Archive for April, 2016

Sad News

There is some sad news here today.


My little dog Bo, who has pretty much been my shadow for 14 years, left us. He was very ill and suffering and it did not seem right to prolong that. But the house is so empty. I keep listening for him. When I come home there is no deliriously happy greeting. Little Bo is somewhere else. But not here.

He came to live with us in 2002 soon after he was born and Andy named him Bogancs (Boh’ Ganch) which means Thistle in Hungarian and is the name of the title character in the book by Fekete Istvan (Stephen Black, in translation) which is the equivalent of the book Lassie in English. Bogancs is a Puli, a Hungarian sheep herding breed. He is separated from his master and the main part of the book is about his adventures trying to get home again, which, of course, he does. It’s even been translated into English and made into a movie which Andy had seen in Hungary and which inspired the naming.

Bo Bogancs

Bo Thistle cover

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Pausing? Or Stopping?

I enjoy writing my blog, but there is so little response and I see other blog writers I used to read everyday have stopped or slowed down immensely. I just don’t know what to do here…..It’s discouraging.

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Ducks 4


by F.W. Harvey

From troubles of the world I turn to ducks,
Beautiful comical things
Sleeping or curled
Their heads beneath white wings
By water cool,
Or finding curious things
To eat in various mucks
Beneath the pool,
Tails uppermost, or waddling
Sailor-like on the shores
Of ponds, or paddling
– Left!  Right! – with fanlike feet
Which are for steady oars
When they (white galleys) float
Each bird a boat
Rippling at will the sweet
Wide waterway…
When night is fallen you creep
Upstairs, but drakes and dillies
Nest with pale water-stars.
Moonbeams and shadow bars,
And water-lilies:
Fearful too much to sleep
Since they’ve no locks
To click against the teeth
Of weasel and fox.
And warm beneath
Are eggs of cloudy green
Whence hungry rats and lean
Would stealthily suck
New life, but for the mien
The hold ferocious mien
Of the mother-duck.

duck 6


Yes, ducks are valiant things
On nests of twigs and straws,
And ducks are soothy things
And lovely on the lake
When that the sunlight draws
Thereon their pictures dim
In colours cool.
And when beneath the pool
They dabble, and when they swim
And make their rippling rings,
0 ducks are beautiful things!
But ducks are comical things:-
As comical as you.
They waddle round, they do.
They eat all sorts of things,
And then they quack.
By barn and stable and stack
They wander at their will,
But if you go too near
They look at you through black
Small topaz-tinted eyes
And wish you ill.
Triangular and clear
They leave their curious track
In mud at the water’s edge,
And there amid the sedge
And slime they gobble and peer
Saying ‘Quack! quack!’

Ducks 3


When God had finished the stars and whirl of coloured suns
He turned His mind from big things to fashion little ones;
Beautiful tiny things (like daisies) He made, and then
He made the comical ones in case the minds of men
Should stiffen and become
Dull, humourless and glum,
And so forgetful of their Maker be
As to take even themselves – quite seriously.
Caterpillars and cats are lively and excellent puns:
All God’s jokes are good – even the practical ones!
And as for the duck, 1 think God must have smiled a bit
Seeing those bright eyes blink on the day He fashioned it.
And he’s probably laughing still at the sound that came out of its bill!

duck 5

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Windermere Kettle

Andy keeps on working on his boiler and its adjunct (accessory) steam engines and pumps. Now he has made a Windermere Kettle so that he will be able to make tea. He has a pontoon boat and hopes to modify it and use the boiler to make it a steam launch “in the fullness of time”. (Of course Humphrey Bogart did not need this sort of kettle when he used water from the sight glass to make tea aboard The African Queen.)

In 2010 when I was in Edinburgh and Moffat, Scotland with the D.E. Stevenson Gathering and then drove (well, Anne drove)  south with Perry and Karen and Anne who had invited us to visit her home in Somerset, we passed through the Lake District and drove around Lake Windermere.  See https://thickethouse.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/south-to-the-north/  for some of this trip, including a photo of a steam launch.  I saw at least one steam launch on the lake and this is evidently where the Windermere Kettle was invented. It is a sort of “instant” kettle which brings water to a boil by having steam circulate through copper coils connected to the boiler. When Andy made this work, he brewed me a cup of Scottish Breakfast tea which was delicious.

P.S.  Checking further, the steam ship in that July 2010 blog post is  the steam yacht Gondola owned by the National Trust . It cruises on Coniston Water and Anne drove us all around that lovely lake.  We had a beautiful tour of the Lake District.


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Perhaps there will be more poems posted this month. Or perhaps not. But I came across this today and it seemed to speak to me.


It’s from a book called Knocking on the Earth. And the first painting is the work of a Hungarian photographer, Boglarka Huszar.



Art Boglarka Huszar photo  makes me think of Pali meg en



The Word That Is a Prayer

By Ellery Akers

One thing you know when you say it:
all over the earth people are saying it with you;
a child blurting it out as the seizures take her,
a woman reciting it on a cot in a hospital.
What if you take a cab through the Tenderloin:
at a street light, a man in a wool cap,
yarn unraveling across his face, knocks at the window;
he says, Please.
By the time you hear what he’s saying,
the light changes, the cab pulls away,
and you don’t go back, though you know
someone just prayed to you the way you pray.
Please: a word so short
it could get lost in the air
as it floats up to God like the feather it is,
knocking and knocking, and finally
falling back to earth as rain,
as pellets of ice, soaking a black branch,
collecting in drains, leaching into the ground,
and you walk in that weather every day.
This painting is Marguerite by Guy Rose.
Art Marguerite by Guy Rose
I have tried many times to fix the spacing and did seem to succeed with the first part of this  post, but am sadly unable to get the right space between the poem and the sentence about the last painting……..So Sorry.

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Oh, perhaps all months trick us…..Last week was Easter Sunday, as seen and written about in my last blog post. It was such a balmy warm mid-seventies day! Joy reigned! And today, one week later, a winter wonderland with snow on the ground and staying and coating the limbs and twigs of all the trees and bushes.

That is not so extraordinary. We often have snow in April around here. I need to remind myself of this fact every year! Daylight increases and I know the lovely weather is not that far away! But I fear it will be a rude shock for Alice, Mike, Nathan and Stephen, returning from their spring break vacation near Hilton Head. They had a wonderful time running on the beaches, biking, fishing and visiting bookstores! Now back to one of northeast Ohio’s little spring surprises. Still, I know they will find the best in it, especially Stephen.

Nathan march 2016 fine catch

Nathan had some seriously good luck fishing. He’s never caught anything this size before and told me how tough it was to land this monster fish!

Nathan march 2016 reading in hh

Still, one of his favorite pastimes is reading and Alice enjoyed catching this photo of him in front of a great stature of a boy reading.

Stephen march 2016 pirate in n carolina

Stephen enjoyed eating honey pecan chicken while dressed as a pirate! This restaurant knows how to please a five year old boy!


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