York

Things often don’t turn out the way you thought they would, especially when traveling.  I thought I was coming to Britain to see the sights I’ve yearned to see; instead, what I think I’ll remember the most are the people we’ve met. I am such a homebody, but I love to meet new folks, tell stories and listen to them, and laugh together.  And like calls to like–we have met some truly nice people here.  From the man who did our laundry today (a first for me) at Haxby Road Launderette, to the street artist who drew our caricature, to our waitress, Ewa, at two different Cafe Rouge restaurants, it’s the people who can make or break your day.  Ewa was our waitress for lunch at one cafe.  We got to chatting and she told us she’d be at the other one on the other side of the Shambles for the dinner shift.  We didn’t expect to see her again, but we got turned around (Amy is not quite as good at directions as she thinks she is, but it’s okay because she does great with the driving), and when we walked into  a Cafe Rouge for dinnrr, there was Ewa.  We laughed and told her she didn’t have to worry that we were stalking her because we are leaving York tomorrow and heading north to Hadrian’s Wall.

Thanks to Elizabeth and Spiros, our hosts at Sycamore Place Guest House for answering innumerable odd questions (like where to buy a rain jacket) and for taking such care of their guests.  I don’t know how they do it all, but they make this place shine.

Here are a few pics of York’s city walls, random flower boxes and beds, the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey, knocked down by Henry VIII,  and the museum gardens.  More to come, later.

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Goodbye to Wales, Hello to Yorkshire

securedownload-133We spent two nights in Wales but were not able to download pics last night.  It’s a tedious process, and I can’t download any of mine.  Frustrating!  But truth be told, Amy takes better photos on her i phone than I do with my camera!  Yesterday, we drove nearly the length Of Wales in one day.  The roads were extremely narrow, winding, and occupied frequently by both sheep and large farm vehicles.  I wish so much that I could post my pictures of Wales, but that will have to wait until we get home.  In the meantime, here are some pics Amy took ar St. Fagan’s Welsh National History center.  Above is one view of an old Welsh farmhouse.

Round stone pig pen

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Sat Nav (she has an English accent and we refer to her as “She.”  “What did She say?  Is She muted again?”) has been a tremendous help but last night She got us well and truly lost, so we did not get to our room until nearly 11 p.m.  Mary, our hostess for the night at Cartref Guesthouse (in a charming Georgian row house tucked right up against the old city wall), had to talk us in.  Thank goodness we finally got the phone working!  Mary was so kind, and she’s a great cook.  I tried blood sausage for the first time, and it was good!  After breakfast and a brief exploration of Carnarvon Castle, we hit the road.

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We decided, because we were so tired from our previous day’s travels, that we would skip our side trip to Eyam, the plague village, and come straight to York.  It took a long time to go a very short way because we had to half – circle round Chester, Manchester, and Leeds, very large and busy cities.  And it was raining, sometimes quite heavily.  We had wonderful weather for the first week, but it has been the more typical drizzle followed by downpour followed by drizzle, and so on, for the past two days.  I left my new raincoat in London, and Amy’s isn’t much good, so we bought what we call our yellow duckies, which are okay in a drizzle but not much good otherwise.  So tomorrow, or , as be tonight, in York, I must buy a rain jacket.   It appears I shall need one.

York promises to be very interesting.  When we walked out for dinner tonight, the bells were ringing in the Minster, and the music went on for at least 30 minutes.

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In Wales

securedownload-8It’s time to catch up a bit, but unfortunately, I can’t post any pictures because we haven’t had enough Wi Fi juice to do a massive down/upload. So, at some point, I hope some pictures will accompany this post. For now, a list: Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral and the Magna Carta, Maiden Castle (IRON AGE hill fort), Bodmin Moor and the Hurlers at Minions, Tintagel and Camelford in Cornwall, Glastonbury and the Tor, and Bath. Tonight we crossed into Wales.

Below: Salisbury Cathedral

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Below:  Maiden Castle

 

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Below: The Hurlers on Bodmin Moor and a ruin nearby

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Below:  The Haven below Tintagel Castle and a shot of the side that was closed when we got there.  I couldn’t have climbed the steps anyway.   I barely was able to literally drag myself up the steps on the side which was the main entrance/gatehouse.

