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“My Thoughts Exactly, Maeve!”

View from Ashford Castle, Cong, Ireland

View from Ashford Castle, Cong, Ireland

Today I thought I would post something for my favorite author ever, Maeve Binchy. She was the most popular Irish woman writer of all time and wrote books about the interactions of everyday people; just real people in real life. Maeve had advice about writing that I never forgot. Maeve passed away on July 30, 2012, but every year on St Patrick’s Day I write her a little something. 

Maeve’s advice on writing.

Write like you talk, it is your voice.

She also wrote scenes in her books that were conversations she had overheard. One day she was so engulfed in a conversation by two women on a bus that she actually got off the bus, where they did, and followed them so she could hear the end of the conversation!

She was an excellent listener.

I have been going through my emails and letters to file for family history and came across this email I sent to my sister on Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 at 5:31pm. I thought Maeve would enjoy it too.

J, the November date is good.  Will you be here a week? 

This weekend I made hamburger and hotdog buns, because we grilled out, cooked 21 servings of chili to put up and made two batches of pizza dough, because we ate pizza on Monday, and put up 20 more pounds of tomatoes.  I am trying to get ready for winter.

I slaved over the chili, soaking beans all night before hand and I have come to the conclusion that I don’t know beans about beans.  After soaking all night they were still hard, but I thought no problem because the six pounds of meat, with onions, green peppers, chili powder, paprika, tomato sauce and tomatoes will all cook down in the pressure cooker and the beans will soften up too. Wrong, I pressured the chili and it smelled so good, then when that was done I added the beans and just cooked them down like the recipe said.  For some reason because of the gas from the beans the recipe stated NOT to put them in the pressure cooker with the other ingredients.  The chili cooked down to nothing and those beans were as hard as ever.  SO then SB and I spent the rest of the day picking 3 pounds of cooked hard beans out of the chili!!!!!!!!!!!

I guess from now on I will use CANNED BEANS.  BUMMER!!!!!!,

The news of the day: Ghost hunters every year on the anniversary of a train accident in the 1860’s near Statesville, NC meet up at 430am on the train trestle where the train went over the trestle and killed 35 people.  Supposedly after the train accident a train conductor could be found on the track at this time of morning on the anniversary day, waving his lantern looking for the derailed train.  So ghost hunters have been showing up for years to see the train’s conductor.

This year was no exception.  A group of ghost hunters started walking the track one day last week at 430am.  Suddenly a real train came around the bend and since there is not a stop or anything else there, the conductor did not blow a whistle that the train was coming, nor was he looking for people on the track.  The ghost hunters were caught off guard and were running for their lives on the trestle.  Several jumped off the trestle when the train caught up to them and one man was run over by the train. He pushed his girlfriend off the trestle telling her “he loved her”  and then was ran over.  The others that jumped from the trestle are in intensive care with critical injuries, including the girl.  Now for several days there have been stories in the newspaper about how this episode will now become one of the ghost hunters legends too and they will be looking for the guy that got ran over.  Can you believe it? !!!!!!!!! 

The book for our book club meeting this month is “Serena” and I have never read a book that from the first page git-go, I disliked the main character. A new first!

The relationship among the characters is not believable either.  I am learning about the Smoky Mountain National Park developers versus the timber industry. The mountain families were run off their land or became lumber jacks making little to no money to timber the trees.  The depression was going on and they lived horrible lives because they could so easily be replaced.  I hope it gets better, although I am half way through it and so far I am not impressed.  It is a chore to read and I have to have it read by next Wednesday.

How is K feeling?  S’s wrist/arm has held up in the cast. Today was the back surgery on SB’s mom.  She is in intensive care and in pain, following the surgery and he is on his way to see her.  HMMMM…..  If you are in pain in intensive care when you are so doped up I say you are in a pickle.  Just my two cents worth.  More later. c

Well Maeve, I hope this email has given you a good laugh and something to write about today, because I know you are still writing and the stories up there might be a little too goodie-two-shoes for you! And, you might have a buzz in your head trying to strain to hear all the conversations down here! So I am making it easy for you!

