December 28, 2013

Smoking Bishop Recipe- a Goodbye Lie Fave + GBL Diaries

Excerpt from The Goodbye Lie:

     Leona was at the piano playing Auld Lang Syne. Aunt Noreen and Peeper passed steaming mugs of Smoking Bishop and the scent of the spiced wine filled the room. A toast was raised and cups clinked. 1883 had begun.

In Drinking with Dickens by Cedric Dickens, who was the great-grandson of Charles Dickens,  I discovered Smoking Bishop was Victorian hot spiced port wine.  Besides the Bishop, there were other clerical drinks in those times:  Archbishop-claret, Cardinal-champagne and Pope-burgundy.  
We served Smoking Bishop at a holiday party and got a chuckle out of seeing one of our guests tip the pot to get the last drop - and we’d made a double batch!  There are variations of Smoking Bishop, but this is the one we used. 
As with all alcoholic drinks, moderation is key. 

     Jane Marie


Smoking Bishop Recipe

You’ll need: 
  • 4 whole washed, unpeeled oranges
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks.
  • 1 bottle port wine (red wine and port wine combined should equal 4 to 5 quarts)
  • 5 to 6 quart slow cooker or large pot for stovetop cooking
Stick the whole cloves into the oranges.  Poke the oranges several times with a fork so the juice will seep out while cooking.  Place the oranges in the pot. 
Add  the red wine, sugar and cinnamon sticks.
Cover and cook on low or simmer for 3 1/2 hours.  Add the bottle of port. 
DO NOT BOIL at any time.  
Heat the mixture for another half hour to warm the port. 
Serve warm straight from the pot.
Garnish with extra orange slices or wedges and individual cinnamon sticks, if desired. 
Serves 10.  This recipe is easily doubled.


The Goodbye Lie Diaries:
Fernandina, Florida

Peeper writes:
Yes, Miss Jane,  I did pass cups a Smokin' Bishop around Dunnigan Manor with Noreena. I never want ta do a thing with her.  I only dun it 'acause  Santee Claus hadn't yet come and I wanted me a pair a new shoelaces, so I had ta be nice.  Miss Ella got me the shoes ta go with 'um, but I didn't ask.

 Reprinted from our website at

December 21, 2013

Wacky 2013 Christmas Letter from Us plus Past Letters!

Hello Everybody,

Here are some of the highlights of our 2013. I hope your year was as whirlwind as ours.

Mother asked her Brother: "What is the score?"  Her Brother answered, "10 to 10." Mother: "Who is winning?" Her Brother:  "It's 10 to 10." Mother, laughing: "Oh, since you're a Navy man, I’m glad it's Navy." Her Brother: "It's 10 to 10." Mother still loves her Brother even if he only says, "10 to 10."  She's glad to know his favorite number is 10.  He can be so secretive.

Father rewired the front porch light.  Whenever the family flips the switch, the hair dryer starts blowing cold.  Now, if Father can only figure out how to make it blow hot, Mother can melt the marshmallows on the macaroni and cheese.

Grampa Squirrelly gave Niece Beanie a candle for her birthday. Father worried she would forget it and burn her house down.  Grampa pointed out that her house is termite-ridden so Father gave her a book of matches. 

Daughter walked the beach and left a small pile of special seashells on the shore near the water.  When she returned the next day with a bucket to collect them, they were gone.  The police laughed at the robbery.  With such blatant disregard of citizen's property, she wonders what will be next? Stealing dandelions?

Cousin Gassie reports that his bowel sounds have improved.  The doctor no longer hums The Volga Boatman when he listens.  Now he sings  Zippidy Doo Da.  Gassie is so thrilled, he's looking for a Hollywood agent.

Aunt Rantie asked Mother, "How does a dog know it's not a cat and a cat know it's not a dog."  Not wanting to appear superior in her knowledge, Mother played dumb.

The neighborhood got new square lime green recycling cans.  Cousin Irk says it gives him more elbow room, what with the four extra corners, and refuses to move out.

The canned peaches are still on aisle 5 at the Hoggily-Woggily.

Father discovered that if you turn a book upside down, the words are upside down, too.  He loves to share his findings with the family in the hope they will grow as wise as he is.

The bread often has green edges.  Mother is pleased because the color matches her vinyl placemats.

The ice cream melted too fast and Father is preparing to take legal action.

