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Tuesday, June 30, 2009


The day that I first heard I was going to be a father (the day before Father’s day, 1986) I went out and bought a simple journal to log events in my child's life.

Two daughters and 22 plus journals later...

I read a few of those “milestones” at Amy’s wedding -- just a few paragraphs from 22 plus years of journals filled with a lot of “firsts” (steps, words, places visited, people met…) and a few painfully sad “lasts” (good-byes to school days, activities, loved ones…).

(Sir Bowie reading from Page 1 of Journal 1. Photo Credit: Michelle Forche

That morning as I read through a lot of the pages trying to edit my comments down to a manageable toast (after all, I didn’t want Amy, Mark, and all the guests to starting yelling, “shut up old man and let’s cut the cake!”) I realized that the word “milestone” was too strong. In most cases, these were just tiny little events that had special meaning only to me.

But if not “milestones,” what were they?

I was reading an article today on and came across the perfect term: “milepebbles.”

Which lead me to Marina’s blog

“Better Than Milestones: Retracing my steps to collect random memories: they are the milepebbles of my life.”

I also found another article that summed it all up beautifully, Mile Pebbles Are The Little Moments That Melt Your Heart Written by Anita Myers

She writes that she is constantly going through little moments in life with her daughter that have not exactly earned the title of "milestones" yet are still valued in her heart. So she calls them "milepebbles".

“They are the moments that enter through your eyes, whisper into your heart, create a wonderful swell of love within your spirit and finally leave you with a lump in your throat.”

In her case, they are the moments that “You realize precious moments happening yesterday remain right there - yesterday. That moment, without notice, left the party... and a new and different moment took it's place.”



It's true that most days aren’t filled with milestones; however, every day is full of milepebbles.

May our eyes be open to see them.

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dog of a beer?

Okay, I admit it! (And it has been documented here as well) I grew up a big fan of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. Considered to be nasty, cheap, red-neck (did I mention cheap and nasty?), I still enjoy an occasional PBR -- though I have to wear a mask so not be recognized.

Sir Bowie and Lady Suzanne at a recent "Mexican Theme" party (photo courtesy of Sir Cock of the Walk).

Yes, many people see Pabst as one ugly dog of a beer. Those people didn't realize how right they were... sort of.

This from the Associate Press

A prominent under-bite, scrunched face and floppy ears are the hallmarks of a winner. The winner of the World's Ugliest Dog contest, that is. Pabst, a boxer-mix rescued from a shelter by Miles Egstad of Citrus Heights, Calif., won the annual contest on Friday at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Northern California. It was an upset victory for Pabst, who beat former champion Rascal, a pedigree Chinese Crested. Pabst's owner took home $1,600 in prize money, pet supplies and a modeling contract with House of Dog. Miss Ellie, a blind 15-year-old Chinese Crested Hairless, won the pedigree category. Pabst, a toothy Boxer mixed-breed stole the show at Friday’s World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at the Marin-Sonoma Fair, defeating a former world champion Chinese crested named Rascal to take first place. The former shelter dog fetched $1,600 in prize money, a modeling contract and a table-full of collars, leashes and toys, KTVU-TV reported. Pabst’s victory was an upset of sorts. The awkward-appearing Chinese crested breed has dominated the contest for over seven years, and represented over half of this year’s entries. His owner, Miles Egstad, said he named his dog for his “bitter beer face.”

I personally think the little guy is cute. But, then again, I also drink Pabst from time to time.

Sir Bowie "No Pabst Dog Piss Jokes, Please" of Greenbriar

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sir Woody of Long

Reading Sir Dayvd's blog about his friend, Steven Wells, reminded me to stop and smell the roses and remember what is truly important. High on that list is the nurturing of friends. Not just acquaintances, but sweat and blood friends, pick you from the bowls of hell friends, take a bullet for you friends, can write your life story friends...and still have plenty of secrets left to ponder on while they drink a toast to your honor on your grave!

