Regency, day-hikes, food in brief.

October 1, 2007

I want a hero: an uncommon want,
When every year and month sends forth a new one,
Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant,
The age discovers he is not the true one…

– Byron, Don Juan, ll. 1-4

Someday we must absolutely make a literary pilgrimage to England. I was there on business awhile back but only had a few hours to spare for sightseeing.

Finished up Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I liked it a great deal – it really started to pick up steam for me after about the half-way mark. Good stuff, and I really didn’t see the ending coming. I’m looking forward to checking out her next book, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, which is set in the same period and place. One reviewer called it Harry Potter for grown-ups. I’m inclined to agree. Most excellent stuff. I seem to be stuck in the Regency period; for my next book, I’ve started Austen’s Mansfield Park, finishing the introductory material last night. I should probably reacquaint myself with Byron as well. I took a Romantic British Lit class in college back when I thought I might teach English, but my interest waned considerably after the first of my education courses. I settled for Journalism, which is where the real big bucks are. And I ended up working in marketing communications and never once set foot in a newsroom or studio. Can you trace the long, slow decline? But I digress.

Kind Hearts and Coronets was very good – a dark murder-comedy in the same vein as Arsenic and Old Lace, but with the added benefit of Alec Guinness playing several roles at once. We also knocked out season two of The Office, which about wraps it up for the BBC version.

The weekend was busy, but ended well. The weather on Sunday was magnificent, so after Mass we all changed clothes and went on a short day-hike in a local Nature Conservancy preserve. Beautiful landscape – lots of bare rock, grasses, semi-arid land upland locations and so on. The kids all did very well, and slugged it out over the 2 mile loop without too many complaints. We’re going to head back in the spring, when it’s supposed to one-of-a-kind wildflower display.

The only real fighting took place over who got to go first along the trail, and this bit of conflict was solved the very first time someone walked into a spider web. After that, I took a permanent place at the head of our little party. Ezmerelda ended having to go back earlier – a nearby rooster was crowing and sent two-year-old Lefty into a complete terror.

Didn’t see much in the way of wildlife. I caught a skink out of the corner of my eye, but owing to the warm weather had hoped for more herps. Lots of grasshoppers, including one who had the misfortune to end up in an Argiope‘s web. We heard a woodpecker, but that was about it. With the kids as small as they are, we’re not exactly what I’d call stealthy. Quite a few butterflies, but the trail instructions were very clear on the delicacy of the soils and the importance of keeping on the path, so we weren’t able to get very close to them. The real bummer of the trip was that the camera battery was dead, and I’d left the charger at the office. So no pictures. Next time for sure, though.

Food highlights? Homemade vegetable soup on Friday. Grilled pork chops on Sunday night. I’m getting quite good at those, as it happens. No pictures of those either. Sorry.

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