Unusual Honor

I dont know what to say. A friend has just named a hotel after one of my books!
Khanat Chiryazdan, my old guide and the proprietor of Blue Wolf Travel, IMAO the most interesting travel service in Mongolia (especially if you like eagles), has built a hotel in Olgii city and called it…. “Eagle Dreams Hotel-!!!!

Khanat always wanted to have a hotel, and advertises my book, but this was totally unexpected…

Pics- I lost over 1000 on this computer alone, and must look for good ones. Meanwhile, this one of the cocky young ex- commando in his “Bad Dog” days should do..

Normally I would have links but I have lost (or SOMETHING) the memory to write even modest HTML during my”hiatus”. Could someone who could give me comprehensible help -Chas?- check in? Meanwhile info the hotel is available on Blue Wolf and on Khanat’s Facebook page

Falconry Goddesses

Ourc regnant falconry goddesses, Helen Maconald and Lauren McGough, do a podcast TOGETHER at the BBC.More please!
https://mobile.twitter.com/HelenJMacdonald/status/909753333317095424?p=v

Full of good sense and unexpected insights-; as Helen says., only Lauren would fly an eagle because it is so SERENE.

Lauren is currently in S Africa chasing drunken  monkeys with  a “little” male Crowned eagle. We hope to see her here soon.

Gordon Hall Wasley Austin RIP

When my old friend and editor at Gray’s, Reed Austin, wrote a piece on how he met his wife, Gordon Hall Wasley, on a business fishing trip in which he ended up getting a treble hook bass plug stuck in his butt, and Gordon had to remove it, I thought it was hilarious and wrote him to tell him so. (Link TK; Anglers Journal Vol 2 no 4)). It wasn’t until last week that I learned that he had written it originally as a love letter to Gordon to celebrate their 30th anniversary, never imagining it would serve as the centerpiece to her eulogy four years later at her funeral.

It was inexplicable. For me they are the very image of WASP golden youth, forever young. That they were happy grandparents is hard for me to get my head around. I remember all the years that Reed and I spent doing crazy versions of fishing and hunting. Once he jokingly asked me not to tell Bill Sisson, our editor at Anglers about our high times. (What he actually said was “Buy anything he writes, and don’t believe a word about anything we ever did.”)

I remember Gordon’s aureole of golden hair around her face when we were jumps- hooting ducks on Duxbury Marsh.(Duxbury Marsh was so much native habitat for Reed; his grandfather Francis (Frannie) was one of the three young men hunting Duxbury Marsh in van Campen Heilner’s canonical duck hunting book; another was Reed’s then landlord, Parker).

But mostly what I remember of Gordon Hall Wasley was her genuine interest in everyone else’s passions. A brash and somewhat insecure kid from what was very much the other side of the tracks in those days at first could not believe this exotic creature was asking questions about my passions, with interest. By the time they were married I was with Betsy Huntington, and another interesting virtue was added to the Austin repertoire: utter loyalty. Betsy was of a haut-Boston background and was much older than me; this made us a little too odd for some of the more conventional gatherings we were invited to. Somehow,inevitably, Reed and Gordon would end up at our table where they would spend the rest of the evening. No fuss was made — they just came and sat with us and had fun. As I said to Reed this week, “Do you think we never noticed?”

I last saw Reed at Betsy’s funeral. He had gotten out of his hospital bed, and slashed the leg of his Brooks Brothers suit to fit it over his cast. It was a typical gesture. Through the years we stayed lightly in touch but were involved very much in our own pursuits. It took Gordon’s death to bring us together. I told him “We all loved her, and she loved you.”

Now he has his own battles to fight, alone. I hope the children and grandchildren are of comfort. Meanwhile, I grieve with you, old buddy — she was glorious. Keep writing, and hang in there.

Gordon fishing the Battenkill

John takes off

Our favorite gun geek John Besse left for his summer home on a tributary of the Snake in Idaho in the middle of the night so nobody  would make a fuss. I wasn’t too surprised.

Here he is with his latest project, a restored M99 Savage in the uncommon  “250- 3000” caliber.

He is partial to my favorite retriever, the ever – quirky Chesapeake, and has two: grumpy middle- aged Willie and young goofy Andy.

This M 92 isn’t quite done yet. It had a surface as pitted as the moon’s .

 Now look-as smooth as velvet, but with all its edges…

Paul’s cane

Paul Schmolke is one of my oldest friends in Albuquerque, where he worked st Ron Peterson’s when I first met him. He is a gunmaker, a poet, and a student of Zen Buddhism, which combination made him a natural for our “circle”. In the photo above he is examining a big- frame Parker in our
motel room in Santa Fe, while his wife and childhood sweetheart Lynne talks about something OTHER than guns behind.

I was up to Alb lasrt week for an oil change  and tuneup last week. and met the Schmolkes and Paul Domski for lunch at the usual Chinese hipster place for lunch.Paul handed me this stout cane he had just made, more weapon than walking stick, like something out of Game of Thrones. It is hickory and a little bit shorter than my current regular, though stouter. It it is suitable for taking down dark streets.
Here it stands in front of he upright computer desk I write this on, given to me by novelist tBrad Waatson– two of the many reasons I always say ….. (see “Labels” )

If you were to have three English Shotguns

.. you know, if you HAD to…

You could do worse than these three:

Or if it came to two:

Top: Frederick Scott  12 bore SLE proofed for heavy loads, but weighs only 6 1/4 lbs

16 bore Cogswell & Harrison from London, 30″ Damascus barrels. 6 lbs

.410 Thomas Turner with 26″ barrels, again modern proof for loads I wont use, 15″ stock! 4 lbs even.

All have exactly the same proportioms of stock, though the Cog needs a leather- covered pad to bring it up to length.

 

Thanks to Ron Peterson, John Besse, Gerry Cox, and Tom Qunn, among others.

Above: Gerry, John, Scott; Magdalena; Scott Locks

   UPDATE:Tom, you don’t usually find these on Gunbroker  (maybe from GI); you ind them from friends, whether dealers (like Ron Peterson) or no.t You also need a good gunsmith on standby.

Domenic “Doc” Conca, DDS- 1925- 2016, R.I.P.: on Conca’s Lawn.

 One of my unmentioned mentors died at 91 a couple of days ago: Dr Domenic Conca of Randolph, Massachusetts.

 “Doc” was the father of my oldest friend, Michael Conca, who was my schoolmate from first grade through my first year in college (BC: I dropped out), as well as my housemate and partner in a firewood business in the wintry January Hills west of the Quabbin Reservoir an east of the Connecticut valley, one of the wildest parts of Massachusetts, for several years, during my second attempt at higher education; he lives there still, with his wife Mary Lou; more of his story later…

Mike at Rick Rozen’s in Golfito, Costa Rica; Mike and Mary Lou a couple of years ago at Karen and George’s.