As I commented on that excellent blog, In the midst of life we are in death, I can count those kind of friends on one hand. Actually four to date.

I recently had the good fortune to receive a letter from one of those, who I have not communicated with for a couple of years. In stumbling through his father-in-laws tackle box, he came across packages of gold fishing hooks that my dad used as calling cards when he was a traveling salesman. Kirk and me go a long way back to our kindergarten days. We have experienced a wealth of joys, sorrows, hell raising, and stories that only he and I will ever know. He is also only one of two people who know the origins of "Hook".

I rejoice to have my friend back, the voice of Fairfield radio, and newly knighted Sir Woody of Long.

Count your friends and rejoice with them today!

Sir Hook the Golden Fishhook of Warrick

Saturday, June 27, 2009

An Old Farmer's Advice

I was out late last night driving the backroads of Southern Indiana in my 1955 Willys M38A1 (Military Jeep) -- top down. I often take the backroads because the beast's top speed is around the 45 mph mark. On this night drove under of curtain of bright stars (one shooting star made me say "WOW" out loud) and shoulder to shoulder with a lot of farmers working late night in their fields doing whatever it is farmers do late night June with heavy equipment (Yes, I'm a city boy).

I opened my email when I got home to find one of those "forward to everyone in my email address book" emails from Sir Norman of William Nottingham Court. Coincidentally, it was some Old Farmer's Advice that seems like good nuggets of truth for all good Knights (country to city Knights).

With the memory of the shooting star still burned on my retinas and the smell of farm dust in my nostrils, I present Norm's "An Old Farmer's Advice": * Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

* Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.

* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.

* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.

* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

* You cannot unsay a cruel word.

* Every path has a few puddles.

* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty..

* The best sermons are lived, not preached.

* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't Never gonna happen anyway.

* Don't judge folks by their relatives.

* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

* Live a good, life. Then when you get Older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't Bothering you none.

* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.

* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.

* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in..

* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.

* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Sir Bowie "trying to remember
to Always drink upstream from the herd"
of Greenbriar

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In the Midst of Life we are in Death

Not the jolliest statement to start a KMSA Blog....but having just lost the fourth good friend , in a month to cancer, I, to put one of my humorous spins on it, am beginning to feel like the nerd in the line who isn't being picked for the rugby team, as they all go off to answer the Last Big Question.

This particular friend was Steven Wells, who became well known in the UK. in the nineties, as one of the influential Gonzo Journalists / music writers on the New Musical Express, and along with that other Swindon , near Oxford born writer Everett True, was an acerbic influence on my writing life and all things Rock related.

In later life he took the leap and went to the States and wrote a column for the Philadelphia Weekly, and it was there on 23 rd June 2009, he left us to it...

So to crave the KMSA's indulgence, I have put in below the last column he wrote for the PW on 14th of June 2009... and doff my visor to a fellow Scholar Gypsy, and know that eating a Cheese steak on South St Philly without him...won't be quite the same again.

Why is it that the people with the most profound stuff to say are also those who are the least capable of being able to express that profundity?

I am talking about us. The mutoids. The abyss starers. The already organ-bagged cancer boys. While we are in some mere state of deterioration, our ability to comment is still possible. It might even be occasionally interesting. Certainly every writer who has ever contracted cancer has thought so. We can make cancer jokes. Existentialist jokes, even. The world is ours!

But then as one nudges closer to the edge, in the eye of the tiger storm (Tiger Storm, quite possibly the worst line and the best band name ever written), one is more inclined to shit oneself (literally and figuratively) than to throw shit at the system. Which is wrong and weak and lazy but kind of understandable. As is my wife’s fury this morning upon her discovery that a pair of pre-adolescent oiks destroyed a 95 percent-completed jigsaw puzzle (of cats) in the family waiting room. Even as her own dear husband was having his savagely jigsawed abdomen dressed in a hospital room but two doors away.

