Greetings and Welcome to The Handfasting

The last part of ‘And Then We Were One’ is about to being. I am rather pleased with the way it is shaping up and hope you will feel the same.

My thanks to Breathesgirl and to Ms Buffy. You are both wonderful. I would be lost without you.

And to the incomparable Sephrenia – my gratitude for bringing Niall Brigant in all his snarky formality to life.

The HandfastChapter 1 – Who is That Minstrel

It’s the Big Day

The last chapter of The Wedding is posted. Thanks, and hope you enjoy…

The Wedding

Chapter 11 – She Can Make Happy

My thanks to the lovely Sephrenia for this amazing banner!

And, here is a sneak peak of the artwork this talented lady made for the last part of And Then We Were One…

The Handfast What can I say? He is my idea of Niall Brigant…

(TG Journal) If you don’t know a knot…

This is part of a phrase I taught my boy scouts over the years.

When my oldest son was ten, he decided to quit karate. He immediately turned to computer games and television shows. A week turned into a month and he showed no interest in any other physical activity so I pulled the ‘bad mom’ card and strong-armed him into something else. Strong-arming did not involve guilt. My sons are both half Italian and I believe they were born immune from any and all guilt, which was an adjustment for me. I was raised by a mother who used guilt like a finely-tuned instrument, always the right degree for the right moment. She could have me at defiant quiver in two seconds flat.

No, for the oldest I resorted immediately to blackmail and it worked. He announced he would be attending a boy scout meeting with a friend. It went well. Every week he went and he was learning manly skills – knots and lashing, cooking and fire. Then came the first camp-out.

Now, my kid had never been camping. I had, but not in about twenty years, so I wasn’t a lot of help. Off he went with his leaders who let him pitch his tent in a gully. It rained. Then, it rained some more and got cold. My kid was in the tent where the river ran through it and came home Sunday a shivering, miserable mess. His leaders felt it would be a good lesson for him. My son thought it was a good reason to never go camping again. But I could see that he liked it, and he liked himself doing it, so I said to him, “If I go camping with you, will you go camping again?”

The guys who were the leaders didn’t know what to make of me, but over time, they got used to the idea, and I got really good at camping. Eventually I took over as the leader of the troop. For anyone who has done this kind of activity, you will recall the motto, “Be Prepared…” which is my long-winded way of saying once I figure out where I’m going, I start to do research… lots of research.

The corollary of  ‘Be Prepared?’  If you don’t know a knot, knot a lot! There are some things you just can’t anticipate. If you think that this unknown could be a big thing (like the availability of water that won’t leave you with some kind of intestinal distress), then assume the worst and double-down!

Since I’ve landed on Dingle, and I found there was a trail designated as part of Ireland’s National Waymarked Trail system (, I had a good starting spot.

For over a week I perused the site. From a planning perspective, this site is one of the best I’ve run across. Each of the trails is placed on an interactive map. You click the trail name and you are pulled to a page that is loaded with information specific to the walk you are planning. There is a description of length, elevation, and where to start and stop. There is a general description of the walk, and links to maps and reviews by other hikers. You are provided the name and link of the organization that is maintaining the trail. There is also a book that was written and published by a woman who did the walk in 2009 called The Dingle Way.

Fire up the internet and put my money down? You bet! And well worth the dollars it was (the price is listed in Euro, of course).

IMG_0412(1)What’s more, the book is laminated so I can carry it with me (yes, extra weight) and not worry about it falling apart, because according to my weather app, which now shows Dingle, it’s been raining there every day for the past three weeks.

Yup – Dingle and I were destined.


TravelingGal(TG): The Circle Game

thWhen I journeyed to France and Belgium last year, it was knowing I would have a car. That allows such flexibility in where you go and what you see… but, of course, it is also so much more abrupt! Racing down highways, seeing only the briefest of glimpses along the way.

Backpacking is a more intimate journey, but it requires a respect of logistics.

Let’s start with that most basic principal. It is the corollary of what goes up must come down. It is the principal that where you end must have a way to return to your beginning.Think of it this way… you’ve just walked many days down roads and through boggy places. It’s probably rained at least a couple times during your journey. If you are in bear country, you’ve made a point of not showering (even curious bears stay away from humans who don’t smell like flowers or deodorant).You have come to your end! Hooray!

But your car is now somewhere far behind you. You could just reverse your steps and walk back… Yeah… screw that! It feels oddly like sloppy seconds and is my least favorite alternative.

If there is a bus or a train readily available that can get you reasonably close to where you stashed your vehicle, it’s a winning moment. At least for you. You are tired and having your fellow passengers on the train or bus move quickly away from you with that funny look on their faces feels like a bonus. Makes you want to use your last little bar of power to take pictures.

But, for the most part, finding providential alternate transportation doesn’t happen! So, you need to fall back on those twins of travel – compromise and logistics.

In my case, it was looking at all the national marked trails in Ireland, giving up my dream of the northwest part of Mayo (forested reserves, hills, seaside trails, but one way with a bus at the end that only went further north once a day) and landing on Dingle.

Dingle has all outward appearance of lending itself to this type of journey. It has a bus that runs more than once a day from the airport to Tralee with only one connection in Limerick. Granted, it’s not a lot of runs, and it does take two hours, provided you make all the connections, but it avoids the expense of renting a car and the sure disaster that would result from my lead foot and stubborn adherence to the wrong side of the road.

Most importantly, the trail that I will attempt starts and ends in Tralee. A Circle! In an inhabited place!

Looks like I’ve landed on my destination… next up – puzzling through the sudoku of staging and preparation…




Book Reviews 1-1016

Book Reviews 1-1016

Chapter 7 – The Wonders of Nature

Plans move forward, and plotting as well. Thanks – and hope you like it.

For those who haven’t experienced the Big Easy, the Second Line is an old tradition. It started as a funeral parade. A brass band would precede the coffin, which was the first line. The mourners would follow (the second line). But the parade evolved. It is now something that is organized for funerals, weddings and sometimes, it just happens for no reason at all.

When organized for a wedding, the brass band and the married couple are first (the first line) and the guests, and anyone else who joins up along the way, are the second line. The dancing style used by those in the second line is called ‘second lining’ and is considered its own art form. There are videos of second lines available on youtube. Just another wonderful tradition of this city!

Thanks Breathesgirl and Thank you Miss Buffy. I couldn’t do it without you.

And thank you Sephrenia! Writing this morning about Hooligans – and glancing at your funny art! Too true!

The Wedding







Chapter 7 – The Wonders of Nature