January is the longest month

IMG_0422Friends in new York are sending me all sorts of snow photos.  We don’t have as much snow here being on the south side of the big winter storm.  You know things are tough when the meteorologists begin naming winter storms.

Very little white stuff here, but I’ve been holed up nevertheless, with books galore and buckets of hot tea. Yesterday, I finished my Ann Cleeves mystery Blue Lightning about Jimmy Perez and a murderous group of English bird watchers (Twitchers) in the Shetlands, then moved on to a book I had purchased months ago by Stephen Oppenheimer, Origins of the British.

Origins is wonderful book which feeds my long interest in this topic,  First he explores what the Greek scholars and other classical writers had to say about the Celts or Keltoi, then he includes sections covering the latest news about the mythic Celts from linguistics, genealogy, and archeology.

The thesis of this book…the early English (inhabitants of the ‘sceptered isle’ who repopulated the eastern and southern sides of the island following the end of the last ice age, most probably of Germanic and Scandinavian origin, the Belgae, to name but one tribe, intermixed with the later arrivals (Saxons)….or so says the genetic record.  In other words, the Saxons when they arrived did not wipe out the ‘natives’ (no ethnic cleansing here), as some have writers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries thought. The western side of the island as well as Ireland and Scotland, up to and including the outer islands like the Shetlands, was probably repopulated after the last ice age by tribes from southern France and northern Spain, loosely known as “Celts.”

Wonderful stuff for nerds like me.


When I made Pad Thai last week, I set the noodles on fire.  I didn’t mean to, but I am a novice at this cooking business, and David brought home the wrong noodles from our local grocery store, all dry and crunchy… and ready for incineration.  When I was trying to put the noodles in the boiling water, they broke up in my hands and fell on the burner blazing.

On a hunch, I asked David to ask one of the helpers at Trader Joe to assist him and get noodles for Pad Thai.  He did, she did, and now I have the ‘right’ noodles.  No more kitchen blazes for me. They always have the answer at TJ.


Lately, David has been taking a great interest in the outdoor birds. They recognize him in his red hat, and as soon as he has filled the feeders they descend and feast. There are so many things he can’t do anymore, I am happy to see him enjoy this new interest. He’s even beginning to tell them apart. Well at least he says, “the red bird and those brown birds.”

Every morning during breakfast, I watch the suet feeder and usually see a pair of Downey Woodpeckers and a pair of Carolina Wrens feed. Sometimes I see the White breasted Nut Hatch, and the Song sparrows.  Great fun.

Male Cardinal

Male Cardinal – Wiki

19 thoughts on “January is the longest month

  1. I meant to say on the last post that the bean soup looked scrumptious! We like soup — even when the weather is warm. And I love Pad Thai! But have never thought of making it. I’d probably burn the house down. And now I am dreaming of our favorite Thai restaurant in Oregon. (Many more wonderful ethnic restaurants there than here in Florida.)

    Tell David that the brown birds are called LBJs (for ‘little brown jobs’). After years of birdwatching and many bird books, I still have problems telling them apart. I do recognize cardinals ;>)


  2. I like the fact that David has a newish interest – did you suggest it(verbally or by other means) or did he just take it upon himself to do the feeding stations?
    Heres another one who’ll be watching Denise’s blog for the chicken recipe.
    Oh and I’ve just finished Part 1 (Miss Crane) of The Jewel in the Crown. So far so good.


    • Denise does a fab job with her recipes.
      David helped me with my parrots and outdoor birds after I had surgery. Now he just keeps on keeping on. He’s enjoying ‘his’ birds so much I can’t tell him to stop.

      Re Jewel. Good for you. Keep an eye on Miss Crane’s painting (the jewel) and the ‘ring of fire’ and the bicycle. After reading the Quartet, I decided the story was an allegory. Scott says the first book is about the English, the second about the Hindu and the third about the Muslims. I think the last book is India after the Raj. Good reading.

      Did you know Rita Kempson, who plays Lady Manners in the BbC drama was married to Sir Michael Redgrave, and mother of Vanessa, Lynn, and Colin?

      I binge watched the series after I had a stroke, thus forgot much of what I saw. So, read the Raj Quartet. Netflix has the series on DVD and maybe streaming also.


  3. Hibernation looks attractive, we are fogged in 300 miles away from any coast or a Trader Joes but..so glad not to have snow up to my knees or even my ankles. Hang in there.


  4. I always enjoy shopping at Trader Joe’s. I am overdue for a visit. We went to Wegmans this morning. The thought of David in his red hat feeding the birds made me smile and took me back to when we met you both with Gigi and her David. What a lovely time we had. Maybe when the weather starts to get warmer the four of us can meet up at a restaurant in Arlington. I would truly enjoy that. Gregg asked for me to look out for a recipe for Basil Chicken and I found one. I will be heading to Trader Joe’s for all the ingredients.


  5. I like Trader Joes too…they are always helpful. BTW, thanks for the comment on my latest blog entry but I was in Wellesly HIGH SCHOOL, not the College. I think Sylvia went to Smith and I went to Boston Univ.


  6. Sounds like an interesting few days. Do you think the cardinals in your yard believe David is one of their own in his red hat?

    Glad you are OK with your attitude problem. That’s half the battle.


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