But life isn’t that banal or that stupid. Life isn’t about grit and grime and squalor. Life is getting angry at destroyed cat jigsaws. Life is the amazement at seeing the Vanity Fair title erupt as a scarlet mohawk-cum-quiff across a dainty Johnny Depp’s forehead, and the drooling anticipation of watching a Brian McManus-recommended terror-comedy on my computer later tonight. And of course the sight of tireless, tie-less and tire-burning liberal rioters taking to the streets of Tehran.

I speak as someone whose greatest craving at this exact moment is not world peace and universal democracy or a rational and global redistribution of wealth, but a can of ice cold ginger ale.

And of course all this bollocks is written by an idiot who has polished his image as an existentialist, atheist hard-man and anti-mope, forever sneering at the tribes who wallow in self-pity -- the gothers, the emo kids, the Smiths fans -- the whole 900-block-wide marching band composed entirely of the white male urban middle classes who are convinced that (as the most affluent and pampered human beings who have ever walked the planet) theirs is a story worth hearing. Blissfully unaware that they are but a few generations away from regular visits to the doctor who would wind parasitic worms from their beer bloated assholes using sticks. (Check out the AMA logos, those smiling beasts are not snakes.)

You could blame this fallacy on poor education, cultural deterioration, or simple moral decline.

Me? I blame it on sunshine. I blame it on the moonlight. I blame it on the boogie.

RIP Steven Wells ( aka Swells, Susan Williams )

Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire...who by the time this is posted , at the weekend will have left the 21st Cent, and anything with a plug, a charger, and electricity far behind... and will be taking himself and just his Soul to the Healing Field at Glastonbury, before getting his mind blown watching Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Blur and Crosby Stills and Nash .. ( one more day to work wooohoo )

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I got you Covered

Okay you Knights and Ladiezzz..there is a new craze in town... especially for those who bought their music on Vinyl, and now have plenty of time on their hands now the kids have left home....
Ever fancied being Paul McCartney’s body double or seeing how Barbra Streisand’s head would look on your body? Well, here’s your chance.

The concept couldn’t be simpler. Put a record sleeve or CD case in front of your face, make sure your body aligns with the person on the cover, get a friend to take a photo — then send it to

Now the website’s creators are releasing a book of the best Sleevefaces — and they’re more inventive than ever...

Hugh's that boy? You can't take anything for Granted with this soundtrack

Cover-up: One fan's love for jazz king John Coltrane

Winging it: Linda and Paul McCartney come together

These boots were made for sliding: A playful tribute to Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood

I'm Dreaming: And so is American crooner Pat Boone

By the hair on my chinny chin: Not Jackie Gleason

Face-off: A devotee with the blonde ambition to copy DJ Richie Hawtin

A cunning plan: Blackadder's Rowan Atkinson enjoys a tea break

My cup of tea: A taste of 60s smoothie Jack Jones

On the nose: What are odds it's Barbra Streisand?

A howl lot of talent: This pooch will be glad he's got a friend in James Taylor

Put out to grass: But singer Xuxa is famous in Brazil

Hello: Is Lionel Richie really looking for tattoos?

Tight fit: But not as hot as Canadian singer Peaches

Hooked: He may not have seen it coming, but this Professionals cover definitely hits the spot

Shake a leg: No wonder Tom Jones is smiling

Pop fiction: But can her legs match John Travolta's

The guitar man: This music lover pulled a few strings to emulate Blues star Josh White

There are hundreds, even more inventive ones, on the website get clicking... and if nothing'll be tripping down memory lane when you just see the sleeves and all your past comes flooding back.

Sir Dayvd ( "I'll tip my hat to the new constitution, take a bow for the new revolution, smile and grin at the change all around me, pick up my guitar and play, just like yesterday, then I'll get on my knees and pray." ) of Oxfordshire

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Toss Back World's Oldest Beer

One of the great beer marketing gimmicks (I mean tools) used lately involves "born on dating" or anything to do with checking for "freshness." Well, how would you like to throw back a 9,000 year old beer (at least a brew made from what may be the world’s oldest recipe for beer)?

