Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Reflections - Part 1

Well I'm back from vacation, having satisfied my wanderlust for now; I took over 3000 pictures, so be warned you will be seeing quite a few in the coming weeks.

To digress slightly, I think wonderlust is an interesting word, originally from German words "wandern" (to hike) and "lust" (desire), it became an English term at the beginning of the 20th century meaning enjoyment of roaming or wandering or craving for travel.

Today I am going to share some highlights and reflections of our trip; reflections or impressions as well as those created as in a mirror.

We travelled to first Paisley, Scotland,  then a few days in London and Paris, 2weeks in the Luberon in a rental house and then brief stops in Annecy and Lyon; a lot to pack into a month away.
"Paisley  is the largest town in the historic county of Renfrewshire in the west central Lowlands of Scotland and serves as the administrative centre for the Renfrewshire council area. The town is situated on the northern edge of the Gleniffer Braes, straddling the banks of the White Cart Water, a tributary of the River Clyde.
The town, a former burgh, forms part of a contiguous urban area with Glasgow, Glasgow City Centre being 6.9 miles (11.1 km) to the east. The town came to prominence with the establishment of Paisley Abbey in the 12th century, an important religious hub in mediaeval Scotland which formerly had control over the other churches in the local area." (Wikipedia)

We were in Paisley because my husband attended a conference in Paisley. Expecting cool weather I took rain gear and fleece jacket, and we were surprised by brilliant sunshine and temperatures in the 25 to 30 C range. The locals were clearly surprised by the weather and surprisingly many apologized for the unusual hot weather.

This is the town hall building in Paisley Scotland, the site of the "Paisley Snail Conference", but more on that in a future post.

Below are some views of the Paisley Abbey in Renfrewshire, Scotland. It is a former Cluniac monastery and current Church of Scotland located on the White Cart River in Paisley, Scotland.

Reflection of Abbey

Ceiling of the Abbey
The Abbey features many gargoyles (decorated water spouts), some very old, worn (the two below) followed by two much more modern ones.


Above detail of the tower and below a view of the Abbey showing the cloister. In the 15th and 16th C the Abbey was damaged by a series of fires and the tower collapsed, after which the site was plundered for its stone. The restoration of the Abbey began in the mid 19 th century and was completed in the eary 20 th C.

I always have time to admire the flora and fauna, and of course take pictures.

Paisley is the home of the paisley pattern:
"By the 19th century, Paisley had established itself as a centre of the weaving industry, giving its name to the Paisley Shawl and the Paisley Pattern."
"Paisley, as with other areas in Renfrewshire, was at one time famous for its weaving and textile industries. As a consequence, the Paisley pattern has long symbolic associations with the town." (Wikipedia)
I visited the museum which featured the history of the Paisley pattern and Paisley Shawls .

The museum gives a history of the shawl which I will summarize for you:

In the early 19 C with the simplified fashions that followed the French Revolution, shawls were a popular accessory (to add some colour), with large rectangular shape being the most popular. In the 1820's came flared skirts and a change in the popular shawl shape to square, worn folded diagonally into a triangle and draped with the point down the back. Shawls were often used as alternatives to coats with the large crinoline skirts of the 1840's; so the rectangular shape was back but the size was much larger. It was the "bustle" dress style that finally quelled the shawls popularity, as a shawl worn over a bustle created an unflattering silhoette and hid the visual point of the style.

Oh, I also made time to sample the foods, after all what's the point in travel if you don't try some local fare; had hagis too but preferred the icecream.

Paisley is a  short train ride from Glasgow. The downtown centre of Paisley is attractive and clean and the people are welcoming. There are many empty stores with for let signs though, evidence of the poor economic times.

After our short stay in Scotland it was on to London for a few days and visits with friends and relatives.

I was enjoying using windows to capture reflections, below in a church window followed by a reflection in window at Sommerset House.

Sorry, I can't remember what this building is but loved the reflection.

We happened to pass the Temple Church, pictured below and statue of the Knights Templar outside. You may recall that the Temple Church is one of the settings visited in the novel " The DaVinci Code".

On the Way to Regent's Park we passed Baker Street, of Sherlock Holmes fame, next door is Hudson's restaurant. I will save the Regent's Park pictures for a later post.

The weather was beautiful causing me to seek out green spaces; I spotted some beautiful flowers and an English Robin in my wanders.

We journeyed out into the country to visit relatives and had a most enjoyable lunch at a country pub. It looks empty because it was a beautiful day and everyone was enjoying the Pub fare outside.

Then we for a walk after lunch along canal and walking path past an old mill and more reflections, including one of the photographer caught in the act.

Lots to see in London, and a good place to walk. Transit is good also but expensive compared to other places we visited.

Still lots more pictures and stories to come, more next time.

