Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Art Update

Finally finished my largest [18" x 24"] painting ever of the Dene
River in Scotland. I'll be entering it in several shows.
Here it is unframed:


 When I was leaving Scotland, my friend Faracy Moon Grouse gave me a hand-detailed print of "Persephone" which I also framed:

I gave her a copy of my hand-detailed print of "Mycale" [the Mother
of Gemini]: She was the first witch who was documented for 'drawing
down the moon.']
The photo is of another copy of the print. I often sell them at art events
I attend. Will start on my Lithuania and Sweden travels as soon as
I can catch up on everything else.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

May 1-3

Found a few more photos from 4/30, but as you can see, the quality is not what it should be:
Performers at the fire arch.
More performers. That's George taking pictures to the left of the blue birdman.

Nice view of Edinburgh from the top of Colton Hill.

Arose before dawn to gather the May dew, and then slept in. Leaving in two days so I went to the Botanic gardens and Art Museum.
Just loved everything in this photo.

Purples all over

One of many waterfalls.

There are so many scotches in Scotland, but didn't have much room in the suitcase and still have 3 weeks to go in Lithuania. I was walking back on Clerk Street and found the last bottle of this and brought it home.
 That evening Faracy had a few friends over for Bealtine, and they did divination, and we drank wine and had potluck finger foods, and then I suggested we listen to "Repent Walpurgis" by Procol Harem, followed by a screening of the perfect movie for May Day, "The Wicker Man." Happy May was had by all.

Last full day in Scotland. Faracy took me thrifting and sightseeing again, and to one of her favorite places, the river Dene. I'm working on a composite painting of these five photos. We had cappucinos and steak sausages for dinner. I gave Faracy one of my paintings, and she gave me one of hers. Then I packed like crazy for my flight to Lithuania tomorrow afternoon. 

Dene Folly

Dene gate

River Dene

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


Faracy had told me they celebrated May Day on 4/30. Now I get it. The event we went to started at sundown on Walpurgisnacht on Colton Hill. We arrived around 6 and found a great parking spot right away. It was a short walk to the gate and then up the hill with thousands of others to bring in the May.
That's Arthur's Seat behind us, and the Moon rose in that dip above and between us.
Faracy was kind enough to lend me a purple, heavy wool coat. It was cool, and as it grew darker, it grew colder, too. My pictures could not capture all the entertainment and views in the dark. We had stunning views of Edinburgh and its surroundings from the top of Colton Hill.

This was one of the stages. [That's Arthur's Seat through the pillars.]
There was a bonfire site, and other event areas, and at least 100 performers.
 Excellent food and drink vendors.
With a Full Moon rising over Arthur's Seat, they crown the May Queen and King around midnight and then head from Colton Hill to Arthur's Seat for a May Day party.

We ran into a photographer who knew Faracy, and took some photos of us. His name is George Cairns, and he takes lovely photos of us and of Nature.
We stayed till midnight, but left before the rush, and had an easy time returning to Gladstone Terrace. We did not go to the after party. Here are two photos I took in her flat.

Faracy told me her grandfather has had her painting like this since she was a child.

Faracy's flat has really high ceilings as you can tell from her curtains.
I was shocked! They're a Wm. Morris print, too. She said they were there when she moved in.


Tuesday, August 7, 2018


Arose early for me and went to the Museums of Scotland. Hard to post all the photos, but these were my favorites in their genres.
My favorite museum piece of the whole trip. It was the only one you weren't supposed to photograph, but I took it anyway.
It would make a great jigsaw puzzle.

It's an ale hall after all.

Best stained glass.

Pictish stones


Where J K Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books

Public Library in Edinburgh

Library Ceiling

After a long exploration of the Scottish Museums and surroundings, I stopped here on Clerk Street for a proper
 afternoon tea.

Afternoon Tea at family shop on Clerk Street

Cost all of 10 pounds

While I was on the way back to Faracy's, I found a duvet and pillow case for 4.5 pounds of William Morris' 'Pomegranate' pattern. It's one of his oldest designs, circa 1864.
Pomegranate Pillowcase [by Sanderson's]

 I also found a space heater there for 8 pounds, but wasn't sure it would fit in my suitcase. 

Went back the next day and bought the heater. It weighed less than 3kg and would not take me overweight. Faracy picked me up and Matty took the heater back to the flat for me while we went out charity shop shopping.
The ones left behind.

Went to over 10 stores, but didn't really find much. Did buy a jet necklace for 2 pounds. All that shopping made us peckish, so we went to a cute fish and chips place full of schoolboys, and enjoyed a classic UK dish. Next, on to the Secret Garden for onesies and perrenials.

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View of patio seating and plants. We enjoyed hot drinks inside and then off to pick up daughter, Maddy, and start BBQ.

