Friday, December 20, 2013



IKaria is one of the five Blue Zone areas of the world. These are five areas around the world, studied by the US National Geographic Society, each of which have populations that live exceedingly long life spans.  Not only do many islanders in each of these communities live well into their 90s, some are100 years or older. They also enjoy this longevity without suffering the usual old age ailments of many individuals in our modern western world:  cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc., (read Blue Zones, NY Times article).  They often die during sex or in their sleep, which sounds good to me. I have read that people who retire with no purpose in their life (hobby, compelling interest) find themselves lost without something to do with their time, and generally get a major ailment within five to seven years and then it’s ‘curtains;’ Kaput!  End of the line! Now, THAT doesn’t sound good at all. 
An Island view

An Island beach
But in Ikaria, the locals have daily purpose.  Although it is a dead volcanic island 3500 ft high, it is mainly an agrarian community.  Inhabitants rise with the sun, take care of their animals, gardens and collect wild herbs, then return home for lunch. After an afternoon nap during the hottest part of the day (the nap seems to be very important to their daily routine), they go out and again tend to the needs of their animals and crops.  As the sun descends they are off to take care of their business in the shops, many of which do not even open until late in the afternoon.  Businesses in one village, known as Raches or Christos, often stay open until 3 a.m. in the morning so people can do their shopping and socialize with friends and neighbors.  Many locals claim their longevity is aided by drinking at least three small glasses of their local red wine daily, which has no added chemicals or sulfites. Additionally, the University of Athens’ chemistry department did an analysis of the herbs that grow on the island and found they have the highest medicinal properties of any so far tested.  The air is particularly fresh and clean and the Mediterranean waters are the same.  The Ikarians are a happy friendly people whose lives seem to flow with the rhythms of nature.  Nary a watch did I see. 
Best tomatoes I've eaten in years
Main street in Christos

The National Geographic team who came to study the island and its inhabitants stayed in the small village of Nas at THEA’S INN located near the eastern end of the island. Who was I to be different?  So I booked a room at Thea’s with breakfast and off I went, flying from Stuttgart to Athens, arriving at midnight and flying the next day on an afternoon flight to Ikaria Island.  The room rate was reasonable but sticker shock set in when I found that Nas was about 70 miles from the airport, and the taxi cost about a dollar a mile.  Wow! I had no idea.  As with many things in life, it was what it was and I was pleased to have a driver who was an affable companion and tour guide. In fact, I found during my entire stay, that everyone on the island was a carbon copy of this fellow, nice.    

Nas is a caricature of a village.  It is so small one would probably miss it if it weren’t for the fact that it is at the end of the road.  Actually, there is a connecting road if one makes a sharp left.  However, if one were to continue driving straight on the road through Nas, he would eventually fly off a cliff landing on a rather pleasant nude beach.  Circuitous to get to by foot, yet once there, fun to observe the inhabitants and enjoy an afternoon swim in the cool fresh sea waters of the ‘Med.”
Observing nature on Nas Beach

The village lacks most of the accouterments necessary to be called a village, like a pharmacy, post office and tea shop, but rather consists of five restaurants, two of which have rooms to rent, a small ‘take-out’ in which I only saw two or three items for sale at any one time, a car rental, a charming little art studio, and a very small village store, which was opened most days in the very late afternoon and evening for a few hours. 
Nas Beach

Like a nesting dog who circles around three or four times before he settles comfortably, I behave much the same. After weeks of the bright lights of pumpkin festivals, concerts, museums and castles of England and Germany, during my first three days in Ikaria, I was OMG, why have I stuck myself in this bland European backwater? Then it dawned on me, what a wonderful physical and psychic oasis Ikaria is.  Quiet and restful – a place to read, write and think, full of long walks – treks for some, great food, interesting landscape and lovely people.  What more could one ask for?  And that’s what I did – all of the above and loved every minute. Perfect! Also I met some other interesting travelers.

