An Obsession Satisfied at the Last Moment
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
|Hosta 'Tardiflora' 19 October 2021|
I was about to disconnect my computer to take it to be
migrated into my new one by Bensen at Powersonic Computers.
And when I checked on the Hosta ‘Tardiflora’ scape with
its flowers I was rewarded by many more that were in bloom. Could I resist with
this obsession that began here? No!
A Posthumous Novel & Other Posthumous Gifts
Andrea Camilleri, the Sicilian novelist who died at age 94
in 2019 wrote 28 novels featuring his police inspector Salvo Montalbano. He was
69 when he wrote his first Montalbano novel The
Shape of Water.
In 1994 Camilleri
published the first in a long series of novels: La forma dell'Acqua (The Shape
of Water) featured the character of Inspector Montalbano, a fractious detective
in the police force of Vigàta, an imaginary Sicilian town. The series is written
in Italian but with a substantial sprinkling of Sicilian phrases and grammar.
The name Montalbano is a homage to the Spanish writer Manuel Vázquez
Montalbán; the similarities between Montalban's Pepe Carvalho and
Camilleri's fictional detective are noteworthy. Both writers make use of their
protagonists' gastronomic preferences.
In my reading life I have read many mystery novelists like
Raymond Chandler, Jerome Charyn, J.Robert Janes, P.D. James, Dashiel Hammett,
Reginald Hill, Paco Taibo II, Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell, Reginald Hill, Ian
Ranking, Daphne du Maurier Graham Greene, Donna Leon, Leslie Charteris, Leonardo Padura, Ian Fleming and Alexander McCall
Smith. In every one of those authors I read their complete output. I could never stop at one or two.
I can say that I have read all of Camilleri’s Montalbanos
and I can add with great joy that my Rosemary also read all of the Montalbanos.
Perhaps she liked his style of writing as I explain below in the next paragraph. Camilleri was one of
the few authors I shared with Rosemary. She and I saw all the Italian series. The
mix of the Italian and Sicilian Italian was so similar to my Argentine Spanish
that after a few minutes I understood almost everything said. Because each
episode was about one hour and forty five minutes there was nice character
development and better still they were all faithful to the novels. The music
sounded like an Italian version of Ástor Piazzolla.
I have yet to read an explanation on his style. Consider
that while Camilleri had written non fiction before 1994 he was 69 when he
started the Montalbanos. They had short chapters and his sentences to me (I am
unlearned on this matter but then…) are short and to the point Hemingwayesque.
When Camilleri died, I was heartbroken. I did not know that
in 2005 he decided not to write any more of his series. Most of us did not know
that there was a last one, Riccardino which was only published a month ago.
So this book, in some strange way for me, is a posthumous
novel that is a posthumous gift.
I had a couple of connections (remote) with Camilleri. One
was Spanish author Manuel Vásquez Montalbán. In a blog I wrote this:
I made the decision that I had to read at least one
Montalbán novel. I looked at the Vancouver Public Library’s on line catalogue
and I was astounded to find that they had Quinteto
Buenos Aires and in Spanish! This novel (in spite of the title) was written
in 1997 when Argentina was still living the agony of bringing back the
perpetrators of the desaparecidos
(the proceso as they call it in
Argentina). The novel’s quintet features a man who dresses up as Robinson
Crusoe, his man servant (a black man) Friday, a parrot, a llama and a woman
sometimes called Bertha and sometimes Alma.
My other faint connection with Camilleri is my admiration
for Cuban born (long gone) Alejo Carpentier who invented the concept and called
it that “lo real maravilloso” or
magic realism. Some years ago I took out and read all the Carpentiers in
Spanish which they had available at the UBC Library. I used my Alexandra’s
In one of the Montalbano’s the inspector is driving with his
girlfriend Livia. As they approach a small town, he says to her, “We will avoid
this town as they are making one of my TV series there and the chap who plays
me is fat.”
In another, Montalbano picks up a public phone and calls
Camilleri to tell him that he will refuse what he is supposed to do.
I will not reveal the content in Riccardino that containls lots
of activity between author and protagonist.
I have an affinity for the word posthumous of which I have
written a few blogs. I will list them below. The word comes from Latin and it
means after burial.
Beyond the Grave - A Posthumous Gift from Rosemary
A Posthumous Gift - John Tuytle
Beyond the Grave a Posthumous Gift to my mother
The Partially Clothed Emperor from that Fairy Tale
Monday, October 18, 2021
|Hosta 'Liberty' 18 October 2021|
Tomorrow, after much postponing on my part I will be
taking my computer to Bensen at Powersonic Computers (he smiles and never calls
me the idiot that I am) who will migrate the stored data to the new computer
that he is assembling for me.
It will mean that I will have no computer for at least three
days. I will be a partially clothed emperor (the one from the fairy tale).
One plus is that I will take my magical scanner to have the
flatbed glass replaced. It has scratches, but worse is that solvents from the
plastic insides collect on the inside of the glass and leave a texture that I
can see when I scan my plants. It is a pain to remove the stuff with Photoshop.
