It is a whirlwind in here



Sandy Oliver’s Dilly Beans

via Sandy Oliver’s Dilly Beans


Sandy Oliver’s Dilly Beans

Dilly beans are zesty and crispy, with an irresistible twang of salty, garlicky vinegar. More at PBS Food.

I once knew a man (alas, now dead – indeed, long dead) who made and gifted the most succulent dilly beans this side of the grave. Oddly, he lived (and pickled) just north of the Maine border.

Source: Sandy Oliver’s Dilly Beans

1976write: 10 Curious Workplaces of Famous Writers

via 1976write: 10 Curious Workplaces of Famous Writers

1976write: 10 Curious Workplaces of Famous Writers

As long as one did not nod off for too long.

10. Dame Edith Sitwell would start her day’s writing lying in a coffin.

Source: 1976write: 10 Curious Workplaces of Famous Writers

Hurricane Dorian Approaches, And it’s Déjà Vu

When I last waited for a hurricane, it was a number of years ago. Then – as now, while I await Dorian – I could sense nothing in the air as the storm churned and crashed and destroyed up the Atlantic coast in my general direction. The skies have been clear and cloudless and pristine. The ocean is calm. The weather invites to sit out on lawn chairs.
I found I wrote about the experience at the time, including an odd exchange with a fellow working at the port, waiting for the hurricane (Arthur) to see what it would do to his work. maybe that fellow is wondering the same thing today, and stacking those containers to keep them on the dock.
As of 16:00 AST, the sky is nearly total cloud and the wind is up.

The hurricane is coming tomorrow. I have found that when I try to experience a hurricane when it is actually upon us, I don’t get to see very much. Wind and rain, fog and cloud. Often you can’t see across the street.

So I went down to the harbour today. Hours before the storm, though reports indicated there would be waves. It certainly was cloudy. There are new docks at the Container terminal, and one can go out (or so it looks) almost a third of the way into the harbour. On a cement walkway which is fenced off from the terminal itself.

Had I not known a hurricane was coming, I would have noticed little change. The white caps which are always present at one of the points of the shore were longer and higher. There was a lot of stirred-up vegetation in the water, and a noticeable number of jelly fish. In an hour I saw but two sea birds, one cormorant and one seagull. One ship went out and one ship came in. There was no excessive wind, and though the clouds roiled more than usual, not by much.

As I stood standing, one of the huge trucks which move the containers came to a roaring stop behind me. I though this odd as there were no container ships at berth. The driver apparently wanted to talk.

“Are you going to jump?”

I assured him I was not.

“Well – the only people I see standing here are fishing.”

He was on a break and had time to kill. All the while listening closely to the two-way radio which exploded information from his cab, he nattered away. There had been higher and numerous white caps two hours earlier, but they had calmed. The small container ship I had seen leaving (and I wondered where it might be headed, for it was obviously a coastal vessel) was going to the islands of St-Pierre et Miquelon, a small group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, south of Newfoundland and LabradorHe wished the boat well. So did I.

He talked some more (commenting, for instance, about the terrific view from the cab of the gigantic cranes). But he now had to leave.

“I have to change the fours and threes into twos.”

“Pardon me?” asked I.

“For the storm tomorrow. Where we have containers on the dock stacked three and four high, we have to level all the stacks off to two high. Don’t want the wind knocking them over.”

I couldn’t tell which ship had left port, but I did note the one which scurried in. It was a Research Vessel, the Western Patriot. And damned happy (I would guess) to have made it to port.


QWERTY of the World – Unite (do Not Untie)


When In Rome!

There was:

an Abyssinian (I made her),

an Albanian,

a Bolshevik,

a Brataslzvian (he was worst),

a Brazilian,

a Canadian,

a Cannibal (uh-oh),

a Colombian (smoking hot),

a Cynic (she didn’t believe the Canadian),

a Dominican,

a Druid (he prayed for the Dominican),

a Druze,

an Eatonian,

an Estonian,

a Fool (ha ha),

a Freizen,

a Gazian,

a Graduate,

a Haligonian,

a Helgolandian (he was and gone),

an Israeli,

an Iranian,

an Iraqi (they three went into a bar),

a Jamaican,

a Japanese,

a Kazistanian,

a Kurd,

a Lithuanian,

a Lush (one in every crowd),

a Mongolian,

a Monster (them is the odds),

a Nederlander,

a Norwegian,

an Olympian (he was game),

an Opportunist (coulda been me),

a Pole (he vaulted over the rest – *joke*),

a Québécoise (I’ll never forget her / Je me souviens),

a Russian (great dancer – he had the steps),

a Scandinavian,

a Southerner (I melt when she says ‘Y’all) ,

a Stevedore,

a Transvalanian (out for blood),

an Ukrainian,

an Unitarian,

a Vulcan (he was eerie),

a Waalloon,

a Wisenheimer,

an Xanaduian (and on her dulcimer she played),

an Xaverian (he shot daggers at the Dominican),

a Yugoslavian


a Zarahthustain (thus he spoke a lot)

The Canadian won the first game.



