Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Achill Island

Deserted famine village, Achill Island

Beach art, Keem Bay, Achill

Hut, Keem Bay, Achill

Hut, Keem Bay, Achill

Monday, July 20, 2009

County Mayo, Ireland

Shop window, Knock

Boat hull, Wesport Quay

Ceiling, abandoned Westport Quay warehouse

Religious wares hut, Knock

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Westport, Ireland

Clew Bay, Carrowholly, Eire

House at Clew Bay

Large flotsam, Clew Bay

Westport, Eire

Cows on Clew Bay beach

Heron, Clew Bay

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Yorkshire Railway Museum

Last days in York – we went to the art museum, full of paintings from the 17th to 19th century, as well as a smattering of modern pop work. We went on a “Ghost Detective” walk one evening, which was quite amusing though only minimally scary, aside from the tendency of the “detective” himself to suddenly shout some of his words (“…covered in BLOOD!!”). Someone across the stream from our house decided to start a bonfire, which left our street shrouded in odoriferous smoke, and our neighbor took the opportunity to start his own in his back yard, flames about ten feet high…fortunately the wind was low and no sparks reached our house!

On our last full day, Pi stayed home to read and rest, while the, indefatigable as ever, further explored York’s byways, wall-walks, snickelways, and street market, as well as visiting the enormous railway museum, which featured both famous engines (e.g. Mallard) from the beginnings to the present, and “rolling stock” such as postal cars, dining cars, sumptuous passenger carriages, etc., as well as a warehouse of miscellaneous railway paraphernalia (signs; switches, lights and other hardware; furniture; engine bits; etc.) and a workshop where men are refurbishing the Flying Scotsman engine.

Monday, July 13, 2009

York and Durham


Before leaving York, Piper and I took a one-day expedition to Durham on Sunday, an hour’s train ride north through green hills towns of Darlington and Northallerton. We walked down the hill from the station on the hill above the river, crossed the old bridge to the historical part of town, and back up the other side to visit the cathedral. Also browsed around an antiques sale, wandered some tiny cobbled alleyways down to the river and the historical museum, and finished off a pizza lunch with icecream bars before returning to York.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Maggie picked us up in her newish Toyota and we dined at her house.  Yesterday was hot, and after Pi woke at noon, she and I bused to York center and spent a few hours traipsing around, from the lower Ouse bridge through massive crowds, through a street fair, towards the Minster via the Shambles, lunching at a little sandwich place and walking it off along the city wall-top.  Checked out the Monks Bar museum of Richard III and then followed a unending glittering trail of small change laid end to end around the perimeter of the Minster by kids collecting for the Heart Association, to ascend 275 tightly wound steps to the roof of the Minster tower. HOLY CRAP --  exhausting!  95-mile view from the top, nicely windy to dry the rampant sweat. Back down to seek out an icecream cone, then down to the river and along it for a bit, crossing over the railway bridge and back up the other side to catch the bus to Maggie’s again. Whew.


Thursday after I had an early morning walk (Piper asleep) down the “ginnel” (moving from the grafitti-laced alleyway to a semirural path through the neighborhood, mostly of Liverpudlian decrepitude), Pi and I took the double-decker “Magic Bus” down Wilmslow Road to the center of Manchester (Piccadilly Gardens). 

There we spent several hours walking around with our trusty cameras: from redbrick Victorian oldtown, along the very urban canal, across to the river, up to the circular main library and the town hall; then toured the art museum of 17th-19th century works including by Blake, Rosetti, Renoir, etc. as well as some contemporary folks.  Quick lunch from a Subway -- of all places! – and after getting a bit lost (little or no signage when you needed it) decided to forego the Manchester “Eye” and bused back.

Friday I took another morning walk through nearby Birch Park (Piper asleep) which was a “beautiful” large, grassy, wooded acreage but ultimately boring; and then D and I walked (Piper reading) to the grocery store via Platt Fields park, more interesting, including a big pond filled with moorhens, ducks, a hundred or so Canada geese, and swans.  I was able to ruffle the tailfeathers of a cygnet who was nose-down in the water (the mother was unamused).  Next to the park was a large neighborhood of student housing (once terraced housing for the lower classes) – pretty desolate and wholly without gardens or decoration. And then we took the hour-and-a-half train from Piccadilly Station to York, via Huddersfield, Dewsbury, and Leeds. [At Huddersfield, at Huddersfield, there was a cow that wouldn't yield. The reason why it wouldn't yield? It didn't like its udders feeled!]

First stops in England

We got out of Heathrow’s new Terminal 5 Monday afternoon relatively well-rested, with very little hassle or customs time involved, and caught a bus to Oxford almost immediately—too fast in fact to call David, which we had to do from Gloucester Green station once we’d arrived. So after then sauntering to the train station and people-watching awhile, we rode in his aged Mercedes to Banbury, where he has a 2-bdrm 5th-floor penthouse terraced flat right downtown with a view of a couple churches etc., and distant fields.

Tuesday morning we dodged showers around the Banbury lanes; it is sort of like a nicer, older (half-timber abounds) Barnsley, with canal.  We then packed up and drove north to Warwick, where we skipped the Disneyfied castle but enjoyed St.Mary’s church (12th-century bits) and the Guild Hospital Museum, and lunched (ah, ploughmans!)  beside the large manor gardens. 

Alas ¾ of the way en route to Manchester David realized he’d left his Moon Grove keys in Banbury!  So after much headbeating and tactical todo we had to return, and spent last night there as well, treating ourselves to a Thai dinner. (David had cooked a fab tuna casserole the previous night, which I will attempt to duplicate at the first opp.)  Weather yesterday was fairly dreadful, especially on the motorway.

Wednesday we again headed north, avoiding rain and the motorway and heading into the Peaks District, first visiting Lichfield, which had an amazing cathedral that nearly rivaled Milan’s, and then continuing on winding roads (no carsickness for Pi, who mostly sat in front) through rolling green hills (no peaks!) past cows, sheep, goats, horses and limestone quarries. In Ashbourne I insisted we stop at a picturesque church I spotted (St. Oswald’s), which boasted some skullery like Sansepolcro’s, and in Buxton, a largish spa town with an opera house and college, we explored, sampled the curative waters and lunched at a quiet pub on the High Street as a funfair was being set up.

From there it was a quick “descent” into Manchester; we rested a bit (Pi hunted frogs in the lush garden), downloaded 500 photos, and picked up food at Sainsbury’s.  I cooked pork chops with fresh “mange touts” peapods and mushrooms, after which we walked up the street through the Rusholme area, bustling with Middle Eastern and Indian eateries, smoking establishments (hookahs!!), etc.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

On the Road

Here are a few shots from my weeklong California roadtrip with my son. The first is from Ashland, Oregon, the others from the San Fernando valley.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


Greetings armchair travelers:
Eff Why Eye: A new blog has been spawned, called Eff-Stop Local. Neighborhood travelogs and urban geometries for your delectation.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Traveling Very Close to Home

We're thinking about a return to Europe later this year, but in the meantime check out a few of my photgraphs of a local derelict K-Mart from Robin's new blog, Red Apple Elegy.