Evening dining at Thea's Inn

 As for Thea’s Inn ( or on facebook: Thea’s Inn), it is one of those great places not only to stay but also to be.  Thea and her husband Ilias have created a hub for tourists, locals and island returnees who want to eat great food, and hang out, sometimes till one or two in the morning. Dining, drinking, chatting and even dancing, yet I was never up that late to hear or observe the convivial goings on that I am told often lasted long into the night. Although he in no way encourages it, Ilias is one of those handsomely muscular men that I have no doubt the single female guests have holiday fantasies about. Whereas Thea, born in Detroit, Michignan of Ikarian parentage, is one of those unsung lovely beauties, who has missed her calling as a national talk show host: engaging, gracious, yet straight forward, and full of some of the most delightfully infectious laughter I have ever encountered. (Where are you NBC, ABC and CBS?)  They are delightful hosts. The rooms are simple, yet comfortable: private baths, hot water, nice hard beds, small refrigerators, an electric pot for one’s morning tea/coffee, and individual balconies on which to enjoy quiet mornings, afternoons and some of the greatest sunsets I have ever enjoyed (Santorini not withstanding).

Ikaria is not really a tourist island, not compared to Rhodes, Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu.  On the website Trip, one may find listed ten hotels and ten bed and breakfasts/inns. Even though there are tourist shops, I was hard put to find a post card to send to my friends.  Although I met Australians, a few Americans and a Greek Cypriot, the main visitors are Germans who like to hike (an island of many trails), former Ikarians who come back to spend time with families or retire, occasional Europeans, and now those pesky Americans who, after reading about the Blue Zones like me, are eager to come and learn more. 
Daytime view at Thea's Inn

The guests were an added enjoyment to my two week sojourn: from Berlin, Christian and Katherine, he an architect who actually designs the interiors of museums and she an architectural student; Neal and Katrina, classical musicians from Australia who had spent a year in Germany and were on their way home to Sidney, Tanya and Bernie, Americans, he a former minister: find Bernie at  Tanya is an incurable trekker on her way to a trek expedition in Southern France; Pamela, from California and her friend Ludmila both Linguistic professors – Pam is also the authority on the relationship of Ikarian Greek to the Ionian Greek dialect; 
Pamela and Ludmila
 and Paul Lewis from England, who might be considered Ikaria’s summer resident artist, who does smashing water colors of island scenes and also teaches painting classes around the island.  Enjoy his work at: Lastly, a fascinating couple Ella and Vladimir, originally from Russia but American citizens for many years who are lifetime vegans and practitioners of Yoga, who explained the four different forms of that particular sport/art to me (below).

There are 4 different types of Yoga.
 “The word Yoga in Sanskrit means 'Union' - union with the Divine.  This Union can be achieved through the 4 different paths. The first the path of Yoga is called Hatha Yoga, achieving the Union through the total control of the body.  This is the type of Yoga that is well known in the West and becoming very popular here without really understanding its ultimate purpose. 
The second type is Karma Yoga - achieving the Union through the path of action.  The actions are performed with total surrender, when the person surrenders the fruit of the action to the Lord and is performing the action solely as doing one's duty without any expectations for the fruit.  The Lord is the doer and the fruits are His, whatever they are.The third type is Gnana (Jnana) Yoga.  In either case the first letter is silent.  This is the path of wisdom.  The student studies the Scriptures and, with the Guru, grows in wisdom. The last and the highest type of Yoga is Bhakhti Yoga - the Yoga of Devotion, 
devotion to God.  This is the easiest, shortest, and next direct path to God. 
Vlad imir and Ella study Bhakthi Yoga.”  

So you can see Ikaria was not only a holiday but also became a rejuvenation for my spirit through the interesting people I met and also the aura of the beautiful island itself.
Will I return? They can’t keep me away.  However, I shall also rent a car during part of my visit, and you should too!

Monday, November 4, 2013



I had not seen Steve in years, so it was quite a shock when at the Stuttgart airport, he recognized me but I not him.  There he was, a handsome, intelligent adult who whisked me off in a brand spanking new cozy red Porsche convertible. Wow!  This old lady was riding in style. 
Wine Festival Candy Stall
During my first evening, Steve and Sandy, his fiancĂ©, taught me the Stuttgart underground system. Then they squired me to an exciting annual Wine Festival right in the center of downtown Stuttgart.  Whole restaurants were constructed, creating dining alcoves decorated with pseudo vines and hanging grapes that snaked around throughout the numerous streets just off the main square.  There were easily a thousand people or more eating and drinking to the music of occa  Laughter and fun filled the narrow streets.  It took us a while to find an empty table, but eventually we settled ourselves to eat traditional fare; I was a bit pickier than my hosts, as I am not a meat/sausage eater, which makes most menus a bit harder for me to traverse. However, everything was tasty, particularly the wine.
sional musicians, who had spaced themselves throughout the festival restaurants, bars, and sweets stalls.
Wine Festival Food Stall

