How A Bad Expedition Spawns A Tradition

Fifteen years ago, I decided to take up the sport of kayaking. At an age (50+) when I should not have been so, I was much too cocky in my innate ability to paddle a kayak. Thus, I didn’t bother with things that would have slowed down my immersion into the sport, such as research, lessons, or even talking to someone who had actually kayaked before. No, I simply plunged right into paddling, and that decision led to some growing pains. Worse still, since I can be somewhat stubborn about certain things, it took a while before I acknowledged that seeking some guidance might be beneficial. Continue reading

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67 Inches of Stephen King

We had to move a bookcase the other day, and all the books had to come out.  It was the bookcase housing my Stephen King books, so just for fun, and because I am retired and have time for this kind of idiotic activity, I decided to arrange all my Stephen King books into one large and extremely wobbly stack.

King BooksThose missing are being devoured elsewhere…

And then I measured it. I personally possess 67 inches of Stephen King books. This does not include several I have loaned to friends.  All in all, a pretty impressive pile.  I have read every one, and not a few more than once. Continue reading

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Mateusz and the Cat

He peered into the large hole containing my husband and the septic tank.

Digging&*%#@# – this is not going well!

Securing his black beret to his head with his left hand, he gestured with his right, pointing out a detail obvious to him but invisible to everyone else. Mateusz was a retired architect, a native of Poland fluent in four languages, but none of them English. He was able to just manage in English, but since he was quite deaf and felt his hearing aid cumbersome, two way communication with him was a challenge. Continue reading

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Ta Ta, Great Britain, at Least for a While

Our last day in Windsor was a tying up of loose ends sort of day, a good day for recovery from our weekend of exploring the Cornish Alps. A bit of desultory shopping, trying to decide if we had enough pounds and pence to make it through to the airport. Ben had planned a farewell dinner for us with a friend of his and her parents, who were also in London for a visit. We planned to meet for a preprandial lager or two with Ben before meeting the others for dinner. Ben suggested the Hillgate Pub, close to the restaurant, close to his flat, and close to the Notting Hill Gate Tube stop. Continue reading

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Cornwall’s End. Sniff.

Returning from our day of an at times bone chilling journey atop a double decker bus and tromping about Land’s End experiencing every kind of weather Britain had to offer, we returned to St. Ives tired and famished. Right at dinnertime, and were thus faced with the same “Arts Festival” crisis as the previous evening.  Knowing that every available eatery was soon to be mobbed, we ducked into the first likely looking spot that appeared to have a few empty tables.

Sunday appears to be “carvery” day at most of the pub style restaurants; for a fixed price, plates can be laden with freshly carved slabs of beef, lamb, and/or pork, with assorted side dishes. Hugely popular, the empty tables had already been reserved – but not until 7 pm, which meant that we were able to sneak in for a quick meal off the menu before the hungry hordes descended for the carvery.

Continue reading

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Land’s End – But Not Journey’s End Quite Yet

Saturday morning in St. Ives, and the weather was – English. From our window at Chy Conyn I noted the gray sky over the harbor, (please excuse this insertion of a “marine layer” assertion, but could it possibly be an emersion of the Cornish version of a temperature inversion?)

Gray Sky over HarborA marine layer, or typical English weather, or both? Continue reading

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The Cornish Coast Deserves A Toast

Men, I ask your absolution in advance. I am about to make a confession that might stir agreement deep in your souls, though most of you will remain silent. What might that declaration be? Simply put, it is this. Sometimes the wife is right. As you might suspect, it took an event of monumental significance for me to make this admission, and just such an event occurred during the last weekend Elizabeth R and I spent in England. The root cause of our divergent views was in how we viewed vacations. In my opinion, when one is on vacation, HE should do AS LITTLE as possible. Elizabeth R, however, believes that when couples vacation in a foreign country, THEY should see AS MUCH as possible. On the last Saturday we would spend in England (this year), Elizabeth R won that debate, which is how we found ourselves at Paddington Station boarding a train for Cornwall. Boy oh boy, did Elizabeth R ever get this one right!

Ha! Continue reading

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All Body Parts Present and Accounted For

In July of 2012, during my solo trip to England, I had planned to spend my last day going on a ride in the Great Park in Windsor on horseback.  As readers may or may not know (see “Giving England the Finger, the Only Way I Ever Would) this plan did not end, or even begin, well. I fell out of the horse lorry on the way to the park, the ultimate result of which was the amputation of my left ring finger.

The stable had graciously offered to refund my money, but I declined, saying, like a slightly diminished Terminator, that “I’ll be back.” And now, 14 months later, I was.

Ol’ P, himself not a horseman, for some reason felt that he ought to accompany me, at least until I got on the horse. After that, with trusty Great Park guidebook in hand, he would take himself off for a mosey around previously unexplored portions of the park and rejoin us equestrians at the end of the ride. Continue reading

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…Then A Talk to the Driver

At the time Elizabeth R and I set forth on our hike northward from Big Ben, we assumed that getting to our restaurant in Islington would be our adventure for the day. We had no idea that getting back would be the real adventure. However, those events lay blissfully before us when we arrived at the Driver, flush with success from again competently navigating the streets of London, and eagerly awaiting our reward in the form of a cheerful dinner with our son and four of his friends. Continue reading

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First, a Walk to the Driver…..

Thursday dawned, but we could scarcely tell because it was, surprise surprise, raining again.  We felt just a little thwarted, because we had planned another leisurely trek through London’s parks and charming neighborhoods before meeting Ben and several of his friends for dinner.

The rain minimized our desire to wander about London, but maximized Ol’ P’s desire for to obtain a waxed cap. I had finally broken down and bought a cheap umbrella, but he was set upon a more stylish means of keeping his head dry. So we went shopping in Windsor. Continue reading

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