I really enjoyed my vacation but I must say it is great to be back home again. After all the wonderful sights and experiences home looks pretty darn good too!

"Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home."
John Howard Payne

I took a bit of a break from my usual blog visiting while on vacation, a combination of no internet access, slow connection, lack of time and sometimes just plain sloth, but now that I am home I hope to get around to visiting all your blogs soon.

Thanks for dropping by, and happy Whimsy Wednesday, until next week ......


  1. Looks like a wonderful way to satiate wanderlust. Love all the reflections and the commentary. And, of course, the visit to the Paisley Museum. I've always like paisley, but you don't see much of it anymore.

  2. the perfect place for a wanderlust!

  3. the architecture of the abbey is so dark but fascinating! had no idea about the history of paisley. very cool to know it was named because of the town.

  4. Fascinating post and wonderful shots from your trip.

  5. Your trip sounds fabulous! I love the photos and look forward to seeing more as well as some paintings.

  6. Welcome back, Gillian. It sure sounds like a wonderful trip. I love your reflective photos and of course it's always interesting to see European architecture. You know, I've heard of Paisley and I'm well familiar with the pattern, but I had never put the two together before. Thanks for that brain link. :)

  7. Unusual photographs, fantastic views. I am greeting

  8. What a fantastic trip you have had. Your photos and description are a great way to experience it at 2nd hand - but a great memory for later too.

  9. Wonderful photos of reflections! I hope you have many more.

    Glad your home safely and that you took tons of photos while you were away,

  10. Gillian what a wonderful trip. So many beautiful places and photos. The reflections are great and of course I love the cute robin. The gargoyles are really cool. Lots of great memories for you on this post.

  11. Welcome back!!! Looks like a great trip. Those statues are terrifying!!! Love all the beautiful flowers...and that robin is precious!

  12. I really enjoyed seeing the photos from your trip.. I have to say those gargoyles look pretty scary. Looks like you had a great time..


  13. Lovely shots of your vacation, and glad you enjoyed your trip to Britain. That abbey in Paisley looks quite similar to St. David's Cathedral in Wales, which I visited just last week. Well worth a visit if you get the chance!

  14. I especially love the photo of Reflection of Abbey. It is so chic and elegant!
    The story and history of Paisley pattern are very interesting. Paisley pattern looks like collection of mysterious comma shaped jades.
    Gargoyles remind me of demon roof tiles put on the roofs in Japan. I am wondering if the gargoyles are protecting the structures from the evil spirit like the demon roof tiles.
    Thanks a lot for taking me to wonderful tour with you!
    Have a great week.

  15. Welcome home, Gillian. It's good to have you back! This was a fascinating post. I had no idea of the origin of the Paisley pattern that my mom used to love. I'll admit I wasn't so crazy about it, but am seeing it in a new light now. I also loved that English Robin and your beautiful reflection shots. Looking forward to reading more posts about your trip soon!

  16. Lovely pictures of old Britain. I look forward to the rest of your vacation Gillian.

  17. What a wonderful trip and so looking forward to more! Great photos!

  18. Oh, what a marvellous trip you must have had.

    Love all the photos, but especially the ones from Paisley, where my mum comes from.

  19. Wonderful photos, such a great variety. I love the arched windows. Must have been very refreshing (and exhausting) to be away travelling. I can easily understand returning with so many photos.

  20. That is a lovely collection of photos. It's the windows that catch my eye all the time, love those reflections, and details.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  21. I am so pleased you had a fantastic vacation... both of my parents were from Glasgow (Mums still going strong at 81. I live around the halfway point between there and London.
    Looking forward to hearing more about your trip.
    Hugs Drew xx

  22. Wonderful tour so far! I'm exhausted. Any chance of a cuppa or a pint? Just to whet my whistle and catch my breath for the next round. I'm so glad I wore my sturdy sandals.

  23. Looks like you had a great time Gillian.

  24. I love that part of the world. You make me want to go!

  25. Looking forward to seeing more of your pictures - what a great experience. You can't beat those UK pubs. And I think I would have preferred the ice cream too!

  26. What a wonderful holiday you had with so many magical sights along the way. The history of the paisley pattern was very interesting and the Sherlock Holmes Museum is something I would love to see. The canal looks so heart-wrenchingly peaceful in one of your photographs. Welcome back and hope you had a great Canada Day!

  27. What a beautiful and impressive post - with photos I can take in for a long time.

  28. Thanks for stopping by. If you were wondering what my pink ring post was all about, I've added words. My excuse, I had a long day. lol

  29. them all. The little Robin Redbreast is adorable. I just read your other post on France. I couldn't wait to see what you posted here! What a trip!

  30. Fantastic information on Paisley Abbey I run the local website or jump straight to the Paisley Abbey Page thanks guys