Today Was a Good Day: On the Narnia Trail in Rostrevor

Self has never read C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

She has visited Rostrevor, in Northern Ireland. Which, according to Csilla Toldy, a Hungarian poet who lives in Rostrevor, was a place particularly close to C. S. Lewis, a place Lewis has said was the source of much of his inspiration.

The day self arrived in Rostrevor, Csilla took her to The Narnia Trail. This is the first time self had even known there was such a thing.

First, Csilla and self walked through a dark wood.

Then, a great expanse of meadow:

Walking to The Narnia Trail, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

Walking to The Narnia Trail, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

Then, the door of a wardrobe suddenly popped up out of nowhere:

Start of The Narnia Trail, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

Start of The Narnia Trail, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

And a number of trees with tiny doors:

The Land of Narnia

The Land of Narnia

And — voila! — Narnia!

Beautiful trail.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Creepy 3: Whitechapel, London

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is CREEPY.

During a Jack the Ripper tour, one July evening, seld found that the streets off Whitechapel are a garden of sometimes disturbing wall art:

Wall Art, London, July 2015

Wall Art, London, July 2015

Yes, Why Exactly Are You So Serious? Graffiti Wisdom, London

Yes, Why Exactly Are You So Serious? Graffiti Wisdom, London

Figure in Black Has a Screw In His Head, Oh No!

Figure in Black Has a Screw In His Head, Oh No!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

War, Literature & The Arts: An International Journal of the Humanities

In a few weeks, it will be time again to remember 9/11.

Self is so glad she bookmarked War, Literature & the Arts, which she’s been dipping into for a very long time now.

Today, she read Donald Anderson’s essay on Phil Klay’s story collection, Redeployment.

It begins:

I’ve long guessed that serious students of “war literature” are not war lovers, that love of war is not why they turn to literature.

Anderson’s first Phil Klay quote is this:

We shot dogs. Not by accident. We did it on purpose, and we called it Operation Scooby. I’m a dog person, so I thought about that a lot.

Honestly, that was truly, shockingly painful to read. But she believes every word. That is, she finds it entirely plausible.

She thinks she may just look for Klay’s collection, next time she’s in a bookstore.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Creepy 2: Random

WordPress Photo Challenge this week: CREEPY

  • This week, give us some heebie jeebies!

Here’s more creepiness:

DRACULA by Bram Stoker, Illustrated by Edward Gorey

DRACULA by Bram Stoker, Illustrated by Edward Gorey. Did you know that author Bram Stoker studied at Trinity College in Dublin? Self only knows this because she went on a tour of Trinity College.

Dancer, Masskara Festival, Bacolod 2013

Dancer, Masskara Festival, Bacolod 2013

Ballyvolane House, Cork: A servant ran off with her mistress's jewels, was apprehended and hanged somewhere in the vicinity.

Ballyvolane House, Cork: A pair of servants ran murdered their masters and made off with their master’s jewels. They were apprehended and put to death.  The male was hanged, the woman burned at the stake, somewhere in the vicinity. Hence the appellation “The Hag’s Cross.”

Self is so glad she never heard about The Hag’s Cross until the last day she was at Ballyvolane House because she hates ghosts and such.

The Tyrone Guthrie Centre has its own ghost story, which was told her by a fellow resident. Apparently the ghost is named Miss Worby’s Ghost and she tweets.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Beneath Your Feet: The Sea City Museum in Southampton

Self is posting this as a tie-in to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:  BENEATH YOUR FEET.

The Daily Post says:

Experiment with your angle. Stand as you snap your picture, or get close to the floor.

In July, self visited the Sea City Museum in Southampton, which has a fantastic exhibit on the Titanic.

Until then, self had no idea about:

  1. Where do icebergs come from?
  2. Where are icebergs made?
  3. Which part of the Titanic sank first: the bow, or the head?
  4. Poop decks: what are they?

Here is a floor map of the city of Southampton. The red dots mark the homes of the crew who went down on the Titanic. Apparently, a majority of the Titanic’s crew of 897 were from Southampton. Of the almost 900 crew members, only 212 made it home. Which makes perfect sense when you are reminded (by the exhibit) that the crew bunked in the bowels of the ship, near the engines. They had no chance to escape once the ship hit the iceberg (It took less than an hour for the ship to become completely submerged)

Floor Map of the City of Southampton, part of the Sea City Museum's Titanic Exhibit

Floor Map of the City of Southampton, part of the Sea City Museum’s Titanic Exhibit

Further Areas of Southampton Showing Homes of the Titanic crew who drowned

Further Areas of Southampton Showing Homes of the Titanic crew who drowned

As self said earlier, it’s a floor map.

Here’s her friend Joan McGavin, who lives in Southampton, pointing out other place markers to self.

Joan McGavin pointing to (something?) on the floor map of Southampton at the Sea City Museum: July 2015

Joan McGavin pointing to (something?) on the floor map of Southampton at the Sea City Museum: July 2015

It was a fantastic exhibit. Self highly recommends it to anyone who has heard about the Titanic, watched the movie, or just wants to know about social classes in England in the early part of the 20th century.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

First Sentence, New Story/ And Self’s Discovery of a New Fantasy Book Series

  • Let me tell you about wind.
Self was going to take a picture for this week's WordPress Photo Challenge, instead she got distracted by bars of light . . .

Self was going to take a picture for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, instead she got distracted by bars of light . . .

It is a red-letter day. Self started a new series by Christopher Paolini. The first book of the series, Eragon.

