Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Entries Tagged as 'Travel'

On day 7 they decided to walk backward . . .

May 28th, 2011 · Comments Off on On day 7 they decided to walk backward . . .

Day 7: Near Keld  by betsythedevine
Day 7: Near Keld , a photo by betsythedevine on Flickr.

Today, on the West to East hike, the path starts in Kirkby Stephen (Cumbria) and ends up in Keld, in the Yorkshire Dales. In between those two places, you cross the watershed peak — rain that lands on its west side will drain toward the Irish Sea; rain that lands on its east side runs into streams and rivers that feed the North Sea.

Thanks to an extremely clever suggestion from Katie, who runs the Castle View Bed and Breakfast in Kirkby Stephen, they decided instead to get driven this morning to Keld, and walk back, East to West, ending up at our nice comfortable bed and breakfast instead of waiting somewhere in Keld at the end of the day for me to drive over and find them.

After dropping them off, I saw quite a bit more of the Yorkshire Dales (James Herriott country) because I drove 7 miles in the wrong direction before deciding to turn around again. So I have seen part of the route they will take tomorrow, and it is beautiful.

Tags: coasttocoast · England · Travel · Wide wonderful world

Glaciers were here

May 26th, 2011 · Comments Off on Glaciers were here

Day 5 Offtrack: Glaciers were here by betsythedevine
Day 5 Offtrack: Glaciers were here, a photo by betsythedevine on Flickr.

Day 5 — Today they walk out of the Lake District and into Shap.

I took this photo on my drive back to the Red Lion in Grasmere from the White Lion in Patterdale. The White Lion is a huge pub/hotel by the side of A592 where Frank and Amity waited for me to fetch them yesterday. They are doing the walk in segments, starting each morning where they stopped last night.

The Red Lion is a small pub/hotel in Grasmere, where we have been staying for two nights and will stay one more. There are many good things about having booked three nights in a row at the Grasmere Red Lion Inn: convenience, comfort, laundry room, and friendly staff. But the somewhat inconvenient thing is that driving any distance in the Lake District means either coping with mountain passes or making long detours from valley to valley.

Whichever you choose, there will surely be sheep on some roadway, somewhere and somewhen. The sheep don’t seem to be startled by cars at all, and this driver is trying hard not to be startled by sheep.

Tags: coasttocoast · England · Travel · Wide wonderful world

Wordsworth strongly deprecates one shade of green

May 25th, 2011 · Comments Off on Wordsworth strongly deprecates one shade of green

Day 3 offtrack: Shades of green by betsythedevine
Day 3 offtrack: Shades of green, a photo by betsythedevine on Flickr.

William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850, as we say in Wikipedia) has strong opinions on the moral value of scenery. His poems celebrating the Lake District inspired poets who inspired the Romantic Age. Less well known, but also deserving of some mention, was his absolute hatred of a particular tree that had been introduced to the Lake District during his lifetime.

The larch. Yes, the larch, a tree that figures heavily in one much-loved Monty Python episode, was to Wordsworth simply despicable. For example:

… as a tree, it is less than any other pleasing: its branches (for boughs it has none) have no variety in the youth of the tree, and little dignity, even when it attains its full growth: leaves it cannot be said to have, consequently neither affords shade nor shelter. In spring the larch becomes green long before the native trees; and its green is so peculiar and vivid, that, finding nothing to harmonise with it, wherever it comes forth, a disagreeable speck is produced. In summer, when all other trees are in their pride, it is of a dingy, lifeless hue; in autumn of a spiritless unvaried yellow, and in winter it is still more lamentably distinguished from every other deciduous tree of the forest, for they seem only to sleep, but the larch appears absolutely dead.

And so on, and so on, at very great length in his instructive and often quite funny book Guide to the Lakes. I hope that he would not have disapproved any of these greens, however.

Tags: coasttocoast · England · funny · Travel · Wide wonderful world · writing

Day 2: Ennerdale Water and lots more water too

May 24th, 2011 · Comments Off on Day 2: Ennerdale Water and lots more water too

Day 2: Ennerdale Water by betsythedevine
Day 2: Ennerdale Water, a photo by betsythedevine on Flickr.

