Galley Slave

Galley Slave

Back to kitchen madness, it’s what’s on my mind lately, I, being a small apartment dweller, have a small kitchen.  Just a tad larger than 10×6, or maybe smaller. Too lazy to measure, it is what it is.  ***BREAKING NEWS*** Beans got off his fundament and measured and it’s actually 5×8, the size or smaller than a normal non-master bathroom ***BREAKING NEWS***

The layout is… like a galley.  On one long wall there is the sink and dishwasher, with some undercounter storage and some overhead storage.  The other wall has a hole (32″ wide by 66″ tall) and a standard sized range with cabinet space above and below the counter.  The far wall is literally a wall.  No window, no fancy cabinets, just a wall.  (If there was a window, I’d have to share it with the next-door neighbor, no thanks.)  The upper cabinets do not connect to the ceiling, so there’s storage space above them, at least.

Cons are that it is a small kitchen. You can literally stand between the oven and the sink and reach most places in the kitchen.  Small.  No window. Old apartment, so the power to the kitchen isn’t up to modern standards so can’t run too many things at the same time.  There is no pantry to speak of, just extra room in the hall closet/laundry area across from the kitchen.

Pros of the small kitchen are… that you can literally stand between the oven and the sink and reach most places in the kitchen.  Like a galley (not the ship that is rowed by ranks of galley slaves but the kitchen of a boat/ship (probably not on a galley, that would be weird, a galley’s galley.)) Seriously, the apartment kitchen is about half the size of the old house kitchen, but that had a drop ceiling which lost a lot of space from the dropped portion.

And… the wall.  The wall of nothing.  The wall that has no cabinets, storage, usefulness at all other than being a wall separating me from Mr. Smokes 2 Packs-A-Day.  Which is a good thing. (Seriously, after living next to me for 3 years and me saying pleasant greetings about 4 times a month in passing he finally replied to one of my greetings last week.  About passed out.  I thought he was a deaf-mute.  Seriously.)

So, from Day 1 of moving in, the lack of serious storage for the tools of my cooking trade forced me to store the various implements in jars and baskets that took up precious counter space better used for storing other things.  Lack of happiness towards that led me to think of possible solutions, including killing the next-door neighbor and taking over his space (this was 2 apartment-dwellers before Mr. Not-Deaf-Mute whose Indian name is ‘Smokes Too Much’ but then I’d have double the rent and that’s a No Bueno moment there.)

Then a brilliant idea struck me.  After waking up in the hospital from being struck (just kidding) I realized that I could put peg-board on the wall-of-blankness.  But normal peg-board like one would use in one’s garage, well, in a kitchen with water and water vapor and oil frying and such things, again, a No Bueno moment there. I saw these plastic pegboard squares, 16″x16″, but they were black and plastic and rather expensive.  

I did buy two starter peg sets and a set of peg-board baskets from Lowes, but… no pegboard.  And stashed said pegboard pieces in that stupid asinine little cabinet that they always love putting above the hole where the refrigerator goes.  (Seriously, top of refrigerator is useful space.  The cabinet?  Useless, unless the cabinet extends as far from the wall as the refrigerator under it.  Stupid cabinet.  Should have just busted it out and bought an even larger fridge… maybe not.)

So I pondered.  Lots of pondering.

Then, during the Covidiocracy, I was meandering through the ‘Zon (Amazon, that is) and searched pegboards and came across metal pegboards.  Powdercoated and sealed metal pegboards.  Perfect for a kitchen or other high-dirt and smutz environment.  Hmmm.  Ponder.

Just so you know, Beans is a ponderer.  I’ll get an idea and can’t move forward without thinking a lot about it.  Sometimes the pondering takes only a few moments. But that’s rare. More likely days, weeks, months, and, yes, years…  Spontaneity is not one of my strong suits.  So much so that the few times when I’ve been spontaneous, it’s shocked the living life out of Mrs. Andrew.  

So, after weeks of pondering, and having the cash at hand via electronic funds, I… purchased two 16″x32″ white powder-coated metal pegboards. 

Like this

From Amazon

On Sale!

