.  I wish someone would make a movie about him.  The British director, Michael Apted could do it, he made a great film about someone else from Kentucky.  "Coal Miner's Daughter" about Loretta Lynn was really, really good. 

2.  Andrew Carnegie.

      Everyone should know the name of the great philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.  There is a famous music hall in New York City which bears his name because he funded the building. (It was first simply called Music Hall, Andrew Carnegie was later persuaded to allow the use of his name.) Now...here is what I have learned - his name is pronounced "Car- NAY-gee" not "Car-nuh-gee"!  I knew that he had been born in Scotland and that his family had moved to the USA when he was a child but it never occurred to me how to say his name! I actually heard this pronunciation of the name on an old British film and so I then looked it up and had a nice time also reading more about this fascinating gentleman, not just how to say his name.  One of my blogging friends in Scotland has written of him before. Thank you Alex  Bob! at   blue sky scotland.  If you want to see some great photos of Scotland, check out their blog. BOB does the writing and I do enjoy the posts very much. ) I urge you also to find out more about Andrew Carnegie. No matter how you say his name, we need more like him today. 

 (Famous joke: "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice, practice, practice!) Sorry, had to have it here just in case no one has heard it!) 

3.Tootsie Rolls

Tootsie Rolls are part of my childhood. (Been around since 1907! Not me but the candy!) They are not chocolate but a very chewy sweet that somehow reminds you of chocolate. I read a fascinating book about the Korean war, "On Desperate Ground" by Hampton Sides. (I will try to do a proper book report on the book for you in the future, someone might need to remind me!)
One thing that I learned from this book..."tootsie rolls" was used as a code name for a type of bullet in the Korean War. When this was ordered, instead of getting bullets, the USA sent the candy instead!
Now, what do you think? I think it is an amazing story, The soldiers loved the Tootsie Rolls, not just to eat them, which they did, of course, but they used them to block up bullet holes in their planes and equipment. Turns out, they were the perfect size to do so. Don't know about you but I love it when a mistake is made, it can turn out to be a good thing.  When the Korean war veterans have their reunions now, they always have Tootsie Rolls on hand.

4.  Lindisfarne Gospels

     When Richard and I were in London in October, we were able to visit the British Library and to actually see the illuminated Lindisfarne Gospels.  Made by monks around 715 on the island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland.  Viking raids drove the monks from this island in 875, they took it to Durham for safekeeping. The manuscript was removed from Durham before the cathedral was built. Now it is safely stored at the British Library in London.  
I was thrilled to recognize something recently...it was a Sound and Light Festival at Durham Cathedral, and it showed the words of the Lindisfarne Gospels displayed in light upon the Cathedral! This was from several years ago, I think, but it was shown on the internet, and that was what I was thrilled to recognize. 

I had to go back and change that seven things to four things, because after all, it seemed wrong to have another item after the Lindesfarne Gospels. It was such a thing to actually  see them and then, to recognize them from the Light Festival photos and videos, well, that just meant a lot to me.

Pansies, colorful Post Oak leaves and Hermit thrush...hope those last two are correct. (All 3 photos were taken on Nov. 29th from my own backyard.) Oaks can be hard to identify, almost as hard as birds. No matter what the trees or birds are named, I love them all!
And those pansies? The deer like them too...

They leave the foliage on the pansies, they just eat the flowers! Oh, deer!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Eastbourne Hotel Fire

Recently, I wrote a post about the Langham Hotel in Eastbourne, England.  I told you that all of the hotels in Eastbourne were built across the street from the beach so that they all have lovely sea views. What I didn't tell you is that they were built in the Victorian era and are absolutely stunning.  Grand Parade it is called and grand it certainly is!  One of them caught fire yesterday and I am so terribly sad about the loss of it. Built between 1851 and 1855,  it is the Claremont Hotel but it was originally the Burlington Hotel, and that is the name that I remember it by.  How lovely it was! That gleaming white building with the sun shining upon it and the lovely Carpet Gardens in front and the pier just steps away! (The Carpet Gardens are what they call the flower beds pictured above, the flowers are changed out for the season and they also are stunning in their beauty.)  I have a photo of the hotel above, it is the big white one at the right with the black wrought iron balconies. (I assume they are wrought iron, I can only go by my American eyes.)

