Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

Roberta writes:

Flat Ruthie likes reflections too! Here she is propped on a pillow below a mirror, because photographing her next to the fireplace would have burned her up.

La Bella Matina B&B Berkeley Springs W Va March 2014.flat ruthie reflections

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Flat Ruthie Travels to Portugal and Sees the Chapel of Bones

Glenda sends word from her blog Passion Fruit Garden, that Flat Ruthie accompanied her to Portugal.  What a great trip! Thanks Glenda

(reposted from Passion Fruit Garden)

Flat Ruthie goes to Portugal

Posted on 24 July 2013

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Flat Ruthie (a little battle-scarred from her travels) is standing next to The Rooster.  The Roster is the major purchase from our holiday.  One can’t go to Portugal without coming home with a rooster in some form or another.  The Rooster was made by Maria da Conceição (aka Conceição Sapateiro) from Barcelos.

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Here is some more of her work that we spotted on display in a shop in Guimarães.

We love The Rooster and so does Flat Ruthie. We are watching to ensure she doesn’t put him in her suitcase when she finally goes home.

I know we should have given The Rooster a fancier name but I said, so many times, whilst we were away, “Be careful of The Rooster.”  The name stuck.

We went to Portugal primarily to visit our friend, Gerlinde, at her beach house.  Gerlinde is a teacher in Berlin but spends her holidays with her husband, Alex, in Porto Covo.  As it turned out, we didn’t end up spending much time in Porto Covo.  Gerlinde was a fantastic tour guide.  We cannot thank her enough.  We saw an amazing amount of Portugal in the short time we were there (my feet still haven’t recovered).

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Our first stop was Evora.  In this shot, Flat Ruthie is in the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones).  The Chapel was created in the 17th century from the bones of 5,000 monks.  Ruth is pictured with two mummified corpses hanging from a chain, one is of a small child. Lovely! The placard at the entrance (translated) reads: “We bones that are here await yours.” Mmmm.IMG_5003 copy

On our travels, we saw acres and acres of cork trees.  They are skinned of their bark every 10 years or so.  The trees are painted with a number indicating when they were last stripped so the farmers know when they can be stripped again.

I wonder about the future of the industry now that so many wineries are using screw tops.  It was interesting to see many products (including hand bags) made of cork – maybe they are diversifying.

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These megaliths were not far from Evora.  They have been dated 4000-2000 BC.  Their symbolism remains a mystery but is believed to have religious significance.  Ruthie is surveying the scene from the top of the megalith on the right.

IMG_5057&58 copyHere is Ruthie at the Convento de Cristo in Tomar.  The monastery was founded in 1160 by the Grand Master of the Templar.  It is amazing.  Architects were engaged to express the Orders power and royal patronage in stone and they certainly took their brief to heart.  The place is over the top in every conceivable way.  No doubting, these guys were important.

This window frame on the western side of the Chapter House is Manueline extravagance at its most amazing.  It was very hard to get a full frontal of it but, let me assure, it is spectacular.  It boasts ‘a Medusa tangle of snaking ropes, seaweed and cork boats, on top of which floats the Cross of the Order of Christ and the royal arms and armillary sphere of Dom Manuel’.  There is an equivalent window on the southern side but it is almost obscured.

The window is covered in lichen but it does appear that the window is being cleaned (see the blonde bits).  It will look all the more spectacular cleaned up.

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Here is a photo of a nearby pillar which I just love.  It is decorated with a belt and buckle.  What an idea!

Manueline is a uniquely Portuguese style of late Gothic architecture. It coincided, roughly, with the reign of Dom Manuel 1 (r1495-1521).

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Here is Flat Ruthie at Monsanto.  Monsanto is famous for winning a national competition in 1938 as the country’s most Portuguese village.  The village is perched on a granite hillside.  It is built on top of, and squeezed in between, large granite boulders.  Everything, its cobbled lanes and houses, even dog bowls, are made of the grey rock.

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Here is Flat Ruthie in the dining room of the Paço dos Duques de Bragança in Guimarães.  The place was built in 1401 by Afonso, the first Duke of Bragança and restored as a presidential residence for 20th Century dictator, Antonio de Oliveira Salazar.

I just love this table.  The next time I get flustered cooking for a large dinner party, I will consider the poor cooks who prepared the banquets served at this huge table.