And then, I pondered.  Okay, procrastinated, sloughed off, been lazy, but mostly because I couldn’t get my head into actually mounting the boards.  Seriously, it’s a long-standing issue.  I’ll start planning on doing something but it takes time to think about and get the old brain in line to do something (this post has been bouncing around inside my head since, well, I bought the boards mid-2021…)

So… Pondering time.

Finally, last… October, in the Year of Our Lord 2022 (no, not kidding about having to think about things…) I finally mounted said boards upon the wall.  And then immediately began populating it with pegs, pegboard baskets and all the kitchen implements I could hang on said pegboard and in said pegboard baskets.   

And, it’s a good thing.  Lots of space to hang, which immediately became cluttered within 3 weeks, but there’s a place for everything, everything in its place and I have recovered some counterspace.

And here’s proof.

It’s a little more cluttered, now.

So… music.

Mrs. Andrew was perusing YouTube last night and found this nice piece.

“Here’s to Our Heroes” – The Ten Tenors

Really good piece, from a bunch of Australians

I know, Aussies, but, dang it, makes the room misty it does.

And another piece, this from Opera.  Puccini’s Tosca.  Death, doom and destruction.  Man knew how to write and orchestrate.

Puccini’s Tosca, Act 3, “E Iucevan le stelle.” – Andrea Bocceli

From Wiki:  “E lucevan le stelle” (“And the stars were shining”) is a  romantic aria from the third act of Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Tosca” from 1900. It is sung in act 3 by Mario Cavaradossi, a painter in love with the singer Tosca, while he waits for his execution on the roof of Castel Sant’Angelo.

The aria is introduced by a somber clarinet solo. The incipit of the melody (heard in outline earlier in the act, as the sky lightens and the gaoler prepares for the execution) is repeated on the lines “O dolci baci, o languide carezze” (“Oh, sweet kisses and languorous caresses”), and also restated in in the closing bars of the opera, as Tosca jumps from the ramparts of the Castel.

If this doesn’t strike your heart emotionally, even if you can’t understand the words, you may have no soul.  Brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.  Sad.  Powerful. 

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In Memoriam …

In Memoriam …


I learned Thursday that one of those “best friends I’ve never met,” as Lex called them, passed away on Wednesday.

Valory was a gem, she was ever cheerful, she never commented here but commented often over on FB.
I shall miss her a great deal.
With apologies to Gaius Valerius Catullus¹ …

Ave Atque Vale
Through many countries and over many seas
I have come, Sister, to these melancholy rites,
to show this final honour to the dead,
and speak (to what purpose?) to your silent ashes,
since now fate takes you, even you, from me.
Oh, Sister, ripped away from me so cruelly,
now at least take these last offerings, blessed
by the tradition of our parents, gifts to the dead.
Accept, by custom, what a brother’s tears drown,
and, for eternity, Sister, ‘Hail and Farewell’.
Farewell Dear Lady.
¹ For he spoke of the loss of a brother, I modified the poem to speak of the loss of a sister.

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The Road to Brussels
La Belle Alliance on the right.

To say that I’m obsessed with the Battle of Waterloo is something of an understatement. At the moment I am in the midst of reading yet another book about the battle, the fifth book in a set of twelve by the Andrew W. Field which I wrote about here. So two to go there.

To top it off, I bought yet another book about the battle, The Longest Afternoon, by Brendan Simms –

Said book details the fight of 400 German soldiers defending the farm shown below. (Yes, I’ve been there, more than once, but never inside. It’s still a working farm.)

Germans? What’s that you say Sarge, dontcha mean Prussians?

No, I do not. Unbeknownst to many, the army which fought Napoléon on the 18th of June 1815 upon the field of Waterloo wasn’t comprised of just British soldiers (and by British I mean English, Irish, Scots, and Welsh). Oh no, it also contained many Dutchmen and Belgians, also Germans of a number of varieties.

Embodied within the British Army were the units of the King’s German Legion, soldiers from the state of Hanover (George III was not only the King of England, he was also the Elector of Hanover, Hannover auf deutsch) who had fled their homeland after it was overrun by the French Army and went to Britain to enlist in the fight against the French.

There were also later Hanoverian units formed after Napoléon’s first abdication in Hanover proper. These were typically manned by very young and inexperienced soldiers.

