Author Archives: Marce

Six degrees, or five

Shortly after we arrived in Northern Ireland we got an email from my sister’s husband’s colleague, their friend for nearly fifty years and by extension mine too. She told us one of her cousins in Northern Ireland married into the McBride family who’ve farmed the northeast corner of the island for 300 years. Their land includes the rocky cliffs of Fair Head which, like so many places along this coast, was a location for Game of Thrones, and the family welcome hikers and climbers with a car park and a field for tent camping. We marked our map.

At the car park I was dropping coins into the honesty box when a car drove slowly out through the open gate. On a chance I called out, “Are you Sean?”

The driver stopped, then reversed to where I stood. He looked friendly enough and he smiled and said yes, he was Sean. I told him my sister’s husband’s colleague is his wife’s cousin, and he paused for a minute to think about that, then asked, “You mean Margaret Mary?”

“Yes!” I said. “I’ve known her for nearly fifty years.”

“Well, come in and have a cup of tea,” he said and he welcomed us into the house where we had one of those Irish conversations that feel like you’re catching up with an old friend. He told us all about the family here and about the branches who emigrated to America, and he regaled us with stories about the filming of Game of Thrones.

We could have talked for hours, but we were eager to get to the cliffs while the weather was clear and sunny. Sean walked us out and pointed past the family’s ancestral home to the start of the trail, then showed us the various optional hiking routes through the property.

We couldn’t have picked a better day. The air was chilly and there was a fresh breeze but Sean assured us that even on the cliffs if wouldn’t be too windy.

Most of this coastline is columnar basalt culminating in the famous outcropping of the Giant’s Causeway. But even here you can see the long columns that make up the cliffs and see the shapes which can be pentagons, hexagons or octagons.

This is about as close to a cliff edge as you’ll ever see me. “Not too windy” is subjective when you weight 130 lbs. and it’s a land breeze. Let’s just say Sean is well-grounded.

We had the foresight to take along some refreshments and with plenty of convenient rocks to sit on we rested and marveled at this breathtaking scenery. There wasn’t another soul in sight.

We started up again following our blue route markers until right after this stile we lost our way. We doubled back, looked for the right trail marker, lost it again, went back, lost it again. In all we crossed that stile four times before giving up and heading overland. We could see the farm in the distance but not the trail we were supposed to be on.

We slogged our way through lumpy sheep meadows, climbing over wire fences and rerouting around rivulets and loose rock. Many times we thought we’d found an established path only to have it peter out. It was an exhausting and soul-crushing return.

When we finally reached the car park Sean asked how we did and we told him about losing the trail.

“You didn’t see the road?” He pointed up past the fields we’d plodded through.

“No,” we said, sheepishly. “We missed it.”

As we said our goodbyes something behind us caught Sean’s attention and with a quick wave he hurried off to help wrangle some unruly sheep into the barn.

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The insurance dance

After many days on the phone and plenty of rejections I finally found an insurance carrier who agreed to take us on for less than half what we paid last year. We have a few more restrictions as to coverage area but we’ll jump off that bridge when we come to it.

Confirming that we are not yet a paperless society we need to print the documents, sign and rescan them before emailing back to the agent. We need to find a copy shop. Try as I might, I couldn’t locate one anywhere near where we are or plan to be.

We stopped for the night at a little town where we’d stayed before, went to a grocery store, then a laundry, and while Jack kept his eye on the wash tumbling in the machine I circled for a half hour through the convoluted streets until I found the tiny public library.

The librarian on duty confirmed that yes, I can print documents, and when she couldn’t find the visitor’s pass for me to use, she just signed me up as a member. I now have a library card for all of Northern Ireland. Take that, Edinburgh, who wanted a full personal dossier to even let me in the door and denied me membership because I’m not a legal resident of the UK, despite having a borrowed address. I know, rules are rules, but as the accommodating librarian today told me, it’s at the discretion of the librarian, and she obviously didn’t see me as a threat to the library’s holdings.

Access to the collections and services of archives and libraries is always of interest to me as a family history researcher. I don’t mind rules or fees, but I do like to hear a logical reason for denial of services. I’m reminded of my time researching in St. Thomas.

I found the 1820 record of my great-great grandmother’s baptism on microfilm at the Caribbean Genealogy Library. The film was very poor and hard to read.

