The Kelpies – a grand day out

I just had to share this great post on Mary Smith’s Place, because . . . KELPIES! One of my favorite Celtic myths, gloriously executed in metal, and simply fabulous. This is on my Must See When In Scotland list! Aren’t they fabulous?

Mary Smith's Place

The DH and I enjoyed a grand day out last year when we decided to visit The Kelpies near Falkirk.

Created by sculptor Andy Scott, each one weighs over 300 tonnes and at 30 metres high, they are the world’s largest equine statues. They dominate the Helix, a fabulous park by the Forth and Clyde Canal. Apart from The Kelpies there is plenty to do with walks along the towpaths, play areas, a wetland boardwalk, eating places, visitor centre and shop – but it was the Kelpies we had come to see.

We were not disappointed. They are fabulous, absolutely stunning.

20170428_132416 Standing sentinel on the Forth & Clyde Canal

Kelpies are mythological water horses or spirits which can change their shape. They haunt rivers and streams. A kelpie can appear as a docile pony but as soon as anyone mounts it he or she is stuck and will be dragged…

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Confessions of a Bibliophile

I like books. I have a few. Okay, quite a lot of books have found a home with me over the years.

I like books for what’s on the inside, yet I admit to judging books by their covers. A bad cover or title can be hard to get past.

I like real books, the ones that don’t have a lowercase /e/ or /i/ associated with them, ones with pages and ink, books that hold some memories of trees.

I buy books. I buy professional books that inform my teaching. I buy books that are recommended to me by others, or books whose author I know I like, or books that just seem interesting, that maybe leap off the shelf at me. I like to buy in local bookstores, and do. I also buy from online second hand book dealers who probably get some of their inventory from the brick and mortar stores that go under. And yes, because it is convenient and expeditious to use them, I sometimes buy books from that huge online place that gets blamed for the demise of our local bookstores. (And they sometimes, but not often, sell my books.)

I buy books but mostly my books find me. They find me at yard-sales and flea-markets, and the Take-It-Or-Leave-It at the dump. These findings, this being found, is the most beautiful way of acquiring books. It cannot be forced; it is a serendipitous, Zen-like connection, to be recognized and acknowledged when it happens and to be counted as another blessing. The book that finds me may be something I had been looking for, or may appear as something I was not looking for, never heard of, but upon reading it realize it is just what I needed. These books might be part of a direction I was already reading in, or they may lead me off in another direction, gathering like minded books along that way.

These books, up for adoption, have plenty to say about where they came from. They reveal the interests and inclinations of their previous owners, the phases that that person went through, the predilections and interests they held. And if those interests and predilections were similar to mine, if I am found, I take these books home where they are introduced to their new bedfellows on my shelves. There may be some shifting around; this placing is important. I don’t impose the Dewey decimal system, but there are themes. Books are placed with other books where they will have something to say to one another. The books are additions to collections, which are really ongoing conversations among books, conversations with my books and myself. Because of course they are read, sometimes prior to shelving sometimes afterwards.

There’s no real point to this. Except to say that I like books. I suppose one day I will have to downsize and put my books up for adoption, to put them back in the same channels they came to me from, otherwise someone else will have to deal with the collections when I’m dead. Come that time, I hope that my books end up finding someone who appreciates them, even as that someone might be wondering about the predilections of their previous owner.


What about you? I have yet to use kindle, but what do you prefer? With print books, do you shelve, share, or sh_t-can? Where do books go once read? 

This had been idling at shiftnshake. I was inspired to post it by Marcia, who had posted this meme, and whose book is still beside my bed, waiting for me to order the sequel. 






Walking off the mince pies

Just wanted to let you guys know that Mary Smith has a brand new blog you might want to check out. This first post has some absolutely gorgeous photos. I particularly like one of the sea stack named “Lot’s Wife.” Nice job, Mary, and best of luck with your newest endeavor. 🙂

Mary Smith's Place

Christmas Day (doesn’t it already seem a long time ago?) poured with rain so I was more or less forced to stay indoors eating chocolate and mince pies and watching feel-good films. Boxing Day, however, was bright and sunny so there was no excuse not to head off with the DH on one of my favourite walks in Dumfries & Galloway – Balcary Heughs. This is a great walk at any time of the year, though not if it’s very windy as the narrow path goes along clifftops.

From the village of Auchencairn a single track road leads follows the shoreline to the Balcary Bay Country House Hotel, built in the 17th century by Messrs Cain, Clark and Quirk who ran a shipping – or smuggling – business. The area around this part of the Solway has an exciting smuggling history.

