Thursday, 25 June 2009

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Hot walk!

A hot time was had by all at Loqueffret yesterday, but a lovely walk with many things to see and some delicious cakes at the Presbytery, courtesy of Judith. Thanks to the usual Level 3 stalwarts and some delightful holiday-making guests! (Sorry picture taken before all had arrived!)

Sheffield Island Lighthouse

Sheffield Island Lighthouse, September 2007
First Lit: 1868
Decommissioned: 1902

New England Lighthouses
Lighthouse Friends (map)
Flickr: Sheffield Island Lighthouse
Norwalk Seaport: Sheffield Island
Norwalk Seaport: Ferry & Tour Schedule

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


Since the September 11 attacks, there has been a much larger Coast Guard presence on Long Island Sound. Despite the increase, it is still rare to see a Coast Guard ship this large, west of New London. Last month I sailed by the TAHOMA in the waters between Orient Point and the Connecticut River.
The 270' ship is the eighth of thirteen "Famous Class" cutters built. Her keel was laid at Derecktor Shipyard of Middletown, Rhode Island in 1983, and she was commissioned in 1988. With a crew of 14 officers and 86 enlisted, the TAHOMA was the first major marine military asset on the scene in New York Harbor following the September 11 attacks.
TAHOMA is a Native American word for Mt Ranier in Washington (Tacoma). Her current homeport is Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

YouTube: TAHOMA Drug Bust
Wikipedia: Medium Class Cutters

Monday, 22 June 2009

Morgan Park In Glen Cove

"All yields its place and goes"

It seems as if every cruising guide and article I have read about Glen Cove has included a paragraph about what used to be here. The famous Station 10 of the New York Yacht Club was situated on the grounds of this park along Hempstead Harbor's eastern shore. It was here that J.P. Morgan's CORSAIR and William Vanderbilt's ARA were moored in the early decades of the 20th century. Despite reading about this and sailing into Hempstead Harbor many times, I was never quite sure of the exact location. My visit to Morgan Park answered these questions.
Morgan Park is an attractive, 40 acre, landscaped parcel that is open to residents only from May through September. With the ground saturated from the recent storms, and more rain in the forecast, I was fortunate to find no one at the gate checking for residency requirements. A woman in a lawn chair with a clipboard looked at me twice with a suspicious eye, but then resumed her cell phone conversation.
Opened in 1932, the park was constructed and donated by John Pierpont Morgan in memory of his wife Joan. Like many parks bordering this section of the Sound, it maintains the feel of the 1920's in its design and layout. There are gazebos and a bandstand that contribute to that mood.
Just offshore, a mooring field still exists where the yachts of the New York Yacht Club once were. The former clubhouse (Station 10) once stood where a picnic pavilion is now located. When the park first opened, Station 10 was moved just south of here before being transported to Mystic Seaport in 1948, and eventually to Newport Rhode Island in 1999.
"Gone is the glitter from the Glen Cove yachting scene" writes A Cruising Guide To The New England Coast. The post war years were not kind to Glen Cove as development seemed to turn inward and away from the waterfront. The attractive village streets were carved up as well, with four lane thoroughfares lined with car dealerships and fast food replacing the downtown. Glen Cove's connection to the water became displaced.
I walked north along the shoreline eventually reaching a breakwater that extended to the west. The rocks remained wet from the recent rains and I concluded that walking them would be a poor idea. I continued north along a seawall that provided open views of the Sound. Despite the poor weather, a small sailboat race could be seen in the distance (lasers maybe?). A few small fishing boats drifted near the mouth of the harbor. Reaching the end of the seawall, I came to a walkway that climbed a small bluff overlooking the park.
Rather than climb the bluff for a better view, I turned around and retraced my steps. Unfortunately I was running out of time. It was late in the afternoon and I was due to meet someone at another famous piece of municipally owned waterfront land known as LaGuardia Airport.

