A New Year

May joys from Heaven bless the day

And may our Lord be near

To guide you in His loving way,

Throughout another year.

Happy New Year, 2019 !

The Castle Lady

 

 

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A slice of A Christmas Carol

The Second of the Three Spirits– (last gasp of stave three )

“A merry Christmas and a happy New Year to the old man, whatever he is!” said Scrooge’s nephew. “He wouldn’t take it from me but he may have it, nevertheless. Uncle Scrooge!”

     Uncle Scrooge had imperceptibly become so gay and light of heart, that he would have pledged the unconscious company in return, and thanked them in an inaudible speech, if the Ghost had given him time. But the whole scene passed off in the breath of the last word spoken by his nephew and he and the Spirit were again upon their travels.

     Much they saw and far they went and many homes they visited, but always with a happy end. The Spirit stood beside sickbeds and they were cheerful, on foreign lands and they were close at home; by struggling men and they were patient in their greater hope; by poverty and it was rich. In almshouse, hospital and jail, in miser’s every refuge where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fast the door and barred the Spirit out, he left his blessing and taught Scrooge his precepts.

     It was a long night, if it were only a night but Scrooge had his doubts of this because the Christmas holidays appeared to be condensed into the space of time they passed together. It was strange, too, that while Scrooge remained unaltered in his outward form, the Ghost grew older, clearly older. Scrooge had observed this change but never spoke of it, until they left a children’s Twelfth Night party, when, looking at the Spirit as they stood together in an open place he noticed that its hair was gray.

     “Are spirits’ lives so short?” asked Scrooge.

     “My life upon this globe is very brief,” replied the Ghost, “It ends tonight.”

     “Tonight!” cried Scrooge.

     “Tonight at midnight. Hark. The time is drawing near.”

     The chimes were ringing the three quarters past eleven at that moment.

     “Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,” said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit’s robe, “but I see something strange and not belonging to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?”

     “It might be a claw for the flesh there is upon it,” was the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. “Look here.”

     From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children, wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet and clung upon the outside of its garment.

     “O Man! look here! Look, look, down here! exclaimed the Ghost.

     They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meager, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shriveled hand, like that of age, had pinched and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dreadful.

     Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

     “Spirit! Are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.

     “They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware of them both and all of their degree but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow, I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand toward the city. “Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes and make it worse! And bide the end!”

     “Have they no refuge or resource?” cried Scrooge.

     “Are there no prisons?” said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. “Are there no workhouses?”

     The bell struck twelve.

     Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost and saw it not. As the last stroke ceased to vibrate, he remembered the prediction of old Jacob Marley and lifting up his eyes, beheld a solemn phantom, draped and hooded, coming, like a mist along the ground, toward him…

-excerpt of Charles Dickens timeless classic.

2 Peter 1, Job 36:12, Proverbs 9:10, Hosea 4:6

Charles Dickens 1842, at the time of the first publication of A Christmas Carol

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Making Christmas ?

People everywhere are doing something tonight to make this holiday one that they will cherish and hopefully share those memories with loved ones and friends that mean the most to them.

I would urge everyone, however, to take a little bit of time out of this busy. busy, busy…to just stop for a few minutes and think and pray for those who are not as fortunate as we are and to make some provision for them. It’s never to late to extend the most important part of this entire season to those needy individuals. That is God’s love which we can share without great cost. You can get so caught up in all the details of what we all think makes this a wonderful holiday that we forget the most important part. God already effected the most important aspect of Christmas. He sent His only son, his emissary of love, to the world in the form of a tiny human being. We most need to get the message out and then believe it ourselves with every fiber of our being. The world is depending on you!!

The Castle Lady

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Hits are like grits…

Can’t do much with only one but once you have a certain amount, like what I’ve accrued to date on this blog- that’s 180,709 total since I started it more than a decade ago-  thousands aren’t enough.You wouldn’t want me to starve would you ?

     Hits tell me I’m doing something right and that someone’s enjoying what I put up for content. I like lots of subjects and I’m very interested in the mosaic that is life. That being said I just want to remind every one who visits this blog that castles are my primary subject and will dominate this blog for the most part.That’s my promise to you and I won’t let you down.