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Here is a shot of Porto.  Flat Ruthie didn’t make it into this shot (Maus wouldn’t jump into the river so I could take a shot of them both.  It is hard to get good help …)

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Here is Flat Ruthie in Porto.  The sign above her indicates two great pilgrimage destinations.  For a while, I thought Flat Ruthie might consider taking off on a pilgrimage but she happily jumped into my bag when we moved on.

IMG_5522Aveiro copyNot quite Venice but a nice little town, anyway.  Aveiro was a great stop on our way back south.  It was bloody hot the day we were there so we didn’t ride on one of these boats.  Instead, we took the more civilised option of coffee inside the Museu Arte Nova.  We had an amazing number of coffees in Portugal.  It appears to be a national pastime.

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This fabulous beach is Zambujeira do Mar.  It was one of many beautiful beaches on the Atlantic coast that we visited.  Again, there is no photo of Ruthie because Maus refused to jump off the cliff holding Ruthie above her head for the sake of the photo.  I don’t know where her spirit was!!!

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Here is Maus (at last she was cooperating) with Ruthie at Cabo São Vicente (Cape St Vincent) mainland Europe’s most south-western point.  At the end of the Cape is a wind whipped lighthouse which has a 95km range (the most powerful in Europe).  The cape is described as windblown and it is certainly true.  Check out Maus’ hair.  It was so windy, I could barely hold the camera.  Maus has two hands on Ruthie in case she ended up in the Atlantic.  The cliffs behind Maus are 60 metres high and pretty fabulous.IMG_5614 copy

Here are a couple of shots of the beautiful Lagos, Algarve.  Again, no Flat Ruthie in the shots due to Maureen’s uncooperative spirit.  Clearly, they could have jumped in off these cliffs.  There are people swimming in the water, so it must be safe.

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This last shot was taken from a small dinghy with an outboard motor in which we (Gerlinde, Maus, Flat Ruthie and I) did a tour of the grottoes.  Flat Ruthie was safe in my bag. I didn’t want to risk any water damage to her complexion so she didn’t come out but she wasthere.  I guess Ruthie could have jumped overboard for the sake of the photo but that seemed a little extreme.  I don’t know whether she can swim.

As you can see from this small sample of photos, Portugal is a very beautiful country, full of unexpected delights.

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Flat Ruthie Travels to Lebanon

Glenda from Passion Fruit Garden blog writes about an adventure with Flat Ruthie


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Last spring (that is, southern hemisphere “spring”), I offered to host Flat Ruthie.  I promised her great things: kangaroos, koalas, a visit to Perth, Fremantle, Kings Park, and lots, lots more but, alas, all Flat Ruthie got to see was Bridgetown.


So, when Maus and I set off on our adventures, to Lebanon, Dubai and Portugal I asked our visitor whether she would like to come along in my suitcase.  She sure would!!  At last, I was able to show Flat Ruthie a good time.  This post is of Flat Ruthie’s travels to Lebanon.  Travel shots of Dubai and Portugal will follow.  Flat Ruthie may even get to see a little of Western Australia.


BTW, the shot above is Flat Ruthie amongst Kangaroo Paws last spring, just to prove that she did make it to Western Australia.


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Here is Flat Ruthie at Byblos fishing harbour.  It was a photo of this harbour that made me want to go to Lebanon.  Many years ago, we used to go to a little Lebanese restaurant in East Victoria Park.  The owners had a poster of the Byblos harbour on their wall.  Of course, we got talking and I asked them where the photo was taken because it reminded me of Greece.  I thought it would be wonderful to see the Mediterranean from a whole new perspective and experience the life represented in the poster.   The word bible is derived from Byblos.  Byblos is the oldest continually inhabited city in the world.  It is the birthplace of the Phoenician alphabet and lots of other great things.


Alas, the harbour was tiny and a big disappointment (the poster must have been Photoshopped) but Byblos was lovely.  It is a favourite destination for Beirutis on the weekend.  If you look closely along the horizon, you can see Beirut.


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Here is another shot of the harbour, for good measure.


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Here is Flat Ruthie (on the left) at the Roman ruins at Baalbeck.  They were not a disappointment!  The temples are massive, well preserved and arguably outshine anything in Italy.  Normally, the site would be crawling with tourists but Baalbeck is Hezobollah territory and because of this, its proximity to Syria and the fragility of Lebanon at the moment, we were the only tourists there (as we were at every other site we visited).


The temple in the photo is the temple of Bacchus which, as you can see, is still extremely well preserved.


The site includes a Temple of Jupiter which was built on massive foundations over 90 metres long and incorporating some of the largest building blocks ever used.


