Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Pulled Pork

I was raised a typical midwesterner.  I didn't sample the delights of pulled pork until my 30's.  It is easy to make, take a pork shoulder or pork butt, season it, slow braise, until the meat is falling apart, break or chop it up, sauce it and away you go.  Seasoning can be simple, salt and pepper, or complex with savory, sweet and heat, do what you like, there is no wrong spicing.  The real secret is cooking it low and slow for hours.  For me is an all day slow cook in the oven at a low temperature.  Good cold weather cooking.  

Do you pull your pork? 

Monday, April 06, 2020

Music Monday - USA For Africa - We Are The World


All of the faces in the crowd, at the crossroads of the world, are all a part of this great world.  

A bit different in the current circumstances.  Times Square is largely empty.  But together, by staying away from one another, we can make a real difference in the world.  

I am trying to maintain my blog as a plague free zone, not to say COVID-19 is not affecting all of us, but I think we all need a few moments each day away from it, remembering that We are the World. We can and are making a real difference.  There is beauty and wonder, and adventure in the world, dream about, plan for it, soon we will be back in pursuit of it.  


Sunday, April 05, 2020

Sunday Five - Strange Things

When you travel, you get to see some strange things. Today the strangeness inspires the Sunday five. 


  1. Any idea what is in the package above? 
  2. Ever seen a dead saint in a glass box? 
  3. What is the strangest mode of transportation you have ever experienced while traveling? 
  4. What is the oldest building you have visited? 
  5. Where was the worst hotel you have ever stayed in? (no names to protect the guilty and avoid libel.) 
My answers: 

  1. Any idea what is in the package above? If I told you, you'd know.  I will say it was in a church. 
  2. Ever seen a dead saint in a glass box? A couple of times. 
  3. What is the strangest mode of transportation you have ever experienced while traveling? A Zeppelin 
  4. What is the oldest building you have visited? Something in Rome or Athens? 
  5. Where was the worst hotel you have ever stayed in? (no names to protect the guilty and avoid libel.) Hazard Kentucky, the carpet was sticky, it was the best place in town and I had a training at 6:00 AM the next morning.  
Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, April 04, 2020

A Proper Apology


There is saying, be slow to criticize and fast to apologize.  A proper apology takes little time, and can do an lot to quell bad feelings. 

There are a few steps to doing this right. 

  • Take ownership of the problem.  
  • Acknowledge the impact on the other person. 
  • Promise to do better. 
  • If appropriate, describe steps taken to prevent the action from happening again. 


Here is an example:

  • I sincerely apologize for the idiot that is president of the United States.  
  • I understand that his stupidity, insecurities, and racism have set world progress back a century.  He never should have happened.  
  • I promise to continue to work to change the political compromise that allowed the loser of the popular vote to be elected, we should have fixed that decades ago. 
  • I assure you I will vote in the next election, and encourage my like minded friends to vote. 
  • As soon as he is out of office, we will work to undo the mess that he has caused.  
  • I am so sorry, we should have done better.  


So there are the elements, take ownership, offer a sincere apology, acknowledge the harm, promise to do better, offer steps to be taken. 

If I had said, sorry, but I didn't vote for the idiot (and I didn't) the apology has much less impact, it is in effect, saying sorry but it is not my problem. 

What else do I need to apologize for today? 

Friday, April 03, 2020

Turntable

How do you turn around a train engine, on a turntable.  Drive it on, pivot 180 degrees, and drive it off.  An amazing piece of engineering.   Why this one has a disco ball hanging from it, I have no idea? 

Any idea why? 

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Spo's Board of Directors on Holiday




When you travel, you never know who you are going to bump into, in Waterford Ireland we found the Board of Directors from Spo-Reflections on holiday.  How they got the boat from Phoenix into the Atlantic, only they know.  I asked, and they threatened to cough on me if I didn't step back two meters away.  The Irish government ordered all of the Pubs to close late the next day, I imagine they moved on when that order was issued.  

What would you ask them, if you encountered them? 

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday - London Skyline

This top photo was taken about 12 years ago, showing the then very controversial Pickle, amazing how just a few years later, the skyline has changed and that one tall modern building is not surrounded by others, just as daring.  

We stayed near the "Shard" in the south bank.  I have pictures of it, we didn't go in.  By then things were starting to get a little weird with crowds and the virus and time was a little tight, so we walked around the neighborhood, had a nice brunch and took a taxi to the train station.  

Are the new buildings nice growth, or an eyesore? 


