The Broccoli Tree: A Parable

“You cannot unsee a tree.”

My good friend Lara sent a link to a video bearing the above title.  I have to admit that I had not heard of either the Broccoli Tree or the story behind Patrik Svedberg’s photographic biography of it.   Its tale is told in this video which was produced, edited, and inspired by Seth Radley and posted on the Vlogbrothers’ YouTube channel. A left click on the photographs of the Broccoli Tree will take you to the Parable of the Broccoli Tree.

A collage of photographs of the Broccoli Tree taken by Patrik Svedberg.

I’m still not sure what moral I am meant to take away from this parable but it is an interesting story and highlights both the positive and the negative of modern communication.

On this day in 1966: Off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean, the DSV Alvin submarine finds a missing American hydrogen bomb.


The Gift of Caring

A few Sundays ago I shared a post by my fellow blogger  Steven at So This Is Me which had touched me deeply.  In his slightly self-deprecating fashion he pooh-poohed my emotion but this Sunday he has done it again.  He is dealing, as so many people I know are and have, with an elderly parent suffering from that most dreadful afflictions – Alzheimer’s.  I will not go into details as the story is his to tell.  Let me just say that my heart is breaking and I cried when I first read this.  I cried for the situation yes but more from the tenderness and love with which it is being met.

A click on the link will take you to My Little Girl.

Back in 2012 when faced with her mother’s illness my dear Elizabeth wrote a poem that Steven’s post brought to mind:  A Caregiver’s guide to Alzheimer’s.

I share both as a reminder that there is more love and caring in this world than we allow ourselves to consider.

On this day in 1702: The Daily Courant, England’s first national daily newspaper is published for the first time.

Books I read lately

I can’t recall what led me to purchase this book but remember finding it a fascinating historical study at the time. Now that Laurent has picked it up off the shelf and read it I’m tempting to go back for a second read.

Larry Muffin At Home

Some years ago Will got a book entitled  ” When London was the Capital of America” by Julie Flavell. The book is the story of colonial America and though we forget it prior to 1776 London was the Imperial Capital of all British North America, it included the 13 original colonies and the territories south, after 1763 it also included all of Canada which had passed from French domination to British after the end of the Seven Year War and the Treaty of Paris.

Flavell debunks a lot of myths about America before 1776 and its white colonists. It was the practice for American colonists especially those with money to send their sons and daughters to London or Geneva for a proper education and to learn manners and etiquette and to become proper gentleman and ladies. This was very important for social status in the American colonies, you could not…

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For Your Consideration

In which two blogs I follow speak to love.

I’m not sure if it’s the dull grey skies, the changeable weather or the time of year – mid-February is never a good time in Northern climes – but the last week or two has been a time of “fragility” for lack of a better word.  Emotions have been close to the surface and patience has become as spare as leaves on the mulberry bush outside the house.  Experience tells me that this too will pass – as the actress said of her kidney stones – but it does make for less than the best of times.

However yesterday two of my blog buddies published posts that touched me deeply in a very positive way.  The writers cannot be less similar, the stories more different …. and yet.  And yet their writing spoke of deep and abiding love of friends, family, and partners.

I’ve often spoke of David over at I’ll Think of Something Later.   Writer, teacher, critic, and broadcaster David lives with his Diplomate in a pleasant neighbourhood in West London.  He has taken me on many virtual journeys around Europe and England and introduced both Laurent and I to music and authors that we would have otherwise missed.  And we’ve had the good fortune to get together several times for food, music and walks on our visits to London in the eight or nine years we’ve know them.  A joy that I so hope will be repeated in the next year or so.

51ChyMOCTwLOn Sunday David wrote of the life of a close friend, the late Dame Beulah Bewley and the celebration of her life at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey earlier in the week.  As I commented to him:  A remarkable life remarkably remembered.  And I should add as always remarkably written in David’s post.  A left click on the cover of Dame Beulah’s book will take you to Beulah: perfection of the life, and of the work, David’s touching and loving remembrance of their friend.

I had finished reading David’s tribute and went on to Sooo This is Me a blog written by a gentleman that I had the pleasure of meeting only once with our friends Dr Spo and Someone.  He lives in a rural community less than an hour away from our former home in Ottawa.  Unfortunately circumstances just never aligned before we left for another meeting, something which I regret.

CactusHis Sunday post had many similarities with David’s and as many differences.  Steven speaks of dealing with a loved one who is progressively withdrawing from the world, of memories put away in a drawer, but also of living memories.  And he write, so beautifully, of the love between two people that lives on in that memory.  I don’t know what sort of cactus he is referring to in his title but he tells us why he knows Love is a Cactus.  A left click on the little cactus will take you to this remarkable story of lives remarkably remembered.

I will freely admit that both these posts brought me to tears.  Not tears of sadness but tears of thankfulness for lives lived and loved and remembered with love.

On this day in 1872: The Metropolitan Museum of Art opens in New York City.


In which an anecdote from PEI History is revealed.

Two of the blogs I follow are the work of  a self-described “archivist, historian and small boat sailor” here on Prince Edward Island.  A phrase that, to my mind, inadequately describes his encyclopedic knowledge and research into the history of our Island home.  His recently created Sailpost traces the history of the Island through the humble postcard – those once ubiquitous picture cards that assured our family  and friends that we wished they were here.  And his Sailstrait, now in it’s 6th year, is a fascinating history of Charlottetown Harbour, as well as yachting and boating on the Island.

We tend to forget that there was a time when the towns and villages around the Island were not as connected as we are now.  There were no railway lines (they are now long gone and have become Confederation Trail, a wonderful 470 km hiking and biking trail that crisscrosses the island) and the road system could be charitably described as primitive.  Water was often the only way to get from place to place but even then it was easier to get to Halifax, Montreal or Boston than it was to Souris.  However there was the occasional excursion to far away places with strange sounding names like Murray Harbour.  This week on Sailstrait there is a delightful newspaper report on such an excursion on the in August, 1865.

A left click on the photograph of the Princess of Wales in Charlottetown Harbour will take you to this peek back into a different time and travel – and how could you resist any article that begins:  As the bottles were emptied and the hearts and hearts and minds of gentlemen expanded……

“As the bottles were emptied the hearts and minds of the gentlemen expanded…” An 1865 Excursion to the East.
                                                                                                Photograph courtesy: Sailstrait

Would that journalists today had the flair and command of language of this anonymous reporter (possibly publisher John Ross himself?) from Ross’s Weekly.

On this day in 1783: Laki, a volcano in Iceland, begins an eight-month eruption which kills over 9,000 people and starts a seven-year famine.