IMG_4339 Baalbeck Ruth copy

I have to admit I am not sure what Flat Ruthie (again on the left) is looking at here.  It was at this stage that we heard machine gun fire (not too far away) and were a wee bit keen to move on.  It was such a pity.  The site was fantastic but we only were able to stay about one hour.  In the circumstances, we were extremely lucky to find someone willing to take us there but the driver would only wait that hour


This is a photo of our site guide, Ferme, and Flat Ruthie at the Temple of Bacchus.  The photo shows ceiling detail with the bust of a Nymph.

IMG_4348 Baalbeck Ruth copy

IMG_4368 Anjar Ruth copy

Here is Flat Ruthie (and Maus) at Anjar (another town in the Bekaa Valley). This time, the ruins are of an entire Islamic city dating back to the Omayyad period.  The city was built by Caliph Walid 1 (705-715).  It had a very brief life because it ended with the extinction of the Omayyad dynasty in 749.  Anjar was completed with residential quarters, markets, baths, religious buildings and palaces.  Behind Maus is a colonnade along which residents would walk.  Behind the colonnade were hundreds of shops.  Maus is standing in the street which is yet to be excavated.  In the middle of the street is a drainage hole, part of the original drainage for the city.


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Here is a photo Flat Ruthie checking out the intersection of the two main roads.  In the intersection was a monumental tetrapylon.  It consisted of four large bases, each bearing a group of 4 columns.  Most of the columns and capitals used in the construction of Anjar were recycled from 2nd and 3rd century Roman buildings.  By recycling building material, they were able to erect the city much more quickly than starting from scratch.


Over the hill, 3.5 kilometres away, is Syria.


Below is Flat Ruthie (and Maus) at Tyre (Sour). They are standing on a Roman road which is 1.6 kilometres long.  You can even see chariot wheel indentations in the pavements.  The archway dates from the time of Emperor Hadrian (2nd Century AD).

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At the site is the world’s largest and best preserved Roman hippodrome.  It was 480 metres long and had capacity for over 30,000 spectators.  The only other moving object at the site that day was a big black snake.


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In this photo, you can see some of the hippodrome’s stadium in the background.  Above the seating were rows of shops.


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If you look closely at the centre of this photo, you can see Maus and Flat Ruthie in the stadium waiting for the next chariot race.


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Here is Flat Ruthie, at Sidon (Saida), in front of the Crusader Castle which stands on a small island about 80 metres off the coast.  It was built on top of the ruins of an ancient temple.


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This photo shows Flat Ruithie in front of Beirut’s famous Pigeon Rocks.  The Rocks were extremely disappointing because the surrounding waters were littered with debris (mainly plastic water bottles). Yuk!!


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One last shot of Flat Ruthie in Beirut.  The photo illustrates modern rebuilt Beirut and a reminder of the civil war.  In the background is the Holiday Inn.  It opened in 1975, just weeks before the civil war commenced and was a prime sniper position, resulting in its bullet-ridden appearance.  The building remains derelict, a painful reminder of the damage done during that protracted civil war.

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Here is a close up.


Stay tuned for me more of Flat Ruthie’s travels.

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Flat Ruthie Visits a Ranch and Dinosaurs in Alberta

Check it out.  From Darlene Foster’s blog 
Flat Ruthie came with me to Alberta and enjoyed helping me with research for my next book. She also met my family there. She fit right in!  

Flat Ruthie Visits a Ranch and Dinosaurs in Alberta

Posted by:  on: July 11, 2013


Flat Ruthie hitched a ride to Alberta where she visited the Bar U Ranch outside of Calgary. She enjoyed her chuckwagon ride and was careful not to fall off.


She went from the frying pan


To a little too close to the fire!


She also got close to some scary dinosaurs at The Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller.


The dinosaurs outside the museum were not quite as scary.


Flat Ruthie looks so small beside this real dinosaur foot. If it stepped on her, she would be even flatter!!

Thanks Darlene for a wonderful time

I had to go and look up how to spell


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable

Last Sunday afternoon, in the heat of the day, Flat Ruthie and the family went Strawberry Picking at Jacquemin Farms. in Plain City Ohio. The berries were tiny and sweet with the most intense strawberry taste of any strawberry I’ve eaten this season.  Perfect

Seems a good fit for the challenge this week: companionable

Granddaughter Maura and Flat Ruthie were good companions.

