Thursday, July 28, 2016

Summer Travel Postcards: Scotland, part 1


"Now this feels like the Highlands!"

On Sunday we flew to Inverness for five days in Scotland. We spent the first two nights on the Black Isle at Cromarty, a lovely little village. My photographs from the stay aren't that impressive, however, because the weather was a bit dreary. I was terribly fond of Cromarty, but for now let's move on to the more dramatic west coast sights near Gairloch. (We'll revisit Cromarty when I post my blog on tea. Yay!)


First, I must praise my husband and, to a lesser extent, satellite navigation. I've never driven overseas, and Steve hadn't for over a decade (not since we drove to Brontë country and he nearly abandoned the car in Bradford out of terror and frustration). What a difference a built-in sat nav makes! I wouldn't say Steve was relaxed about driving this time around, but he was very good at it, particularly when the roads narrowed to a single lane, which happened A LOT.


One of our first driving adventures was out to the beaches at Red Point. The day started gloomy but turned quite fine as you can see. No filter on any of these photos--it was just that beautiful! And we nearly had it all to ourselves (but were happy to share).


Obligatory (and somewhat squinty) selfie. As we were leaving this beach, we ran into a group of pony trekkers. Later we walked to the Gairloch Trekking Center and watched two children grooming a pair of fat little ponies as part of the "Kids Stable Special" program. Do check out the gallery on their webpage--guaranteed to make you smile!


We were able to explore this rocky outcropping while the tide was out. You can see the Isle of Skye across the water -- it was huge! Why did I think Skye was a wee island?


I didn't have the nerve to walk to the edge, but that's okay because it meant I could take this photo. :)

Stay tuned for more postcards from the Highlands!

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Summer travel postcards: London


July evening sky -- no filter!

We just returned from a two week trip to England and Scotland. Steve did not direct the law program in Oxford this summer, but he was asked to plan and be present for some special events for the students. Since the trip would take place over our 25th Anniversary, we decided to add on some personal travel, starting with three nights in London.


Couldn't resist this photo upon our Thursday arrival at Paddington Station. I never was much of a Paddington fan as a child, but the 2015 film was utterly enchanting. (Apparently this statue was part of the promotion for the film. See more about the Paddington promotion statues at this blog post. And read my thoughts on the film here.)


On Friday we visited the Leighton House Museum, once home of Pre-Raphaelite painter Frederic Leighton. (His most famous painting might be Flaming June.) It's a lovely house with Middle Eastern architectural and decorative touches, along with an impressive art collection, but I confess my favorite moment was meeting this smushy-faced ginger cat in the garden.


Friday night we enjoyed dinner in Soho with the incomparable Dominic Mattos!


On Saturday we visited the Foundling Museum, built near the site of The Foundling Hospital, established in 1739 by philanthropist Thomas Coram to care for abandoned babies. The two items above are tokens made by mid-18th century mothers who were asked to ‘affix on each child some particular writing, or other distinguishing mark or token, so that the children may be known thereafter if necessary'. Learn more about the tokens here.

[I've long been intrigued by orphans and foundlings in fiction, and my latest story features a foundling girl who is adopted to replace a much grieved child -- a child who, as it turns out, may not have entirely departed from this plane of existence...]


Saturday night we saw The Taming of the Shrew at The Globe and upon leaving encountered this dramatic view of St. Paul's Cathedral from across the Thames.

Stay tuned for more travel postcard posts!

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]