Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!


Happy what-would-have-been-our-42nd-anniversary, LeRoy, love of my life! Your sons and I miss you as we celebrate you and say a heartfelt, "Happy New Year!" to our family and friends.

We met on July 31, 1972; he asked me to marry him on September 24, 1972; we married on December 31, 1972; Lamont was born on September 24, 1975. Leland was born on October 31, 1978. LeRoy succumbed to complications from Crohn's Disease on April 14, 1983. In between all of those dates and because of those dates, our lives intertwined with love and joy and happiness and sadness, but ultimately with love and joy and happiness.

Happy anniversary, honey.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Will Portland get almost five inches of rain between Friday morning and Sunday evening? Hmmmm.

All of these are archived rainy weather photos which I've decided to share today, due to the weatherman's dred-filled excitement about what the models predict for the Portland metro area.

I imagine it will begin much like this--in fact, I'll bet it's already like this outside right now. I'll find out soon, when I head for the bus stop.


At some point during the next three days, it will look like this, and worse, if we really do get the predicted five inches.


I took this photo over in Portland's Alphabet District, where I used to live on the top floor of a four-story apartment building. Rainy night, then.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Christmas decorations at my work cube, a break from the ESHT 2014 posts about October 9


My Secret Santa gave me this absolutely fabulous picture frame decorated with gobs of googly eyes which are among my favorite craft supplies, ever! And I put that photo of myself in my More Cow Bell T-shirt in it, because I can!


The wide shot of the cube wall, taken prior to the arrival of the googly eye picture frame and the subsequent rearrangement of certain elements of the decorations. The sign reveals the theme I chose for my efforts, but it was the two packages of green, glittery trees which inspired it! I got them at Walgreens this year; in fact, I went back a week and a half later and bought one more package, for back up!


My handcrafted Super Chikan Christmas ornament, purchased from Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art, Inc., in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Who wouldn't want to play a guitar decorated as a watermelon? Super Chikan's blues musician and a folk artist--he makes full-sized, playable guitars out of all sorts of everyday items. They are works of art, too. He signed in on top of the guitar neck, neat-o!


The girl and boy who are on their way to Grandmother's house. He remembered his camera! They came from the Side Street Gallery, SE 28th and SE Ash, the camera from Goodwill, and the trees from Walgreens.


Grandmother lives in the two-story house at the top of the hill. The snowy village came from Goodwill. I knew it would go home with me the minutes the sales clerk plugged it in at the counter and all of those lights came on. They change from color to color--another neat-o!


More of the woods around the village where Grandmother lives. I've been collecting these trees for eight years, all found at Goodwill and Walgreens, except for the mini-pinecone ones--those table decorations were given to me after a wedding rehearsal dinner where I took photos, sweet!


The string of party lights, labeled Retro Motorhomes, came from the Side Street Gallery. Just like the snowy village, I knew they'd go home with me. After all, my parents had motorhomes from the 1970s on until Daddy died in 1999. I just might go back and get another string of them, to have at home for year-round!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

ESHT 2014 - Back to the coach and out of Llangollen and Wales, towards our next destination, Chester, England



Our Trafalgar coach, right where Tommy parked it in Llangollen. A few minutes after I took this photo, all 52 of us travelers, plus Tommy and Anna, tour director, were underway.


One last photo taken through the coach window of The Corn Mill, across the River Dee. It's a traditional pub restaurant.


As we rode along the A542, thankfully I took enough photos of this ruin through the coach window so that I managed to get a relatively clear one which I could straighten and share with you. Not that I could remember exactly what it was. However, using my search term skills honed by being a high school librarian back in Mississippi, I Googled ruined abbey between llangollen and wrexham--got it on the first hit! Yea, I've still got the touch.

Valle Crucis Abbey (found at the Llangollen in Denbighshire North Wales' Web site:

The evocative ruins of Valle Crucis lie in green fields beneath Llangollen's steep sided mountains. In medieval times, this was a remote spot (ideal for austere Cistercian monks, who deliberately sought out wild and lonely places).

Their Abbey, founded in the 13th century and added to a century later, has fared better than many of its contemporaries against the ravages of time, history and neglect.

Many original features remain, including the glorious west front complete with an elaborate, richly carved doorway, beautiful rose window and 14th century inscription 'Abbot Adams carried out this work; may he rest in peace. Amen.'