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Hang Out The Window and Take in the View

I recognize those fingers, holding the little red camera.  As I recall he never liked that camera.  I love the tourist trains with open windows or open sided cars, where you can hang out the side and take in the view.  Sometimes in life we need to hang out to see what all is happening.  

Hang out someplace today. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Music Monday - Rambling on a Somber Morning Kenny Rogers - The Gambler


I woke up with this tune playing in my head.  Something about knowing when to fold them and walk away is very appropriate.  

A colleague from work died Saturday evening.  Lori had been with the group for 30 years, she was less than a year older than I am. She was extraordinarily bright, amazing attention to detail, was a perfectionist in her work, was committed and dedicated to her work. She made a difference in this world, and will be missed. 

Over the last few months we had noticed changes.  She lost weight, she looked tired and drawn.  She was working from home more and more.  A couple of people tried to talk with her about how she was feeling. Most of the time she changed the subject, or simply didn't answer.  Once, just once, she said to her two closest project collaborators, that she was sick.  

It is unclear what she knew or didn't know about her health.  It is clear that she made a decision to not seek help.  That was her choice and I respect that. 

She had a fall at home early last week, and was admitted to the hospital.  The diagnosis was grim, very late stage cancer.  By the time she was taken to the hospital she was unable to communicate.  She as transferred to hospice and died within 24 hours.  

I am sad, and at the same time, I know she died as she chose. She was independent, strong, stubborn.  I think she knew when it was time to fold them and walk away.  


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday Five - Food Preferences


There are a lot of question lists floating around on Facebook these days, ways to keep ourselves entertained in these strange times. One recently had a list of 30 food items and asked if you eat them or not.  Most people rejected about half of the options.  My answer was I had tried 29 of them, the 30th one (mountain oysters aka bulls testicals) I have not tried, but would. Hence this weeks Sunday five, food prejudices? 

1: Brocoli love it, hate it, or tolerate it? 
2: Mayonnaise love it, hate it, or tolerate it? 
3: Fish love it, hate it, or tolerate it? 
4: Rhubarb love it, hate it, or tolerate it? 
5: Cooked cabbage love it, hate it, or tolerate it? 

My Answers:
1: Brocoli love it, hate it, or tolerate it? I usually tolerate it, it often over cooked and stinky. 
2: Mayonnaise love it, hate it, or tolerate it? Love it, homemade with extra lemon is amazing. 
3: Fish love it, hate it, or tolerate it? Love it. 
4: Rhubarb love it, hate it, or tolerate it? Love it. 
5: Cooked cabbage love it, hate it, or tolerate it?  It has to be cooked right, sauteed in butter, not boiled for me to like it.  

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Dinner at the Lady Helen at Mt Juliet Estate, Thomastown, Kilkenny Ireland




I don't know what was in this, it was in a chocolate shell, you let it sit on your tongue and melt

The Scallop starter 

The rose of veal, we both ordered it

I love cheese

The Wine Room off the dining room 

Michelin One Star for 2020 
I don't usually take pictures of my food in a restaurant before I eat it.  And apparently I am not very good at it. Sorry! 

At the last major stop of the adventure we stayed at the Mount Juliet Estate at Thomastown, near Kilkenny in the south of Ireland for three nights.  As I mentioned a few days ago the Manor is home to a Michelin starred restaurant.  I debated making reservations, it was pricey (about three times what we paid on average for dinner, about $250 USD for the two of us.) But how many times do you get a chance to dine in such elegance, and as my father proved you can't take it with you. With the Covid-19 virus causing tons of cancellations, there were tables available.  In fact we were the only table in the 6:30 seating. 

The food was simply amazing, the service attentive, the room is very elegant and comfortable.  The meal was unrushed, three courses over two hours.   It was worth it.  

I suspect I have had dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant before, I recently came across receipt for Christmas dinner at Altitude 95 on the Eiffel Tower, but this is certainly not something we do often.  

Would you splurge? 


Friday, March 27, 2020

Trinity College Dublin


There was only one thing on my must-see list for Dublin, and that was the library that holds the Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin.  The Book of Kells is an illuminated or illustrated religious text. The book was actually not on display the day we were there, a copy was, but not the original.  That didn't bother me, I was there to see the room.  Because the original book was not on display, the normal restrictions on photographs in the room were lifted (and admission was reduced in price.). The space, the library was what I was there to see.  Words fail me when it comes to describing the space. And yes, it is still a working part of the library.  I know people who could spend every waking moment of the rest of their life in that room.  A truly amazing space.  

