JENNIFER MACAIRE – A CROWN IN TIME

Today Jennifer is here to answer a few questions and tell us about her book!

If you could only read one more book before reading became illegal what would it be and why?

Jennifer – Shades of the Handmaid’s Tale, where women are forbidden to read! Perhaps if I could only read one book, it would be that one – to remind me that change can be brought about by just one person resisting.

If you could be a character in any book, who would it be?

Jennifer – I’d be Hermione Granger – a muggle-born magician with a magic wand, and cool friends in a cool school!

What is the title of the book that you are going to tell us about?

Jennifer – A Crown in Time

How did you come up with the title?

Jennifer – It is a time travel, the heroine must save the crown of France, so in the end it was an easy call.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

Jennifer – I went to the St Chapel one day in Paris and heard that it had been built to hold the crown of thorns, brought back from a Crusade. I started researching the Crusades. They were pretty awful, and so the idea of writing about a time traveler going back and taking part in one just grew on me.

Which character in this book is your favourite and why?

Jennifer – I like my heroine best – she’s one of my strongest heroines. She’s going back in time as a punishment, she knows she’s fated to be stranded there, that she can never return, but she has a job to do and she does her best to fulfill her mission.

Folks born in June_Where can we buy the book?

Amazon (UK, US, AU), Waterstones, etc.

Kindle on Amazon

Paperback on Amazon

How can your readers keep in touch with you?

my Face book page: https://www.facebook.com/TempusU/

twitter @jennifermacaire

my blog: https://jennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

Day 17 & 18 – April Fools’ Day

Well, another bright and sunny day. My project is to read more of Antony and Cleopatra and listen at the same time.

I have started to repaint a small cabinet and will finish tomorrow. Probably the first time I let paint dry between coats; let’s make this last, folks! WIN_20200401_13_01_49_Pro

Also on the agenda:

10 of the best travel podcasts (The Guardian, 1 April 2020) I intend to traval despite being stuck at home. Today I will descend into depths of the ocean in a great white shark cage. Wish me luck.

I will do my exercises with Daisy the bubbly blond and Erin the moody brunette, and I will make shrimp and garlic pasta for dinner. Oh, how the day flies by! If I can catch Cuomo online, that will be a plus – he’s my new crush.  (Don’t tell Stephane). I was wondering why I was coping so well, and then I saw this article and thought it resonated well – it says:

#GenX is Trending on Twitter Because of How They’re Handling Coronavirus—Here’s Why
MARCH 19, 2020
By KORIN MILLER @@korinmille

“Gen X tends to be, on the whole, seen as happy and balanced in work life, and active compared with other generations,” says Gail Saltz, M.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at the NY Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine and host of “Personology” podcast from iHeartRadio.

Members of Gen X lived through things like the AIDS and crack epidemics, part of the civil rights movement, and recessions, and they came of age at a time when many households had both parents leave the house to go to work. “Many were latch key kids growing up, learned how to fend for themselves early, and have lower expectations in terms of being taken care of,” Saltz says. “They are noted for a heartiness and ability to soldier on.”

Well – that’s certainly a plus – go Gen X! We’ll show the world how to be a hermit.

Well, I hear Daisy and Erin calling – (or the voices in my head are getting very loud…)

Until tomorrow – take care, and wash your hands!

 

 

Day 16 – Sunny, but cold. We play a game.

Today we played a game – first I found the Getty museum asking people to try to duplicate or to dress up like a painting, and so Stef and i did this:

getty

After we went online to a “pub quiz” and took that – it’s called Gooses Quizzes, and you sign up, grab an answer sheet (on their site) and listen along and write in the answers. We don’t cheat, and we probably only got half (or less) of the questions right. Wrong answers are often more hilarious than the right ones.

I wrapped up in a blanket and sat outside on the balcony, but it was too chilly. I tried to read Antony and Cleopatra, and got though the intro – tomorrow I start on the play, and I found something terrific – it’s free recordings of Shakespeare’s plays, so I will listen and read along. Also, the Globe theater is steaming performancesstarting 6 April. I will definitely watch!

Today was another very lazy day, where I wanted to get a lot done, and ended up just cleaning, doing laundry, and playing games. Tomorrow I really have to start on my book.

