Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste

Prologue

Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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The Chatterbox Neighborhood

September 16, 2016
Front Porch
Front Porch

 

 

 

Several of my favorite bloggers have shared pictures of their homes and neighborhoods, often including local wildlife. I always enjoy these posts because it makes me feel closer to people I don’t otherwise have an opportunity to know. Here are pictures of the area in Portland, Oregon, where Mrs. Chatterbox and I live. This region was once a forest bordering Dutch farmland; our neck of the woods is still called Peterkort Woods.

 

We’ve lived here for eight years, and I really enjoy the landscaping. Our development backs up to trails maintained by the local park district so the woodland behind us will never be lost. I haven’t enjoyed the trails much because I’ve spent the last eight years sitting on the couch, but now that I’m walking I’m really enjoying them. These pictures were all taken yesterday morning.

 

 

This is the back of our development, facing a greenbelt with a creek.

 

 

 

View of the greenbelt behind our townhouse from our balcony. On the bottom right you can barely see the bridge crossing the creek.

 

 

 

Bridge behind our townhouse.

 

 

 

Another view of the bridge.

 

 

 

Hard to believe an old growth forest is directly behind us.

 

 

 

The Great Lawn where people play with their dogs.

 

 

 

A pavilion behind our house, overlooking the creek.

 

 

 

I cut through this path by the clubhouse on my daily walks.

 

 

 

Pool and clubhouse.

 

 

 

One of our neighbors grabbing a fast food snack.

 

 

 

Wherever you live, I hope you have a terrific weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

27 Comments
That looks really nice. You live in a place called Peterkort Woods and there are actually woods, unlike so many developments where the "woods" might be a couple of scraggly trees. Though the bobcat or lynx is maybe not a selling point. The most wildlife I have to deal with is people letting their dogs run wild.
By: PT Dilloway on September 16, 2016
Looks like a beautiful area to live, and I'm glad you are enjoying it all that much more now you are fitter and walking more. Good for you. I'm trying to make an effort to get off my arse more often too.
By: LL Cool Joe on September 16, 2016
That makes me want to persuade my knees to leave my dark basement lair and take a walk! Though I might plan something different than squirrel for lunch.
By: val on September 16, 2016
Nicely done, my love.
By: Mrs. Chatterbox on September 16, 2016
How beautiful You must be very happy and content to have such a wonderful place for your daily walks.
By: The Broad on September 16, 2016
Well that last photo was a surprise after all the gentile settings. I would love a park that close!
By: Tabor on September 16, 2016
Very nice!!
By: fishducky on September 16, 2016
I think Tank would like to meet your neighbor and talk to him about the best to catch those snacks. He's hunting squirrels every day and has been successful once. Looks like a wonderful place to live. Enjoy your weekend as well.
By: Mr. Shife on September 16, 2016
You live in a very pleasant neighborhood.
By: red Kline on September 16, 2016
A beautiful day in the neighborhood!
By: cranky on September 16, 2016
oh, i love how lush it looks and wildlife right nearby. :)
By: TexWisGirl on September 16, 2016
Stephen, I agree, seeing our respective neighborhoods and homesteads does add to a sense of community. You live in a lovely and GREEN area. Beautiful. Glad to hear you are taking advantage of those lovely trails.
By: Tom Cochrun on September 16, 2016
Beautiful area - I've never been to the Portland area and have always wanted to visit. You could create a brochure for your community with these pictures.
By: STL Fan on September 16, 2016
Looks like a beautiful neighborhood. We have good networks of walking trails nearby, but need to get in the car to reach them. Even though we talk of them as being on our back doorstep, the parking lot is about 3km away - all uphill!
By: Botanist on September 16, 2016
You certainly have a lovely neighborhood and a great place for walking! We have a nice enough area, if the rain will let up.
By: messymimi on September 16, 2016
You live in a beautiful place, and how lucky to have the forest right there. Love the pool too- and even better when you don't have to do the upkeep! Not sure about that visitor..if he's mean enough to snatch a squirrel, would it grab a cat?
By: Terri @Coloring Outside the Lines on September 16, 2016
That's a beautiful place. Do you have an extra bedroom, we're coming for a visit:)
By: Rick Watson on September 16, 2016
Gorgeous photos. The last one looks like it is a lynx or similar. Excellent. Thanks. Greetings from London.
By: A Cuban In London on September 17, 2016
Wow, that last picture jolted me out of a gentle, peaceful mood. Hope that neighbor doesn't get cranky:) You really have a lovely place to walk and I am so glad you are taking full advantage. .
By: Arkansas Patti on September 17, 2016
Looks like a great place, though a little hilly for walking. You'll soon have the heart and lungs of a teenager!
By: Tom Sightings on September 17, 2016
Holey cats! That must be a lynx or bobcat-not your usually domestic kitty! Great shots of your homesite! Enjoy!
By: Kathe W. on September 17, 2016
Now see? That big lynx is why I wouldn't be brave enough to take walks in the woods. Couch sounds good to me, though I applaud your exercise efforts!
By: Lexa Cain on September 17, 2016
Thanks for sharing these pictures! You are right - by showing where you live, I feel like I know you a little better. I could picture myself taking a nice rest with a cool drink in hand in those lounge chairs by the pool after getting done walking on the trails!
By: Pixel Peeper on September 17, 2016
My son has visited the Pacific Northwest and he tells me it is beautiful. These pictures back it up! Looks wonderful. Except for that squirrel, of course.
By: Al Penwasser on September 18, 2016
Looks like a great place to live!
By: The Bug on September 19, 2016
Beautiful spot, Stephen. Is that hungry kitty a lynx or a bobcat or something else. He definitely looks wild.
By: Catalyst on September 19, 2016
How nice to have a wooded area like that right near your home. Great that you are making good use of it by walking!
By: Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma on September 19, 2016

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