Her adventures there are too numerous to chronicle here, but they included this visit to Gorey castle which made her feel even smaller than ever. She was not the only visitor to the castle, there were also some terrifyingly beautiful birds of prey which had her racing breathlessly back to the safety of her carriage.
She preferred the beach and the sea and gazed longingly at the surfers and wind-surfers and boaters splashing about.
The thought of sogginess kept her firmly on dry land. She'd had previous bad experiences with salty water.
I did a bit of beach-combing on Friday - in Greenwich, London.
Here in fact:
photo from here, where there are some other great pictures of the Thames path.
I've heard tell there are fascinating historical finds to be made along the banks of the Thames, (and there was someone there with a metal detector) but despite working right there by the river, I've not found time - before Friday - to go down the steps from the Thames path by the Naval College which you can see in the picture, down onto the pebbles.
It was a thankfully-snatched lunch break in the midst of a gruellingly hectic day, and it did feel a bit like being by the sea... especially when a boat went by, making waves at the rivers edge. I closed my eyes and listened to the swell of the surf washing the edge of the riverbanks.
In places the banks of the Thames are more mud than anything, but by Greenwich there are lots of pebbles and flinty stones, even patches of sand - there were some shells, even riverglass though most of it wasn't caressed and washed smooth quite like seaglass. There were deformed and rusty chunks of metal and a lot of smooth strangely angled pieces which I think were bone.
My inability to leave a beach without one or two "combings" clearly extends to riverbanks as well - I did pick up and pocket a couple of things.
The heart of the larger stone is sparkly quartz.
I went back into the office with heavier pockets and a lighter heart.
This Thursday's Theme did tax my brain a bit - but this is really a time of endings and beginnings for me, and for M, so I've been thinking in those terms about "beginning".
And so this picture - taken in East London's docklands, just across the Thames from where I live -
which is the ending of the day, but also the beginning of night.
There are all sorts of changes we're going through in my household and some of the endings are sad but many of them are positive - some also a relief. The beginnings are unpredictable - but then, thats life, isn't it? Its always unpredictable, even when we forget thats so.
There are always beginnings, at least potential beginnings, embedded in what we do from day to day, like secret seeds. Some of them might grow unseen into something lovely.
So my rather taxed brain thinks that beginnings often - normally? - include endings. But also that endings go with beginnings. "Segue into" beginnings. Segue is a good word.
I saw a conker today on the pavement. If you don't know what conkers are, click here for an old post I did about them. Way back when.... when I couldn't possibly have foreseen our current situation. A lot has ended and begun since then.
I was a little shocked to see that this conker was already ripe - like the elderberries I picked at the weekend. Autumn begins earlier these days than it used to, I'm not quite sure I'm ready for it.
But wearing cosy slippers again will be nice, theres nothing like a good pair of slippers, and open fires and that crisp chilly bright October air... Oh and autumn leaves....
And the seeds being shed now
will be there, dormant and waiting, ready for the beginning of Spring.
The cycle of life. Endings and beginnings. Commonplace and amazing, innit?
Oh, and as most of my work at the moment is to do with the beginning of our University term in 3 weeks time, eeek only 2 and a half weeks, I'm ultra-busy and apologise for not being "around" much in your comments at the moment. I hope to find more time soon...