My Office This Afternoon – Oct 20
St. Andrews, Scotland

In addition to the cathedral in St. Andrews, there is also a castle ruin.

St. Andrews Castle was home to the bishops of the cathedral – yeah, the bishops, they lived in castles, too… This one figured quite prominently in the conflicts surrounding the Scottish reformation.  One Protestant was burned at the stake, and then the townspeople stormed the castle and killed the Cardinal who’d ordered the execution.

From the grounds of the castle ruin, this is the look back toward the cathedral… standrews-3

The Quest for a
Proper Coffee MUG

Sometimes it’s the little things that make for finding your way into a comfort zone in otherwise unfamiliar surroundings….

A coffee mug, for example…

I think the British must learned how to drink coffee by drinking tea.

Now THAT's a proper coffee mug.

Now THAT’s a proper coffee mug.

How else to explain the ridiculous coffee cups I found in most of the country? You know the type… it’s really a tea cup.  There is a little handle that’s barely big enough to get one finger into.

Clearly they haven’t done the physics on those things … a hot cup balanced on the 3rd and 4th fingers… they do know that coffee is hot, right?  And that the heat transfers to the vessel holding the fluids?  And that heat then transfers to the fingers trying to balance the cup?  Apparently they haven’t figured that out yet, they’re too busy keeping their upper lips stiff…

So, regrettably – since I’m really making an effort to avoid the multi-national chains and patronize the local shops – I finally had to give in and go to a Starbucks to get a cup of coffee in a proper put-your-fist-in-it mug.


My Office This Morning – Oct 19 – Northumberland, England

The final leg of the trip, traveling this Sunday afternoon from Harrogate in Yorkshire to St. Andrews in the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland.  This rainbow followed me most of the way… a most unusual rainbow, I might add, because it formed in an otherwise perfectly clear sky. There wasn’t any rain to speak of… just… this rainbow…


My Office This Morning Oct 18:
Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey - Yorkshire, England

Fountains Abbey – Yorkshire, England

One of the more expansive and well preserved ruins in Yorkshire, built by the Cistercians from the 12th to 14th centuries and, like the others, dissolved by Henry III in the mid 1500s.

I visited Fountains when I was here last year, but arrived late in the day and only managed to patrol the perimeter, so to speak.  I never got inside.

This time I spent almost 10 hours on the property.  I arrived shortly after the grounds opened, had a private tour (nobody else showed up) for about two hours, and then stayed well into the evening.

I didn’t know when I decided to spend the day at Fountains that Saturdays in the autumn they light the place up, offer picnics and barbecue, and then a choir performs in the vaulted chambers beneath beneath the refectory.

The "Elysian Singers" perform in the cellarium at Fountains Abbey

The “Elysian Singers” perform in the cellarium at Fountains Abbey