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Below: the waterfall onto the beach at the Haven and a shot of a sea stack.  Tintagel Head is crumbling into the sea.

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Below:  first pic, the view of the Glastonbury Tor I got to see from the path before the steps.   The rest are what Amy saw when she climbed up to the Tor

 

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Below: in Bath at the Roman baths, the Great Bath, Amy and me in front of the great bath, and the place where the overflow from the spring and the bath run out, eventually to the river.  Those Romans were amazing engineers.

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Our thanks again to Tony and crew at the Cathedral Hotel in Salisbury for much needed nurturing, to Sarah and Graham at the Old Vicarage in Wellington for a lovely room and a tour of their garden (it’s killing me that I can’t post pictures of it, but I will do it when we get home), and to new friends we met there at breakfast, Michael and Dave, two lovely gentlemen who told us about a place we plan to stop tomorrow, St. Fagan’s. I must say, we have met the nicest people in our travels thus far. When asked a question, invariably, the answer is prefaced with “yes, my love,” and oddly, it does make one feel loved, even coming from a stranger.

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Surviving London

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We survived a three – hour drive through Greater London by the grace of God, the skin of our teeth, and Amy’s sheer guts.  We both say never again.  But we made it to Salisbury and were welcomed by the staff here with such generosity, it was a comfort to our traumatized souls.  It turns out, they all pretty much think Amy deserves a medal!  Our grateful thanks to Tony, owner/manager, I believe, to Louie, the evening supervisor who took care of us as if we were his mother and sister, our waitress whose name I didn’t catch, for medicinal alcohol, and finally, to Jamie, the chef, who cooked us a comforting and well seasoned dinner and who stayed late to prepare his Oreo cookie cheesecake for us.  The plate was beautiful, and yes, Jamie, it surely was the best cheesecake I have ever had.  Our heartfelt thanks to the staff of the Cathedral Hotel, and our hearty recommendations.  A weary traveler could ask for no better.

 

 

 

 

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Round London

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Notice my Britishism?  Amy and I have been collecting them.  We had a big day today, a long day,  with a city bus tour, a visit to the Tower of London (where we did not see the crown jewels because of the long lines), a flight on the London Eye, a look at Buckingham Palace, and many other sights.  I have a blister on both heels from walking round London.  We won’t mention the rest of me!  I’ll post a few pics, and I must mention Tony and the Ristorante Italiano at 75 Southampton Row where we ate dinner, the best meal we’ve had here.

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A Writer’s Showcase

I hope you enjoy the following glimpses into my work.  You can link to each of the pages from here in the text or on the sidebar. This site is a place to show the writing I’ve done and am doing.  It’s a place to post tidbits which I hope will stimulate an appetite for whole manuscripts.

I’ve posted a chapter from my novel, The Peaceweavers.  This is a look at the Beowulf story from the point of view of three female characters who appear in the original Beowulf poem.  Another chapter of this novel will be published later this year in the Fall 2013 edition of Red Rock Review. The full manuscript is as yet unpublished.

I’m also working on a collection of short stories, tentatively titled A Certain AgeThere are ten stories in all, and I’ve posted four excerpts from stories in the collection.  This manuscript will be submitted to publishers later this year.  Also, I’ve included one complete short story which was published some years ago in The Dead Mule.  The story is called “Mama’s Day,” and it’s at the end of the short story page.

There’s some poetry here as well.  I’ve posted poems from a published collection, Paean, (2005) which can be purchased at FinishingLinePress.com.  I’ve also included some poems from an upcoming collection, Green Philosophy, to be published late this year or early next by Folded Word.  And I’ve posted some poems from an unpublished collection, Rough Art, which is a memoir in poems of growing up in redwood country in a family of loggers.  I’ll be doing some readings in the coming months, so those will be listed on Upcoming Events.

On the Other Projects page, I’ve posted some notes about a project in process.  That’s a page which will continue to grow as projects come to mind or fruition.

Finally, I’ve posted a link to my weekly blog, Garden, Forest, Field.  I’m a lifelong gardener, and this year, I began to write about gardening (with a disability), canning, and cooking wild game.

If you want to know a little bit more about me, there’s a bio and publications list on the About Me page.

Please let me know if you see something you like.  There are comment boxes on the bottom of each page.

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