   

Krak de Chevaliers fortress

  If you’re looking for a specific castle, take a look at my castle directory. (Check out the column on the right.) Most on the list are English castles and I’m still working on South England but I’m nearly done and ready to hop a plane. If you don’t see the castle you’re looking for you can try my official web site at http://www.ilovecastles.com . If you still can’t find it, don’t despair. Eventually, I will cover every castle on this planet and put it up on that web site, if not on another blog. Keep a close watch and watch me grow. If you have read a lot of my work and interested in getting involved, let me know. I would love some help.

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Gathering Leaves

by Robert Frost

Spades take up leaves no better than spoons,

And bags full of leaves, are light as balloons.

I make a great noise of rustling all day

Like rabbit and deer running away.

But the mountains I raise elude my embrace,

Flowing over my arms and into my face.

I may load and unload again and again

Till I fill the whole shed, and what have I then?

Next to nothing for weight; and since they grew duller

From contact with earth, next to nothing for color.

Next to nothing for use. But a crop is a crop,

And who’s to say where the harvest shall stop?

The Castle Lady

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Mickey Mouse is 90 Years Old !

This is quite a milestone for anyone, leave alone an iconic symbol of eternal youth in the form of a cartoon character! His official birth date was November 18, 1928 but festivities have been going on at the Disney resorts most of this year. Beloved all over the world- he’s made his mark!

 

Check out the link below for more news on this momentous occasion. There will be a special on ABC tomorrow all about this fabulous mouse and his creator Walt Disney so be sure to check your local listings for the time showing and be ready with your mouse ears on…

 

 

https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2018/03/disney-parks-celebrate-90-years-of-mickey-mouse-with-the-worlds-biggest-mouse-party/

Keep smiling and laughing !

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It’s Halloween…

Not Easter…

  Not Purim…

Skip the soup,

 

 

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Vita’s Tiny Masterpiece

Review of the book A Note of Explanation by Vita Sackville-West (1892-1962)

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6996-5

     This book had no choice but to be extraordinary. It was written by an extraordinary 20th century woman with a personality, life, background and beginnings which exceeded the ordinary in every way. She had the distinction of being born at Knole House- a Kent courtyard castle in reality- which is not only the largest private house in England but also is considered among the most treasured houses of England with the added distinction of being a calendar house. It is reputed to have 365 rooms- one for every day of the year- and there are other indicators as well which will be expounded upon if you tour this mammoth marvel. Also the nuptial home where Lady Anne Clifford came to live with Richard Sackville, her years there became another obstacle to her eventual obtainment of her inheritance of many north England castles. Centuries later, Vita brought Lady Anne Clifford to the reading public by having her diary published among her own various writings which included a book about the Sackville family history- a daunting task.

https://thecastlelady.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/lady-anne-cliffords-17th-century-legacy

   A Note of Explanation is a very understated title for a remarkable and very delightful little book. It’s latest incarnation is brought to us by Chronicle Books, just this year, with beautiful illustrations by London artist Kate Baylay and a very well written afterword which explains how this book came to be not only a wonderful children’s book but a treasure for anyone (of any age) fortunate enough to own this beautifully bound book. It is a much larger replica of the original inception, which is part of the acclaimed authors mini-library housed in Queen Mary’s Dollhouse at Windsor Castle! (Located among the state apartments, near the George IV Tower, along the North Terrace of the Upper Ward.) 

   This non-fiction fantasy (or should I say fantastic story?) was originally commissioned by Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein who was a cousin of George V- Queen Mary’s husband. All the books in this doll house library are teensy little books- to scale!- which cannot be read by the human eye without a strong magnifying glass! All the books are authentic for their purpose and include such authors as Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad and the poet laureate, Robert Bridges among many. Interestingly, Vita’s subject became the doll’s house itself with a very special visitor and eventual inhabitant. Many people have written and said that the book is actually autobiographical in a very whimsical way. It is definitely a thinly fictionalized self-portrait with a magical story line meant to entrance children and perhaps, surprise adults.

The Castle Lady engrossed…

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9/11 seventeen years later

I believe for my regular readers it is common knowledge that I was on my very first grand castle tour when 9/11 happened. Many years have passed and the most memorable event for me was coming home to Denver a week later and seeing all the flags posted in front of people’s houses. It was testament to me that most of us love our country and pull together when push comes to shove.

     To see my contribution you can click the link below and read the poem I put up in 2008. It will make you cry but it will also make you see something in yourself all Americans must have….courage, tenacity and that fighting spirit.

https://thecastlelady.wordpress.com/2008/02/25/how-did-you-die 

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Too Many Castles?

I say the more the merrier !

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