To hear with eyes

It can’t be Shakespeare’s birthday and not celebrate it with a sonnet!

XXIII

As an unperfect actor on the stage,
Who with his fear is put beside his part,
Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,
Whose strength’s abundance weakens his own heart;
So I, for fear of trust, forget to say
The perfect ceremony of love’s rite,
And in mine own love’s strength seem to decay,
O’ercharged with burthen of mine own love’s might.
O! let my looks be then the eloquence
And dumb presagers of my speaking breast,
Who plead for love, and look for recompense,
More than that tongue that more hath more express’d.
O! learn to read what silent love hath writ:
To hear with eyes belongs to love’s fine wit.

Follow this link to find an interesting commentary:

http://www.shakespeares-sonnets.com/sonnet/23

A Masterchef dish?

Masterchef has started again, the amateur competition, and I’m amazed at how good some of the contestants are, and how brave they all are! I could never enter, too nervous, and really just not good enough! I do love cooking though, and tonight I cooked a very simple meal but which was absolutely delicious. With a  little refinement, it really could be a Masterchef dish!

While we were away we went to Monmouth, and there is a great deli there, The Marches Delicatessen, with a very friendly and helpful young man working there – maybe he’s the owner, I’m not sure, but he was very helpful and cheery. There were so many delightful things on the shelves, I could have spent a fortune! There was a wide range of Welsh cheeses and other local produce, but because we wouldn’t be coming straight home, we were limited with what we could buy. We did buy some cheese, and we also bought some olives, and tried some seaweed gin (not me, I like seaweed, I don’t like gin).

I was intrigued by an attractive collection of dried seaweed in little bottles, like you would have dried herbs. There were five different weeds, wrack, gutweed, laver, dulse and kelp… Now I’d heard of lava and dulse as edible seaweeds, and I’d heard of wrack and kelp as marine plants, but gutweed? Curious! I didn’t buy the set, produced by The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company… until the following day when we went back to Monmouth, and having had seaweed on my mind, I went back and treated myself!

So now we’re home and I decided to follow the gutweed…

Gutweed fish

  • white fish of your choice
  • Dove’s gluten-free flour (for coating the fish)
  • dried flaked gutweed
  • sea-salt crystals
  • lemon juice
  • milk (I guess you could use fish stock if you have some! Or maybe wine!)
  1. mix the flour, seaweed and salt – I was cooking 1 filet of fish and used 2 tsp – next time i will use a little more
  2. melt the butter in the pan, and when it is foaming, cook the fish until it is done
  3. remove from pan and keep warm
  4. add the left over flour/salt/seaweed to the pan – and more butter if you need
  5. stir until it makes a roux – because it is not ordinary flour it does go a little lumpy, but you can soon get rid of that
  6. add the liquid – enough to make a sauce, taste and adjust the seasoning
  7. put the sauce to the side of the fish so it doesn’t lose its crunchy coating
  8. eat with bread and butter (or whatever you like!)

Here is a link to the deli:

http://www.marchesdeli.co.uk/

…and where you too can get the seaweed if you can’t get to Monmouth:

Mermaid's Larder – Laver Seaweed Collection

…and the company who produce it – and a whole load of other things which you can buy on line:

http://www.beachfood.co.uk

Breakfast

I had a very nice breakfast this morning in Shoreham, West Sussex. Shoreham is properly Shoreham-by-Sea and it’s a most attractive town of nearly fifty thousand people, right by the sea, as you can guess! Today’s breakfast was fairly simple, coffee, fried egg and bacon on bagel, and a hot cross bun; it was only as I was eating it I noticed on the menu I could have had avocado with it too. Now, several years ago I would have thought it the most odd thing to have avocado with a cooked breakfast, until I went to visit my daughter in New Jersey two years ago.

I did have some mighty fine breakfasts on my visit, most days at the Morristown Pancake House, a great establishment! It was there that I realised that there was a whole world of different breakfast items, and I particularly liked the combination of avocado with the conventional typical English breakfast items. My husband had discovered his preferred breakfast in Australia several years ago, eggs Benedict; the Morristown Pancake House really indulged him:

Benedicts

  • Original: Poached Eggs, Sliced Virginia Ham on an English Muffin Crowned with Rich Hollandaise sauce
  • Florentine: Poached Eggs Fresh Sautéed Spinach on an English Muffin Crowned with Rich Hollandaise sauce
  • Maryland: Same as the original subtract the Virginia Ham and Replace with Homemade Crab Cakes
  • Irish: Poached Eggs on an English Muffin Our Homemade Corned Beef Hash Topped with Hollandaise Sauce

… and they introduced us to skillets:

