I is for Iona ~

It’s time for ABC Wednesday and this week we are on the letter I.

Come with me to the Isle of Iona in the Hebrides.


We traveled from the town of Oban on the western coast of Scotland by ferry to the Island of Mull and then we boarded a bus to travel down the Island to take a small ferry to the small Isle of Iona.


This little Isle is rich in history and beauty.


History of Iona

St. Columba, an Irish scholar, soldier, priest, and founder of monasteries, got into a small war over the possession of an illegally copied Psalm book. Victorious but sickened by the bloodshed, Columba left Ireland, vowing never to return. According to legend, the first bit of land out of sight of his homeland was Iona. He stopped here in 563 and established the abbey.

Columba’s monastic community flourished, and Iona became the center of Celtic Christianity. Iona missionaries spread the gospel through Scotland and North England, while scholarly monks established Iona as a center of art and learning. The Book of Kells – perhaps the finest piece of art from “Dark Ages” Europe – was probably made on Iona in the eighth century. The island was so important that it was the legendary burial place for ancient Scottish and even Scandinavian kings (including Shakespeare’s Macbeth).

Slowly the importance of Iona ebbed. Vikings massacred 68 monks in 806. Fearing more raids, the monks evacuated most of Iona’s treasures (including the Book of Kells, which is now in Dublin) to Ireland. Much later, with the Reformation, the abbey was abandoned, and most of its finely carved crosses were destroyed. In the 17th century, locals used the abbey only as a handy quarry for other building projects.

Iona’s population peaked at about 500 in the 1830’s. In the 1840’s a potato famine hit. In the 1850’s a third of the islanders emigrated to Canada and Australia. By 1900 the population was down to 210, and today it’s only around 100.

But in our generation a new religious community has given the abbey new life. The Iona community is an ecumenical gathering of men and women who seek new ways of living the Gospel in today’s world, with focus on worship, peace, and justice issues, and reconciliation.

The island is car free. While the present  abbey, nunnery, and graveyard go back to the 13th century, much of what you see today was rebuilt in the 19th century.

ht: history and other information taken from Rick Steves’ Great Britain

For more ABC Wednesday go see Mrs. Nesbitt.

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage. I’m working on updating my blog posts very slowly.

ABC Wednesday ~ E is for…

E is for…

This is a sitting room in a Model Home in our neighborhood. I was tempted to nab the pillow with my initial on it but I controlled myself and resisted my Evil side…

 Ellen b. and one of our favorite Saturday walks at Emma Wood State Beach in Ventura, California.


E is for the Ebb of the tide


E is for Edinburgh

Dear and Ellen B. in Edinburgh


the elephant house in Edinburgh


An Epitaph for J.R.R. Tolkien and his wife in Oxford, England.

For more ABC Wednesday photos head over to Mrs. Nesbitt.

Photobucket is holding all my photos I stored with them from 2007-2015 hostage. They have blacked out all those photos on my blog posts. OH BOTHER! I’m slowly cleaning up my posts.

ABC Wednesday ~ D is for…

Photobucket is holding all my photos I stored with them from 2007-2015 hostage. They have blacked out all those photos on my blog posts. OH BOTHER! I’m slowly cleaning up my posts.

My first ABC Wednesday and the letter is D today.

So many choices, I think I’ll share daffodils, dogwood and doors.


This photo was taken in England in April 2004.


This Dogwood tree is in a garden on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle, Washington, just uphill from Kerry Park. The photo was taken in July of 2007.


The photos in this collage were taken in Oxford~England, York, Edinburgh ~ Scotland, South Kensington and the bottom middle one if taken at Ste Michelle Winery in Woodinville, Washington.

To view more ABC Wednesday participants click here.

Photobucket is holding all my photos I stored with them from 2007-2015 hostage. They have blacked out all those photos on my blog posts. OH BOTHER! I’m slowly cleaning up my posts.

Thursday Thirteen #7 ~ Sites in Great Britain

Thirteen Places you should visit in Great Britain…


1. London    2. Oxford    3. Cambridge 

4. Cotswolds    5. Bath    6. York

7. The Lake District   8. Oban  9. Isle of Iona

10. Edinburgh  11. Castle Doune 12. Conwy, Wales

Our favorites in blue are places we’d go back to again. Castle Doune (N.W. of Edinburgh) is of Monty Python and the Holy Grail fame. They even give you coconut shells to clip clop as you tour the castle. Fun times…

13. And last but not least are Bed and Breakfasts. We’ve enjoyed most all that we’ve stayed in.

For more Thursday Thirteens click here.

