Cotton Wool Clouds!

As I sit on the terrace at home it’s a delight to feel the warmth of the sun on my face; a warm breeze touches my skin like a feather cooling me down. Indeed it is one of those rare days when the breeze is a welcoming encounter.

I hear the sound of the ocean against the rocks and the cries of laughter that come floating in the wind from the beach below. The sound of the sea is soothing. While I love to travel, well, today I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else; Ireland is paradise when the sky is blue and ‘cotton-wool’ clouds populace the horizon.

Peace and tranquillity… such bliss. Umm, the bliss is short-lived! The mood is broken! The thundering sound of a plane overhead; I open my eyes and catch the Brittany Ferries on its southbound course… you all know where this story is heading… Ah! Where is that plane going? And what about the holiday makers in the ferry… My imagination is quick to deviate itself from the pleasures of sitting on my terrace to travelling…

Falling asleep in a faraway place, aware of the pleasures that tomorrow will bring, feelings of freedom exploring new places and people, days of discovery fill my imagination. Visiting a foreign city, or distant coastal places, there’s delight in creating narratives of my own as I stroll through the streets sharing my thoughts about art, culture and architecture with my husband. But don’t forget that the ordinary is rich and wonderful. Join the journey of discovering the mundane experiences of new places; Be-in-their-world.

Allowing my feet to take me to where they want to go. Going with the flow, following my instinct, detecting the places where locals go, immersing myself into mundane activities. But, I also very much like to go where the visitors go, checking out interesting spots that showcase the geography, history, and indeed art of the places I visit.  

 I must say that living on the coast entices me to appreciate city escapes; discovering the flurry of activity that city life brings knowing that I’ll return to my quiet haven.  

Weaving together the cultural fabric of places through food, wine, art, architecture, and other elements of distinctiveness that make these places what they are and the people who they are. Threads woven together creating narratives that endeavour to reveal the secrets of such locations. Places mean different things to different people. Sharing experiences can open up new ways of seeing the world around us; and in so doing, entice the visitor to create narratives of their own.

Travelling and writing experiences are, for me, intertwined. I observe the places where my feet take me, be-there; then my feet surrender to my hands. Such encounters, using all my senses, are transferred to the blank page; my hands take over, gliding along its smooth surface. Both pen and page unite to create and archive my memories.

The Lure of the Pen…

Upon hearing or seeing an airplane do you ever wonder where it’s going, well I do, rather a lot to be honest. The night before last, I heard one overhead. It is a wet, windy but balmy night, I cannot sleep. As I lie in bed words converge in my mind, strings of sentences link together. I decide to get up. I try not to make a sound as my spouse is sleeping soundly. I go to the living area; it is 2h20 am. I switch on the lamp at my desk, I open one of my many notebooks – I love notebooks – I begin to write; all this commotion because I heard a plane over 2 hours ago!

The sound of the plane, what an excuse for not sleeping! However, a delightful excuse for getting up and writing. It’s a strange ‘thing’ to write; the pen is an extension of my hand. I prefer the feeling of holding a pen and, as such, allowing it to glide along the page, word after word, rather like a stream of consciousness, so much more visceral than staring at a blank screen. Ah, but of course where would I be without the ‘ole screen’… once I’ve jotted down a few paragraphs I enjoy, nonetheless, the sound of my fingers tapping on the keypad.  The encounter of the traditional pen and paper with the modern keypad and screen reveals the complexity of contemporary lives.

Getting back to the plane! I imagine its destination. Who are the passengers seated beside one another, exchanging stories about their lives for the duration of the flight, perhaps never to cross paths again. Maybe there is an individual going to the bedside of an ill family member or to the funeral of a close friend or relative and who does not wish to make conversation.  Families going on holidays; children excited at the thought of building sandcastles at the beach in some unknown sunny coastal place – what an adventure for them.

Couples heading off on their dream honeymoon looking forward to the prospect of basking in the sun or strolling about the ramparts of some medieval castle.

Perhaps there is someone travelling for business rather than pleasure. Anxious about the presentation that lies ahead; the words , the sentences, the paragraphs going around in the head over and over so much so that it becomes a series of mumbo jumbo! Or another could be reading an important report, the focal point for an imminent meeting.

Together in a confined space, sharing stories about their world, their destination – a place that is unknown for some, a place to explore, a new adventure. Maybe a place that another is returning to for the umpteenth time, a place that holds little or no secrets, although I find that difficult to believe. Places are full of secrets, streets and buildings that have seen and heard the joys and sorrows of those who have passed though them…

Really, it is time for bed, even though I don’t feel tired; sleep will come now that I’ve written these few words… Good night!

I wrote this post last night but didn’t upload it until morning!