As some of you know, I have a collection of medieval hammered silver English coins. For a long while I just had one for every monarch between William the Conqueror and Elizabeth I. Recently I got ambitious and set myself a new goal: a thousand years of English coins! I have added only a few since then, since some are expensive and others hard to find, but Monday evening I bought what will be the Alpha coin, Cnut (aka Canute). He became King of England, Denmark, Norway and “some of the Swedes” in and after 1016. Tenth and eleventh century records are scant and contradictory, but he apparently was a bold, cruel, ambitious, pious Christian who managed to have two wives at the same time. Here is a picture of the obverse and reverse of the coin, which is less than an inch wide.
I already have my Omega, an Elizabeth II coin, so my collection now reaches across the millennium – with gaps that I hope to fill in the next few years. I spent an hour with the man who sold me the coin, looking at others, and sighing over their cost. I think I’d better work harder on convincing Hallmark or similar television network to buy my Betsy Devonshire series with an eye toward making a series of movies based on them, if I hope to fill some of those gaps.
Thanksgiving is upon us. Ellen, Ann and I are going to a friend’s place to join nine others for a big ham dinner. I am bringing Aunt Velva’s Bean Salad, Ellen is bringing calico beans, and Ann is bringing the mashed potatoes (made with cream cheese, isn’t that curious?). But I am also buying a turkey breast on Wednesday to roast on Friday, as it simply isn’t Thanksgiving without turkey.
The First Sunday in Advent is this Sunday, so Ann and I are spending this afternoon setting up the Fontanini Christmas Creche set at my church (over 200 pieces, if you count every sheep), an annual event we both look forward to very much. This year we are adding the young man mashing grapes in a vat and another young man weaving a basket, and a new, bigger inn. Where will it end? When will we have enough? I have no idea. But I’m starting to think I need an apprentice who is a member of the church, because one of these years I’ll find I’m no longer able to balance on a chair on a table to reach for the hook in the ceiling that suspends the “multitude of the heavenly host” hovering over the shepherds.
On a literary note, I think I’ve finally got a handle on the character of Betsy’s first husband, Boo. My sleuth Betsy didn’t like my first and second try at him, but I think I’ve found a way to make him both disreputable and likable. I’ll take him for a walk at my writers’ group meeting this Saturday.