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Monthly Archives: December 2022

Nibbling Ireland

Touring Counties Kerry and Clare was like eating an Irish scone A poster at Shannon Airport proclaimed, “Ireland: the world’s favorite country.” And the scone is my favorite pastry. A perfect combination. Traveling through Counties Kerry and Clare that August was a lot like eating Irish scones. And I say Irish scones because I live […]

Movies and TV dramas of World War I

Many of these movies feature a mix of nationalities, but British characters and cultural references are found throughout. 1917. 2019. Two British soldiers receive seemingly impossible orders to cross over into enemy territory to deliver a message that could save 1,600 of their comrades, including one of the soldier’s brothers. Aces High. 1976. Maj. Gresham […]

Merthyr Tydfill

Written about man at a Cardiff bus station as I was starting a bus trip through Wales, in 1978 with teacher colleague Mary Wagner. Well, I see by your ticket that you’re goin’ up north What you wanna do that for? For there’s miners outta work, and it’s sad so sad; Misery behind each door. […]

Meeting at St. Pancras Station

The pianos      My small hotel in London is close to St. Pancras Station, which, together with King’s Cross Station, is a hub for certain local trains, underground lines, and, most notably, the Eurostar high-speed rail service. The station itself was designed by William Henry Barlow and opened in 1868. Pancras himself was a Roman who […]

Literacy through Mills & Boon

My B&B didn’t have wi-fi, so I had to go to the Weymouth Library to use theirs. I realized that the two middle-aged women huddled across the table from me were working through a book together. One was apparently the tutor, the other was learning to read. I take my literacy for granted, and on […]

A Jane Austen cup of tea

Jane Austen’s family spent time and rented rooms and floors of rooms from time to time in Bath, Somerset, England. The refurbished Roman baths provided entertainment and promised healing any and all ills. The baths are fed by Britain’s only natural hot springs, but the Romans’ complex of springs, therapy rooms, and baths had been […]

Jack Kerouac and Jack Mormons at the Beatnik Café

It was an unassuming storefront with a killer name: the Albion Beatnik Café.  And, on an unassuming drizzly morning, that café watched this drowned American rat step through the door to the premises. The Beatnik Cafe was the kind of place to peruse, pursue, and, hopefully, purchase for just the pleasure of language. My eyes […]

Izzy’s Song

Written around 1977 after hearing stories from Isabel Bridget Montague, mother of Eileen Montague Brown, my mother’s best friend. Izzy left for Canada with her sister Anne in 1911. She later returned to Ireland to visit, but her father had been lost at sea. She never saw him again. Well, someone should go and tell […]

Hotel is in a great location, but I wouldn’t exactly say we got lucky

I think we’re the only guests in the Redcar Hotel in Bath. We do hear other people from time to time, but they only seem to stay one night at a time. And, for some reason unknown to us, these guests are housed right next door. Why the staff can’t put at least one room between […]

Hostels, then and a later then

On my first trip to England in 1971, I stayed at a hostel in central London where all the guests were college students, college dropouts, recent college graduates, or draft dodgers like my boyfriend. They were from several different countries, and we called each other by our places of origin. I was “California.” Some of […]