PS I also am sending you a photo I took at Ashford Castle in Cong, Ireland. It is still the greenest country in the world!

Sincerely, Cady

My First Guest Post: Following the Path


Richard Edwin Denhart

Richard Edwin Denhart

This week I had the pleasure to write my first guest post! During the weeks of the Blogging University 201 I met several new friends. One new friend, Dominic, writes two very successful blogs;  The Flibberatic Skreeblles  is about genealogy and more and the other, A Wiltshire Garden , about his garden in the UK.  So we decided to exchange posts and his post on gardening in the UK will be posted here in the upcoming weeks. My post, on my family and tracing my roots, Following the Path, was posted on his site May 16th. Check it out won’t you?  And enjoy! The picture of the handsome young sailor is my father!

Meet the Family: Kinlet to Acton Burnell, UK


The Sheep and Lambs at Kinlet Hall, Kinlet, Shropshire

The Sheep and Lambs at Kinlet Hall, Kinlet, Shropshire

I have been doing genealogy for a number of years, going back farther and farther in my family history, now over 35,000 people strong! One of the reasons for the trip to the UK was to document and photograph the villages my family (my mother’s side) came from and to visit the last village that Richard Henry Lee, my 22nd GGrandfather, lived in before leaving England for the United States in the early 1600’s. What an experience! The first stop after leaving the Cotswolds was Kinlet, Kin (royal) lett (district) Shropshire, population around 600. I was looking for St John’s Church where my relatives, the Blounts, are buried. First driving to Cleobury Mortimer, the roads dwindled to sheep pastures and upon reaching Kinlet, the main attraction seemed to be The Eagle and the Serpent Pub, in the middle of nowhere! They have THE BEST burgers and fries!!!!!

The Eagle and Serpent Pub, Kinlet, Shropshire, UK

The Eagle and Serpent Pub, Kinlet, Shropshire, UK

Driving up and down the road several times, to my dismay, and seeing no sign of a church, we did find a large old school now being used as a nursing home. SB, being the gentleman he always is, went in the nursing home to inquire about St John’s Church. The young attendants had no clue to it’s where abouts, but a tiny frail woman in a wheel chair said, “take the path in front of the pub up the hill!” 

It was a path with an iron gate, which we opened and went in and drove on up the hill through the rolling hills dotted with sheep and lambs. When the path ended, there was the church and next door a huge, huge, huge manor house! The Manor House or Kinlet Hall is now the Moffats School, a private school, but we went in and talked to the head mistress, who through marriage was also related to the Blount family.  She told us to take as many pictures outside the building as we wanted, as not to disturb the classes, and to go on through the gate to the church. This is what I found in Kinlet and St John’s Church.

It’s nice to know your relatives were so well thought of and very important to the community!

Outer Shell of Acton Burnell Castle, Acton Burnell, England

Outer Shell of Acton Burnell Castle, Acton Burnell, England

Next, traveling to Acton Burnell, we discovered the remnants of Acton Burnell Castle and a path through a really spooky grove of trees that we had to go through in order to reach the castle. I couldn’t help but think something awful had gone on here! If only these trees could talk!

The Spooky Path Through the Woods at Acton Burnell Castle, Acton Burnell, England

The Spooky Path Through the Woods at Acton Burnell Castle, Acton Burnell, England


Acton Burnell Castle is a 13th century fortified manor house, located near the village of Acton Burnell, Shropshire, England. Built in 1284 by Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath and Wells, friend and advisor to King Edward I, the manor house was substantial enough to accommodate Edward I, his household, soldiers and advisors. It is believed that the first Parliament of England in which the Commons were fully represented was held here in 1283. Today all that remains is St Mary’s Church, also built by Robert Burnell, and the outer shell of the castle. The Lee family must have been important in the village of Acton Burnell, but like a lot of young men of his time, Richard Henry Lee was not the oldest son to inherit, so left England to start fresh in a new country. It’s good to see where you came from so you know where you’re going! Have you traced your family back to lands unknown? What did you experience? I would love to know!  Enjoy!


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