Miss Marple not needed in Prince George

The cozy English village murder mystery:

My go-to stress reliever, my mini-vacation, my escape from reality is the cozy village based murder mystery, preferably set in the UK somewhere.  In a pinch, a quaint Maine coastal village setting will suffice.

I am not into the “hard-boiled dick”  or the tedious forensic  “CSI” subgenres.  Nor do I enjoy the super bloody, graphic murder detail, except in the case of the DCI Daley series by Denzil Meyrick. I am a sucker for anything set in Scotland.

No wonder then, that I am an avid Agatha Christie fan, in particular, the Miss Marple series.  I think I have read all of the Marple books, though sometimes I get confused in that some novels were renamed in subsequent printings or renamed when published on my side of the pond.

I was content with the books until the right woman was cast as Jane Marple.

There is only one Jane Marple:

Joan Hickson is the only actress to portray Miss Marple to my satisfaction; She is posture perfect, keenly observant, slightly acerbic, frequently judgmental, and quietly humane.  Hickson began portraying Jane Marple rather late in her life so there are fewer than twenty or so of the Hickson Marples.

Thanks to BritBox I can now see them, including the Caribbean Mystery.  Yes, the Hickson versions provide the permission to check out from the yard work, my to-do lists for political organizations and Rotary, and attending to the necessary chores that keep our household in orbit.

Prince George has no Miss Marple:

Though mostly rural, Prince George is too spread out to have many clusters of people,  a prerequisite for murders, particularly in any numbers of critical mass.  No murders … no Miss Marple.  So through Joan Hickson and Agatha Christie, I vacation in the land of cozy murder mysteries.

Prince-George

A little osprey will do

My friend, Dana Rieves, recently showed me a couple of nugget-sized public spaces in nearby Hopewell, Virginia.  These parklets have some benches, picnic tables, and space for people to fish. Her suggestion was simply to take some time, from time to time, to enjoy the space, the Appomattox River, and the birds.

Hub and I have started doing that, but this weekend had an enhanced surprise when we discovered that there was a chick in the osprey nest near where we were enjoying our coffee, fruit, and cheese.  We had seen an adult osprey the prior weekend but had no inkling there was a chick over our heads.

I know this sounds gushy, so gushy.  Forgive me.

We will probably have to visit during the week just to check on the chick.

More happening in and around Prince George

Vicissitudes of country life …

One might argue that I don’t really live in the country.  I have a Food Lion about 5 miles away, a Starbucks about 10 miles away, Comcast cable (now Xfinity), and excellent cellular coverage.  But, in defense my self-proclaimed avatar as a rural warrior princess … I do have well water and a septic tank.

Well, no pun intended, I awoke to absolutely no water on Monday.  For some reason my well pump and/or pressure tank of 36 years had mysteriously died.  Mind you Monday was Martin Luther King Day.  Finding a plumber or well service open on such a day was a tall order.  Finding a plumber that dealt with well systems was even taller order.  Fortunately, our neighbor across the road is a great networker, keeps his home in good nick, and is a go-to resource in such situations.

Steve recommended Charles McCann of Done Right Enterprise as the man for the job.  He took the additional step of encouraging Charles to take care of us on as timely a basis as he could.  I am not sure Charles would have appeared later in the day with his wife and partner, Marie, without the recommendation and endorsement from Steve. Charles assessed the situation, provided his licenses, and gave us the estimate of cost and the promise that we would have water the next day.

The next day he appeared as promised with crew and equipment, new pump and pressure tank and encouragement that all would be well.  Again, no pun intended.

Tuesday, late afternoon, we had water and a promise from Charles and Marie that they would reappear on Wednesday to install the pressure tank.

Awaking Wednesday I jumped into the shower to clean up for my Rotary meeting … low and behold, I had failed to turn the breaker back on for the hot water heater.  It was a very cold and very short shower.

pressure-tank-2017Fortunately, Charles is a master electrician as well as a master plumber so he could install all the switches and connectors necessary for the new pressure tank. Finishing around 8 pm with the installation of the pressure tank, Charles and Marie climbed wearily into their work truck and in short order had texted copies of our warranties, pictures of the job, and copies of the paid invoice. Our water adventure was over.

Now, I think I am going to have our septic tank pumped and checked.  I am not up for another adventure of a mechanical nature.

There were other less noteworthy adventures …

The Prince George Board of Supervisors had tied votes on the two nominees to serve as Chairman of the Board.  One member was absent due to a workplace accident. The next meeting should result in one of the two being elected … more about that next time.

A Petersburg citizens group called Clean Sweep filed petitions to have the Mayor and Vice Mayor removed from the city council.  That should have an expedited fuse.  It is an uphill battle, but at least the citizens are involved.

The City of Hopewell continues to recruit for a Finance Director as the last one abruptly resigned a couple of months ago.

These matters pale in comparison to my own personal dramas.