A couple of days after we visited, the library was closed to the public, a day or so later classes were suspended and the College closed for the duration of the Covid-19 virus epidemic.  

What library inspires you?  

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Travel in a Time of Global Pandemic

We started hearing about the new Corona Virus back in January, first it was travel restrictions on a few places, then a few more.  By the time we left March 1st, there were already reports of clusters of infections around the world, including here in the USA. In getting ready to leave the office the end of February, I brought home the materials I needed for work my first week back home, at that point I was planning to be in Atlanta this week for a conference, that was still reporting as being on schedule.  

Flying out was fairly normal, a little bit of nervousness in the airports.  I slept a couple of hours on the outbound flight.  Within a couple of days of our arrival in Ireland, infections were being reported, first a cluster in a school, then in cities.  We then traveled to Wales - no cases had been reported as yet is Wales and other than reminders to wash your hands nothing was unusual.  We went onto London, and London was unchanged from the last time.  I was being a little more careful about distance, and contact and washing my hands.  We returned to Ireland, took a train across the country, picked up a rental car (the rental counter squirted hand sanitizer on my hands before handing me a pen to sign the paperwork) and checked into a nice hotel for a couple of nights.  At check in everything was routine, within 24 hours hand sanitizer appeared on the reception desk.  By the time we checked out, the front desk staff was standing back at a distance.  

The next hotel was more obvious about being concerned.  At breakfast the next morning the self service buffet was closed, a waiter with gloves on getting you what you asked for (the only mediocre breakfast we had on the trip.)  We drove south to the next hotel, check in was very normal, we were there three nights.  The next morning hand sanitizer was everywhere around the hotel.  By the time we checked out three days later, there was a rope line keeping you three feet from the front desk, and we were asked to simply drop the key cards in a fishbowl, please don't hand them to the desk clerks.  The last two days public places were closed, museums, some churches, and archeological sites.  Most of what we wanted to see in Waterford was closed.  So we took a drive along the coast. There was a gale blowing in off the ocean, the coast is absolutely amazing, I am so glad we had time to go drive very slowly along the south coast.  
I already wrote about the airport experience and the trip home.  The virus made this a bit of a different experience.  The closures changed what we saw, but there is so much to see that we had a an amazing experience.  

This is not the first time I have traveled in unusual circumstances, I went to Amsterdam and Paris the week the first Gulf War started. That was different, enhanced security, this time places were closing and there is a higher risk to the man on the street or airplane.  Will this stop me from traveling, only temporarily.  Epidemics come and go, the influenza epidemic of 1918, Polio in the 1950's and early 1960's, (tuberculosis?) These changed our behaviours, some permanently and for the better, sanitation is better than ever before, understanding of isolation to limit transmission. We know how to stop the spread of a contagious illness, if we practice what we know we will endure. Advances in medical treatment have happened and we will learn more from this. 

I will travel again.  Good sense dictates not traveling today, or next week, of even next month (my March and April conferences have cancelled.) When this threat has passed, I have a ton of frequent flyer miles to start the next adventure.  

What will be your next adventure when this threat has passed? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday

This was about 16 - 17 years ago, the first time Travel and I met Stephen and Duncan.  This was the infamous mushy peas lunch.  The English and Irish serve mashed green peas, there are variations with some containing mashed potatoes, some with mint, others with just peas.  It was the first time we have come across this.  Jay ordered them, and then commented on the flavor that they retained the essential peaness. Say that fast, and see if you snicker? 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

London for Dinner with Blogger Zero


Stephen
Duncan
J and Stephen

In epidemiology they look for patient Zero, the first person identified with a contagious illness.  I started blogging as a guest blogger for Stephen, also known as Uncle Bert in the summer of 2005, while Stephen and Duncan took their annual summer holiday in France. He is my blogger Zero.  Jay met Duncan, Stephen's other half, about 30 years ago, Duncan met Stephen about 24 years ago, and the rest is bliss.  When I was planning the adventure, I realized we hadn't seen them for a few years, and couldn't resist the urge to pop over to London for dinner.  We stayed at the Hilton Tower Bridge, the same place I stayed the last time I saw Stephen and Duncan. The front desk thanked me for returning.  I said it has been a long time, and the desk clerk said yes, about 12 years, we welcome you back, and he moved us to a larger room.  Great hotel! 

Stephen made reservations at the h Club in London for dinner.  He is a lighting director in a London theater and a member.  We took the subway, asked Google to give us directions to the club, and got terribly lost, farther away when I gave up and called Stephen than we were when Google started giving me directions.  Stephen came and rescued us.  

