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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Murder at the B&B. An Ophelia Perhaps Mystery.

Could This Be My Diggory Venn? I’m at The Beatnik as they open the next morning, but Dennis isn’t there. An older woman with a streak of blue in her hair is taking orders from a few young people at a table when I walk in. But there he is: the American is standing at […]

Show me the money

Perhaps a country shows its true colors through its bank notes. In 1928, the US Treasury Department reviewed the portraits on bank notes and concluded that “portraits of Presidents of the United States have a more permanent familiarity in the minds of the public than any others.” Exceptions were made for Alexander Hamilton, Salmon Chase, […]

Murder at the B&B. An Ophelia Perhaps Mystery.

Why would I not order fish and chips here? The Eagle and Child, when you hit it right and it’s not too crowded, is the best pub on the planet. A literary pedigree, low ceilings, a bright and helpful staff, and fabulous cooks. Even featured in the Inspector Morse TV series. I’m early, so I watch Dad […]

Cheeky rascals at Holy Trinity

It seemed to all be going on at Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford-upon-Avon. Perhaps its most famous going-on is that it is where Anne and William Shakespeare are buried. I paid a “Concession” (old-age) price of one pound to get up to the front of the church with the tourist crowd to see […]

To be or not to be Anne

Anne Hathaway’s cottage lies amid gardens and fields of roses, rushes, lavender, and delphiniums, in Shottery, about a mile outside Stratford-upon-Avon’s city center. Lovely willow trellises line the walks of the cottage (actually a rather substantial farmhouse), covered with all manner of winding tendrils of vine and vegetable. And a fine tearoom across the street […]

A tale of seaside resorts

Americans may be surprised to know that England has quite a few seaside resorts. “I thought they went to Spain for that,” an American might say. But England has its Dover, Brighton, Bournemouth, Weymouth, Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Cornish beaches. All with sun, salt spray, waves, sunrises and sunsets, piers and jetties, gulls, and seaside stuff […]

Murder at the B&B. An Ophelia Perhaps Mystery.

I guess it can’t be the guy from Dover. “Dad! You scared me out of my wits!” I’m panting, clutching my heart. “Why didn’t you phone that you were back in Oxford?” “Oh, come on, honey, you know sometimes I get called last minute for lectures. Tomorrow night it’s Thomas Hardy, the Industrial Revolution, and […]

Bathed in memories in Bath

I was first in the old Roman spa town of Bath, England, in 1983, with a husband and a small boy in my arms. That little boy is now married, about to become a father, has just graduated from law school, and his father and I are divorced. Nothing is guaranteed, nothing stays the same, […]

Literacy through Mills & Boon

I take my literacy for granted. I was sitting at the Weymouth Library to use the free wi-fi (since my B&B didn’t have it) when I realized the two adult women opposite me at a table were working through a book together. One was the tutor, the other was learning to read. On this trip, […]

Rejected suitors take to roaming as naturally as unhived bees

“Rejected suitors take to roaming as naturally as unhived bees.” It’s a phrase from English poet and novelist Thomas Hardy (1840-1938) and refers to Diggory Venn, perhaps my favorite of the Hardy characters. If the hive is Wessex (Hardy’s partly real, partly fictionalized Dorset county in south central England) and Venn the bee, then he […]