and enough that is different in such a relationship,
there is a fruitful middle ground to be explored.”
Some Lovely Islands by Mr. Leslie Thomas is now one of my favorite travel memoirs. I will scour the bookstores of Great Britain for copies of this book. Thomas out-Rick-Steves Rick Steves as a “temporary local.” He is not as philosophical as John Steinbeck in Travels With Charley, but his writing sparkles like a sun-drenched sea. I filled nine pages of my journal with quotes from this author.
Thomas decided to visit 10 very different islands off of Ireland and Great Britain in one year. Some were uninhabited, some had monasteries, a few had long-established communities, and most had a lighthouse. It was great to read a chapter, surf the web and see the visuals; some of the people he mentioned in this 1967 book are now selling photographs on the web. Viva le Google!
It is the writing that pinches, tickles, grabs and holds you. He sees the elements of nature as living things; they are alive when you read his descriptions.
like black wrestlers locked in a hold;
and there was I staggering over mooring ropes and anchors.
…the saddest sight.
A whole village, a whole life,
a whole story in doleful ruin.
The houses back up the hill,
roofless, windowless, doorless,
like a congregation of senile people
without teeth or eyes.
Fat banks of fog…with a certain politeness
stopped short and stood around
just outside the harbour.
The boat sniffed around the rocks
and panted into the landlocked pool
like a dog pleased to have rediscovered
a familiar rabbit hole.
Fads and fashions,
pavement and politics,
are miles away and of no matter.
The singing of the seals is real.