Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Land, ho!

Back on Terra Firma and once again united with the caninaturalist after a whirlwind trip to England and Ireland.

I began my adventure in the greater London area at the National Archives and National Maritime Museum, which is guarded by these very fierce hybrids:

It's a good thing one of them is half-lion, since there were tons of cat facts to be found inside including this one:

Polydactyl cats like Ari's housemate, Mouse (seen here balancing on her massive lobster claw-like paws), were considered good luck by sailors because they were so adept at catching mice. As a result, they were often the only animals (other than stowaways, of course) allowed on tall ships.

These are called catheads. They were located on the sides of tall ships near the anchor chain, which sometimes was raised or lowered out of their mouths. The caninaturalist is no expert on charismatic megafauna, but she thinks the first one looks a heck of a lot more like a baboon than it does a cat--even one as silly looking as Mouse.

The Maritime Museum is located in the same park as the Royal Observatory, which is home of the Prime Meridian. It's also an afternoon playground for Greenwich's dogs, including this very regal looking wolfhound:

And this slightly-less regal looking, but no less charming hound named Shovel, who lives at the bed and breakfast where I stayed:

After biding farewell to Shovel and his human friends, I made my way to Dublin, where I boarded the Jeanie Johnston, a recreated tall ship and subject of my next book project.

The salty sailors on board would have made my friend, Maverick, proud, and there was plenty of pirate talk on board. We were also accompanied by a particularly friendly group of dolphins who swam near the bow for a good part of our trip. Rumor has it that they are friends with Fungi, the famous Dingle Dolphin who has been greeting visitors to the Fenit port for nearly 20 years (long enough for sailors to speculate that, like most celebrity animals, Fungi might actually be three or four different individuals). Fungi had other marine engagements when I sailed by, but I'm sure he'll make time for me next visit.

This trip ended far too soon, but I am glad to be back amongst my Maine pack. They had more than their fair share of adventures while I was gone, and I'll let them tell you about them later this week. In the meantime, it's good to be back--and back on-line!


Anonymous said...

Welcome home!

The Army of Four said...

Welcome home! We missed you.
Oh......... CAT! CAT!
Must ... stare...

Sitka, Tia, & Cornelia Marie said...

Welcome home. Loved the photos. Looks like a great time was had. Mom said she wish she could have gone, ha roo! Oh, I got a new sister while you were gone. Stop by and check her out when you can. She was inspired by something you do,

Anonymous said...

Welcome back!

I'm sure you received quite the welcome from the caninaturalist...


Tracey and Huffle said...

Welcome back Kathryn! I've never seen photos of your cats before, how come they never get a look in on Ari's blog???

Huffle Mawson, Honorary Husky and Explorer Cat

Lorenza said...

Welcome home!
Looks like you had a great trip!
Thanks for sharing those pictures!
I am sure Ari is happy with you at home now!
Kisses and hugs

umekotyan said...

Good evening Ari.
Wonderful voyage.
The relief of the cat is historical, and I feel value.
Britain that values wonderful history.
I feel standard time of Greenwich far away. :)

from loved ume tyan

Booker the Treeing Walker said...

We love reading your travelogues because they are so interesting. What an incredible trip. How interesting about the cats. H-Mom always wanted an Irish Wolfhound. Now, I ask you, why? Good thing she opted for a coonhound instead!

Anonymous said...

Hey Kate! I'm so glad you're home. Mouse, by the way, looks a lot like Bentley's favorite feline, Pickles. She's the favorite because she kindly lets him sniff her hindquarters before swatting him away.

I can't wait to read the book. Very interesting stuff. Except, you could have included some hunky Irish sailors, couldn't you???

YourFireAnt said...

This sounds like the voyage of your dreams. Where I go for my vacation every year there are two of those tall ships, but I've never been on either one of them. Now I want to.

I look forward to the book.


Steve, Kat, & Wilbur said...

Wow, what a cool trip!

Gus, Louie and Callie said...

Wow you saw some awesome stuff. We love the dolphin.. Do they talk??

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! It looks like you had a lot of fun!
I enjoyed seeing a little of England and am looking forward to more! And YEA! Another book!

I have to agree with Ari, the first cathead looks like a baboonhead. :)

Jan's Funny Farm said...

Looks like you had a fun trip. Welcome home to America.

Kodak the Eskie said...

What a great trip! I LOVE the catheads! My mommy was in London for several months way back when and she love the museums. The food, not so much but the ale made up for it. ;)

Hugs, Kodak

Simba said...

What a great trip.

Simba x

Eve said...

Welcome back Kathryn!!
The trip must have been fantastic...I'm looking forward to more!!

Southbay Girl said...

Welcome home! Sounds like you had a wonderful trip! I LOVE to travel but it's oh so nice to come home!!! I'm sure you were missed by Ari!!

Velcro and mom

Gus, Louie and Callie said...

Yep we knew the Naturalist would love the color green!! Have a great weekend...

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Fun trip...did you get seasick? Jim and I have been dying to get over to Ireland but just haven't managed it yet...some day.
Will you share more details about this latest book or is it too early to do that? Good luck - I know it will be great! :-)

The Daily Echo said...

Welcome back! That Wolfhound is one mighty large dog. Mom says it's larger than a pony at the barn. Did they let you ride it?

Khyra The Siberian Husky said...

Woo have been missed!

I sent woo a peemail with a khytty fur your khonsideration!!


JB's Big World said...

These are great photos and a great post. What a wonderful trip you must have had. Love that tall ship! I could be a stowawy you know....