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Halifax Explosion Anniversary 9:04:35 AM

I just stood out on the steps in front of my home, waiting for the ship horns in the harbour to sound in memory of the explosion. A beautiful, clear, crisp morning. The explosion happened 06 December 1917.

I live a fifteen minute walk from the exact spot where the ship the Mont-Blanc exploded, causing the biggest man-made explosion ever created, other than the Atomic bombs dropped during the Second World War

1782 people were killed, a few of them at the bottom of my street. 9000 were injured. A large portion of the city of Halifax was destroyed.

At 9:04, as I stood in the sun, the ships in the harbour sounded their horns. There was a cascade of sound,. Most were deep and booming, some more abrupt, a few – by comparison – made me think of piping voices. I was most startled by the ship directly across the water at the bottom of my street. There are rarely any ships berthed this far along the harbour, but it was delivering fuel to a Power plant. It does not do this often in a year. So I was startled. A modest touch of fear.

And then I came in and wrote this.

DE

The Ghost Ship Under Full Sail And Flaming On Halloween

As the Lighthouse Keeper

On Partridge Island

I see a lot,

Whether I want to or not.

And I’ve seen her before,

The Flaming Ghost ship,

On the dread of All Hallows.

But you never really know.

But this time,

Paw, my cat/kitten

Black as Satan

With one white mitten,

Saw her too.

And didn’t like what he saw.

But he’s a brave soul,

And didn’t leave my side.

So we stayed in the Tower,

And watched from the windows,

The light circling behind us.

The flames coming from the dark,

Full sails, all unfurled,

And all ravaged by flames

That never burned out.

And the deck,

And the gunwales

From prow to stern,

And the sailors.

Those poor lads,

Never consumed

As the full-of-flame ship

Passed the mouth of the harbour.

And what could I do,

But touch the life that was Paw,

Feel his fur, and his breath,

With one hand,

While I made a shaky

Sign of the Cross,

On my chest.

With the other.

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2022 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report

The Dead At Sea Are Not Happy Ghosts For Halloween (It’s just around the corner)

I can see my hand

In the fog,

And

The building,

Across the street.

That is about all.

So, I know

The ghosts,

Are not

As close

As they sound.

The Ghosts sound like Fog Horns

And that’s what folk

Up

And down

The coast

Say

That they are.

Fog Horns.

But – they aren’t.

They are ghosts that moan,

And wail,

And cough,

And even

Sputter,

On the wind,

In the fog,

Where they can hide

Out in the open.

It is true that they do moan

For ships.

That they do give warnings

In the fog,

Where they can not

Be seen,

Because they look

Like fog.

They give warnings

Because

They have all come

From ships,

Where once they lived.

But now they don’t.

They went down with ships

At sea

And

Along the coast

To their

Cold and wet

Death.

Days ago

Years ago

Centuries ago.

To be buried at sea

Is not

To be buried

At all.

~ D.E. BA U.E.

Putin and Stalin Walk Into A Bar

~ Vlad, you murderous whore.

~ Josef, you cold, cruel killer.

~ Greetings and conquest be upon you.

~  My people are letting me down.

~ Oh – and a Happy Birthday!

~  You remembered.

~  Well, the way you’re going . . .

~  Yes?

~ It will be your last.

~ You think Ukraine can defeat me?

~ If it walks like a duck . . .

~  They are an army of pissants.

~  And quacks like a duck . . .

~  They survive on American guns.

~  And swims like a duck . . .

~  They were lucky to sink ships.

~  Vlad, listen to Uncle Joe.

~ Yes?

~  You are going to have to duck.

~ The Russian people will defend me.

~  Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

~ Yes?

~ Tzar Pretender!

~ Yes?

~ I know the Russian people.

~  Yes.

~ I slaughtered them by the millions.

~ Yes.

~ Enjoy your birthday – while you can.

DE  BA.  UEL

Putin And Hitler Walk Into A Bar

~ Vlad . . . Vlad . . . You have learned nothing.

~ Adolf – the times are different.

~  Oh, Mein Gott – the times I said that.

~ I’ve learned from you, Adolf.

~ Vlad – you can’t even take the fucking Ukraine.

~ They will fold.

~ They’re kicking your Kremlin ass.

~ I will regroup and . . .

~ You’re losing men. You’re losing guns You’re losing tanks.

~ I have imposed conscription and  . . .

~Tanks!  When you’re losing tanks – you’re losing.

~ I’ve got missiles that are carving them to pieces.

~ You slaughter civilians but you are losing troops.

~ I am getting more.

~ Vlad! I ended up putting children in the trenches.

~ They are valiant fighters and . . .

~  Vlad! Even I didn’t believe my own bullshit.

~  I am the new Tzar! I will prevail!

~ Vlad. Winter is coming.

