In a word: Murder

I started off thinking that murder was pretty straight forward, you know, someone pulls out a gun and shoots someone else: murder.  Of course, there are any other means of doing the same crime, by knife, poison, strangulation, or suffocation.

Or, by endless inane conversation.  Much less chance of going to jail with that one.

Its the stuff that keeps crime writers going, fictional detectives detecting and crime scene investigators analysing.

Still the fact someone might be getting away with murder, means they’ve successfully found a way to have their cake and eat it.

Come to think of it how many times have we used that word in vain, like when a child drives you to distraction, red-faced and you say with a great deal of conviction ‘you do that again I’ll murder you’.

Just make sure it doesn’t actually happen, or those words will come back to haunt you.

But this is only one aspect of using the word.

You could, if you want, scream blue murder, which is literally impossible.  In fact, what the does that really mean?

It can also refer to an onerous task or experience, hence the possibility that listening to that discussion about hot water bottles was absolute murder.

For one thing, it probably murdered an hour or two of my time.

It could also describe a comprehensive defeat, that we murdered the other side 86 to nothing.  Come to think of it, I never got to participate in such a game, so that might account for why I’d never heard it used before.

And, lastly…

Did you know it can refer to a flock of a particular type of bird, I think crows.

“What Sets Us Apart”, a mystery with a twist

David is a man troubled by a past he is trying to forget.

Susan is rebelling against a life of privilege and an exasperated mother who holds a secret that will determine her daughter’s destiny.

They are two people brought together by chance. Or was it?

When Susan discovers her mother’s secret, she goes in search of the truth that has been hidden from her since the day she was born.

When David realizes her absence is more than the usual cooling off after another heated argument, he finds himself being slowly drawn back into his former world of deceit and lies.

Then, back with his former employers, David quickly discovers nothing is what it seems as he embarks on a dangerous mission to find Susan before he loses her forever.

http://amzn.to/2Eryfth

whatsetscover

Venice, a city of many stories

Venice is definitely a city to explore.  It has an incredible number of canals and walkways, and each time we would start our exploration from St Marks square.

Everyone I have spoken to about exploring Venice has told me how easy it is to get lost.  It has not happened to me, but with the infinite number of ways you can go, I guess it is possible.

We started our exploration of Venice in St Marks square, where, on one side there was the Museo di Palazzo Ducale and, next door, the Basilica di San Marco.  Early morning and/or at high tide, water can be seen bubbling up from under the square, partially flooding it.  I have seen this happen several times.  Each morning as we walked from the hotel (the time we stayed in the Savoia and Jolanda) we passed the Bridge of Sighs.

Around the other three sides of the square are archways and shops.  We have bought both confectionary and souvenirs from some of these stores, albeit relatively expensive.  Prices are cheaper in stores that are away from the square and we found some of these when we walked from St Marks square to the Railway station, through many walkways, and crossing many bridges, and passing through a number of small piazzas.  That day, after the trek, we caught the waterbus back to San Marco, and then went on the tour of the Museo di Palazzo Du which included the dungeons and the Bridge of Sighs from the inside.  It took a few hours, longer than I’d anticipated because there was so much to see.

The next day, we caught the waterbus from San Marco to the Ponte di Rialto bridge.  Just upstream from the wharf there was a very large passenger ship, and I noticed there were a number of passengers from the ship on the waterbus, one of whom spoke to us about visiting Venice.  I didn’t realize we looked like professional tourists who knew where we were going.    After a pleasant conversation, and taking in the views up and down the Grand Canal, we disembarked and headed for the bridge, looking at the shops, mostly selling upmarket and expensive gifts, and eventually crossing to the other side where there was a lot of small market type stalls selling souvenirs as well as clothes, and most importantly, it being a hot day, cold Limonata.  This was my first taste of Limonata and I was hooked.

Continuing on from there was a wide street at the end and a number of restaurants where we had lunch.  We had a map of Venice and I was going to plot a course back to the hotel, taking what would be a large circular route that would come out at the Accademia Bridge, and further on to the Terminal Fusina Venezia where there was another church to explore, the Santa Maria del Rosario.

It was useful knowledge for the second time we visited Venice because the waterbus from the Hilton hotel made its first stop, before San Marco, there.  We also discovered on that second visit a number of restaurants on the way from the terminal and church to the Accademia Bridge.

Items to note:

Restaurants off the beaten track were much cheaper and the food a lot different to that in the middle of the tourist areas.

There are a lot of churches, big and small, tucked away in interesting spots where there are small piazza’s.  You can look in all of them, though some asked for a small fee.

Souvenirs, coffee, and confectionary are very expensive in St Marks square.

It’s raining, it’s pouring…

It’s one of those grey, dark, wet mornings where you can inadvertently sleep in because the bedroom remains dark for an extra two hours.

That could be a problem if you have a day job, like most of us.

But, today is Sunday, and it’s just what I need.

Time to mull over the latest storyline, marshal my thoughts, write the prose in my head.