Also, Alex appeared for a minute on the newsin the hospital where he works. Sending him lots of HUGS. Be careful, your mom is worried about you, Alex! Image may contain: 1 person

 

 

Day 15 – Lazy Sunday

The sun went away, the wind rose, and the temperature dropped. Sitting on the balcony was out of the question. I went out with the dog to get some bread but hurried – I didn’t dawdle to enjoy the sun – there was none – so I trotted quickly, with August complaining the whole way – he wanted to stop and sniff in the grass. Sorry Auguste – it was too chilly.

I decided to get my projects lined up for next week – painting the hallway and a small wooden chest – so I got my paint out but discovered I had no roller or tape, so I will have to see if the hardware shop is open (I think we can order online then drive to a pick-up station). Hopefully tomorrow I can do that.

I am getting a little stir crazy. Gym this evening with Daisy and Erin was not as fun as usual. Daisy is getting to me with her grin, and Erin is starting to look like I feel – grimly determined (not to let this get me down).

To pass the time I did a quiz – you click here to get the quiz (the guys chat and chat and chat..) and here to get the answer sheets – you listen to the quiz and fill in the answer sheets. It was really hard, and I didn’t cheat, and I did really badly, but it did pass the time.

à l'intérieur, achat de panique, activités

 

 

Day 14 – Ice-cream does make a difference!

Well, it’s been two weeks, with two more weeks to go, and we are still feeling fine. I am thankful I live in a small town, where I can walk to the corner grocery shop and bakery, and where we can even get food delivered. We have a frozen food delivery service, and usually I reserve ordering ice-cream for the summer, but I went ahead and ordered two boxes of ice-cream cones (rum raisin and salted caramel). And when it’s sunny, and I’m sitting on my balcony, it really does lift my spirits to eat an ice-cream cone, even if I’m wrapped in a jacket!

I went to work today to reschedule more appointments, and I was so glad that everyone I spoke to was doing well. The families that we know are all wonderful, and I was afraid that someone would be sick – but so far, so good. Again, I think it helps we live in a small town. Up north of Paris there are far more people falling ill. We are being very good about staying inside though, so maybe the worst will pass with no particular problems for us.

I finished “As You Like It”, and thought it was very good. I was laughing at so many parts, and re-reading them (aloud, to my husband again – he had no idea what I was saying half the time, lol). My favorite parts are Jaques’s ‘All the World’s a Stage’, speech, and when Corin and Touchstone are speaking of life in the country vs life at court, (it’s hilarious). I thought Rosiland wonderful (of course!) but Orlando was really kind of soppy. Celia was a good foil for Rosiland – Shakespeare was a genius at poking fun at people, and the play is quite a bit more bawdy than I thought. When I saw the play I didn’t pick up on half as much as I did reading through it. And I imagine the people in Shakespeare’s time heard everything he meant, wheras I have to constantly go back and look up words and sayings. Clever, yet dark. I honestly loved reading this.

Tomorrow I will start Antony and Cleopatra – I’m interested to read this one, and I must try to find a film version to watch afterwards, because I’ve never seen it.

 

 

Day 13 – It’s a beautiful day

Today the sun shone brightly and I sat outside and read “As You Like It“, reading some passages outloud to my husband, who pretended polite interest (he really has to love me to put up with me quoting Shakespeare – especially as I was trying out different accents for each character.) But no, I am not Juliet Burton, who narrated my books The Road to Alexander and Legends of Persia so beautifully.

The news is terrible, so I stopped reading it today. Two things particularly distressed me – Trump allowing companies to pollute with no penalties, And Jeff Bezos making over 5 million dollars with just the stockmarket crash, as he dumps then buys stock. It’s obscene, it’s disgusting, it’s horrendous, unfair, and makes a mockery of anyone who is working to make a living. He’s slime. No, he’s a, as Shakespeare put it, a “trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey Iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years.”
Henry IV Part 1 (Act 2, Scene 4)