Maura and Flat Ruthie



Back at Aunt Lala’s, Maura and Penny were companionable

Penny the Goldendoodle


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Woodland Cemetery- Orville and Wilbur Wright, Erma Bombeck, Paul Laurence Dunbar in Dayton Ohio

image_6 Paul Laurence Dunbar first African American Poet “to gain national eminence.”

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My son Mark, the History major,  sent some wonderful photos of Flat Ruthie’s Adventures in Woodland Cemetery, Dayton Ohio.

Erma Bombeck grave

Erma Bombeck Grave

Erma Bombeck‘s Grave- a large rock from the Phoenix desert where she and her family lived

Part two tomorrow- The King and Queen of the Gypsies

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Val reports that Flat Ruthie got locked up in the car but it ends well……

Well, you won’t believe what happened on the  trip to Denver, FR got locked in the car at the farm, and got left behind.  She did manage to go to Priest River on the way to Spokane, but  there were no cameras around to film her.
But after her week long stay in the car, we decided that she should go to Kalispel, visit the Flathead lake area, the marina, and actually go to the cardiologist to get a checkup.   After she was given the excellent bill of health, we then went to Applebees for lunch where we had Sante Fe Chicken Salad, which she thoroughly enjoyed.  Following that, we visited a metaphysical store, called can you believe it,  The Metaphysical Store, where she played with the fairies,.  All of these were in Kalispel, Montana.
After a very busy day, we stopped in at the VFW in Plains, where Ruthie downed a very welcome beer!
Val C, Valia
And then in Kalispel, Montana.
Flat Ruthie with the Fairies
Downing a beer at the VFWFLAT RUTHIE 059
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Flat Ruthie Visits President Warren G. Harding Home and Tomb, Marion Ohio

Thanks Mark and Anna and Jack.           A little touring after the swim meet?

I know Flat Ruthie was glad to get out of the glove compartment and look around Warren G Harding’s Home and Tomb.      29th POTUS.

 Lived in the home from 1891-1921    President Harding is shown with his Airedale Terrier, Laddie Boy.  

Information about the Tomb

Thanks Anna. I hear you helped out with the photographing, too.

Warren G Harding Tomb

Airedale Laddie Boy

Mrs Harding

Flat Ruthie at Harding Tomb

Warren G Harding Home



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Big Sky Report from Flat Ruthie and Valerie

Can’t wait for the Sanders County Fair in September

Valerie and Flat Ruthie write from White Pine Montana:

On a sunny, 80 degree summer day, Flat Ruthie traveled this morning through Thompson Falls in NW Montana to “The Farm” in White Pine, and is heading towards Spokane, Washington with my daughter Robin, and next Tuesday she is heading back through Montana with both of my daughters who are heading to Denver to return my great great granddaughter to her Mom,  as she has been visiting with her Grammy at the Farm.  Then, if all goes well, she should be back in Montana by next Thursday.  Will send photos when they arrive!!  We have been rather lazy here just working on the garden, but soon it will be growing like wildfire, and then we will probably do visits to the river, and in September the Sanders County Fair.

Val and F. Ruthie
 Heading towards Thompson Falls on Highway 200flat ruthie 009
Entering Thompson Falls
Entering Thompson Falls
At “The Farm” in White Pine
At "the Farm" in White Pine
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Flat Ruthie Was in Spain with Darlene Foster

Check out Darlene Foster’s blog today.  Just heard Flat Ruthie hopped over to Spain!  Thanks Darlene.  Looks like a wonderful trip. Hope she wasn’t too much trouble.  So glad she could accompany you.

Flat Ruthie in Spain

Posted by:  on: June 3, 2013

I hadn’t planned to bring Flat Ruthie along on our recent trip to Spain but she really wanted to join us. She doesn’t take much room so we said OK. She had a great time and everyone loved her. She got some sun but I made sure she didn’t burn.

Flat Ruthie at Frankfurt Airport enjoying the comfy chairs.

Flat Ruthie at Frankfurt Airport enjoying the comfy chairs.

Flat Ruthie at the pool in Spain

Flat Ruthie at the pool in Spain

Flat Ruthe enjoying a Fanta Lemonade at the Opera Restaurant in Altea

Flat Ruthe enjoying a Fanta Lemonade at the Opera Restaurant in Altea


Feeling very welcome in Spain

Feeling very welcome in Spain

Flat Ruthie at the beach

Flat Ruthie at the beach

She had many cups of cafe con leche decafeinado

She had many cups of cafe con leche decafeinado

Flat Ruthie loved the Mediterranean

Flat Ruthie loved the Mediterranean


Flat Ruthie had fun and so did I. More pictures to come.

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