Monday, June 9, 2008

A (very) few pix

I know, I know, I need to get better about remembering to take my camera with me...
But here are a few shots, just to give you an idea of where I'm staying at the moment.
Also, I did buy a very inexpensive (like $20) cellphone... so who knows, maybe I'll call soon!
A bit of England

London Calling

First up: Thanks to everyone who wrote to ask about my dear ol' Ma. The update is she's doing loads better, she's up and out again and looks like she'll have a full recovery. She says that she had worried about having a stroke, but she never thought about a heart attack. (Just goes to show you, right??) She's taking it slow, but all's well. I've been trying to call her a few times a week, as have many of my cousins, relatives and friends. On we go.

I've been back and forth between Sally's home in Hambleden (about 45 minutes outside of London, in Oxfordshire), and their mews house in London. During the week, time is spent working on the details of "the big party" upcoming on July 5, reading ALL the newspapers that arrive daily (seven, including International Herald Tribune, USA Today, plus all the London papers including The Times, Daily Telegraph, etc. etc.) and hanging with Sally. The last few weekends, I've come into London.
I had a terrific lunch on Saturday with Athena, a friend who moved up from South Africa whom I met in 2000 when I was in Jo'Burg. She and I met on Oxford Street and then popped into a little Italy cafe and yakked for hours. Then that night, I phoned my friend Caroline -- she and I met in New Zealand in 1983 and we've always kept in touch -- and she was home (shock!), so I jumped on the tube and we had a lovely bite of salmon and had a good catch up. Then yesterday, I met up with Bill Stafford again (he's from Denver but now works in London). We popped into Harrod's (his first time there!), and then spent some time at the Victoria & Albert museum. Your typical day in London...
I'll head back to Hambleden today (Monday).
I mentioned earlier about the price of a subway ticket here ($8 for a single, altho cheaper options are available). But the price of gasoline would send Americans into shock! It works out to nearly $10 per gallon here, or about triple the cost in America. It's typical to "top up" your tank -- for $70 or so... They can't believe how cheap "our" gas is when I tell them, and then try to explain how unhappy everyone is...
The weather has given us some blue skies for the first time, so that's wonderful. And not as hot as the east coast of the States! I read that NYC and DC have been in the high 90's.... And think of the humidity! Makes me grateful for the mild temps and "chances of showers" that always looms over England.
I love reading the theater reviews in London. It's so competitive, what with ALL those newspapers here ... so they resort to some creative writing to make their points. Shows are "baffling" but have "magical realism" or end up just being "oddly poetic." Love it.
Hard to find trash cans in public areas here ... too much of an opportunity for bad people to place bombs in them.
I'm still grappling with how I should've answered the passport lady's question when I landed here. She said: "What's the purpose of your trip," and I was taken aback... What IS the purpose of this trip?? I'm still working on that.