We are drawn to the edge. Like so many flamingoes we like to dip our toes into the water and paddle while the sun goes down. Lisbon feels edgy in a different way. More used to the western shores of Ireland and the coppery cliffs of Waterford, this is a gentle edge slipping into the Atlantic in the balmy air. But as I begin to find out . . .
It is almost by accident that I am here in Lisbon this week. But I have always wanted to come. My eyes are relieved to have this change of scene from green Ireland and the Saint Patrick's Day shenanigans. Instead Alfama, where we are based is warm and peachy. No shortage of washing lines and crumbling doorways here in Lisbon. I'm . . .
Following the edge
We had just arrived in Northern Brittany. Our first stop was to be a field on the edge of the Ile Callot. You get there by crossing a causeway at low tide. When the tide returns and the day trippers go home, there are only a few occupied houses and the wilderness left. And ourselves of course, camping out under the stars. We woke on . . .
A decision to make
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea. -e.e. cummings During the last week in France, Mont St. Michel becomes visible on the horizon and gets closer every day. It towers over the bay, between Normandy and Brittany, and as many times before, it . . .
The ebb and flow
"We come from the sea, Tim; our blood is salt, and strange tides ebb and flow within us all.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Books of Magic It has been a month by the sea. Quite literally the sound of the waves crashing on the northern shore of Brittany has been the soundtrack to our nights here. On the last evening the wind kicked up . . .
Remember to look the other way; sense what is lurking behind your back, what is over your head and what is under your feet. For a moment out on the island, up close with the grasses I heard them whispering about the state of things; the end of summer and the dying back of the plant world. In the salty air out there, old petals crunched . . .
The best spa treatment in the world
The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. Isak Dinesen I've been to some spas and the best thing about them has been the company of other women and how much fun that can be. However I can't imagine any spa to match the best treatment in the world; the salty magic of sea bathing. I'm not a big swimmer. OK I won . . .
A sideways glimpse at the Burren
I regularly witness people come to rural Ireland and begin to unravel some of the stress of their lives. Urban living for all of its convenience can lack a connection with nature and land. I've seen this with Irish people in particular, that their being is soothed by landscape. At a deep level the land and the sea bring them back to their . . .
Postscript by Seamus Heaney And some time make the time to drive out west Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore, In September or October, when the wind And the light are working off each other So that the ocean on one side is wild With foam and glitter, and inland among stones The surface of a slate-grey lake is . . .
We head out west where the roads are small and everything takes time. We arrive in the rain of course and the van winds across the mountains of Connemara as we aim for Killary Harbour. The family are gathering with a small Swedish Grandnephew as the centre of it all. He is a smiling bundle of energy with a thing for household and domestic . . .