Family BBQ : I could see my breath, but the sausages were really delicious. I said good night. After all I have a long event on Walpurgisnacht.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Part 2 in Scotland

April 25 - 27

When we returned to her home, her Polish boyfriend, Mattis, made us "instant borscht"! It was delicious. They put me up in the big closet where Faracy's mom stays when she visits. It was cozy and warm. This Californian doesn't think 10 degrees is balmy.

4/25 Spent the next few days acclimating, relaxing, and touring Edinburgh. Scotland is very beautiful in Spring. And Nature was just beginning to bud, and branch, and flower when I arrived.
No idea what these are, but they're purple!

Slept in the first day and wandered around Clerk Street. Mattis sent me to an Eastern European Deli on that street next to a Charity Shop [where I found an excellent book, "Folktales of the Scottish Border." ] The Deli had wonderful rye breads, meats, Polish mustard, and cheeses. I went there every other day.

View of Arthur's Seat from Clerk Street

 Was really lost around Princes Street, and boarded a tram instead of a bus. A dapper Scotsman in a stunning black plaid suit offered to escort me back to the proper transfer spot and intervened for me with the ticket taker.
[Wish I'd taken a photo of him, but I did snap one of this darling child at a 'brass' concert inside the  Natl. Gallery on 4/26].

Just love her shoes! She was listening to the music at the museum.

My niece, Caira, would probably like to play this.
Fine Scottish Establishment - had to check it out.
That evening Mattis made us real beef Borscht with the dumplings. Really yummy. 
Season of the Witch opening. Faracy is a well-known artist in the Edinburgh art scene. She had organized this event with five other artists, and at the opening, several paintings sold in the 300-500 pound range, including this one which was also used for the poster for the event.


 I had a few things with me I'd brought for the conference in Rome, and had set up shop in a window area and sold a print [dancing toads on the left] and an amber necklace for 50 pounds.
I was asked to speak about May Day and its customs and was happy to share my knowledge with the crowd for about 10 minutes.
The show was quite a successful event. There was even a belly dancer, and Faracy was well dressed for the show.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


April 24

The flight from Rome to Edinburgh was on Brussels airlines which seems much improved from the last time I flew them. Faracy picked me up at the Haymarket tram station which I took from the airport. I had stopped at the 'information' desk [which I always do in a new country] to find out about public transit, maps, and local attractions. I had never met Faracy before, but had spoken with her on Shane's phone when she called while I was visiting Minneapolis last March.

They've been friends since high school, and I was staying at Shane's in Minneapolis at the time. It was very serendipitous. I had intended to be in Crete for May Day, but my plans had fallen through, and Faracy invited me to come and stay with her and celebrate in Scotland. This is my first trip. It was 10 degrees cooler than Italy, but spring was springing out all over in late April.

This is where I stayed with Faracy Moon Grouse in Edinburgh.

17 Gladstone Terrace

It was not a long flight, and Faracy was done hanging her art show, so we picked up her daughter and drove out to view Arthur's Seat.
Went to the place where the show was to open on Friday.
And here I am at 'the Castle' which is near Arthur's Seat and where the Art Show will open.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

day 4, end of Congress

On the 4th day we met at our hosts' [MTR] headquarters about a 10 minute walk from our flat. Inija's going back to Lithuania today after the Congress. Last night we had a 'farewell' dinner at an Osteria nearby. She ordered a tuna steak. Neither one of us had ever had one. I've seen her order tuna on a pizza, but the tuna steak was absolutely delicious [and I'm not very fond of any fish]. The night before I encouraged her to try Eggplant Parmargiana. She'd never had that dish before either, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I don't think I've never seen an eggplant in Lithuania. This trip we're really enjoying the Italian food in our neighborhood. One of the reasons we walked so many place was because even with a bus stop a half block from our flat, the buses were eternally late.

But I digress. We arrived early, but chatted and said goodbye to a lot of the others who were leaving later in the afternoon.
Wall at the headquarters.
The last day we finish up any loose ends and entertain proposals for the next meeting. No decision was made, but it may be Spain in 2020.
MTR roughly translates as Traditional Roman Movement. This is behind where the organizers were sitting for the meeting.
I took it before they arrived.
We finished our business early for us, although Inija left early to catch her plane. A bunch of us wandered to a nearby restaurant and had a lovely time.
Starting on the left, PhD Lady from Ukraine, next three are Letts, bearded Slovenian, Belgian Lady, another Lett, Marianna from Czech Republic.

At lunch with the Latvians [or Letts] who asked me to sing 3 songs, but I heard 'tree' songs, so I sang 'em two about trees. The other tables applauded and one of them sang us a song.

Originally, I was going to Crete for May Day with Melissa, but she couldn't make it this trip, so I spent an extra day to recover in Rome being a tourist. I've already posted the painting I made of the wall, but here is the wall on my last night in Rome.
Goodbye Rome, goodbye Aurelian Wall outside my window.

 My plane left on [4/24] for Scotland.