Sunday, October 22, 2017

Jack-O-Lantern with Snake Venom

I was just telling someone the other day that I hadn't seen many Halloween decorations yet this year -- and then  suddenly, when I walked Olga to the Heath yesterday, I came across lots of them.

The jack-o-lantern above was especially crazy. It may be hard to tell from the photo, but it's located in a sort of light well that leads down to a basement window. It's sitting down there, peering up at passersby on the pavement. I hope they light it at night!

And then there was this house, which had evidently been assailed by numerous destructive ghosts.

As I've said in past years, Halloween isn't as big in the UK as it is in the United States, but I have seen a handful of shops with Halloween signs in the windows. Then again, we live in an area of London with lots of North Americans, so we may see more of this kind of thing.

So, yes, despite the threat of storm Brian, I did get Olga to the Heath yesterday. The weather actually wasn't bad at all -- cool and very windy but intermittently sunny and blue-skied. I enjoyed it! (Apparently Brian wasn't as bad overall as initially feared.)

I got plenty of reading done, too. I've been reading an excellent book, "Want Not" by Jonathan Miles, and although I've enjoyed it I feel like I've been carrying it around too long and I really want to be done with it. I bought David Yaffe's new biography of Joni Mitchell and I'm eager to start that, but I also have to read a novel for an upcoming book event at work, and I suppose I have to get that out of the way first.

Last night Dave and I invited one of his coworkers, as well as that coworker's wife, over for dinner. It was fun, and they told us about renting their apartment from a musician who has become somewhat famous for recreationally injecting himself with snake venom (!). They say he's actually a great landlord! Dave made parsnip and apple soup, a shredded crab and watercress salad, mushroom and artichoke risotto, and apple crumble for dessert. I just now finished loading the dishwasher with the third and final load of dishes -- I did the second load at 2:30 a.m. or so -- and I finished handwashing all the stemware. I could use a snake venom booster myself! Whew!


  1. I love the pumpkin in the well, I bet that looks brilliant lit up at night.
    Olga looks fascinated by it. lol
    Around here we have lots of pumpkins lit nearer the time and on the night we have literally hoards of kids from all over knocking on all of the doors for sweets.
    This is relatively new, my kids certainly didn't celebrate Halloween years ago.

  2. I bet some of the kids who visit your library are thinking of you as they carve their pumpkins.

  3. Dammit! I couldn't read the article about the snake venom guy as I have ad blockers on.
    My neighbors have some very sad looking ghosts floating around in a few trees in their front yard. Lloyd doesn't get into the whole Halloween spirit it seems to me.
    I'm reading Trevor Noah's "Born a Crime" and it's eye opening. I thought of you for sure when I saw that the biography of Joni Mitchell had come out.

  4. The jackals terns i n the well is a cool decoration. We have lots of decorations here.

  5. Really nice to see the Halloween decorations there. I love the pumpkin and the ghosts in the windows. Here in Arcata, the town goes wild for Halloween. Skeletons are hanging from trees and ghosts blow in the wind. I read a nice long piece about the new Joni Mitchell biography. I thought of you, and it made me want to go to the library and get on the waiting list for it.

  6. Oh my goodness, that dinner sounds delicious! I haven't seen as many decorations this year as I have in the past. Yesterday I drove to my old neighborhood to see if that guy across the street had all his skeletons out and he did. Pictures will be coming. I love those ghosts. I've never seen anything quite like those.

  7. I used to carve at least one pumpkin every year, even as an adult. once on a river trip all I had were two cantaloupes which I scooped the fruit out and carved with little tea candles so we would be protected. Once we moved out here though, there didn't seem to be much point in it. no grandkids next door. I guess it's been about 7 or 8 years since I carved a pumpkin.

  8. We have a family across the street whose house and yard is extravagantly decorated for Halloween and right next to them is a house with a gigantic spider clinging to it's walls.

  9. I love those ghosts. Reminds me of the decorations that were around a few years ago consisting of the back half of a witch on a broom, placed on the side of a house or chimney, to look like the witch had driven partway through.

    That guy and his snake venom? I admire his reasoning (to save horses) but I think the article's assertion that he "looks 35" due to the venom is hogwash! He looks every one of his forty-nine years to me :)

  10. Phew! What a menu! I'm terribly impressed.
    . . . .Not to mention wishing I was there to taste it.

  11. That's a scary Jack-O-lantern. I have noticed that people have been slower in getting their Halloween decorations (if I can use that word! :-D) up this year.

    Have a great week.

  12. Love the destructive ghosts! How creative! And that menu Dave made sounds absolutely divine. The cooking is usually done by my husband over here, and the clean up is usually mine, so I sympathize with the three loads of the dishwasher. Sounds like it was worth it though!

  13. I could understand wanting a snake-venom booster after putting three leads of dishes through the washer.
    Just imagine how you might feel if you had to do all those dishes by hand.....


  14. Mike has lost his mind this Halloween - as you will see if I ever get my blog post written!