Well, thanks to our friends at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Del. (Okay, I've never met them, but after visiting their web site, I feel as if we're best friends), -- and University of Pennsylvania molecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern -- you can now enjoy a beer brewed from a 9,000 year old Chinese recipe.

It seems that old Patrick first described the beverage in 2005 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences based on chemical traces from pottery in the Neolithic village of Jiahu in Northern China (and who says that scientist don't know how to have fun?). Soon after, McGovern called on Sam Calagione at the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Del., to do the ancient recipe justice. Called Chateau Jiahu, this blend of rice, honey and fruit was intoxicating Chinese villagers 9,000 years ago—long before grape wine had its start in Mesopotamia.

If you've not met Dogfish, you should check 'em out at

Off-centered ales, for off-centered people ... that's what we do here at Dogfish Head! Whether it's weird ingredients, super-strong extreme beers, or crazy, made-up styles, you can be sure that a beer from Dogfish will challenge your perceptions of what beer is supposed to be!

A few other off the wall (or shelf) Dogfish brews coming to you this summer:

The first large batch of Sah’tea for the general public—a modern update on a ninth-century Finnish beverage. In short, brewmasters carmelize wort on white hot river rocks, ferment it with German Weizen yeast, then toss on Finnish berries and a blend of spices to jazz up this rye-based beverage.

And Dogfish is also bringing back something called Theobroma. This is a cocoa-based brew theat was hatched from a chemical analysis of 3,200-year-old pottery fragments from the Cradle of Chocolate, the Ulua Valley in Honduras —made from a blend of cocoa, honey, chilies, and annatto.

Sir Bowie "off to find an off-centered ale" of Greenbriar

Monday, June 22, 2009

One Life, Six Words, Whats Yours

As regular readers of this Blog may have seen, the Knights and Ladiezz are entranced by the knotty art of Haiku writing... the distilling of a moment into an eternity. But what if you were asked to sum up your whole life ( so far ) in six words?

There's a book that caught my attention, called Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs By Famous and Obscure Writers. It's from the editors of Smith Magazine, and it's exactly what it says it is -- a collection of memoirs, each just six words long. which led me onto a website dedicated to the whole thing.

The idea stems from a literary legend. The story goes, that in the Twenties, Ernest Hemingway was sitting at the famous 'round table' with several literati at the Alonquin Hotel, New York, when he accepted a $10 bet to write a story in six words. He quickly wrote six words on a napkin and passed it round..: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." It had a beginning, a middle and an end and it won him the bet

The editors of Smiths Magazine challenged writers to craft their own six-word memoirs, and got some interesting results.

"Shy Jersey kid, overcompensating ever since." --Ariel Kaminer

"Being a monk stunk. Better gay." --Bob Redman

"Couldn't cope so I wrote songs." --Aimee Mann

Some of them are funny, others are pretty poignant. There's one that says, "Was father. Boys died. Still sad." That's from Ronald Zalewski.

'Dad called, DNA back: He Isn't' -- Helen Fielding

Womb, bloom,groom, gloom, rheum, tomb -- Blake Morrison

Seventy years, few tears, hairy ears -- Bill Overengesser

So all you KMSA out there.... step up to the plate....No need to write us a blog...and we want to hear yours. Sum up your life in six words -- no more, no less. For best results, don't overthink it. And remember, it's supposed to be a memoir, not a fortune cookie.
Me? ummm ......... "Fiftyfour; haven't even begun to start"

Sir Dayvd of Notenoughhoursintheday-shire

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunshine of My Love

Today is Summer Solstice...a most ancient Holy Day...what I call a Power Day! What signifies power better than the rising and setting sun...especially on this it's longest day to circle our humble heads!

