Thursday, May 31, 2012

Photo dump

Gargoyle, Windsor Castle
Once again, I'm overwhelmed.

Street market wares
London Saturday flea market
I've already taken far too many photos to manage and we're only just over a week into this trip.

Huron St., London
Huron St., London
The flat we're renting is on this street.

It happens every time.

Chinese bride & St. Paul
Wedding photo shoot.
St. Paul's cathedral.
The groom standing off to the right.
Anyway, we came upon this fun scene the other day while walking to the tube.

Wedding photo shoot

These gigantic, multi-location, muli-costume professional photo shoots are the current fashion at the weddings of young Chinese couples.


They didn't seem to mind me taking a few of my own.

Wedding shoot

So, that's it for now. As usual, I'm up too late lost in the hodge podge. 

Reflections with a horse
Chelsea reflections

Sunday, May 27, 2012

English or American

I agree with Ghandi when he wrote, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” and, by that measure, both the United Kingdom and the US are neither truly great nor even very moral. However, since we arrived in the UK, I have been enjoying how differently they use of our common language and am wondering just how deep those differences go.

Perhaps I have merely succumbed to novelty but, at the moment, it seems more polite to ask drivers to "give way" rather than "yield" like we do in the US.

London cafe

And even though I'm vegetarian, I find this unobtrusive window sign both amazing and delightful. "Proper Hamburgers"?

London cafe

American restaurants advertise "fast" food, even "healthy" and "organic" food but "proper" hot food? Never! I believe I speak for the majority of my countrymen when I say that no one shall ever enforce the eating of "proper" food on an American. By god Southerners, cued by their Corporate Overlords, thoroughly vilified the First Lady for merely suggesting that parents feed their children healthy food.

Hyde Park, London.
Hyde Park, London

Perhaps I am belaboring the point here but I also thought the dog poop bins in Hyde Park were pretty civilized.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thought for the day

Mind the Gap w/ train
London Tube
That blurry blue line is a speeding train.

Alrighty then.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Queen is home but I am out

It's going to be hard keeping track of our experiences in London. Tonight again I am far too tired to retrieve the mental notes I made during the day. All that's left is bits and scraps but I'll do, well not my best, but I'll do what I can.

We took the tube to the center of London. Because I like horses we started with the changing of the Horse Guard. It was not conducted in the regular field as that area is being turned into a volleyball field for the upcoming Olympics. The entire city is preparing, not only for the Olympics in July, but the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in June.

Anyway, after watching the Horse Guard, we wandered through Admiralty Arch and ate our peanut butter and banana sandwiches on the steps leading up to a bigger than life sculpture of someone or other then made our way up The Mall, the giant red carpet like road leading to the Palace. Along the way, The Mall passes through Green Park, a lovely area "acquired" in the 16th century by Henry VIII from a colony of female lepers. He desired a convenient place to shoot deer. But what can I say? The grim old structures, the gothic spires rising above the trees, the enormous royal residences and pompous towering halls of government facing The Mall had the desired effect. I was impressed. Even the obviously phallic stylized ship's masts topped by red and gold crowns lining the parade way between the Arch and the Palace hold their own.

As it turned out construction is also underway directly in front of the palace and the last part of the way barricaded. The flag was up on the Palace which means the Queen was in but we were out of luck. No big deal. Even with the construction, barricades and walk arounds, I am here to report that London is still a great show, an extravagant display of great world power, incalculable wealth, ruthless, fearful and magnificent.

But enough of that. M. Lee and I went for bike ride after getting back to Tooting Bec. It was rush hour so traffic was horrendous. The cool thing is that motorists are pretty accustomed to cyclists, much more so than in Nevada anyway, so it seemed quite natural being in the flow. This is partly due to the efforts of London's cycling mayor Boris Johnson who is bent on making London a more bike friendly city. We brought our own bikes with us. I think I failed to mention that before. Bromptons. Folding bikes. They take a little getting used to but are great fun. Along the way we stopped to pick up some maps of bike routes at Crazy Horse, a bike shop in Tooting Bec. We got to talking with the owners and discovered that the woman and I are actually related but more about that later. It's already too late. I've got to try to sleep now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

London, hello and good-night

A couple of photos is about all I can do for now. It's been over 30 hours since I last slept. We're in London. We arrived around noon today and are staying up to catch up with the new time zone.