Not to mention the soldiers of Brunswick (Braunschweig auf deutsch). These chaps also skipped out when the French overran their country (1806) and formed their own unit which fought in Spain with Wellington. Though that unit was disbanded, the Duke of Brunswick got the band back together (so to speak) after Napoléon abdicated the first time. The Duke fell at the Battle of Quatre Bras, two days before Waterloo. There is a monument which was placed near where he fell, leading his men in battle –

Monument to Friedrich Wilhelm, Herzog von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel
~  Kampf gefallen,
 16. Juni 1815¹ ~

The Duke’s father was also killed fighting against Napoléon nine years previous to the son’s death. His father, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand commanded the Prussian army at the Battle of Auerstädt in 1806. The father was wounded in action at that battle, dying of his wounds in November of 1806.

Within the army of the United Netherlands (which had had Belgium added to it, much to the dislike of many Belgians) there were units known as Nassauers, from Nassau, but not the one in the Bahamas. No, these guys were also Germans but their ruler apparently had ties with the Dutch. (The current Dutch royal family is the House of Orange-Nassau, which is why you hear Dutch football² fans chanting Oranje boven! at matches.)

So Wellington’s army really was a mishmash of different nationalities and languages!

Many histories of Waterloo paint the redcoats as the guys who really did most of the fighting and give scant recognition to the “foreigners” among their ranks. (Many histories also go out of their way to paint the Hereditary Prince of Orange, son of the King of the Netherlands as a complete dunce. Which he really wasn’t. Over-enthusiastic and inexperienced? Sure, but stupid he was not. He was also, some have suggested, overly brave.)

Every time I devour, er read, another book on Waterloo I learn something new and interesting

I also tend to go overboard with games about Waterloo, just found and bought a game which I had years ago. Originally put out by a company named Talonsoft, Matrix Games now carries it.

It was like catching up with an old friend …

In game screenshot

Old but lots of fun to play. Originally sold separately, the bundle from Matrix Games ($29.99) now comes with Prelude to Waterloo, which covers the battles of Quatre Bras and Ligny, and Napoleon in Russia which covers the massive battle of Borodino.

As an added bonus it also comes with Age of Sail, which, as you might gather, covers naval combat during the Napoleonic period.

In game screenshot

Much to keep me busy, I have. (As Yoda might put it.)

On a side note, a memory just popped up which tends to do so from time to time.

I took that opening photo and added a red arrow where I almost died. Yes. Died. Almost.

See that big truck speeding down the road (and believe me, they go like a bat out of Hell on that chaussée from Charleroi to Brussels), well …

I was leading a couple of my sergeant buddies on a guided tour of the battlefield. I stumbled a bit and nearly fell into the roadway. One of my fellow NCOs was just turning around and saw me teetering and saw a giant-ass truck approaching.

Just about where the red arrow is pointing. There I almost became a statistic.

With a deft tug on the sleeve of my jacket he pulled me out of the road. I felt the “breath” of that behemoth as it passed by, within a foot of my mortal flesh. Bit of a close call that was.

So thanks Tom (or was it Ryan?). If y’all hadn’t of saved my ass twenty-five years ago I wouldn’t be writing about it today.

And you, my dear readers, would have to find something else to do as you drink your coffee!

Seriously though, I am somewhat obsessive when it comes to Waterloo (or La Belle Alliance as the Prussians would have it, or Mont St. Jean as the French would have it, if they talk about it at all). Can ya tell?

I am starting to get the urge to write again.

Baby steps, Sarge. Baby steps.

¹ Killed in action, 16 June 1815

² What the Yanks call soccer. I’m in the middle on that one, I usually just go with the German word, fußball.

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Leaving…On a Jet Plane…Maybe…Change 1…Probably

Leaving…On a Jet Plane…Maybe…Change 1…Probably

 So…There We were*…Looking forward to a nice little vacay drifting down the Danube River for a week with our Wine Maker Friends and 26 others.  Enjoying various wines and wineries along the way with a couple of follow up talks and tastes on board.  

Ahh…Retired Life!  Woke up Saturday morning a tad early, still working on changing the body clock to sync with the alarm clock.  Mrs. J is still asleep, she’s been working hard to get all her guests on board their flights and enroute to Munich.  All are enroute or in-country already.

