Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hippie? (Heh, heh.)

HEY, POOKS, Wednesday was supposed to be MY day!!


Well, I guess I can understand your not being able to think of anything to post about. I have that problem some days as well. Although Carol complains that I never shut up, so all I have to do is type out whatever I'm talking about, right?


This is a guest post while Candace (sometimes referred to as "Candy-Lass" by Hoss, who posted for her on Saturday) is vacationing in Merrie Olde England. I usually post as the Duke of Earle over on Romantic Ramblings.

For some reason she always emphasized the "L" in that nickname. And that got me thinking about two things: first, that I might write a bit about MY last trip to the UK, and second, that I might change her profile picture for one day to what you see on the right.

Don't worry; I'll change it back tomorrow. I saved the link to her "real" profile picture. Hope I don't lose it... I'd hate for her to come back and find the east end of a west-bound hippo staring at her. She MIGHT laugh, but then again she might not! I'll tell her it's because I think of her as a graying hippie. (Get it? "Hippie?")

Moving right along...

Carol and I took our two daughters on a whirlwind four-week tour of much of Europe (on the cheap) back in 1993. We first landed at Gatwick and spent 4 days in London and the surrounding environs.

When I say "on the cheap," I mean we stayed at one-star or no-star hotels, sometimes walking down the hall to a communal bathroom as the rooms often did NOT have their own toilet or bathing facilities. None of these establishments had air conditioning, and then (as now) London was suffering through a heat wave. Though the locals thought they were perishing from the heat, we Texans withstood it pretty well until bed time. We just were not used to sleeping without cool dry air around us. But we did all the touristy things, saw all the tourist sights, and enjoyed our stay.

The other memorable event there was departing Gatwick for the flight home after three-plus weeks on the European mainland. We arrived three hours early just to be safe, and it was a good thing. Early that day a jumbo jet had blown some tires and closed the runways for long enough that many planes had been diverted to other airports. Thus there were no planes to haul off all the departing people. Like us.

The entire departure terminal was literally PACKED with people. You could not move without brushing people, then pushing gently, and then finally FORCING your way through holding hands tightly with your family members to avoid being separated.

Exacerbating things was the fact that there had been a terrorist alert, so soldiers with automatic weapons were stationed everywhere; standing on ticket counters and other high places looking out over the crowds of packed people for a threat. Tensions were high, and only got higher as original departure time approached, and then passed with no movement toward the gates. The officials never announced the cause of all the delay, nor assured the crowd that they would all make their (delayed) flights. Lacking that assurance, people were near panic.

It was not an experience I'd care to repeat.

Okay, enough already. I hope Candace and Tomcat ARE having a wonderful time and experience none of the angst that I remember from my last time there.

And I hope I remember to change that picture back tomorrow, or I'll be in deep... er... trouble.