Fine Dining (And Recipe) For Not The Soup Of The Day

I am editing one portion of a novel as I am writing another. It is, so far, 1,000 hand-written pages – so not too much clashes between editing and original writing.
My central character, Alison Alexandra, has (I find) many meals in the course [pun intended] of the book. One of the dishes she is about to enjoy, in the editing, is the following.
I make note of the fact because, I am reasonably sure, other characters in other of my books have also enjoyed this. But I don’t have time – at the moment – to check.
It is safe to say that I remember this delightful soup, the restaurant (now gone) where I first had it, and many of the times thereafter when I did have it.
I guess I better make it myself.

Tomato and Gin Soup

This recipe comes courtesy of ‘The Raglan Road Cookbook: Inside America’s Favorite Irish Pub’
Harry Weir

Harry Weir

“This is one of my favourite ‘empty larder’ recipes that requires 
little preparation and is quick to cook. Simple.”- Kevin Dundon

This recipe comes courtesy of The Raglan Road Cookbook: Inside America’s Favorite Irish Pub by Kevin Dundon and Neil Cubley. Click here to purchase your own copy.

Calories Per Serving


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 Pounds ripe plum tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Ounces gin
  • 3 Cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 pinch light muscovado sugar, optional
  • 1 Cup cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon herb oil, to garnish


Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 
a few minutes until golden. 
Add the tomatoes and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes or so until well heated through and just beginning to break down. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the gin into the pan and allow to reduce by half, stirring occasionally. Stir in the vegetable stock or water and allow to reduce by half again. Blitz with a hand blender to a smooth purée. Season to taste and add the sugar if you think the soup needs it.

To serve, add the cream to the soup and allow to warm through. Season to taste and ladle into warmed serving 
bowls. Garnish each bowl with 
a drizzle of herb oil.


Follow That Elephant


The elephant was a curious pachyderm, and followed his persistent quest with a guileless intensity.

“More lucky than smart,” said some of the other elephants, as he blundered his way toward another piece of knowledge. They nodded their heads in his direction with the heavy weight of caution, and warned their small ones that too much thought would make them strange.

“An elephant wades in water,” they would sagely say, “only if the mud hole is wide enough.”

And the little ones would watch him, as they stood between the legs of their parents, and wish that they could follow.

[Image] https: //

Stinking Hot Weather Meets The North Atlantic Ocean

Pier 21, Halifax

I was perched on my favourite bench looking out the mouth of the harbour to the North Atlantic, when three twenty-somethings decided to perch on the edge of the wharf in front of me.

They obviously had been having the following discussion a good time before they arrived. Buddy 1 told the other two he was going to jump into the harbour. Buddy 2 was saying he wouldn’t dare, all the while daring him. The Girl was mostly quiet with an occasional laugh. She did say once or twice it was ass silly idea.

This discussion went on about ten minutes, Buddy 1 getting more determined, Buddy 2 egging him on more and more, and the Girl’s laughter getting a bit more nervous.

I felt I was an audience for them, though their voices did get higher whenever other folk passed. I noted that the idea to jump was not getting any less insistent.  I felt that none of them were under any influence of drink or drugs, they were obviously physically fit, and I noted the closest Life Preserver was two minutes away if I had to throw it. I, myself, was not going in after anyone, no matter how refreshing the splash.

Usually, such joking around does not persist, so I was less surprised than the other two when Buddy 1 started taking off shoes and socks. Then his shirt. Buddy 2 kept daring him. The word “chicken” was bandied. The Girl was now voicing more cautious comments.

Buddy 1, who had made certain they were near a ladder, stood up on the foot-high wooden planking at the edge of the pier. Buddy 2 switched between comments that Buddy 1 was crazy, to more outlandish dares. The Girl sighed dramatically and just said he was crazy. I agreed – but silently. And over Buddy 1 went. He didn’t dive, but side way flopped. It was six to ten feet to the water. The splash was impressive. His scrambling up the ladder even more so.

Now, Buddy 1 was standing, soaking wet in a pool of water. Other people were paying attention. Some made comments as they passed “Was it cold enough for ya? Haw haw.” The Girl was shaking her head. Buddy 1 dared Buddy 2 to jump in. Buddy 2 said he would, if Buddy 1 jumped in again. The Girl said for them to stop being crazy. But, once in, what was there to lose?

Into the ocean goes Buddy 1 again. A side way splash. Up the ladder as fast as ever.

More people are walking past, making comments.

Buddy 2 said there were even people  further away filming with their phones. He told the Girl to take out her phone and take some pictures. He took off his shoes and his shirt. He gave his hat to the Girl. He jumped. He called from the water for Buddy 1 to join him. Buddy 1 did. They both were up the ladder right quick. They were both dripping. They were both shivering. The both dared the Girl to jump.

The Girl handed her phone to Buddy 2. She slipped out of her sandals.  She might have heard one of the Buddies start to say “You wouldn’t dare.” In she went. She was not quite as quick up the ladder,  but both Buddy 1 and Buddy 2 helped her.

They all three were uncontrollably shivering. They all put on their foot ware. One passer by told them how cold the North Atlantic really was. He said they should get home and get into a hot shower or bath.  They were all shivering greatly, but I think they shook their heads in agreement.

And away they went.

[Image] https: //


Blog at

Up ↑