It is a whirlwind in here

Kafka With A Father’s Knife In His Back On The Ides of March



In my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I fill in the missing entries of his actual diaries.  There are many days to fill, as he either did not write during these days, or he destroyed the record.

Franz Kafka had his famous conflict with his father. He wrote a book about it.   For The Ides of March,  I imagine how Kafka pictured the will and actions of his father.


15 March 1917

Had I been born into a different family  – with other parents – I would be a different person. I was doomed from my first breath to have the father I have. My life is shaped beyond the reach of my choice.

I have lived so much of my life defending myself, that I marvel I have advanced at all. It is difficult to have achievements while continually looking over your shoulder for a knife in the back. Harder still, when you have to stop periodically, reach awkwardly around, and pull out the blades embedded there from childhood.

Cut and bloodied fingers make it painful to pick up the life spread before you.

But, my father is not always content to stand behind. From any alley – indeed, from any room, across any table – my father can charge at me with an outstretched lance, or a sword held high to come chopping down across my neck, with the full intent of severing my head from my body.

That he often strikes blindly makes his attack no less destructive.



Ottla Kafka Defies Her Father And Enters The World



Franz Kafka had his famous conflict with his father. He wrote a book about it. His sister had the same problems – perhaps worse because she was a “girl”.  In my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I fill in the missing entries of his actual diaries.  On this day, I show an imagined encounter that depicts the reason for Ottla’s actual departure from the family.


15 April 1917

I’ve just come from the train station. Seeing Ottla off to Zurau. She didn’t take much with her – I had little to carry. Very little help to give. She had not planned to go for another couple of weeks, but father took her to task at today’s dinner. He was vile even by his standards. I like to think he was really trying to stop her. You can stop someone by destroying them. Perhaps that is always his strategy.

She didn’t get to finish her meal – although, I suppose, throwing it across the table is one way of finishing it. A plate of soup which splattered against his chest, turning the shirt dark.

“There you see it.”  He bellowed as he stood up from the table.  “Yes, yes. There it is.”  His voice growled, and spittle was on his lips. The rest of us were immobile. Even mother did not bustle forward to try to clean the mess, or make her usual noises to calm him down. His face flushed red, and his hands trembled in front of him, but for once he made no reference to his heart, or the other ailments he claims. Ottla did not look in his direction, but glanced at her sisters. and then at me.

I had the greatest desire to continue eating my soup. I wished some words of reason could come out of my mouth; that things could be made right, and we would go on to the next course of this ghastly meal. I wished these things all the while I looked up to father – and smiled.

“There! There!”  This time he did step back from the table. “There is the Herr Son. At last the true villain bares his teeth. The old cur teaching the bitch her new tricks. This educated misfit who knows nothing of children and families. Who never even knew how to be a proper child.”

I am sure the only reason father did not throw his food at me was because he did not think of it.

“The Herr Doktor who does not have a wife – who can not please a woman enough to make her stay. This has turned my family against me. I should rip him apart like a fish.” He made tearing motions with his hands. “The head just so – snapping it back to carry out the spine.”  And then he smiled at me – a mocking grin.  “If there is a spine in this particular minnow.”

He made motions as if to wipe his fingers on his shirt, and looked down with genuine surprise when they brushed against the dampness of the soup. Mother was standing by this time, and father looked at her with his mouth open. His hands fell to his side, and he finally looked at Ottla.

“You disgrace your parents. The whores of Russia act better than you.”

“Then it is a shame I can’t get to Russia.”

Ottla stood carefully, though she shoved her chair back with enough deliberation to hit the wall.

“I would truly be rid of you.”

She looked right at him, her face without expression.

“But I can go to Zurau. That I can do this evening. I’ll not have to stay another night under this roof. Within the reach of your contamination.”

She walked from the room without looking back.

“You’ll think differently, after a few days on the farm. When your hands are blistered, and your body aching. Then you will be glad to return here, to the comforts of your home.”

I rose to follow Ottla, to be with her, and to help if I could.

“If you leave this table to go to her, then you are no son of mine.”

I looked father in the face as I passed, and smiled again.

“How I pray you could accomplish that.”

