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Friday, July 28, 2017

July 27, day four of my European Vacation

 You have to understand that I am not a history buff. I just like beautiful things, and interesting people, maybe a good story,  but I could care less about when something was built or who built it or what kind of architecture it is. I just know I like it or I don't, it's interesting to look at, or it's not, it moves me or it does not.
 On this day my illustrious God around London, (This was supposed to read "guide" not "God."  I decided to leave it because thanks to auto check it turned out to be prophetic. You will catch my drift later.) Dr. Bill Epperson, decided I needed to see Big Ben, Westminster Abby,  The place where all those people in wigs stand up and yell at each other, and that building where the queen  resides. Most of these places you only get to see from the outside as you are not allowed entrance, I'm sure especially these days. You can go to Westminster Abby for evensong without paying a fee, but I bet they pass a plate, at least. If you want to pay 20 pounds you can tour the inside of the Abbey. I decided to pass, although  with my previous experiences with the Underground, I certainly considered it, and thought it might bring me good karma.
We did get to go into the part of Westminster Abby where they keep the dead people. That was interesting and old.  Don't ask me how old, remember I don't care about dates. However I was pleased to see that the Abbey had  A tomb for the plumber that had served them for so many years.   Believe you me, a good plumber is hard to come by and I definitely think they deserve a high place in heaven considering they spent so much time in the low places on earth.  Can I get an amen and a flush?
 At Buckingham palace the queen was apparently at home because the British flag was flying. I'm told that means she is home.  Of course the opposite is true when she is away from home and they also turn off all the lights. We didn't get to see her, but I did think I glimpsed a woman high up in one of the windows for just a moment. Could've been the queen or maybe the pale lady from the Underground .
 We took some pictures and Bill, Linda, and I discussed all the gold on the arches and the fountain around Buckingham palace,  wondering if there was any real gold there to speak of.  We all agreed it must not contain real gold or people would be scraping it off and stealing it.  How do you like our powers of deduction? It must be because we are in the land of Sherlock Holmes.
 As I said before Bill is our illustrious leader and guide on this trip. I know this because he tells me every day.  He reminds me daily of his powers to  navigate the underground and the overground.  His sense of direction and skill with a map is the stuff of legends. Sonnets will be written in his honor and songs will be sung long after he has shed this mortal coil.  Linda and I are just lowly servant's humbled to be included on this knights journey.
As Saint Bill lead us boldly forward to Buckingham palace, across the Westminster bridge there suddenly appeared a chink in his armour, as we had been going the wrong direction.  He admitted that he had suspected something was amiss earlier, but hid it,  I guess in hopes of practicing some dark sorcery in order to make things right and poor Linda and I would be none the wiser and his mistake  would not be revealed. Alas that was not the case and we had to turn around and trudge back across the bridge and many steps before we reached our destination.  Saint Bill declared this to be his one small mistake and after all true saints must be slightly flawed don't you see.  "Yes Bill," Linda and I nodded, "we can see."

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Day Three (I think): European Adventure