The official day to kick off summer...and all its glorious memories and stories yet to unfold this summer of 2009...Summer Solstice and its dark-side twin...Winter Solstice are two of my favorite markers for my life.

This day is also Father's Day for those who are lucky enough to be called so (I am)...and even luckier to still have one around (which I don't). But everyone knows that Father's Day will never "stack-up" to Mother's Day. As much as we knuckle dragging, penis swinging, son of the great ape Adam try to hold onto power...we're no match for the endless mysterious of Mother Earth and her minions of spell weaving enchantresses!

Sir Dayvd made the pilgrimage to Stonehenge last year at this time, so I'm not sure if he has already welcomed the sun over the Stone like the billions of souls who have done so since it was built...but I like to think that our English Honorary Founding Father is representing the KMSA along with the Druids, New Age Air Heads, Curious Tourists, Loyal Fans, and Hung Over Mates!

We'll be walking these Sacred Grounds ourselves in just a few short weeks. It will be exactly 30 years since I last melded with the Stones...I can't wait for the return trip. I am grateful on this day as I write this blog while listening to Bono singing "Sunshine...Sunshine. Standing between midnight and a doorway. Speed dialing with no signal. Go and shout it out...escape yourself and gravity. On the edge of the known universe I wanted to be. Restart and reboot yourself. You're Free to GO!" From their song, Unknown Caller, on No Line On the Horizon.

So, I pack my bags in Columbus, OH...go work out...take a shower...and drive 5 hours back to begin the Summer with the Sunshine of My Love! Yes, I would like Cream with that!

Sir Hook the Rebooted Rock N Roll Druid of Warrick

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sir Hook's Traveling Medicine Show & The Magical Musical Tour

Sir Hook's Traveling Medicine Show has taken me and my metal steed to some interesting venues over the past two weeks. Combining a little business with a lot of pleasure...I have been fortunate to also make this a Magical Musical tour!

First stop was Nashville, TN. After some business, and the obligatory tours of seedy Honky Tonks on Broadway...we took in a fantastic concert headlined by Coldplay! We had awesome seats for an awesome show! Opening for the Tattered Uniform English Crew were two great bands in their own right...The Howling Bells and Snow Patrol.

After a a couple of days of R&R back at the ranch, I fired up the metal steed for the 6 hour trip up north to Chicago. I attending a medical convention by day and as many music venues as possible by night. I was fortunate to have the Chicago Blues Festival going on at the same time in Grant Park.

You haven't lived yet until you hear a Eastern European band play the blues! Especially Anna Popovich and her Belgrade band mates! I had the fortune of seeing Anna at last year's WC Handy Bar B Que and Blues Festival at Henderson, KY, just across the Ohio River from my house.

Anna is hot in looks, guitar playing capability and music selection! The Sexy Cold War Trifecta!

I went up the north side of Chicago on Saturday night to Schuba's to take in an acoustic set by Alice Peacock and Anne Harris. Alice has a beautiful voice that matches her Nordic Minnesota Blond Goddess looks. Accompanied by her writing partner from Nashville, it was an unplugged version of her best.

I went to see Alice; however, the Hooka Smoking Worm on the Mushroom had something else in store for me in Wonderland...and it wasn't Alice! It was a Nubian Princess version of Charlie Daniels wailing away on her fiddle. Ann Harris!

Anne is a combination of blues, celtic-bluegrass and reggae mixed with folk rock and topped off with a spicy sauce! Awesome stuff! She's playing in St. Louis after we get back from England. Already on my calendar!

Back Home Again in Indiana...I headed for a Ohio River sunset and the WC Handy Blues and Bar B Que Festival, held on the Riverfront in downtown Henderson, KY.

Named after WC Handy, who is known as the founding father of the modern blues back in the late 1890's. WC was born in Alabama, lived in St. Louis, and then moved to Evansville. He met his wife at a Bar B Que Festival in Henderson, thus the name.

