Category Archives: House-on-the-Lake

Throw a baseball into the Atlantic Ocean

Weekend here and facing the Atlantic Ocean while I write this. There is a fisherman fellow standing  at the edge of the beach high tide-line with his kit and not less than three rods positioned in the sand in front of him. I watched him off and on now for three hours, and I haven’t seen him catch anything yet. His truck is parked back on the beach and it appears otherwise empty.

I watched the tide come last night at dusk and then night on the veranda. There were occasional passerbys, usually in pairs, but some earnest joggers appeared from time to time. I scanned the beach from north to south, becasue there is a virtual 180 degree vista of the ocean here.

After nightfall I noticed an eerie intermittent glimmer on the rolling ocean waves as they approached the sandy shore. I wondered, looked up and saw a 3-quarter moon at 11:00 o’clock in the sky above. I am always stunned by the face of the moon whether it be over the rice patties of South Vietnam at midnight, flying in an American Medivac heliocopter with an Indonesian soldier with a bullet in his head, or the corn-fields of Wisconsin near the River of same name, or finally on the Serangetti in Kenya, observing the hyenas eat their dinner.

Enough of using the moon as a segway to muse of moonlit memories of the past. It is bright sunny morning towards noon now.  The fisherman is gone now and the beach is filling with scantily-clad sunworshippers, young men throwing footballs, and quality time family related activities.

I am reminded that August Derleth compiled a volume of fishing anecdotes which was not published in his lifetime. This manuscript resulted after his many years of editing Outdoor Magazine. I am still looking for the right cover ilustration for this volume; and Stephen Leacock wrote a number of articles on the pleasures of fishing, and Carl Spadoni (Leacock’s Bibliographer) collected them and published them in Gone Fishing, with a delightfully ghostly cover by James Lumbers.

Now what am I going to do today? Go fishing? nope! There is one activity I do do regularly — have a pedicure and manicure — that is, once a year. And then we are off to the Daytona Flea market, yet another regular, once-a-year activity.


Baking Bill’s Cherry Pie

Last Friday I travelled to Toronto with a moving fan and my Cleaning lady, Irene and her husband Kelly who also serves as my landscaper and all around handyman. Kelly also drove the truck, and all three of us agreed that it was going to be a long day, but an adventure nevertheless. We arrived a little after noon to empty my friend Bill’s apartment on Broadview, just south of the Danforth.

We had to take the truck around to the back entrance, as the front entrance was a Fire Exit, and the snowy weather left the road up to read parking lot was slippery. After a dozen tries Kelly was successfula nd he backed in and lowered the ramp. Kevin Porter had worked that morning to complete the boxing up of Bill’s library, and had moved the boxes down to the read lobby. It was a long afternoon with a bare minimum of breakage.

Irene cleaned up the apartment as it emptied. She cleaned out the refrigerator. There were three pies left in the freezer — a pecan, a blueberry and a cherry.

The heavy large items exited last, and this process was expedited by Kelly’s experience in the moving industry in his youth. The pull out couch was doable after the cushions and mattress were removed. Finally the fireproof three draw safe filing cabinet initially proved obstinant. However the Superintendant Eric came to the rescue with a dolly, and I became supernumery, I was almost too pooped to participate anyway.

Another tank of gas and supersizxed meal at Wendy’s along the way fortified all three of us for the unloading into a 1o’x25′ locker in Shelburne. Then home before midnight. The next day I unloaded a couple of boxes from the car, one containing those three pies, and a fancy well-used tea-pot which I have now adopted, and which will remind of all those pots of Chinese Green teas that Bill and I enjoyed in various Chinese and Vietnames food emporiums in Toronto. Another box contained the two tape-guns, additional tape and green garbage bags surplus to the move. Better too many boxes, tapes and green garbage bags than not enough!

Over the past three years, after Bill moved back into his apartment from the nursing home where he lived on the Alzheimer’s ward with his wife Anna, we developed our Saturday routine. I would meet him at circa 0900 and we would adjourn for a leisure DimSum breakfast variously including Hargow(Shrimp dumplings), Sumai (smal pork patties), Chicken feet, Congee (thick rice porridge with chicken or fish or seafood) and deep fried octopus. Next we visited the factory outlet for the Weston Bakery. I well remember Bill purchasing those three pies late in the summer prior to his death.

I set out the Cherry pie, and read the instructions to bake it the next night. While I ate a large wedge for dinner desert, I reflected on my friend Bill, our times together, the adventure of closing down his apartment, the Memorial Service for both him and his wife Anna next week at the Manulife, and his book launch which we plotted over Dim Sum those many Saturday mornings.


