Blog of Oonah V Joslin -- please visit my Parallel Oonahverse at WordPress

where I post stories and poems that have not been seen elsewhere - also recipes and various other stuff.

and see me At the Cumberland Arms 2011

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Baltimore and beyond

9th Oct 2010 - Flag House Museum. This is a marvellous place to visit. The story of Mary Pickersgill is completely compelling. She was the lady who designed the Star Spangled Banner - the very flag that flew over Fort McHenry and inspired the anthem. With a group of seamstresses, she hand stitched the flag from English Bunting so fine you can almost see through it. Scraps of the original; flag are still to be seen.
That flag by the way was some 36 feet high! Two stripes of it were the height of a man. Each star was double sided. To give you some idea of the feat - the depiction on the side of the building is the size of the original flag.

It took 20 men to hoist it up the pole at Fort McHenry.
But more than that the woman herself is an inspiration. She was a strong and innovative woman who made her own way in life. She was commissioned to make the flag because she made naval pennants.

and you can see her house, as it was, wonderful original objects - look out for the toaster! :)

We met a few lovely ladies there too who were working there that day. One of them posessed a Bible with the faded word 'Neagh' written in it. She said her family was Irish. I was then able to tell her that they came from Co. Antrim - probably the shores of Lough Neagh near the town of Antrim. I do hope she was able to follow that through.

If you go to Baltimore do not miss this great attraction. Then go to Little Italy (just across the road) for a bite to eat or a cake at VACCARIOS - another thing not to be missed! 

Scariest of all Nathan Rosen

On October the 8th we were rudely awakened at 9am by a fire alarm and had to trek all the way down those steps again - this time in my kaftan and nothing else. I always pack a kaftan :) We were so far beyond tired at this point that my diary is - sparce. But as day deepened into night we found ourselves in the company of Jenesta and Nathan once again - and a lot of other spooky folks who were gathered for a Ghost Tour (pub crawl) in Fells Point. And at this point having expressed it all so well (and in partial verse - I hope you're suitably impressed!) last time, I will refer you to that item in my parallel blog.

The 7th was the day we went to D.C. with Jen Stakes and we viewed the Constitution at the Rotunda, had lunch in the gardens, walked along the Mall and visited the Library of Congress which impressed me greatly.

Mosaic in the Library of Congress, D.C.
 It was great to spend the day with Jen who was a most attentive guide and poetic wif it :)

6th October 2010 This was the day we went to Westminster Hall to visit the grave of Edgar Allen Poe and it was totally amazing - connections with Co. Antrim all over the place. It turned out even McHenry (as in Fort McHenry) was from Co Antrim as am I. Anyway, centre above with the little Raven carving is where he rests, I hope in perfect peace.
(I pay tribute to his work in tomorrow's Editor's View in Every Day Poets.)

5th October 2010 The Mutter Medical Museum - one of the most interesting and saddest places I’ve ever visited

Nathan Thank you for the day X

On the 4th October 2010 we met Jennifer Stakes who took us to the best bookshop in Baltimore - he also sold amber jewelry - cheap :)
                                                                                                 Jen in Book Escape.

and we took her to the best cake shop Vaccarios in Little Italy.

If you are in Baltimore off season the water taxi service is slower. On Sundays it's slower still but there are the Charm City Circualtors - free buses - safe to ride and the drivers are helpful. We discovered they are fewer on a Sunday too - much as you'd expect. However if you are based near the Inner Harbour as we were there are always plenty of things to do within easy walking distance and so on the 3rd we ended up exploring USS Coast Guard TANEY - the last Pearl Harbour ship. I really enjoyed all the history and the oily smell and the video. I didn't enjoy getting up and down that superstructure in a skirt - so if you go there two things:
1. Wear trousers
2. Look here

There are 4 flights like that - two up and two back down.

2nd October 2010 and The Science Centre in Baltimore certainly took us BEYOND. The 3D film - astronauts suiting up, Hubble repairs, nebulae and distant galaxies... We just sat there - silent - awestruck at the end. I want to go again.

I have to say that the winds inside the Hurricane Chamber that Nathan so gleefully put me in, went up to 70mph and I have experienced worse than in nature - but it was a buffetting and tame compared to the recent blasts that hit Baltimore causing structural damage and bringing down many trees (including one just outside Nathan's house, which thankfully only took down the lines and not the roof!).
Anyway - not to reinvent the wheel, you can see photos from the Science Centre here and I thoroughly reccommend you go there and see that inspiring movie for yourself.