It's a week long free concert and eating extravaganza, blessed with up and coming stars in the blues world. Like I said, Anna Popovich played here last year. Now she's doing the Chicago Blues Festival with Buddy Guy and BB King.

Last night I had the fortune to hear Lil' Dave with his band...Big Love...shred his guitar in the 90 degree sunset heat! Lil' Dave comes from the bread basket of blues...Mississippi.

A more complex texture of blues with a dash of R&B soul and a gospel twist is the music of Eric Bibb. Another interesting thing about Eric is his British connection.

His manger is a strapping Brit lass, who hails from Salisbury. Eric also has a song, Shine On, that is used as the theme song to a popular BBC television series, Sea of Souls. BBC2 radio also airs a lot of his music, features live interviews, and has supported him playing the Glastonbury Festival.

We enjoyed discussing the common language of music, the blues and favorite spots to visit in England. Oxford was his...of course Salisbury was hers!

I close with this quote from Eric in the liners of his "Get Onboard" CD:

"I feel I'm getting closer to the core of my mission as a troubadour. For me, it's always been more than a matter of providing musical entertainment. Above all, I enjoy spreading a message of unity and connected-ness. In these times of global strive, when our very survival seems to be in question, music reminds me that only love is real."

Obviously only a Knight of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale can speak about these things so eloquently. So, join me in welcoming Sir Eric of York!

Sir Hook the Troubadour of Warrick

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gimme a beer, imbecile!

MADRID (Reuters) – A Spanish bar is encouraging clients to insult its staff and offering free drinks for original or hilarious abuse.

"When you come in after work, you can say swear at them and call them bastard or imbecile," said client Antonio Ossa, who told state news agency EFE the promotion by the "Casa Pocho" bar in the southern town of Cullera near Valencia seemed like a good idea to him.

Polish-born bar owner Bernard Mariusz said he thought people needed somewhere to release their frustrations at a time of economic crisis, employing the Spanish language's rich store of earthy obscenities.

"That way they won't let it out on their family," he said.

(Reporting by Jason Webb, editing by Paul Casciato)

Now, if you're planning on making a little road trip to the "Casa Pocho" bar, you might want to first check out this web site:

Welcome to Insult-o-Matic, the website where you come to get the most insulting and offensive comments on earth. We have enough insults, put-downs, come-backs and rants to occupy you for the rest of your life. Be prepared to be severely insulted! Insult-o-Matic is not for the weak at heart, the easily offended, or children. If you fall under this category, please leave now ...otherwise (get started and have fun).

I love the fact that you can even type in your name in the Insult-o-Matic and it will generate and insult just for you. For example: Bowie, Bow down before me you mildew gulping yodelling nutbrain who kisses the feet of the foul dead carp and the godforsaken cabbage.

Sir Bowie "evidently a
squealing Stumpy" of Greenbriar

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Half-wit and Wisdom

With one daughter married and now living several hours away, and daughter number two in college two hours way, Lady Suzanne and I are now officially "empty nesters."

And what do "empty nesters" do first?



While cleaning the mountains of papers and books that I have (had) stacked in our office, I came across one of my favorite spiritual and inspirational books. A book so important and life-changing that I believe it must be required reading for every young person on this planet.

I present...

Mad's The Half-Wit and Wisdom of Alfred E. Neuman.

You be the judge. Here are just a few of the "classic pearls of idiocy" offered in this masterpiece:

It's a good idea to keep your words soft and sweet because you never know when you'll have to eat them.

If at first you don't succeed... you're about normal.

Modesty is the art of drawing attention to whatever it is you're being humble about.

America is the land that fought for freedom and then began passing laws to get rid of it.

These days, the only time politicians are telling the truth is when they call each other a liar.

We're living in an age when lemonade is made with artificial ingredients and furniture polish is made with real lemons.

Some people are like blisters: they show up right after the work is done.

