1. This Recipe for Drop Scones – Sent by Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II to President Dwight D. Eisenhower in January 1960, this piece of correspondence is part of the Letters of Note project: “nothing but history’s most famous letters.”
I love ‘Letters of Note,’ (LON) both for the history and the literary finesse. This one has an added treat – the addition of an audio clip (at the top of the page) with the absolutely wonderful Olivia Colman, in her role as QEII from ‘The Crown‘, narrating both the letter and the recipe.
You can subscribe to receive one Letter of Note per day in your inbox here. There are also several print books – two general collections and several themed collections. Those are available for purchase here but be aware, they ship from the U.K. and the postage is a bit high.
The ‘Letters of Note‘ audiobooks are available through Chirp, Google Play, Audible, and other audiobook streaming services. Letters of Note: Correspondance Deserving of a Wider Audience contains not only the Queen Elizabeth drop scone letter & recipe read by Olivia Colman, but letters read by Benedict Cumberbath, Juliet Stevenson, Alan Cummings, Gillian Anderson, and Mark Strong, among others.
2. These Hats of HBO’s The Gilded Age – I watched the first episode, which premiered tonight (January 24th). I’m hooked. And not just because of the hats. I also loved the dressed and the jewelry and the furniture too. Seriously, the story is pretty good. I’m currently watching several series and none of them have me very excited. In fact, I even stopped watching one of them – and I really wanted to like it – but none of the characters were remotely likeable.
The Gilded Age is the newest series by Julian Fellowes. If you are unfamiliar with him, he also created Downton Abbey. There will be ten episodes and new episodes will air at 8 pm (CST) on Mondays.
(FYI, the young blond woman in the straw hat – second photo below – is Louisa Jacobson, Meryl Streep’s daughter.)
3. This “Starter” Apartment in Paris – Fairly well-appointed for a first apartment, don’t you think?
4. This Artwork by Louis Wain – If you haven’t seen the movie ‘The Electrical Life of Louis Wain‘ on Prime Video yet, I highly recommend it. Not only is it a lovely movie (though it does have its share of tragedy) but it’s very historically accurate, which makes my heart go pitter patter.
As far as the accuracy of Wain’s life, from what I’ve read, it does seem they got that right as well. The movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Louis Wain, Claire Foy as Emily Richardson-Wain, Toby Jones (LOVE him) as Sir William Ingram, and its narrated by Olivia Colman.
Once you’ve seen the movie you’ll truly appreciate his art.
5. This Story with a Happy Ending – I remember when I was moving into my first house. At that time I had three kitty cats. Before the movers arrived I put all the cats in one room and shut the door. That way I could give instructions to the movers and then one by one move my beloved kitties into my car.
When the movers got to the apartment I told them the plan and said DON’T open this door until I have all my cats in the car. I put my first cat in the car. Then I put the second car in the car. I came upstairs to get my third baby (her name was Madeline) only to discover the door open to the “cat room” and of course no Madeline. Not surprisingly I freaked out. I looked all through the apartment then ran down the stairs and looked around the apartment building. People who lived in the neighborhood heard me calling her name so they started to help me look too.
Unfortunately, after about an hour the movers were finished and it was time for me to go to the house. Heartbroken I got in my car and drove to my new place. The movers unloaded all the furniture and boxes in about an hour (I had way less stuff back then.)
I went back to my old apartment and did another search and then went to the Wisconsin Humane Society to see if maybe they had found Madeline. It was a long shot but I was pretty desperate at that point. No luck.
Dejected I went to my new house, gathered up my other two cats (Indira and Beddi), plopped down on the sofa, and started to cry. That’s when I heard this very soft “meow.” I sat up. It was coming from the kitchen. Did I imagine that? I walked into the next room. No, there it was again. Where was it coming from? I listened. OMG, it’s coming from that stack of boxes! I started to tear open the big moving boxes and when I got about halfway down out popped MADELINE!
Apparently, when the movers had opened the door to the “cat room”, the little bugger got scared and hid in one of the open boxes. The movers just sealed the box up and carried it out to their truck. ARGH!
Still, that was most definitely one of the happiest days of my life.
Having told that story, I understand how this guy felt when they found his dog, even though it was weeks later.
[Found on The Modern Met]
6. This Absolutely Adorable Video of Mandy Patinkin & Kathryn Grody – These two should be the role models for every human being.
7. This Excerpt from a New Book on the Shackleton Expedition – For some reason I have always been interested in the Shackleton Expedition. Not really any other arctic expedition, just this one. There is something to be said about mans’ (or womans’) fortitude when facing a crisis. Or at least that used to be the case.
The book is Shackleton: The Biography by Ranulph Fienne’s, published January 2022 by Pegasus Books. It covers part of the expedition that generally is skipped over.
“When explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew set out for Antarctica on the Endurance in 1914, they had no idea their journey would become one of history’s greatest epics of survival. After sea ice trapped the ship for nearly a year, ultimately crushing it, the men camped on unstable sea ice for months. The loss of the Endurance and a later, extraordinary ocean crossing to South Georgia Island by a small party led by Shackleton are well-known chapters in the saga. Less familiar is the story of what happened in between those two events, when Shackleton decided the crew would leave their position on the ice and venture in small open boats across the infamously rough Southern Ocean, to one of the region’s uninhabited islands.“Preface to “Remembering a Little-Known Chapter in the Famed Endurance Expedition to Antarctica” by Ranulph Fiennes
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