Final Sailout

Sail out from the final port was a bitter sweet occasion, both because it was the leaving of our last port of call, and because of the head cold.  But sail out was a scenic occasion.  Not only did we pass under the three Forth bridges, but we went past the aircraft carrier “Prince of Wales” in the construction dock, under the Forth bridges, and … Continue reading Final Sailout

A Fortunate Alternate

Rosyth, Scotland, United Kingdom, September 6, 2017:  Rosyth is a former Royal Navy base, now a privatized port.  It’s just up the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital.  While it’s no longer a military base a huge carrier “The Prince of Wales” is being built in her yards. I was feeling badly enough last night that we decided to not set an alarm and … Continue reading A Fortunate Alternate

Orkney Wireless Museum

Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland, September 4, 2017:  What do you do in Kirkwell, Orkney Islands on a wet and windy day? Visit the Orkney Wireless Museum, of course! It is one of those delightfully cluttered and chaotic museums that invite exploration. There are all sorts of radios, and other somewhat related things, like jukeboxes, phonographs, and, WWII memorabilia.    The World War II stuff is … Continue reading Orkney Wireless Museum

A Cathedral Sets its Viking Sails

  Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland, September 4, 2017:  According to our Norwegian Sea Captain, Dag, Kirkwall is from the old Norse meaning “Church Harbor.”  The town is best known for St. Magnus Cathedral but the town was named for the earlier St. Ofav’s Cathedral.  This year Kirkwall is commemorating the 900th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Magnus, Jarl (Earl) of Orkney and the 880 … Continue reading A Cathedral Sets its Viking Sails

Unexpected Sea Day

Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland, Sept 3, 2017:  As Prinsendam pulled out of Reykjavik the PA chimes alerted us to a message.  It started normally for a sail out with the Captain on mic, “This is your disembodied voice from the Bridge, Captain Dag.”  But there was a tone in his voice that told us that we were in for some bad news, and he delivered it.  … Continue reading Unexpected Sea Day

Shetland, No Ponies

Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland:  The Shetland islands, no ponies, but we did see a goat.  He was raising money to buy an infrared camera to be used by the Lerwick Lifeboat Society, the local search and rescue.  We met him in a shop that sells hand crafted soap made from goats’ milk packed in little Shetland wool pouches.  Since we arrived on a Sunday, one … Continue reading Shetland, No Ponies

Beltane Bash (Happy May Day!)

This is Beltane, Celtic May Day.  In 2002 we were in London walking down Great Russell Street and we  ran across the “Beltane Bash” held in conjunction with the “Pagan Pride March.” This is from a family letter written in May 2002. Wherever we travel we find things that interest us.  Saturday we walked into the fifth annual Pagan Pride Parade.  The parade was to … Continue reading Beltane Bash (Happy May Day!)

Brexit Or Not, London Gets European Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets came late to the UK.  It’s not that the UK didn’t celebrate Christmas.  Since Victoria’s Albert brought the Christmas tree to England the Brits have done it up in grand style.  Before Christmas markets, in the European fashion, came to the UK there was always Covent Garden with its stalls and decorations and Regent Street moving out from Piccadilly Circus. (Below are some … Continue reading Brexit Or Not, London Gets European Christmas Markets

Covent Garden, London, 2014

Christmas Markets started in Central Europe, Austria and Southern Germany, and have moved up and down the Danube and spread out from that waterway across the continent.  London has always had great Christmas decorations and shopping, but the European style Christmas Market crossed the Channel only in the 1980s.  Today there are Christmas Markets, Fairs and Faires, throughout England, with the big one in Hyde … Continue reading Covent Garden, London, 2014

St. Pancras International Railway Station

When the St. Pancras railway station opened in 1868 its wrought iron and glass train shed, designed by Henry Barlow, was the largest single structure roof in the world.  It was 689 feet long, 240 feet wide and 100 feet high.  The station was the pride of the Midland Railway and was fronted by a Victorian gothic revival hotel, The Midland Grand, designed by George … Continue reading St. Pancras International Railway Station

Iron and Glass, Flowers and Trains

May 11, 2010 Dear Friends, On Friday afternoons I would go to my grandparents’ flat in Jersey City while my parents had their night out.  Grandpa Brew would tell me stories.  He was raised in Ireland, ran away to sea at 13 and developed a love of travel, ships, Ireland and America.    He introduced me to Democratic politics.  He also told a good story.  But … Continue reading Iron and Glass, Flowers and Trains


May 7. 2013 Dear Friends. The signs looked familiar, “Welcome to Jersey”, “Grand Jersey”. “Jersey Shores,” even some of the names clicked with recognition, Carteret for instance.  But this Jersey is the real thing and an anomaly, as is nearby Guernsey.  Suzi and I met up with our college friends Dave and Carol Lam, who live in Brussels, for a few days to explore the … Continue reading Jersey