Places to Visit for the First Time or Again ~

I’m Yearning to Travel Someplace Far Away

England ~ Scotland ~ Wales ~ Ireland ~ New England ~Montreal ~ New Zealand ~ The Shire ~ Russia

I’m such a comfort traveler, not the really high adventure type. Even though I’m Russian, Russia would be my last choice because of the comfort issues of traveling there. Where would you want to go?

Ht: Bridget for the collage she made for me a while back…

The Door

John 10:9 (ESV)

“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”

James 5:9

Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

Rev 3:20

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and eat with him. and he with me.”

Mathew 7:7 (NIV)

“Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks recieves; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

The Curate of Glaston ~ George MacDonald

 I can’t believe I’ve been blogging since March and I haven’t shared a MacDonald quote yet. I so enjoy reading his fiction. I hear that his fantasy is great but I have a problem understanding some of it and enjoying it. I was introduced to MacDonald by reading Sir Gibbie. That hooked me for good on his fiction. MacDonald has a lot to say about the church in his day and much of it isn’t complimentary. He also has a way of showing true Christianity at work in daily situations and this is what draws me to his books. If you haven’t read any of his books yet I recommend them to you!

The Curate of Glaston, by George MacDonald

“But perhaps even then you had more knowledge which, they say, only life can give.”

“I have it now in any case. But of that everyone has enough who lives his life. Those who gain no experience are those who shirk the King’s highway for fear of encountering the Deity seated by the roadside.”

From Lilith by MacDonald, a book I had trouble understanding. This quote, however, I understood and stand convicted by it…

“I sighed – and regarded with wonder my past self, which preferred the company of book or pen to that of man or woman, which, if the author of a tale I was enjoying appeared, would wish him away that I might return to his story. I had chosen the dead rather than the living, the thing thought rather than the thing thinking! “Any man,” I said now, “is more than the greatest of books!” I had not cared for my live brothers and sisters and now I was left without even the dead to comfort me!”

BBC ~ Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot

   O.K. this is kind-of cheating on the Works For Me Wednesday theme but here’s my tip for summer boredom. This tip is for the Moms…Send your kids off to grandma’s (that will help their boredom) then get your flannels on, brew a pot of tea and settle in the comfy chair and choose one of these BBC productions to escape to a quieter, gentler time… (if you have a 16 year or older daughter have her escape with you)

My daughter and I love BBC videos. I found some at a good price and couldn’t resist adding them to our viewing library. These are more typically DVD’s that we will watch over and over again so our money was well invested (in our minds anyway). I’m including a little review of the ones we’ve seen to give you an idea as to whether you might enjoy them. We like the detailed slow plot development that these longer series afford.

 Pride and Prejudice ~ Jane Austen

 Hands down our favorite. Well worth the 5 hour viewing time. This A & E version is a must have. We love this Elizabeth Bennet character Jennifer Ehle over the well acted Kiera Knightley in the new shorter version.

Wives and Daughters ~ Elizabeth Gaskell

Our charming Scottish Cinderella is just as likable as her stepmother is unlikeable in this gossip riddled tale set in the 1800’s. We’d watch this one again, not because of the gossip but the way that the heroine gracefully copes with it and her impossible stepmother.

North & South ~ Elizabeth Gaskill

Takes on the same sorts of class divide issues as Jane Austen but in the English industrial era. It may take a long time to develop but it’s worth the wait.

Persuasion ~ Jane Austen

One of Jane Austen’s later novels with a heroine that combines some of the lovable qualities of Elinor Dashwood and Jane and Elizabeth Bennett.

Mansfield Park ~ Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s most unlikeable heroine, Fanny Price, proves that the meek will inherit the earth by triumphing over the superficiality and virtue-lessness of her relatives and their friends.

Middlemarch ~ George Eliot

In this 19th century George Eliot story the plot is slow to develop and full of unlikeable characters. When the decent characters finally get their reward you don’t care anymore. Tedious but informative about some period customs and practices.

Berkeley Square

There are ten 52 minute episodes in this series that we haven’t had a chance to watch yet. It is described as a warm-hearted family drama set in turn-of-the-century-London, where three young girls come together as nannies and grow to be friends.

Dorothy Sayers Mysteries ~ Gaudy Night ~ Have His Carcase ~ Strong Poison

Dear and I are reading some of the Sayers mysteries and are looking forward to watching these three soon. These are described as three elegant murder mysteries adapted from the crime novels of Dorothy L. Sayers. Set in the 1930’s the relationship of amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane unfolds in a realm of romance and intrigue. Dear and I just watched Strong Poison the first in this series. It’s presented as a serial not a movie. It was prepared for T.V. so it’s 3 one hour long episodes on one dvd.  We really enjoyed it. We like the development of the characters as much if not more than the mystery…

 Now if you’d like more tips about how to beat the summer boredom for your kids go over to Rocks in My Dryer.