From what I have read about it, no one died in the fire but I think there might be some injuries.  It is truly a miracle that no one was killed. Let's all take a moment to remember the brave firefighters!
I saw a photo of them on the BBC and they were shown on the beach getting sea water to quench the flames!
Back in 2014, the magnificent pier in Eastbourne caught fire.  One of the steel structures on the pier was lost but the wooden pier was saved.  Thank God for firefighters!

Above is a photo of the steel building on the pier that was burned. Can you believe that they were able to save a wooden pier with such a fire that completely melted that steel?
You can see the size of the steel structure that I am speaking of in the above photo, it is to the far left of the picture.
(By the way, Richard took this photo and I think it is lovely. Even on a grey day, Richard can capture beauty.)

I have spoken of my love for natural beauty but I have also expressed my love for beautiful architecture. I mourn the loss of this building.

You may read about the fire just here.

My friends, I have been visiting Eastbourne since the 80's. So, here is a huge hit song from 1985.
After all, everyone wants to rule the world, right?

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Leaves of November

If I can't get to see gorgeous leaves on the local trails...

I can always enjoy them in the local parking lots! The reds seems to be the most spectacular.

 Don't these trails look inviting?  The one above is at the Monastery and the one below is at Panola Mountain State Park.
       Does this post give you a warm, fuzzy feeling? Hope so!
 (Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't fuzzy, was he?  Sorry...even as a kid, I loved wordplay!)   Hope you all are doing well these days! 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Richard Jewell

Richard Jewell was falsely accused of planting a bomb at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.  Do any of you remember the post that I wrote about him?  If not, you may read it just here.

(I also wrote a post earlier about him. If I am able to link to that one, I will come back and add it later.)

Clint Eastwood has directed a film about him and it will be released on Dec. 13, 2019.  Just looking at the trailer, it looks as if it might be a good film, a respectful film.  I hope so.  I should say more about him here but I just hope you will read the post that I wrote in 2016 that I directed you to above. I titled that post "Unsung HERO at the 1996 Summer Olympics".   One thing that I have not mentioned in my writings about Richard Jewell is that I am a native Georgian and ...this is hard for me to express...but he could be a cousin of mine, or some relative, he sounds just like my male relatives.  And listening to the actor doing the Southern accent, I just want to say that it sounds as if he has nailed it. (I must admit that very often actors will WAY overdo a Southern accent and get it so horribly wrong that it will illicit a laugh here at a theatre.)

Now, I am very critical of films which you know if you read my blog but before I start speaking of a film which I really haven't even SEEN yet, I want to say that we must not forget that this movie is about a real person who suffered greatly. There might be Oscar buzz about this and great tributes paid to the actors and director but we must not forget the real people behind the story. (His poor mother, how much she must have suffered!)   Diabetes is listed as the cause of death for Richard Jewell but I cannot help but think that all the trauma that he went through with the feeling that the whole world was against him must have contributed to his early death at the age of 44.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Nonfiction November

November is moving along just as quickly as October did! Besides having a few health problems, now our computer looks as if it might "pack it in".  That is what the Brits say! (Or my Brit does anyway.)  

Do any of you have an Instagram account? I have one but I don't do very much on it.  (I am lucky to be able to get to my blog these days.)  One thing that I wish that I could do on there is something called "Nonfiction November".  For one day of this month, you were asked to have a "shelfie", showing your shelf full of nonfiction books. Another day, you were asked to show your "must-read". Wish I had time to do this!  I think I might have mentioned to you that I don't like to read fiction very often. I am the QUEEN of nonfiction! And please, don't tell me that about a nonfiction book that reads like fiction! No, no, no! A well written book reads like a well written book, thank you very much!  I love books written by journalists...they have a very straightforward style of writing that I find very appealing.  Remember when I told you about re-reading "The Nearest Faraway Place", about the Beach Boys? The author was Timothy White, a rock music journalist.  I also read the book "Murder In Coweta County" by Margaret Anne Barnes. (Another journalist!) This book is based on a true story set in the late 1940's in rural Georgia.  It was made into a TV movie in the 1970's with Johnny Cash and Andy Griffith.  June Carter Cash (Johnny's wife) was also in the film and her performance was truly astounding to me!  I will really have to do a post just on that book alone when I have more time and energy to write about it properly.

