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26 July 2007


The names of the villages and families are difficult to understand and to pronounce.

In Wales, we found ourselves in a completely different country. Once we were there, we went to see our first contact, an old lady who lived in a lovely place in one of the valleys east of Aberystwyth. We were talking to her in English as she got a phone call. It clearly was from somebody in the neighborhood, and they spoke in their native language: the old Gaelic.

Nothing to understand here. But absolutely nothing.

I have also experienced this in parts of France, where there are still people who speak this same language. It is one of the oldest European languages and it was common all along the coast, from Galicia in Spain’s northwest, all the way up to Normandy; across the North Sea to the south of England around the corner to Wales; again across the Irish Sea to the South of Ireland. This land was part of the mainland before the last Ice Age.

23 July 2007

Largs, Arran, Kyntire

The skyline of Largs, on the coast across the Isle of Arran. We spent the night there before taking a boat to Arran, and from there to Kyntire.

On Kyntire we spent some time on the estate of Dunmore with friends of my companions. It was a very old big traditional Scottish manor where, when in full glory, there used to live some twenty-plus people. Now, only the owner lives there with his wife and daughter. The house is far too big for them. You could see the decay; the house is too big to be made sufficiently warm, and so moisture takes its toll.The place is like nothing else on this earth; it is the end of the world facing the sea, surrounded by the most beautiful old trees. It really has this haunted feeling. I was reminded of the old Sherlock Holmes movies.