Other well preserved features include the east end of the Abbey (which overlooks the monks' original fishpond) and lovely Chapter House with its striking rib-vaulted roof. But Valle Crucis is not just a lesson in medieval ecclesiastical architecture.

A visit to this fascinating site evokes the lives of the Cistercian monks - successful sheep farmers and enthusiastic supporters of Welsh culture as well as devout men of religion .

Interestingly, Valle Crucis also reveals a gradual relaxation in the strict regime of the Cistercians. By the late 15th century, the abbot decided to build for himself a fine new hall with a heated private apartment.

Valle Crucis, the 'Valley of the Cross', is named after Eliseg's Pillar, a 9th century Christian memorial cross which stands nearby.

1998 marked the 900th anniversary of the founding of the Cistercian Order at Citeaux in Burgundy. The white-robed Cistercians were the most successful of all the medieval religious orders. They arrived in Britain in 1128, searching out remote places in which to practice their austere religion. At Valle Crucis and elsewhere, they left a glorious architectural legacy which serves as a remarkable insight into their way of life.

Access: B5103 from the A5, west of Llangollen, or A542 from Ruthin.

Remember that A542 and Ruthin, for later on, OK?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

ESHT 2014 - Drum roll, please! Introducing the man I met on the Llangollen Bridge! Ladies & gentlemen, Tony Powell!

A photo and the Facebook Messages to verify my memory still functions.


Me, to Tony: So, when your photo appears soon on the blog, I want to make certain I have this memory correct. You thought I was taking a photo with you in it, said, I'll break your camera, I turned and approached you and said, no, you won't break my camera, is it ok for me to take your photo for my blog in Portland, Oregon? Yes, you said, then said you were Tony Powell, a Highland Welsh boy from Glyn Ceiriog. You approved of the photo and one of us brought up Facebook, so we became FB friends. Do I have most of that correct? Do you have anything else you'd like for me to include in the caption of your photo, Tony? Thanks!

Tony, to me: yes lynette spot on i look at u pics in work it helps make 12hr nites go a lot quicker keep the good work up u blog is brilliant xx

Me, to Tony: Thanks, Tony! I enjoy blogging very much, and taking photos helps keep me sane. Questions. When I saw you in the bridge, what sort of bike ride were you on? How long? A favorite course? Were you in the middle of it? Thx!

Tony, to me: awww blessss u all u pics are great babe very interesting x ....was it my red or black one ??....i do MTD biking mountain rides ....i do around 30 miles 2 to 3 times a week depends on the weather x ...the horse shoe pass is a tester x just off back home i go the canal route back to acrefair around 5 mile from llangollen the red is a specialized the black on is a giant pal x

Me, to Tony: It is red. Want me to email it to you so you can get a look at it ahead of the post. Don't share it, though. We want the impact of a big debut on the blog! Send email address if you like

Tony, to me: My new specialized.....u can if u want but ill be waiting for it in facebook lol x i wou t do nothing lynette with out ur say so x

So, here's Tony, my new friend brought into my life by the lovely village of Llangollen, Wales, and his new red bike!

One more thing, not really a question, more like a wondering, for your and your friends there in your home. It comes from my blog buddy Jim who lives in Terrell, Texas, near Dallas. He put this comment on my post yesterday: Beautiful scenery. I wonder if the people who live there know what what they have. How would you and your friends explain to Jim and all of us how you feel about where you live and ride, Tony? Thanks!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

ESHT 2014 - Who could resist these blossoms on the bridge? And the views of the village? Camera in hand, I couldn't.


When I turned right away from the Bridge End Hotel, I looked across the bridge and saw this couple walking past the flower boxes. Next I noticed the view, too, but it was the multi-colored lush blossoms that got to me.


I crossed the street and stopped to take this photo. With some perking up with Photoshop or some such program, I think it would make a great jigsaw puzzle. What's your opinion?


These blossoms are divine in their variety, their colors and shapes--someone besides me thinks so, too. It's evident in how well-cared for they are.


Begonias, I love begonias!


A bit past prime, these are still lovely. I don't know the usual weather of Northern Wales, but to find such flowers on October 9 certainly took me by surprise.


Here's another photo that would make a great jigsaw puzzle. My little Mama and I thoroughly enjoyed such puzzles--Lamont and Leland often sat in with us which made for some warm family memories.


