It’s starting…

When The Mrs gets the travel bug, she starts researching, organizing, planning, plotting, comparing… and Map Study! She loves maps. And globes. She mentioned recently she wants to go back to Wales and continuing hiking along the Wales Coast Path… but then she talked about a trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan. Oh, and we are scheduled to go there yet this summer, and have our reservations and everything. We have talked in the past of going to Australia, partly because I have been there a number of times and have talked about how much I loved it. So tonight, she is researching a trip to Oz in all earnestness. She is comparing flight times, prices, and destinations… Sydney? Brisbane? Darwin? I have been from Melbourne north to Port Douglas, so I mentioned that I would like to go to either the North, or West…

Interestingly, The Mrs’s friend Jill has been trying to talk us into a trip to Iceland, which is a destination I’ve never really seriously considered. Then, this week I read a blog posting by a young Aussie who has been to Iceland, and it looks INCREDIBLE! Here is her post… The Icelandic South CoastI commented on her post, and lamented that I couldn’t decide now between north to Iceland, or south, Downunder…. She recommends Iceland!

Well… The Mrs has already identified and priced a 10 day walking trip, and it is through a company we have used in the past when we walked in Wales, Mac Adventure… so the planning has begun…

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Thursday Door, and 3 in a week…

I mentioned in a previous posting that every Thursday I get notification that the Irish writer & blogger, Jean Reinhardt, has posted a new blog entry entitled, “Thursday Doors.” I also mentioned that I am continually planning to go out and take photos of cool/interesting doors around the Springfield area and post them here under my own Thursday Doors heading… and never quite got it done.  Until this week! I refinished the door/hatch/board/whatever that leads into the cabin of our little O’Day22 sailboat and took photos, and so here is my very own Thursday Doors entry!

Before:

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After:

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AND… here is the really cool thing. I just got my Thursday email notification that Jean has posted, and her doors this week are on boats in County Cavan, Ireland! She also posted a picture of her boat, which is quite unique and looks pretty darned cool I have to say.  So checkout Jean’s blog and then go to the source of this madness, and check out the original Thursday Doors at Norm’s blog.

So, 3 times this past week I have sweated off a Constant Glucose Monitor Sensor, which is a companion to my Medtronic insulin pump. The CGM gives me a moderately accurate reading of my blood glucose levels. Moderately because it reads the glucose levels of the interstitial fluid of the insertion site as opposed to the blood glucose levels from a finger stick. The IGL lag the BGL by about 20 minutes or so… So, the sensor is adhered to the skin surface by an adhesive base pad, then a special tape strip, and in the summer I add a second special tape strip, and the past couple weeks I then cover the whole thing with waterproof first aid tape.  And still I sweated 3 of the danged things off (they are normally left in place for 6 days). It has been so incredibly humid the past couple weeks, and then I have been running, and outside working on the boat, and outside playing, I mean, working to get gear ready for a backpacking trip with my buddy Garrick… and it seems all I do is sweat, sweat, sweat… Viola! off slides the sensor! Yesterday morning after the 3rd one detached uninvitedly, I figured I would leave it off while I went running. By the time I got home, the insulin pump reservoir had run out.  I walked around to the lake side to cool down and stretch down by the dock and saw The Mrs swimming in the lake, so I trotted down the hill detaching and unplugging the pump, then yelled, “I’ll save you, dear”, and jumped in the lake!  It is such a hassle to secure the pump and sensor to prepare for water immersion, I rarely swim these days… so yesterday was a real treat!!

Finally, this morning’s sunrise, followed very shortly after by the clouds rolling by southeasterly carrying rain to Indiana…

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Thursday Doors

Every Thursday I look forward to receiving an email entitled, “Thursday Doors” from Jean Reinhardt. I always tell myself I am going to start taking pictures of interesting doors I encounter, but as of yet, I still just wait to enjoy Jean’s!! This is her latest Thursday’s Doors posting….

Jean Reinhardt

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As promised last week, Thursday Doors comes from Fota House once more. No blossoms this time as I’m focusing on the building itself. This image is of the front and the following one shows the rear.

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Because we spent so long in the gardens that day (after all, the sun came out not long after we arrived) we missed the last guided tour of the interior of the house. However, I did manage to snap the reception area, with its beautifully paneled doors and windows.