Glen Cove Yacht Club: Station 10 Photo Gallery
New York Yacht Club: Station 10
Morgan Park: Summer Music Concerts

credit: A Cruising Guide To The New England Coast; Robert F Duncan, W.W. Norton & Co 2002

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Walk on Tuesday 23rd - Loqueffret

We have a long walk (10kms) this Tuesday starting at 2.30pm from the church at Loqueffret (D14 west of Huelgoat). Fantastic views and scenery, with plenty of ups and downs (and one very muddy stretch) on the edge of the Monts d'Arr�e. There will be a short break to see the remarkable church on the way at St-Herbot and refreshments at the Presbytery there. All welcome as ever, but please note that this is a Level 3 walk, so faster pace and a more demanding route than usual.

Stonington Thunderstorm

One of the nice things about a thunderstorm is that it is often a sign that a front is passing through and better weather is on the way. That has not been the case recently, as one storm has been followed by another, and another. It has been a very wet month of June.
I took these photos along Water Street on Stonington Point during a brief respite from the hard rain.

Stonington Blessing Of The Fleet

SOUNDBOUNDER: Stonington Fishing Fleet

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Neither Out Far Nor In Deep

The people along the sand
All turn and look one way
They turn their back on the land
They look at the sea all day

As long as it takes to pass
A ship keeps raising it's hull
The wetter ground like glass
Reflects a standing gull

The land may vary more
But wherever the truth may be
The water comes ashore
And people look at the sea

They cannot look out far
They cannot look in deep
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?
Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Friday, 19 June 2009

Lesley's view of our holiday

Wild orchids, rare butterflies, 'Mediterranean Blue' sea, ancient architecture. What more could one need to make a perfect holiday? Excellent company, of course. Many thanks Wendy, Joan, Monique, Barbara & Derek for making a great week perfect.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Better Herculaneum /Ercolano Or Pompei?

You could see some photos of Herculaneum in my other posts
Pictures On The Walls In Herculaneum/ Ercolano
Vesuvius In Action
and maybe you've asked yourself, what it is?

To be very short, those are excavations of a Roman town, situated under the modern settling, dead during the same eruption of Vesuvius that burried Pompei and forgotten for centuries.
This is the look on the excavations from the access-way.

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Upper level with greenery are the villas, very good conservated, middle level with pedestal are suburban baths, finally the low level are -maybe, I think so- the places where 300 sceletrons were found.

Many years ago I was in Pompei and there was practicaly nothing to admire except the walls of the town. Mosaics, pictures, staues -everything is removed and is in the museums. What is not removed is closed and you can enter inside only if you pay a guide (that is very expensive). Ercolano seemed to me much more interesting. The streets and the houses are entire, there are many paintings and other things -you have not use all your immagination to understand what it was and how these persons lived.
In this post I want to present you only general look on some streets of Herculaneum.

These 2 photos represent look in the direction of suburban baths. In fact, the black holes in the end of the streets are passes to the square you've seen on the second level of the first photo.

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This other photo is a look in the direction of main street. I did not understand sincerely, why they needed that big stone on the street? To make the cars go slower?

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Finally main street with pubblic water and... what you think?... Shops in every door and hole! (read my posts about Shopping In Salerno). Is it possible that the style of life did not change for 2000 years in Italy???

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Read more about the art in the houses of Romans in these posts:

Pictures On The Walls In Herculaneum/ Ercolano 1
Floors If The Roman Houses 2
Decorate Your House With B�s-Reliefss And Sculpturs 3

Something different

Something for those who like to listen to period music in appropriate settings. Members who came on the Quimper walk last year will remember the remarkable Romanesque church of Locmaria (above) near the river. If you are interested in hearing one of the greatest English composer's work performed here, the festival of "Purcell in Cornouaille" includes a concert in the church (on Friday June 26th at 8.30pm), which will also explore connections between Purcell and Gershwin.
There is another concert in the series at Ergue-Gaberic near Quimper on Tuesday June 30th at 8.30pm - a rare chance to hear the organ (see above) built by Englishman Thomas Dallam in the 17th century.
The artistic director of this project is Claude Hermann. For tickets and further information, phone 02 98 52 02 63.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Dunster Castle

I dragged everyone out today despite everyone being grumpy and tired due to lack of sleep after daughter no.2s sleepover last night. (Why do they call them that?) We came here to Dunster Castle, which strictly speaking is in Somerset not North Devon, but if you're in the neighbourhood...