~ Cold and snow isn’t going to  . . .

~ Vlad. I know about winter.

~ You did not have my power.

~ Holy Vladivostok. You are going to lose your whole country.

DE BA. UEL

“For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground, And tell sad stories of the death of . . . queens”

I alter but one word from Shakespeare’s poem. I feel I’m allowed.

I concentrate upon the word “sad”. I feel sad about the death of Queen Elizabeth II. I note, that in newscasts, and on the internet, and from personal conversations, many folk feel “sad”. An unexpected sadness. A sadness that is greater than the loss of people close to them. They are surprised.

And so am I.

Today’s funeral took place on my birthday (by the Grace of God – I do not know) . So I’ll always be able to answer the question “Where were you when . . .”

I watched seven hours of the day from London and Windsor. I did not get tired. I could have watched more. But I am content – I won’t be delving very far into replays. The Queen’s removal from the earth was fully documented.

It is true that Queen Elizabeth has been with me all my life. I was greatly interested in her, and the history of her family. She took her part in two of my novels. I saw her five times in my life. I found her an exemplary leader and a fine human being. I am not alone in this. She was thought so the world over. Perhaps that is part of her commonality – everyone knew of her, everyone had an opinion. The majority of those opinions were positive.

I felt pain when she went up the steps to St George’s Chapel for the last time. She can hardly be thought of as a friend, but, perhaps . . .

Perhaps, on this occasion, friendship can be a one way street.

Blessed Be, Elizabeth Regina! Those Choirs of Angels are singing loud and clear.

~ Dale Estey

They Struggle Out Of Their Wheelchairs To Bow To Queen Elizabeth

It is the final day to view the Lying-in-State of Queen Elizabeth. Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of folk have made the journey. People are now asked NOT to make an attempt to add to the queue. There is not enough time left to reach Westminster Hall. The waiting time from the end of the queue is currently 10 hours.

I have been watching the lines passing the coffin for hours. It is fascinating to see all these people, whose connection to each other is respect for the Queen. They are of all ages,,races,and social standings.They all, in their fifteen seconds, show some physical sign of respect.

On many occasions, women and men in wheelchairs (most of them elderly), have slowly, and with difficulty, stood so they can offer the Queen a bow.

Her late Majesty was clearly revered.

~ Dale Estey

A Curtsy For A Dead Queen

A lady, in the garb of a what might be classed as ‘common’, after her slow trudge of hours and hours, in the endless queue of mourners patiently waiting to pass the flag-shrouded coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, stopped and looked long at her fallen monarch, and then executed the most heartfelt curtsy possible.

The line keeps moving: https://www.bbc.com/news/live/uk-62902778

Me And The Queen or is that The Queen And I

Don’t get me wrong – Her Majesty didn’t even know I existed. Didn’t know my name. Couldn’t have picked me out of a lineup.

But, Her Majesty has been a constant and strong part of my life. This was aided and abetted by the fact that my Canadian father was a staunch monarchist (he volunteered for the Canadian army at 31 years of age to defend England from Germany. My mother was an English war bride. The monarchy was in their blood.

I’ve had five live views of Queen Elizabeth.

During my first, as a child, I got lost in the crowds who were also present. I confess I don’t actually remember ‘seeing’ the Queen. She was in a cluster of people in the far distance. But, I am rather proud that I was able to find my way back to our hotel on my own.

At university the Queen visited the campus to have a meal. I saw her pass in a motorcade.

My most significant encounter (which I will class as an encounter) happened when she visited the provincial legislature. I managed to get close to the main entrance of the building and hoped to take pictures. I did not succeed with the photos, but realized I was not far from the Royal car. I moved to stand near it and wait for her to leave.

When Ii saw The Queen leave the building, I got as close to the car and waited. I was not watching her progress, but was trained on the car door she would enter. Just as I saw her walking toward the car, I put my eye to the view screen. (No iPhones in those days). She just came into view when someone walked right in front of me. I looked up, ready to say something rather negative. It was Prince Philip.

Next time, the Queen was to unveil a monument in a historic park. I thought I got there in plenty of time, but the crowds were five deep. But I did see her.

And, finally, the Queen was in Halifax Nova Scotia for the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy. The ceremony was on National television. I was able to watch a good deal of it on TV, then gauged when the ceremony would be coming to a close. It was a long event, with a Naval pass by of many ships.  I got down to the harbour, knowing which dock the Queen’s ship would tie up to. But, not only did thousands of other folk know this, but the Security Services had created a No Go Zone near that dock. I did see her. but just as she came down the gangplank in the far distance.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In fiction, Her Majesty has graced two of my novels. Yes, I will relate one such encounter from Being Famous.