The cathedral in the same town holds the original records and I went to the parish office to ask if I could see it. I was told I needed to petition the Monsignor in a letter, which I did. My request was denied because the records are “too fragile.” I asked what measures were being taken to preserve the records. None, I was told. So the records are deteriorating day by day in an unforgiving climate, and no one can see them. They will crumble into dust whether someone looks at them or not. I’m still angry about it.

I understand the difference between historical parish records and public library holdings but I strongly believe in access to information, whatever it may be, and however reasonably controlled or regulated.

None of this has anything to do with printing insurance documents except to say that the small town librarian who assisted me also gave me lots of information about where I might find records to help with our family history research. She was for access, not against it. And I nearly danced back to the van, printouts in hand, happy to have a few new leads to follow, and grateful to a local librarian who took the time to help a stranger.

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A hidden village

Guided by a small mark on the map we parked along the coast road by a gate that opened to a gravel road leading up a steep hill. We know by now that such a setting is an invitation to the Escapees to put on our hiking shoes and see what’s up there.

We climbed and climbed, high above the coast road, around craggy outcrops and spongy meadows.

A half mile of thigh-burning hiking brought us to the hidden village of Galboly, a walled group of abandoned stone buildings left to crumble and overgrown with vines and wildflowers. It’s as picturesque a place as we’ve ever seen.

Lucky for us, one of the lineal owners of the village was tending his sheep and was happy to have a chat. Liam pointed out each building — this was Rose’s old house, that was Rose’s new house, this was Annie’s house, that was a shebeen. Liam explained that a shebeen (síbín in Irish) was an illegal pub where they sold homemade whiskey.

“My mother was born in that cottage,” Liam said, and he pointed to a crumbling building with a fine view of the sea. He happily obliged when I asked if I could take his photo in front of it, then regaled us with glee about the times visitors arrived boasting that their granddad or great uncle had lived there, not realizing that Liam was probably a long lost cousin.

Liam was particularly amused by the woman who told him her son was the first to discover the village. He said he asked her if the son was 200 years old and he howled with delight at the thought that his ancestral village was unknown before a young man stumbled across it.

We spent a good hour listening to Liam’s stories and taking photographs before starting the beautiful trek back down the mountain to the sea. The coast of Northern Ireland continues to deliver.

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Get back to One

We collected our mail but there’s one more unpleasant task to be accomplished before we begin the drive around Northern Island’s Causeway Coastal Route: vehicle insurance.

Last year after jumping through hoops to buy EVII we discovered the bigger challenge is finding someone to insure us. The barrier is our US drivers licenses. It doesn’t matter that in 30 years we haven’t had an insurance claim and that we’re exceptionally low risk. Rules are rules, apparently, and we can only get insured by “specialty” insurers, and you want to read “specialty” as “extortionist.” Last year the campervan insurance cost more than our yacht insurance while we were crossing oceans. I’m determined to find a less unreasonable alternative and that means long uninterrupted hours in a quiet place with good cell service.

Of course sitting on the phone for hours every day doesn’t mean we can’t also appreciate our surroundings. With too many gorgeous routes to choose from we opted to drive back through the Mourne mountains. We would have stayed and hiked some but the cell signal was unstable so we moved on after one night.

Tollymore Forest Park looked like a good way to spend an afternoon. Tollymore was the first state forest park in Northern Ireland on land that was part of a historical estate dating back to the 12th century. The park is huge and beautiful, with several Gothic follies built in the 18th century, along with many stone bridges, stepping stones, an arboretum, walking trails and picnic areas.

We generally prefer wild areas to developed ones, but strolling through any park on a sunny day is good for the soul.

Jack spotted this bracket fungus, called “chicken of the woods” and I was tempted to pick some for dinner. We’ve eaten it before, gathered from Frick Park in Pittsburgh, but it looks so pretty on the tree that I decided not to disturb it.

The arboretum wasn’t as nice as Mourne Park, and I didn’t have Alan to identify all the trees for me, but this overgrown and out of place cork tree looks like a survivor, and it’s always good to see where our everyday materials come from.

On another day, as we retrace our route back north to our starting point, we stopped at Dundrum Castle because what’s a day without a castle?

This is another 13th century Norman construction with a spectacular view of the Mourne mountains and the bay. And like most of the castles we visit, much of it is closed. Still, it was fun to walk the grounds and we had the place all to ourselves.