Over the years, she has had much cause to thank various nieces, nephews, sons of friends who tell her, “Read this! You won’t regret it!” She thought it would be fun to compile a list of series she started because niece/nephew/children of friends brought them to her attention. Here goes:

MASSIVE SPOILER-Y ALERT:

  • The Hunger Games: Thank you to Niece G, who saw self reading Twilight and told her: “You should read The Hunger Games.” Self put off finishing Book 1 (the last 50 pages) because she thought Peeta was going to die. Until, one fine day, she spilled her angst to Niece G and Niece G said, “Peeta makes it.” Then self had to rush back home because she needed to finish the last 50 pages she’d put off reading. For three years. Two books later, self was a goner. How deep into this stuff is self? She even entertained the notion of meeting up in Dallas for a convening of Everlark fan fiction writers)
  • Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief:  Thank you to son of Gayo A.
  • The Infernal Devices: Thank you to niece in Calgary, Karina Villanueva.
Karina in Calgary: So Adorbs!

Karina in Calgary: So Adorbs!

  • Eragon: Thank you to Isaac S. At first self thought she would never get over The Infernal Devices — the angst! The Victorian Steampunk! London and York! — but Isaac thought she just might like this new series, so anyhoo, she gave it a shot. Hoooooly Smoke !!!! The Prologue was — mind-blowing.

Also just began reading Kass Morgan’s The 100 (which she heard is very different from the CW TV series). The plot goes something like this: 100 juvenile delinquents get sent to Earth to re-populate it. YAY!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Inspiration: London, June 2015

Self’s mind is restless, in constant need of stimulation.

And some of self’s most inspiring places are in London.

So, here are some inspiring places from London, Summer 2015. She didn’t visit any museums (except for the Wallace Collection: five stars!). For the most part, she walked. She is sorely disappointed she didn’t get to see the Serpentine.

No. 1: The Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria & Albert Museum in London, which self visited for the first time in June 2015

The Victoria & Albert Museum in London, which self visited for the first time in June 2015

No. 2: King’s Cross Station

English train stations are full of stimulating sights, such as this statue of Winston Churchill (Self thinks this is in King’s Cross. The day after arriving in London, she took the train to visit her friend Dodo in Cambridge and came upon this):

This appears to be a statue of Winston Churchill: London, June 2015

This appears to be a statue of Winston Churchill: London, June 2015

And, just next to Winston Churchill, this couple celebrating the end of World War II:

King's Cross Train Station, June 2015

King’s Cross Train Station, June 2015

Love London. Love, love, love.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Travel Is So Inspiring! City of York

Street Performer, City of York, England

Street Performer, City of York, England

York is so quaint, and the cathedral is beautiful.

Self was last here (in the City of York) when she was 11.

Self was last here (in the City of York) when she was 11.

And this Magic Ball Man was great fun to watch:

Street Performer, York, England

Street Performer, York, England

The reason these shots are so tight was: last week’s WordPress Photo Challenge was CLOSE UP. And she was trying to find pictures to post. Hence, these.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Inspiration 2: Yorkshire Landscapes

More for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: INSPIRATION

From The Daily Post:

What is your inspiration? What moves you? What is it that never fails to motivate you, to get you going, or make you happy?

Self will focus on inspirational landscapes. Such as these from Yorkshire:

Yorkshire, July 2015

Yorkshire, July 2015

And more of the same:

DSCN0899

And still more of the same:

DSCN0891

Honestly, the landscape of Yorkshire is so amazing. Green and hilly and full of eccentric rock placements. Sort of like the towns of Yorkshire themselves, with abbeys and cathedrals and Haworth coffee shops and Shipley punks and Bronte parsonages and cemeteries and Salts Mills and David Hockneys and Yorkshire teas and Victorian Steampunk and 1940s Festivals.

Self hates that they won’t let you take any pictures in the Bronte Museum in Haworth. Inside as well as outside, according to the young woman who was the first tour guide she encountered, standing by the front entrance. The guide had watched self taking a picture of a yellow flower by the front steps.

But self felt she really had to get to Yorkshire, not just because of the Brontes, but because of Will Herondale and the events in Clockwork Prince, book 2 of The Infernal Devices.

There is a very crucial plot twist that takes place in Yorkshire but, in the meantime, we have:  Balcony scene, Demons Ball, Chiswick. Herondale, what else can self say. Tessa being all encouraging (p. 292): “Will, you need not be so careful. I will not break.” And then, you know, Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff, Tessa saying Will is like her Heathcliff, the moors, whatever.

So brooding and romantic, Yorkshire is!

So brooding and romantic, Yorkshire is! July 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Inspired in Yorkshire: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

There are so many photographs from this summer that self can use to illustrate this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: INSPIRATION.

But she’ll stick to her most recent album: photographs of Yorkshire.

Which means the Hockney gallery at the Salts Mill in Shipley.

Café in the Salts Mill, Shipley, Yorkshire

Café in the Salts Mill, Shipley, Yorkshire

An old high school chum (who self hadn’t seen since high school graduation) drove her around. Fun!

The Salts Mill is a massive place. But the man who owned it was an enlightened being who built subdivisions for his workers and kept them off the drink with strict supervision.

The Salts Mills, Shipley

The Salts Mills, Shipley

And the Hockneys! Incredible. A whole floor is devoted to the first release group of his “The Arrival of Sprint 2011” – David Hockney Editioned Works.

Close-up of one of David Hockney's editioned

Close-up of one of David Hockney’s editioned “The Arrival of Spring 2011” at the Salts Mills, Shipley, Yorkshire

Self had NO idea there was such a museum in Yorkshire. Of course, she knew Yorkshire = the Brontes. And that is reason enough to go and pay homage.

But throw in David Hockney? And a converted mill? Priceless.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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