Holidays Israel

Not Passing Over Passover

I’m interrupting the flow of daily A-Z posts for two reasons.

The first is that I have paid a (blog) visit to Ailsa Abraham at Bingergread Cottage. I had so much to say (prompted by her hospitality, or was it something else?) that she divided it into two parts: one and two.

The second reason is to say something about the festival of Passover. I don’t think I’ve ever posted anything about it, because it always comes at the same time as the A-Z challenge. There is so much I could say, but I’ll just tell you about the story behind our Seder plate.

Seder PlateThe word seder means ‘order’ or ‘procedure.’ In this case, it refers  to the ceremony and festive meal observed at the start of the week-long festival. On the Seder plate are six different items of food that symbolise aspects of the Passover story: the exodus from Egypt.

We never had a special plate for this until we inherited this one when my mother died in 2011. But I knew the story of how my parents had acquired it.

They were on holiday in Ilfracombe in Devon one year and happened to spot this beautiful plate adorned with pictures of the ten plagues in the window of an antique shop. It wasn’t expensive, so they went in to enquire. The underside of the plate shows that it was made in England by Royal Cauldon. The shopkeeper had no idea what it was. There were dishes to match the plate. Unfortunately, two of them were broken and had been glued together (or did my mother do the glueing – I’m not sure). Also, some dishes are missing while others are duplicated.

Seder plate with dishesBut they bought the set anyway, and now we use it every year. And each year we comment on the mistake in the Hebrew. One of the food items is salt water. In Hebrew, the word for water is always plural and the adjective (salted) has to agree with the noun. Here it doesn’t.


Ailsa’s Writing Competition

Fellow Crooked Cat author, Ailsa Abraham, is running a competion here with prizes. I decided it was time to take a break from the seriousness of reality. Here’s my attempt:

The stranger standing at her gate asked how much her house was worth.

“The asking price is half a million.”

“It looks perfect for us. Location, size everything. Could I have a look inside?”

She should have sent the woman to the agent, but she seemed pleasant enough. And maybe they’d be able to cut the agent’s fee.

“Certainly. Follow me.”

The stranger wiped her feet on the mat. All very proper and good. She looked all round the house, asking suitable questions and looking suitably impressed. They exchanged names and phone numbers. The stranger promised to get back to her after speaking with her husband.

The next day there was a robbery. A police officer checked the house. “No sign of a break-in. Could the robber have had a key?”

She looked for the spare key, on the shelf by the front door. It wasn’t there. She found the piece of paper on which the stranger had written her name and phone number.

The police officer took the paper, gave one look and slowly shook his head. “Oh dear. You didn’t fall for that one, did you?”

She took back the paper and read the name. Roberta Getzklotz.


2014 A to Z Challenge: A

AuthorsDouglas Adams

Douglas Adams was an English writer, humourist and dramatist. Wikipedia says,

Adams is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which originated in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy before developing into a “trilogy” of five books that sold more than 15 million copies in his lifetime and generated a television series, several stage plays, comics, a computer game, and in 2005 a feature film. Adams’s contribution to UK radio is commemorated in The Radio Academy’s Hall of Fame.

DouglasAdamsAdams also wrote Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987) and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988), and co-wrote The Meaning of Liff (1983), The Deeper Meaning of Liff (1990), Last Chance to See (1990), and three stories for the television series Doctor Who. A posthumous collection of his work, including an unfinished novel, was published as The Salmon of Doubt in 2002.

Ailsa Abraham

Ailsa Abraham is the first of several Crooked Cat authors who will be featured in these posts. From the Crooked Cat website,

AilsaAbrahamWriting under two pen-names, Ailsa Abraham is now the author of five novels. Scots/Irish in ancestry, she has lived in France since 1990. Her life revolves around her chaotic farmhouse, nicknamed “The Bingergread Cottage” as it is an upside-down witch’s home. Passionate about animal welfare, motorbikes and crafting in yarn, she is also fascinated by all religions, having been trained in Wicca to the rank of High Priestess but now follows a solitary shamanic path although she is also a member of the local Roman Catholic rosary team who are glad of her healing skills.

The Link

Ailsa says,

When Miriam Drori invited her fellow Crooked Cat authors to find another writer with the same initial I wanted (no, I desperately wanted) to find that I shared something with one of my all-time favourites.

Douglas Adams author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy amongst other work has been a personal hero of mine ever since I discovered that reading his work aloud to my dyslexic ex-husband (including all the voices of course) was a way of getting him interested in books. By the time we reached So Long and Thanks for all the Fish, he was reading it himself. This was way after I became a fan of the radio series that was broadcast late at night.

It turns out we do share some attributes although he had “a brain the size of a planet” and I don’t.

What we share is depression. I’m Bipolar and Douglas regularly suffered from long downers. I imagine Marvin the Paranoid Android was drawn from his own experience. There is a memorable quotation from Adams: “I have terrible periods of lack of confidence [..] I briefly did therapy, but after a while I realised it was like a farmer complaining about the weather. You can’t fix the weather – you just have to get on with it.”

One other coincidence I discovered was that Douglas Adams and I shared a love of wildlife conservation. He was brought up in an RSPCA refuge run by his grandparents. I worked for years as a volunteer with the French equivalent, the SPA.

Oh – and I also get these terrible pains in the diodes all down my left side!

Thank you, Ailsa, for starting off my author posts in such an interesting way!