  • The Wrangler: Bacon, Sautéed Spinach, Peppers, Onions, Roasted Potatoes & Eggs your way
  • The Rodeo: Chorizo, Jalapenos, Onions, Peppers, Roasted Potatoes, & Eggs Your Way

… and

Daddy-O: Combos

  • Pancakes with Two Eggs, Bacon,
  • French Toast with Two Eggs, Bacon Sausage & Home Fries Sausage & Home Fries
  • Belgian Waffle Two Eggs Your Way, Bacon, Sausage & Home Fries

…and my favourite

  • Huevos Rancheros: Two Eggs Your Way with Chorizo, Frijoles, Pico de Gallo, Sharp Cheddar, Corn Tortillas

Now I’m home after my few days away, I guess I will return to my more conservative fast-breaking…

My destiny to behold

Poetry month, Thomas Wyatt, and more reminiscences of the time when I first ‘met’ him:

I first read his work when I was studying for my degree, in my first year. Up until then, the way we had been taught to appreciate poetry actually didn’t teach us to appreciate it at all! I had always loved poetry and had tried to write poems from being quite a young child… my efforts were pretty hopeless for the most part, but I just loved language and the way it could be worked.

Doing my degree I suddenly saw the poetry I loved in a completely different way… and even now,after so many years, when I think of Thomas Wyatt’s poetry, I am taken back to those sunny autumn days in the concrete tower that was the College of Commerce of Manchester Polytechnic.

Some fowls there be that have so perfect sight
Again the sun their eyes for to defend;
And some because the light doth them offend
Do never ‘pear but in the dark or night.
Other rejoice that see the fire bright
And ween to play in it, as they do pretend,
And find the contrary of it that they intend.
Alas, of that sort I may be by right,
For to withstand her look I am not able
And yet can I not hide me in no dark place,
Remembrance so followeth me of that face.
So that with teary eyen, swollen and unstable,
My destiny to behold her doth me lead,
Yet do I know I run into the gleed.

Charged with embezzling 1s. 6d

I have been looking in old newspapers, dating back to 1842, and found mention of the quarter sessions held in court in Hobart. My great-great-grandfather, Samuel Moses, had reason to take an employee to court over the theft of one shilling and sixpence. It seemed so harsh to us that this man when found guilty was sentenced to hard labour, but it could have been worse for him. Life was tough and cruel then, but it seems Samuel wanted the man to be treated justly and spoke up on his behalf.

Here is an expanded account of the report I shared a few days ago:

ADJOURNED QUARTER SESSIONS

Before J.Howe, Esq., Chairman, and W. Moriarty, W. Seccombe, and J. P. Poynter, Esqrs., Justices of the Peace.

MONDAY, JULY 4.

  • Mary Ann Forest, indicted for stealing a bonnet and a shawl. the property of Catherine McCoy, was found guilty, and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment with hard labour. Thomas Dolphin was acquitted of the charge of stealing a jacket., valued at 15s., belonging to James Dogharty.
  • Thomas Marsden, convicted of having, on the 23rd ult., robbed Alexander Mayne of a handkerchief, of the value 2s., was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour
  • Thomas Wright was next placed in the dock, charged with embezzling 1s. 6d., the property of his employer, Mr Samuel Moses. It appeared that the prosecutor had, on the day in question, given Wright two dollars, with which to purchase a bushel of Indian corn. The latter went to Mr. J. Anderson’s and bought only three pecks, for which he paid, and took the change. On returning home he accounted to his master, by the change, as having purchased a bushel. Mr. Anderson not having before known Mr. Moses to send for less than a bushel, suspected that there was something wrong, and in consequence of the surmise, called on the prosecutor, who investigated the matter, and finally gave Wright in custody.
  • Verdict,”Guilty ;” but, in consequence of his master’s recommendation that the mercy of the Court should be extended to him, as he had received a good character from his last employer, and had never before known any-thing to his prejudice, the sentence was limited to twelve months’ imprisonment with hard labour.
  • Mary Burton, a very garrulous old lady, was found guilty of stealing a black and while striped shawl, the property of Priscilla Clare. The evidence on the side of the prosecution was confined to what was elicited from the prosecutrlx, who stated that a neighbour of her’s went into her house to borrow a pair of scissors, and was soon after followed by the prisoner, who, after a lapse of about fire minutes, left the premises in company with the other woman. The latter soon after returned, saying that Mary Burton had told her that she had obtained posses-sion of a shawl, which she had lost some time before. The prosecutrix, on looking behind the door, where she had hung her shawl, perceived that it was missing, and shortly after seeing it in the hands of the prisoner, gave her to charge.
  • The old woman managed her case with some tact, and had a man brought over from the jail, where he was detained on a charge of felony, to prove that she had, whilst living al North West Bay, been in the habit of wearing a shawl of that description ; and also called Mr. Caldwell, from whom she stated that the article had been purchased; the latter, however, could not call to his recollection the sale of a shawl, though he had had some of the same kind, and had frequently effected sales to the woman’s husband. Sentenced to transportation for seven years.
  • James Dogherty was convicted of stealing three ducks, of the value of 9s., and nine ducks, valued at 20s., the property of Bernard Mackintyre, and received the sentence of two years’ imprisonment with hard labour.
  • William Lawrence, charged with having, on the 10th of April, stolen a watch, of the value of £20, belonging to Mrs. J. White, and William Sutherland with having received the same, knowing it to have been stolen, were both found Guilty, and sentenced, the former to seven years, and the latter to fourteen years’ transportation, with a recommendation that they should be sent to Port Arthur as speedily as possible.
  • Patrick Parkinson appeared to his bail to answer an indictment for assault on the person of Catherine Harvey, under particular circumstances, of which the details, better omitted in these columns, kept the risible muscles of (the audience in unceasing play. The jury returned a verdict of “Not Guilty.”