Our mailman has crusty elbows.

After adopting a rescued doggie, Mother said to her Brother who was moving in for a very long unexpected visit, "Where is the dog?  I don't want her to run outside." Brother replied, "I know exactly where she is.  She's biting my right ankle." Mother said, "Oh good!  After you put on thicker socks, give her one of these biscuits so she'll keep doing it and we'll always know where to find her." 

Since he found a coupon, Cousin Chuckrack completed cooking school.  Being on a special diet to keep his tapeworm at regulation size, he's lost his interest in fancy cuisine and decided to be an electrician instead. He calls his business Snap, Crackle and Shock. 

Daughter has a new boyfriend.  He’s very nice but he chews worms. Everybody knows you're supposed to lick them. 

Great Uncle Thrice-Removed from Hack-knee Hollow went to the dollar store.  He is so rich, he took along three dollars, but since everything costs only one dollar, he couldn’t buy the purple spider snow globe he wanted.  

Mother's turkey was a bit dry.  Father put it in his closet to keep the humidity down so his shoes don't mold.

The wind blew when it was dark outside.

Merry Christmas!
Links to past Annual Christmas Letters:
To find even earlier Annual Christmas Letters from Our Family and to get a better understanding of our exotic lifestyle, visit: - Annual Christmas Letters are highlighted in RED.
PLUS, our Super Popular Post Santa Paintbrush Ornament


December 15, 2013

Sugar & Spice Nuts - a Goodbye Lie Fave

I make this recipe every Christmas.  They are also served at the Christmas Dance held in Fort Clinch in my historical novel, Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie, set in 1882. 
 Here is an excerpt from that book:
  As they headed straight for the delicacies, they passed near the tree. This caused the flames of the small white candles on the pine boughs to flicker. A young lad was stationed by the water bucket, patrolling for any wild sparks and called out, "Ladies, tend your skirts. Ladies, tend your skirts."

     Breelan recognized him as the son of the commander of the fort. "Thank you, Master Maveney." A nod was his acknowledgement, and he was quick to catch a penny someone tossed him for his trouble.
     The raised platform in the south corner of the room held the musicians from town. They were playing seasonal songs amongst some of the more popular tunes of the day. A beautifully printed sign decorated in red and green read Courtesy: Mrs. Luella Smitty and sat atop the handsome harpsichord. Violin, fife, double bell euphonium, clarinet, trumpet and snare drum made for quite the orchestra.
     The girls nibbled on triangular egg salad sandwiches, rolled ham, and sugared nuts while watching Mrs. Bleether. The stout widow was still dressed in black for General Bleether who had passed away in the line of duty before Breelan was born. Tonight, the widow nodded periodically to the conductor with instructions. A self-described expert tunesmith, she could always be found near the hapless leader of the band at any social function she attended.
     "Wasn't that last song The Jack-in-the-Pulpit Waltz?" Breelan asked.
     "I believe so." Nora checked her dance card hanging from her wrist. "It says the next is to be the Sweet Brier Polka followed by the Fort Clinch Cannon Brigade. Oh, look here, in parentheses it says Haymakers Reel."
     Breelan recognized the name. "I think we've played that one on the handbells. I'll know it when I hear it." And she did.
     She danced with Trip each time he asked despite his occasional cutting remarks. She didn't understand why he was becoming increasingly nasty as the evening advanced. Usually that happened as he drank more alcohol, but the refreshment committee was only serving spiced punch and mulled cider heated with a fire poker. When Trip crushed her to him in an indelicate moment of lust, she felt the hard flask under his tunic and understood.
Sugar and Spice Nuts Recipe
You'll need:
  • 12 ounces. whole pecans (almonds or unsalted walnuts will work, but pecans are best)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 1 teaspoon. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon. nutmeg
  • Grated rinds of 2 oranges 
Mix all the ingredients in a heavy skillet.  Simmer over medium-high heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until the water evaporates. 
Pour the nuts out onto two large cookie sheets sprayed with non-stick spray.  Separate them quickly with a fork, and let them cool.
The nuts can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.  They may be kept at room temperature for about two weeks.

