Nomad Life · CH 15
An armchair travel story about classical music, the murky reality of history, and a Viennese watercolor artist.
louds sculpted from beige stone billowed up the altarpiece toward the heavens as a bevy of putti and angels floated through the air and around a robed Saint Peter. Gold was not just present, but pervasive. Baroque designs framed columns, windows, and a pulpit overlooking the altar, all of which were ornamented with gilded sculptures, carvings, and stucco. A pyramid levitating high above Saint Peter emanated rays of gold, piercing the clouds of rock and reflecting flickering candlelight. Overhead, a fresco depicting Christ crowning The Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven covered the interior of the church’s turreted dome.
Five empty music stands formed a semi-circle on the stage before the altar, waiting patiently for their performers. Shelby, her mom, and myself huddled under blankets given to us by church chaperones, which were an unexpected luxury on the sub-freezing Christmas night.
An ensemble emerged from a room adjacent to the altar, each musician carrying their instrument in one arm and clutching...
Where in the world are Zack, Shelby, and Skutull
Current location: Richmond Upon Thames, England
What we’ve been up to: Golfing at a common grounds course. Common grounds here in the UK are essentially parks open to the public. Some of them have golf courses on them, which means that the golf holes double as open space. I played at London Scottish Golf Club, where they require all golfers to wear a red shirt. When I initially read this requirement online, I assumed it was a stuffy rule dating back many decades, but it actually makes sense. The shirt requirement exists so that pedestrians know where the golfers are. On most holes, we had to wait to hit on the tee box because people were throwing a ball for their dog down the fairway. On the last hole, I had to wait to hit my approach shot into the green because a border collie was rolling on his back near the hole. It was a completely different experience than what I'm used to. I enjoyed the laidback culture of the common grounds course and the fact that you can bring your dog to golf with you!
What’s challenged us: Honestly, there hasn't been much to stress about lately. If I had to pick something, it's that Skutull has a pesky bladder infection that won't go away. We had to send a urine sample to a lab so they can test exactly what it is and give him a specific antibiotic to treat it.
Miles traveled: 25,633 (1.03x 🌎)
Days nomadic: 347 (0.95x ☀️)
Favorite stories and resources since last time
- Movie: Wild Strawberries - A Swedish classic that manages a beautiful, yet melancholy tone.
- Book: Yearbook by Seth Rogan - An autobiography by the comedian and writer of Super Bad, Pineapple Express, and The Interview. Seth doesn't hold back from sharing his bizarre encounters with celebrities or any aspect of his personal life. I found the book to be both very funny and entertaining.
- Quote: "I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was." -Muhammad Ali
Message from Zack
I think London has surpassed Ljubljana as Skutull's favorite place we've been on our nomadic journey. He's allowed to go everywhere—on the tube, in buses, into pubs, on golf courses—and people here properly appreciate both him as an individual and as a border collie in general. The only thing London has lacked is a place to swim, but if it weren't winter there would be plenty of places to take him.
We've always known Skutull is a big border collie, but it's still been a little surprising how often people who've lived around loads of border collies their entire lives tell us that Skutull is the largest border collie they've ever seen. In case anyone is wondering, he's ~27kg (60lbs) on a tall and lanky frame. We've been told he's a Scottish highlands border collie, where they were bred to be larger so they could better navigate steep terrain and herd cattle in addition to sheep.
Enjoy the journey,