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Category Archives: United Kingdom and Ireland travel

Dressing, among other things, the English chip

In England, American French fries are called “chips,” and our potato chips are called “crisps.” Both are made from potatoes, of course, but somewhere and somehow the words got turned around. The English do an excellent job with chips. Such an excellent job that I order them almost every day. I’ve tried to be on […]

Curtains (poem)

Corn flakes, coffee, curtains My space, her space Breakfast for me on a little table with fine china Hers in the kitchen on paper towels First class, economy class, first class, curtains Our space, their space Complimentary Diet Coke for me, complimentary wine for them Tolerance for us, importance for them.

Cream tea in Bettys Tearooms

In the 11th century, the tradition started of Benedictine monks eating bread with cream and jam at Tavistock Abbey in Devonshire. A proper Devon cream tea has a scone split in half with clotted cream and jam spread on both halves. One of my guidebook smirks that older “blue-rinse ladies” are the ones most interested […]

The Coventry Blitz

I walked through the Coventry Transport Museum that October Exhibit after exhibit of what the German bombs had done those November nights in 1940; Old newsreels of the dazed, the smashed, the burned Firestorms having wiped out most of the city center 800 people dead, thousands injured and homeless Different rooms had piped-in air raid […]

Cheeky Rascals at Church of the Holy Trinity

It seemed to all be going on at Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford-upon-Avon. And perhaps its most famous going-on was the graves of Anne and William Shakespeare. I paid the “concession” (senior citizen) price of one pound to get up to the chancel (in front of the altar) with the tourist crowd to see the […]

Breakfasting at Starbucks when abroad. Really?

Is breakfasting at Starbucks when abroad really traveling? I ask that myself when I enter one. Believe me, there are plenty of reasons not to enter one. Number one for skipping a Starbucks is that they don’t have scones, at least not in the British Starbucks establishments I’ve been in so far. But, despite this […]

Beneath Ireland

The trip was all planned out. Our family would head off to Ireland for two weeks, rent a van, feel the tug of ancestral roots, visit megalithic dolmens and the Cliffs of Moher, eat big Irish fried breakfasts . . . and go caving. As an experienced spelunker, I wasn’t afraid or claustrophobic, it was […]

Before Gutenberg

Viewing the exquisite craftsmanship of the Four Gospels of Kells Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruptions in March 2010 caused all air traffic in the vicinity to be delayed, including my own flight back from Dublin to Salt Lake City. That delay allowed me three glorious extra days to explore the Irish capital’s cultural landscape, including Trinity […]

The bee-loud glade

But there I was in remote and gusty western County Clare Picking my way along the glaciated limestone pavement of the burren Stepping over the vertical grykes, block to block, clint to clint Remembering lines of escape and solitude from Yeats* I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,And a small cabin build […]

As I was going to St. Ives

On my trip to England in 1997, I was enthusiastic about visiting the town of St. Ives in Cornwall. I wanted to walk down the path to the little village just like the man in the Mother Goose riddle my mother had read to my brothers and me so many years ago. I had also […]