“John kept referencing something called the ‘Downflooding Angle’. I looked up the term in the ‘Code of Federal Regulations’ – a multi-volume compilation of all US rules covering every conceivable industry from education, to energy, to agriculture, to shipping. The ‘Downflooding Angle’ refers to how far you’d have to tip a boat in calm conditions for water to penetrate the boat’s first nonweathertight opening… With a list like that, you couldn’t stop water from getting in. The vessel would never be able to right itself.”
Into the Raging Sea by Rachel Slade Subtitled: Thirty-three mariners, one megastore and The Sinking of the El Faro
Let me introduce you to ‘Maria’, ‘Irma’, ‘Harvey’, ‘Matthew’, ‘Joaquin’ and ‘Igor’ – all category 4 and 5 tropical hurricanes of the last decade. ‘Florence’ is visiting the west coast of America as we speak.
I love extreme weather … that is, when I’m in my bed cosy and warm.
Last night an early Autumn gale came up and blew eerie groans among the trees outside our window. Reading the newly-published Into the Raging Sea about hurricane ‘Joaquin’ and the sinking of the US cargo ship SS El Faro on 1st October 2015, was about as much reality as I needed. Continue reading Keeping my head above water
“Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow, it was hotter then. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon after their three o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum. The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer.”
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I love a good sci-fi film, a nail-biting apocalyptic flick or an edge-of-your-seat creature-feature.
Hubby and I often make up storylines – one such tale featured a family of hikers on the run from a scourge of stealthy blood-sucking giant mosquitos, the result of nuclear testing gone wrong.
“As I sat in the bath tub, soaping a meditative foot and singing, if I remember correctly, ‘Pale Hands I Loved Beside the Shalimar,’ it would be deceiving my public to say that I was feeling boomps-a-daisy.”
Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit by P.G. Wodehouse
I love a good transferred epithet. I spent a restless night. I hauled my embarrassed bikini out of the cupboard. It’s happy hour.
They say a lot about my life.
Today this schvitzing summer was broken a little by a cool breeze and some welcome rain (did you see what I did there?). Many South Africans dub England ‘Mud Island’ and complain constantly about cold wet weather …
“And thus ever by day and night, under the sun and under the stars, climbing the dusty hills and toiling along the weary plains, journeying by land and journeying by sea, coming and going so strangely, to meet and to act and react on one another, move all we restless travellers through the pilgrimage of life.”
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
This is a story of blue nail polish. Not blue meaning sad. Not blue to keep with my blog title. Blue nail polish.
“Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is. After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also the being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.”
On family road trips when I was small (smaller), I wrestled with a physics question. Why did the fly which had flown into the open window continue to buzz around against the back windscreen? Why hadn’t it, with the speed of the vehicle, found itself SPLAT on the glass? Kilometres were spent agonising over this problem. Continue reading Finding answers
“Spring drew on…and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.”
Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë
From indoors, yesterday was a beautiful day. The sun shone brightly and I hurried out to work. As I stepped onto the pavement a bracing wind caught my light leather jacket, tugged at my loosely-wrapped scarf and made my feet feel naked in my sockless pumps.
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow, creeps on this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time, and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death.”
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Oh, Shakespeare! You had me at tomorrow.
You’ve heard me say your first draft has permission to suck. That’s still true even though our first draft of 2017 has been unexpectedly fractious and gruelling. Call it seasonal affective disorder, call it one problem after another, call it what you like. So far, 2017 is not the post-2016-solve-all that it promised to be (promised as in the promise communicated to me over a glass of Champagne on New Years Eve). Continue reading Plodding along
“Natalie was nervous because I had explained that she would be treated differently because she was white, that she would have to work harder than other girls to gain my parents’ trust. And so they devised a plan: We agreed that on the first meeting my wife would not accept tea, she would instead make tea in the home of my parents. With that gesture, she showed that she did not have a superiority complex, that she was willing to make a gesture, however small, to gain acceptance.”
MMUSI MAIMANE Prophet or Puppet? by S’Thembiso Msomi
There is a story that I’ve not been able to verify unequivocally, but which seems to be accepted as a fact:
On a visit to America some time in the 1800’s, Queen Victoria changed etiquette rules forevermore, by picking up a chicken wing with her fingers and eating it thus. Whether she saw this as a more efficient way to handle a chicken wing, or that it was preferable in the name of diplomacy to do as the Americans did, we will never know. Continue reading Eating with your fingers
Oranges and lemons, Say the bells of St. Clement’s. You owe me five, Say the bells of St. Martin’s. When will you pay me? Say the bells of Old Bailey. When I grow rich, Say the bells of Shoreditch. When will that be? Say the bells of Stepney. I do not know, Says the great bell of Bow. Here comes a candle to light you to bed, And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!
English Nursery Rhyme, original version (different from above) appeared in Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book (c. 1744)
“Pluviophile: Noun Latin pluvia + phile = pluviophile (plural pluviophiles) 1) Any organism that thrives in conditions of heavy rainfall 2) One who loves rain, a rain-lover”
Collins Dictionary – proposed new word 2014
Have you ever watched yourself as if in a film scene? You’re there exactly as you picture yourself in your head (not the person you’re often surprised to confront in the mirror). You’re the star of your show. You’re in high definition. The shot is framed beautifully. The lighting is perfect. And in some strange way, the movie-you is more real than the real-you.