Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Beowulf and the American Soldier

My daughter recently had to write and essay for her British Literature class comparing Beowulf to a modern day hero.  The hero she chose was a soldier.  I was so impressed with her essay that I asked her if I could share it.  I hope you enjoy it.

Jade's Essay:

At first it may seem like Beowulf would have little in common with a modern day, real life hero; however, there are more similarities than one might think.  Like Beowulf, a soldier hears the call of adventure and answers it.  They do things most people would only dream of doing, to protect people they don't even know.  While Beowulf has supernatural abilities, a soldier does not, yet they choose to risk their life anyhow.  Beowulf and a war soldier are both extremely brave and protect people, but there are differences between them as well.

A soldier who fights to protect his country is, like Beowulf, remarkably brave.  Both heroes complete trials most would not attempt. They answer the call and go into battle, knowing that they are putting their lives at risk.  Beowulf has superhuman powers to assist him in battle.  A soldier is just an ordinary human with extraordinary bravery.

Beowulf and his men heard that people were in danger, people they didn't even know, and traveled to help them.  Similarly, a soldier goes to war to protect his country, and many people he has never met.  Both heroes risk their lives to protect people from a threat.  The threats Beowulf fought were strong, dangerous monsters.  Although the threats facing a soldier are human, they can be just as scary.

Because the battles Beowulf and a soldier face occur in different times and places, there are some major differences in their experiences.  After he defeated Grendel and Grendel's mother, Beowulf was crowned king.  It is highly unlikely this would happen to an American soldier- America does not even have a king!  Beowulf fought his enemies with his bare hands and a sword.  A soldier fighting in the war today would probably use a gun or a similar weapon.  A soldier fights alongside an army, while Beowulf fights many of his battles alone.  These are just a few of the differences between their experiences.

These two heroes have both similarities and differences.  Beowulf has supernatural qualities that aid him in his battles.  A soldier, however, has no special powers, yet chooses to risk their life anyhow.  Both heroes put their own lives in danger in order to protect others.  While these heroes may have their differences, they are both extraordinarily brave, putting the lives of people they may not even know before their own.

Monday, September 21, 2015

More Scotland: Wester Dalziel Cottage

Yes, it's been months since I've written.  I'm not even going to apologize.  Life is busy.  I have missed writing and so here I am trying again. 

Back to Scotland.  I believe we left of with our arrival in Inverness.  It was actually Dalcross.  We stayed at a B&B called Wester Dalziel Cottage.  The proprietress, Kathy, was about the sweetest person you could ever hope to meet.  I would highly recommend it to anyone. 

Picture time:
The front of Wester Dalziel Cottage.  That's our car on the left.  It was a tight fit getting it in there.
Beautiful rocking horse that was in one of the sitting areas of the B&B
The view of the back garden from the main sitting area.
Breakfast table.
Close up.
The fruit and cereal selection.
Breakfast!  One thing I learned while I was in Scotland is that I love warm tomatoes with breakfast.
We had a view of Castle Stewart from the B&B. 
 There are so many more pictures I could share here!  I picked my favorites and I hope you enjoy them.  It was such a nice quiet place to stay, yet it wasn't hard to get anywhere we wanted to be in the area from here. 

The quiet was much needed by the time we arrived.  The drive from Glasgow up a far to narrow road with a much to large vehicle left our nerves a little rattled.  Kathy greeted us and didn't seem the least bit upset that we were late.  She simply showed us to our room, made us some tea and let us relax. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

More Scotland: Glasgow to Inverness

Moving on from Glasgow we headed to Inverness.  We picked up a rental car in Glasgow and headed out up past Loch Lomond and Loch Ness to our B&B just beyond Inverness.  What drive!  The scenery was beautiful, but the road was narrow and our car was big.  If you ever go to Scotland, get a small car if you plan to drive on A82.  Most of these pictures were taken from inside the car as we drove, but they are still beautiful and I hope you enjoy them. There are a lot here, and I left even more out!  It's so hard to choose. 

Getting close to Loch Lomond.  This is nothing compared to how narrow the road would become.  Had we known, mom probably would have chosen a different rout.

On of our first views of the Grampian Mountains.

The pictures do nothing to show how breathtaking the scenery was. 

I would love to live in a little cottage like this. 

I wanted to badly to climb up and explore what was beyond this runoff.  I decided trespassing wasn't a good idea.

Our rental car.  It was nice and roomy.  It was also far too wide for the stretch of A82 that runs along Loch Lomond. 

The Bonny, Bonny Banks of Lock Lomond.
Bonnie Braes.  It quaint little place we stopped for some lunch.  The atmosphere was great and just what mom needed to calm her nerves a bit before getting back on the road. 

Tea! I had never put milk and sugar in my tea before going to Scotland.  It was always either plain or with honey/lemon.  Now milk and sugar is my preferred addition to my tea.

When I saw a pickle and cheese sandwich on the menu it sounded intriguing.  I like pickles and I love cheese.  So I ordered it.  BIG MISTAKE.  It may be the worst thing I have ever tasted.  It was the only meal I had in Scotland I did not enjoy at all.  I would go back to this restaurant with no second thoughts, but I would order something else to eat.

Now you get a look at how narrow the road was.

Stuck in traffic.  It turns out there was an accident up ahead somewhere.  There was no way out so we waited.  It was over an hour, but it gave us a chance to stretch our legs and enjoy the scenery.

More mountains.

And more mountains.......

Even more mountains...........

I wish the pictures could capture how grand and amazing it felt to be here.


The road ahead winding through more mountains.

I know nothing about this church.  It was a lucky shot from the car window driving by.  There were so many little churches and houses dotted here and there.

Rainbow!  I don't remember where this was.  Possibly Fort Augustus, but I'm not sure.

Loch Ness!  There will be more coming of Loch Ness.  By the time we got this far we were tired and almost to our B&B.  We came back the next day for more pictures.

We only drove through Inverness this night and we got lost!  I don't really have any good pictures of driving through Inverness since I was busy with a map trying to find a way out. We made it to our B&B very late. More on the B&B next.  It was a great place to stay.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Glasgow Part 3: Glasgow Necropolis

I think Glasgow Necropolis was my favorite place in Glasgow.  It was peaceful and full of history.  There weren't many visitors there the day we went which added to the serenity of the place for me.  I don't have a lot to say about this place as I think the pictures speak for themselves.  It's quite simply a very old and very large cemetery. And also very beautiful. You can read more about it at

This old stone bridge leads from the grounds of the Glasgow Cathedral to the Necropolis.

Author of Wee Willie Winkie
The rows going up the hill are in tiers.  It was quite a steep climb.

My mom looking out from the top of the Necropolis at Glasgow Cathedral. 
This was one of a few tombs we saw.

Normally a broken statue like this would make me sad.  As a Doctor Who fan a beheaded stone angel seems less frightening than one with it's head attached.

As you can see, the cemetery stretches quite far.

A few of the stones hear the top of the hill.

My mom again.

There were so many wildflowers to photograph.  Lots of thistle, foxglove and ivy.

Some of the oldest areas are quite worn, and overgrown.  Yet at the same time the whole place seemed well groomed.
One more view stretching out toward the city.