Cardiff Castle, in Wales, may not be as famous as the castles and palaces in Scotland and England but it boasts some spectacular architectural surprises.
The brainchild of architect William Bruges, the almost 200 year old castle has an Arab Room with an ornate gold leaf ceiling, a nursery with fairytale murals and lamps, and exotic animal statues. And these are just a tiny sample of its treasures.
Believe me, these pictures don’t do any justice to the real thing.
Does anyone recognise this location? Think of young men and women learning to fly on broomsticks in the first of a magical movie series.
Yep! This is part of the quadrangle in Durham Cathedral, UK, one of the locations used in the early Harry Potter movies. Apparently, a portion of the upcoming The Avengers: Infinity Wars movie, due in 2019 (I think), was filmed here in May.
This is a beautiful cathedral with a deep but quiet sense of history. Dating back to 1093, the architecture and stonework have stood the test of time, as has the incredible stained glass Rose Window. Unfortunately, photography is prohibited within the cathedral, so here’s a link if you’d like to know more.
This recent weather calls to mind a trip years ago, when the family and I were scheduled on a flight out of Newark to Washington, DC.
That day, it rained. And rained. And rained some more. Some might say the rain was mild compared to what’s happening now, but the impact was no less dramatic.
The Airport was chaos; all flights were cancelled, passengers were frazzled and staff were overwhelmed. We were presented with the option of staying somewhere – no guarantees of a room anywhere – overnight and hopefully get a flight out the next morning, or taking the train.
We chose the train. There was a mad dash to get to the station where, by some miracle, there were five seats left on the train leaving in 17 minutes.
The train arrived and we boarded, after some fumbling with the luggage, with no idea where these miraculous five seats were. We eventually found two seats in one carriage, with one seat in another. The problem was, the two seats were single ones.
Ordinarily, The Man and I would have had no problems sitting separately. But a three-hour journey with a six-year-old? Separated from either parent? With one parent in another carriage? Not an ideal situation.
I plonked The Munchkin into the nearest vacant seat, and prepared to ask if anyone minded swapping seats, beginning with the occupant of The Munchkin’s companion seat. Then the train started moving. And I heard a voice.
“Need a seat together, do you?”
Well, yes please, but who spoke? Several rows down, a gloved hand waved. And a tall man heaved himself out of his seat.
“Well, come on, then. Come sit here so I can go sit over there.”
So the seat swap took place and The Munchkin and I sat together all the way to Union Station.
I will forever be thankful to this complete stranger who made all the difference on this journey. I thanked him then, and I’ll say “thank you” again now.
Some years ago, I sustained an injury that required walking temporarily with a cane for balance and support. With my usual impeccable sense of timing, I was booked on a cruise that would be sailing during this recovery period.
I had two obvious choices – cancel or proceed with cane. The family (and the doctor) felt a cruise was leisurely enough for me to manage, provided I was careful during embarking and disembarking. So off we went.
My movements were slower than I would have liked and stairs were unfriendly obstacle courses, but the relaxed atmosphere made mobility less of an issue than I had feared. Until the buffet line.
I don’t remember how I ended up separated from the family but there I stood before the row of serving dishes, wondering how I would hold onto my cane, my plate and dish my food.
“Did you want the chicken or the beef?”
Young Lady Passenger spoke from behind me, smiling cheerfully. “Chicken? If you pass me your plate, I’ll get it for you.”
I remember staring at her, startled into silence. She must have thought I was really, really slow. Which I was, obviously, in more ways than one.
“What else, Auntie? You want veggies? Pasta?”
I protested that I could manage and that she should get her own food but, nope. She heaped my plate, and then left the line to carry the plate all the way to my seat.
I have never forgotten that act of kindness and unselfishness. If you happen to be reading this, know that I remain extremely humbled and grateful. Thank you.