It is a whirlwind in here


March 2021

Rearranging The Deck Chairs On The Titanic

So – yeh – sure

There was an iceberg

A BIG effin’ mother


We hit it

And it’s dark as Hell

And the lights are going out

And the water

Is cold enough to

Kill ya


It’s the Titanic, goddanmit

And these last couple of hours

Maybe less

Should be as comfortable

As possible.

There’s even music

And, sure

Folk are scrambling for the lifeboats


There ain’t enough of them

And it’s

Women and children first

(Even some from the lower decks)

But where does that leave the rest of us?

Even the crew.

Gotta do something

Gotta pass the time

Gotta be productive

Or take a header off the railing.


Deck chairs are nice

Easy to move around

Comfy to sit in

Watch the sights

Sing along with the music

Or hum

Brace your feet

When the deck starts to list too far

Look at the starrs

Wonder if

One of those lifeboats

Just might pick you up

Pluck you from that icy grave.


Pistachio Rhubarb Yogurt Cake

Try this recipe for Pistachio Rhubarb Yogurt Cake from PBS Food.

Source: Pistachio Rhubarb Yogurt Cake

How I Spent My First Year In The Pandemic






fs-pandemic-planIn my manuscript, There Was A Time, Oh Pilgrim, When The Stones Were Not So Smooth  I finished a chapter about the ‘elderly Dutchmen party with Alison Alexandra’ on Friday 13th last March. I took a trip and, on 19th March, began what is nearly a full year of Pandemic writing.The next chapter of the novel begins “In times of Pandemic, one of Alison Alexandra’s greatest worries is being bored.”

I started planning to write about the Pandemic the day after I heard that China was constructing hospitals solely devoted to COVID patients. I knew then the world was going to be in a lot of trouble. I have been writing about the Pandemic ever since.


This is how that chapter begins.


In times of Pandemic, one of Alison Alexandra’s greatest worries is being bored. And though she doesn’t want to test the theory, she believes she would rather be ill than bored.

“I’d step lightly there,” says R/Jane-the-Ghost.

“You would?”

“I would,” says R/Jane-the-Ghost. “And I know what I’m talking about. Yes – I do.”

Within the week of Wuhan City in China being shut down, and the building of emergency hospitals to house the sick, Alison Alexandra knew this would inevitably become the fate of the world. It might have intruded a bit more quickly than she has anticipated, but not by much.

Alison Alexandra of course thinks about the Chinese cures: “May you live in interesting times”. But she also knows that this is a phrase in English that has no Chinese equivalent. The closest curse in Chinese is “Better to be a dog in peacetime than a human in time of war”.

“I won’t argue with that,” says R/Jane-the-Ghost.

And she doesn’t.

So, it was at the beginning of the Chinese curse that Alison Alexandra sets her plan into motion. It is simple, though dependent on circumstance.

Alison Alexandra arranges to get those with whom she’d like to share the End Times – if End Times they prove to be – to join her at her house and wait out the famine with a feast or two. Or three.

“I don’t think the End Times are supposed to be good times,” says R/Jane-the-Ghost/

“Not to put too fine a point on it,” says Alison Alexandra. “But aren’t you supposed to know?”

“Point taken,” says R/Jane-the-Ghost.


There Are Crocuses On Leaman Street




There are crocuses on Leaman Street,
And the trees are full of birds,

Little birds,

Dozens of them singing

Their little bird hearts out.

White crocus,

Slender white points,

Not yet in bloom.

On the other side

Of a picket fence.

And there are three seagulls,

Soaring over the houses,

Screeching loud enough

To beat the band.

Earlier today,

There were four

Snow squalls

That obscured the harbour

And hid the grass.

But my afternoon walk

Was in clear sun,

Under cloudless sky,

And I didn’t really need

A hat

Or gloves,

Though I wore both.

So Spring is more

Than an idea,


A date

On the calendar.

Spring is starting to awaken.


The Devil’s Oven & My Home Town


(It’s little wonder that the Internet can be thought of as “The Devil’s Tool” So many things are.

