Archive for the ‘UK 2017’ Category

Oreo Cows

Monday, August 28th, 2017

Four years ago I spied some, but heavy fog kept any photo from being proof-positive. I returned to the scene last month on a brilliantly clear day, but they were in a far away pasture. No photo!

This week on the last grueling hill of the day I was rewarded in a most unexpected place; my cows! An actual breed known by that name with small herds in high scruffy places! Yeah

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Monday, August 28th, 2017

Whenever you travel, the cuisine plays a part of the overall experience. Last year I was in search of the best paella and sangria.  In Ireland it was the quest for the best scone that took me to sample over 12 different creations all over the island. In England, make it sticky toffee pudding!

A favorite of a dear friend, it reminds me of her in all the best of ways and it really should make it over to the states (along with clotted cream, lemon curd, and a decent fish n chips, they can keep the marmalade).

The point being, food is part of the memories of travel and brings us back when we enjoy them again.    The scales will show we’re bringing home a LOT memories!

Friends for a Time

Monday, August 28th, 2017

The beautiful, quaint, and strenuous walk through the Cotswolds gave us so many adventures and experiences. Lovely villages along meandering streams, sheep scattering, cows challenging, grouse cavorting. Then there were the people; the older couple who open their home to one pair each night during walking season, the busload of 43 Spaniards from Valencia who crossed paths several times with us and one even offered me wine from his Boda bag (fun conversations in Spanish), the fellow walkers from Germany, Tucson, Alberta, San Francisco, and St Louis who came alongside for a mile or two or shared a meal. And there were the English who we passed going the other direction and just wanted a chat.  For a brief moment we were friends, sharing an experience and leaving a bit of themselves with us.

Yes, We Have No Potatoes!

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

It was about 1845 when the Irish Potato Famine started and went on for the next 7-8 years. Much of the middle and all of the lower class made potatoes the bulk of their diet. One million people died in that time, and one million emigrated in vastly over-cramped ships, to Canada, America, and Australia. Most times they went as indentured servants in lieu of the fare for the voyage.

In the mid 1840’s my X great grandfather, Archibald Buie, a sea captain by trade, left the Isle of Islay and took his last voyage to Ontario, Canada with his family of three children. Islay is off the coast of Northern Ireland but belongs to Scotland.  It is pure conjecture that the famine was part of his story: did he ferry immigrants or see the oncoming tragedy? Archibald, and his father and father in-law were all sea captains in a treacherous part of the world for sailing.The timing was right, and it captures my imagination of what their childhoods, apprenticeships,and day to day life at sea must have been like, as well as for those they loved and were kept waiting back home in Bowmore, Islay.

From Ontario, a branch of the tree went to Kansas, then to New Jersey and this twig to San Diego. How many of you have Irish ancestry because of the famine that brought them west? Do you bleed a little bit green?

The potato blight has long been eradicated and the national food is once again potatoes; there wasn’t a single meal I was served in my 5 weeks in Ireland that didn’t include potatoes!!


Saturday, August 5th, 2017

Defined as:type of fairy in Irish folk lore, depicted as bearded men who like mischief/ spend time making and mending shoes and have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If captured by humans, they often grant three wishes in exchange for their freedom.          

I’m on the look out!

Life is like a River

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

Boy there sure are a lot of rivers in Ireland! And river walks are delightful. On our meandering along these rivers (Noor, Barrow, Slaney, Shannon, Liffey, Boyne,and Bann) we have seen barges, canoes, kayaks, swimmers, and fishermen, and one naked groom-to-be jump in as a right of passage.


Saturday, August 5th, 2017

Our townhome complex in Kilkenny has a large fenced pond on site where resides mom and dad swan and two baby cygnets. They have been fun to feed and funnier to watch as two babies grow.  Swans mate for life (tho’ mom swan flew off for 5 days and left dad in charge).

The swans on dry land are totally awkward as they venture forth to the fence and beg for any carbohydrate we might have. Dad has a hazelnut size knot at the base of his beak and mom has just a bump. Huge black flipper feet enable them to glide so picturesquely.

Just sorry we won’t get to see the ugly duckling’s transformation!


Saturday, August 5th, 2017

It was 4 years ago while on a bus tour of Ireland we randomly commented “you know I’d like to get to know Ireland better and Kilkenny appeals to me as the place to make homebase for such a venture (or words to that effect).” Cooky and Robert heard us and chimed in that it sounded like a great idea and count them in!

Well life happens because we had walking the Camino in our sights, then that needed two new knees and rehab. All the while the Quandts would call to see if it was time for Ireland yet? Last November we sat down with them and made plans for the month of August. It was getting exciting!

In living with them for four weeks we know that we are very different; no kids(thus no grandkids), no church, CNN and never Fox, they stop for lunch, don’t drive abroad, sleep late, drink white wine, don’t cook…you would think it was a recipe for disaster

But we made it work!  It was delightful!!All enjoy travel and making new discoveries, we gave each other space, didn’t talk politics,they ate my cooking drank a lot of wine, hated parting,  and emerged as great friends!

The “B” List

Friday, August 4th, 2017

Too much of travel is checking off items on a bucket list. There is not much depth or satisfaction,and the world famous location does not become part of you. They become photos proving you were there.

I discovered “B” list travel on a trip to Washington DC several years ago (see D.C. blog) and now I seek them out.

Today I was on the trail for local crafters; a glass blowing studio,a pottery firm,and a candle maker. Each of the locations were delightful and gave us a chance to engage local artisans. Conversing with a native Irishman, accent and all, make them friends for a time; a glimpse into a life lived in Ireland.

Doing ones homework about a location and its history makes that Castle or Abbey ruin come alive with the distant echoes or battles, unrequited love, or selfless sacrifice. I’m learning a lot about Oliver Cromwell and his hate for all successful Irish enterprises. Why does that Castle only have 3 sides? Well Oliver Cromwell’s troops blasted one side down to make it indefensible.

Then there’s Henry VIII !

He didn’t like the monasteries having so much power and money so he had his troops take the roofs of the churches and monasteries and it immediately dispersed the monks and brought the massive places of worship into ruin.

In Ireland there are stone circles and Celtic carvings with ancient auras that don’t have lines or need an admission fee like Stonehenge.

The point being go deeper, go eager for the bigger story and always talk to people!

The tourist sees what he has come to see, but the traveler sees the bigger picture.

Jerpoint Abbey

Jerpoint Abbey