So many books on nonfiction that I can tell you about! And besides my nonfiction books, I also prefer films that are based on true stories.  It's all nonfiction for me!  Do YOU have a favorite book that is non fiction? Do tell me!

Remember when I told you about the lakes being drained at Panola Mountain State Park? It has now been re opened. The lakes are not as they were and the dam is ...well, it is functional but not very beautiful.  Those small trees that I have in the photo above? They are gone now and lots more were cut down also. Can't really see why it was necessary for so many to be removed. I do mourn the loss of trees.   I miss the lakes...I suppose now, it is considered a wetland area rather than a lake.  At least, we did see the great egret again when we were there...

Wish I could show y'all our photos when we walked this past weekend at the trail at Panola Mountain State Park The hickory trees were golden in the sunshine! Why can't I show you the photos? This dang computer won't let me! What time is it?
Time to get a new computer!

Recently, I listened to a CD with all kinds of songs that my son had made for me years ago. He titled it "Crooners".  One of the songs is "Duke of Earl".    Enjoy.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

I Can Hear Music

November! We have our autumn now in Georgia and the leaves are showing their true colors.  During some of my sleepless nights lately, I have been re-reading a book, "The Nearest Faraway Place" by Timothy White.  I have told you about this book before in a post several years ago.  Hey! I just looked and I mentioned the book back in 2013. You may read it  here.  (I didn't own this book but I spoke of it with such longing that my dear son searched for it and gave to me as a gift!)

The title of the book is from a song written by Carl Wilson. And HE got the title from a magazine article written by Shana Alexander, from Time Magazine.  Anybody remember Shana Alexander? She used to be in 60 Minutes in the 1970's with the Point/Counterpoint segment and it was made even more famous with Chevy Chase parodying the male viewpoint on Saturday Night Live.  (And yes, I am so old, I still call it that...nowadays it is just SNL.)  Anyway, Shana Alexander was a really interesting person.  She was a great journalist and a very good writer. (I read her book that she wrote about Jean Harris, the woman who murdered the Scarsdale diet doctor, "Very Much A Lady".  I thought it was very well written.) Shana Alexander's father was Milton Ager, a well known songwriter...he wrote the music for "Happy Days Are Here Again" and "Ain't She Sweet".  (He also wrote "Everything Is Peaches Down In Georgia". You know I love the sound of that one!)

Now, back to the Beach Boys and Carl Wilson.  The Beach Boys originally consisted of the brothers Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson along with their cousin, Mike Love and a friend, Al Jardine.  Sadly, Dennis died in 1983 and Carl passed away in 1998.  When Brian Wilson withdrew from the group in the 1960's, Carl took on the role of band leader and musical director for the group, both in their live performances and also in the studio.  Some of their biggest hits were with Carl singing the lead..."Good Vibrations" and "God Only Knows".   One of my favorites with Carl as the lead vocal is the song,  "I Can Hear Music".  (And Richard just told me that it is one of his favorites too!)  

Listen to it and let me know if you like it as much as we do!

                                  Okay, now it is time for bed!

(Clock at the Langham Hotel in Eastbourne, England)

Saturday, October 26, 2019

"Celebrity Hotel" by Neil Kirby/ Langham Hotel, Eastbourne

Imagine having a sugar cookie (biscuit in England) served to you on a lovely black napkin and then...

along with your cup of tea, the waitress brings you a crumpet with the largest container of butter in the world! Bliss!
(What is a crumpet? For me, it is what an English muffin dreams to be!)

This was graciously served to us at The Langham Hotel in Eastbourne! https://www.langhamhotel.co.uk/

(If you click on that link above, it should take you to the hotel's website and you will see nice views of the rooms.)