What this means is that I will be having one important daily
activity to keep me sane. Weather permitting I will go for a walk around the
block with Niño. Hilary will be visiting early in the afternoon and I am currently
simmering a chunk of good Safeway baron of beef in a recipe called Carne Féa (Ugly Meat!) that was my
Filipino aunt, Doña Fermina Miranda’s recipe. My variation includes lots of
what’s left of some Catena Malbec.
|Hosta 'Liberty'18 October 2021|
Having Hilary for the afternoon is a good respite from the
brooding I do when I am alone.
Sure I will be driving to Richmond with my computer. There
is something that both Hilary and I am looking forward to. I am sorting through
my large collection of cassettes. Many I have in duplicate CDs. Judging from
some of my playing yesterday they are mostly deteriorated and the do a lot of
|Hosta 'Liberty' 21 April|
One is in very good condition. It is a tape that must have
been given to me by a CBC sound technician. It is a recording of the May 1,
1988 concert that Astor Piazzolla and his quintet gave at the Granville Stage on
May 1,of the Arts Club Theatre.
Hilary is a fan of Piazzolla and her favourite composition
Milonga del Angel is in the tape. This milonga is a melancholic piece one
listens to when one feels melancholic. I have a particular reason to feel
melancholic when I hear it. Read in link below..
Milonga del Angel
And to end this blog to illustrate it I have chosen a scan of Hosta 'Liberty' which I did today. Many talk and write about fall leaves from trees. I have here evidence that hostas are pretty good in the fall.
Hosta 'Tardiflora' - An Obsession Almost Satisfied
|Hosta 'Tardiflora' Version 01 17 October 2021|
On June 8 I will be flying to Minneapolis to give a
presentation The Beauty of Hosta Flowers & their Companions to the American
Hosta Society’s National Convention.
That has generated in me in the last few days an obsession.
I was to take my old computer with Windows 7 to Bensen at
Powersonic Computers in Richmond so that he could migrate its contents into the
new computer with Windows 10 and extra RAM that he is assembling for me. But I
had to postpone the transfer (today perhaps?) as I have been waiting for my Hosta
‘Tardiflora’ to bloom. In past years this hosta which is the last to bloom in
the season did so around October 7. Not so this year and I have been waiting.
To me it was symmetrically important that in my presentation
in June I would have the last hosta flower of the season of the previous year.
I have written at length how the flower buds on the scape (hosta nomenclature
for the flower stalk) are very beautiful. But if I were to project a scan in
Minneapolis I would think that at least one flower open would be correct. I
place the pot inside lights and I was correct in this as yesterday 17 October
there was one flower.
|Version 02 17 October 2021|
My obsession pushed me to not only scan the scape and flower
once but seven more times. Today 18 October,
2021 the scape in the vase had a second flower! And so I scanned that
Will I take my computer to Bensen today? Perhaps. Or should
|Version 01 18 October 2021|
|Version 07 17 October 2021|
|Version 06 17 October 2021|
|Version 05 17 October 2021|
|Version 04 17 October 2021|
|Version 03 18 October 2021|
|Version 03 17 October 2021|
|Version 02 18 October 2021|
|Version 03 17 October 2021|
Sublimity Mingled II
Sunday, October 17, 2021
|Rosa 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' 17 October 2021|
Sublimity Mingled - Fall 2020
One of the supreme pleasures of a portrait photographer (I
am one), is to photograph a person more than once and particularly with either
short or long time intervals.
I photographed my Rosemary, my daughters Alexandra and
Hilary and my two granddaughters Lauren and Rebecca through the years. There is something so
special to see progress even if in later years (as in my yearly birthday self-portraits)
it is retrograde.
|Top left R. 'Abraham Darby' R.'Complicata' hips, R. 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' & R.'Shropshire lad' 17 October 2020|
When I started scanning the plants and flowers from my
garden in 2001 my initial purpose was to record accurately the plant. By giving
the scan a date it meant if that there were subsequent scans through the years (there have been many)
I could discern changes such as the maturing of a rose.
There has been plenty of criticism addressed to social
media, particularly Facebook.
As I have explained before when I started my blog in January
2006 I was advised by digital expert Tim Bray to incorporate an RSS feed. This
meant that my followers could subscribe to the blog and know the instant I put
up a new one.
Nobody as far as I know either use RSS feeds or understands how
The purpose of my blog, (web blog) (I like the
Spanish bitácora which is sort of a
ship’s log), was to gather my thoughts for the day. At first, it was completely
just for me. When I started incorporating my family, they objected to some of
the personal stuff. But they might soon understand, particularly when I am gone,
the beauty of a daily journal with stuff they might have forgotten.
This is why I put links to my blog into Facebook, Twitter
and Medium. If I do not put a link into Facebook (but I have blogged) folks that
follow me think I have not blogged.
For me the best feature of Facebook is that at midnight they
advise me of five to seven blogs of that date in years past.
Today was stellar for me as the blog was about a scan of
roses on the way out exactly last year. I even like the title Sublimity mingled
from: the archive of the Manchester Guardian, 11 November 1840: The gentle
melancholy of autumn. That is in the link above.
It is for that reason that I will incorporate the URL to
last year’s blog and place here that year’s scan with the one I did today.
With my grief at the loss of my Rosemary on December 9, my
two cats Niño and Niña and the constant help and phone calls from my two
daughters, all keep me more or less sane.
But it is the writing of these blogs that somehow gives me a
sense of purpose and an impetus to keep on living. I never would have known
that back in January, 2006.