Posts Tagged ‘meredith’

No excuse needed for re-posting this seasonal gem.

The Judas trees are being true to the third line of the poem and showing their little pink blossom flowers already.

Nature’s first green is gold.

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost

[The American poet much loved by my American wife, Meredith.]

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A Blessing Ceremony in the tiny chapel of  St. Jean in the valley beneath the medieval hill town of Cordes sur Ciel….

Donald Douglas’* daughter Eliza’s marriage to James in Michigan, is being blessed here–for friends and family this side of the Atlantic.

Eliza has asked Meredith to be the “Celebrant“.

Meedith is nervous–it’s yet another “first” for her and there has been no rehearsal.

We arrive early at the chapel–founded in 1224 near a place of safety from the plagues that hit the unhealthy walled Cité high above it.

There is minimal light for reading, which adds to the anxiety and the hour approaches.

But by the time the guests arrive–all decked out in white (the couple’s request)–by “Le Petit Train”  from Cordes…

–more light has been shed inside (candles lit) and on the words (a few run-throughs) and Veronique is spreading calm from the strings of her celtic harp.

The chapel–decked out with white flowers–and  Meredith, are ready to welcome the buzzing crowd–about fifty adults and children–to this ancient site.

The bride approaches on her father’s arm and the ceremony begins.

It goes off beautifully, of course–Meredith performing her priestess-like duties perfectly with clear-voiced sincerity.

Poems–chosen by the couple–including Shakespeare’s 116th Sonnet (“Let me not to the marriage of true minds…”) are thoughtfully read.

Donald sings in his broadest Scots brogue, “The Braes O’ Birniebouzle“, so splendidly, we all burst into spontaneous applause.

As everyone files out our aptly named friend, Puck, whispers in my ear: “You know that from now on you’ll be known as the Vicar’s wife!”

*(Captain McNeil in Poldark)

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In the middle of filming the second series of Poldark, Angharad and I went on a PBS (Public Broadcasting Service)  promotional tour of the States. The first series had just started to play there. It was late spring 1977.

Boston, New York, Washington, and Dallas.

Five days–four cities; crazy, glamorous and fun.

At nine o’clock, the morning after arriving in Washington, we were given a private tour of Jimmy Carter’s White House–including the Oval Office.

Bleary-eyed and jet-lagged at the time, I recall very little.

Did  “Ross Poldark”–veteran of the losing side in the War of Independence–back in enemy territory, cheekily sit–momentarily–in the seat of power behind the desk?

I sincerely hope not!

Fast forward forty two and half years and I was in Washington again–with Meredith this time, to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama as President.

It was a bitter cold day with a brilliant blue sky and in the streets a solid mass of people were proceeding slowly towards the Mall to hear the new President speak.

There was a palpable feeling of hope and expectation in the air–of healing and renewal.

Meredith was elated–she had a ticket for the enclosure in front of the Capitol.

When I dropped her off at the subway at six a.m., she was clutching her purple ticket in her hand.

Four hours later she called me on the cell phone–in tears–to say there was a problem at the purple gate and it wasn’t looking good.

In the end 10,000 people failed to get through the purple gate!

Poor Meredith joined us at our friend’s club close by, to watch it all on television.

She calls it an inexplicable “snafu”–nobody ever found out exactly what went wrong.


A couple of glasses of champagne and the sight of history being made helped to restore her spirits.

A little over two hundred years after Captain Ross Poldark limped home to Cornwall and  General George Washington became the first President of the then thirteen United States of America, an African American was entering the White House as President–which black slaves had helped to build.

It was a momentous day.

Fast forward againWashington to London yesterday–Stansted to Carcassonne this morning and whoosh–we’re home!

President Obama and the First Lady– forced to curtail their Irish visit by the ash cloud–flew into Stansted last night on their first State visit to the UK.

This morning they met with the present incumbent of “Buck House”, with whom–we’re told–they have very friendly relations.

Buckingham Palace

(George III bought Buckingham House in 1761 for his wife Queen Charlotte–before going on to lose “the Colonies”.)

The world goes around…!

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Alice–our mushroom supplier earlier this week–just arrived with a hive full of displaced bees.

“You’d better stay inside, Robin, you might get stung!”

I’m happy to continue having my honey-free breakfast in the kitchen.

Meredith and Alice, dressed in their protective costumes, carry the box of bees out to the end of the garden.


Alice seems confident they will be happy in their new setting–and she is often right about things.

Yesterday she’d brought round another bag of morel mushrooms–‘miffed’ perhaps that I had not followed her advice about using creme fraiche in the cooking of the first lot. (I didn’t have any.)

“Has he bought creme fraiche?” she asked. Meredith nodded in the affirmative.”Eh voila!” and left the second bag for supper last night. She was right–they taste good with a tablespoon of cream amd a twist of fresh ground black pepper added to the pan.

morels with cream

She thinks the field across the road will be a rich source of nectar for them this year, with much buzzing contentment.

“The fascinating process of making honey begins when the bees feast on flowers, collecting the flower nectar in their mouths. This nectar then mixes with special enzymes in the bees’ saliva, an alchemical process that turns it into honey. The bees carry the honey back to the hive where they deposit it into the cells of the hive’s walls. The fluttering of their wings provides the necessary ventilation to reduce the moisture’s content making it ready for consumption.”*

Happy bees would be better than discontented bees when I’m working in the tomato patch close by, in a month or two.

The danger zone?

“The vexed question”

Honey promoting web sites are keen to be positive about the vexed question of honey and diabetes, pointing out that it is a better option than sugar and sugar substitutes.

Because honey is generally thought to be health promoting, a little everyday is a good idea–even for people with diabetes, they argue.

* more than you need to know perhaps about HONEY–but useful nonetheless.

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