This is a charming little video of a trip to Terry and Terry's place back in 1989. I was barely able to make it out there because of work and almost didn't go. However, as is usual with these things , as soon as you get to your destination you realize that it was all worthwhile after all. This trip was no exception. Mam and Dad were in fine form. Dad just loved dressing up in the fisherman's gear and holding the salmon up over the sink as if had just caught it. I had brought the salmon and some oysters from Seattle and of course they were devoured. I think that this was the trip where we did the log of lamb that Dad called 'ony gorgeous'. This was picked up by Terry girl and is now part of the Walsh lexicon. It has always been a well-used expression in the family but somehow Terry's american accent gave it new life and meaning. Mother bear held court as The Queen Bee of the family of course. She was the center of the whole thing in her own quiet way. I did notice one thing though; in one of the clips Colin is asking her who her favorite son was etc etc. Sleeveen that he is he asks her these questions when none of us are around so she has no choice but to answer in the affirmative. This time though Mam was not wearing her glasses and see couldn't see very well. She told me later that she thought she was talking to me. Case of mistaken identity I suppose. I think Terry girl will really enjoy this if she hasn't seen it already. I don't know if anyone has seen this before but I may be mistaken. I just love the look on Colin's face when he is told he was getting his head in the picture by Terry. If that was today of course the tune would be different and would go something like:
Jimmy and Terry get up from the fire, get up and give the man a chair Don't you see it's your brother Colin and he's sittin' in a draft. You know very well he has a few bob and he's buyin' us all iphones Get up ouda that yez impudent brats and let the golden boy sit down
How things have changed over the course of a few years. But, on the serious side, it was great having us all together with Mam and Dad.
The clip with Dad and the fish was done in Colin's house.
Gordy is a bulldog that I met in one of the rest stops between Roseburg and Seattle. He just would not cooperate with his owner and that was his charm. The larger morale of this little clip is how willing people are to show off their dogs and how much they love them. I have met more people since I got Dudley than I have ever had in all my travels. People are willing to strike up a conversation and open up when they have dog than they would otherwise. It's funny how these animals bring out the best in people and provide an reason to be congenial.
This is small pictorial history of our first years in London in the sixties. I started work in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin around 1963, the year JFK was killed in Dallas. While there I became friends with a fellow commis chef called Barry Gormley. At the time we met and became friends we were very disillusioned with life in Dublin and we eventually talked ourselves and each other into leaving and going to work in London. We were both the same age and we seemed to get on well. I already had a friendworking in London who I knew from Jervis St. Hospital so that made it easier for us. Final plans were made and after about a month or so of preparation and trepidation we were ready to head out across the Irish Sea. Even after all the plans were made we still wondered if we would go through with it and really leave home when the time came. We swore we would go up on deck as the ship pulled out of the harbour just to see how we felt. We did just that and declared ourselves happy with the wisdom of our decision to leave. Dad left us to the train station and kept warning me about IRA secret clubs and the like, final words of advice from father to son. We shook hands stiffly and said goodbye. Dad did not go away, he didn't leave the station. He stayed there and looked through the window shifting he weight from one foot to the other with an awkward smile on his face. He was dressed in his work suit with The Irish Times sticking our of his pocket. This was all very embarrassing for a young man about to seek his fortune in far off lands. When I think of this moment of Dad looking through the window and my reaction I am once again reminded of the Mark Twain quote about ' the old man'. I think that my extreme youth prevented me from seeing that he wanted to see us right to the end. We will never know but he may have had that feeling of emptiness and the tear in his eye as he saw his eldest son leave home for good. These are the events that , in retrospect , teach youth about life. The sudden , years later , realization that in all our youthful enthusiasm we were unable to understand the feelings of others. After what seemed like an eternity the train started to chug our of the station and we were on our way to great adventures. At this time of life and with all the excitement we forgot the feelings of others. I know Mam was very upset