Time Flies!

Ireland calls.

July has passed so quickly! I have been attending classes a the Alliance Française in Vancouver. Twice a week, I take the bus and then the Canada Line to my destination.  I am learning to discuss European cultural and political topics "with ease". This month, we have been focusing on the history and the structure of the European Union.  The level standards are set by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, a body which promotes the acquisition of languages in the European Union. I am at the beginning of Level C1 and I will have to work very hard and long to progress. As there are no classes in August and I shall be in Ireland and Britain in September, I won't enrol in any more classes until October.

Study is what seems to make sense for me in my retirement. I am never so happy as when I am learning, reading or thinking! Sometimes I wonder about education as it is often seen as a preparation
for something else, usually a profession. Now that I am retired, I am free to enjoy learning for its own sake.

This month, I rediscovered the public library. It is such a luxury to go online to reserve books. I have mine delivered to the small branch library near where I live. One of my goals in retirement is to cut down on car trips. I like to walk with purpose and I don't enjoy driving so I try to use nearby services.
Many older people fear the loss of the ability to drive but I am preparing now to live in my community and to use Canada Line to access activities in the city.

Lots of Books to Read

As I am planning for my trip to Ireland, novels by Colm Tóibin, Anne Enright, and Tana French have been popular with me this month. I really enjoyed Norah Webster (Tóibin) and Faithful Place (French) and The Gathering (Enright). I always enjoy other blogger's recommendations, so I read I'll See You in Paris at the recommendation of the Hostess. I have been reading the Maisie
Dobbs books by Jacqueline Winspear ever since I discovered them at the Oaxaca Lending Library.

An interesting discussion has arisen à propos de Hillary Clinton's remarks about enjoying the Maisie
Dobbs books. Like many of us, apparently, Hillary enjoys the restorative qualities of a "women's
cozy mystery".  Maureen Corrigan in The Washington Post recently took Hillary to task over a perceived patronizing attitude towards mysteries that are written by women authors and which
feature woman detectives. For my part, I do favour  strong female protagonists in novels and in movies.

I know very little about Irish history. My ancestors come from counties Antrim and Armagh which are currently in Northern Ireland. My mother's ancestors were Presbyterian and my father's Roman
Catholic and so I have been trying to learn a little about the history of the religious conflicts. Netflix
featured an interesting series called Rebellion which dealt the Easter Uprising of 1916. I also enjoyed
Stella Days which starred Martin Sheen as a priest in a small Irish community.

boats at Whalsay
I will be flying from Belfast to Lerwick to visit Shetland and the relatives. The Shetland television series which is based on the mystery novels by Ann Cleeves provides glimpses of island life for those who are interested.

Rugged cliffs  will mean sturdy shoes and warm clothes.

July has flown by and I will be planning my travel wardrobe in the next couple of weeks. I'm on a "shop your closet" jag right now so I will be looking at my existing wardrobe and rereading all Janice's packing posts at the Vivienne Files.

Today is a holiday in British Columbia (B.C. Day) so there will be a pool party and barbecue in our complex. Monsieur and a friend are playing 60's music on the pool deck so it should be fun. Happy August!


  1. I too have re-discovered the joys of a library and also thinking of things to study now that I have retired. Your trip sounds wonderful.

    1. A public library is definitely a treasure. There are so many things to study. Our university offers people over the age of 65 the opportunity to attend classes for free. At this time, there is really no need to have our learning assessed because it is for personal interest only. I reach that magical age next year, so I shall take advantage.

  2. So much similarity in our paths at the moment, although you're so much further ahead with your French. We're currently trying to connect with a tutor and fit in some lessons between now and our October travels. Once we're home and settled in our new place, I'd love to take classes at AF and also considering some Italian at the Cultural Centre. I'm with you on learning for learning's sake. Also re-discovering the joys of the library -- easy to get overwhelmed when a bunch of reserves come in at once, but it's the kind of challenge I don't mind rising to!
    And I'm very much with you on the wisdom of switching over to other methods of transportation that will be more sustainable in our senior years and keep us (and the environment!) healthier. Our car only gets out of the parking garage once a week, sometimes only every two weeks. . .

    1. Do you know about the European Union Book Club of Vancouver? Your mention of the Italian Cultural Centre brought it to mind. Functions are often hosted by a consulate at a cultural centre. The next one is The Tin Drum by Gunter Grasse and is being held at AF. I'm away then but I'm going to look at the offerings for the winter. Living in Richmond means that I have to make a greater effort to use public transit and Monsieur relies on the car to transport music equipment but I feel that it is beneficial to our health and to society to become less car-reliant. I am always offered a seat on Canada Line (grey hair) and I don't mind it at all.


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