Funny how he hasn't aged a day in 12 years. It was as if hardly a day had gone by since our last meeting.  A lot has happened in our lives over the past dozen years.  A lot of catching up was done over four hours of drinks and dinner.  I had two Mr Fawlty's, a wonderful gin cocktail. 

I am serious about promising to not let another 12 years pass before we gather again. So there is why we went to London for dinner.  

Who is your blogger Zero?  

Monday, March 23, 2020

My Music Monday: Last Flight Out of Dublin


I fell in love with the chorus of this Jimmy Buffett song the first time I heard it.  For the most part we live safe and boring lives, but my secret desire is to sit around as an old man telling tales of the great adventures of life, just like the old man in this tune.  That is why we wander.  

Last Monday, we had a bit of adventure, leaving Dublin, with the mass crowds fleeing Ireland before the travel restrictions went into effect at midnight.  It was not planned this way, we were flying on the day we were scheduled to six months earlier, but we literally ended up on the last Delta Airlines flight out of Dublin, for a month. 

Unusually J was awake before I was, and ready to leave the hotel room before I was. We had stayed at an airport hotel the night before what was scheduled to be a morning flight from Dublin to Boston.  I got up, showered, dressed and we caught the hotel shuttle to the terminal 40 minutes earlier than planned, and arrived to a crowd, snaking in lines around the terminal waiting to check in bags.  I left J with the bags and slipped under the rope and printed out boarding passes.  We waited in line, nearly 45 minutes later the line had moved forward maybe 100 feet, a guard came up and asked if we had our passports and boarding passes, I said yes, and he opened a new line and directed us to it along with 30 other people.  That saved us at least half an hour.  We went upstairs to security and things looked not bad, until we passed through the first check point, and entered a room that was standing room only, in neat lines.  We waited, cleared security with metal detectors and one set of rules about what was in or out of our bags, went into the next room, waited another 30 minutes to clear security a second time, with different rules, no metal detector this time but shoes off instead of on, then into another room were the crowd was divided into two groups, those who had only been in the UK and Ireland and those who had been elsewhere in the world.  We had only been as far as London, so we were directed to the shorter line, where we cleared US immigration, about half an hour later.  Dublin is an international Pre-Clearance airport for the United States, you clear customs and immigration in Dublin, and are classified as a domestic flight when you arrive in the US. In all it took us 2 hours and 40 minutes to check bags, clear security and immigration, and process that normally takes less than an hour. That is why you always need to be there 3 hours before an international flight, poo happens sometimes. We actually made it to the gate in time for the scheduled boarding as we had been about 3 1/2 hour before flight time when we arrived at the terminal. Global Entry was closed - we are both enrolled for the express lane.  Those that went into the other line, waited an additional 2 to 4 hours to go through the "health screening" that amounted to asking them where they had been, if they felt sick, and if they had been in contact with anyone who looked obviously sick.  Even if they had, they were handed information and sent on through the terminal.  The flight was delayed, from 9:25 AM to 2:00 PM.  Two hours after our scheduled departure the gate agent announced that they were waiting for 120 people who had checked bags and not cleared immigration and health screening yet.  They held the flight until nearly every seat was filled.  It as after we were in the air that I realized that we had caught the last (Delta) flight out of Dublin fleeing a global pandemic.     

Strangely the crowd remained calm throughout the process.  Some of the fleeing college students got a bit drunk (I was surprised a couple of them were not denied boarding - more on Chris if he ever sobers up and sends us the selfie.)  

Part of the adventure of life.  If we had missed that flight, we would have had to go to London and wait for a seat on a Delta rescue flight for US Citizens stranded in Europe, who are all being funneled through a couple of airports for the next month. 

Would an experience like this stop you from traveling? 

Leaving Boston bound for DC 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sunday Five - City Life

This latest adventure was a little bit city, a whole lot of countryside.  We started out with three days in Dublin, a day in London (we went to London to have dinner with long time friends, we were there just over 24 hours.) When we returned to Ireland, the rest of the trip was in areas that the sheep out number the people - oh and a golf course a terrible waste of sheep pasture.  

Sunday Five - City Life:
1: I know it can be hard to choose, but what is your favorite city in the world? 
2: Given a choice of spending a week in London, or a week on a farm a mile from the nearest paved road, which would you choose? 
3: What is the farthest you have traveled to have dinner with long time friends? 
4: Do you prefer mass transit, or taxis? 
5: What is the meaning of the art above? 

