Uncommon Places Number Five

Climbing Mount Schiehallion

In January 1945, I became 18 and got my driver’s license. I had been caddying for Dr. Hunt, a well-known lawyer, at the Peterborough-Milton Golf Club since I was 14 and since it was just two miles from my home on my bicycle.  Dr. Hunt was used to having a chauffeur for his Humber Super snipe car and his regular driver, Albert had been drafted into the army and had been killed in a tank fight just as the war was ending.  Continue reading

Uncommon Place Number Three

Rock Gun, Gibraltar

The Rock of Gibraltar, a British Garrison colony, is located on the farthest south-western tip of Spain guarding the Straits of Gibraltar and the gate to the Mediterranean. The Straits or STROG for mariners and the Pillars of Hercules to the ancient Greeks, have always been important in history, separating Muslim Africa from catholic Spain and the other European countries.  Continue reading

Uncommon Place Number Two

The Whispering Gallery of St. Pauls Cathedral

St. Pauls Cathedral sits on Ludgate Hill, the highest point of the one square mile that is the true City of London. Dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle, it dates back to a church on that site in A.D. 604.  The current church was built in the 17th century by Sir Christopher Wren and as it states therein, “If you seek his memorial, look about you.” Continue reading

Uncommon Places Introduction

By uncommon I don’t mean crazy rare. You can see “Kelly was here” at most of them.  I don’t mean common like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite but somewhere beyond where most average travelers go.  A good example is Number  One, the Blarney Stone

The Blarney Stone

The Blarney Stone is a block of stone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle that is located five miles north of Cork in the south of Ireland. This particular stone was built into the castle he was building, by Cormac Laidir McCarthay in 1446.  According to the most popular legend, he was on his way to resolve his most recent tax dispute when an old lady told him to kiss a stone she designated and he would suddenly have excellent reasoning powers and the elocution skills to express them.  In the court, he was able to do so and he won his case.  He decided that the rock gave him the powers and he ordered it to be built into the parapet at the top of his castle.  The legend became popular that kissing the rock would grant the kisser with what, today is called the “gift of the gab”, or as the Irish say, to be an expert with “the “Blarney”. Continue reading

Character Number Thirty

And then there’s this Other Guy.

He was an English chap and he did well at school and college except he turned larcenous in his freshman year and started a collection of pub signs and other signs that appealed to him. He had occasional discussions with angry bar-tenders but he seems to have got away with it.  Having run out of college money in his last year, he got married to a well-paid secretary and as happens, they had a baby and just when his college years ended, he took them off to a foreign land where he had a job waiting.  They had him designing things and whole plants then making him go and run them and show others how to run them.  His company liked his efforts and they thought he could dumb-down and become the company sales-man in their big-city office with the entire USA as his territory. Continue reading

Character Number Twenty-Eight

And then there was Ed Bukrey.

I first met Ed Bukrey in 1980 when I joined Champions Golf Club in Houston. We had just moved from Jacksonville, FL and our house was within the holes of one of Champion’s two courses.  I was welcomed to the inner club of week-end golfers, the Forty Thieves and Ed was an 18 handicap and I was a 10 handicap so we were often on the same mixed handicap teams.  Ed told me that he had spent a lot of money on golf lessons but I was the first to give him tips that helped him improve his game.  Mainly, I had helped his short game very much and he was enjoying playing better.  Continue reading

Character Number Twenty-Nine

Duke of EdinburghAnd then there was the Duke of Edinburgh.

Phillip, Prince of Greece and Denmark had met Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King George VI a couple of times when she was quite young but they met again at the Royal College of Dartmouth in 1939 when she was 13 and they agreed to exchange letters. Elizabeth was reported as saying that Phillip was the man she wanted to marry.  Continue reading

Character Number Twenty-Six

And then there was Ellen Louise Banton.

Ellen Louise Banton was born on March 26, 1895 in Brentford, London.   She probably went to London schools in Brentford and nearby Acton and she told me she worked in some kind of munitions factory for some time during WWI or 1914 to 1918 when she was 19 to 23. We do know that she later worked in the Lyons Bakery at Cadbury Hall where Lyons not only baked thousands of bread loaves per day, but multiple meals and pastries for their many “Lyons Corner House” restaurants.  Her foreman there was Master-Baker Arthur William Dewing a widower.  On September 3rd, 1927 when she was 32, she married Arthur who was 45 but it is not known how long she was at Lyons or if she had some other job prior to Lyons. Continue reading