Now we know who takes care of the flower boxes. I'll bet its the town council members and/or volunteers.


You can tell there's a breeze blowing--look at the tendrils hanging from those two smaller pots on the pole. Having my raincoat on really helped me because it also helped keep me warm; in fact, if I zipped it completely, I ended up way too hot, so if it wasn't raining, I tied it over my shoulders with the sleeves so that it was sort of poncho-like. Worked pretty good.


There goes my energetic, curious traveling companion, walking along the left edge of the photo. She's the one who discovered this tour and all its details, then shared them with me. Brilliant woman! She could walk me into the ground. I wonder where the steps end up? Alongside the River Dee?


Another close up of more lovely begonias.


There she goes, my great friend, heading towards the coach park.


Gosh, I think all of Llangollen that I got to see and photograph would make great jigsaw puzzles. Here's the train station with some wonderful houses behind it, all alongside the River Dee, and vintage railroad cars.


See what I mean? Even this one would be fun to put together, piece by piece.

Monday, December 8, 2014

ESHT 2014 - Sights around Llangollen, No. 2

I putting what I quote from the Web in italics.

Llangollen is a small town and community in Denbighshire, north-east Wales, situated on the River Dee and on the edge of the Berwyn mountains. It has a population of 3,412. It's difficult for me to pass by flowers and not take a photo. I noticed these outside James A. Bailey & Co. on Castle Street. I lucked out here, capturing as well a cute  little girl with her dad, I'll bet. I wonder if they got the food he has in his lap at Bailey's. I read this online about The Food Emporium: If you're planning a picnic or lunch on the run, drop in here for filled baguettes and paninis, gourmet sausage rolls, homemade pies (try a Welsh Oggie – a meat, potato and onion pasty), Welsh ales and ice cream. I wonder about that building--it looks like a church to me.


Llangollen takes its name from the Welsh llan meaning "a religious settlement" and Saint Collen, a 6th-century monk who founded a church beside the river. St Collen is said to have arrived in Llangollen by coracle. As there are no other churches in Wales dedicated to St Collen, it is possible that he may have had connections in Colan in Cornwall, and Langolen in Brittany. I read this online about the Dee-Side: The Dee Side Bistro is located on the banks of the River Dee in the beautiful Welsh retreat of Llangollen. You can sit and enjoy our exquisite food or drinks with picturesque views, of the the River Dee and surrounding stunning scenery. Hmmm. I wonder if you can hear the river from inside the cafe. I took this photo from the bridge over the River Dee.


Inside this a great wide shot! Llangollen Bridge: There are references to a bridge at Llangollen as far back as 1284 but the first stone bridge was built by John Trevor, the Bishop of St Asaph in 1345.

Rebuilding took place in 1656, and a stone with this date and the name of the stone mason, Rondle Reade, was found during a later bridge widening. The downstream side of the bridge is unaltered since the 15th century but the bridge has been widened twice on the upstream side.

In 1871 a census recorded 6585 people, 298 horses, 129 waggons, 92 carts and 79 cattle using this 8 foot wide bridge – sufficient evidence of chaos to justify the 1873 widening! In 1863 the symmetry of the arches had been spoilt by the addition of the railway arch and, during this work, pieces of tombstones with Latin inscriptions were found, thought to have come from Valle Crucis Abbey. The widening in 1968 was due to traffic congestion.

Llangollen’s bridge is regarded as one of the ‘Seven Wonders of Wales’: “Pistyll Rhyadr and Wrexham Steeple, Snowdon’s Mountain without its people, Overton yew trees, St Winefride’s Wells, Llangollen Bridge and Gresford bells.”

My main goal after eating lunch was to walk all the way across the bridge and then get back to the coach on time. Oh, and to allow enough time to stop by the Buttered Crust for one last visit to the facilities--we'd gotten approval for that from the folks who worked when we paid our lunch tab. Later on I discovered that the gray buildings on the riverbank beyond those trees were the village's mill. More about that later in today's post. Gosh, I wish we'd had hours to spend in Llangollen!


Today Llangollen relies heavily on the tourist industry, but still gains substantial income from farming. Most of the farms in the hills around the town were sheep farms, and weaving was an important cottage industry in the area for centuries. Several factories were later built along the banks of the River Dee, where both wool and cotton were processed. I made it to the other side of the bridge and turned back to take this photo. Love these flowers all along the bridge.