So, I was on the cursed Internet and – oh, so innocently – came across a Twitter reference to The Devil’s Oven in connection to my (now distant) home town. I had never heard of the term, nor the place, while living there, so (of course) I went on a virtual search.

Now, some background shall explain my interest. I have written two novels about Satan and – indeed – the Devil has even recently appeared in my current manuscript, just two months ago. A relationship of long standing. Who knew I might have come by it honestly?

The Internet revealed that The Devil’s Oven, not only being a feature of my home town, is actually situated within five kilometres of  the hospital where I was born. I believe the building is now a retirement or nursing home. Perhaps I will return.

The Internet is so accommodating that I even found a YouTube video posted but a week ago of folk driving to the site, and then walking to it from the parking area. I’m sure the video was edited, but they had to drive right past that hospital.

The Devil’s Oven gets its fame (though, I assume, not any infamy) as a destination on a hiking trail. A comfortable trail apparently, in both degree of difficulty and distance. In fact, every of the twenty or so sites I came across all dealt with hiking. None of these sites were more than ten years old.

The interest in The Devil’s Oven is the result of a winter phenomenon. It is a large cave (might it look like an oven) subject to streams of water falling over the entrance. In winter, these streams all freeze into long and thick icicles Some of them seem to be as thick as a person. And there appears to be an array of different colours to the icicles. It is an impressive sight.

So, a cold place for Old Nick does seem fitting.The Devil being the opposite of what the Devil is supposed to be. That pretty well sums up the Devil.


Kafka And The Angel Of Death Start The Month Of March


An excerpt from my novel “Kafka In The Castle”, where l fill in his ‘missing’ diary entries.

01 March 1917

              I was part way down the steps of the castle last night, on my way home. Perhaps a bit later than usual, I didn’t check my watch. I was passing one of the corners, where the locked doors bar entrance to the passageways, when I heard a rustle in the air. I doubt I would have noticed, were it not for my acute hearing. Nothing more than that, but I went to take a look.

A man was huddled by the stone – not sprawled or laying, but seated – and with his head resting against the cold surface. There was the smell of urine, and the smell of wine. He did not look up as I approached, and I wondered what to do. People and their choices – I prefer to let them lead their lives – but he could not spend the night where he was. He would freeze to death.    I spoke, but there was no response. I debated between nudging him with my foot, or shaking him by the shoulders, although I found neither course of action appealing.

“You should go home,” I said. “It is too cold to stay here.” He made a noise, but I wasn’t sure what it was, so I leaned closer. The wine was so strong, I thought he must have broken the bottle. This time I could hear the trace of laughter, and his low voice.

“We meet again. The Herr Doktor.” I hurriedly stepped back. Recognition was the last thing I had expected. “You still walk the nights,” he said, and I then realized it was my next – door neighbour.

“I leave late,” I said. “But you still come home late.” And with less success than ever, I thought, but I did not tell him this.

“I broke the bottle.” He spoke unexpectedly, and startled me. “I’ve cut my hand.” He tried to struggle to his feet, and I reached for him, but he ignored me. Because it was less dark on the steps, I could see that his jacket and pants were wet, and his sleeve was smeared with blood. He was not even dressed for winter, and I wondered if he had lost his coat.

     He started down the steps, but I turned him around. “Ah, yes,” he said. “To heaven.” He did not seem to want my help as he very deliberately took one step at a time. Near the top, he turned and spoke. “She’s a whore, that Julie. She’s no good.” Halfway through the court yard he said: “Her hair. Just to touch her hair.” At the entrance of the Alchemist Lane, he held up his bloodied hand as if to push something away. “There is a man, now. A man with her.” His voice slavered around the air.

I stopped him before his own door, and he surprised me by having the key in his hand. He put it in the lock slowly, but without difficulty. “I saw them.” As the door swung in, he turned to me. “Herr Doktor, my Angel of Redemption. So you have moved next door.” He shook my hand, leaving blood upon my fingers. “You do good work, Herr Doktor. But I search for the Angel of Death.”





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