Friday, January 05, 2007

Eureka! Something's Open!

I found my castle. Except it's not a castle officially. It's probably what you would call a "stately home" a stately home that happens to be several hundred years old. No turrets. No battlements. No dungeons. But I can add some if I feel the need.

After all I'm writing fiction. I'm not borrowing anyone's house cut from whole cloth. The purpose of my visit is to get a feel for things -- for an ambience, a lifestyle. It's less a way of taking a place and using it than of understanding how a place like that might have made Flynn the man he became.

It's . . . complicated.

And I'm sure it will be interesting.

And I will take lots of pictures, no doubt. When I get back I hope I can share some with you here. I'm not going for about five weeks (mid-February -- when almost all of Ireland seems to decamp for somewhere warm and sunny). Perhaps not the best time to go, but certainly an authentic time to go. Flynn would have spent his formative Februaries there. I can, too.

Besides, I tell myself that it can't possibly be any colder and damper than Christchurch in August. I loved the time I spent in Christchurch -- but I don't think I have ever been so to-the-bone cold.
I think about Christchurch every night when I walk the dogs and I tug down over my ears the fair isle patterned woolen hat knitted by a station owner's wife and sold at a street market in Christchurch. I am always reminded how warm it kept my ears all the time I was there -- even when I stood outside on the Tranzalpine train and took photos as we went over the Southern Alps. That hat keeps my ears warm here, too. And I'm planning on taking it to Ireland -- along with my umbrella.

I don't know if this not-quite-castle has a dog. I didn't ask. I am hoping. Not necessarily for an Irish wolfhound -- that would be too much to expect -- but some sort of four-footed furry fellow or gal would be nice.

My "stately home" has salmon fishing possibilities. I wonder if Flynn fished for salmon?

I know my sons would and they will be very interested in the prospect of me going to a salmon-fishing area. In fact I can just imagine the groans of envy when I announce my destination. And the groans of dismay when I say that I probably will be there three days and never avail myself of the opportunity.

On the other hand, since even as I write this I hear feline protests from Lincolnshire by a certain opinionated cat (hi, Sid!), maybe I will have to so I can send a fish home to him with Kate.

Yes, it's true. She and her spouse are coming along on the castle trek! My spouse, sadly, has to teach. But he spent a month in Ireland as a lad, so he isn't as envious as he might be. I have twisted the arm (not very hard, I might add) of a friend who is almost as eager to go to Ireland as I am, and she's going to come along, too. Should be fun.

I must remind Kate to check her bags to make sure she doesn't have any feline stowaways before she leaves England. I can just imagine A Cat Of Superior Breeding stuffing himself in a fishing creel for the trip!

Why does his smile always remind me of Richard Farnsworth in this picture?


Blogger christa said...

Are some of the pictures going to go on you collage too?
Does Kate need a cat-sitter? I'm a real good cat-sitter. If she needs a reference, my sister can vouch for me. I cat-sitted for her when her and her husband went to Korea for 4 weeks last year and a week in November when they went to Panama. And she has two felines superior breeding. LOL

06 January, 2007  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...

I'll have to do a new collage when I get pictures, won't I? I love this collage thing. It's so much more fun than writing! Less pressure to be perfect. Good thing I'm not in the least artistic (when it comes to the visual arts) or I'd turn it into work.

Kate has a cat sitter at the moment. He lives down the street from her. But when he goes off to university, she might. I'll tell her you're interested! Sid is very particular about his cat sitter. He has forms for people to fill out and he reads the references very carefully!

06 January, 2007  

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