My answers: 
1: I know it can be hard to choose, but what is your favorite city in the world? Florence Italy, I could die there. 
2: Given a choice of spending a week in London, or a week on a farm a mile from the nearest paved road, which would you choose? London feels like a second home to me, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.  
3: What is the farthest you have traveled to have dinner with long time friends? Via the route we traveling about 370 miles, 288 as the crow flies, but I am not a crow. 
4: Do you prefer mass transit, or taxis? Depends, both. 
5: What is the meaning of the art above? I think Epictetus would get the joke. 

Please share your answers in the comments.  


Saturday, March 21, 2020

Meeting John from Going Gently

Over the years we have met some of the nicest people through blogs.  I think you can tell from reading the blog if they are nice online, they are likely nice in person.  

When we planned the trip to Ireland, I realized we were only a day's travel from London, and when going from Dublin to London we would pass by within a few short miles of the village that John Gray from Going Gently lives in.  I reached out to him and offered to meet for breakfast or dinner.  

He is exactly who you would expect him to be from reading his blog.  Honest, warm, welcoming, with a wry sense of humor.  Be kind and treat him well and he will be a wonderful friend and neighbor.  I only wish I lived 3,000 miles closer.  

We took a ferry from Dublin to Holyhead in Wales, then the local train from there to Conwy, a delightful town with the best preserved medieval castle in the UK.  We stayed in the delightful Castle Hotel, with a history stretching back over 200 years. The room was modern, spacious and plush.  

I made reservations for the dining room, and right on time I spotted John walking down the street. We talked and ate for nearly three hours.  It was like spending time with a long lost friend I had never met before.  He has led a fascinating life, and is an amazing story teller.  If you are ever in his neck of the woods, email him and see if he is available for you to buy him dinner. 

This is not my first blogger meet up, and likely not my last.  I always reach out in comments, and to the email in the profile.  If I don't get an answer, I don't push - that would be stalking. We have met some wonderful, close friends through blogging.  

Would you accept my offer to buy you dinner if I was passing by your town?  If you are in DC, I am often available to meet for breakfast or lunch.  

Friday, March 20, 2020

Notes from the road 14 March Mt Juliet Estate Ireland


The Manor House at Mt Juliet  is grand, and plush. It also home to a Michelin Starred restaurant that will be the subject of another post. The interior is very horsey leather country home. When I first made reservations, we were in the manor, then an email informed me that half of the rooms would be closed for remodeling, and offering to move me to other hotel on the estate - in what had at one time been the hunter jumper stables. I took the move and we ended up with a very comfy room, with a heated floor in the bathroom, I am in love with that warm floor.

The pictures are the lobby of the manor, inside and out.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Well That Was a Job



I almost always write blog posts ahead of time, some are in draft stage for months, I schedule posts to post automatically.  Often I am scheduled a week or two ahead of time.  I recheck, edit, rescheduled a couple of times a week.  If something new comes up, I will reschedule a post, create a new post to replace it. 

With plans to be out of town, March 1-16, I created the posts for the 1-19th of March, in January and February.  I also finished out the the month of February.  At one point I had 39 days of scheduled posts ahead of me.  My plan was to take a break from creating posts, but the road inspired me, and posts have been moved around.

I will return with 3000 photos to inspire future posts, like the one above - from Conwy in Wales, guess who we had dinner with there? 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday - Happy Birthday to my Sister Karen

Happy 63rd Birthday to my sister Karen.  
Her mid March birthday was often cold and snowy.  Here she is on top of a six foot tall snow drift behind the house with me peering over her shoulder, our father was in the nice warm kitchen, this was taken out through the kitchen window.  


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Queen of the Sky


The Queen of the Sky, not that one, the 747, is nearly out of passenger service.  Being replaced by mostly smaller and more fuel efficient airplanes.  The fuel efficient I can see, I am disappointed by the smaller, Queens should be larger than life.  I have flown 747s 3 or 4 times, I miss the comfort that the space allows.  

Ever flown the Queen? 

Monday, March 16, 2020

We Are Back Home

Almost a five hour delay getting out of Dublin, I will explain the details of why in a later post, missed our connection in Boston, and were placed on a later flight, that was nearly empty.  My bag liked Boston, it is still there, it will be home in the morning - hopefully.  

It was a grand adventure, with experiences we will talk about for years to come.  Just dumb luck that we made it out on one of the last flights expected for a month.  The flight was packed, of course it was, Ireland closed the bars last night for two weeks.  

I'd do it again, would you? 

