Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday, July 4, 2016

Santa Cruz Island

We have made several visits, though not in recent years, to this island off the coast of Southern California. It is the home of a breed of small foxes. Many years ago, I fell ill during a visit, and was flown back to the mainland by a Medi-Vac plane. There are some delightful walks, and places to eat and stay overnight.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Santa Catalina

I think I have reported on all of the island's around England, where I was born. Now I turn to some of the islands of North America. Santa Catalina is a small resort island of about 75 square miles off the coast of Southern California.

Monday, June 13, 2016


Although technically an island, Sheppey only has an area of 36 square miles. It is a small residential island off the coast of Kent, in the Thames Estuary.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


This does not seem to be an island, but there is a small amount of water between Thanet and the rest of Kent.

Monday, May 30, 2016


Lindisfarne is a small island of the northeast coast of England. It is also known as "Holy Isle," and is the site of one of the oldest monasteries in the Christian world, dating from AD 634.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Isle of Wight

This large island is in the Solent South of Portsmouth. It is a popular place for summer holidays, and contains Osbourne, a former royal residence, later the location of a Royal Naval College, to which cadets were formally sent.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Scilly Isles

These two isles are just of to the west of Land's End in Cornwall, England. They each have a small population.

Monday, May 2, 2016


This week's island is "Lundy," a small isle in the Bristol Channel, just off the north Devon coastline.

Monday, April 11, 2016

I won't be writing about every one of the Western Isles, as in most instances I know little more than the island's name. However, this is an exception. In 1745, the "Young Pretender" (better known as "Bonnie Prince Charlie") was defeated at the Battle of Culloden, near Inverness by the Duke of Cumberland. The prince fled to Skye, an off the west coast of Scotland. This incident is forever remembered by the plaintiff song "Speed, Bonnie Boat." The chorus is "speed bonnie boat, like a bird on the wind/ over the sea to Skye." One of the verses tells the sad story: Many is the lad, fought on that day Well the Claymore could wield When the night came, silently lay Dead on Colloden's field

Monday, April 4, 2016

The first time that I saw the Orkney Islands was in the spring of 1944. I had taken a ferry from Wick to the islands, where I joined HMS Warspite as a newly-minted midshipman. The ship was anchored in Scape Flow, a natural harbor encircled by various islands. We were "working up" in preparation for the Normandy landings which followed in June. There was a sparse officer's club on one of the islands, probably Flotta. I don't even remember if I went ashore on that first visit, as we were very busy preparing for our role as an offshore battery during the invasion which followed. (I did not participate in the initial bombardment, as I was taken off to hospital at Mearnskirk with a case of mononucleosis). One day, attending a shore course, I was introduced to a young RNVR officer, David Attenborough. The last name rang a bell, because he was the elder brother of Richard Attenborough, the actor who had a major role in the patriotic movie "In Which We Serve." David was just a few months older than I; of course, he is now far better known than his elder brother, whose career has been in the movie business. Towards the end of the year, I was reposted to HMS Norfolk. We "wore the flag" of the C-N-C of the home fleet, Sir Roger McGrigor. The Orkney Islands are very desolate in winter, but I did get ashore to Kirkwall, the principle city of the Orkney Islands. Many years later, Barbara and I enjoyed a cruise entitled "The Voyage of the Vikings," which took us to Orkney among many other stops. At that time, there were virtually no trees on any of the Orkney Islands, a condition which may or may not still prevail.

Monday, March 21, 2016


This is the first of a new series of weekly blogs, which will be about some of the many islands I have visited. Shetland is the northernmost of the British Isles, located just north of the Orkney Islands, off the north coast of Scotland. Barbara and I visited Shetland when we were on a trip appropriately named "Voyage of the Vikings." Shetland is sparsely populated but full of interest, particularly because remnants of early occupation. We have pleasant memories of visiting various parts of the island. The Shetland Islands are perhaps best known as being the origin of the famous breed of Shetland ponies. In the UK, to own a Shetland pong was often the dream of the children of affluent parents. During World War II, transport between the UK and the resistance movement in Norway was conducted by trawler. This was known as the "Shetland bus," and it became the subject of a successful book of the same name. Trawlers are commonplace from various parts of the Norwegian coastline, which made it possible for travel to and from the resistance movement in Norway to be made without detection.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lucky Dog

This is another small dog, belonging to Joe and Justine. He has complete run of the house in El Cerrito. he gets on very well with Holden, and will probably get to know Jackson when the latter is a little older: at the time of writing, Jackson is just nine months old. He sometimes gets in the way of my feet, but he is also a generally well-behaved animal.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


When I asked Chris and Chuck why they called another dog by a bird's name, I believe they told me that Pigeon had already been named when they took over ownership. Pigeon is a large, friendly dog, one of the few that I am content to roam through our Colorado house, or go outside on the property without running away. Pigeon is still alive at the time of writing, and seems glad to see us when Barbara and I spend time in Colorado.

Monday, February 8, 2016


She is a small, white dog that lives with Bryan and Marlene. Bryan has no children of its own, and he is so fond of Audrey that he likes to hold her in his arms like a baby. When Audrey comes to visit us, she goes straight to our dining room table, in the hope (sometimes fulfilled) of finding something to eat.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Why Chris and Chuck named their dog after a bird I shall never know, but Magpie was a wonderful dog. Chuck wrote about him in an illustrated book: Travels with Magpie. What I most remember about Magpie is the time when Chris and Chuck drove up to Alaska. One day, they had driven maybe forty miles back towards home when one said to the other "Where's Magpie?". They realized that they had left him behind many miles back. They turned the car around and drove back the way they had come. Eventually, they saw a very relieved Magpie, very happy to see them again!

Monday, January 11, 2016


This dog belonged to Chris and Chuck, and most of its life was spent in Colorado with them. Bjorn was probably a mutt, but may have been partly an Australian sheepdog. I should ask the dog's owners, who can probably tell me.