The view from the car park was beautiful and we would like to have stayed but it was posted “no overnight” and we are nothing if not rule followers.

Down the hill we found a free municipal car park along the waterfront with a view almost as good and ice cream right down the street.

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Belfast quickie

We got the word that our mail has arrived and we figured we ought to take a quick turn around Belfast before we leave. It’s been great parking overnight on the waterfront but we haven’t really explored the town. As Jack said, there’s not much to it.

We walked to Victoria Square which I thought would be a charming historic town plaza. It’s a mall. A nice one, granted, but not what we expected. It does have one unique feature, a very nice rooftop deck with a panoramic view of the town.

The historic market is small in scale but very nice in variety of produce, baked goods, fish, cheeses, fancy deli items, and prepared foods.

We were thrilled to see cheeses that aren’t cheddar and splurged on a good selection of old favorites and new-to-us local non-cheddars.

With some pastries, a loaf of sourdough, and a bag of cheeses we felt prepared to leave this mini-metropolis and hit the road heading south.

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Mail watch

We’ve got an Amazon order coming to Belfast and mail arriving in Kilkeel and while we wait for delivery we’re spending a few days acclimating to a new environment and especially to a new language and culture. Right away we discovered that here in Northern Ireland people need only a smile and hello to launch into a wide-ranging conversation laced with humor, peppered with stories, and always including suggestions on places we must see and a litany of where they’ve been in America. We feel very welcome.

We’re reminded again how small this country is and a few miles hither or yon reveals a completely different view. Our ferry took us north of Belfast and we’re delaying driving south into the city until we get delivery confirmation from Amazon. A friendly fellow at our first randomly chosen parkup nominated a more scenic location two miles up the road and wouldn’t you know it, the next day he knocked on the door to say he was happy we found the new place. Do we feel stalked? Not a bit. We had another easy conversation before he and his dog meandered back down the beach. “See you next time,” he said.

It’s time for laundry and we need an ATM so we drove to Whitehead where we can park overlooking the sea, do the laundry, get some cash and pick up a few groceries. We couldn’t find the ATM and asked a passerby for directions. He didn’t know but instead of wishing us luck he enlisted others nearby and before long the committee sent us off in the right direction. I love it here.

We awoke to thick fog but after sitting in the van for a couple of days we need to stretch our legs. The Blackhead Lighthouse cliff walk will shake out the kinks and we set off as the fog started to lift.

If you search Google Maps for Blackhead Lighthouse in Whitehead, Northern Ireland, and activate Street View, you can take the same walk we did along the sea wall.

By the time we headed back to the van the fog had nearly burned off and we got to see the lighthouse in all its sunny glory.

We timed our arrival in Belfast to the delivery of our Amazon order but I have other reasons for spending time here. Like many Americans in the Mid-Atlantic region, I have a lot of ancestors from Northern Ireland. The relevant genealogical records available online are spotty and I’m hoping the archives in Belfast will help me break through a couple of family history brick walls. I warned Jack that I’d be spending some time in front of a microfilm reader and he’ll need to amuse himself for a while.

The archive is a beautiful building and I registered for a visitor pass — valid for ten years! — then settled in to the main research room with a notebook, my iPad and a pencil in a clear plastic bag. I love the rules and rituals of an archive. A few other researchers and a librarian helped me get oriented and I set to work. After plowing through the search-only catalogue and a dizzying six hours reading microfilm of handwritten 18th and 19th century parish records I came to the disappointing conclusion that I‘m not going to experience the joy of finding the exact records that bridge the gap between Philadelphia and Northern Ireland. I’m going to need a new strategy.

Back at the ranch, we found a fantastic parkup right on the water where we can watch the comings and goings of boats large and small and, of course, have lively conversations with anyone who passes by.

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Wrap it up

We thought we’d be in Ireland by now but we’ve still got some items to check off the to-do list and we’re thwarted by a couple of bank holiday weekends and the usual frustrations of the nomad life. While we get it all sorted we’re just meandering around Dumfries and Galloway, the area of southwest Scotland that many of my ancestors came from. Even while I’m trying to get through our list I’m still enjoying being in this place and thinking about how different it might have been 250 years ago. Probably not much.

As always we have no itinerary and just stay overnight wherever it’s most convenient to what we need to accomplish. On ANZAC Day, we walked to a local village and found a beautiful manicured park.