The soup bowls, with their attendant spoons and plates, are whisked away from all the tables, and conversations begin to occur throughout the room. Now the woman to ST’s right leans toward him. As a vase of flowers partially obscures her place name, he can only tell that she is Lady Holmes hyphen.

     “I’m very interested in your work.”

     “It’s interesting work to do.”

     “But then – “

     Lady Holmes hyphen leans very close to ST, revealing an intriguing décolleté, and breath which indicates the wine steward has not been her only source of wine this evening. 

     ” – perhaps interest in your work can be taken to extremes.”

     “You haven’t written a book, have you?” ST’s smile is moderately genuine.

     “Not about Space/Time.” Lady Holmes hyphen adjusts her gown in a manner which actually reveals more flesh. “And it has yet to be published.” She could not be offering more if she held a serving plate beneath her breasts. “I wouldn’t mind your help on a chapter or two.”

     ST is not without interest. He is spared the task of making any response, when a hand from off stage of the lady’s right is laid heavily on the wrist of his conversational partner. With a sigh and a shrug (which causes interesting motion within the revealing gown), she swivels away.

     “Are you enjoying yourself?”

     “Yes, Ma’am.” ST turns toward her voice.

     “Good.” There is a rustle of napkin across the Royal knee. “Although I do hope the poor girl doesn’t catch a chill.”

     The next item on the menu – and ST notes they have yet to hit the main course – is Berner Rosti, upon which sits a quail’s egg and a teaspoon of caviar. Does one scoop up the caviar on its own, or does one mix it about with the potato and the egg?

     ST decides he would like the taste of the caviar to be exclusive, so he pushes it onto the plate, and consumes the rest of the dish. Then, with a (fresh) glass of white wine to wash it down, he savours the salty sea taste.

     “It meets with your approval?”

     “Yes, Ma’am.”

     “It is Oestrova caviar. A subtle difference from the Beluga.” 

     “Ma’am?”

     “Yes.”

     “Has Your Majesty ever had golden caviar?”

     ST has asked a question.

     Not only is this a breach of Royal etiquette, but did he not himself advise her bare weeks ago to rein in the Royal answer to questions. Still, he is almost the guest of honour, and it really could have been a bomb. And her own royal wine steward does nothing to hamper his quest to alleviate his thirst. A thirst (he could point out, if asked) exaggerated by the consumption of caviar. 

     “A taste to remember.” She looks down somewhat wistfully at her plate.

     “I have long wondered, Ma’am. Does golden caviar actually possess the colour of gold?”

     “Oh, yes.” She glances at him. “It is a most exquisite shimmering gold” A small smile crosses her face. “It outshines the gold pot in which it is served.”

     “I must say, Ma’am, it sounds exceptional.”

     “Yes, it is.” She places her hands in her lap. “The last which we received came from President Gorbachev.” She again sits back as her plate is removed. “Isn’t it strange how people come and go?”

     The main course is Canon de Venaison Farci Sauce Fines Herbes.

     Bambi.

     ST would like to leave his place, scurry down the length of chairs, give Howard a jovial pat on the back (or a nudge in the ribs) and point this out to him. Admittedly, it is neither a steak nor a chop, but a whole saddle of venison, stuffed and sauced. Still – a hunk of deer is a hunk of deer.

     But, he decides it would be unwise to even glance in Howard’s direction.

     Accompanying the venison, along with the Pommes Nouvelles, are Courgettes Farcies A La Mingrelienne. This poses a mild problem for ST, for he is not fond of zucchini, no matter how they are stuffed or cooked.

     For some reason, this particular deficiency of his palette was a great failing in the eyes of wife number two. And, although she is not present to point out his shortcomings, he decides to follow what he knows would be her preference, and eat them down without hesitation.

     Is this not why God created wine?

     And anyway, the venison makes up for everything.

     It is as he finishes his last mouthful of stuffed zucchini (the fennel makes it almost palatable), that a Royal hand is placed close to his own. He immediately turns.

     “We shall introduce you before the cheese.”

     “Yes, Ma’am.” ST glances at the menu, and notes he will precede the Baked Brie in Puff Pastry. 

     “We shall be brief.”

     “Ma’am.”

     “It is customary for you to then say a few words.”

     “As few as possible, Ma’am.”

     “You return to America tomorrow?”

     “The first flight of the Concorde.”

     “I would like to express my thanks for your advice.” She leans ever-so-slightly closer to him. “There has been a decided lack of errant Windsor tales in the media.”

     “The power of the closed mouth, Ma’am.” ST gives a brief smile. “Silence can be as golden as caviar.”

     “And as rewarding.” She smiles in return. “Also, please accept our additional thanks for being here tonight.”

     “My pleasure, Ma’am.” ST suddenly laughs. “Happy to fill the space.”

     “Well put.” The Queen unexpectedly laughs also, causing some heads to turn. “We are relieved that you had the time.”

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