Category Archives: Wales

All I Want For Christmas Is…

I love Christmas. I love the UK. I love when they come together in such amazing ways.

For fun:

And for the other side of the coin:

May all the fighting end and all the military come home. That’s a Christmas wish I think we can all get behind.

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Filed under Christmas, England, Music, Scotland, Wales, War

Where in the World Wednesday is Back!

So… exotic locations to tempt the wandering muse…

This one inspired a location in the most recent novel.  The greens are so intense, the golden color almost shimmering, the sky and the waves… Labeled “Westdale Cliff Path,” it sings to me with a not-so-subtle Welsh accent. We weren’t at this particular spot, but drove much of the coast of Wales. The memories, the memories…

Copyright, Paul Forsdick

Images of fields of lavender take my breath away.  Can they really be this gorgeous? Surely there is photo-magic involved. And speaking of taking one’s breath away, what about the scent? Do people with sensitive probosci flee in distress?  I could browse these images for hours…

If you know me (and I think you do) you know that my soul craves green, which is why you’re more likely to see green here than desert, sorry.  And when it comes to green places I haven’t been but want to visit, the Olympic Peninsula is high on the list, despite the Twilight connection.  (Okay, gun to my head, Team Edward, but good grief, infantilize much? Was there anybody who didn’t pick Bella up and run through the forest with her? Excuse me while I cringe.) Okay, now that I’ve annoyed all Twi-Moms and Twi-Teens (plus hit a gazillion search engines) let me get back to my point.

Green.  Olympic Rainforest.

Copyright, Glen Allison/Getty Images [Britannica Website]


So, today, where would I go? Okay, if you know me (and I know you do) it’s Wales, anywhere in the British Isles, really. But maybe just to be different…

I’ll take those fields of lavender.  The Fearless Stormchaser can just put a clothespin on his proboscis.

And you?


Filed under Travel, Twilight, Wales, Where in the World Wednesday

Patriotism, Sport and God–the ultimate trifecta

So I’m surfing youtube looking for Cym Rhondda and I ran across  this stirring gem of human triumph.

How often can you mix God (the hymn), patriotism (when the hymn also is the unofficial Welsh National Anthem) and sport (when the hymn is also the unofficial anthem of the Welsh National Rugby Team)?

Oh, did I mention young guys wearing tight shorts showing off their muscular thighs?

And the team sponsor:  BRAINS BEER.


One of the comments below the video:

i was also there the english started to sing but we over powed and the came out on top im only 14 and thats the first time ive seen it done there so farr the best day of my life

The Europeans and Brits sing.

We do the wave.

Now that’s just wrong people.


Added: Oh! And more! From 2005!

Go, Dragons!


Filed under Rugby, Sports, Wales

GTD — The Travel Edition (in the beginning)

It seems that travel and packing have been on the minds of at least a couple of GTD gurus lately.

And since this is one of my favorite subjects, I must chime in!

Why my favorite? Two reasons, actually. But first (as usual) I must digress with some background.

Our first trip to the UK we decided to go only three or four weeks in advance. We had to do passports, planning, etc. and it was a mad whirl of activity. We made all the beginner mistakes when we were packing. The mistakes that usually involve this conversation:

“Do you think we’ll need this?”

“I don’t know. We’d better take it just in case.”

We took our two suitcases each (not shoulderbags or backpacks or any of the newer travel gear — suitcases). They were crammed with clothes. (It was February. We were going to England. We packed a lot of warm clothes. Heavy flannel shirts, cotton henleys and heavier sweaters for layers, jeans, etc.) The one packing tip we used was, “Wear your heavy coat and clothes onto the plane so you don’t have to pack them.” Good advice, even though we were boarding in unseasonable 80 degree weather in Dallas. Yikes.

We wrestled the suitcases through airports, onto the Gatwick Express, onto a subway, onto another subway, and hauled them to our hotel. When we left the hotel three nights later we said to hell with that and called a cab. (Whew!)

We tossed them all in the back of our rental car and took off, and from that time forward having too much luggage wasn’t much of an issue, but I’d learned my lesson!

Upon arriving back home I returned to the travel boards on GEnie (now defunct) and AOL and reported in, and started paying more attention to packing/travel issues. I discovered Rick Steves and his forum where travelers who prefer to travel light exchange tips.

Over the next few years I read obsessively on the subject, and was determined to master the fine art of savvy packing. I “practiced” by buying travel aids here and there, by paying attention to different recommendations for clothes, luggage, techniques, and using them on camping trips and storm chases and short trips in the car and flights to LA and vacations.

Why did this become an obsession? First, because it was fun. All the reading, planning and practicing was nominally for our “next trip across the pond” and it just kept the idea that we would return to the UK again, and this time I was going to be prepared.

Second, because it was the only part of my life that was organized!

I made lists, I packed, I planned, and when I was on a trip, I was organized in a way that I was never organized in real life. It felt liberating and free and refreshing.

A lot like you feel when you do that GTD thang…. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

If you told me right now that I should be on a flight out of DFW at 5:00 to England this afternoon, which means getting there at 3:00, which means leaving here in two hours? I could do it.

If you gave me a week I’d probably be a bit more organized and would be busy nonstop most likely buying stuff that I probably could have done without.

In coming days I’m going to write about what to wear, what to carry, how to pack, how to travel cheap in the UK. But for now use the links I’ve given you if you want to explore the subject, and here are some photos of my packing and luggage from our most recent trip:

packing light (four sets of pics, linked at the top of the pages)

and some of my images from the trip itself:

England & Wales, 2005 (again, four sets linked at the top of the pages)

Everything in One Bag

If you have any questions or comments about the pics, please post them here so I can respond. Thanks!

Next, GTD – The Travel Edition (what to wear).


Filed under Bags, Books, England, Getting Things Done, Packing Light, Rick Steves gear, Stormchasing, Travel, Wales

Yes, More Wales (lots of pics)

Just browsing through my pics from March 2005, and figured I’d post some more. And now that I think about it, I regret not paying more attention to the village names as we drove through them. But I mean, they were all IN WELSH. So just toss some double-Ls and odd letters in randomly and you’re bound to come close, right?

This was the third B&B we stayed at that had a brand new loo — with no curtains and a glass shower. Uh-huh. This one had a nice view of the front where the cars were parked, and the street beyond. Uh-huh. Still, it was a very nice place, and I don’t really mind showering on my knees.

Imagine my surprise the first time we saw one of these (on a headstone in a small, old Scottish cemetery) and I asked someone what it was and they said it was a robin. I started to say, “They’re nothing like the Robins back in Texas, ours are much bigg–” but stopped myself in time. Heh.

Wish this were a better pic, but he’s a Welsh cowboy! I think they called him a cattle drover — should have written that down. But hey, a cowboy is a cowboy is a cowboy. He resides in Llandovery and keeps watch over a hotel car park.

St. David’s Cathedral — off the beaten path, on the western coast of Wales. How does it manage to be rugged and delicate at the same time? I don’t know. But it does, and it is.

I never get tired of lambs and sheep. That’s because (or so I’m told) I’ve never had them loose in my garden, churning it into a muddy, stinky mess. Well, yes, this is very true. Which is why I can still adore them.

I guess it’s time to stop before I turn into one of Those People with their boring slide shows of their vacations.

What? I already am? Well, I never!


Filed under Photography, Wales