I always read the names on memorials in this part of the world to see if any of our ancestral family names appear, but of course our people emigrated long before the 20th century wars.

We thought this bench was the perfect place to sit and have our own private ANZAC Day remembrance.

One day we drove to see the Milennium Cairn, one of the local works by nearby resident Andy Goldsworthy, one of our favorite artists. There are three other works close by but all of them require a significant hike and the weather isn’t dry enough for long enough to seek them out. The Milennium Cairn is easy to find and beautiful.

You can see more of Andy Goldsworthy’s land art here or find either Rivers and Tides or Leaning into the Wind on a streaming platform. It’s inspiring to watch him work.

We revisited Kirkcudbright, a small town on the river Dee that we’d come to last year for the castle. The castle was closed so we left but this time we stayed for a couple of days even though the castle is still closed.

The river is subject to a wide tidal range. At low tide the boats sit directly on the mud. Many of the boats have twin keels so they sit upright but those with a regular keel list onto their sides until the water rises again. We know this is common in the UK but it’s the first time we’ve seen boats stranded like this in wide mudflats in extreme tides.

Occasionally we find the perfect pit stop. A day before our appointment for the required annual safety inspection we drove to a tiny village by the sea that provides black and gray water disposal, freshwater fill up, and rubbish bins. It’s provided at no cost; I’d have made a donation for upkeep if there’d been an honesty box or QR code. There’s no overnight parking allowed but the view was beautiful so after we serviced the van we stayed for lunch and then some. The next couple of days will be busy and we intend to enjoy the rest of our time in Scotland.

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What do you do all day?

We get this a lot. We got it when we lived on a boat, too. I guess people think if you travel full time or long term, whether by boat, campervan, or with suitcases or backpack, you’re on perpetual vacation, busy touring every day. We’re not, and I think most of our traveler friends would agree. Even though we’re often on the move, we’re living life just like anyone else. We’re just living it in different places.

All the things you do to keep your household running we do too. We shop for groceries and household needs, we plan and cook meals, we maintain our home/boat/vehicle, we do our banking and other administrative chores, and so on.

Take laundry, for example. On the boat we had a washing machine — bliss! — but since our boat systems depended on solar charging, we planned laundry day based on the weather. On a sunny day I ran the watermaker to top up the tank. On the next sunny day I ran the washer, maybe two loads, and hung it to dry in the cockpit. On the third day I ran the watermaker to replace the water the washer used. And of course, wind and solar dried the clothes.

The campervan has no washer. Sometimes we find a reasonably priced drop-off service, and other times we use a self-service laundromat. Here in southern Scotland there are outdoor machines, usually located behind a filling station, where for a fair price we can do our laundry while we’re parked right alongside. The machines work great, laundry soap is included and they accept ApplePay.

When we traveled through Asia this year we paid someone to do our laundry. Most of the guesthouses we stayed in offer laundry service, which we prefer because there’s less chance of some article going missing.

All of this is to say that unlike going on vacation, where you do your laundry when you get home and unpack, we do laundry when it needs to be done, wherever we are and however we can.

Mail and online ordering are a challenge. I mentioned a few posts ago that we’re waiting for the arrival of my replacement credit card mailed from the States. At the same time we ordered a new thermostat for our refrigerator. These two deliveries would have been easier on the boat because we could use a marina address to receive mail or packages. Marinas are used to it. In the campervan, at least here in the UK, nobody seems to get that we don’t have a permanent address within a few hours drive, and even the post office has refused to accept an Amazon delivery. This kind of thing is a time-sucker and we’re always happy to stay in one place and get our ducks in a row for a couple of days.

We both have our own interests in addition to travel. I like to spend time researching family history, either online or at a library, archive or historical society. Jack keeps up with Formula 1 news and other interests. We both read. Every day, rain or shine, we get out and about to explore our temporary neighborhood and chat with anyone we happen upon, maybe visit a café.

The other day this gentleman arrived near our parkup with a basket of homing pidgeons. I was in the middle of cooking but I switched off the hob and jumped outside to have a chat.

In a thick accent I struggled to understand, he told me how long he’d been doing this, how old the birds are, how the club he belongs to is losing members, how far away he lives and how long it’ll take the birds to get home.

He checked his watch periodically, and at a predetermined time he opened the basket and the birds flew out.