A car park for walkers is situated close to…

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Don’t Forget! #DeBaryHall #CFFW Presentation Tomorrow at 2:00 PM

One last reminder that I will be hosting a Central Florida’s Fabulous Wildlife presentation at DeBary Hall tomorrow afternoon, along with my very special guest, wildlife photographer Doug Little. This will be an introductory overview of my new, bi-monthly series, and I hope you’ll stop by to help kick things off. The series presentations will each focus on a different animal, or group of related animals, and I’m really excited about this opportunity to share photography and information on the critters that call the St. Johns River basin home.

Tomorrow’s presentation will be a teaser of the type of things to come, and a chance for you to ask questions and have some input into the things you’d like to see at future events. Doug will have his brand new 2018 calendars along, available for purchase and signing. And of course, I’ll have my books along, as well.

Hope to see YOUR smiling face in the audience tomorrow at 2:00pm! FREE, No Reservations Required!

DeBary Historic Site
198 Sunrise Blvd
DeBary, FL
(386) 668-3840

This Week’s #NotesFromTheRiver – The Fairest of Them All

Managed to find a few minutes in the midst of the chaos around here, to put up my winners for the Fairest of Them All–all, being the animals (and one flower) that call the St. Johns River Basin home. Take a look, and see if you agree with my choices! 😀 And if you do stop by, hope you’ll share far and wide, as always.

Next week, I’m hoping to be able to get back to more in depth #NotesFromTheRiver posting again. In the meantime, here’s the link for you:

#NotesFromTheRiver – The Fairest of Them All

Marcia’s Resplendent Lagoon

Never been much for swimming

My style likened to that of a log

Don’t know what I was thinking

When I dove into my own murky blog.

The waters finally cleared some

I floated and began to look around

Saw a blog isn’t so boggy and scare-some

Well, let me tell you just what I found.

I was first picked up by some buckaroos

Who taught me more refined strokes

Finer teachers I couldn’t choose

They introduced me to other fine folks.

Like Florida waterways connected

By rivers, creeks and canals

I found that many blogs intersected

And met even more swimming pals.

I stopped being a bump on a log and

Bumped into friendly folks so kind

Who helped me figure out this blog-land,

Gave gifts of their space and their time.

And now I’m swimming at Write Stuff

In Marcia’s resplendent lagoon

so come on by for a swim often

and then return again real soon.

***D. Avery

Hi. I found Marcia’s hide-a-key, so may be showing up here now and again. I look forward to spending some time here with you and would enjoy interacting with the wonderful people that come by, but sometimes may have to just drop something off and then off to work or sleep, or both. If I am slow to respond it is not because I don’t appreciate your comments, it’s just life. But you know this lagoon. Come on in, the water is 

(I did that on purpose; adjectify your own water)

Meet Guest Author, Marcia Meara…

Today, I have the pleasure of being a guest on Chris The Story Reading Ape’s blog, and I hope you guys will enjoy checking it out. Many of you know I came to writing quite late in life, but there may be a few new tidbits tucked in here for you. Hope you enjoy the post, and please remember to share far and wide. My sincerest thanks to Chris for providing this opportunity, and happy reading to you all!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Thank you, Chris, for inviting me to be a guest on your blog today. It’s a real pleasure to have an opportunity to meet some of your followers!


When I was five years old, there were two things I loved more than anything else in the world—reading and wildlife.

My love of reading led to a profound desire to become a writer, but that was thwarted early on by well-meaning (but possibly misguided) parents who thought it a foolish career path. Had I been a child of a more recent era, I might have rebelled, but in the 40s and early 50s, that behavior wasn’t quite so common.

Happily, my love of wildlife was allowed to run amuck, and has played an important role in my life, in one form or another, ever since. From being a volunteer at the Florida Audubon Society and the Central Florida Zoo, to…

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Finally! #NotesFromTheRiver is Resuming!

This Guy Would Love to See You There!
(Note: This is an alligator, honest. No crocs up here.  😀 )

I’ve been unable to keep up with all my blogging due to everything that’s been going on since Irma came a-calling, but I am starting back up with one of my favorite things: my nature blog for St. Johns River Eco Tours. Today’s post on #NotesFromThe River is about an upcoming event a week from Saturday. (January 13) Hope you’ll check it out and share far and wide, and if any of you are in the central Florida area, hope you’ll consider coming to see Doug and I at DeBary Hall Historic Site for this fun program.  Thanks for helping spread the word.

#NotesFromTheRiver – Presentations, Photography, and Information, Oh, My!