 

 

 

 

as resolutions go …

I really didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions this year … other than I wanted to write more, write better, and underlying that, to be more perceptive and to be more conscious of events and topics that excite my interest.

patscat0001The proposition occurred to me that I should write daily, and perhaps I should, but that seems a bit more contrived that I wanted.  I know that advice to would-be writers by writers is to write, write, write.  And I get that.  Practice may not make perfect but it does give one more experience expressing precisely what is intended.

I do write almost daily … mostly newsletters and blogs from some of my volunteer organizations … not creative, though I try to be creative enough to invite interest.  I know … no one reads newsletters.  But by Jove … there must be newsletters.

So, I am resolved to write more, more frequently, more intensely, more personally.

And yes, I do plan to exercise more.

a different world before daybreak

Jack and I walked a bit earlier this Sunday morning than usual.  It was the approximately the same time we had walked just a few weeks ago before the time change, but now with the legislated time change it  was just before sunrise.  In keeping with the clock or rather my iphone I had walked at our usual time the last couple of weeks, hence in the daylight.

We stepped out into the 32 degree Fahrenheit morning with just a last gasp of moon overhead. Yes, chilly and dark.  We only walk a mile plus or so when Jack and I walk. At age 9 or 10 he is becoming a stiff Australian Shepherd and I am fairing only slightly better so we take only leisurely, sniffing, and listening walks.

Immediately, I became aware of how quiet it was — no sound of traffic from the major roadways a few miles from my place.  At least it seemed quiet for a while.  Behind the Woith’s place came the startling sound of an owl, taking just a moment for me to realize it was an owl’s screech, not a woman screaming. About a half mile or so down the road a rooster began his morning concert.  And then there was the clomph-clomph-clumph sound behind me which I recognized immediately.

Mr. Ed (that is my name for a neighbor’s white horse) and Chester had come to the fence line to say good morning and see if I had any nibbles for them.  I don’t feed my neighbor’s animals. but horses can be demanding and forgetful.  We are pretty tame in my area. Horses, a pot bellied pig who caused considerable excitement on one of our walks, roosters and hens, goats, dogs both big and small, and the odd horse or two are our only population of critters to be encountered on our walks … if you don’t count the wildlife … possums, raccoons, deer, turkeys, snakes (not so much this time of year).

I did say hello to Mr. Ed.  He is always a gentlemen and I rubbed his muzzle and spoke softly to him.  Chester … well, Chester is a nibbler.  Maybe they are love bites, but they hurt so I give Chester, the Scotland Pony, a wide berth.

Jack and I continued down the road, made our turn at Route 10 and began our return. Chester and Mr. Ed had moved on into the darkness of their pasture.  The rooster and the owl had obviously gone back to sleep.  Jack and I were rewarded with a glorious sunrise as we made the turn and headed east toward home.

 

 

 

things of the past … stick shifts and cursive writing

I awoke to the news that Fidel Castro had passed away.  Another event that seemingly is sharing the arc of my life.  I was only 9 or 10 when he ‘liberated’ Cuba and subsequently visited the UN.  Huntley and Brinkley covered him on the evening news and my memory is that he was impressive in his beard and fatique-green uniform. Other things that have disappeared … Huntley – Brinkley (both long passed) and fatigues. … all tactical military uniforms now are black, desert sand, or some variation of cammo.  We won’t even address the Eisenhower jacket.

Other things are disappearing … cursive writing, multiplication tables, parsing and diagramming sentences. Door keys, hardcopy receipts at stores (“we’ll email your receipt”), irons (I don’t know where mine is), wrinkles in clothing for that matter, toll takers at toll booths, parking lot attendants, cars that need drivers … all of these things or people are gone or quickly disappearing.

This morning the paper reported that for cars that still require drivers, the manual or stick shift transmission is a thing of the past.  Most manufacturers don’t even offer the option of a stick shift, not even Ferrari.

jack-and-hidden-hills-lane

Fall, however, is still with us every year, at least until the tipping point of climate change.  Jack and I enjoyed a bit of chill in the air this morning on our walk and the stiff breeze has quickly dislodged bushels of the fading leaves.

a persimmon mini adventure

“Do you like persimmons?”

There are many food adventures in Prince George.  Our fair consists of vinegar based barbecue, pizza, subs, and other Americanized Italian cuisine. You know, heavy on pasta and light on roasted veggies and meat.  Yes, here and there is fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and collards.

To date, my only food mystery occurred one Fall morning on Old Stage Road.  Ahead I noticed something on the center line.  I feared it was an injured animal.  As I approached it didn’t move and as I drew closer, I realized it was a rotisserie chicken still in its domed supermarket container. Hmmm. Lots of interesting questions there.

15241200_1460097260667878_8456797020690587720_nThis week I have had another questionable food adventure.  Approaching Ft. Lee via the Golf Course gate, I noticed that the guard was rubbing something against his vest.  I handed him my military ID through the card window and noticed that the orange thing in his hand was not an orange.  He looked at my ID, then at me, asked whether I liked persimmons.  I told him I didn’t know.  So he handed me what I now know is a persimmon and said Happy Thanksgiving.

I am contemplating the persimmon and the possible reason he would have for holding a persimmon while on duty.