The Last Time I Saw the Clarinda Letters

I found this postcard in a bundle of photographs when I cleared out my cupboard last week. It is a photograph of the Burns Monument near Ayr in Scotland. Back in the early 1980s we went over to visit relatives in Northern Ireland and then took the train up to Larne and the ferry across to Scotland. The spouse is keen on Burns and what I remember best is that inside this monument there were some lovely hand-blown wine glasses and some letters from Burns to one of his lady loves, who was nicknamed “Clarinda.”

There was something about the light in the room and the old glass and the stone, and the view to the bridge which I found memorable. This isn’t a very nice postcard compared to the ones we have today, it’s very small and somewhat fuzzy and lacking in clarity, but it’s a good memory.

River Doon and Burns’ Monument Hotel, Alloway


I am not a good traveller, I am uncomfortable with it all, probably because I rarely do it. We went boating in my youth, not travelling on planes and trains. Sometimes the best travel is the kind you do in books with good photographs.

I had a quote on my bulletin board down here for years that aptly describes this attitude for me:

“From whatever place I write you will expect that part of my ‘Travels’ will consist of excursions in my own mind.” [Samuel Taylor Coleridge]




2 thoughts on “The Last Time I Saw the Clarinda Letters

  1. I love to look at old homes kept up as if the person might walk through the door any minute. It’s like walking inside the story of a book. Probably why I like antique shops too; I see stories and histories in all the objects.
    I wish I was a traveler, as I would love to visit Scotland and Ireland and see if there are any distant relatives of mine still there. I’m still waiting on a teleportation device, like the Star Trek’s transporter. 😀

    • It’s a bit of a trick to get over there. These days I find long-distance travel an even greater anxiety.

      We had the pithy motto “See Canada First” in one of our tourism blitzes some years ago. It appeals to me as I like driving. I prefer the anonymity of motels rather than the B & Bs you get over there.

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