Escaping the black dog of February

This week has been hectic for me — a trip to the printer to pick up books for a book launch next month and delivering them to Toronto safely. I also visited John Robert Colombo to show him a new cover featuring an ourburos (linked serpent) for a volume Tearsof Our Lady and this serpent will be delicately tattooed on the left ankle of a certain International Woman of Mystery, a character created by Sax Rohmer 60 years ago named Sumuru. Now the first volume in the series used macrons over the first and third U in her name thus — Sūmurū. Now I can find this character in my wordprocessor, but I can’t find this special character here in this blog. I suspect I can find it in HTML code, and I will look before publishing this, but TMI (too much information, but I found it!). But in any case an editorial decision was made to remove the macrons altogether throughout. The next task was to discuss the proposed Dustjacket for The Sumuru Omnibus with the artist Laurie Fraser Manifold and  I did that earlier today. Will share the result when it is in hand.

I am also spending too much time at the keyboard — I suspect this is a common affliction of bloggers, and I then remembered that this was February — a month of melancholy for a number of people who live in the snowbelt, a month of cabin fever if there is too much inclement weather, and a month to contemplate driving south in March to Florida.

And so how to break the tedium of typing, the mind numbing scanning if you don’t have an automatic feeder and  the proof reading to expunge those “m” for “in” errors that always tend to creep into the finished document? Well I decided to design a bookplate for myself. I selected a photo of Eugenia Falls in winter. This is a landmark very close to my home, and also the site of a false Gold-Rush over 150 years ago. and I post the result here as well.

The two images send my black dog of winter running away across the snowswept, frozen lake, and the candles flicker in the hearth.


A logo evolved into a gravatar

logo-bsdb2Peter Ruber gave me his logo back in 1994. He had the logo designed for his publishing company called The Candlelight Press by Henry Lauritzen, a well-known Danish Sherlockian and Illustrator. Peter knew him well and corresponded regularly, but when I came to the hobby Henry had passed over. I selected this logo to be my gravatar with this blog. Sure is superior to miniature picture of yours truly!

A open book, a candle, a unlit curved stem pipe and ear flapped cap, otherwise known as a deerstalker make up picture. Please note that I am reformed smoker. I started in University, and preferred a cigar and a pipe until I stopped altogether in 1981. I had a couple of relapses since then, but this is a “no nicotine” household now.

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Posted by on February 20, 2009 in House-on-the-Lake


Not the right time of day for pictures

Well I went down to the dock this afternoon, and clicked a couple of pictures into the western sun, but I tried to take them in the shade, and thus I ended up with a certain blue tint. I post them here anyway, and will try and replace them with the sun in the east tomorrow.

Left: looking north from the front lawn of the cottage.
Right: Looking east from the dock showing the three sections, with no windows in the basement of the rear two sections.

While I was walking down to the dock to take these snapshots, I was thinking of reprinting Ritualia Musgraviensia a latin translation of “The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual” by Arthur Conan Doyle which first appeared in The Strand Magazine in May 1893. This translation was completed by Paul Churchill and Dale K. Fewell and was first published in 1998. Paul Churchill passed away last year and he will be missed my all who knew him. The reprint of this monograph will be distributed at the annual dinner of The Speckled Band of Boston at The Tavern Club in Boston on May 8th, 2009 as my token “In Memoriam.” I will append a cover illustration of “Sherlock in Toga” and the Preface below:


Preface by Paul Churchill

The sixty Sherlock Holmes stories – four novels and fifty-six short adventures – written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle from 1887 to 1927 have captured the hearts of generations of young people the world over. They have never been out-of-print and continue to entertain and inspire new readers. Countless pastiches have been written by other authors using the characters brought to life by Doyle, and the characters in turn have continued to live even as we hover at the verge of the 21st Century. The stories have been translated into French, Spanish, Latvian, Russian, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Japanese, and dozens of modern languages, but never into Latin. This little work marks the first appearance of a complete Sherlock Holmes story in Latin. Why Latin? Why not Latin? There is a precedent in the rendering of other literature into that ancient tongue, notably Winnie Ille Pooh, Alicia In Terra Mirabili, and Tela Charlottæ since the 1960’s. There has been a resurgence of interest in the Classics since the 1980’s with Latin enrollment having doubled and even tripled in school districts from California to Texas to Washington D.C. Within the past few years, books like Latin For All Occasions and its sequel, More Latin For All Occasions, have proven to be very popular. It is past time for a rendering of a classic work into a Classic language, a work which has an appeal to adults as well as students.
The story chosen is “The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual.” It is one of the most recognized stores and is the only published tale which shows Sherlock Holmes at work as a professional before he met his friend and biographer, Dr. John H. Watson. It has all the ingredients of a fine mystery: an old manuscript whose secrets must be extracted by a practiced reasoner, a missing young woman with a fiery temperament, a centuries old relic, an old English manor house, and (read no farther if you wish to be surprised) The butler did it!

