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Once in a great while, if you’re lucky, someone will unexpectedly melt your heart with an act of kindness that leaves you without the words to thank her. 


A total surprise…

After 24 hours, I have mustered up some words, but I’m still struggling to describe how flummoxed I was to receive a mysterious parcel from someone I have talked to online but never met, and then to open it and find pure magic.


A quilt composed of pages from the Voynich Manuscript! The LSH held it up for a photo while Jerome investigated.

One of my favorite blogs belongs to JHolland: veterinarian, devoted mom and wife, humorist, limerick-writer extraordinaire and… expert quilter! A year ago she read my short story about the Voynich Manuscript, a mysterious, undeciphered Renaissance book illustrated with fantastic plants, celestial diagrams (and not a few naked ladies). It’s an interest we share, and when JHolland had the brilliant idea of making a Voynich-themed quilt, she created two of them and sent one to me.


Each “page” has all the detail of the original, and the colors are true.


Amazing. Could there be a better gift for an antiquarian book lover?

In the world of fandom, I have noticed, there exists this motivation for people to surprise each other with beautiful things. The Greeks had a word for it, charis, which means the grace of giving and receiving pleasure. It is part of fan culture, but in this case, the generous act came from someone whose fan interest happens to be different from mine.


Yes, she is a Richard Armitage fan! Click for J.’s post about this photo.


Jerome immediately insisted on his co-ownership of the quilt!

You can see how this lovely piece of fabric art was conceived and constructed here (with photos that do it better justice than mine). J. writes about a tiny imperfection in the quilt, which only makes it more delightful in my eyes. It’s like a handmade book–no two are alike.

As special and beautifully crafted as it is, I’m glad this particular “edition” includes two copies. I hope that each of us will think of the other, whenever we sit under these cozy quilts, admiring them whilst drinking a glass of (white) wine, nibbling from a cheese platter (with suitable condiments, natch) in the company of a Beautiful Man.

Thanks J. You’re amazing!


Baby sphynx cats from JHolland’s blog. Aren’t they the sweetest?


The back of the quilt, with Jerome in firm possession…