 Upon arrival in England, my father-in-law had a book waiting for me. (Normally, I might not have time to read very much but because I was under the weather while there, I read the book from cover to cover!)  The book was "Celebrity Hotel" by Neil Kirby.
I loved this book!  Neil Kirby started out washing the pots and pans as a 15 year old at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.  His charm and very hard work meant that he worked his way up and became the general manager of this famous hotel in London!  Since 2005, he is a hotel owner and it is the Langham Hotel! 

 "Celebrity Hotel" mentions a great many of the celebrities that stayed at the Grosvenor House Hotel while he worked there but for me, it was the life story of Neil Kirby that I found fascinating. For one thing, he is a runner, he has participated in several marathons and a great many of them for charities. (Not sure why runners are so interesting to me...but remember my admiration for Louis Zamperini?  And Eric Liddell from "Chariots of Fire"?) Of course, there is also a great deal that Mr. Kirby has shared with us about the running of a hotel and also the design of the hotels.  And by design, I mean right down to the furnishings.  Look at the color of the cushion above!  And then...I also had to take a photo of the wood and the red fabric in the bar. (Read the book and you will know who gave him this advice, the color red with the polished wood!)

(If you have never seen "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid"...watch it!)

Lovely framed photos of celebrities were on the walls of the bar and there were stained glass windows in the restaurants and even in the restrooms (toilets in England!) The framed artwork on the walls made it more like an art gallery than a hotel lobby, truly lovely pieces.

 Can you see that this is a stained glass window of a lifeboat?  And just beneath that window, a box where you can put money to donate to the RNLI. (Royal National Lifeboat Institution, you may read more about it here.)
This would be typical of Neil Kirby and a very nice touch, I think.

Now, if you happen to be in Eastbourne and want to find the Langham Hotel, it is the one with the Victorian bathing house right in front.  When Neil Kirby bought this hotel, he told me that he bought the bathing house with the hotel! Yes, my friends, I actually met Neil Kirby and spoke with him, yes indeed! In fact, I got one of his books myself and he autographed it with the sweet inscription,  "To Richard & Kay"! (I have a great fondness for autographed books, did you know?) Did I get a photo? You know I did!

There! It is my dear husband and father-in-law beside Neil Kirby on a very sunny day in the lobby of the Langham Hotel.  I snapped this photo myself and just before I took it, I said," here are the three lads from Croydon!"  (Neil Kirby is from Sanderstead, which is very close by, I think.  Hey, I am a Yank, what do I know?!) 

(Eastbourne is amazing...all the hotels are across the street from the beach. ALL of them!  Therefore, there is nothing to spoil your view of the sea.)
Can't you just picture Hercule Poirot having a drink here? Mais, oui!   
You know I did! Make mine a Pimm's with full fruit!

Thank you, Neil Kirby for your lovely book and taking the time to speak with us. My father-in-law was most impressed that I had the nerve to go up and talk with you but after all, I am an American and we can get away with things like that!

Look! I was pleased to see that this bowling club is sponsored by the Langham Hotel. In fact, I have read that Neil Kirby has donated a great amount to charities!  For me, he may have met a great many stars and millionaires but what impresses me is how much he has given back!  Hey! I found something in a magazine about him...it is called "Pearls of Wisdom" and you may read it just here.

Friends, once again I am sorry that I have haven't been able to blog very much lately! I hope I am getting better now. Finally!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Current War (New Film) and The Imitation Game

What better actor to portray the famous American inventor than the wonderful American actor, Benedict Cumberbatch!  I am kidding! Of course, Benedict Cumberbatch is British.  And anybody else remember that we learned from one of the geneology shows that he is related to King Richard III? Anybody?  Not to worry if you don't know that, you do now! On our flight to England, I watched a film with Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightly, "The Imitation Game", based on the true story of Alan Turing and his team during World War II to break the radio code of the Nazis. If you have never seen that film, I highly recommend it! (I had seen it before, but it was well worth watching again.)

Thomas Edison! In the days when we used to play the game "Trivial Pursuit", whenever there was a question about inventors, I would always say, "Thomas Edison" and nine times out of ten, I would be right!  I think I have read that he had 1093 patents, the most famous ones, being the light bulb, phonograph and movie camera.  I have written of my fascination of inventors before, so you can be sure that I would like to see this film about him. To have Benedict Cumberbatch as Edison...well, that is perfectly fine with me! The film title is "Current War" and is about Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse.  (I do hope that the film is not one of those that have been...you know, "made to be edgy for modern times",  in Hollywood fashion. We will see.)

