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Monthly Archives: June 2014

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

All Those Violins Can’t Be Good. I creep through the small forest surrounding the church and enter from a side door. The old ladies crowded into the church pews look back at me. I may be the only one not wearing a hat. But someone else is coming in from the opposite side door. A […]

There once was an ichthyosaurus

I was a small girl in California when I’d first heard of the ichthyosaurs. My mother had read me Isabel Frances Bellous’s poem “The Ichthyosaurus.” There once was an ichthyosaurus, Who lived when the earth was all porous, Be he fainted with shame When he first heard his name, And departed a long time before […]

Dressing–among other things–the English “chip”

I seem to have English “chips” (French fries) most every day. I’ve tried to be on a one-chip-a-day diet, but resistance is often quite futile. In England, American French fries are called “chips,” and American potato chips are called “crisps.” Both are from potatoes, of course, but somewhere and somehow the words got turned around. […]

Murder at the B&B. An Ophelia Perhaps Mystery. Part 5.

“Definitely Not that Creep from San Sebastian” The next morning, as I stirred cut-up strawberries into my yogurt, I asked Sarala, the breakfast server, if she’d seen any strange people in the neighborhood. She’d seen nothing unusual but said she’d ask her friends who worked in the hotels next door and down the street. I […]

Going to Guernsey

The bestselling literary phenom, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, was set here. Read by perhaps every book club in the United States—including mine in Salt Lake City–this book (by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows) is set during the occupation of the island by Nazi soldiers starting in 1940. Various monuments along Guernsey’s […]

And I’ll have the Spotted Dick. With custard, please.

Spotted dick is a traditional British pudding made from mutton fat mixed with other ingredients, such as baking soda, flour, molasses, corn syrup, or nutmeg. You add raisins or dry fruit to this dough and you have “spots.” The dish is steamed or boiled and served with a custard sauce. Like Scottish haggis, Spotted Dick […]

The Heinz Ketchup American. An Ophelia Perhaps Mystery. Part 4.

“Not always, Mrs. P. Not always.” Ti Jean was mad. He’d knocked over two of the begonia pots, then pulled tissues from my bathroom tissue box, and had shredded them all over my bed cover. Maybe September 30 couldn’t come fast enough. “But I fed you, you bad cat! And I was only gone two […]

One might ask if breakfasting at Starbucks when abroad is really traveling

One might ask if breakfasting at Starbucks when abroad is really traveling. I ask that myself when I enter one. Believe me, there are plenty of reasons not to enter one. Number one for skipping an English Starbucks is that they don’t have scones, at least not I the English Starbucks I’ve been in so […]

The Heinz Ketchup American. An Ophelia Perhaps Mystery. Part 3.

Mr. Briggs Before I meet Mrs. Briggs and Dennis in the waiting room, I stop for a bracing tea and scone, then find my way to the hospital vending machines. I don’t want to rush into this depressing situation. Nothing looks good in the machines, but I get three coffees and three Kit Kat bars […]

Moving down–and downhill–fast

Jane Austen’s family spent time and rented rooms and floors of rooms from time to time in Bath, Somerset, England. The refurbished Roman baths provided entertainment and a promise of healing any and all ills, while the Royal Crescent and other stone “terraces” (apartment complexes) provided high-status accommodations where the Austen family could promenade in […]