Friday, September 4, 2015

History Lessons from Paul Martin

Continued retelling of our July 2015 trip aboard the barge, Scottish Highlander, and our passage down the Caledonian Canal in the Scotland Highlands.

DSCN0927History lessons from a passionate and informed guide will always make the past come alive.  And Scotland came alive for us.  From the battlefield of Culloden to the massacre at Glencoe, we experienced the Scottish Highlands via Paul Martin.  Being from Wales, Paul has a lot of sympathy/empathy for the people of Scotland at the hands of the English.  And, I am sorry, but why are the Royals/Aristocrats still major landowners in Scotland?  Time to break free Scotland!  Hope the vote for independence succeeds in the future.

P1010579In addition to the lessons, Paul made arrangements for various cultural “events”.  In Inverness, a trio singing and playing traditional instruments with song arrangements given a modern twist.  Another included our barge approaching a remote location along the Caledonian Canal, and encountering an elderly Highlander dressed in his clan kilt, marching slowly while playing his bagpipe.  The music was haunting as it echoed off the valley hills.  Well done, Paul!  Well done!

Paul also provides his services on the French canal trip for European Waterways.  He fell in love with the French countryside so much that he and his wife purchased an old farmhouse, barn and surrounding acreage for their retirement.  And he is a talented artist (30 years of painting and quite well known in the UK).  The barn in France will become his studio with plenty of space for workshops.  His plans include building small cabins for visiting artists to rent whilst (he says that a lot) attending his workshops.  Guess who is invited and going in a few years?!  Moi! et Madame Wanda.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

2015 Annual Mother/Daughters Get-Away

August has been an active month!  Between our annual get-away, my volunteer job as HOA treasurer, and some other goings-on (if the results of this turn out, I will share later), I have not had time to post on the blog and finish my Scotland trip debrief (the July trip).  With summer coming to a close, at least the HOA commitments will slow down. Annual Mother/Daughters Get-Away was fun, as always.  My turn to pick this year.  Never been to Poulsbo before, except to drive through from the Bainbridge ferry to our home on the Olympic Peninsula.   So, Poulsbo was my choice and this was the first time using Airbnb.  Airbnb is such a brilliant resource—lots of places to pick from, reasonable cost, and the transaction process works efficiently.  Our little cottage looked out over the marina, was a 2-minute walk to Old Town (cute with Norwegian roots), and the weather was perfection.  Little Momma gets cold ya’ know?!

A fun to-do this year was for each to take a turn picking out a song from their favorite genre.  You could really see the differences between each of us with our selections.  Mom, of course, was anything big band from the 40’s.  Melinda was a little bit country.  Tracy, blues and rock and roll.  I tend to lean toward folk (or singer/songwriter stuff) or chill-out type (Kygo remix, “I See Fire”).  Entertaining as we drank wine and drank in the views.

Next year, sister Tracy picks the location.  Talking about someplace closer to drive.  Maybe somewhere in the Columbia River Gorge (Hood River?  Skamania Lodge?), Bend, Oregon?, Oregon Coast? or maybe we will fly to Las Vegas!  Anyone have thoughts or recommendations?  Need someplace to keep 4 girls entertained and more than one bathroom (the cottage only had one bathroom and it was a bit tight!)

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