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Nature's Masterpiece or Dance Macabre?
Butcher's daughter rocks and rescues English dynasty








Some light-hearted reflections on family life on this Feast Day of the Holy Family

Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.
Jessamyn West

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending and trying to figure out the common thread which bound us all together
Erma Bombeck

The place of the father in the modern suburban family is a very small one, particularly if he plays golf
Bertrand Russell

It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons
Johann Schiller

I never really understood this liking for war. It panders to instincts already well catered for in any respectable domestic establishment
Alan Bennett

What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life - to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories?
George Eliot

Friends are God's apology for relations
Hugh Kingsmill

The family - that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to
Dodie Smith

It is not a bad thing that children should occasionally, and politely, put parents in their place

Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we've put it in an impossible situation
Margaret Mead

She got her looks from her father. He's a plastic surgeon
Groucho Marx

I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it
Harry S Truman

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance
George Bernard Shaw

Thank God for the iron in the blood of our fathers
Theodore Rooseveldt

Family: A social unit where the father is concerned with parking space, the children with outer space, and the mother with closet splace
Evan Esar

The family is one of nature's masterpieces
George Santayana

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring close-knit family in another city
George Burns

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them
Desmond Tutu

A family is a unit composed not only of children, but of men, women and an occasional animal, and the common cold
Ogden Nash

The great advantage of living in a large family is that early lesson of life's essential unfairness
Nancy Mitford

Families are about love overcoming emotional torture
Matt Groening





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Best to you in the holy days, Rosie

I like all of the above, but especially: If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance -- George Bernard Shaw. I've been reading the latest biography of Edward Lear. Lucky you, you get to see some of his works in the British museums. There is quiet a collection of his sketches at Harvard, but that's on the opposite coast from me. Lear never married, but did propose to his love twice and was rejected both times. He was the 21st of 22 children and was raised by sister Ann, who was 22 years his senior. He was an inveterate traveler who suffered epileptic attacks multiple times a day--an oh, so hard was the life of an itinerant landscape artist in the 19th Century without physical ailment. Lear stayed with wealthy patrons and did not have a home of his own (in Italy) until he was in his 50's. Your illustration reminds me of voyages about to be taken. I would love to be transported to Victorian England as a landscape artist for a year. My campaign box would be well-used.

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Many thanks, Belle

Interesting about Edward Lear. As a pre-school child, I was brought up on his verse and drawings and found them a bit scary. I don't know too much about his life. A fascinating psychological study, I imagine. If you have patrons, Italy is the only place to have them in my book!

The above illustration is from an anonymous woodcut of a Georgian artist, thought to be John Fairburn, who was a publisher of art as well.

As regards being transported back in time, that's what I love about writing historical novels, particularly the novelised biography. THE IVY AND THE VIOLET, Book Three of the Berkeley Trilogy encroaches on the Victorian era and I hope to follow that with a work about the Brownings.

With regard to indigent artists, it was par for the course. I often think of poor old Van Gogh who only earned the equivalent of about half a dollar in his life.

Fame when you're dead! The next generation is going to have quite a backlog to catch up with.

Enjoy the rest of the holidays and keep us posted about your discoveries.