Africa, America, Countries, Ireland, UK

A town called Patrick

Happy St Patrick’s Day everyone and here off pat around the world we celebrate you if you’re from a town called Patrick.

And there are surprisingly few too.

There are only eight Patricks across three countries.

McCool kid

My cup of TT: The Isle of Man

And even more startlingly none are in the country where St Patrick is most celebrated, Ireland.

But in an island in the Irish Sea, all right, the Isle of Man.

Patrick (population 1,576) is in fact more of a parish, in the west of the isle, than a town.

The Isle of Man, of course, is a well-trodden soil for the Irish…

Mighty craic

Giant helpings: Finn McCool

And the craic there is always 80.

Of course it was invented when Irish giant Finn McCool was chasing a Scottish giant across Ulster.

He picked up a handful of earth and chucked it at him…

The sod created the Isle of Man and the crater he left behind is now Lough Neagh.

Moving on, and such was the footprint that the Irish have left on the USA that you won’t be surprised to see some Patricks there.

Off Pat in the USA

Doll’s house: In Mississippi

And so you’ll see a Patrick in Mississippi, Nevada, Arkansas, South Carolina, Kentucky and Texas.

Whisper it but the Patrick commemorated isn’t our snake-chasing saint.

The Nevada one is an American soldier Patrick McCarran, who bought the land and also begat a US senator.

The Texas a postmaster Patrick Gallagher.

Both obvs Irish-American.

Flagging it up: Lesotho

Now we can only imagine Patrick and its region St Patrick (see we got one) in Lesotho is the Irish missionary influence in Africa.

The land-locked mountainous country is completely encircled by South Africa.

But it is timely to mention that it resisted the interference of South Africa and continues to do so.e

Even if it that means a continuing water dispute.

Water of the good life

Ruby do: With Ruby in Barbados

Of course, today is more about the Guinness than the water.

And so if you’re a Patrick, come from a place called Patrick, or a region St Patrick’s.

As in the region north-west of Sir Grantley Adams Airport, Barbados.

Then you’ve got an extra reason to celebrate today on St Patrick’s Day.

We celebrate you if you’re from a town called Patrick.

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

A kick in the baubles

A kick in the baubles… I’ve lost my battle with The Scary One and her apprentice.

It’s five years since our MLK50 group was serenaded with Merry Christmas Everyone by a Southern singer at an antebellum guesthouse.

The Southern Ball

Southern baubles and belles: Mississippi

And every year when I see the Fairview Inn bauble from Jackson, Mississippi, I think of that Deep South Family…

Her, her husband and their eight kids.

This year though I have to crane my head around the back of the tree to see the Mississippian bauble.

Because The Scary One and her mini-me have decided to hide it there behind glittery shop decorations.

It is a daily ding-dong to get my baubles on the tree…

My belle and her baubles

Masked ball: In Venice

We both love Venice so the Grand Canal bauble makes it.

Greening up: A touch of Irish

While my Irish harp (an extra greening this year didn’t go down well).

Countered, of course, by the red phone box, a symbol of Englishness.

Hat’s a decoration: The Sorting Hat

And a sorting hat and Harry Potter’s Gryffindor scarf.

He’s got bounce: Tigger

Tigger doesn’t deserve to sit below Potter but I expect him to get up the tree.

He has the bounce after all.

A Christmas laaf

Game for a laaf: A touch of Dutch

Up there and deservedly so are my favourite urchins, the Laafs I fell in love with in Ireland.

But who hail from the Netherlands.

Baubles were born in Germany as was the Christmas tree.

So if you were able to get to one of their Christmas markets then you know how tinseltastic they are.

Birthplace of baubles

Birthplace: Lauscha

Lauscha is the birthplace of the bauble and celebrates it every November with its kugelmarket.

Yes, you guessed it, it translates as bauble market.

And it all started in the glassworks of this German mountain town near the Czech border.

With craftsman Hans Greiner moulding the ornaments into the shape of fruit and nuts in 1847 and exporting them to Britain.

Neither of which would work with Santa’s little helper in Chez Murty who clears the tree of hanging chocolate every year.

Before moving my keepsake… it’s a real kick in the baubles.

 

 

 

 

America, Countries, Culture, Music

The Deep South have a lot to sing and write about

‘Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy… that’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’ And doesn’t Harper Lee’s state Alabama and the Deep South have a lot to sing and write about.

That great novel, To Kill A Mockingbird was 60 years old last year.

And it is regularly listed as one of the public’s favourite books and Harper Lee is rightly celebrated in the Deep South state.

So much so that the good residents of her own Monroeville homestead live the story every year.

With the locals actually becoming part of the cast alongside Jem, Scout, Boo Ridley, Atticus Finch and Tom Robinson.

Part of the cast

Every April and May, a version of Mockingbird  is put on by people from the community.

And you’ll see the jury preside over Tom Robinson’s trial is selected from the audience before each performance.

While just a short drive away lies Montgomery where Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald lived from 1931-32 and where Scott worked on Tender is the Night.

You can visit the Jazz Age couple’s Felder Avenue home is now the site of the F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum.

And a two-bedroom apartment that can be booked by literary lovers on Airbnb.

The Sound of the South

With Rosa Parks in Jackson, Mississippi

It is no coincidence that Hollywood mines the Deep South for epic movies.

William Faulkner, the Poet Laureate of the South says it better than ya’ll could.. certainly this scribbler.

Faulkner is the author of the classic The Sound and the Fury.

And he opined: ‘I discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it.’

And you can learn much more about Faulkner and other alumni from the Magnolia State including Richard Wright and Eurdora Welty on The Mississippi Writers Trail.

All of which is a good bookend to the Mississippi Blues Trail which of course is richly infused through the Civil Rights Struggle.

While Faulkner will forever be linked to the Deep South, that too is the case for Tennessee Williams. Well, how could it not as he carried it around the state in his name?

Good ole Southern Boys

Graceland: And a reason to believe

Like many famous Tennessee legends, like BB King and Elvis Presley he is in fact a Mississippian.

The Deep South includes AlabamaKentuckyLouisianaMississippi & Tennessee.

And to immerse yourself in the region is to step right into the pages of these great storytellers.

Yes, truly, the Deep South have a lot to sing and write about.