100_0881What’s this all About Then?

I have been fascinated with the UK since I was a wee lad. My Mom’s dad William Geach, Bill, was born in Liverpool in 1890 and came to the US in 1923. Pop never became an American nor did he ever lose his accent.  And man, did I love to hear him talk.  The sound was so different from the way everyone else sounded. And my Mum & her mother were very much into the whole “English thing” too. They would tell tales of all going to England by ocean liner with Pop even taking his car.  He thought that the English ones were too small.

Bill Geach (love the pince nez glasses)

Bill Geach (love the pince nez glasses)

But what really made me determined to breath Scottish air, feel it’s earth, eat it’s food, drink uisge-beatha and listen to the accent was the picture of my mother’s maternal great grandfather, Thomas Wares of Wick, Scotland in his full regalia I found hidden away in a steamer trunk.

Thomas Graham, of Warrs Scotland

Thomas Graham, of Warrs Scotland

My other grandfather was Hugh Blackwell of Boston.  When I asked him once where his family came from he said England but without the specifics of what town/city. It wasn’t until years after he died that I find out from a very distant cousin who had done his own family’s genealogical search that I can trace the Blackwell name to Limerick, Ireland in the  1600’s.  All those lost St. Patrick’s Days when I never got to wear the button!  In fact, I have been told that Blackwell could be loosely translated in Gaelic as Duhb Linn: a black well or pool.  Of course that spelling has since been condensed to Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland.  I’m guessing that Hugh’s reluctance to claim Irish ancestry resulted from his father or grandfather having to deny it when faced with signs proclaiming “Irish Need Not Apply” in Somerville, Mass.

Hugh, Gertrude, Robert & Eugene Blackwell

Hugh, Gertrude, Robert & Eugene Blackwell

When I went to Scotland in 2011 for my 5th visit, I sent a lot of emails with photos to family & friends back home.  What a pain that was.  Recipients tried to read them on smart phones and later had to remove them from multiple devices.  And as the writer, they were a  very cumbersome way to properly tell the tale.  Then I thought, why not a blog?  I was originally going to name it “Wandering Scotland” or some such but I realized that, while my focus for past trips has been on Scotland, that name would be too limiting (and this one is so much better, agreed?).  This blog was started in November 0f 2012 so all the posts of Previous Wanderings before 2015 were written from memory and notes, not at the time they occurred so some dates, etc. might be wrong.  If you start with the 2003 trip or the beginning of any trip for that matter, everything will make more sense.  I don’t know how this will end up.  Maybe  a book, maybe lost in the ether of the inter web.  Most likely a way for me to remember years from now so basically, I’m my primary audience. When you write to yourself and not to impress others, it is much easier and freeing.

I have found real joy in my wanderings in the past and I have been embiggend* to be sharing that joy. I have met some wonderful people and a few of them would consider me a friend as I do them. And as friends we keep in touch.  I am  hopeful people will find this story both entertaining and educational.

The last wander from April to July lasted 80 days all in the UK. According to the US/UK passport agreement a Yank can spend up to and not over 180 days out of 365 commencing upon entry.  That being the case, I have over 60 days and I intent to use a few of them starting 24, Sept 2017.


So I’m going to pick up exactly where I left off in Edinburgh.  I like starting where I left off as it offers a form of continuance.  This time I hope to follow in the steps of those such as Twain, Adams and others who have done a bit of the Grand Tour.  After I spend some time in the western Highlands.  My comfort zone is the UK but now it’s time to step out. And in under 60 days, I’ll decide what unlucky country will next have to suffer me!

This is going to be fun especially with my new YouTube channel:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDOTWnFxCqIwBEt8ostogLw

And you can follow also on FaceBook, under William Blackwell, which allows me to share, using video, so much more than I have in the past!



So how do you, the reader, make this work technically?  On the right you see a section called ‘Previous Wanderings’.  Pick a month or year and you will get a page of posts.  At the bottom left of each page, in blue it says “Previous entries”.  If you click on that it will take you to a page of earlier entries of that trip.  Keep doing that until you get to the first one. And please comment.  Comments help me to correct things I got wrong and learn of places you might suggest I visit, either because you’ve been there and feel I will like it or you haven’t been there and would like me to wander there for you so you can decide to visit too or just have me check it out for you. Please let me know if I have said tales clearly enough or simply if you liked or disliked a particular post.  Feedback will only improve this site and is of course monitored prior to going live. There are as of September 2017, over 300 posts and 1000’s of photos so enjoy.

Oh, the photo up top is Plockton, Scotland from the base of the mast.  There is more but I’ll let you find it!


*Apologies to Jedediah Springfield