I have three galleries here: Clifford Tower, The Wall, and Avian Life.
|Discoveries in Northern Ireland|
The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival in Belfast was held April 28 to May 8. I went to as many of the events as I could. There were comedy acts, music acts, circus acts, art shows, and more. For most, photography was not allowed. That is fine, because I could concentrate on enjoying myself.
There was one act I felt was very courageous. A local community group that works with mentally handicapped, had trained several clients to perform special tricks using balls, hoops, and other items. It was rewarding for both the performers and the audience. I would love to see a Texas community be as accepting and loving.
Below is a slide show of some of the sights in the Cathedral Quarter as well as at the festival.
If you want to be extraordinary, do the extraordinary.
When this idea first came to me, I was thinking of the current Queen Elizabeth. She turned 90 today. When you look at her life, you can see how she was an extraordinary woman. It goes beyond the fact that she is royal. There are periods throughout her life when she shows how extraordinary she is by her words and actions. From these moments, we can learn how and why we could and should be extraordinary in our own lives.
First, if you want to be extraordinary, show your support for your country, even if it is in the most humble position imaginable. When Elizabeth was 18, and third in line to the throne, she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service. Wanting to do her part to help her country during World War II, Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor worked as a mechanic and truck driver.
Secondly, invest in an extraordinary education through various social and cultural groups. In 1937 Elizabeth belonged to a scouting program called Girl Guides. Through this, she learned to sail and became a Sea Ranger in 1943. This may not seem significant to you, however please consider that she was a princess at the time. The eyes of her country were on her. Elizabeth’s actions showed she and the royal family supported this program, thus paving the way for it to spread. It is through these types of activities that we form lasting friendships and make important connections.
To be extraordinary, be humble and do not flash your power and wealth before others. Since WWII austerity measures were still in effect in 1947, Elizabeth used rationing coupons to pay for her wedding dress. Her wedding cake was made with ingredients donated by Australian Girl Guides – evidence that her membership had a significant impact.
Also, if you want to be extraordinary, stay true to the things you love. Elizabeth loves photography and corgis. When she is able, she takes pictures and videos of her family. Sadly, they are not publicly displayed. Elizabeth fell in love with her father’s corgi when she was ten years old. During her reign, the Queen has had 30 of these pets. This is how we form memories that will last a lifetime - memories that will comfort us in times of despair and loneliness.
Extraordinary people are courageous. As she rode on horseback during her birthday celebration on June 13, 1981, Queen Elizabeth was shot at by Marcus Sarjeant. All six shots were blanks. As the young man, who was later hospitalized with mental illness, was carried off, Elizabeth soothed her mount and finished the parade.
Perhaps most importantly, extraordinary people face the music and embrace change.
Queen Elizabeth called 1992 "annus horribilis." Many members of the royal family, mainly her own children. were embroiled in scandals. Windsor castle burned and a royal tell-all was published.
As the royal family’s popularity plummeted, Queen Elizabeth gave voice to what she learned from these events. In her November 24, 1992 address, she stated "No institution, City, monarchy, whatever, should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don't."
“Criticism is good for people and institutions,” she admitted, then chided “And that scrutiny… can be just as effective if it is made with a touch of gentleness, good humor, and understanding.” Queen Elizabeth admitted, “This sort of questioning can also act…as an effective engine for change.” This comment leads to my final point.
Extraordinary people accept responsibility.
As part of this change, the Queen made a great financial sacrifice. She and her son Prince Charles agreed to pay taxes on their private incomes. Queen Elizabeth also began paying a large part of the family expenses. Extraordinary people do not depend on others. They make their own way though life. If they can't afford that fancy phone, they don't buy it. If that nice house is out of range of their budget, they find someplace else to live. It does no one any good to have the best and newest of anything. Be content with what you have or work to make your life better if you can't be content.
These are only a few of the things I find to be extraordinary about Queen Elizabeth. It is also a jumping off point to help me find my own extraordinary life. I invite you to start your own quest.
Happy Birthday, Lilibet.
Sadly I had to cut my trip to Prague short due to a family emergency. This trip was part business and part leisure. I did a tour on day one, and on day two I taught a class on sonnet writing to a group of American college students who are taking part of a special combined class in European history, art, and composition.
These pictures are from the tour.
Here is another post I meant to do earlier.
When I was in London, I took a train to Hampton Court Palace. In high school I was enamored of the Tudors and even wrote a paper about Lady Jane Grey. This was my opportunity to walk the same paths as many of the people I read about.
This is a view of the palace from across the Thames.
This is the courtyard leading to the main buildings.
This fountain can be found in an inner courtyard.
Formal gardens in the back.
The images above show where the royals and the lords and ladies of the court would spend their time. Compare that to some places behind the scenes.
The alleyway below runs behind King Henry's kitchen and next to Queen Elizabeth's kitchen.
Typical Tudor kitchen. i wanted to get shots of the huge fireplace, which was in action, but there were many children running about on the day I visited, and they tended to gather in front of the flames.
Below is King Henry VIII's wine storage.
The pages' chamber included a sleeping area, a fireplace, and a table. It was at least ten feet by twenty.
This is what it would have looked like.
Pictures from the chocolate kitchen.
The Wilderness. This garden was outside the palace and had hidden nooks.
And of course, Blue and I went through the maze.
Nature shots outside of palace grounds.
I am a middle school English teacher, a wife and mother, photographer, amateur archeologist, and a global wanderer. This website is dedicated to my journey during my experience as a Fulbright Distinguished Teacher.