We watched them circle a few times before heading off toward home. Then my new friend said goodbye, picked up the basket he told me had belonged to his father, and drove off. I love these encounters.

A few minutes later it started to rain and the schoolchildren that were down on the riverbank gathering specimens were herded out of the muck by their teachers and marched back toward town, undaunted by the downpour.

Almost every parkup brings surprises. A great bakery. Or a beach. Or a good sunset. We just take whatever every day brings and live our lives around it.

That’s what we do all day.


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A wall and a wheel, from sea to sea

Both my parents were great readers and history buffs. My dad read any period of history, while my mom held a particular interest in the history of Britain. I wouldn’t be surprised if she could have recited the names of the kings and queens of England in order along with the dates of their rule. I say this because she could recite all the American presidents in order, the 50 state capitols alphabetically either by state or by capitol, and, in a dazzling triumph, all the names in our family (at the time numbering over 100) alphabetically either by first name or last name, or by birth date. I know. Incredible.

I didn’t inherit that talent but my sister did. But back to British history; it’s daunting. There’s just so damn much of it. When we first got to Scotland we bought a big fat book of Scottish History but except for making good use of the index to answer specific questions, neither of us has managed to wade through something both my parents would have gobbled up.

By now you’re familiar with our mode of travel: go somewhere, look around, figure out what you’re looking at. In this case we found ourselves near something on the map called the Antonine Wall. We know about Hadrian’s Wall of course, and Jack has that on his Must See List. But the Antonine Wall? Never heard of it.

While Jack took a personal day, I strode through the woods along John Muir Way toward something called Rough Castle Fort along the Antonine Wall. It had rained the night before and the trail was soft in parts.

After about a mile and a half I emerged from the forest to what looked like a big lumpy field. This, a placard informed me, was the fort and the wall.

Most of the ancient sites we’ve visited have been excavated and either preserved as is or reconstructed to varying degrees. This one, with no visible evidence of excavation, is a mystery. There are placards with artists’ renderings of the buildings but looking around you really need to use your imagination.

Artist’s idea of the fort.
The present view from the same spot.

Unlike Hadrian’s Wall, constructed of stone, Antonine Wall, begun 20 years later, was earthworks on a stone foundation. Nearly 2000 years of natural forces have understandably had an effect. It’s difficult to capture what the eye can see while walking through the space. The photo below is about as good as I could get to show the remains of the wall.

The wall ran 39 miles, from the Firth of Clyde to the Firth of Forth and marked the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. It was 3 meters high and 5 meters wide at the base with a deep ditch on the north side. The ditch is how you can tell where the wall was.

An early 1900s excavation uncovered lines of defensive pits which would have had sharpened sticks at the bottom.

There were originally 19 forts along the Antonine Wall with smaller fortlets inbetween. Nevertheless, the Romans abandoned the wall only eight years after completion and retreated back to Hadrian’s Wall. It seems they couldn’t subdue the Caledonians.

Wikipedia tells me Rough Castle is the best preserved of the forts along the northern Roman frontier. Earlier excavations were covered up again and more recent research depends more on technology like LIDAR. Today it’s just a pretty place with a brief but significant history.

From the fort I followed the Union Canal, part of the Scottish canal system. The swans on this day were undisturbed by narrowboat traffic.

Until the 1930s the Union Canal was connected to the Forth and Clyde Canal by a system of 11 locks, dropping boats 115 feet and completing a continuous waterway from Glasgow to Edinburgh. It took almost a day to pass through the flight of locks. By the ‘30s the route fell into disuse, the locks were dismantled, and in the 1960s the Forth and Clyde Canal was closed.

Around the bend, the Union Canal goes through the Rough Castle Tunnel, illuminated for some reason with constantly changing colored lights.

The view from above the tunnel facing East.

On the other side of the tunnel the canal appears to end in mid-air, but this is where the story gets good.

In the 1990s the British Waterways Board and the Millenium Commission, along with other entities, sought a way to reestablish the link between the Union Canal and the Forth and Clyde Canal. The result is the Falkirk Wheel, a rotating boat lift that replaces 9 of the original 11 locks, raising boats 79 feet and making a continuous sea-to-sea passage along the two canals possible again.

Aerial view borrowed from the internet.