OK, that not working for me.

The rain is getting heavier, and is splashing outside; the steady waterfall of overflow from the gutters is taking away my concentration.

 

Rain, rain, go away …

 

I have two different visions.

A cold, grey day in London (is there any other sort of day?) waiting for a train, and seeing the woman of your dreams go past, standing in the doorway, and in that fraction of a second your eyes meet, a connection is made.

I suspect it has fuelled many a song such as ‘The Look of Love’.

The second is on a desolate section of coastline as for north as you can go in Scotland (yes, I am a glutton for punishment), and she is standing on the cliff top gazing out to sea, hair blowing in the wind.  Silent, strong, resolute.

 

The rain has gone.

Notes hastily scribbled in a notebook for later reference.

It’s time to get up and contemplate a late breakfast or maybe an early lunch.

New York, where getting there is a story in itself

It is an amazing coincidence that both times we have flown into New York, it is the day after the worst snow storms.

The first time, we were delayed out of Los Angeles and waited for hours before the plane left.  We had a free lunch and our first introduction to American hamburgers and chips.  Wow!

I had thought we had left enough time with connections to make it in time for New Year’s Eve, like four to five hours before.  As it turned out, we arrived in New York at 10:30, and thanks to continual updating with our limousine service, he was there to take us to the hotel.

The landing was rough, the plane swaying all over the place and many of the passengers were sick.  Blankets were in short supply!

We made it to the hotel, despite the snow, traffic, and the inevitable problems associated with NYE in New York, with enough time to throw our baggage in the room, put on our warm clothes, and get out onto the streets.  We could not go to Times Square but finished up at Central Park with thousands of others, in time to see the ball drop on a big screen, exchange new year’s greetings, and see the fireworks.

Then, as luck would have it, we were able to get an authentic New York hotdog, just before the police moved the vendor on, and our night was complete.

 

The second time we were the last plane out of Los Angeles to New York.  After waiting and waiting, we boarded, and then started circling the airport waiting for takeoff permission.  We stopped once to refuel, and then the pilot decided we were leaving.

This time we took our eldest granddaughter, who was 9 at the time, and she thought it was an adventure.  It was.

When we landed, we were directed to an older part of the airport, a disused terminal.  We were not the only plane to land, at about one in the morning, but one of about four.  The terminal building filled very quickly, and we were all waiting for baggage.  The baggage belts broke so there were a lot of porters bring the baggage in by hand.

One part of the terminal was just a sea of bags.  To find ours our granddaughter, who, while waiting, sat on top of the cabin baggage playing her DSI until the announcement our bags were available, walked across the top of the bags till she found them.  Thankfully no one was really looking in her direction.

Once again we kept our limousine service updated, and, once we knew what terminal we were at, he came to pick us up.  This time we arrived some days before NYE, so there was not so much of a rush.  We got to the hotel about 3:30 in the morning, checked in, and then went over the road to an all-night diner where we ordered hamburgers and chips.

And a Dr Pepper.

 

Next:  New York after a snow storm.

In a word: Choices

We are often told that it’s the choices we make that shape our lives.

It’s true.

What distinguishes the basis of those choices is the circumstances of the individual.

What a lot of people don’t realize is the diversity of backgrounds of everyone, and that in a minority of cases, the few that really have no choices at all.

Yes, there are those who have no control over their circumstances, and therefore no choice whatsoever.

Inevitably, the people who are first to criticize those who apparently made the wrong choice, are those that have never found themselves in similar circumstances.

And probably never will.

This perhaps is the biggest problem with governments who are staffed with advisors who do not understand the plight of the common man.

I never had the same opportunities as those who could afford a university education.  My family were working class and were relatively poor.  Had I not hot a scholarship who knows what sort of education I would have got, if any.

Certainly, my father never got an opportunity to get a good education, but, at the time, during the great depression, his choices were limited, whereas those with any sort of wealth it was a different story.

And his lack of choices reflected on us, and that lack of opportunity haunted all of us as time passed.

It was always a case of the haves and the have not’s.

Yes, we all have choices, but sometimes it really is the lesser of two evils, and not whether we will have the fillet or the rib eye steak.

A case for Harry Walthenson PI, a new episode

How thrilled Harry Walthenson, Private Detective, had been to see his name painted on the translucent glass window in the door to his office.

Located in Gramercy Park, in an old building full of atmosphere, he had a space renovated to resemble that of Spade and Archer in a scene right out of the Maltese Falcon.

His desk had an antique phone like those used in the 1930s, and a lamp that cast eerie shadows at night.  Along one wall was a couch, his bed for more nights than he wanted to remember, and on the other a filing cabinet, waiting for the big case files.

Up till now it had been missing cats and dogs.

Then, everything changed…

Starts at episode 1 – The Wrong Place, The Wrong Time

http://bit.ly/2J4aEBP

Episode 90 – A Visit by an Enigmatic Father

http://bit.ly/2IkX1Qj

Enjoy