It took us an hour to get here, but the scenery is lovely on the way. It's a National Trust property so we got in free with our card, just before it runs out. The reason for coming today was that they were having a Teddy Bear's Picnic with a special event for very brave teddies. When we arrived we were the only ones picnicing, but other soon joined us. After lunch our teddies were feeling brave so we took them over to the zip wire and got them harnessed up. If you look carefully at the photograph you can just see the blue rope coming from the castle roof down the green below. All three of my daughters sent their teddies to the roof and one by one they came zooming down the zip wire. My nearly-sixteen year old wanted to leave her teddy in the car, but when she wasn't looking he sneaked into the picnic box. Daughter no.2 (she with lack of sleep) got very worried when her teddy wasn't quite heavy enough to make it down and needed a helping hand. All three teddies were awarded certificate for bravery.

After that excitement we calmed things down a bit with a wander round the castle and grounds. (Mr Lion was so exhausted he had to go for a lie down back inside the picnic box.) The inside is typical National Trust, lots of roped off rooms, portraits and things you can look at but not touch. We did that fairly quickly, then we looked at the gardens, nice in the sunshine, explored the crypt where there are supposed to be ghosts, and looked at the batcam to see some cute bats stretching their wings.

It was an OK visit, not sure I would have liked it without the teddy bears, plus, they have no cafe.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Why My Body Hurts These Days

Shocking Revelation From Sitzlandia: All this time, Ryan's "Smart Guy Glasses" were actually just plastic construction goggles with the sides broken off!

Recently I've been doing a lot of work on the house and the yard, in an attempt to make it beautiful or, failing that, at least remotely presentable.

Time clouds our memories, but I seem to recall a few years during high school when our family had an old, discarded water tank sitting in the middle of our garden, right next to an old bathtub. In the right setting, that could probably be considered artsy, but I don't think the right setting is "surrounded by weeds, and obviously waiting for a trash truck to come by one of these years."

Keeping that water heater and bathtub in mind, I've been trying to find some small projects to do around the house, as well as trying to gradually deal with the Crappy Casita. The main house was getting a few leaks, so I went up on the roof one day to try to cover the screws with some gummy pink crap that's still stuck to my arm hair days later. The hour-and-a-half repair job--of course--didn't actually work at all, but the view from our roof was INCREDIBLE! Now I feel like a royal dumbass since we only built a one-story house. I'm currently scheming to build a two-story "rancho," which would have a balcony as well as a small room on top, and the bottom level would be open with a barbeque. That's going to take a bit of scheming, especially when it comes to convincing Angela to allow any sort of builder or contractor back into our lives...

And the Crappy Casita is basically still a nightmare. Angela's sister Toni did us a huge favor and earned what we paid her many times over by signing up to clean the house one day, so at least it doesn't stink anymore. But there are still numerous problems, including the fact that much of the dirt we carted into the lot last year is now washing down the hill and trying to make its way into the crappy casita by one method or another. In the pictures here I'm trying to chisel out some concrete to eventually put in some sort of drainage ditch or ground gutter... something like that. In fact, I'm not entirely sure that the concrete object I have in mind for the job actually exists, but we'll see soon.

In any case, that's why I've not written much in the last month or so.

Chipping away at the concrete. It's a tedious task, but eventually I'll be able to sell the chunks as authentic pieces of the Berlin Wall... Hey, it's sort of true...

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Finally: Pictures From Annie's Visit!

A week or two ago, our friend Annie visited us for a long weekend. Good times were had by all, and we gave her a whirlwind Coast Tasty experience. We spent a few days in the Lim�n province, which is on Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast.

Annie took quite a few pictures herself (you should be able to see them by following this link), but here are some pictures that I took to make you want to pay a visit of your own:

The lovely Angela jumping for joy that Annie is visiting us!

Angela with the "Gandhi look." I'd say, "It's a long story," but it's really not. We were basically just making fun of Gandhi.
Everyone does a few bad things here and there, right?

The sunset at Playa Negra, I believe. This beautiful beach just to the north of Cahuita is supposedly 13 km long. In an hour and a half there, we saw two other people.

