2018 Postcard Number 18

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The tour was great.  Well worth it.

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Sorry.  They want you to buy the tour book.

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2018 Postcard Number 17

Did I mention that Wales got scrubbed from the itinerary?  Too bad, really.  We have been to Wales, briefly, with Norm & Sue.  Enjoyed the time there and thought that a return visit was warranted.  Well, it is still on the wish-list, but not this trip.

A return trip to the UK will include the Highlands of Scotland and the Cornish coast of England.  Two extremes – one the extreme North and the other the extreme South -which will make for a difficult itinerary.   But, that worry will await for another day.

Today was “Get Reacquainted with London Day”.  Taxi by way of Buckingham Palace; ride down The Mall; delayed by The Horse Guards out practicing on the streets (no complaint and sorry no pictures).  Then on to Covent Garden and a stroll through Leicester Square and on to Trafalgar Square.

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The windows behind the altar in the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields.  I see a crucifix – do you?

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Then a long taxi ride to The Grapes.  A pub – originally The Bunch of Grapes – has stood on the pebbled Limehouse Reach of The Thames, for nearly 500 years.  Think about that…about the time that Columbus sailed the “ocean blue”.  Today the pub is owned by Gandalf – Ian McKellen.  

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Since we were so close to Canary Wharf a water taxi ride toward home made much more sense than a land based taxi or the tube.  It was a grey, cloudy day.  So, many of the pix are rather drab.

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One bridge that I hope does not fall down NOW.

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The boat ride dropped us off at Westminster.  Unfortunately for all the tourists in town for their first visit, The Elizabeth Tower (home to Big Ben) was cloaked in scaffolding and tarpaulin under repair for a general restoration which could take several years. Even the chimes have stopped because they would deafen the workmen!  The scaffolding has also spread over neighboring parts of the Houses of Parliament.  I am sure that this work has destroyed many vacation photos.

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A cacophony of horns greeted us.  Hundreds of furious motorbike delivery drivers filled Parliament Square, calling on the government to do more to protect workers from acid attacks….and lousy tips.  So, no pizza delivery tonight…

 

2018 Postcard Number 16

These vagabond shoes, they are longing to stray.  My little town blues, they are melting away.   I’m gonna make a brand new start of it.  I want to wake up in that city.   I want to wake up in jolly old London. 

With apologizes to Fred Ebb.

London. 

Again. 

This is at least our 14th visit to London together.  David has been here an additional 6 times on biz trips.  In all of those trips we stayed at the old Holiday Inn near Marble Arch twice.  Since then we have stayed in a different place each visit:  a different hotel or a different apartment rental.  And nearly always in a different section of the city.  

Like many big cities, London is made up of smaller neighborhoods.  Each with unique shops, restaurants and pubs.

After 1600+ miles on our Volvo POS (never buy a Volvo.  If you are thinking about it….talk with me)  we dropped it off at the Hertz Dealer at Heathrow.  A car and driver were waiting to whisk us into London.  By 2 pm we were in our new apartment.  We unpacked.  Had a quickie (a nap!  you evil minds.  We ain’t 20 or even 50 anymore, although . . . .) and now we are off to explore the streets around our apartment.

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Our apartment is about 3/4 the way down the street.

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Our street view during dinner.

Time for a good night’s rest.  Tomorrow we head to Covent Gardens to shop and the Leicester Square try to buy some one-half off theater tickets for the weekend.

2018 Postcard Number 15

Antique Fairs, Markets and Shows in England are pretty much the same as in the U.S.  On this trip we have been able to attend a few.  The first in Stamford had about 100 dealers.  At Stamford BBC was filming an episode of their TV show:  “Bargain Hunt”.   As a big fan of the show, Nina jumped in to offer her advice to the contestants and show’s host.

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Another fair south of Bath advertised that they would have 500 dealers.  Well, they miscounted…there must have been over 700.

Held at an extremely large Fair Grounds there were four exhibition buildings.  Three of them could easily house an ice arena.  The fourth building could hold two ice arenas.

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Outside there were rows of tents set up for dealers to rent.

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Then there were hundreds of dealers who had parked on the grassy areas and set up shop outside.

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There is Bric-a-brac, chotskies and whatever.  The things you find here are similar to what you find at home, but different.   Much more silver and crystal.  The big differences though are interesting and amazing.  A quirky can opener; tea cups and tea cup sets galore.  Since they drive right-handed, many tools were right-handed.  Tons of Royal memorabilia from the early 1900s to Harry and Meghan. 

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And then the interesting and outrageous.

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A fifteen foot snake skin.

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Charles and Camilla.  The description said that only 25 were made.  Standing 2 feet tall, I was afraid to ask what it was.

Used military shooting targets and 100s of watches – 1 pound each.

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A carnival shooting range that used real ammunition!

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A full-sized wooden bowling ball.  About 10-12 lbs.

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Nope.  Never saw one in the States.

2018 Postcard Number 13

We still have a week left in the trip, but it is time to post some of the humorous and/or unexplained things we have stumbled upon.  Some with pictures and some left to your imagination. 

We will start with names in Iceland.

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Painted buildings in Iceland.

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I think I understand post urinn.  What about pre urinn?

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Oysters in Iceland and oysters in Scotland.  Same size plate.

Sign in hotel.

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We have no pictures of the Humped Zebra and the Hump with New Stripes.  We were too slow to get a picture of the Quarry Lorry.   We heard about a donkey with three legs.  He was a wonky donkey.

Yak meat?

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Got the munchies?  Eat your ring.

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…and now for something completely different.

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There are some things that I really do not want to know.

 

2018 Postcard Number 12

Antiquing in the UK comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.  There are shops, fairs, markets, shows and car boot sales.  We have experienced all on this trip.  Over the next couple of Postcards we shall attempt to show you the differences.  Please keep in mind that Nina & I no longer collect any particular items.  We just like unusual and interesting knick knacks (paddy whack, give a dog a bone).

Antique Shops are pretty obvious.  Fixed storefronts similar to those at home.  The major difference here is that there is never any parking nearby, making a visit to a shop rather difficult.  We visited a couple but we forgot to take photos.  Another type of shop is the antique wholesaler way out in the country.  Typically in a old barn…the sort of place that the American Pickers visit.  We found one such place, run by a couple of brothers that were real characters.

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Everything they had was covered in an inch of dust and dirt.  The brothers buy out estates and sell to the dealers with storefronts.  They do have a mighty sense of humor.  Check out how they have decorated their vans.

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“Be Green – Buy Antiques.”  I had never thought about it before, but I guess all antique dealers deal in “Dead Men’s Gear”.   This is where I found two curling stones hiding in the grass.

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Unfortunately, the iron handles had rusted away.  These weigh less than 20 pounds and could date back to the 1700s.  I am having them carbon dated.