Our boat slowed and began to circle the little island in the lake. Then over the loudspeaker came the voice of our captain, George, reciting the W. B. Yeats poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree. We were circling that very island. We were in Yeats country, “the land of heart’s desire” around Sligo in the west of Ireland. This was just one of the magical moments we experienced in my first visit to my paternal grandparents’ country. And George was just one of the marvelous characters we met who made Irish history Continue reading “In Yeats Country”
My favorite childhood book was never on my own childhood bookshelf. I borrowed Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome from my local library and enjoyed it so much that in subsequent weeks I checked out all the other books in the series. I do own a copy now, though it is currently on loan to my grandsons. This year was our fourth spending a week together at Deep Creek Lake in Maryland. I’m hoping the lake experience will draw Continue reading “On My Bookshelf – Swallows and Amazons”
The boardwalk was deserted on this bright spring day, a solitary security guard with nothing to do staring out to sea. Behind her an enormous empty building loomed. We were in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where my husband was attending a Credit Union Association conference. Quite why credit unions, known for encouraging saving and financial responsibility, should choose to meet in a casino resort is a bit of a puzzle. But when I learned where we would be going I had one goal in mind, not playing the odds, but making a pilgrimage of sorts to the Continue reading “Gambling on Trump”
Anacortes is a lovely little town on the shores of Puget Sound in Washington State. It looks like the kind of place where, depending on your viewpoint, either nothing ever happens or dark secrets lurk beneath the placid façade. My sister has lived in Anacortes for many years, recently retiring from the Public Library, a perfect perch to hear the old-fashioned kind of tweets of town gossip. She seems to know everyone in town and they know her, at Continue reading “The Sexy Seniors of Anacortes”
It looked like an enormous vacuum cleaner part – a black plastic tube emerging from the stone archway of an upper gallery, coiled into a knot in midair, and dangling just above our heads. A cluster of clear claw-like objects protruded from the open end of the tube. I stood in the transept of Salisbury Cathedral puzzling over the purpose of this contraption. They must be involved in some kind of cleaning or restoration project, I thought. Perhaps the tube was a chute for removing debris from the upper gallery. Or perhaps when it was uncoiled the tube reached to the ground and the claws became a tool for cleaning the stone floors. Neither idea was very convincing. At this point I turned to see my husband chatting to a cathedral docent, Continue reading “Please, Not in the Cathedral!”
We saw a real guillotine on this year’s summer travels, with the original blade and bag to catch the head still attached. It was a gruesome reminder of Terror past as we visited three countries living in the shadow of Terror present.
Some friends and acquaintances questioned our decision to make this trip Continue reading “Paris in the Terror”