Its nice getting mail, today we get emails. I've been emailing a guy I met in Portugal. He is surprised to hear from me and I'm surprised to hear from him. It doesn't matter who writes to us but a little note is always welcomed. This goes to notifications from Amazon Kindle. An email from them means a statement that I sold a few ebooks. It isn't much but the fact that something sold is always welcomed news and for that I am very thankful. I watched a video on Youtube once, when the author said, don't write ebooks, you might not even sell a copy but I say write. I find immense joy in doing the research and in the writing especially on an obscure subject. There is an author whose job is to write on obscure subjects, he has written many books and they are not cheap. But if you need information on an obscure subject, you have to go to him and pay his price. My books are not priced like that at all! Granted how many would read a book on the garden of Ninfa and make special plans to visit it? Only me and I'm not apologetic.
He said, 'lets meet this evening.' I said, 'OK.' Where? At Sao Bento train station. Its a great place to arrange a meet up when one is traveling as we both were. We met earlier on a train leaving Sao Bento train station for the Duoro valley. We are still in touch. When I tell people I meet that I write, everyone wants to know if I'll write about them. Indeed I do try to fit them in. Him, especially but I meet so many other people and with today's technology, its much easier to stay in touch. Other travelers have met the love of their lives on the road. But my intent is always to get a story, come back with stories. So I do throw myself out there and let the chips fall where they may. After all as they say, life is best lived without a script.
With the coming of the first chill in the air I know I have to close the book on another year. It was a great year, one filled with enough travel. I first set eyes on Scotney castle a year before and tried to figure out how to get there. It was easier than I thought, train from Paddington to Tunbridge Wells and then bus to Scotney. Then a long footpath about 20 minutes of walking up to the entrance. While this is not Scotney castle, it is the old castle that has been left to ruins to make a romantic folly. There was no bad side to this old lady, she looked great at every angle. She stands majestic over a moat and is so lovely. It always lifts my spirit each time I gaze at her. As the year closes I'm researching for astonishing places to visit in the next year. Life is so exciting.
Do the lines on your hand change? I don't think so. If not and one's palm was read before, what would a second reading show? My fate and my future is truly in the hand, in my hand, to tell me my future and move me into it. Take charge of your life, its totally in your hands!
The Outer Hebrides is a chain of hundreds of islands in the far flung Western corner of Scotland with the west side facing the Atlantic ocean and the east side, the Minch sea. The crashing waves of the Atlantic ocean carves a very jagged landscape into the islands and also creates a landscape unlike any other in the world. Only a few of these islands are inhabited and the total population of the whole chain does not exceed 30,000, it wavers depending the influx of new people and the outflow of the locals who seek more lucrative employment in the bigger cities of the mainland Scotland. The number of visitors have been increasing steadily. So more work catering to visitors are now available and has managed to keep more young people at home. One can go from South to North or North to South to explore these islands, they run about in a straight line, from North to South. Castlebay in the South is a very popular entry point. One can take the 5 hour ferry in from Oban in the mainland or fly in from Glasgow. I was at Castlebay airport one morning to wait for the 10am arrival of the flight from Glasgow. The runway is the beach at Cockle beach. (in between flights one can rake for cockles?) I made sure I had a good vantage point to snap some photos, I wanted to take the sand, the plane and the Machair and frame them all in one. This was the result. Many people do turn out to watch this on the mornings that the flight comes in.
The Outer Hebrides is a chain of islands in the far Western corner of Scotland. Few people even know they exists and only recently did Guidebooks gave it a blurb on their pages. It is a chain of some 500 island which only 17 are inhabited by a very hardy people. Today it is easier to visit because of air, ferry and road links. The Western coastline has some of the world's loveliest shell sand beaches and one is almost alone in most of them. It is the Machair that drew me to the Outer Hebrides, these grasslands which in Summer gives this incredible display of wild flowers much like a colorful Persian carpet. Less people mean less land given up for cultivation and grazing, thus leaving wide tracts to be Machair.
These are the thick marram grass that grows in the Outer Hebrides, they serve to hold the dunes together. They are found on the Atlantic side of the Isles of the Outer Hebrides. They are still cut to be used as thatching for the roofs of croft houses.