December 7, 2013

Pearl Harbor Day

I found this history of events in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941. God bless the fallen.  Thank you

December 5, 2013

Sound of Music Tribute

The Woolen Mill Tale
by Bruce Malcolm (my husband)
   Once upon a time, there was a firm tucked away on the moors of England that made woolen goods by warrant from her Majesty, the Queen.  This had been going on for several hundred years and the factory always turned out a fine, fine product in the good old-fashioned way - at a tidy profit.  The old mill was glorious to behold, as it was an appealing multi-leveled structure full of whirling flywheels and tall shafts.
   One day, the bookkeeper went to the owner of the mill and said, "We're losing money."
   "What are you talking about?" questioned the owner.
   "Well, I've checked the records again and again, and I promise you, we're losing money."
   "That's impossible!  Orders are up. We haven't changed our way of doing things in over 400 years, so why should we suddenly be losing money?"
   As reasonable people do, they looked further into the problem. They discovered the loss was due to theft by employees!   They did everything they could think of to stop this, including hiring guards, but still the thievery continued.  By this time, the owner was at his wit's end. 
   While sitting at his desk one afternoon, he picked up a copy of the München Zeitung, a German newspaper that happened to be lying on a pile of bills to be paid.  He saw an advertisement on the back for Guard Hounds of Munich.  The factory owner was intrigued. He read further and discovered  that if these guard dogs were employed in the factory, they were guaranteed to solve his security problem. Hoping for the best, the owner wrote to the hound company and in two weeks time, the dogs were delivered to the woolen mills by their trainer, a small man with long arms, a down-turned moustache, and green shoes.  The trainer turned the dogs lose in the factory and within days, the dogs put an end to the pilfering.  Anyone carrying woolen goods off the premises was cornered and bitten. Satisfied, the owner signed a release and the green-shod trainer returned to Munich, leaving his dogs behind. 
   But it seemed the dogs were not as tame as the mill owner supposed.  In fact, they were a bit wild and hard to handle once the trainer left.  Over time, the dogs took over the jumblie, pumblie English mill to breed in the nooks and crannies.  Soon, little puppies, growing bigger teeth every day, were everywhere. They were awful. They would rush out from beneath the benches and work tables to bite honest and unsuspecting workers on the ankles. 
   Things soon became intolerable.  Efficiency declined.  Profits fell.  It got to the point where the dogs had infested the mill so severely, the owner went bankrupt and had to close the business.
   One foggy sad day, not long after, the owner was putting a huge brass lock on the black wrought iron gate of his beloved mill.  Lowering his head, he walked through the mist on the moors and turned back to take one last look at the place.  As tears of regret poured down his face, he was inspired to write a song. You may have heard of it.  Or something similar, for the name of that song was The Mills Are Alive with the Hounds of Munich.  
Reprinted from our website:

December 2, 2013

Santa Hat Nail Art

I saw this on from Kaylee Denmark Nails.  While the tail on her Santa cap was a little longer and her red polish was glittery, I am pleased how well my hat turned out.  Here is how I did it and not break the bank.
You'll need the following supplies, all from the dollar store:
nail file
red nail polish
white nail polish
crystal jewel with adhesive back from kid's nail kit
clear top coat polish 
I am left handed so painted my ring fingernail on my right hand.  One nail was enough for me, but do as many as you want to, of course.
After letting your nails grow a bit, file the nail/nails into a pretty rounded shape.
Paint the tip of the nail red.  Let dry.
Paint the fur trim with the white polish, slightly wiggling the brush to make it look more realistic and fluffy. Let dry.
With the red polish, paint the cap's tail on one side, covering the white. Let dry.
Firmly press a small crystal on the end of the tail.
Paint two or three coats of clear polish over the entire nail, being sure to cover the crystal jewel. This coat will not only protect your Santa hat but will help keep the jewel in place.
Show everyone your Santa Hat nail with pride because it's fun, fancy and festive!
Merry Christmas!

December 1, 2013

Dog Sings Goodbye Lie Theme Song

After hours and hours of practice aka suffering on my part, our very own Abby, Chihuahua Extroverted, has completed her rendition of The Goodbye Lie theme song. (Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie trilogy is set in north Florida in the 1880s.) Thinking the harmonica might be the perfect period instrument to accompany this little ditty about the high seas sailor, Captain Waite Taylor, and the women who love him, Abby went through three tubes of bacon and squirrel flavored lip balm, so as not to chafe her kisser as she played.
Sit back and enjoy. 
You'll never hear anything like this!