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It is a whirlwind in here

Cheese And Rum Aged At Sea In Ancient And Modern Times

 

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This is not only an idea whose time has come, but it is an idea I have used in three novels starting over three decades ago. In my novels, I have some edible substance aged through transport at sea.

In A Lost Gospel, set in the time of Christ, I have seafarers strengthen an unnamed gruel stored in a barrel that is used to relieve the effects of seasickness. It tastes vile.

In my two  historical “Onion” novels, I have special cheeses aged during the two year long sea trips my characters take for trading purposes. They return tasting right (and ripe) fine.


Here is a current news story set along the same lines.

A Nova Scotia distillery is sending its spirits out Monday on an around-the-world trip on a tall ship, promising it will taste better for the journey.

Four barrels of rum from Lunenburg’s Ironworks Distillery will spend the next 15 months in the cargo hold of the three-masted tall ship Picton Castle.

https://www.halifaxtoday.ca/local-news/nova-scotia-distiller-sending-four-barrels-of-rum-on-round-the-world-voyage-837196?utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Email

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And here is an excerpt from my novel, China Lily.

The storage hold for the cheese is actually a room partitioned from the main hold by thick oak planks. Its back wall is the side of The Pegasus. There is a raised floor to keep the cheese from the bilge, and a barred door with heavy locks. The Cannaras had the room designed, and placed specifically, so it would not hinder the running of the ship through either weight or volume displacement. In addition, the Cannaras paid the other owners an impressive surcharge for the space.

Matzerath steps back as Cepa unlocks and opens the door. The cheeses have not been moved for over two years, except through the motions of The Pegasus itself. They are tightly packed with straw and wax, three to a wooden crate. The crates are kept in place through the use of ropes and webbing that allows them to move with the motion of the ship. If they break loose they can dent, break, or even shatter their thick outer shell of wax. The exposure to air would turn them to rot.

The two and more years of exposure to the sea salt atmosphere tightens the ropes and webbing. They reach a point where it is not worth the effort to unbind them. Cepa begins to use his knife on all the ties.

He is quickly followed by Matzerath, who does not question the reason for Cepa’s actions, but just follows suit. Together they make short work of the ropes and webbing. Matzerath gets by the doorway and takes his place in the human chain. Cepa hands a crate of the cheese to him. He carries it to the first man on the steps who, in turn, takes it up the steps to the next man. In this way the cheeses go from man to man until they are placed in the carts. It is not backbreaking work, but it is awkward and exhausting enough that Cepa eventually calls for a break. They all go up to stand on deck to take advantage of the fresh air.

“How long have you been selling this ‘voyage cheese’?” Matzerath is watching the frenzied activity on the dock.

“Over two hundred years.” Cepa keeps an attentive eye on the cheeses already on deck. “But never any trip as long as this one.”

“Any magic secret in making it?”

“The choice of the onions. But I don’t actually make the cheese – that is for others in the family.” Cepa smiles. “I help create the mystique.”

“Mystique?”

“Yes.” Cepa turns to scan the dock. “Look at those three men on horseback.”

“Yes?”

“One is a priest; one from the noble’s house; and the third leads the cheese maker’s guild.” Cepa holds up his hand to shade his eyes from the morning sun. “Their sole reason to be here is to verify that these cheeses actually come off The Pegasus. They will affix a seal onto each crate.”

“They don’t trust the Cannaras?” Matzerath turns to Cepa in surprise.

“They trust us because this was our idea.”

“Ha! You Cannaras are crafty.”

“There are few questions asked about items brought back from far away. They are so foreign they have to be authentic.”

“But cheese made right here …” begins Matzerath.

“Yes – anyone can make cheese.” Cepa indicates that he wants to walk around the deck. “And it all looks the same once covered and waxed.”

 

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FACT CHECK: Did a Former Canadian Official Say the Illuminati Are Real—And Hiding Alien Stuff?

Canada and aliens visiting from outer, outer space. Is there any defence? An illuminating outlook.

Paul Hellyer has long been a vocal conspiracy theorist and believer in aliens.

Source: FACT CHECK: Did a Former Canadian Official Say the Illuminati Are Real—And Hiding Alien Stuff?

Franz Kafka And Love for Valentine’s Day (from Kafka In The Castle)

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Franz Kafka had many lovers in his life.  For someone supposedly distant and difficult, he was rarely without a woman more than willing to be his companion. Of course, being his companion was difficult because he was – well – Franz Kafka. Not that, as far as I know, any of them actually used the phrase .“It’s complicated.”  But it was.

Felice Bauer was, arguably, the most important love in his life. She was engaged to him twice. And, considering the relationship they had, I’m guessing she was relieved each time they broke it off.  They were ‘together’ from September 1912 to October 1917, and most of their relationship occurred through letters. Those few times they were together were not always filled with bliss.

In Kafka In The Castle, where I fill in his missing diary entries, I have him make comments about the end of their relationship.