Inside Cahuita National Park there are many beautiful beaches, as well.

Annie in the National Park.

Angela and I on the beach.

Annie drinking a pipa, which is basically a coconut with the top chopped off (with a machete, of course). Let the delicious--and supposedly contraceptive, although we all know that's just Costa Rican voodoo--coconut water flow!

Angela with her pipa.

Annie pilfering lemons from my brother-in-law's tree. We made a sort of "Poor Man's Mojito" by mixing chopped lemons, lemon juice, sugar, and cacique (the local cheap booze). It's a perfect accompaniment to a delicious "bread snack" and a DVD from season three of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

Annie, come back soon, and bring Matthew!

Ile de Batz - what a fabulous day!

Blue sky and sea + sunshine + atmospheric island scenery + historical remains + beautiful gardens + all kinds of refreshments (including Sue's delicious cakes) = 26 happy people + 3 happy dogs.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The "Be Careful What You Wish For" Edition

Waylon Smithers (From The Simpsons): "What's wrong with this country? Can't a man walk down the street without being offered a job?"

Recently I've identified with this quote. See, about a month ago I handed in my letter of resignation at my current job. It was just too far away, basically, and I was tired of spending around three hours a day in the car and never having any time to do anything outside of work.

So I'm currently nearing the end of my month-long "finishing work" period, as is required by law. I was casually looking for a job, but in the meantime I've been offered upwards of five jobs. They're admittedly part-time and smaller, but that's what I was looking for:
1. A former student of mine asked me to teach her German, since she's going to spend a year there starting in August. I took that job, and it's going really well. It's also nice to practice German again!
2. I bought a new car recently, and the lady who sold it to me asked if I could tutor her. That's still pending.
3. When a guy came to offer us internet in Berl�n, he said if I was ever looking for a job, then I should call them since they were looking for good people.
4. The mother of the girl I teach German to asked me if I could teach English classes on Saturday mornings. That's probably a go, if I can get our scanner to work (to send copies of my diplomas, I guess).
5. I was offered a job today in Palmares teaching at an English language institute. It'd be only 3 or 4 days a week in the evenings. Sounds perfect!

So, all this excess of labor opportunities is good and all, but I was almost looking forward to unemployment: a good stretch of sitting on my ass, relaxing, reading, and periodically doing yardwork while ostensibly looking for a job. I guess all that may have to get put on hold for now.

But in the end, I may have time to write some more blog posts. Tomorrow our friends Dustin and Sam are arriving, though, and they'll be here for two weeks. We're really excited to have them, and I'll try to put up some pictures or stories at some point. In the meantime, hope you're all well!

(PS - The picture is of some beer bread I made. I couldn't find a good employment-related pic in my collection.)

Monday, 8 June 2009

From Monique's album

If you would like to see all Monique's excellent photos from our coastal walking holiday, just click on the following link:

We Visited The Crater Of Vesuvius Too

This is the long photo reportage about our visit to the crater of Vesuvius. In my precedent post Vesuvius In Action I wrote some words more about this mountain. We continue the overview of the volcanos that I began some time ago (Active Volcanos and Fuji And Vesuvio).

We had to go up the mountain with the car till the quoter of 1000 meters where we could leave the car and pay the tcket.

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From that point we had to go at feet and the map says there is about 3800 m long path to walk. The path was surely not the best we've ever seen in the life. Specially we were with a little girl. But on our way we've seen very old persons, the persons with different health problems (till a broken leg!) that wanted to see the crater too.

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Near the crater you can continue to walk the same path and there are touristic guides you can follow (service include in the ticket).

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On the right side you see infinite world

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This is the right side of the same crater

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And this is the left side

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There were not smokes of other activities in that moment. The only "special effect" were the stones felt from the bord of the crater and we could hear sounds they created. My brother was very afraid and wanted to turn back home from there. I have to say you, my husband NEVER went there in all the life.
-And if the eruption beginns now???
-Well, it's good, we will dey all together in the same moment like in the fables, we joked.

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Read more:

What Is Infinity
Vesuvius In Action
The Ways In Italy
What Is Excellent In Italy
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We Visited The Crater Of Vesuvius Too
Classic Life In The Mountains