Of these two films, I will be honest with you...I know for sure that "The Imitation Game" is worth seeing.  Y'all let me know if you see this new film and what you think of it!

This was at the British Library in London which I also highly recommend! If you would like to read more about it and the exhibition that it is connected to, you may do so just here.

Still have lots to tell you about our trip to England! I am doing much better now.  Thanks for all your well wishes.  Here, I am walking by the sea in Eastbourne...it looks cold but it wasn't, just windy and cloudy. It was over 90 degrees in Georgia on this day in late September, so I was very happy to be beside the sea and to feel that nice sea breeze...

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Lemon Honey Drink (Just Don't Burn Your Goozle!)

Feeling under the weather and need a soothing hot drink? This is what I do... squeeze the juice of half an organic lemon into a cup. Add 2 big tablespoons of local honey. Be sure to angle the cup so that if you have any drips of honey, it will be on the side where your lip will go. (Yes, I do think of everything!) Leave the spoon of honey in the cup...pour boiling hot water into the cup. Stir. (See, all that honey on the spoon? It is now in your drink!)  Leave just long enough to cool so you don't burn your goozle out!  (Wow, that is memory from my childhood...that is what my Dad used to say to me! Anybody else remember that word?)

Now, my Dad would tell me to put some WHISKY into that drink, I am sure! That leads me into a song...and it is perfect for this post because besides having this cold/bronchitus  problem, I also had a little fall this week! I am okay, just scratched and scraped up a bit.  I fall down but I get up again! 

Hope to be back with my blogging soon. If I have left comments on anyone's blog and they don't make a bit of sense, just blame the drugs!  

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Windfalls (Free Pears in England)

Hello everyone! I have not been able to blog recently because Richard and I have been in England! It was almost impossible to get to a computer but I was able to write that last post "Here Comes the Sun" while I was there. I have so much I want to tell you! For now, I have to ask you...have you ever thought to look up the meaning of the word "windfall"?

Windfall:  (noun)
1. An apple or other fruit blown down from a tree or a bush by the wind.

2. A piece of unexpected good fortune, typically one that involves receiving a large amount of money. "windfall profits"

Are you like me and the only thing that you think of is the second meaning here...the one that involves "windfall" in terms of money?
While we were in Eastbourne, there were some rather windy days. One day when we were walking to town, we came across this....

Can you see the handwritten sign? It says, "Conference Pears".   Why are they called that?  It is because they are a cultivated variety of the European pear and it was developed in Britain by Thomas Francis Rivers. It won first prize at the National British Pear Conference in London in 1885!  So, Conference pears!

Now, you can see the rest of the sign....

    Windfalls.  FREE.

The wind had knocked the fruit off the tree (windfall) but it was also a piece of unexpected good fortune for us! I wasn't greedy, I only took one!  Would you like to know what I did with it?  I chopped it up along with a Gala apple. (If you are in England, make sure you eat apples while you are there, they are wonderful!). Okay, that is one Conference pear and one Gala apple chopped up...I put that into a pan with a spoonful of sugar and cooked them until they were soft, just before they were cooked, I mixed in one tablespoon of strawberry conserve. (Conserve is what we Americans would call preserve.)  Now...that delicious mixture was spooned over Cornish vanilla ice cream for a fantastic dessert! The next time we walked by this house, you know I left a note thanking them and ...well, after all, I am American and I wrote this recipe for them! I wonder what they must have thought when they saw my note? 
It was delightful to come across those free pears and I enjoyed the sign just as much as I did that one pear!

 Richard and I enjoyed our time in Eastbourne and then we spent a few days in London at the end of our stay. As I told you at the beginning of this post, I have so much to tell you! It is just typical of me that of all photos that we took...beautiful scenic views of the sea in Eastbourne and the famous monuments and churches in London...it is the photo of the free pears that I have shared with you first! 
There are women who can walk in the wind and their hair looks gorgeous...I am NOT one of them!