Thursday, July 27, 2023

Sweet Thames Flow Softly

I've always enjoyed this Ewan MacColl song, which I first heard on Planxty's eponymous debut album, but this gentle version (featuring some additional verses) is special. The lead vocalist is Christy Moore, as on the Planxty LP; he is accompanied here by the late Sinéad O'Connor and by guitarist Neill MacColl, who is Ewan's son. (His mother, still living, is Peggy Seeger, half-sister of Pete.)

Monday, July 17, 2023


About six weeks ago we moved out of the house where we had lived since 1990, leaving the town where we had roots stretching back much longer that, and settled, at least for now, into a one-bedroom apartment some two hundred miles away in order to be nearer to our family. Most of our stuff (including a piano and at least 90% of our books) is now in storage and more or less inaccessible. As it worked out, we left town on the very evening that an unprecedented wave of wildfire smoke moved down from Canada and into the New York metropolitan area. We actually missed the worst of it, which came the next day, but even so it made for an otherwordly five-hour drive. And the summer has continued in an ominous vein, with unprecedented heat in the Sun Belt, torrential downpours and flooding in the northeast, and further incursions of smoke.

One of our biggest worries was our cat, who is nervous and averse to being handled (except, of course, when she wants to be handled). We managed to grab her and get her into the cat carrier, then listened to her heavy breathing as we drove along. She never meowed and after a while we worried that she had simply succumbed from stress. Stopping along the way was out of the question. In fact, though initially traumatized, she came out of hiding after a day or so and now seems perfectly content. We suspect that she prefers apartment life; maybe she finds there's less to be responsible for. The dog, of course, can deal with anything as long as he's with us.

I've sought out new haunts, and found a few; more adventuresome outings will have to wait. In the meantime I'm burning through the three volumes of Simon Callow's biography of Orson Welles, borrowed from the excellent local library, and watching Chimes at Midnight.