Hello again from Sarah Graves, writing to you from Eastport, Maine where the last rose of summer has created rose hips like those at left, as big and juicy as Bing cherries. I always plan to make rose hip jam and never quite do, mostly because those thorns do their job very swiftly and efficiently. And picking fruit while wearing big, thick, clumsy leather gloves just isn’t my cuppa, you know? But one of these years a little blessing will descend on my head, and then voila! (Or viola! as one of my favorite characters used to say.)
This boat is painted boat-paint blue. When I first moved to Eastport there were a lot of little houses painted that color too, a real poke-in-the-eye hue that brought to mind the extra paint that must have been sitting around after the boat got its share. In Eastport, houses drink up lots of paint; the wind-driven salt air scours them clean, so we paint one side of the house per year unless we want the whole job all at once. And if you were unwise enough to sand the house down to the wood, then you exposed the old nails to air and you will never be free of rust stains again (don’t ask me how I know that…).
This old beauty has been sitting there for years, just waiting for someone to come along and rescue it. It’s a parts car now, I fear, unless the desire to rehab comes with a fat pocketbook. Every time I see it, I feel the prickly velvet-like upholstery of my grandfather’s car, which he drove very sedately unless it was time to “blow out the carburetor.” Then he took it out on a remote, rural northern Wisconsin road and let ‘er rip. Once he took my dad, who drove midget race cars, along for the ride. Dad came back pale and shaky and with a new respect for my shy, quiet grandfather.
This house is on a small island just across the bay from Eastport’s north end. There’s no road to it so if you want to go there you take the ferry and ask the ferry man to put in on the beach. If you want to get off the island, you go down to the beach when the ferry is coming by and wave, and the ferry comes in to pick you up. That’s how I heard it, anyway; probably the most reliable thing would be to have a vessel of your own, or a friend with one. However you get there, though, it strikes me as either a very good or very bad place to write a book.
Here’s the cover of the UK ebook version of the first in the Home Repair is Homicide series, all of them now being published by our good friends at Mulholland Books. It’s completely thrilling to me that now someone in London or in Sydney, Australia will be able to read about Jake & the gang, almost like visiting those places myself, you know? Speaking of UK-related things, I am luxuriating lately in Dickens’ DAVID COPPERFIELD, so inventively plotted and wonderfully written that I can only hope some of its excellence might sink into me by osmosis. Every night I fall into it with pleasure and hope for it not to end….which it is in no danger of doing soon, I’m happy to report. Also reading: James Ellroy’s PERFIDIA. So good!
oh yes–painting one side of the house every year–scheduled as early in the spring as possible before the painters start painting boats. I know it well.