The dollar will never fall as low as some people will do to get it.

A masochist is one who paints himself into a corner and then applies a second coat.

It's not just the ups and downs that make life difficult, it's the jerks!

and finally...

Live every day as if it were your last, because one of these days you'll be right!

What -- me worry?

Sir Bowie "if I said what was on my mind I'd be speechless" of Greenbriar

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

on this date

1883 New York Giants had the first Ladies Day - all women admitted free to game

1952 My Little Margie debuted on CBS tv

1975 John Lennon sued the U. S. government for discrimination concerning his immigration

1984 I married my best friend, David

1996 Batman Forever opens in the U.S.

Lady Suzanne of Greenbriar,
celebrating a wonderful 25th anniversary

Monday, June 15, 2009

High Summer

After a week on the road, and in taverns, I found a summer Sunday afternoon free to myself. I'd done the housework and made it good enough for the Queen to visit, loaded the fridge, and generally fried my To Do List. Monday could wait.

It was high summer outside, so I decided to go to explore some of the heritage medieval hay meadows, that have now been turn into nature reserves, between my house and the River Thames to the west.

I'd seen on a nature program, on TV in the winter, about these tracts of flood plain still tucked down by the river, standing the same as when the field workers made hay in them in the 13th Century. In the right season they are a profusion of flowers and I hoped that I'd picked the right weekend.

To reach them on bike I decided to follow the course of the canal by my home, on the tow path, for 3 miles, then bear right to the river.

Before wide roads and motorways, indeed before the invention of the petrol engine, England was criss crossed by a network of canals, on which long barges were towed by horses, carrying every kind of goods imaginable to the various cities, much as haulage trucks do the job these days.

Nowadays the canals are kept in trim by the waterways council, and providing wonderful walks and cycle rides into still beautiful scenery, that teems with wildlife.
I started my ride at the bridge at the end of my road. The pair of Mute Swans, that roam that section of the canal cadging food from the pleasure boats, had had two cygnets this season, and seemed unusually content now they were growing up.

The Long Boats I passed moored by the banks still provide me with painting work, decorating them in the Victorian canal folk Style they are famous for. This one I painted, still travels up from Oxford to Birmingham, and it was good to see it out on the water.
At Duke's Lock about 3 miles down the tow path, I turn along the narrow cut that leads to the River and the Yarnton Meads.

This little used footpath had become overgrown with Stinging Nettles, at which point I slightly regretted wearing the three-quarter length shorts I had on, as my shins took some major hits that I knew would tingle thru the night.

But to get to anything worth while you have to prevail in life, and eventually after half a mile, of beating my way through, the path opened out onto the vast hay meadows that lay next to the river under the upturned bowl of a blue sky.The Bulk of the white daisies and other flowers had passed over, but still there were hundreds of different species amongst the grasses; purples , yellows, scarlet's, like so many hidden jewels.

Everywhere I walked rose a cloud of common blue damsel flies, and
painted butterflies

A remarkable example of how an eco-system left as time intended it to, can flourish year after year. As it was a flood plain, development would never ever happen there.

The whole afternoon took me back to my childhood, when as the youngest of the family I used to go off and roam the countryside with my collecting nets and bottles and come home, and unbeknownst to my Mom..keep dozens of creepy crawlies in jars, with foliage, and tiny aquatic creatures in jars of fresh water, in my bedroom, so I could study them and take notes.

I say unbeknownst, but mom's being mom's she'd find out the following day what I had been up too, and everything would eventually be set free.

I read somewhere, that in middle age, we go back to the comfort and happy times ( if we were lucky enough to have them ) of our childhoods. Times when the concept of work, bills and taxes, were as far away as the days were long.

And as I took off my shoes to wade the ford, back to where I'd left my bike, I looked at my toes in the cool water with the sandy bottom, and realized, for a short time anyway, that I was back there.

Sir Dayvd ( God bless dappled things ) of Oxfordshire.