Notes from the road 16 March Dublin




Two and half hours to check bags and clear security in Dublin this morning. The flight is delayed, but the plane is here and Delta  assures us we will go.  We are connecting in Boston, and had a really long connection time, we may make the connection.

Notes from the road, 12 March Mt Juliet Estate, Thomastown Ireland

A quiet day, driving south to the home of the Irish Open Golf Tournament. The hotel is undergoing a major remodel, and is very plush to start with.  We visited the ruins of an abbey on the way, and passed a dozen others. The weather is very changeable, going from sunshine to rain, and back to sunshine. The wind is the big constant. As we went south the hills become more rolling, less steep, bigger fields.

We are scheduled to fly home on Monday. I have been checking for updates from the airline, and it appears to be on schedule. Ireland is closing schools for the rest of March. My office is setting up for telecommuting.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Travel update 15 March





We are at the airport in a Dublin, the rental car was returned without a scratch. I did not cause anymore locals to panic, only one person tooted at me in a roundabout. The airport in a Dublin is empty, not many people coming or going. We have checked in for our Monday morning flight, Delta shows us on time. It looks like we are coming in 12 hours ahead of the latest change in restrictions, hopefully the bedlam on the US side has subsided somewhat by the time I get there. I have asked the office for permission to telecommute for up to a month. That will work for me.

Sunday Five from the road Mt Juliet Estate


Friday 13 March near Kilkenny Ireland. Fun day out, bright and sunny until afternoon. I found a couple of souvenirs to take home. Visited the most preserved mid evil cathedral in Ireland. Ireland is closing down for two weeks for the virus. I had an email from the airline confirming that we are still on schedule for Monday. This weeks Sunday five is inspired by this adventure. 

1: Do you have Irish ancestors?
2: Have you ever seen or been a leprechaun?
3: How would you interpret the number plate above?
4: Have you tried a good Irish Whiskey?
5: Have you driven on the opposite side of the road?

My answers:
1: Yes
2: No
3: Trump
4: Yes
5: Yes, so far no scratches



Please share your answers in the comments.


Saturday, March 14, 2020

Notes from the road, 11 March


Ireland continues to amaze. If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes, it will change. Drive across country today, still no scratches, but someone swerved when I was waiting to turn this  afternoon, slid and was hit. No one was hurt, but two cars needed to be towed. Fortunately we were not hit. Tomorrow we go south, to continue exploring.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Notes from the road, 10 March Clifden Ireland


Another successful day, the sun was out much of the day. We drove a couple of scenic routes, along the shoreline, through the rocky fields. It was an unscheduled day, nothing in particular to see, with a list of recommendations from friends who had been this way before.  It was wonderful. Once again I returned the car to the car park intact, and undamaged. It is a little dirty, we got off the beaten path a little, down roads with grass growing in the middle between the tire tracks. We stopped a few times to see our friends they sheep. They really appreciate the attention. And they are so cute and fluffy. I am nearing 2000 photos and a couple of video clips on the Nikon, I wont have those until we return home. You will be seeing pictures from this adventure for a while. 

I have tried four good Irish whiskeys on this trip, kind of like bourbons, if all you have had is the mass market brands, you have not had the good stuff.  

Tomorrow we move on to the center of the country then south for a few days. 

Wish you were here. 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Thoughts from the road, 9 March 2020

 We are in Ireland. 

Dublin to Galway by train today, then drove north to Clifden.

 It is so easy to settle into the comfortable and routine, getting out and exploring new places helps us grow.

Driving on the left. I made it through the first day with no major incidents. It takes concentration and attention, the distance from the curb is on the opposite side, the gear shift is on the opposite side, and turns have to be thought through to assure you are turning into the desired lane.  GPS really helps, except when it doesn’t, then we have a long drive on roads wide enough for sheep for five miles. Scotland needs to be soon.

The Irish train was very comfortable and easy. Only three coaches, lots of stops, and still crossed the country from west to east in three hours. Easy to book online and pick up from the machine in the station.

Spectacular landscapes this afternoon in the fog and rain, the pictures I did take are on my real camera and I will share those from home.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday Weeki Wachee Springs


This is from the very early 1950's that is mom, and I think my oldest brother Dale, at Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida.  Now part of a state park and much developed, it was an early tourist attraction with an underwater theater with plate glass windows into the clear spring water, and underwater performers.  A much simpler time.  

I have been there, several times, the last time being probably in the 80's.  My grandparents had started spending time in Florida in the winters in the 1950's.  This would have been before my grandfather left Ford and moved to the farm.