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Urban Leaving to Country Living

What are the Chances? Falling Trees


what are the chances photo question-mark 100_zpsc52w0w9q.jpgIn our side yard, we have the (remaining of two) biggest poplar(s) that anyone I know has ever seen. It is at least 100 feet high (30 metres) tall. Muriel, who lives next door, is 93 and grew up in the house where we live. She tells us that those trees were big when she was a child. Another family member told us that the fishing boats used to use the trees to guide them into the harbour that is just over the hill.

But poplar trees don’t last forever, and over the past 13 years, we lost all of one tree, in pieces, until we finally cut down the dead trunk. Sad to say, but the remaining tree is going to follow soon.

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Two years ago, in the aftermath of Hurricane Arthur, a large limb came down, breaking a window on the house and narrowly missing doing more damage.

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Then, near the end of October another big windstorm took down another large (double) branch of the tree, this time sending it in the opposite direction, across the driveway.

But I think you’ll agree that the chances of limbs coming down from that tree in a windstorm are pretty good, so what’s this post about?

Sunday morning, we awoke to the tree down on our property and Tuesday evening, I read in His Whole Life by Elizabeth Hay:

His Whole Life by Elizabeth Hay photo his whole life_zpsez41gl2w.jpg


Less than an hour later, (the storm) was over. They could see the near trees, the shoreline, the first island, the far shore, and in that moment the biggest tree of all came crashing down less than thirty feet away. . . The shoreline wasn’t shoreline anymore, it was fallen tree.

It was a giant hemlock that fell in the book, but I was struck by the description because that’s how it was: The driveway wasn’t driveway anymore, it was fallen tree.

So what are the chances? Ever have life and your reading collide?


P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Wondrous Words & WHAT ARE THE CHANCES? Middens


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When I think of the history I learned in school—Marco Polo and then the exploration of Canada in grade school, the Magna Carta et al in Grade 9, and a local history course in tenth grade—I do not recall ever hearing the word midden.

A MIDDEN is a community garbage heap—perhaps today we’d say “town dump” (in North America at any rate). They are a rich source of information and relics for archaeologists. And it is the unusual-to-me word that came at me in consecutive reads this month.


In Martin Walker’s Bruno Chief of Police #4 The Crowded Grave (pg. 19) I read:the crowded grave by martin walker photo crowded grave 75_zpsvfvrxrqs.jpg

“Teddy had an interesting idea he wanted to pursue”, said Horst. “He was looking for the midden, the latrine, the place where people threw their rubbish, and he assumed it would be away from the water supply.”

Of course, in so doing, Teddy discovered a more recent body than should have been at that archeological dig site.


the last kashmiri rose by barbara cleverly photo last kashmiri rose 75_zpspxdmaz4k.jpgNext book up was The Last Kashmiri Rose that, despite its title, is not romance but a solid detective/police procedural set in 1922 British India, and is the first in Barbara Cleverly’s Joe Sandilands series.

I had barely begun to read when on page 12, I saw:

Though no stranger to the midden that was the East End of London- he’d not, by a long way, been able to accept the poverty that surrounded him [in Calcutta].


So, what are the chances of these bizarre reading coincidences? Pretty good it seems.


Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png


A day late and a dollor short, I’m linking to Wondrous Words Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion.



P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

WHAT ARE THE CHANCES? Onions and Clocks


onions photo onions_zpsoz3hpnjq.jpgAbout four years ago, I read Birth House by Canadian author Ami McKay, which was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, among other accolades. In it two midwives in an isolated village in rural WWI Nova Scotia offered onion juice as a tonic to their expectant and new mothers.
Not unheard of, but surely not the most common treatment either.

The very next book I read was a children’s chapter book and a Newbery Award winner: Holes by Louis Sachar. In it, the peddler Sam went through town shouting “Onions, onions”, because he sold them as medicinal remedies for a variety of ailments. He fed them to his donkey, Mary Lou, who seemed to never age.

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So, as our eight-year-old grandson would say when confronted by something that seems a major coincidence – WHAT ARE THE CHANCES?

What are the chances that two so very different books would come into my reading sphere at the same time and include the same minor detail?

I was reminded of onions this week when I read Canadian author Lisa Moore’s Flannery, a YA novel set in Newfoundland. In it, Flannery says:

I have one of those antique clocks in my room with the numerals on little plastic tabs that flick over every minute. The tabs make a shish-click every time they drop down.

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But, wait, I said to myself – I just read that. And I had – in the book I was reading on my Kindle at the same time.

In Ocean City Lowdown by Kim Kash, twenty-something reporter Jamie August works part-time in her uncle’s vacation rental business. In his office,

(she) dropped her smiley face and checked the time on the plastic pre-digital clock, the kind with flaps that drop each minute.

Do you remember these clocks (shown here stripped to its inner workings)? My aunt gave me one as a wedding gift in 1972 but I haven’t seen one in decades. I mean, really, what are the chances?

Have you run into similar reading coincidences?


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