Battle on the Enterprise bridge: Marina Sirtis’ Spurs v Sir Patrick Stewart’s Huddersfield – ‘the Star Trek derby!’ 2 March 2018 – News –

Source: Marina Sirtis’ Spurs v Sir Patrick Stewart’s Huddersfield – ‘the Star Trek derby!’ 2 March 2018 – News –

A Stopover In Windsor Castle via “Jessica’s Journey With Emirates”

Yet ANOTHER trip to London Heathrow and I thought I should do something a little more exciting. A couple of our Heathrow flights stay by Windsor and thought it be the perfect opportunity to go and explore somewhere relatively new. I say relatively as the last time I came to Windsor was when I was […]

via Wandering Through Windsor — Jessica’s Journey With Emirates

A royal pilgrimage – {with some fine London dining}

A prince’s wedding focuses attention on London and all its glories

The Grill at The Dorchester Hotel … bordelaise sauce to a tempting array of Aberdeen Angus beef tournedos on gnocchi and onion confit.

At The Savoy … platter of smoked and cured fish that included wild Scottish, hot peppered, and Royal Fillet of smoked salmon, plus sable, gravlax, citrus-cured wild sea bass, and star-anise cured salmon.Sushi and sashimi alternatives hopped aboard this culinary cruise as well.

Source: A royal pilgrimage

Ambassador Of The Spanish Language


Because of my participation, and attaining a finalist position, in The César Egido Serrano Foundation and the Museum of the Word, Flash Fiction Contest of 2016, the organization has designated me an ambassador of the Spanish language.

Such an unexpected and unusual honour is pleasing, and I thank them.




Dear friend,

Considering the interest and affection that has been shown to us in recent years for the Spanish language, and the enthusiasm in awakening the love for our language in your country.

The César Egido Serrano Foundation and the Museum of the Word in plenary session have agreed to name you Ambassador of the Spanish language of our country in the world.

Sending you the corresponding title and appointment:

cortar por la linealinea de puntoslinea de puntoslinea de puntoslinea de puntoslinea de puntoslinea de puntos

Cenefa izquierdo1 Cenefa abajo Cenefa ladoderecho1
Logo nuevo OK MDP



Dale Estey  



SignatureP SelloMUSEO
Cenefa abajo


Italian Onion Meal From The Liver (Not The Heart) of The Fourteenth Century ~Fegato alla Veneziana



As I wend my way through my second Onion novel, China Lily, which is taking too, too, long to put into the computer, I approach page 300. The end is in sight.

My intent was to write a trilogy that followed a Fourth Century Italian farm family, as it developed into an International business empire. There was to be 1,000 years between the first and second book, and the third book was to be set in the present day.

I confess, my interest might not be sustained for the third novel.

However, as I soon describe this recipe – and its creation – in detail, I thought it might make someone a nice supper.

Fittingly, this recipe is from Harry’s Bar, in Venice.


When we visited Venice, we asked the locals where to find the definitive calf’s liver and onions. Everyone said Harry’s Bar, and, after trying it there—and lots of other places—we had to agree. This is Harry’s recipe.

Find this recipe in our cookbook, SAVEUR: Italian Comfort Food

serves 6


2 lb. calf’s liver, trimmed and thin membrane peeled off
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 small yellow onions, peeled, halved, and very thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. butter
12 bunch parsley, trimmed and chopped


Cut liver lengthwise into 4 long pieces, then, using a very sharp knife and pressing the palm of your hand firmly against the meat, slice each piece crosswise into pieces as thin as possible.
Heat 4 tbsp. of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and deep golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Transfer onions with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.
Increase heat to medium-high and add remaining 2 tbsp. oil. When oil is sizzling hot, add liver and cook, in batches to avoid overcrowding the skillet, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until brown and crispy on the edges, 3-5 minutes. Season liberally with salt and pepper, then add reserved onions and accumulated juices. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring and turning liver and onions constantly while shaking skillet over heat. Transfer to a heated serving platter.
Add butter to skillet and scrape up any brown bits stuck to bottom of skillet as butter melts. Remove skillet from heat and stir in parsley. Spoon butter and parsley over liver and onions. Serve with Grilled Polenta, if you like.

Crispy Belgian Waffles

Just to show that there can be recipes without onions.

These Belgian waffles are such a winner of a recipe. See more from PBS Food.

Source: Crispy Belgian Waffles

Cheese And Rum Aged At Sea In Ancient And Modern Times




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.


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.”


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


“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.”