So I dug out my tarot cards again to see what is in store for us, and it doesn’t look good at all.  We were woefully unprepared (the 7 of wands) and the worst is right over our heads (the 10 of swords), but when it all dies down, there will much rejoicing (the 3 of cups) and it will include people from all over the world (the 5 of wands).  However, in order to get there, we we have to overcome individualism (6 of wands reversed) and work together. There will be a lot of deception and fake news (the 7 of swords). There were also the 9 and 10 of pentacles – two cards representing wealth – but the ten of pentacles was reversed, which represents the dark side of wealth, financial failure or loss. There are many, many people who will lose money. But there will be those who profit from the situation. It is going to be very important to share the wealth in the years that come, so that there is not a total collapse of government. The main card for this reading was the Hanged Man, which is the card of ultimate surrender, of being suspended in time, and of martyrdom and sacrifice to the greater good. The hanged man also represents a search for wisdom – and in this case I think we can say it’s representing not only the scientists searching for a cure, but the people working tirelessly in healthcare as well.

I cooked some brownies, so dinner tonight will be soup, with some warm brownies fresh out of the oven.  Tomorrow will mark two weeks confinement, and the government has just announced two weeks more. If anyone wants a tarot card reading, they can leave a comment on this post. Tell me simply how many times to shuffle the cards, then pick a number between one and three (representing the three piles of cards I’ll place – 1 left, 2 center, 3 right). I will give a quick reading and post it under your comment. 

 

 

 

Day 12 – As You Like It

We are on a road trip to nowhere, with no end in sight.  Today I went shopping, did my gym class with Daisy and Erin, and baked brownies.  I shopped at the Biocop, wtih organic food, and I bought grape juice, yogurt, honey, and eggs.  Yesterday, all day, I had a leg of wild boar in the slow cooker with homemade barbecue sauce, and tonight we’ll have the pulled wild boar meat with mashed potatoes. The meat is fork-tender and yummy. Brownies for desert. Hurrah!

I also spent a couple hourse on the balcony enjoying the sun and reading. I have started to read “As You Like It”, by Shakespeare, and it took me all morning to get through the introduction and prologue because it was so fascinating, and because I really don’t know anything about Shakespeare’s plays – especially this one. I have seen the play; I even have the DVD by Kenneth Brannagh, and enjoyed it (except for the Japanese theme in the beginning which always threw me), and now, reading the play, I think he made a mistake there but, hey – to each his own.

What is interesting about this play at this particular time is the context. Shakespeare wrote this play in the 1590’s, when England was going through a period of stress. Politically, things were stable, but “plagues and bad harvest were compounded by the dearth caused by the pursuit of gain […] and by landlords and usurers evicting or buying out their tenants from their holdings.”*  So there was a plague, food was scarce, and a ‘for profit’ mentality had begun to take hold that would shake the world order, starting with the rural dwellers, the farmers, and the small land owners.

This play can be seen as through a social magnifying glass – the nobles, the peasants, the myth (and distortion) of pastoral life – seen so often through the eyes of the wealthy who used the country as a sort of ‘fantasy’, the fantasy of the rich who imagine the shepherd or farmer as living in leisure while they work hard in the city. So the play takes place in a forest (in the most imaginary sense of the word) and the characters mostly come from the court (city). Everyone in the play is pretending to be someone else, women pretend to be men, men pretend to be women, nobles play the peasant, and the peasants are fine-spoken and polite. It’s an easy play to watch on the surface – but it demands a closer look. Shakespeare was a genius at showing people as they really are – no matter what disguises they wear.

As You Like It is a play within a play. It’s set in a political frame that pits ethical systems against status systems, and Shakespeare is enough of a cynic to make it clear in the end that no matter if the story ends well, it is a happily ever after riddled with “if’s”. As Hymen concludes, “If truth holds true contents” (5.4.114). Shakespeare knew he was living in the end of an era. This is surely one of his most joyous yet most pessimistic plays.

If you want to learn more, here is Dr Daniel Swift, giving an interesting lectureabout the play.

*John Walter and Keith Wrightson, Dearth and the social order in early modern England.

 

Day 10 – It’s not a war, folks. It’s nature.

As the virus spreads, the language around it has been changing. Out weak leaders, desperate to hold on to power, are not mincing words. They are now framing it as “the invisible enemy” and are claiming it’s a war against it. Macron repeated the word ‘War’ six times in his last speech. Trump has taken it up, using it in every press conference, visibly enjoying the sound of it coming from his flabby lips – “The invisible enemy”, he says, practically drooling over the words. “We’re at war, and America will win.”  I’m not sure he really understands what is happening.

