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Monthly Archives: January 2023

So, the Isle of Man is a British isle, but it’s not in the United Kingdom?

Yes. The Isle of Man (also simply called “Mann”) is a self-governing Crown Dependency and is not part of the United Kingdom.  At 33 miles long and 15 miles wide, Mann is not a country, not a territory (like Bermuda or the Falkland Islands), and not a member of the European Union. Queen Elizabeth was, […]

United Kingdom, Great Britain, British Isles: which is it?

Other islands include the Isle of Man, Wight, Scilly, Skye, the Arran Islands, Channel Islands, Shetland Islands, Inner and Outer Hebrides, Orkneys, and over 6,000 other smaller islands.

Is Ulster the same as Northern Ireland?

No. All of Ulster’s nine counties do not make up Northern Ireland. The six counties of Northern Ireland are Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh, and Tyrone. The three other Ulster counties (Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan) are part of the Republic of Ireland Ulster is one of the four traditional provinces of Ireland, derived from “Ulaidh,” […]

Donegal: Ireland’s Forgotten County

Donegal is sometimes called “Ireland’s Forgotten County” and is, among all of the island’s 26 counties, the most rural and least urbanized.  It is considered part of the ancient and historical province of Ulster, but it is not part of the UK’s Northern Ireland. The story goes that Donegal was not included by the British […]

Why would you want to take a baby to England?

This was my mom talking. “Why would you want to take a baby to England? He won’t remember anything!” I had just announced our trip plans and that Sam, seven months old, would be going with us. She may have been hinting that Sam should have stayed with her while Sam’s father and I gallivanted […]

When shades of grey outnumber the green

I’m an artist on vacation, but I’m not always sketching and painting. England certainly provides a country full of color, including just about every variation on leaf and grass. Consider a few of the descriptors for the color green: apple, ash, Australian, beryl, black, blue, Bohemian, bronze, Chinese, chlorophyll, chrome, cinnabar, cold, earth, emerald, fir, […]

To be or not to be Anne

Anne Hathaway’s cottage lies amid gardens and fields of roses, rushes, lavender, and delphiniums, in Shottery, Warwickshire, a mile outside the city center of Stratford-upon-Avon. Lovely willow trellises line the walks of the “cottage” that is actually a rather substantial, 12-room farmhouse and was called Hewlands‘s Farm during the Elizabethan era. The nine acres of […]

There once was an ichthyosaurus

I was a small girl in California when I’d first heard of the ichthyosaurs. My mother had read me Isabel Frances Bellous’s poem “The Ichthyosaurus.” There once was an ichthyosaurus,Who lived when the earth was all porous,Be he fainted with shameWhen he first heard his name,And departed a long time before us. My mother might have […]

Standing in the eye of the white horse

His name was Michael, the odd man who took our gaggle of teachers on adventures after the British Infant School education workshop in 1978. Michael explained English history and culture, and he made some extra cash.  One such adventure was to see the White Horse of Uffington in the Berkshire hills. Locals had originally thought […]

Show me the money

Perhaps a country shows its true colors through its bank notes. In 1928, the US Treasury Department reviewed the portraits on bank notes and concluded that “portraits of Presidents of the United States have a more permanent familiarity in the minds of the public than any others.” Exceptions were made for Alexander Hamilton, Salmon Chase, […]