Friends 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.