The stockmarket tanked and that is bad news. People are losing jobs. People are losing money – they are worried, and it is heartbreaking to see that the US, with all that money it is prepared to inject into the system to prop up huge corporations, is not prepared to use that money to help it’s living, breathing, human population.  Europe is going to go broke – I’m sure of that. But you know, once you’re at rock bottom, you dig yourself out and you rebuild. But you have to be alive to do that. And you have to have the will, and the energy, and believe that you’re going to make a better world. I see Brazil, the US, and on the periphery, Russia – holding off, trying to decide – do they want to protect their system, their elite, or do they want to protect the people? (Imagine you’re in the Middle Ages, and the people are the serfs, dependent on the nobles… isn’t that how it is today? The serfs have no say in the matter.)

Over here in Europe, the serfs have some comfort knowing they will not lose their homes. Their jobs may disappear for a while, but they will be back, and until then, they will be paid enough to hopefully keep up their payments in order to keep home, car, telephone, and food in the house. When this is over, Europe will be on its knees. We’ll be broke. We’ll have to do without for a while – but we should still mostly all be here, and our system will have survived.

I’m less sure about the other three nations I’ve named, and I shudder to think of poor Africa when this virus gets a hold there, if it does. I’m hoping it is a cold-climate bug, and will not spread so easily in a hot climate. But nature is cruel, and capricious, and right now, Nature is pissed. So we had best hunker down, try to care for our neighbors, try some new recipes while we’re in quarantine, and forget the word ‘War’. Beause war means one side against the other, and the rich have already chosen their side, and the rich will sit by and watch the other side, the poor side, get wiped out. We lost this war ages ago. Maybe now it’s time to change the system. By the way, #NotDying4WallStreetis trending now on Twitter. Have fun with it. The economy is imaginary – people are real.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 9 – The exercise routine

I have to go back to the office every once in a while to check mail, get phone messages, and make sure the patients all have rescheduled their appointments. Today I went in for a while and did that, then dropped off a retainer for one of our patients at another dental office. Then I bought two loaves of French bread (warm from the oven) and went home. But once home, things got serious. We pushed the couch back, pulled the table away, and set up my computer where we could both see it. Then I put on our exercise videos ( yes, there are more than one – we are ambitious!)

The exercise class today was abs and legs, and Stef and I are getting better. We actually made it to the end without stopping, so we may try one that lasts more than five minutes tomorrow… (haha – just kidding.) We have a great exercise coach actually, he stands there are tells us what to do. In case we can’t figure it out, two girls are with him, Daisy and Erin, I think they’re called – and they are fabulously fit with six-pack abs and the tightest buns – in their hair – their hair is pulled back in tight buns. Anyhow, they are amazing, and I feel like a very mushy, wobbly person as I try to mimic their actions. I tell myelf that after only a few days, weeks, months – next year, If I keep it up, I’ll have muscles of steel like those women.

Our coach is very encouraging, and tells us how great we’re doing, even when I stop to put the dog on the balcony when he insists on lying down under my feet. “You’re doing great! Keep up the good work!” he crows, as I shove Auguste outside, toss him a doggy biscuit, and run back to my place.

Erin never smiles, and she punches, lifts, jumps, and presses with grim determination. Daisy has a wide grin, no matter how much her leg muscles must hurt – I keep waiting for her to grimace, or pant, (my face is beet red, my mouth wide open gasping for air, my glasses slipping off my nose…) Daisy just smiles and does another squat. Both girls are now my idols, along with Nancy Pelosi, Andrew Cuomo, Jacinda Ardern, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, although you can all imagine who I’d rather look like. (Hint, it’s not Andrew).

I just added Andrew Cuomo because I saw his press conference again. I’ve watched him a few times, and his press conferences are the best things on television right now. He’s so calm, so clear, so – thoughtful. You can tell he’s thought about what he’s saying, unlike the orange clown in the white house who just opens his mouth and vomits whatever idiocies cross his itty bitty mind. Let’s make a switch – let’s put Cuomo in the president’s office, and put Trump in charge of on a plane to North Korea. We can even include his whole family.

Oh, Wouldn’t it be Loverly?

And if you’re tired of exercising, why not curl up with a good book? A Crown In Time

Folks born in June_