My friend Paul Curran has dropped by today with his weekly Cuppa post usually earmarked for Willow’s excellent blog on the other side of the big pond. Welcome from Canada, Paul. And I hope you are well in the U.K., Willow. My, this is an international Sunday. Without further prattle from me …
If We Were Having Coffee
Afternoon Tea in the Forest, By Cindy Grundsten
Your Barista — Paul
Welcome to Willow’s weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today and I’m happy to be here once again. This week Willow is unable to access her internet so we’ll be meeting here at Mark Bialczak’s Little Bitty in Syracuse, New York. Please come in and go through to the backyard. Mark, his wife Karen and their pooch Ellie B have prepared a nice, comfy place for us outside on the newly mown lawn of the Little Bitty, so I can tend to your needs for a cuppa, and sweets. The weather today is here is hot at about 84 degrees Fahrenheit. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our worldwide readership and adult beverages for those who wish something stronger. We can relax with a cuppa and calorie-free electronic sweets while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. Ellie likes to be patted, so please indulge her when she greets you. How has your week been?
Things here in Ottawa have been quiet this week, it being July with August on the come with universities out for the summer and our illustrious Federal government offices emptied of vacationers. I rather enjoy the peace as I sit on the porch with a coffee soaking up the sun and watching the squirrels gamboling about in their usual frenzied manner. My room has a rear exit and a small deck where I can relax. This new room is located at the end of the block of apartments and because there is a considerable grade in back, there is a long set of stairs down to the parking lot (only four steps in the front though, which makes it easier for me to come and go). You would have laughed the other day. I was working at the computer, which faces the window and has the back door to my left — just inside my peripheral vision. I have a bungee cord rigged up to keep the door ajar on warm days and to provide a cross breeze with the window. There is a step down built into the door way so when the door is open it is about 6 inches above the deck.
Movement caught my eye so I turned toward the door to see what was happening and there was a big black fluffy squirrel tail twitching in the space between the door and the step. I looked a little closer and realized that the squirrel was on the other side of the door facing outward and surveying the parking lot from my deck. His tail had slipped under the door and was inside my room, expressing its concern with jerky animation. My chair squeaked as I turned and the tail disappeared. I peeked out the door just in time to see the back end of a squirrel disappearing down the stairs. Squirrels always bring a smile to my face.
Would you like a refill of your beverage? Perhaps a piece of cake or a biscuit? Onto other exciting news … In the world of literature a second Harper Lee novel is being published this week. It was a manuscript written many years ago by the renowned writer of “To Kill A Mockingbird” – the winner of the Nobel Prize for Fiction in 1961. Ms. Lee, at 89, now lives in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where both novels are set. “Go Set A Watchman,” which predates TKAMB, sees Scout returning to her hometown as a young woman. It, too, addresses the racial issues of the time.
Although Monroeville is racially integrated with about 40 percent African-American and 50 percent Caucasian and the official narrative is that all is harmonious, the old-timers tell a different story. They point to the YMCA, where not a single black person can be seen – although they are officially welcome. In the other end of town, the local pool has only one white person amongst all the blacks. There are still some tensions there for sure – although it is much better than 50 years ago and hopefully it will be better still in another 50 years. (From the Globe and Mail http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/harper-lees-monroeville-is-thrilled-for-the-release-of-go-set-a-watchman-or-is-it/article25413321/)
Artist’s concept of the New Horizons spacecraft encountering Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, in July 2015. (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute)
Would you like another cuppa? Perhaps a sweet? All our sweets are calorie-free so dig in and enjoy. Meanwhile back at the further reaches of the solar system, NASA has a probe called New Horizons, which will be doing a close-up look at Pluto and its moon, Charon, this Tuesday, July 14. This will be the very first time mankind has had a close look at Pluto. Charon is an unusual moon in that it is about 50 percent the size of Pluto and has an interesting reflective surface about which scientists would like more information. Voyager 2 had a close look at Neptune’s largest moon — Triton — a few years ago and found, to everyone’s surprise, an intricate landscape with geysers and a myriad of geological formations – mind you it was cold enough that nitrogen gas was present as frost. The hopes are high that Charon will likewise have interesting features.
That’s about all we have room for this week, so it’s time to settle in with another cuppa and pat Ellie B. Sweets anyone? Please join me in thanking Mark, Karen and Ellie B for their invitation to tea. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Mark’s other posts while you’re here. Have a great week. We look forward to seeing you for tea next week back at Willow’s.