Our journey home from Bunratty, Ireland via Dublin to Toronto was as smooth as silk. I knew I would have trouble adjusting to life without bus ride assisted naps, but the jet lag from this particular journey has been very tiring. I am still waking up very early in the morning and then feeling very weary all day.
My last thoughts about this trip are as follows:
Scotland was incredibly beautiful, but chilly as hell! Loved all our destinations and would return to Edinburgh in a heartbeat. It is a lively, gorgeous city, built with a park running through the centre of it. Our afternoon spent walking the Royal Mile with my friend Catherine was a sheer delight. The mountains, glens, and lochs of the countryside were incredibly scenic. St. Andrews and Falkland were like Outlander episodes come to life. The Isle of Skye was hauntingly beautiful and shrouded in mist. I love this video from Youtube which includes some beautiful scenes from the highlands and the islands.
Sheepdog training in Scotland
Ireland is somehow entirely more complicated than Scotland. Our trip to the north, especially Belfast and Derry, was troubling as we did get the sense of a country that is still recovering from a long bitter civil war. The council chamber in Belfast is still divided along religious lines with the Sinn Fein side being completely Catholic, and the opposite side filled with all the Protestant factions. As our guide in Derry told us, the two sides will never see each other’s point of view while their children are still all educated separately. The parts of the south that we did see, Connemara, Donegal, Galway, Westport, the Cliffs of Moher and Bunratty, were charming and we had some partially sunny days. On the whole though, I think the almost continuous rain and wind we experienced there coloured our view of the island. There’s a reason it is emerald green! George returns to the south for eight days of golfing in September and I look forward to his reports from there. I was sad not to see Dublin, so I will experience it vicariously through George.
The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland
Since coming home, I’ve had a chance to catch up with some of my favourite shows: Nurse Jackie, Veep, Silicon Valley, Game of Thrones. I will have to rewatch the last episode of Outlander, as I had a terrible internet connection in Ireland and missed the last few minutes of the incredibly moving and suspenseful story. I spent a few hours of my life (that I will never get back) catching up with Aquarius as I have an enduring fondness for David Duchovny. This wacky show, which is a fictional version of the police hunt for Charlie Manson, actually ends up being more a picture of the flower child/Viet Nam war era than it does a coherent story about the Manson crimes. The music is very nostalgic, as are the costumes and makeup. I have seen a number of episodes of Wayward Pines (very reminiscent of Twin Peaks with an undertone of The Prisoner) starring Matt Dillon and have found it to be mildly diverting. Not sure if I am intrigued enough to stay with the entire series. I watched the premiere episode of Between (a Netflix/City TV co-production) and have found it to be a little mediocre, low budget and very Canadian (and not in a good way) in tone. I doubt I will persevere through the series.
On Netflix I’ve been watching Sense8 (a new original series airing in its entirety) and I am warning you now, if you make it past the first two episodes you may be hooked for the entire series. A project of the Wachowskis (formerly referred to as the Wachhowski brothers before one of them transgendered), this series is reminiscent of The Matrix (also from the Wachowskis), Lost, Heroes and several other ensemble cast intertwining story films. On first viewing it appears to be completely bonkers, but it does grow on you. There is a particular focus on gay and transgendered characters and on people who do not fit in to societal norms.
I watched the Ben Stiller/Naomi Watts film While We’re Young last night (or rather tried to stay awake during it), and found it a little dull and less than funny. On the plane home, having seen all the English language choices, I watched Winter Sleep (3 hrs 15 minutes) about a Turkish hotelier in Anatolia with a miserable sister and an estranged young wife. This film won the Palme D’Or at Cannes in 2014 and is a mystifying meditation on class differences. Kind of mesmerizing, but awfully long and slow. I also watched the South American film set in Uruguay called Mr. Kaplan. It is a comedy about a Jewish senior citizen who becomes convinced that he has come across a wanted Nazi fugitive. This film was very intriguing and featured a wonderful performance by Hector Noguera as Jacob Kaplan who is inspired by the capture of Adolf Eichmann to pursue his target. Very funny and poignant at the same time.
For those of you who enjoyed Orange is the New Black, it returns tonight (after midnight) to Netflix for its third season. Personally, I believe that it is cruel and unusual punishment for Netflix to air two new original series back to back (including the aforementioned Sense8) in two consecutive weeks. For those of us with no self-discipline, it is far too easy to ignore household chores, sports commitments, and important errands, once the bingewatching has begun. Here in Town of the Blue Mountains they are forecasting the second severe thunderstorm and tornado warning in two days. Time to batten down the hatches and continue watching!!