From the outside, it doesn’t look too interesting, does it? Wait till you see the inside.

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Beautifully restored plaster work above the fireplace.

Paneled walls and paneled doors.

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The coffee and scones are delicious, too.

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Just look at the height of those windows.

If this part of the house is anything to go by, I can’t wait to see the rest of it. Apparently, the classical…

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Sailboats, sunrise & moonrise… & Turtle Rescue

Today is HOT and Humid .   <did you see I “bolded” the period there?  The temperature when I got up this morning at 6:10 was already 79F with 80% humidity.  I decided I needed a quick run early before it got too hot, but between feeding the cats, watching the local morning news and weather, and drinking coffee, I didn’t make it out the door until just after 8:00. And by then the temp was only 80, but felt like 90. I decided an easy 2.5 miles in the shaded path of the UIS Challenge Course extension would be just dandy. Within a minute I was called upon to exert my super-powers and rescue a poor turtle sitting in the middle of the roadway of West Lake Drive. Poor turtle was sitting in the middle of the southbound lane with its little head sticking out of its shell… looking but not going anywhere. And I could hear a car approaching from the other side of the hill. I scooped up the turtle and carried it as I ran. It was about the size of a softball. So…according to my Garmin running watch/gps, I stopped at the 3:35 minute mark, which would be when I stopped in the woods and put the turtle on the ground right next to the water… Yay! One turtle rescued!!! The run after that was totally uneventful.

Note: I am working backwards on the events noted in the title.

Last night, my sister-in-law texted The Mrs and insisted we go look at the moon…. right that second!! This is why…

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and a moment later

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Sunrise from Sunday morning…

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This just leaves sailboat stuff to mention.

The new Neil Pryde sail for the Hilu arrived… I originally ordered one built to fit a Sunfish, thinking that is what I had on the Hilu. (The Hilu is a 14′ outrigger sailboat kinda thingy built by AMF Alcort in the ’70s using the then Alcort Sunfish hardware and rigging.) Turns out, my Hilu has the mast/booms from a Minifish, which is smaller by a foot. I posted my mistake picture previously, so here is the follow-up picture of the Hilu with the CORRECT sized sail on it!!

This then brings us to the Miss Mollie, my O’Day22.  The past week or so has actually been pretty good for sailing on Lake Springfield… better yet, since The Mrs’ pontoon boat is still in the shop, she has been easy to coax out on the sailboat. I even woke her up early one morning after a glorious sunrise and we went out for a couple hours!

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So, now I just wait to see what adventures unfold today!

Memories of Veddw

It is a cloudy, drizzly, and earlier this morning, foggy day, plus I am fighting the cold that is floating around, sooooooo… it is a good day to sit at the computer and reflect on our trip to Wales last August. I had started doing a chronological recap of our trip, but got so busy with other things that I stopped  after writing about our trip across the pond by ship. The Mrs has been keeping up with the journey on her site, and has posted a few entries about our visit to Veddw, an extraordinary garden located in Monmouthshire, Wales, UK. I feel motivated to jump into MY reflections about this day of trip even though I am due to write about our hike on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path…

When The Mrs & I decided last year that we wanted to spend a walking holiday in the UK, we finally settled on  somewhere in Wales (I have ancestral ties there but had never been there). And we started walking seriously (sorta) to get conditioned for our upcoming hike. I also started researching the internet to find out everything I could about hiking in Wales. And I came across the blog of a gentleman who had extensive experience hiking in Wales… Charles Hawes – Walking The Blog. I contacted Charles with many questions about the “best place” to hike in Wales and what equipment/gear would be suitable for our trip. In the exchanges back & forth, I felt I got to know Charles well, and appreciated his candor and wisdom. Turns out he and his wife, Anne Wareham, live on a property called Veddw, and they have created a wonderful and unique garden space on the property. The Mrs & I discussed visiting Veddw during our holiday after viewing their website, and we both felt it was REQUIRED!

So, after we finished walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path over a period of a week from Dale north to St. David’s, and then 4 days in Ireland. On Sunday, August 23rd, we visited the Gardens at Wyndcliffe Court, near Chepstow and Tintern first thing in the morning, in a fair bit of drizzly rain… We had tea and cake in the wonderful Tea Room, snuggled up nicely next to the fireplace.860

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The Mrs next to a sculpture…

Then, we headed off for Veddw as the sun broke through the clouds…

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They have their very own highway directional signage!!!

