I was born at the American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. I find inspiration in the lives of so many people from Joan of Arc to Oscar Wilde. While my primary avocation is photography, I also enjoy philosophy, theology and most of all, history. My beloved wife, Robin Anne Smith, who passed away in 2013 is an inspiration to me. My beloved partner, Dana is also a great support and inspiration to me. I'd be remiss if I did not mention my cats: Maxwell, Nigel, Pirouette and GarGar.
It seemed as if half of the entire court was packed into the room. Granted, it was a large room. Along the entire length of one wall was a bank of glass windows stretching from floor to ceiling, which gave the room an air of being even larger. Two of the windows in the center were actually French doors that opened to a balcony. The balcony itself looked down on a plaza that could hold thousands of people. Indeed, thousands were gathered for a glimpse of their Queen- Queen Pirouette.
In the center of the room stood Queen Pirouette and her soon-to-be husband, GarGar, le comte des Deux Chats. With arms interlocked, they moved slowly towards the balcony. The report of canons from a distant tower announced to the people that their Queen would soon be appearing to give them a wave. It was a ceremony that Pirouette relished because it gave her a true sense of connection with her subjects.
The couple paused before stepping onto the balcony. Their eyes locked. GarGar gave Pirouette a little wink of the eye and said, “Shall we, my dear?” In response, Pirouette kissed GarGar on the cheek. When they emerged, the crowd burst into thunderous applause and cheers. “God save the Queen!” They shouted.
As you can see, this poor Monarch has a seriously damaged wing. Amazingly, it was still able to fly. I didn’t see it go very high, but it was able to flit from blossom to blossom without any apparent trouble.
According to legend, Queen Anne was making lace by hand (known as tatting.) She pricked her finger with her needle and single drop of blood fell on her handiwork. That is why there is a red spot in the center of the blossom. There is debate over which Queen Anne was tatting. Some say it was Anne of Denmark (1574-1619) who was the wife of James I of England (also known as James VI of Scotland) who was eight years senior to Anne. The other sovereign in question is Anne (1665-1719) daughter of James II (grandson of James I.)
Queen Anne’s Lace is not native to North America. It was brought over by European settlers (a nice word for invaders, don’t you think?) Its flowers can be used to make a natural yellow dye. Parts of the plant are mentioned by herbalists as a diuretic, an antiseptic, soothing to the digestive system, useful for colic, and as a hallucinogenic! Queen Anne’s Lace was a valuable enough medicinal herb that colonists relied on it. It was also considered a reliable contraceptive. (Don’t try this at home!)