So I am behind on this travel blog, but I have an excuse, I don't know what "bloody" day it is. Yes I said "bloody". When in Rome, do as the Romans.
Seriously,though, when I first got off the plane in London, I had no idea of the time. My Fitbit was worthless, my cell phone was still on Orlando time.  Also I was jet lagged and a stranger in a strange land.
I got through customs without a hitch, but I did take off my "Make America Great Again Hat," before getting in line. I asked someone what time it was and though I was fairly certain of the day, I still figured I should ask. "July 26th," he tells me, then he adds "good day mate," and now I'm I in London or Austrailia?
After that I manage to catch a train to my first destination London, Victoria. Then it was time to go to the Underground. It should be called Dante's Underground because as I struggled with three bags, jet-lagged and sleep deprived, I couldn't help thinking I was entering levels of hell.
My first mishap was forgetting that I was supposed to request an Oyster pass to ride the rails the entire time in London. Instead I gave the very nice lady the wrong final destination, before I am to switch to a bus. She gives me my one way ticket and off I go.
While riding on the Underground I had time to figure out my mistake so when I arrived several stops short of my destination, I climbed out of Hades and a very helpful young man, who called me sir, assisted me in getting an Oyster pass.
So back down, down to hell I go. I approach a very pale lady for assistance to get on the correct underground. When I say pale, I mean ghostly. I am wondering if she is a guide and lives below guiding all we lost souls through the circles of hell, then I realized later, nearly everyone is pale, because the dang sun rarely shines. Anyway, this very friendly ghost pointed me in the direction I should go, after I told her I was going towards Cockfosters. Don't you just love the way that sounds, Aycock is going to Cockfosters?
 I am settled in, feeling quite proud of myself and feeling really swell about these lovely Brits, when I start examining the track route above my head, reading the names of all the stops before I reach where I'm to get out and catch a bus and none of those names are being called out, but names of stops leading away from Cockfosters are quite familiar. It's then I realize my pale guide had taken me to the wrong side of the Underground by mistake, or was it a mistake? Maybe this is what hell is, an endless ride on an underground train with the promise of an adventure that never really reaches your destination. Key up Twilight Zone music.
I exited the next stop and fortunately, wasn't too far out from my destination and made it to where I would switch to a bus.
Above ground I was greeted with sunshine and headed to the stop to catch th bus as I had been instructed by friends I was meeting. I was feeling a load had lifted and the clouds had literally parted. I stepped on the bus, with my Oyster pass and told the driver my destination and he told me to go to the other side of the street to that bus stop. Still lugging those damn 3 bags, I crossed the street. Stepping on that bus and informing him of my destination he pointed a long bony finger across the street. I explained my dilemma and he told me to just give the name of the pub next to the street to which I'm headed.  I had been giving them the street name and the pub, which was a landmark I had been given by my friends, apparently bus drivers do better with pub names than streets in London. Not sure if that gives me confidence in the drivers or not. I was just glad to be seated and on my way. As I reflected on my journey, I smiled thinking about Dante and how it really did seem like an episode of Twilight Zone, and then at that moment it happened, just as the bus was braking to let me off by the Maid of Muswell Pub, I saw the pale woman from the underground standing on the sidewalk waving as we passed. I quickly got off the bus and looke back across the street and there was no sign of her. I looked up the street in the direction of where my friends were waiting for my arrival and probably a bit worried and then I looked towards the pub, took out my wallet and entered.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Day Two: Scott's Excellent Adventure

 So I'm leaving for London Tuesday at 9:55 PM, but until I leave I'm staying with friends Paully Carroll and Priss Yotter in Orlando, Florida.  They are two of three identical triplets.
This morning I'm having a cup of coffee and a bowl of flax cereal and looking out the window at the backyard of Priss's home.
 Have you ever eaten flax cereal? Well, if you have not you might just try cutting up some cardboard in milk.  After two bites I thought this needs something so I scoured the refrigerator and found a bag of organic pumpkin seeds and threw a handful in the cereal. That did add a little crunch, But now I just had crunchy cardboard. So then I looked up in the cabinet and found some cashew nuts and added them. Salt free, I might add. Now we're talking,  because I like cashew nuts,  so I added some more and ate a couple of bites and decided to add some more. Pretty soon the cashew nuts outnumbered the flax flakes, but it needed something sweet,  so I added half a banana and that seemed to do the trick, giving me the right combination of health and flavor.
Then while finishing my coffee I watched two lizards through the window sneaking up on a horsefly and finally attacking it. I thought for sure the horsefly was a goner,  but he held his own and got away.
I then settled in to read a book that my wife Marge recommended, the Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter. I can't believe I've never read this book. What a wonderful read.
Pauly came over around noon and we headed to Cape Canaveral to hang out on the beach and do some boogie board.   I was careful to lather myself with  enough suntan lotion to keep a vampire alive in the sun. However I discovered much too late that I forgot to put lotion on the top of my feet.  My feet are now as red as a baboons butt and almost as painful to look at.  The only thing I had to put on them was apple cider vinegar. I'm assuming vinegar is a cure for anything at least that's what my grandfather believed, so why not give it a try.
Tomorrow they are taking me to some alligator park where they have told me be prepared to step over some alligators. I think I will wear long pants.  I don't have any boots. Rick Steves told me to just bring comfortable walking shoes and sandals. Damn him!