The Little White Car is our Wales rental car… Note the high-tech signage … I think Charles posted that just for us, knowing that we Colonials easily  get lost & confused…

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First view of Veddw… and the view they have of the countryside is below…

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I took 32 pictures of Veddw…. hardly enough!!! But The Mrs took bunches more (plus video) and she is posting photos on her blog (here) . I will try not to post duplicates of her pics… and I am not going to post all 32, either. I may refer to her pics in some cases (kinda like back-story, or He-said/She-said).

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The reflecting pool… so COOL!!!! Anne discusses the challenges of getting the reflection to “work” in her book, The Bad Tempered GardenerSpeaking of her book, we bought a few copies of her book while at Veddw and had her sign them (some for gifting, some for keeping!)  I love the interplay of the organic curves of the hedges and the linear boundaries of the pool and paths…

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The recurring poetry of the curve of the hedges echoes throughout the garden…

 

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The Mrs had a couple pictures of the thistle plants on her last posting, and said how much she loved these… But in her photos you couldn’t really get an idea of the SIZE of these plants… as you can see, they are much taller than she is!!

I love this little pebble/water bowl with Charles’ and Anne’s names on the rim….

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One more endearing photo of The Mrs….

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And finally, a picture of Grace with Charles as we were saying our goodbyes…

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At one point during our visit, it started to rain and so I scurried down to the house and sat on the sun-porch with Charles & Anne chatting while The Mrs continued to wander the garden taking pictures…  Charles then invited us to stay for tea, and I graciously accepted.  I assumed he actually meant tea, although from my time in Australia, I knew the in the Queen’s English, tea usually refers to dinner/supper.  A little while later, Charles said he just wanted to clarify that he meant just tea, not a meal, and explained that one time he had invited some other folks to stay for tea, but they expected the full tucker! I told him it was understood, and we were more than happy to just have tea… and biscuits!

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It was then back to our B&B,  Parsons Grove Holiday Cottages

Grace’s Blog about Veddw

I’m guessing only a small handful of people will have any idea what the title means… Charles? Anne? John?  Did anyone make it??

The Mrs posted a blog entry about our visit to what WE consider the coolest and mostest wonderful garden IN THE WORLD…. Veddw, in Wales.

Here is the link to Grace’s blog posting about Veddw

Note: this is her third posting all  about the same day, presented in bite-sized pieces.  So, Charles, make sure you check out Part One…. Grace has gotten into the lavatory pictures groove and has an OUTSTANDING offering!!!!!

Finally … and it’s only July 1st

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Sunrise over Lake Springfield… and the Miss Mollie mast is stepped, and already The Mrs & I have been out twice. We went out for about 2 hours yesterday afternoon, and it was lovely!  So after 2 years of vision impairment issues, I am back to being able to participate in my hobbies/interests.

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The Mrs at the helm whilst I mess around doing seemingly important , ah, STUFF!

And since I am discussing boat things, I ordered a new sail for the Hilu from Neil Pryde Sails and when it arrived this past week, I installed it… hmmmm…038

TOO BIG! it is about 12″ too long for both booms. I contacted Neil Pryde Sails as well as another sailing company I have dealt with, and it turns out the sail rig on the Hilu is for a Minifish, not a Sunfish. So NPS was happy to swap my Sunfish sail for the correct Minifish sail for the cost of shipping.  More than fair I would say… That’s it for boat stuff for now…

Next on my lists of Back To Fun Activities, is my participation in the 114th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry. The flag lowering ceremonies at the Abraham Lincoln Tomb resumed, and I once again able to march in formation and fire my musket for the Tomb ceremonies. This is one of the really cool activities of Co. A of the 114th. Co. G of the 114th is a competitive group of us who shoot our Civil War era firearms (and/or replicas.) Last weekend we competed at the Sandy Ford shoot just outside of Streator, IL. I came home with 2 First Place ribbons and two Second Place ribbons. Pretty danged good for having to learn how to shoot all over again after 2 years of blindness issues (sorry for the bragging!)

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And here is a picture of some of the guys from the 114th on the line…. except for me as I was taking the picture.

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So, all in all, a good start to the summer. And today I plan to clean the gutters!!! Just for fun of course….