Stuttgart is an easy city in which to get around. I was extremely impressed how dutifully the locals followed rules, which they obeyed in an almost saintly manner.  Take stoplights at corners, for example.  The light is green but there is no traffic anywhere in sight.  Would most Americans cross the street? Of course.  But a German, never.  I  watched Germans stand on the corners of silent streets in which there is no traffic in any direction waiting for the light to change, never crossing, until they were directed by the flashing sign. Also, all the Germans I saw get on the underground always bought a ticket to ride or had a pass.  They would even stand in great long lines to get their tickets, yet there was no turnstile or other mechanical device in which to slide the ticket when they entered a train platform. Nor were there any ticket conductors checking or punching the tickets to guarantee that passengers had actually purchased tickets to ride the underground transport.  It was amazing as well as refreshing to see a city of people functioning on the honor system.  Let that be a lesson to the world, I thought. 

Gazebo in Schlossplatz 
My hosts had to go to work, so I had each day free.  Some days I wondered the city, its museums, and revisited the wine festival area where, although not as crowded as it was in the evening, lots of people were lunching and drinking wine.  One day I lunched outside on the main Schlossplatz (square) at one of the museum restaurants.  It was lovely to sit at my table under the trees and watch the locals bicycling by, lunching on the grassy square, and even eavesdropping on my neighbors’ conversations,  none of which I could fully understood.  This actually made their conversations all the more interesting, as I filled in the untranslatable bits with my own sentences of what the people might actually  have been saying. That, of course, made many of their exchanges often nonsensical, very funny, sometimes somber or scary.  For me this added up to an interestingly fun filled lunch. 

Another day I took the train to MercedesstraBe 100 to visit the Mercedes-Benz Museum.  I am a museum haunt. So I am extremely discriminatory when it comes to Museums ‘round the world, and I found the Mercedes Museum absolutely wonderful.  It is designed much like the Guggenheim in that patrons go to the top floor and work down from floor to floor on a circular ramp walkway.  The oldest vehicles are on the upper floors, and displayed along the circular walkways are photos and descriptions of the eras in which they were built.  So after surveying the cars from one historic period, then you also view a time line of events of that historic period - everything from WWI to talking movies, the Russian Revolution to FDR, Vietnam to Elvis and on and on!  It is so well done it’s astounding.  I grew up visiting the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, so I am somewhat of a car buff.  Even if one is not, I believe that most visitors could spend two or three days at the Mercedes-Benz Museum, it’s so interesting. Oh! And the museum also has four restaurants, one outside, which is very pleasant, another on the mezzanine (great place to stop for tea/coffee and a snack). I also saw two more restaurants on the ground floor that looked a bit more impressive.  Last but not least, there is also a showroom for purchasing a vehicle if one is so inclined.  All in all, it is a grand museum.

Examples of Mercedes-Benz of differen Eras.

There is also a Porsche museum in Stuttgart which unfortunately I did not  have time to visit.   
Guess who?

Steve and Sandy 

On Saturday, Steve and Sandy had a big surprise, a day trip to Strasbourg, France, the seat of the European Union.  Wow!  After about an hour and half train ride, we stopped for a ride on a carousel, then we headed for the town square with many wonderful, very narrow old buildings, some with as many as eight stories.  Then it was off to the old cathedral. 

Because of time constraints, we had to decide if we would walk up the Church tower and see the view of the city or see the mechanical clock inside the Cathedral.  The long line of visitors waiting to see the clock colored our decision, and we opted for the walk up the 330 steps to the top.  Like the wolf in Goldilocks I huffed and puffed my way up. As I am asthmatic, upon reaching the top, I was proud of my accomplishment. The stairs were a real feat for me, but I made it and the effort was worth it (see Pictures of the view).  
Sandy and I on the top of the cathedral

After, we had an excellent lunch at the La Cloche a Fromage.  Steve and Sandy had the restaurant’s signature dish, cheese fondue, there’s with a touch of sherry, while I ate a lovely local whole fish, roasted potatoes and a vegetable ragout.
Sandy and Stve at La Cloche a Fromage
After sumptuous desserts, off we went for a tourist boat ride on the canals, seeing lovely old buildings and also the EU offices.  Enormous!  I couldn’t quite fathom the need for such large office buildings.  To me, it appeared to be bureaucratic overkill, but what do I know about running the European Union.  However, it is much better to see countries working together than at war.  So as I say in my family I also say to Europe; good job!