The wheel not only benefits the narrowboaters navigating the Scottish canals, but also draws tourists from all over to see this one-of-a-kind feat of 21st century engineering and design. I recommend reading the whole story here. It’s fascinating. Tourists can ride on modified narrowboats, lifted from the Forth and Clyde Canal to the Union Canal, then along the canal to the first lock and back to the Wheel for the lift back down. Even on a chilly weekday when we were there it was busy.

Without a drone or a helicopter it’s difficult to photograph the entire structure, so I recommend googling for some better overall photos and videos. We enjoyed sitting in the café on a drizzly day watching the mechanism and the delighted visitors boarding the boats for the slow-motion watery elevator.

The best part for us is that for a small fee we could spend the night and enjoy the services from the marina. Once the tours were over for the day, we had the place to ourselves.

While I was out taking pictures a huge flock of geese flew by, loudly announcing their passage. I watched until they disappeared, then went inside our cozy home for dinner.

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Back in the swing of things

It’s been two weeks since we arrived in Scotland and moved back into the campervan. In some ways we slid right back into it; in others we’ve had some adjustments to make.

From the storage place we drove directly to a caravan supply store and swapped out our empty propane bottle for a full one. Propane fuels our heat and hot water, the refrigerator, and the stove. Next we stopped at a grocery store for a few essentials for dinner and breakfast before checking into a small campground where we could fill the water tank and plug into shore power to get the fridge down to temp before we do a full food shop. After not driving anything at all for six months Jack had no problem negotiating the ubiquitous clockwise roundabouts or squeezing the van into the narrow spaces of shopping centers.

It was damp and rainy and we were the only ones at the campsite but it served our purpose as we unpacked and made a first pass at organizing. It will end up being many passes as we remember what needs to be at hand and what can be stashed away.

After a more substantial grocery run the next day we felt confident we could go offgrid and drove to a beautiful parkup at Louden Hill near something called the “Spirit of Scotland” monument. We had no idea what that is and couldn’t see anything from the van.

Early the next morning an unexpected blue sky lured me outside to follow the trail toward Loudoun Hill, a volcanic plug that dominates the landscape. This place, we learned, is the site of two key battles in the wars of Independence, led by William Wallace in 1297, and Robert the Bruce in 1307.

The Spirit of Scotland is a modern (2004) monument to these battles. The outline of William Wallace frames the hill, with the inscription Thou saw’st the strong arm of a Wallace raised to stem the tide of alien tyranny. It’s a dramatic addition to a dramatic landscape.

I gave up on the idea of climbing the hill because of strong wind and hurried back to the warmth and shelter of the van. I was glad I went early because it was Easter and for the rest of the day the car park and trail were crowded, despite deteriorating blustery weather with spitting rain that would have kept a normal person home by the fire with a good book. The Scots, we’re reminded, are not normal.

Our original plan was to head straight for Ireland but we’d had an unexpected spanner thrown in the works. Before we left Turkey the bank canceled my credit card without warning “on suspicion of fraud.” My card is always in my possession, I’d had no fraudulent charges, and the bank couldn’t say what convinced them the card was compromised. Despite my desperate pleas, they shut down the card and sent a replacement. To New Jersey. I was in Turkey about to travel to Scotland, with no working credit card. That’s not entirely true. I do have a backup from a less desirable bank (points and rewards-wise) and Jack has his own account, but still.

My sister, who receives our mail, promised to forward the new card to the storage address in Scotland as soon as it arrives in New Jersey, and all we have to do is hope it gets here before too long. That puts Ireland on hold while we hang around the general area until the mail arrives. We need to come up with a plan.

I chose a quiet parkup where we could stay undisturbed for a few days and we found ourselves adjacent to a UNESCO World Heritage site.

This is the village of New Lanark, founded in 1785 and built around cotton mills operated by water power from the only waterfalls on the River Clyde. The village is an important example of urban planning in the early Industrial Revolution, and includes housing for workers, schools, shops and a church. The experiment was successful, combining profitability with better living and working conditions at a time when most factory workers endured a grim existence.

It’s still too cold in Scotland for us, so after a quick turn around the village to admire the water sluices and surviving waterwheel we took refuge in the warm café on site.

The village was built long before the advent of modern vehicles and the car park is a steep uphill slog from the river. Of course I had to detour to visit the graveyard.

By the time we got home we decided to head east to Edinburgh. And we’re hoping for warmer weather.

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