Yesterday (Day #2 of the coast-to-coast walk) was windy and watery — very lake country weather. At the end of the day, shoes and (everything else) were very wet, and it was nearly time for the kitchen at our hotel to close but they stayed open just a bit longer, just for us.

We are staying at the Borrowdale Hotel, very close to the falls at Lodore, the subject of a famous poem by Southey. It’s a lovely hotel but it would have been 3 miles more uphill at the end of yesterday’s 15 mile slog from Ennerdale Bridge. I picked up the travelers instead in Seatoller, at the Seatoller Bed and Breakfast, where I’ll be returning them in just a few minutes to restart again right where they left off.

Tags: coasttocoast · England · Travel · Wide wonderful world

Botticelli’s backside

May 23rd, 2011 · Comments Off on Botticelli’s backside

Botticelli's backside by betsythedevine
Botticelli’s backside, a photo by betsythedevine on Flickr.

Not many people have seen a rear view of Botticelli’s Venus, but, as a reader of my blog, you are one of the few!

A hotel/pub where I had lunch in Workington yesterday has transformed the famous painting into a giant shiny plaster statue. Progress marches on.

Purely in a spirit of service to you, dear reader, I walked around to the back to take this photo.

Tags: coasttocoast · England · funny · Travel · Wide wonderful world

Solitary figure says hurray!

May 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Solitary figure says hurray!

Solitary figure says hurray! by betsythedevine
Solitary figure says hurray!, a photo by betsythedevine on Flickr.

That is Amity Wilczek, on her way back from the surf’s edge, where she picked up a genuine Irish Sea pebble at St Bees low tide.

Amity flew in to England last night from the Azores, where she has been nature guiding around the Azores, Canaries, and lots more islands whose names I don’t know, a fun part of her vacation from Deep Springs. She really came that extra mile to be part of this adventure–and the photographer says hurray right back to Amity.

The Wainwright Coast to Coast walk starts at St Bees beach, where the walkers pick up on Irish Sea pebble, which get thrown into the North Sea at Robin Hood’s Bay, 192 miles later.

Frank and Amity and other beloved family members not yet here will walking the Wainwright walk to celebrate his 60th birthday.

I am the road crew and advance team for these touring rock stars. My goal is to hike a bit with them each morning, hike back by myself to the car and the luggage, schlep stuff around, blog, think about William Wordsworth, then find everybody and feed them at the end of the day.

More hiking, less thinking would be fun if not for two vertebrae–C6 and S3, I think. Besides, if I were hiking all day every day, then where would our team get its groceries, batteries, juice, and daily email from William Wordsworth?

Tags: coasttocoast · England · Travel · Wide wonderful world

Welcomed to the Lake District

May 21st, 2011 · Comments Off on Welcomed to the Lake District

Welcomed to the Lake District by betsythedevine
Welcomed to the Lake District, a photo by betsythedevine on Flickr.

It was a dark and stormy night.

The drive up here from Manchester Airport, 130 miles through gathering darkness and increasing rain, was a challenging way to re-remember driving on the left.

But Maureen at Fleatham House in Saint Bees knows how to make people feel welcomed! Tea, which includes scones with strawberry jam and thick cream. The road map, the William Wordsworth book, and the tired but grateful travelers arrived with us.

And tomorrow is another day! (Unless rapture happens tonight, in which case I’m certainly glad that my last meal was so darn delicious.)

Tomorrow the walk across England begins, with the traditional dip of our boots in the cold Irish Sea.

Tags: coasttocoast · England · Travel · Wide wonderful world

Money changers in the terminal …

May 21st, 2011 · Comments Off on Money changers in the terminal …

Frank says, “You can can see why Jesus was annoyed.”

Got into Heathrow Terminal 3 at 9 p.m. Normally, airport terminals have lots of choices of banks for an ATM that lets your US cash card buy local currency. But here there’s no way to get local currency unless you buy it at robbery rates from one of the money changing offices (Travelex, American Express, and etc.) I’m not sure how these folks colluded to exclude actual banks, but it isn’t a good thing for travelers.