Steve and Sandy continued being the hosts with the most.  On Sunday off we went to a Pumpkin Festival, another yearly event held on the grounds of the beautiful Ludwigsburg Palace on the outskirts of Stuttgart. There is a yearly theme; this year it was Sports.

Not only were there great displays of multi-colored pumpkins throughout the grounds, there were also statues of skiers, swimmers, basket ball players, and various other sportsmen performing their sport and all made out of pumpkins.  There was a large food tent serving everything from Pumpkin soup, Pumpkin Quiche to Pumpkin Prosecceo.  Delicious!  What fun we had and good eats too. 

Sandy and Steve are a delight to be with.  Not only are they great hosts, they also laugh a lot.  Sandy is constantly taking pictures.  Whereas I take pictures of places and events, she takes laughing smiling pictures of the two of them wherever they are.  When I mentioned this, she explained, “I know, it’s a bore, but you gotta have a record.”  And I knew she was right.  So far Sandy’s ‘record’ is awesome! 

The next night it was a flight off to Greece and the exploration of the Island Ikaria, one of the world’s five Blue Zones.  Bring it on!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013



The Peak District of England, which is about 100 miles north of London, is one of my favorite areas in England. It is dotted with charming villages, walking trails and a modicum of tourists.  Don’t get me wrong; there is a healthy tourist trade here.  But I don’t feel that I am competing for every square inch of space with the rest of the human race while wandering around the hills and dales, walking along river paths and visiting the castles and many palatial country homes in the area.  It’s just lovely here. 

Mark and Sarah
What makes the area even lovelier is that my dear friends Mark and Sarah live in the southern end in a Nottingham suburb.  I originally met Mark in Nepal where he was recovering from a serious bus accident in India on his way to Nepal. Since returning to England, I have gained another good friend, through his bond with Sarah.   Mark, a gourmet cook, had a homemade vegetable curry warming on the stove when I arrived. 

 Last year when I was in the Peaks District researching for my new mystery novel, BANISTER, he and Sarah were exceedingly helpful. Being helpful again, the next morning, off we went to Haddon Hall, this time for a picnic on the Hall lawns (a location used in BANISTER), and to peruse the inside of the Hall, its herb and formal gardens, and the fields along to the river Wye.
One view of Haddon Hall
Haddon Hall Gate House

 Haddon Hall’s beginnings were around 1150, only 84 years after William the Duke of Normandy’s conquest of England from Saxons. Talk about a ‘neighborhood’ feud.  This is the battle that won England for the Norman French from the Saxon lords

If you are into battles and/or English history, the Battle of Hastings is probably one of the most interesting in the story of pre-Great Britain. Briefly, Edward the Confessor King of England had no children.  But he and William Duke of Normandy were distant cousins.  During William’s visit to England, in 1051, Edward supposedly promised his kingdom to William upon his death.  Sometime later Edward also promised his throne to Edwin Godwinsom the head of the most powerful Saxon family in England.  Not surprising what a guy will promise after he’s had a little too much grog!

Upon Edward’s death on January 4th (or 5th), 1066, Godwinson, being right on the scene, immediately had himself crowned King of England by two English Catholic Bishops, although one Bishop had not been anointed by the Pope. This angered the Pope so he backed William as the legitimate heir.  After getting the Pope in his corner, William watched, waited and prepared.    

There were other claimants to the English throne but only one acted. Harold King of Norway, a bit of a rogue and an adventurer.  At the urging of Tostig, Edwin’s brother, who after an argument with new the English King had all his lands taken away, together the two attacked Edwin's armies in Northern England. But King Harold and Tostig lost the battle as well as their lives.  

Upon hearing of Edwin’s win in the north of England, the Duke of Normandy loaded 700 80 foot Viking designed ships, with 7000 fighting men including infantry, archers, and 1500 knights each with at least one horse, and some with more, and sailed across the English Channel.

They are reputed to have arrived at the south coast port of Pevensey.  Whereas William’s army had some days to rest and get over their seasickness, Edwin’s force, exhausted from the heated battle they had just fought, had to rush down to Hastings to fight another of the new English king’s foes. 