All except she and I.

Insert ominous music score here.

So. I’m sitting in the kitchen, being as quiet as I can to let her sleep.  My cell phone dings, I glance at it.  The sender is British Airways.  NBD, I think to myself, they’ve been sending me updates on our flight for a few days now.  2000 TO from Austin Bergstrom to London. Clear British Customs, then board another BA flight to Munich to meet the bus to take us to Vilshofen to board the boat.  Been getting this info regularly.  At that point, I believe it was my Sainted Mother, now Guardian Angel, that tapped me on the shoulder and said “Hey, Dummy! Read the frickin’ message.” 

She’s gotten a bit more direct (and tetchy) since she took over the Guardian Angel duties.

Anyhow, who am I to question her?  I open it and read that our London to Munich flight has been cancelled and we are now scheduled on a London to Salzburg connecting flight.  Should be no problem, right?


Google Maps

Apparently, there isn’t an easy way to get from Salzburg to the River. Nice!

So, Mrs. J is working with the River Tour company to figure this problem out.  I’m being very quiet and doing what I’m told without asking or commenting.  

Self-preservation, doncha-know?  Waiting to see how this turns out.

Given the traveling, I think a little space/time physics update regarding this and this week’s post is appropriate.  It’s 6 hours ahead there.  Given the circumstances mentioned above, it may be a while before I can get to the internet and respond to comments.  Similar circumstances will occur a week from  now.  The boat docks next Monday early and we’re herded to the airport.  A million hours later we arrive back home.  Responding to comments will be nigh on to impossible.  So…Discuss amongst yourselves, please.

On the Grand Daughter front, a bit of good news.  She had a visit with her pulmonologist this past week.  The appointment went well and the Doc gave LJW the OK to try weaning her off her supplemental O2.  She had been using it with a 50% supplemental oxygen level since birth.  The Doc said to lower it to 25% for 2 days and see if she handled it ok.  Friday (I’m writing this on Saturday VS usual Sunday, see reason above.) the experiment started.  Checking with LJW that evening, Miss B was doing fine.  So, finger’s crossed and prayers up, please.  Success here will be a VERY BIG THING!

Pen making has slipped to the back burner of late.  Mrs. J commented that there was a lot of dirt being tracked into the house lately, what with the drought, and that we needed to have “Outside Shoes” and “Inside Shoes”.  Recognizing that I was in the middle of a very large mine field, I responded “Yes, Dear” and the laundry room became my shoe transfer facility.

Unfortunately, the days of my being able  to reach down from an upright position and touch my toes without shortly thereafter touching my face to the floor are way in the past.  Which is problematic as the laundry room has no seating.

So..A project being presented, regardless of the source,  is a gift from above.  In the picture above, I’d just applied my first coat of polyurethane to the Shoe Rack/Bench.  I’m on coat #3 #6 now and it’s beginning to look pretty darn nice.  Unfortunately, drying time will finish right about the time we need to leave for our flight.

Assuming, of course, that British Airways figures their contractual obligations out properly. (See update below.)

We’ll see.

Given that good news, I decided this picture pretty much sums things up.

Mrs J.  Captioned it with “But they told me to pull this to Eject.”  Girl’s got Fighter Pilot blood in her!

Hang in there, y’all and Peace out.  Whatever will be, will be.

Late Breaking news.  Apparently, the moons of Jupiter are in alignment.  Mrs. J was able to talk to the right person who could talk to the right person who could…

The River Tour company’s agents got us on a Lufthansa flight that arrives in Munich from London within about an hour of our original arrival time.  BA couldn’t seem to make that connection (in all meanings of that word).  So, we’ve got to get to the airport a little earlier than we were in order to get new tickets printed, but with a little luck we should be good to go.  We will see what we will see.

(Hang in there, y’all and Peace out.  Whatever will be, will be.)2


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Wasn't Going to Post, Changed My Mind …

Wasn't Going to Post, Changed My Mind …

Old Town Alexandria
OAFS Photo

Been doing a lot of reminiscing as of late and while going through the photo archives saw this one. I need to get back down to Old Virginia one of these days. Love that town in particular.