So today, May 21, is the end of the world? That was something Jesus worried about a lot, the end of the world, although unlike some evangelicals he didn’t have an exact date to mention. Human greed and uncharity were really more on his mind. I wonder what he’d think of the vast money-making and power-acquiring activity that runs so much of America’s right-wing-enabling religion. I think he’d be truly astounded at all the energy poured into demonizing “nonstandard” love, something he never fussed over.

Anyway, we woke up this morning and walked to the High Street, enjoying the beautiful sunshine, and got English money with no fuss or bother. So the money-changers in Terminal 3 are not doing us much harm, I’m glad to say.

Tags: England · Travel

Blogging is recursive

May 20th, 2011 · Comments Off on Blogging is recursive

Blogging is recursive by betsythedevine
Blogging is recursive, a photo by betsythedevine on Flickr.

Waiting for a morning flight to Heathrow. Frank and I will celebrate his birthday this year by doing the Wainwright coast to coast walk across England.

I just blogged a big chunk of Wordsworth’s 1810 thoughts about just how great this time of year is for the Lake District. So now, I photographed my computer, my blog, my coat, my scarf, my favorite pink hoodie, and all the other crazy people in range in this waiting area.

Adventures and more photos follow, but not for a while.

Tags: coasttocoast · England · Frank Wilczek · Metablogging · Travel · Wide wonderful world

Then longen folk to goon on pilgrimages

May 20th, 2011 · Comments Off on Then longen folk to goon on pilgrimages

Lakeland view by eleda 1
Lakeland view, a photo by eleda 1 on Flickr.

William Wordsworth, 1810, says the Lake District is beautiful this time of year. Sitting in Logan Airport, hoping that’s so ….

Yet, as most travellers are either stinted, or stint themselves, for time, the space between the middle or last week in May, and the middle or last week of June, may be pointed out as affording the best combination of long days, fine weather, and variety of impressions. Few of the native trees are then in full leaf; but, for whatever maybe wanting in depth of shade, more than an equivalent will be found in the diversity of foliage, in the blossoms of the fruit-and-berry-bearing trees which abound in the woods, and in the golden flowers of the broom and other shrubs, with which many of the copses are interveined. In those woods, also, and on those mountain-sides which have a northern aspect, and in the deep dells, many of the spring-flowers still linger; while the open and sunny places are stocked with the flowers of the approaching summer. And, besides, is not an exquisite pleasure still untasted by him who has not heard the choir of linnets and thrushes chaunting their love-songs in the copses, woods, and hedge-rows of a mountainous country; safe from the birds of prey, which build in the inaccessible crags, and are at all hours seen or heard wheeling about in the air? The number of these formidable creatures is probably the cause, why, in the narrow vallies, there are no skylarks; as the destroyer would be enabled to dart upon them from the near and surrounding crags, before they could descend to their ground-nests for protection. It is not often that the nightingale resorts to these vales; but almost all the other tribes of our English warblers are numerous; and their notes, when listened to by the side of broad still waters, or when heard in unison with the murmuring of mountain-brooks, have the compass of their power enlarged accordingly.

There is also an imaginative influence in the voice of the cuckoo, when that voice has taken possession of a deep mountain valley, very different from any thing which can be excited by the same sound in a flat country. Nor must a circumstance be omitted, which here renders the close of spring especially interesting; I mean the practice of bringing down the ewes from the mountains to yean in the vallies and enclosed grounds. The herbage being thus cropped as it springs, that first tender emerald green of the season, which would otherwise have lasted little more than a fortnight, is prolonged in the pastures and meadows for many weeks: while they are farther enlivened by the multitude of lambs bleating and skipping about. These sportive creatures, as they gather strength, are turned out upon the open mountains, and with their slender limbs, their snow-white colour, and their wild and light motions, beautifully accord or contrast with the rocks and lawns, upon which they must now begin to seek their food.

Tags: coasttocoast · England · Pilgrimages · Travel · Wide wonderful world · writing