Saturday 28 September 2019

More Travelling

My last post covered Monday to Thursday.  So this post will start with Friday in Galway City.

We travelled through the little roads and byways of Connemara.

We stopped off in a little town - just to take photos of course.  Sorry I've no idea what the place was called.

The next day was rather dull.  We had stayed the night in Clifden and  started the day by visiting Kylemore Abbey.

It has an amazing walled garden that's a mile away from the house.

By the time we got to Keel on Achill Island the mist had come down and it was raining.    Sadly it covered what would have been an amazing view from our B&B bedroom window.

Next day was still miserable.  However it clear up a little bit near lunchtime as we arrived at Ceide Fields.

The coast line was really interesting geologically.

We drove to Downpatrick Head and walked up to the cliff edge to look at this stack.

A quick stop in Killala

I didn't take any photos during Monday as we were driving from the West Coast to Dublin Port to get the ferry.  We had booked overnight accommodation on Anglesey.  The Seaside Shanty was recommended to us as a place to eat and it had the most intriguing interior design.

A clock made of wood.

And the final day of our holiday started with a walk on the beach 

A beach with views over to Snowdonia.

We travelled back through north Wales and home

We had a fabulous time. 9 days, 1540 miles and 510 photos.

Thanks for joining me today.

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Contemplating friendship

Last Friday was one of those glorious late summer/early Autumn days with baby blue skies and sunshine.  The views were clear and we could see for miles as we drove through the Cotswolds.  The light was beautiful on the yellow stone of the buildings.  I couldn't take photos as I was doing the driving but I did manage to take one when we arrived at our destination.

We were on our way to a funeral.  I don't think I've read a blog post about a funeral and I have certainly never written one before.  It was David's funeral - a lovely man who we had only met twice.  Once for dinner in a pub near Lacock and once for a curry in Redditch.

However, I have been friends with his wife Helen since January 2014 when I sat next to her at the first session of Hilary Beattie's Make It Personal at The Bramble Patch.  In the five and a half years we've been friends, we have met at various workshops and occasional meet ups for coffee.  Considering we live 90+ miles apart I think we've done pretty well.

As I drove it gave me plenty of time to think about friendship, social media and technology.   Social media tends to get a bad press, but I find that if I block nastiness then it stops appearing.  My contact with the Hopper Juniors is very much based on technology - WhatsApp, Instagram and FaceTime.  With Helen most of our conversations have been via Messenger, with the occasional email.  It has been a great way to keep in touch especially this year as David's health deteriorated.

So back to the funeral and why I am writing about it.  David had been involved with Morris Dancing for many years, and as is their wont the Morris Men came out in force - both dancers and musicians.  They danced the hearse to the chapel.

This gave such a lightness of touch to what became a great celebration of David's life.  At the end of the time in the chapel the Morris Men danced.

The dancing continued outside the chapel.

And then we all moved to the pub by the side of the river.

There was food, drinks and a gallery of photos of David with his family and friends.  There was a lot of reminising amongst the dancing friends.  They also entertained us with more music and dancing.

A very touching moment was when Steve danced a solo in honour of David, in front of Helen. The jig is Princess Royal and was one of David's favourites. Steve was David's best friend and visited him every week both times he was in hospital and every week since, to play music with David to begin with and for him, once David slipped into unconsciousness.

Which brings me back to the subject of friendship.

Friendship is so important.  The support of our friends sustains us and encourages us.  We may not meet up 'in the flesh' very often but the occasional phone call, text, or other techy message is all it needs.  We do not know sometimes what that sign of being remembered means to the recipient.

And yes I know it's difficult when someone is caring for another with a terminal illness.  I found that when Helen told me about the latest sad report and I had no words, I would say just that.  'I have no words, but you know where I am if you need to talk.'  I didn't want to say things just for the sake of saying them.

We are living in times of division and unpleasantness but we don't have to dwell in it.  I have tried not to watch the television news for a while now, and I don't read much of the daily newspaper.  My Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of art, photographs and textiles.

Family, friends and strangers need our smiles, our encouragement, our respect.  When I was growing up one of the characters in the children's story The Water Babies was Mrs. Do-As-You-Would-Be-Done-By.  And a troll was a character living under a bridge in the 3 Billy Goats Gruff story.  I was also brought up with the mantra 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all'.  This is what we need right now.

Friendship and kindness.

This is what I saw amply displayed on Friday.  Of course you don't have to dance if you don't want to.  Smile at strangers! As you drive, let someone in to the line in front of you!  Help with directions for someone who looks lost!  Send a text to someone to tell them how much you appreciate them!

Above all, change the atmosphere around yourself.  Let's change the world, one kind act at a time.

And to finish.  The final dance at the pub was a repeat of Bonny Green that the dancers had performed in the chapel.

Thank you for joining me today.

Saturday 21 September 2019

Travelling in West Ireland

Last week we took the ferry from Pembroke Dock to Rosslare.   We chose this route so that we could see Pembrokeshire in all its glory from the sea.  Sadly it was shrouded in mist so I didn't get the photos I really wanted.

We arrived at our B&B in Wexford to find a castle wall in the back garden.

During the 4 days I am going to share with you in this post I took 296 photos.  You will be pleased to know that I whittled them down to 26 for this post!   We love to travel about along country lanes and look at the passing countryside, occasionally stopping off to have a bit of a walkabout.  I took this photo of Lismore Castle through the car windscreen.

We went into the church at Lismore.

Shame about the lights hanging in the way!

We meandered on until we got to Cashel.  We walked around the cathedral on top of the rock.  There was a plethora of Celtic crosses.

We travelled on that day to Limerick.  And next day we walked around the old town of Limerick.  There were a couple of large churches and a castle.   I loved these chimneys.

And these derelict cottages painted to look as though people lived there.

We continued our meandering around Loop Head, stopping to walk around the headland and obviously to take yet more photos.

We passed many of these square towers which we eventually found out were built by people to keep themselves safe.

We eventually arrived at Spanish Point where we were staying the night.

This dog decided to accompany us on our walk.

Our fourth day had disappointing weather in the morning.  So after stopping in Miltown Malbay to see the waterfall that is right in the middle of town, we went to The Burren Visitor Centre, in Kilfenora.

When we came out of the Visitor Centre it had stopped raining and the sun had come out.  It was still very windy.  We made our way to the Cliffs of Moher - along with about 10,000 other people.  May be an exaggeration but there were a lot of cars, coaches and people!

The Burren is famous for its limestone pavements which I found quite difficult to photograph.

The Burren is an amazing area with miles and miles of the limestone pavements and amazing inland cliffs.   We included a visit to a Megolithic tomb.  I particularly liked this bit of pavement that looked like an animal.

We travelled on to Galway City where we found a B&B in Salthill.

More to come about our travels along the Wild Atlantic Coast in my next post.

Thanks for joining me today.