Gretna GreenLockerbieGlasgowEdinburghDalkeith

On the ferry crossing, I met Stephen J. Shorten, a friendly fellow from Ballylinan, near Athy in County Kildare. Stephen invited me to visit anytime I ever returned to Ireland. Sure, I said. Upon landing in Liverpool, Stephen offered me a ride north to somewhere, maybe as far as Glasgow. I wish it had been my destiny to meet more travelers like Stephen; but, alas, it was not to be.


Anyway, he got me out of Liverpool; a city with such a disgusting name biased me from ever wanting to visit therein. The only good to ever come out of Liverpool, as far as my ignorance knew, was the Beatles, and they probably only returned occasionally to see their mums. My favorite Beatles tune was the one George wrote titled Here Comes The Sun. I played it often on my flute when I arrived in a spot with bright vibrations. Northern England was not such a spot, and I had left my flute at home.


Liverpool ⇒ Preston ⇒ Lancaster ⇒ Penrith ⇒ Carlisle ⇒ Gretna ⇒ Lockerbie ⇒ Glasgow ⇒ Larkhall ⇒ Edinburgh ⇒ Dalkeith...275 miles or so. I remember the dankness of the UK industrial north — reminded me of parts of New Jersey. Workers lived in rows of jammed houses each sufficiently efficient but identical to its neighbor, like a motel for coal miners. I would not have enjoyed the life up here. Gloomy. Cold musty in August. Coal dusty in winter. Where was the greenery? This is Scotland, dummy!


Edinburgh was cold and wet, but I made it to the museum before it closed. Had maybe half an hour to see one of the major art museums on my tour. Started running. Edinburgh has an ambitious Vermeer painted in his youth that nobody wants. It looks like a picture from a Sunday school book. Mature Vermeers capture eternal moments in everyday situations. Christ visiting Mary and Martha illustrates such a moment, but it does not capture that moment. Illustrations illustrate concepts, art embeds feelings. How the artist embeds feelings is the artist's style. The painter's style is how the painter touches the canvas. You can generalize this principle to all media. Rubenstein's piano style differs from Horowitz's in the way he touched the keys. Essentially that is the difference between illustration and art: the former refers to a concept; the latter, implants subtle feelings. It's all in the touch. Learning to see, hear, smell, or taste that touch requires empathy and perhaps some attempts to paint some on your own. In Vermeers, we want time to stop, unlike myself who did not want to miss anything, so I continued running — past the impressionists, past the post-impressionists, past the expressionists, depressionists, and repressionists. Run run run till I saw it all. Hmmm...


Slept somewhere in Dalkeith, south of Edinburgh.
Hope I stayed dry.