In the High Peaks

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Open House: Sherlock Holmes Christmas Story

As soon as it reached 5 degrees F this afternoon, Ken and I shuffled out in the snow for a traipse on our trails. I was warm but regretted immediately the decision to go without a scarf to cover part of my face. A December snowstorm is on our doorstep, though it's not expected to exceed a foot of snow. Just as well.

The crows, when it is deep horrible winter, make some of the most peculiar noises I've ever heard. What amazing, very smart birds! Highly underrated. Nearly a hundred goldfinches are swarming our bird feeders, and the chickadees appreciate their own "secret" feeding station within a grove of balsam fir trees near the barn that they guard from all invaders.

We stomped home in the quasi-darkness. Time for tea! I pulled out my beloved The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, Volume One, (W.W. Norton, publisher) that I'd set aside in order to read the only Holmes story set at Christmastime: that is, "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. So off I went on a journey to late-Victorian London for the hour between dusk and darkness. I hunkered down into the green couch while the gas fire radiated light and warmth. A most pleasant hour well-spent. And what is a "blue carbuncle," you might ask? Well, according to the annotator, it turns out that only Sir Arthur Conan Doyle knows for sure, but judging from the clues available, the gem might possibly have been a "star sapphire" or a "blue diamond," according to Doyle "scholars."


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