Monday, June 16, 2014

No Inukshuks

Here's another favorite sign.  When I first saw it, I thought it meant "no inukshuks."  What else does it look like and what else can it mean?
I found out it really means the freeway is ending.  Looks like an inukshuk to me.
We spent the day on Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands on the west coast of Ireland.  We met this dear English gent on the ferry going out.  Bob questioned a fellow wearing a tie and matching handkerchief to go sightseeing and I hoped to see him hop on a bike when we got to the island.  He told us the necessary fact that when you are driving, you should change into your kilt as it's much more comfortable.  And I thought the English knew nothing of kilts!
I've seen Inishmore in movies but it's better in real life.  It's also better when the temperature in 25C, the sky is blue, and a very knowledgeable guide is showing you around the island in a mini van.
The island is full of rocks.  It had me thinking of all my farm cousins who had to pick rocks by hand when they were young.  At least you could see the end in sight.  Here you never would.
We walked up to the 300 foot cliffs at the old fort Dun Aonghasa (2500 years old!) and I couldn't bring myself within three meters of the edge.  I had to turn around and not look when Bob went to the edge to take photos.  Thank goodness I know how to spell vertigo!
The fort has three rings of stone walls around it all constructed without any mortar ("dry walls").  I've learned that the construction of them is a dying art which surprises me because if you knew how to do it, you would never be out of a job here.  They are everywhere and most are in need of repair.  Another dying art is the ability to thatch roofs.  There seems to be a need for that too.
Then we went to Na Searcht d' Teampaill which has the ruins of seven churches plus a cemetery.  Some of the graves are Roman and date from the 700s.
And some are new.  The cemetery is still in use.

For lunch I ordered a ham salad expecting it to be what I got at home.  Instead it was what I would get in Australia ... ham with salad fixings on it.  It was delicious despite the white bread.
This is a fuschia, right?  It's that plant we buy at home that's twelve inches tall and starts dying after ten minutes. 
Here it is behind Bob.  It's a bush!  I keep thinking about how we coax things to grow at home and are pleased with the scrawny results.  Here it's the opposite as plants take over and have to be cut back and destroyed.  On the island we watched one woman using a very large rake to tear ivy from the fences.  It had overrun them in her yard.
Here are two Bobs meeting each other.  The one on the right doesn't have the last name King.
This photo isn't about the Celtic cross; it's about marketing.  If you are going to be a bar, don't dream up a crazy name ... just be "The Bar."
Please admire the little dot in the middle of this photo as it's my shot of a seal in the harbor.  A man from Maryland was trying to do seal mating calls to get it to come closer but, like us, he apparently knows nothing of seal mating calls.
My final story from the island doesn't have a photo.  We met a family of 23 from California, Texas and South Carolina who are in Ireland to search for and appreciate their roots.  An aunt and uncle said if they would pay their flights, food, and shopping expenses, then the aunt and uncle would rent a manor house for them all to stay in.  "Just a small manor house" one of them informed me, but how small could it be if it's called a manor house and sleeps 23?  They seemed like the nicest people ranging from about 10 to 60 or so.
I'll end with this amazing invention which I have never seen before.
When we come into our hotel room, we have to put our keycard in this or else the lights in the room won't turn on.  It locks in place and cannot be removed until all the lights are turned off.  Thus you can never leave the room without turning off all the lights.  What a brilliant energy saver.

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