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Excerpt from Kafka In The Castle

27 February 1917

A letter from F. I am beginning to think that we do not really see the people in front of us. F. has changed from a vibrant companion to a banal drudge. But, of course, she has not really changed. She is neither of these things, but rather a combination. She is a person living through her life, and what I see reflected are my wants and fears. I want F. to share my tiny house, but I am ever fearful she might say yes.

28 March 1917

I have many letters I should write, the principle one being to F. A chore offering little satisfaction, and less pleasure. Except for the relief of knowing it is done. I am an expert in this, since I spend most of my life dealing with chores. The sins of the office will follow me into the third and fourth decade. But what is to be done about Felice? If anything, she is enjoying our correspondence more now, than she ever has. Rarely do we go below the surface of furniture and work. Will this be this, or that be that? If we ever approach the stairway of heaven together, she will be most concerned that the carpeting upon it is expensive and durable.

04 June 1917

Sometimes – with F – a kiss could make me feel I was becoming part of her. And she into me. I retreated.

DE

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Royal Navy bomb disposal experts dealing with River Thames WW2 device

How a war never ends. Perhaps my father, stationed outside London during the early part of World War Two, walked past this while on leave. He did like to nip into London.

Source: Royal Navy bomb disposal experts dealing with River Thames WW2 device

Berlin – A Day Trip

It’s Up To You, New York – Day Two

ACL Announces New Weekly Trans-Atlantic Passenger Service, Starting in April: Hamburg-Antwerp-Liverpool-Halifax-New York-Baltimore And Return

The Cruise People Ltd

Atlantic Star at Liverpool The 100,430-ton 12-passenger Atlantic Star departing Liverpool for Halifax, New York and Baltimore

The Cruise People Ltd is happy to announce a new cargo-passenger service between Europe and North America with five new ACL vessels called the G4’s. All delivered over the past two years to Grimaldi Lines subsidiary ACL, these ships will now offer a weekly fixed day of the week passenger service between Hamburg, Antwerp and Liverpool in Europe and Halifax, New York and Baltimore in North America.

Sample transit times are 7 nights Liverpool to Halifax and 9 nights Liverpool to New York, while in the reverse New York to Liverpool is 10 nights and Halifax to Liverpool 8 nights.

To book, you will need to act quickly as all sailings from Europe in April and May and from North America in September and October are now fully booked. Bookings are now open for departures from…

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The Commander-In-Chief Wants A Military Parade

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The Commander-In-Chief decided  it would be a grand day to become Admiral of the Fleet – Lord High Admiral if he chose the hat with cockade and plume. Nodding jauntily in the air, the plume put on an impressive display, as he either agreed, or disapproved, with a toss, or a shake, of his head. The dancing ostrich feathers would add a dashing air as he boarded his flagship and, with just the right mixture of stringent authority and well- tempered geniality, moved in imperious sweeps among the ranks of ratings on the aft deck. He would, of course, be extra careful about the pitfalls awaiting a man with ornate dress sword and scabbard, among the steep steps and narrow companionways.

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Wednesday would be khaki day for the Commander-In-Chief. It was the day set aside to remind him of the loyalty he must always retain from his men, for what was a leader without his troops? As a treat – for really, the dull brown did not make for a very striking appearance – he would chose the tank commander’s uniform. With its wide web belt and shiny black holster on the hip, flap unsnapped to reveal the butt of a wicked forty-five. And, of course, the black leather gloves, as befits a man at the controls of so much power, and the steel helmet polished to a mirror-shine. The riding crop? Ah, the riding crop was debatable.

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There would be a parade today, massed men at attention with stiffly held rifles and fixed bayonets. The Commander-In-Chief would have to chose carefully to represent his awesome power and responsibility. Cavalry boots would be a must, raising half-way up the calf and resounding with silver spurs, steel-tipped toes and heels. Then would come crisp black trousers, billowing majestically around the thighs, and kept up with a wide leather belt. He took care that each red stripe reaching the length of each leg was as straight as an arrow. His blue tunic, he decided, would have only muted decorations and the minimum of gold braid entwined about his shoulders. He was – after all – a Commander-In-Chief of the people.

DE

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Moses And The Chicken (Check Your Bible If You Must)

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So it has come to this.

A mindless voice with mindless tune singing softly in the dark.

My friend, I promise you that on such a night even the sages are locked babbling in their rooms.

You think me mad?

“Well, my boyze.”  (I talk in my best W.C. Fields voice).

“Well, my boyze. I had a hen who could lay a Golden Calf.

“And this weird guy – Moses was his name – yass, this Mozaz threw these stone tablets – threw, I say – these stone tablets on my hen, and killed her.

“Feathers everywhere.

“And I asked him – I said to him –  Mozaz, why did you flatten my hen and make the feathers fly?

“And he said to me  (can you believe this) – he said to me: `W. C., I was damn hungry.’

“And then I knew,

“My little chickadee,

“My little bottom-soft dumpling,

“I knew from that moment,

“The man was not sincere.”

DE

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