Saturday, January 21, 2017

Hobnobbing With the Queen

     Punkybean knows that I have visited Buckingham Palace and taken pictures of the Queen's guard outside the gates. The subject came up last year as we were stuffing black olives onto our fingertips and pretending they were British soldiers. It came up again after we watched the Minions movie. It also came up after we watched the BFG movie together on my birthday this year. Punkybean has repeatedly asked me to take her with me the next time I go to London so that I can introduce her to Queen Elizabeth. I haven't the heart to disabuse her of her notion that I am on speaking terms with Her Majesty. It's right up there with Santa and the Fairies. She thinks I know them too.

     One night at supper recently, she asked her mother: "Mommy, what if I moved to England for a long time and learned to speak England language...when I moved back, would you have to teach me to speak English again?"

     That one we can amend.

Friday, January 13, 2017

I See Myself


"The pumpkin looked delicious--almost perfectly round and deep yellow in colour, it sat on the passenger seat beside her so comfortably as she drove out of the car park, so pleased to be what it was, that she imagined conducting a conversation with it...And the pumpkin would remain silent, of course, but would somehow indicate that it knew what she was talking about, that there were similar issues in the world of pumpkins.

     "She smiled. There was no harm, she thought, in allowing your imagination to run away with you, as a child's will do, because the thoughts that came in that way could be a comfort, a relief in a world that could be both sad and serious. Why not imagine a talk with a pumpkin? Why not imagine going off for a drive with a friendly pumpkin, a companion who would not, after all, answer back; who would agree with everything you said, and would at the end of the day appear on your plate as a final gesture of friendship? Why not allow yourself a few minutes of imaginative silliness so that you could remember what it was like when you believed such things, when you were a child at the feet of your grandmother, listening to the old Setswana tales of talking trees and clever baboons and all the things that made up that world that lay just on the other side of the world we knew..."

     I see myself in books. We read to know we are not alone. It is somewhat reassuring to know that I am not the only one.

     Meanwhile, it is also cheering to know that while my Fairy Godmother did not make an appearance over the holidays, nor was I invited to a ball of any sort, my lovely green pumpkin did its best to turn itself into a golden coach.

     High marks for the laudable effort to reinvent oneself in the new year. However, the discarded pink wand beneath the birch tree raises my suspicions. Look closer dear sleuth. Upper right. Perhaps a genre switch is in order here. Did my Fairy Godmother show up only to be kicked to the curb by Jack Frost? Or is the plot darker, more sinister, the scene of an abduction...or even murder?

     I'll give Precious Ramotswe at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botswana a call. She has a fondness for pumpkins and quirky cases.

pumpkin quote from The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith

Saturday, December 24, 2016

You'd Better Not Pout

Merry Christmas to all you lovely folks who visit me here at Nib's End.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

AKA Cozy

     My husband has dozens of nicknames for me. He has been home from bouncing around the globe since the week of Thanksgiving, and he is so happy to be laying in his own bed reading books with me next to him at night that he has begun calling me Cozy. It is cold and gray and snowy outside our windows on this first day of Winter, but it is snug inside our house. The wrapping, baking and cleaning are done; the tree and candles are shining in the twilight; there are harps and violins humming Christmas carols to cheer us, and family is due to arrive from the airport at any moment. Yes, I am feeling Cozy and it suits me just fine.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

God Rest Ye Weary Gentlemen

God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing ye dismay.
Remember Christ the Saviour
Was born on Christmas day.
To save us all from Satan's power
When we had gone astray.
Oh tidings of comfort and joy!

     Folks have been singing this carol for over four hundred years. It beautifully captures our celebration of Christmas in a nutshell. Except for that word merry...What particular need do the merry have for rest, for encouragement or comfort? My sister-in-law mentioned to me recently that she has always sung the first line: God rest ye weary gentlemen and was surprised to hear that she has been singing it incorrectly all these years.

     So, whether or not it is correct, I am adopting her version because it makes more sense to me. With so much to become dismayed about in our crumpled old world, I am grateful for this season of celebration in which to remember that we need not be crushed by trouble, and that there is a comfort and even joy to be found in the hope of Christ who came to save us.

     Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest - Matthew 11:28

     And the weary world rejoices...

Thursday, December 15, 2016


     As the thermometer drops to abominable temperatures and another snowstorm is forecasted, I am reminded that living in such a frigid climate has its advantages. With my refrigerator already full, I have the entire front porch in which to chill my berry butternut cookies before they go into the oven.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas With the Queen's Guard

     My annual foray into the realm of Christmas crafting has, sadly, lacked inspiration this year. So it is that I turn to the true crafter in the family, my 11-year-old granddaughter, Girlybird. She made this ornament for my tree. It is one of those hit-the-nail-on-the-head kind of gifts that come along every so often and warms the cockles of one's heart forever after. She knows how much I enjoyed my Once in a Lifetime trip to London 18 months ago, and how I long to return to England someday.

     I have many ornaments from past years that are precious to me, but this steadfast clothespin British soldier standing watch over our tree beats them all.