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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The adventure continues....

Well this is Margee on Scott's blog.  He called me the other night and said that he had been working on his blog on the iphone ( speaking into the mic) and hadn't published it yet, as it wasn't perfect.... and then tried to make a correction on what was now, a many paged blog, and wouldn't ya know it.... he lost the whole dang thing.  I suggested that he just use the old fashioned method, and physically write it ( I had given him a small diary to take on his trip with him for just this purpose ;-) ... then use your new fashioned cell phone to photograph the page and I would type it up for him and add it to the blog for him here in Tulsa.  So Plan B.... Send the photo and I will sharpen/adjust contrast and just plug it into the blog as a jpg!  Brilliant!  So here is the continuation of the Scott adventure saga.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

8/4 Day 12 of Scott's European adventure

 Today our noble guide, Bill,  wakes in a festive mood.  Having slept well, he is looking forward to going to the national Museum, as am I.   I however, having returned home late from the pub the night before, I am not so energetic as our guide.
I enjoyed an evening at the Betsey Trotwood Pub, hanging out with the "lantern society" of folk musicians. They are a happy bunch of poets and musicians,  despite the fact that our host welcomes us to the  Boulavard of broken dreams, and then proceeds with a beautiful poem to start the evening. He says all artists rise from broken dreams  and speak truth, giving hope in times of oppression and shattered dreams.  We are in those times now he declares. The audience is clearly with him as the applaud.
 I had a pint or two and enjoyed wonderful songs and poetry throughout the evening. Fortunately I remembered to ask someone how late the buses and underground run.  I left in what I thought was plenty of time to catch the last underground out of Kings Cross.   However, after waiting 15 to 20 minutes at the bus stop, someone told me the stop was closed for the night. This meant  I must walk to the underground, which though only supposed to be a 20 minute walk, still increased  my anxiety, being a stranger in a strange land. I began to walk in the direction of Kings Cross.  To make a long story short I at some point asked a young lady  directions to the underground and she sent me the wrong direction, which meant that I had to run the last stretch to reach my destination.  The good news I did make it on time, weary, but relieved.
 Nevertheless, tired as I am, I am ready to see Trafalgar Square and the national Museum.   The square is itself, something to see with many statues surrounding a fountain and people of all nationalities gathered.  There are street vendors, buskers, and break dancers.   Also there are many floating figures all around the square. Apparently the British are quite taken with Star Wars figures that levitate. I should  have taken a picture of one of these floating figures.  Bill, our guide, asked me if their arms didn't get tired holding themselves up the way they did all day.   I may not know Vivaldi from Mozart, but I understand an illusion when I see one, so I had to explain to the professor how the trick was done.
 There is so much to see in the national Museum that thankfully we had our great Guide with his Rick Steves Guide book to help us on our journey.  Our guide, though very knowledgeable in his own right, seems to rever the words of this greater Guide, with whom he must have a relationship, because he refers to him  often, saying, " let us see what Steve has to say,"  as he consults the guidebook to find out which paintings are worthy of our time. Thankfully we have this greater guide  and Bill our lesser Guide to help us on this journey or we would be Forever wondering among paintings of virgins, Saints, and Angels;  not that I have anything against them, just that I can take only so many  virgins and cherubs in a day.
 With the help of our two guides we were able to find our way to Rembrandt, Turner, Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Matisse  and others.  There are endless rooms of beautiful works of art, but fortunately because of our Guide we were not allowed  to waste our adoration for lesser works, as he would shuttle us off to find more worthy works of art. Apparently Steve is a jealous Guide,  and has written down which pieces of art are worthy of our adoration. I am so grateful that  our own guide is in such good communication with Steve and can convey to us his wishes.
Again, I poke fun at my friend. With the vastness of this museum and extensive collection of art, I was grateful to have Bill, (with help from Steve) who knows my tastes in art to help me use my time wisely.  I highly recommend the National Museum in London.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Day 5- 11 of Scott's European adventure

 OK I admit, I have been neglectful in my daily journaling, the result being this  readers digest version of the last few days. There is a reason for this failure on my part to keep up, that being there is never a moment to sit down and write.  We are on the move from the moment we get up until we return home in the evening and by then we have enough energy to eat and crash. I am traveling with some sort of strange  species of human different from my own. These people actually take down notes and chart out every moment of the day and every destination.  They have an affection for Maps and guide books and they consult them often while walking down the street.  I wonder at the things they might be missing as they scurry about with their guide books and maps for there are strange and wonder pis people everywhere to behold.
 I of course and poking fun at my compadres on this trip, Bill and Linda Epperson and Pauly Carroll. Truth be told without them this ADD boy would probably be wandering aimlessly around the city,  enjoying myself, but lost nonetheless. They have made sure that we got places mostly in a timely fashion,  because of their organizational skills we have been able to pack in a lot in these few days we have. For instance we have visited  Hampton a beautiful little town with rolling hills in narrow streets, which has the distinction of being the home for Keats, one of the most  distinguished romantic poets. In that town we also visited the Hampton Hills which is a large beautiful park with a hill that overlooks the city of London.  We have taken to boat trips on the Thames River,  visiting the famous Cutty Sark ship  on one day and on another day we went to the Kew botanical gardens.  I thoroughly enjoyed both of these outings. We have seen three plays i.e. the first was  A musical about the life of Carole king, the second was Shakespeare's "much ado about nothing", which we saw in the globe theater, and the third was "the tempest."
 So to give you an idea of what it might be like for these three companions of mine to travel with me I relate the story:  on the day we were to go to Kew Gardens,  everyone got up dressed and ready to leave on time. We lock the door and began the two block walk to catch the bus upon arriving at the bus stop,  I realized I had left my oyster pass and my wallet at the house. I quickly dashed back to the house running uphill. I used the two keys to unlock the door, remembering folks this is the first time I have been the one to unlock the door and turn off the alarm, I turned  both keys and pulled the door, nothing happened. The door did not open I turned the key back the other way and pulled, nothing happened. I turn the key back again and pulled, nothing happened.  I am quite anxious by this time wondering if I have set off the alarm, but I couldn't hear any beeping. I decided to run back to the bus station and explain my dilemma.  Finally after a breathy explanation and Bill asking me did I use both keys, which I had, Linda said did you try pushing the door? Long pause – no  Linda that never entered my mind. Needless to say I ran back the two blocks pushed the door open, turned off the alarm, and retrieved my wallet.  I ran back to the bus station and the day could only go uphill from there. I might add that on that particular day my fit bit reached 22,000 steps.

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!