Anyhoo, I also wanted to give Beans a break from carrying the load (which he has done magnificently) and I felt the urge to post something. Anything!

Beans’ mentioning of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass the other day really sent me down memory lane. My parents had a number of his albums. This tune was a big favorite (me being a Taurus¹ and all …)

Sounds very “south of the border,” reminds of Sandy Eggo in some ways. Moi, The Missus Herself, and The Nuke in a Sandy Eggo eatery dining on very good Mexican food and being entertained by a strolling mariachi band some years back (like seven as I recall). Good times, good company, good food.

One of the benefits of being old (ish) is having lots and lots of memories, nearly all of them good. Been strolling memory lane a lot recently. It was good to hear that song again.

As for me, the status quo is being maintained, and for now, that’s all I can ask for.

Be well, mi compadres.

¹ The astrological sign, not the car.

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Arghhhhhh.  And Music.

Arghhhhhh. And Music.

 Head still hurts.  Back still hurts.  Dog stomped on my wedding tackle so that hurts (120lb dog moving at roughly the speed of light means lots of force and energy transferred.)

So, instead, back to Dad’s hi-fidelity music.

Yesterday I was commenting on Anonymous’ comment posted at 2:42AM (probably West Coast Time) about his comment:

My parents had a Herb Alpert album with the girl covered in whipped cream and a white blanket (to give the impression it was all cream) on the cover. Boy that sure got my pubescent hormones raging.



  1. Um, that and the album cover for Apollo 100’s “Joy” album. Can neither confirm or deny same with the Sears catalog if you know what I mean.

So, yeah, I was a pervy little kid, full of raging hormones and such.  Eh, I turned out, according to Mrs. Andrew, okay, so…

Apollo 100 was a band put together by Tom Parker with fellow session musicians drummer Clem Cattiniguitarist Vic Flick, guitarist Zed Jenkins, percussionist Jim Lawless, and bassist Brian Odgers, starting in 1970 and ending in 1973.  Electronic variations of classical pieces, and their first piece, “Joy,” an interpretation of JS Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” hit the top 40 chart and was included in several movies.  It was, sadly, all downhill for the group.

Good song, good album, totally hot lady on the front cover.

For to compare, here’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” as Bach and God intended,
On a cathedral pipe organ.
I like both versions.  Seriously love both versions.

And then, to go strange again, Werner Müller and His Orchestra, was another of Dad’s favorites. Werner was one of the big composers of space age bachelor pad music according to Werner Müller ( and from the web page “Who was/is Werner Müller? Well, he contributed numerous albums to London’s Phase Four label, the longest-running of the Space Age Bachelor Pad series. But thanks to London’s standard approach to liner notes, although we know exactly what channelization was used and what other Phase Four records were available, we are left knowing nothing of Werner Müller.”  Nice going there, London Records.  Jerks

His (and his orchestra’s) version of “Aranjuez Mon Amour” which is part of the Concierto de Aranjuez by Juaquin Rodrigo, always a very soul-stirring piece of Spanish classical music, and Werner does it proud.  The piece, played correctly, always has a wistful and somewhat sad sound to it, kind of how I imagine Spain actually is, wistful and somewhat sad. 

“Aranjuez, Mon Amour” or “Concierto de Aranjuez” 
depending on who’s doing the citationing
Lovely piece of music.  
Beautiful horn work, and sad strings
with a little electronic organ added in to spice it up
Dad’s copy had a bunch of mouths on it, not some corner babe.

And, well, just because Bach, JS Bach…

Geez, youtube, canna you giva a guya a breaka with the album arta?  Seriously, corner babe again?  Yeesh.
And, yes, album art in the 60’s and early 70’s tended to not be very arty much.

Seriously, can you imagine a 17th Century time period spy novel where the main character who’s doing all the spying and killing is none other than Bach, JS Bach?  In between building pipe organs, codifying modern music notation and scales, having lusty intentions with his ever-fertile wife and pissing off his employers because they were pissing him off, he has a life of intrigue and contract murder…  Sounds like fun, no?

So.  Herb Alpert, Apollo 100, Werner and his boys, and others.  Dad had eclectic tastes.

See ya.

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