You can see the Dee Side Cafe through the tops of the trees that line the river bank. In between me and the trees are the railroad tracks. Notice the gray stone buildings to the right of the photo? There's a rectangular sign on the rightmost one. It says The Corn Mill. I looked it up online--it's another restaurant.

From The Corn Mill's Web site: The Corn Mill has been grinding flour for at least seven hundred years, and owes its foundation to the Cistercian monks of Valle Crucis. It is first mentioned in a 13th Century document dealing with a fishing dispute between the freemen of Llangollen and the Abbot.

The building as it now stands was re-built in 1786 with three pairs of grinding stones, and continued as a working mill up until 1974. By the time Jerry and Graham came across it, however, it was sadly derelict and in danger of falling into the river. It is owned by a friend of Jerry’s called Phil Brown, and we ended up leasing the mill from him for fifty years. We used a very talented chap called Owain Evans as architect, and appointed Read and Co., a decent local builder with a good reputation. Planning permission took years, because of course it’s an important old building.

The planning authorities, based in Ruthin, thought the conversion to a pub/restaurant was a great idea and wanted it to go ahead. The conservation officer really wanted the building restored to a mill. The local council didn’t want the thing at all, and in addition we had to deal with the Historic Mills people, the River Authority and CADW, (the Welsh building conservation body), each of whom had a different agenda, so at times it was like herding cats.

When we finally re-opened the building in June 2000, lots of people came to see what we had done with it, as there is genuine affection for the Mill locally. There was a lot of excitement when we finally got the water wheel turning again for the first time in twenty-five years.

One visitor, who has since become a regular, had been born in a bedroom upstairs, and found on our walls a framed photograph from the 1950’s of her father with his dog in a coracle on the Mill race. We still have the actual coracle, which we’ve mounted on the wall at the top of the stairs. She insisted that in the ceiling of the ground floor there had been a huge ship’s beam with a 17th century date carved into it, but we’ve never found it.

The place has gone like a train from the very beginning. Mind you, if we’d known how much it was going to cost from the outset, the truth is we probably would never have started.


The railroad tracks and the train station. The railway was extended from Ruabon, via Acrefair and Trevor, to reach Llangollen by 1865, operating passenger and goods services. Thie Ruabon to Barmouth Line became part of the Great Western Railway. One hundred years later the line closed under the Beeching Axe of 1964, closing to passengers in early 1965, and to freight in April 1969. The line was lifted in May 1969. However, a 10-mile stretch of the line has been restored between Llangollen and Corwen and operates as the Llangollen Railway, a tourist attraction. In 2002, the Rainhill locomotive trials were re-staged on the line. I also read this online: 1n 1953 The Queen and Prince Philip arrived in Llangollen by train as part of a tour of Wales. There are still people in Llangollen who remember travelling from Llangollen to London without changing! The line and station closed in 1965 and for years it was left in a terrible state, falling to ruins and full of weeds. The station and the line as far as Carrog, to the west were re-opened by volunteers in the 1970s and continues to operate as a major tourist attraction. 


Looking at my watch, I realized I needed to start back, so I walked along the street to the end of the bridge. Then I decided to take a photo of this appropriately named hotel. I found this on the Llangollen Museum's Web site: The early history of the Bridge End Hotel is difficult to determine exactly. Early 18th century paintings of Llangollen appear to show no buildings at the northern end of the bridge. A map from 1791 does show a building but this may be the Bishop Trefor next door.

The Bridge End Hotel first appears in records in the 1840s, both in Pigot’s business directory and on the tithe map. At this time the inn was owned by John Jones of Rhysgog and run by Robert Wright. He was succeeded by Richard and Mary Parry who were in turn followed by Eliza Whittaker in the 1880s, paying an annual rent of £37 to Martha Baker. At this time both sides of the inn were two storey buildings, with the upstairs on the right hand side reached by an external stairway.

At the end of the 19th century, however, the left hand part of the inn was raised to three stories and a new chimney installed in front wall of the right hand side. In 1927 the right hand half of the inn was also raised, the chimney first being taken down and rebuilt onto the new taller building. Eliza Whittaker was followed by Piercy J. Pace and A.W. Crowhill before S.R. Johnson moved from the Royal Hotel to manage the inn in the 1930s.