London bound. on Twitpic
Travel buddy stowaways, Swami and Minerva.

Our apartment is in Tooting Bec, an interesting, very diverse neighborhood in south London. M. Lee found it on AirBnB.

Arrival... on Twitpic
London customs.
More a concept than a place.

We had dinner tonight at a tiny nearby restaurant our landlords recommended, Chennai Dosa. Yum. It was perfect comfort food. Anyway, it's finally getting dark so, for now, good night.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Obese magpie

Breakfast in the Bird Park and once again, the magpies are loading up with peanuts, sometimes flying off with two in a beak, while the cautious crows look on. Actually, the magpie are not really obese, well there is one. I just like the image. I want to shout, "Come on! Grab a goodie before everything's gone" as one crow finally begins inching in sideways toward the kibble but no. Can't do that. They tolerate me through the window but otherwise our relationship is pretty tenuous.

The cool thing is that Minerva the crow is here this morning. She's been a Bird Park regular for years. You might wonder how I know but I have my ways. Actually, it's not all that mystical. She has that feather protruding from her right wing and her companion has a distinctive brown feather in her right wing. Her/his? I don't know. Maybe they're siblings but, in any case, they are out there right now and Brownie has finally grabbed a beakful of kibble and flown off. Breakfast in bed for the chillens? I am so going to miss this. Yes. I am looking forward to London and Paris. We leave on the 21st. I'm not addled, for Christ's sake, but I am also very attached to my bird friends. Awww well. It's spring so they won't be out there foraging in the snow anyway and Penny Robin, who had to have her apple first thing in the morning, has already gone back to higher ground.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Oh. It's just you.

That's the response I get from a lot of the birds out in the Bird Park when I sit down at my computer, as I did just now. Before they figure out it's just me they do that little crouch birds do before launch then they notice it's just me, straighten up and go back to their business. I'm flattered.

Other than that, the feeling in the house among us two humans is as though we are drawn up into a great wave that is, in six days, going to come crashing down around us. Ready or not, we leave on Friday and will be gone until the end of July.

So, last week M. Lee decided to paint the house alone by hand. It's been on the project list for a few years. At this point, were you to ask, he might say he underestimated the job. In any case, it has upped the pressure about a thousand degrees. Other than that, for me, traveling is always preceded by great, amorphous anxiety and I am fully in it. I worry about the birds. Don't even say it. I know how pathetic that sounds, as though I am Mother Nature incarnate.They are wild. They will, somehow, survive my absence. My regret, in part, is purely selfish. Currently, a group of red wing blackbirds are regular customers at Bird Park and all day long they fill the silence with their charming conversation. This is the first time they've been regulars and, of course, they will be long gone when we get back. I know that's nothing but it at least it distracts me from the anxiety of what I'll forget to do or bring and how horrible that 10 hour flight is going to be.

Anyway, thanks for listening, if you got this far. I don't know why but it helps to write about it but it does and, like the message in the bottle, it's comforting to think there is another shore. Now I've gotta go. I've got a list of things to do. Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ringtones for a weeping eye

My poor left eye is not doing nearly as well as my right eye after its cataract removal last week. I have a post-op with the doctor tomorrow so we'll see but I'm not too worried. The results are still within what he has explained are "normal" even though at the moment it feels like there's a stick jammed into the side of my eye. Last week was simple, in and out, but today I came home with a terrible headache and a blood shot eye oozing rubbery pus and surrounded by dried blood. Sorry for the gory details. I just report. So, I spent the afternoon downloading ringtones for my phone. I got some cool ones, a couple which I will share with you in hope of making up for the gory details I have inflicted you with. I'd post more but is currently too busy to access. Sci-fi Creepy is one of my all-time favorites. My daughter has had it on her phone for a couple of years and I was delighted to finally stumble across it this afternoon.

Get this on your phone | Make your own free ringtones

Get this on your phone | Make your own free ringtones