The Public are respectfully informed

Old newspapers are always fascinating, but it’s also exciting when you come across your own family mentioned. In about 1839, my great-great-grandfather, Samuel Moses, his wife Rosetta and several of their children left London and travelled to what was then called Van Diemen’s Land. He went there on a commercial enterprise and became a partner with his brother-in-law, Louis Nathan in what was in essence and import/export business. This report announces it’s beginning:

June 1, 1841

NOTICE

THE Public are respectfully informed, that the Undersigned, having (in conjunction with his BROTHER-IN-LAW, MR SAMUEL MOSES) purchased the extensive premises known as COMMERCIAL HOUSE, lately in the occupation of MESSRS. THOMAS & Co , in addition to those occupied by himself in Liverpool street, the business hitherto earned on his sole account will for the future be conducted in> conjunction with MR SAMUEL MOSES, under the Firm of NATHAN, MOSES, & Co., when be trusts that patronage and support which he has hitherto so liberally experienced from the public, and for which he expresses his best thanks, will be continued to the new establishment.
The Undersigned further respectfully intimates, that all claims upon him to the present date, as also all debts owing to the late concern will be assumed by the New Firm, as above.
Louis NATHAN.

They later had a second shop and also warehouses and several ships, but this was the beginning of their enterprise, and my family’s connection with what is now called Tasmania

Thank you!

I published my most recent book, Earthquake two days ago, and I’ve been overwhelmed with the people who have already acquired it! One friend downloaded it seven minutes after it was published as an e-book on Amazon! Thank you, everyone, thank you!!

I started writing the story over a year ago, but the genesis of it was much earlier; it started with a set of photos I found in a newspaper of thirteen unnamed, unknown Japanese schoolgirls from the 1930’s. They were head and shoulders shots, school photos, of thirteen teenage young women. Their ages seemed to vary, some seemed only about eleven or twelve, some seemed older, sixteen, maybe seventeen even. An artist had found them in a junk shop and had made an exhibition using them… I don’t remember what the exhibition was like now – I didn’t ever see it, I only saw the review in the newspaper with the photos of the  girls. As soon as I saw it, however many years ago, eleven I think, I wanted to write a story about these thirteen.

I knew I couldn’t write a historical novel set in Japan, I didn’t have the resources or the wherewithal to do the research needed; and also it would take a very long time for a writer like me to be able to do it, starting off in total ignorance. Many writers who write historical novels, or work set in different societies, cultures or ages have researchers who can support them, have access to resources and archives which I don’t, so it was clear to me from the beginning that  I had to do something different.

I have written four books about Thomas Radwinter; he started as a character investigating his own family history, but he became someone whose eccentric way of looking at a problem helped solve little mysteries. Quite early on in writing about him, I realised that at some point he would be presented with the thirteen photos of the thirteen girls and would be asked to find out about them…

Another interest I have is in the 1607 tsunami which affected the coastline here where I live in Somerset; it was caused by an earthquake or tremor out in the Irish sea. I once experienced a minor earthquake in Lancashire, and I also knew there had been a severe tremor in 1931 centred on the Dogger Bank… Thomas says:

… the Dogger Bank earthquake! It was so far away, but the earthquake caused the church spire to twist, chimneys to fall in Hull, Beverley and Bridlington, Dr Crippen’s head to tumble from his wax work figure in Madame Tussaud’s…

So I had the photos, I had the earthquake, I added a haunted hotel and some complications to Thomas’s already busy work and family life, and after a lot of thinking and mental planning I began to write what became ‘Earthquake’.

Thanks once again to everyone who has bought my latest novel, and here is a link to it and my other stories:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden