All posts by Tom Dills

Around Edinburgh

Street performers at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh

Some of the sights from the streets of Edinburgh.

Street performers at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh
Spectators enjoying Guitarist “Adam Kadabara” performing during the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh
Spectators enjoying Guitarist “Adam Kadabara” performing during the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh
The Royal Mile in Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival
Street performers at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh
Street performers at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh
Street performers at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh
Street performers at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh
Street performers at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh
Scene from around Edinburgh
Apple Store in Edinburgh
Scene from around Edinburgh
Scene from around Edinburgh
Waverly Train Station in downtown Edinburgh

Bagpipes, Castles, Whisky and Lochs (Oh, My!)

Royal Cottage on the shore of Loch Katrine from aboard the steamship Sir Walter Scott

Here is a short summary of our recent Scotland adventure for anyone who may be interested in a synopsis of our trip.

Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland

We flew to Edinburgh from Charlotte via Heathrow, then spent 4 nights in Edinburgh, exploring the city and attending the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.  The Tattoo was the main reason we went to Scotland in the first place, and it completely lived up to our expectations.  During the time we were in Edinburgh, the International Festival and the Fringe Festival were taking place, which made for a lot of crowds, but some interesting sights and sounds.  We did our best to participate!  Besides spending lots of time walking around, we did a bus tour of the city, toured the Royal Yacht Britannia and Edinburgh Castle, ate (and drank) in a number of pubs and restaurants, and generally absorbed the atmosphere of the place.  It was quite the spectacle!

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle

After our 4 nights in Edinburgh, we rented a car (yes, I drove!) and set off into the countryside in search of sights and experiences.  We stayed at inns in Pitlochry, Inverness, Portree and Luss.  We visited The Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies, toured 4 distilleries and a cooperage, drank some whisky, drank some beer, toured castles, drove some narrow single-track roads and saw some incredible scenery.  A lot of the scenery was in places where it wasn’t safe to stop the car, so I had to make do with making the best photos I could where I was able to stop!  We took boat cruises on Loch Ness, Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine and visited a couple of lighthouses.  Once it was all done we were back in Edinburgh for one last night before returning to Charlotte via New York JFK.  Flights were all on time, the trip was comfortable and the airline food was surprisingly good.  I must say that 8 hours is a long time to be on an airplane!

The Tarbat Ness Lighthouse on the Dornock Firth near Wilkhaven, Scotland

I’ll continue to post photos and narratives to detail some of the individual highlights of our trip.  Overall it was an incredible vacation, but it was also a lot of work for both of us. Our next vacation, someone else may need to do the driving and navigating!

Our visit to the Glenmorangie Distillery in Tain, Scotland
Scene from around Edinburgh

Folkmoot Parade of Nations

Argentina delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC

Here is a sampling of my photos from the 2017 Folkmoot Festival Parade of Nations in Waynesville, NC.  My success rate was compromised a bit by a less than ideal location (about 20 yards from the main performance area) and less-than-ideal lighting conditions, but I managed to get a few photos that tell the story.  After seeing the parade for the first time, I’m now determined to go back and capture the festivities from before the parade to after.  I think it might make a good project and would be good practice at telling a story.

Argentina delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Argentina delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Holland delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Holland delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Slovenia delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Canada/Wales delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Taiwan delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Cherokee Indian delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Cherokee Indian delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Spectators at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC

A Little International Flavor

Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia performing at the Mountain Street Dance in downtown Waynesville NC

An annual event in Waynesville, NC is the Folkmoot Festival that takes place at the end of July.  We typically get to Waynesville during the month of July, but for all our trips there we had never made it to the Folkmoot Festival or anything that had to do with it.  This year, while planning our July visit I happened to notice that some of the performers would be participating in the annual Street Dance in downtown on Friday night, and that the Parade of Nations on Saturday would be right down Main Street  That was too easy to pass up, so we went.

Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia performing at the Mountain Street Dance in downtown Waynesville NC
Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia performing at the Mountain Street Dance in downtown Waynesville NC

At Friday’s Street Dance, the Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia (Siberia) were featured.  They put on a great show with several groups of performers.  These photos are from that performance.  I also got some photos from the parade the following day, but those will need to wait for another post!

Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia performing at the Mountain Street Dance in downtown Waynesville NC
Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia performing at the Mountain Street Dance in downtown Waynesville NC
Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia performing at the Mountain Street Dance in downtown Waynesville NC
Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia performing at the Mountain Street Dance in downtown Waynesville NC

A Folder Full of Phone Photos

Aboard the ferry from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke, North Carolina

Got a bit behind (again) but catching up.

Kathy & I spent some time at the NC coast in early July, visiting Belhaven, Washington and Ocracoke.  While I took my camera with me, it seemed like whenever I saw something interesting all I had with me was my phone.  Out of a total of 93 photos, 77 were taken with my phone and only 16 with my camera.  These are all from my phone.

Aboard the ferry from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke, North Carolina
Aboard the ferry from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke, North Carolina
Aboard the ferry from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke, North Carolina
Coiled rope on the dock in Washington, North Carolina
New wood on the dock in Washington, North Carolina
Shadows along Water Street in Belhaven, North Carolina
Shadows along Water Street in Belhaven, North Carolina

A Visit to Jamaica – Ya, Mon!

Sunset at the Sunset Gazebo. Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica

I haven’t been terribly motivated to process photos lately but forced myself to get a few done for this post.  It’s a tough job and no one is going to do it but me! 🙂

Open air bar at Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Kathy & I spent the Memorial Day weekend at Half Moon, a resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Quiet and laid back, Half Moon was just the answer to a hectic spring and early summer.  I went with  only my lowly Olympus point & shoot, but still managed to come home with a few photos.

Not a bad view to wake up to. View from our villa at Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
You almost don’t need coffee in the morning with a view like this! View from our villa at Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Shadows on the patio of our villa at Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Front of our relatively modest villa (compared to some!). Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Low Beam – as in Watch Your Head! Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Path to the beach and villas. Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Not our villa, but typical of many of the residences at Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Not our villa, but typical of many of the residences at Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Discretionary Spending

Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

I just read an article talking about how a well-known shoe retailer missed analysts’ earnings estimates, blamed in part on a “slowdown in processing of tax refunds.”  I’m admittedly naive about how people choose to spend their money, but it seems to me that a tax refund shouldn’t have that much of an impact on shoe sales.  And if it does, would it be possible that people are spending too much money on shoes?

Revisiting some previously unprocessed photos from a year ago, just for fun.  Enjoy, and happy Friday.  TGIF! 🙂

Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Quitting LinkedIn

“If a LinkedIn account gets deleted in the forest and no one is around to see it, does anyone really care?”  with apologies to George Berkeley

Shore excursion to Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

I recently decided to close out my LinkedIn account.  Like I suspect a lot of folks did, I started on LinkedIn because it was supposed to be a professional networking site.  While it certainly has its devotees and I’m certain that for many people it is a critical part of their business day, I just never found it to be all that useful.  I was getting connection requests from people I don’t know who were just trying to sell me stuff, recommendations from people for skills that I probably have but don’t really care about promoting, and even after shutting off all the notifications, it was just something else I had to do.  And now, since I tend to be trying to minimize my distractions and obligations, it just seemed to be time.  I had planned to close it before the recent change in their terms of service and had already deleted most of my connections, but that email was the catalyst I needed to shut it down.

Light fixtures aboard Norwegian Epic

So I’m still on Facebook, although I rarely look at it and don’t share anything other than my blog posts.  I’m on Instagram but don’t post much and don’t have many followers or follow many people (by design).  I have a Twitter account but have never tweeted, although I think I might have liked or shared a thing or two.  Most importantly, the people who need to reach me know how. and those who matter the most to me are probably reading this blog.  Maybe all the way to the end! 😉

Norwegian Epic in Tortola, BVI