Although Edwin’s army of approximately 5000 was exhausted from their furious many-days march, they ended up with the enviable position of being on top of a hill.  They also wielded the most wonderful weapon of the day, the battleaxe. While William had many more mounted knights, his army couldn’t seem to dislodge Edwin’s from their perch.  I have read somewhere that William finally resorted to an old Roman trick of  having his archers ‘lob’, much like a tennis player, their arrows high up over the first row of Edwin's definces into the middle of Edwin’s line. This action caused many deaths in the center of Edwin’s force causing those still fit and fighting to be carrying the weight of many of their dead and wounded comrades. Finally William’s force broke through. 

William lost two horses and was riding a third when the battle was won, while Edwin is reputed to have died from multiple wounds and an arrow in his eye.  When Edwin’s body was finally found, his face was so disfigured that his body had to be taken to his mistress to be checked for distinguishing marks to prove this was indeed his dead carcus.  Thus ending a bad day in Hastings. 

After the battle was won, now known as William the Conqueror, the Duke was crowned King.  Then he went home leaving about 800 Norman Knights to run the country. The first thing they did was begin building the Tower of London to prove their strength. The Normans also compiled the Doomsday Book, a list of the ownership of every piece of land, forest, manor house, animal and serf in England. This tome was the beginnings of the first tax rolls.  So we can now blame the whole idea of modern tax records on - guess who?    
Sarah surveying Haddon Hall court yard

Gate house door to the castle
During the making of the Doomsday Book, the Normans also confiscated lands from many Saxons and their families and gave the lands to Norman knights.  William Peverel, believed to be William’s illegitimate, son, who fought along side the Duke in the Battle of Hastings, received six vast estates including Haddon, first mentioned in the Doomsday book 1086.  It eventually became the property of the Avenel family some time in the 12th century through a granddaughter, Avice, daughter of William Avenel II and remained in the Vernon family until. through a lack of male heirs, it came to the present owners, the Manners family in 1567.  
three leg chair
wooden carving of former owners of the Hall

View of Aln and Linda's Gate house garden 
Haddon Hall is a remarkable estate and after a wonderful viewing of the hall and its gardens, we were invited to tea in the remarkably lovely garden of the castle gatehouse with Alan and Linda Barker.  Alan, a retired castle employee,  still works three days a week in the castle 
Alan and Linda

workshop, while Linda still bakes the famous 

Bakewell Tarts part time for a company in the 
town of Bakewell. She also performed her Bakewell magic for us and we ended a lovely day with supremely good fare and good company.  Then it was back to Mark and Sarah’s Beston house and another culinary delight, a salmon en-croute. A pox on these two good cooks…or maybe not, as Sarah and I were the recipients of the tasty efforts of not one but two master chefs in one day.  Lucky us. 
Bakewell Tarts and jam cookies

Sarah has a list of fifty things she would like to do before she turns fifty-one.  Last year when I was visiting, off we went to one of the events on the list: visiting Mr. Straw’s house, a turn of the century home opened to the public.   Since my last visit, Sarah and Mark have fulfilled many of the items on her list.  They have had tea at the Ritz in London, gone sailing, and holidayed in Egypt, to name a few.  So on the third night of my visit, we ticked off another event by attending a classical concert.  We spread out blankets on a grassy knoll. The orchestra played themed selections, as an amazing and most incredibly well coordinated (to the music) fireworks show I have ever seen flashed and crackled in the sky above the band shell.  Sarah’s next adventures from her 50s List are going to a Pam Aryes poetry reading, and going on a woodland hunt for wild fungi. Talk about an eclectic list of activities.  I am so impressed with her idea and also for her follow through. The list has really been terrific fun for both Sarah and Mark. 

On my last night we went out to a really great pub where I ate a particularly awful, but I understand very British meal.  A Toad in a Blanket, I think it was called. I chose to have mine vegetarian and quite frankly, they can keep that blanket no matter what the filing far away from me.  Forever.  But that did not dampen the evening of good company, good wine, and good desserts.
View of the bridge over the river inside the Hall properties

Sarah, Mark and I sitting in the Haddon Hall Arbor.  

The next morning I was off to Stansted Airport to buy a new teddy bear for my future grandchild at Harrods airport store and then fly off to Stuttgart.  What? No Harrods store at Stansted?  A pox on you Harrods, and this time I mean it.  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hey all,

New posts are coming at the end of the week when my new Internet service is installed.

