The story of Betty Corrigall, Hoy, Orkeny Islands

The story of Betty Corrigall is sad and so fitting of Hoy.

Hoy a small wind swept island in the Orkney Islands and is home to a very sad story of love and despair. In the late 1700s a girl, just 27, fell in love with a sailor and became pregnant too him. It was a time when such a thing was shunned, particularly in such a religious place.

Betty was alone for her lover on learning she was pregnant returned to the sea, never to be seen by her again. What was she to do? She would be shunned by all and sundry. She would have no means to support her soon to be born child. For her it was a hopeless situation.

Tragically she felt she had no alternative but to take her own life. Continue reading

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A Short Stop in the Eternal City, Rome, Italy

As generally happens over an extended holiday, some days are better than others and I would have to say the latter few days in the UK and Ireland were not the best of our trip. Pouring rain to greet and farewell us in The Lake District, high winds in Wales, a cancelled ferry and then no cabs at the ferry terminal in Dublin when we eventually arrived had made for a less than ideal few days, but that was all about to change!

As we flew along the Italian Coast, I felt an uplift in spirit and a regret that we had not scheduled more time in Rome before going home, but getting bathroom renovations completed before Christmas and my PhD meant we needed to be home.

With only a couple of days in Rome, all we could do was enjoy a coffee or two, some gelato, pasta an Aperol Spritz (perhaps more than one) and the chaos that is Rome. Just wonderful.

The weather was bright for our arrival. Flying into Rome the country side was so different to what we’d seen in the previous  6 weeks. The patchwork quilt of green replaced by the grey browns of a countryside that has experienced a Mediterranean Summer and a bright blue big sky.

Once on the ground we were through immigration in no time Continue reading

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Tower Records, Dublin

The Diary of a Slow Traveller

I have fond memories of spending a delightful afternoon thumbing through CDs at one of the Tower Record stores in San Fransisco back in the 90s while my jet lagged family were asleep. I’d also spent time in the HMV store in Singapore and London, thumbing through the racks of CDs.

I particularly remember the Singapore store as I’d spent a whole afternoon there in preference to seeing Singapore’s sights. When I caught up with my colleagues they were somewhat bemused by how I’d spent my afternoon. But in 2017 these were all distant memories.

So what has this got to do with our trip to the UK. Well, it has been one of my laments that the joy of thumbing through racks of CDs is a thing of the past,  so it was with absolute joy that I spent a delightful hour at Tower Records in Dublin.

We’d booked a tour in The Little Museum of Dublin  for early afternoon, as the morning tours were booked out and so we thought we’d visit Trinity College to see the Book of Kells in the interim. When we arrived to purchase our tickets for The Book of Kells we found that it was on timed entry and that our slot was just before our scheduled Little Museum of Dublin tour. As a result we had an hour or so to kill.

As we’d walked to Trinity College to purchase our tickets, I’d seen the Tower Records store which was conveniently located directly opposite a large bookstore where my favourite person would be happy to browse. I left her there and headed straight across the road to Tower Records.

I suspect as I walked in, my eyes were the size of saucers. It’s enormous and not only did it have racks of CDs to thumb through but racks and racks of Vinyl. My morning was made as I browsed new releases and then walked upstairs where there was even more Vinyl. It was like stepping back in time and I was loving it. Continue reading

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It’s blowing a gale, Wales

Conway Castle

Just when we thought we’d seen the worst of the weather we wake for our last full day in Wales to the news that there will be gale force winds for most of the day and through the evening. Shortly afterwards we get an email telling us that our ferry to Dublin is uncertain due to the storms.

Our few days in North Wales have been excellent.

The walled town of Conway provided a base to visit the castle and walk the city walls. We had our best fish and chips accompanied with a couple of local G&Ts, but the highlight was a couple with a dog that I thought looked a lot like ours – surely it couldn’t be as our dog is a kelpie cross. I had to ask its owners, who said that he’s a kelpie, and because he’s an Australian dog his name is Ozzie! It sparks a long conversation over dinner. Our ” new friends” are travelling nomads  and seem to know all the good pubs. It’s a great chat and makes our dinner one of The many highlights of our trip.

We’ve found people so friendly. Continue reading

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The Diary of a Slow Traveller- Quaint or Odd, The Howtown Hotel, Lake District

Howtown Hotel

Odd or Quaint? We weren’t sure as we somewhat hesitantly booked our accommodation in the Lake District. I’d been intrigued by an article I’d found online in the The telegraph that had made reference to staying at the Howtown Hotel. How odd or quaint, I thought. Reservations are made in writing and by that they meant by post, a real letter with a stamp.

The hotel is pretty much all there is in Howtown. Once through Pooley Bridge, it’s a sharp right hand turn onto a narrow windy road for what seems an eternity, about 4 miles. Our drive is not made any easier by the torrential rain, making viability poor and the road in many places covered with water. We’d been told to expect rain in the Lake District and the day we arrived there was about 4 inches!

As we drive taking the track to the hotel we note that unlike Scotland there don’t appear to be designated passing places on the roads, necessitating our having to back up more than once on our drive to the hotel. We also note that the drivers in England seem much less gracious than their Scottish neighbors when it comes to allowing on coming traffic pass.

After a drive along a narrow windy and often flooded road we arrive.

Our greeting at the hotel is pretty low key. The proprietor greets us with a quizzical “Good Afternoon” and brief welcome. She arranges for one of the staff to show us our room and that’s it, we’re registered. No id required, no credit card imprint, nothing more than our brief introduction and confirmation of name.  Our room has as well as no wifi ( we knew this before we booked), no TV, no coffee or tea making facilities, no toiletries other than a bar of Imperial Leather soap and no room key! What it does have is great views to  Ullsawater. Continue reading

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