when I left and Dad, I am sure , in his own was was sad. We know better today. It only took a few decades and a few knocks out of life. We transferred from the train to the ship and finally left the old sod. On the way out we kept true to our promise and went up on deck to see Ireland passing in the distance to see how we felt. We felt fine. I had already secured a job in the Savoy Hotel in London before we left and when we got to London Barry found himself a job in The Grosvenor House on Park Lane. This was also one of the premiere hotels in London and it still is. We settled into London life and it was all very exciting to see all the sights. We had no money to speak of so we didn't get out much. We worked long hours and I think I got about two pounds ten a week. Most of our money went on rent and food but we were happy to be in a new country with what seemed like more opportunities. Eventually we moved into better digs and we did quite well. We were both going out with twin sisters Gillian and Lynette Peppler and these are the girls you will see in the photos. We and the girls all lived in the same house in separate flats. We lived in Finsbury Park and this is where these photos were taken. Terry arrived after a year or so and so did Gerard Twyford and Phyllis. I left the Savoy eventually and went to work in a small hotel for a while. Barry left his hotel and went into teaching. He had never been happy in the hotel industry and may have been the wiser of the two of us. We went our separate ways after a few years and I didn't hear from Barry again. When I left London he was still with Gillian, the fair haired girl in the photo, and they were pretty much settled. I was off to greener pastures and great adventures. I left England to travel for many a year. I always wondered what happened to Barry. Our friendship was a big part of life for both of us and I was curious as to his whereabouts and wondered what had happened to the girls. I had tried to find him through the Internet but to no avail. Then, a couple of weeks ago I got an email from him. He had seen the post of the Gresham Hotel Menu on the blog and contacted me. It was nice to hear from him. It is most appropriate that the soundtrack for this little clip should be of The Beatles. Our lives were measured by the release of of each Beatles album. It was the swinging sixties in London and the air was electric with music and flowers and love. Even though I could not afford the life style at that time I went down to Carnaby Street and bought and overcoat and a pair of shoes. The shoes were shiny and had buckles on them and the overcoat had one of those Edwardian collars and was double breasted. Thankfully none of the photos of that gear survived.
I am always taken by these peaceful creatures who nevertheless are constantly aware of their surroundings and of any imminent danger to themselves. I was particularly taken by this little scene because of the arrival of the adult. This was about 5.30 pm on a hot day but the deer seem so cool and collected in the heat. I hope this brings some peace to the day wherever you are in the world. It certainly did to mine.
Roseburg is a great place for antique cars. Every year there is an event called graffiti weekend where classic car enthusiasts from all around the country come for the weekend. They are very proud of their cars and will spare no time explaining where they got them, how they fixed them up, how much money and how many hours they put into fixing them. A true weekend of proud Americana and the gentler and proud part of American culture. A sight to behold.
Carol and Rich having a summer afternoon natter today. Carol is telling Rich about her recent cruise to Alaska. Pretty soon she will be off to Paris and she will be able to tell us what a wonderful time she had there. We never go anywhere and it seems she goes everyewhere. Life is just not fair after all.
On the way back from Florence Oregon we stopped at this picturesque and famous lighthouse on the Oregon coast. It is a beautiful sight with the vast pacific ocean at it's feet. The area attracts plenty of sea lions and in this case a Humpback Whale. This was a sight to see and as you can imagine these photos do not do it justice. A spectacular sight! The whale would surface for breath and then go under again for two to three minutes and then come up again. There was great excitement every time it came back up and sprayed. Too bad I only had my small digital camera with me. This was a great trip and more on it anon.
This is the house where Napoleon Bonaparte was born. It is situated in the city of Ajaccio in Corsica. These shots were taken by my good friend and keen photographer Daniel Bouchard who lives in Tours France which is another city I worked in in the late seventies.
I was working in Corsica around '76 and I went to see this house. Unfortunately it was closed ( can you believe it, all the way to Corsica and it was closed ) but Daniel was there last week and took these photos. I would love to visit the house but I doubt that I will make it back to Corsica.