What's coming?

The Peaks District with Mark and Sarah

A night and day in Milano, Italy


And Ikaria: A Night to Remember

Thanks for your patience and interest.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013



Driving through the Yorkshire Dales of England is a landscape artist’s dream. The Picturesque narrow country roads bordered by low stonewalls and hedgerows, that separate sheep pastures, are the norm in northern England.  The market town of Hawes is in the heart of the whole Dales area.  Here, I had a delightful two-night stay at the Fairview, which has received a local award for  the best breakfast among guesthouses in the area.  And yum, it is excellent.  Because of the Fairview’s   great location, once I parked my car, I had no need to use it during my whole visit. 
My first stop was to drop off my laundry. Then I was off to the Wensleydale Cheese Factory.  Wallace’s, (of Wallace and Grommet) favorite cheese.  Not only do they have a great movie explaining the history of the cheese but there is also a humorous young man who goes through the process of cheese making for all to see.  Then there is more cheese making demonstrations and a tour of the actual factory.  After I explored the whole cheese making operation, I headed off to the gift shop, and the large, very long tasting room, where I tasted every flavor of Wensleydale made, and there are a rows and rows of flavors.  I made a pit stop in one of their dining rooms for a light lunch and then was off to peruse the local shops on my way to the local Visitors Center in hopes of going on the Red Squirrel
Cotton growing in a field

walk, but I was too late. 

But the center offered me another walk on the Pennine Way to the Green Dragon Inn to see its waterfall.  The walk took me through sheep pastures, passed picturesque buildings and mildly hilly terrain to the ancient village of Hardraw.  On the way I saw a fence sign, Sheep Dog Trials, 6 PM.  Well, I surely wasn’t going to miss that.
Hardraw and the Inn in the distance

The Falls
The Green Dragon Inn dates back to the 13th/14th century and the interior around the two fireplaces has the putrid smell of years of  accumulated soot.  How anyone could sit in those rooms was beyond me, and I rushed through quickly to the outer bar. Although historians aren’t quite sure, it is believed that the name of the Inn comes from olden times of age old conflicts when the lord of the manor in these parts would send out a call for his men to meet under the banner of the Green Dragon at the falls. 

The falls are privately owned by the Inn, which charges four pounds to take a look.  I’m sure that during the summer months they take in a bundle just from the visitors to the falls.  There, I met a charming couple from Dublin who were traveling with their adopted sheep dog, on a more extended visit to the Dales than mine.  They explained that the Irish government had a program of giving pensioners (retirees) a holiday fund so they could take a vacation at least once year. This fund of course is really a medicinal concept that cuts down on sedentary illnesses and freshens pensioners’ outlooks as they age. I liked that idea a great deal, not just for me the avid traveler, but for all the older folks who worked hard all their lives and in retirement can only afford to sit around and wait to die (or now are forced in their old age to push grocery carts at stores for patrons to make ends meet).  In my opinion it is a much better use of our tax dollars than spending the money on the military/industrial community to create explosives to unsettle other peoples’ lives.

Upon arriving back from the waterfall and the Green Dragon Inn I found there was no time to waste. I had to immediately turn around and go back the way I had just come to see the Sheep Dog Trials.  There were five dogs ranging in age from one year to eleven years old.  They were all very friendly and I had a chance to say hello to each before their work began.  The flock of sheep, who stood together on the far side of the field, stay outside during the whole winter and their coats were becoming thick and woolly again after their spring shearing.   The farmer directed the dogs with some voice directions but mostly by sounds made from his whistle.  The dogs, which generally worked in twos, were extremely eager.  It was obvious they loved making the sheep do their bidding.  They began by circling the flock, one on each side, giving the sheep a wide berth. Yet the dogs were able to direct the whole flock into a pen, while separating six from the larger flock to use to show off their skills.  Each dog was given an opportunity to go through their paces as a sheepherder and they were all wonderful to watch.  Lucy the youngest was a natural, probably the most skilled of all the five dogs considering she was just shy of a year old.         

After this wonderful exhibition of sheepdog skill, off I went for a pub dinner of homemade sweet potato soup and oven fresh bread. The next morning, I was off to the Peaks District, one of my very favorite areas in all of England.