In translating this story into Latin certain compromises had to be made. First, the name “Sherlock” contains two letter combinations which did not exist in Classical Latin, namely the “sh” and the “ck.” The translators have rendered the “sh” as “sc” to fit the convention in Church Lain of pronouncing “sc” as “sh.” For “ck” they have chosen the more common letter combination “ch.” Sherlock therefore becomes Scerlochius, a second declension noun. Holmes is pronounced as two syllables, the “e” being short and the word becoming a third declension noun. For “Watson” another compromise had to be made since the letter “w” is a recent addition to our alphabet and did not exist in Classical Latin. Here we enter an area of linguistics that will be of interest only to linguists and the reader may feel quite comfortable in skipping to the story. For those of you who have decided to remain with the Preface, an explanation is due. Rather than rendering the name as “son of Wat” the translators have decided to treat the whole name. There are several English words starting with “w” which have corresponding equivalents in English, French, or Latin using the letter “g” or the letters “gu.” As examples consider the words “ward” and the protector of a ward, the “guardian,” the person in authority in a prison, the “warden” or the “guards,” the “warranty” or “guarantee” one gets with a purchase, the name “William” which is “Guillaume” in French or “Guglielmo” in Italian, or “Gulielmus” in Late Latin, and the seemingly unrelated words “war” in English and “guerre” in French. There being a pattern, the translators have rendered “Watson” as “Guatsonus,” a second declension noun. In addition to the conventions noted above, the translators were faced with the difficulty of translating words like “hair-trigger” and “bullet” and “sleeve” where no exact equivalent existed in Classical Latin. Rather than making a “bullet” into a “glans,” the word for the stone used in a slingshot, or “pistol” into the word for “catapult,” the translators have chosen the Neo-Latin equivalents found in other works published in this century by modern scholars. The word order is, for the most part, what would have sounded natural to a Cicero or a Cæsar. The punctuation is completely modern. The reader will find it most comfortable to have at hand any of the modern English versions to help make it through the tough spots. Enjoy the process as well as the result. Remember, this is not baby-Latin, this is the stuff you might not have gotten to in Latin II in high school. But for the steadfast, there are all the ablatives absolute, indirect discourse, gerundives, ut clauses and jussive subjunctives you came to know and love at school. Bona fortuna.


On a Cold Sunny Day in February

The basement floor got a final coat of cement paint last weekend, while I was visiting in Toronto. The highlight of my visit was a trip to a bookstore to purchase a book on How to create a WordPress blog by that McNutty fellow. And so hopefully the eye appeal, bells and whistles will improve shortly, or more likely in the fullness of time — but there is no guarantee. All I am really thinking about is driving to Sauk City later this week.

After my morning coffee ritual and opening some of my mail which I picked up last week (not this morning because it is Family Day here in Ontario and there is no mail!) I took my digital camera out to the garage, and took some pictures which I will post below. Before I do that I have to relate the hurdles involved in this process 1) dead batteries in my wireless keyboard. 2) trying to insert a high density USB 4GB flash memory card into a low density USB port. 3) The necessity of charging the Lithium battery in the camera. 4) And finally I had to reset my WordPress password.

11 o’clock: Bookhouse from driveway, looking east; note cornerstone “2oo8”
1 o’clock: upper floor looking south-east, 54′ of shelves.
7 o’clock: upper floor looking north-east, 3 sections of shelves, interrupted with windows
5 o’clock: lower level from the rear looking east noting windows and spiral staircase.

I must walk out onto the ice to take a picture of the cottage and bookhouse together — but I’ll save that for another post and attach it to discussion of another book project.

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Posted by on February 16, 2009 in House-on-the-Lake


A Cornerstone Proposal

Since my retirement commenced on 1 April 2008, I have been working with my friend Larry Moore to build a Hobby Garage for my books next to my home on Lake Eugenia. The first four months have been entirely occupied with negotiations with the GREY SAUBLE CONSERVATION AUTHORITY and THE MUNICIPALITY OF GREY HIGHLANDS Building Department. The project got underway in September 2008. The footings were poured this week, and the cement for the basement will be poured on Monday. The outside wall cement was plugged and tarred last evening, and I expect the Building Inspector later today! I plan to visit a tombstone place in the very near future to select a marble slab, on which I plan to inscribe “2008 and the Logo of the Battered Silicon Dispatch Box which Peter Ruber gave me back in 1995. This logo was formerly used by his publishing firm “The Candlelight Press” This logo was designed for Peter Ruber by Henry Lauritzen and is pictured above.

Construction of the floor begins next week, and I am planning to include a cornerstone which will contain a TIME CAPSULE. A couple of local newspapers, and some some souvenir coins are appropriate, but I have invited The Sacred Six to propose additional items for the Time Capsule, and that will be a subject of a future post.

Bob Weinberg suggested that I paint a Cthulhu monster on the garage door — I don’t think so. However I could be convinced to set a silhouette of Sherlock Holmes at the corner of the garage. These figures are eye-catchers, and this one was originally used on the Sherlock Holmes Float in the Shelburne Fiddle Contest Parade in August 1992 — but that’s another story!

Larry and I are presently investigating floor to ceiling (8 feet) shelving, since I will have the opportunity to place shelving on 56 feet of straight wall space, from one end of the building to another interrupted by a single 4 foot window, which will also contain a pane of stained glass featuring the staff of AEscalepius.

I have many pictures of the building under construction, but I will spare the reader’s eyes!

… The buildings inspector arrived, and the next visit will be scheduled when the garage is framed up — whatever that means.