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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Hitting the Road

May 10, 2017

 It’s that time of year when Mrs. Chatterbox and I dust off our suitcases and prepare to hit the road. This time we’re headed to the south of France, the lavender fields of Provence to be specific. I was a bit worried about our trip because of the French election, but the French seem happy with their selection for president and, fingers crossed, there won’t be terrorist attacks or angry protests. If anyone starts ranting about Trump, who actively supported the losing Trumpesque candidate, we’ll tell them we’re Canadian.

 

We fly to Seattle and then on to Paris, where we won’t be spending much time since we’ve been there several times. We’ll be traveling to Dijon, mustard capital of France, and then down to the Burgundy region for a bit of wine tasting, okay a LOT of wine tasting. Then we’ll continue south to Avignon where the Popes lived in the fourteenth century after abandoning Rome, then on to Aix-en-Provence, Arles (where Van Gogh painted so many masterpieces) and Nice before concluding our trip in Monaco, where I plan on losing a Euro or two at the roulette wheel.

 

Seafood is said to be spectacular in this part of the world and I’m looking forward to sampling bouillabaisse and other tasty dishes. Hopefully, we’ll remain active and I won’t put any of my weight back on—I’ve now lost a hundred pounds.

 

This trip is a bit longer than previous ones and we won’t be back until early June. I hope everyone stays safe and healthy while we’re gone. I look forward to sharing our adventures with you when we return. See you in a few weeks.

 

Au revoir!

 

 

 

 

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Comments

30 Comments
Bon Voyage! Have a lovely time-your plans sound perfect! We spent 3 weeks in Provence-back in the early 2000's -first two weeks working on a medieval church-helping to reconstruct it and then a week exploring the Languedoc area. We had a great time- may you and Mrs C have an equally wonderful time! ps we always wear Canadian flag pins when we travel!
By: Kathe W. on May 10, 2017
Have a wonderful time! And one hundred pounds lost is a huge testament to your self-discipline and tenacity - well done.
By: jenny_o on May 10, 2017
Jealous because you are so knowledgeable about the area, and I am sure I missed a bunch of stuff when I was there! Lost a 100 pounds...big congrats...does this mean you are changing your blog title?
By: Tabor on May 10, 2017
Safe travels! If you do enough walking, that will offset all the wine tasting.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on May 10, 2017
Have a wonderful trip, you will be missed. And well done with the weight loss that's brilliant.
By: LL Cool Joe on May 10, 2017
Laughing out loud at your adopting Canadian citizenship.. Smart move. Sounds like a marvelous trip, especially for a wine lover and an artist. Congrats big time on the weight loss. Wow. Be sure to post some pictures when you come back with you in them. Have a safe flight and trip.
By: Arkansas Patti on May 10, 2017
Have a nice trip, and taste the treats as well as the wine. How often will you go to France, anyway? You can get back on track when you return. Congrats on the 100.
By: Val on May 10, 2017
Have a fun trip. I love that you go on so many vacations. I hope to get to that point in my life.
By: Michael Offutt on May 10, 2017
You and Mrs. Chatterbox have a fantastic time.
By: Jimmy on May 10, 2017
Enjoy your trip! I loved France when I went. Greetings from London.
By: A Cuban In London on May 10, 2017
Have fun. I drove 4 hours for my vacation, the first in almost 2 years.
By: Patrick Dilloway on May 10, 2017
Don't confine Dijon to just mustard. It outranks Lyon for culinary excellence, has beautiful countryside and spectacularly unique glazed tile patterns on many roofs. Enjoy!
By: english rider on May 10, 2017
Way to go on your weight loss! I'm quite impressed. You deserve to have fun - enjoy your time in France!
By: The Bug on May 10, 2017
Have a great trip!
By: red Kline on May 10, 2017
This sounds like a perfect trip for you; ENJOY!!
By: fishducky on May 10, 2017
Have a wonderful trip! Good thinking on being Canadian. You're close enough to the border, you can qualify, eh? Congratulations on the weight loss!!!
By: Pixel Peeper on May 10, 2017
Bon Voyage!
By: messymimi on May 10, 2017
Have a wonderful trip. Looking forward to your trip debrief. :)
By: scott park on May 10, 2017
I will tell everyone you are American unless you take me with you. You won't mind a third wheel?? Hahahaaa Gosh this sounds like a wonderful time and I am seriously wanting to k ow all details with pictures attached! Have a safe trip, which I know you will and enjoy every moment
By: Birgit on May 10, 2017
Have a great time. Can't wait to read your stories. Canadian is a good idea. When people find out we're American, The Big Cheeto is the first item up for discussion.
By: Mitchell is Moving on May 11, 2017
That's a place I'd love to see. I can't wait to hear bout your trip.
By: Rick Watson on May 11, 2017
Have a great time, Mr and Mrs C! You always have great stories when you come back and wonderful pictures. Looking forward to it! Safe travels.....
By: Linda on May 11, 2017
Have a fantastic trip and congrats on the weight loss. That's awesome.
By: Mr. Shife on May 12, 2017
Hava great trip; we' look forward to hearing all about France, French art, and the French themselves when you get back.
By: Tom Sightings on May 14, 2017
Enjoy your travels!
By: Sage on May 15, 2017

By: d on May 16, 2017
A la prochaine chicane. Felicitations a propos de votre perte de poids!
By: Daniel LaFrance on May 16, 2017
The escargot was wonderful in Monaco when we were there over 30 years ago. And though the euro hadn't come into existence then, I lost a few francs and the famous Casino when we visited.
By: Catalyst on May 16, 2017
Obviously I meant to write (AT the famous Casino...). Check out the beautiful blue water in the marina. And 100 POUNDS! Wow! You NEED to celebrate, skinny! :)
By: Catalyst on May 16, 2017
Super jealous~ have a wonderful time!! 100 pounds? Youre going to have to change the name of your blog if you keep that up!!! Just sayin
By: Hey Monkey Butt on May 22, 2017

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