I smelled something terribly enticing in the hallway out of our Kitchen. So I handed Pub duties over to Finch and got myself down there for the eventide meal, which was lamb kebabs seasoned with fennel, cumin, garlic and chili. So it turned out we just slaughtered several lambs as demand is down in a major way during the Pandemic. Served up with rice, steamed veggies and the best yeasted whole wheat rolls I’ve had.
We had ice cream for desert: a cardamom and ginger one, another intensely dark chocolate and peanut in nature and a strawberry one with the very first berries of the late Spring growing season. I sampled all three and can say that Mrs. Ware and her ever so talented Kitchen staff outdid themselves!
So let’s head over my work table and see what we’ve got you this afternoon.
Cat looks at the urban legend retold yet again, of a ghost girl asking for a ride home on the anniversary of her death: ‘Seanan McGuire decided to tell her own ghost story in Sparrow Hill Road which, like her novel Indexing, was originally a series of short stories published through The Edge of Propinquity, starting in January of 2010 and ending in December of that year. It appears they’ve been somewhat revised for this telling of her ghostly narrator’s tale but I can’t say how much as I’ve not read the original versions.’
Matthew had a surprisingly strong reaction to a fantasy trilogy: ‘but there are certain books that are written so wonderfully that they leave me an emotional mess for a few days after reading them. Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Fionavar Tapestry is one such series.
Robert brings us an important work in the history of twentieth-century American art, The Daybooks of Edward Weston: ‘Edward Weston shares a place in American photography with a very select group of artists: Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, Imogene Cunningham, Charles Sheeler. These are the people who took photography out of the realm of imitation and, working within a very pure view of the capabilities of the medium itself, created what we still think of as the “good photograph” in the still-dominant mode of American Modernism.’
Warner has a look at a (realtively) slim volume of Sherlockian scholarship: ‘A difficulty for most Sherlockian scholars is getting their hands on much of the wealth of older material. One reprint anthology that aids in this a great deal is Philip A. Schreffler’s Sherlock Holmes by Gas-Lamp, which contains a variety of materials from the Baker Street Journal from its first forty years of publication.’
Robert came across a quick and easy way to fix an Indian dinner, thanks to Trader Joe’s — Masala Simmer Sauce: ‘I know one thing about Indian food — I love it. I don’t claim any real expertise in that particular cuisine (although I do have an Indian cookbook stashed away around here somewhere), but one of my favorite nice things to do for myself used to be to go up to an Indian restaurant in the neighborhood and hit the buffet — then invariably, I’d waddle home and take a nap.’
Cat spent a few fun hours watching Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: ‘Come in — sit by the fireplace here in the Green Man Pub and we’ll discuss one of the best series ever made. We’ll speak of storytellers, shaggy dogs who speak, trolls, comely maidens, ugly hags, and a whole lot more. So grab a mug of Ryhope Wood Cider and we’ll get started. . . .’
Robert takes a look at a group of superheroes, teenage variety, in Teen Titans: A Kids’ Gamne: ‘I stumbled across the Teen Titans quite by accident a while ago, and recently started following Geoff Johns’ version of the team. They’re an engaging bunch of kids, and manage to get themselves into some pretty hot water.’
Gary has a review of some new music by the Oregon-based Kristen Grainger & True North. ‘Ghost Tattoo, their sixth release, is a delightful slice of acoustic Americana that highlights the songwriting skills of Grainger and other progressive Americana musicians.’
Gary says, ‘There just aren’t enough albums that combine bagpipes and yodelling. If you don’t see yourself agreeing with that statement you can just stop reading now.’ You’ll have to read his review of Auli’s Voices of the Ancestors to see what that’s all about.
Robert was digging through his music files and ran across an old favorite: ‘Tangerine Dream wound up being one of those groups that I collected fairly extensively, based on the quality of their music. (At least, I like to think so.) They’re one of the few groups I’ve run across in any area that has managed to combine a rich, sensuous soundscape with a solidly intellectual approach. Exit is more or less typical of their output in that regard — the music-making is pretty sophisticated and the collection as a whole is certainly engaging.’
He also came up with Celtic Café, a collection by Karen Ashbrook and Paul Oorts, that has a wider provenance than you might think: ‘In the constant onslaught of Irish and/or Scottish music under the general heading of “Celtic,” we tend to forget that the Celts dominated most of Europe for quite a long time; the Gauls whom Caesar fought in what is now France, and the inhabitants of Europe in Spain and north of the Roman Empire for centuries before that until the arrival of the Germanic peoples, were Celts. Celtic traditions seem to be enduring: there is still a strong thread of these folkways not only in the British Isles, but in places such as Brittany and even Belgium.’
Our What Not this edition comes courtesy of Guy Gavriel Kay, author of such novels as Ysabel and Tigana who says ‘I love Steeleye Span (and so should you, even though you are way too young for your own good). Maddy Prior was easily up there with Sandy Denny and Jacqui McShee for me, back when. (The too young remark was an aside to his publicist, Elena Stokes) He goes on to add Favourite songs include (on my iPod and iTunes on my computer): “All Around My Hat” (totally messed up, merged lyrics, but just great), “Hard Times of Old England” (a shower song, to the chagrin of my family), “Thomas the Rhymer”, “Dance with Me”, “Black Jack Davey”, and “Drink Down the Moon”. Just pulled these off the iTunes list.’
Our Coda this week is another summer-themed selection (can’t get enough of summer): violinist Joshua Bell is the soloist in this performance of “Summer” from Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons: