Out of the Mist

by wjw on August 23, 2019

IMG_4492These are the Skellig Islands off the west coast of Kerry, home to an ancient abandoned monastery, and the location of a key scene in Return of the Jedi.

The Skellige Islands also feature in Witcher III, one of that game’s jokey references to cinema.  (Another is an elven swordsmith named Hattori.)

I’ve been back from the mists of Ireland for a few days but am still suffering from jet lag and various bodily ills that come from sleeping in beds not one’s own.  (I am also subject to acute hunger pangs at odd hours.  It seems my digestive system is still on Irish time.)

Despite my mind and body floating in the mists, Bubonicon begins tomorrow and perforce I must attend.  I’ll see some of you there, I’m sure.

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by wjw on August 15, 2019

IMG_4654Here’s today’s picture of a butterfly.

The rollicking Wilbercon around Ireland is over, and I’m now in Dublin for Worldcon.

I’d love to post my con schedule, but I can’t because I don’t have one.  I’m not on programming, go figure.

Whether I’m on a panel or not doesn’t signify, but it would be nice if people who wanted to meet me had the chance.   As it is, I’ll be flitting from flower to flower around the con, so you’ll have to hope you run into me.


Big Boat

by wjw on August 13, 2019

This is the flight engineer’s station on a Pan-Am Yankee Clipper, circa 1941, as displayed at the Flying Boat Museum in Foynes.  (Flying Boat Museum!  This trip is so geeky I want to swoon.)


The flight engineer was kept pretty busy, having to nurse four big radial engines all the way across the Atlantic.  (Or Pacific, more likely.)

The Foynes flying boat station was active 1943-45, taking advantage of Ireland’s unique position as a neutral country  From Foynes the boat could fly on to the west coast of England, or to neutral Portugal, where they could pick up Mr. and Mrs. Victor Laszlo after their escape from Casablanca.

There are no actual flying boats at the flying boat museum, but there’s a replica and lots of pieces and parts like this.

From the replica, here’s a passenger compartment of the Yankee Clipper.  Check out the legroom!  And no eating in your chair, either, you go to the dining room and eat off a table with proper china and white linen.




by wjw on August 13, 2019


This is Kenmore Stone Circle, dating from the Bronze Age.  Human remains were found underneath the central stone.

One of us said, “This is what Stonehenge would look like if England had leprechauns.”



by wjw on August 10, 2019

IMG_4338This painted lady flew all the way from Africa to perch in a blackberry bush and say hello.

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Behold the Mighty Leviathan!

August 9, 2019

This is the Leviathan, at 72 inches the largest telescope in the world from 1845 to 1917, over seventy years.  She was built by William Parsons, the third earl of Rosse, on his substantial estate at Birr Castle.  He subsequently used Leviathan to investigate nebulas, which he discovered were not vague blobby things in the […]

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Rhymes with “Rainy”

August 8, 2019

This is Castle Dunsany, home to the second oldest peerage in Ireland and to Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, the soldier, poet, playwright, and fantasist who published under the name Lord Dunsany. Castle Dunsany is not normally open to the public, but we were privileged enough to rate a tour from the voluble and charming […]

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August 8, 2019

Here is Newgrange, a 5200-year-old tumulus constructed during the New Stone Age.  It is younger than Carnac, just a little older than the oldest bits of Stonehenge, and much older than the Pyramids. The huge megaliths that make up most of the structure, and which corbel 20 meters upward in the burial chamber, were brought […]

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From the Peat

August 5, 2019

Today I met the bog bodies.  I don’t know about you, but I always think these guys look depressed.

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August 5, 2019

riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. In short, I am in Ireland.  

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