We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The Vikings are returning in their ships to Ireland, reports Blue Crab. Very cool, but it's not really a very difficult passage, in good weather.
The Norsemen terrorized the British Isles during the dark ages, raping, burning, killing and pillaging...all the fun stuff Vikings liked to do, but also settling and colonizing, to some extent, until the French-speaking Norsemen of Normandy finally took the whole place over in 1066, more or less.
Monks huddled on top of inaccessible places like Skellig Michael to elude them, and dedicated their lives to prayer and the copying of the ancient classical writings.
We first learned about Skellig Michael on the old PBS Civilization series by Lord Kenneth Clark (that was good TV - every kid should see it). And then more in Thomas Cahill's wonderful How the Irish Saved Civilization. I like all of Cahill's stuff, especially Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus.
I have been to Skellig Michael. Took the little fishing boat out there and climbed those endless narrow stone-cut, railing-less, acrophobia-inducing steps almost to the top, where their stone huts still sit in the wind and clouds. Would not recommend going to Ireland without going down there.
Visit the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The islands especially. As your piece on New England character and weather attested, the rocks and rain and winds and shattering beauty of God are anvils for our souls. Some amazing tiny islands the monks got to. Fleeing the temptations of all your Victoria's Secret models, no doubt! A Highland lass, tho, is more beautiful. And she can cook porridge, nurse your children and sick animals, protect your lands when you go off to war against the foul English...Yes, 3/4 Scots despite the dominant English branch of the family recently...