Making a quick cursory glance around my place I exit and descend the stairs as John and Dustin are waiting for me. “Here’s your pay for the week, I’ll get a receipt later.” We say our goodbyes and I go back inside. We returned home early in the day from the Kilt Tour and fortunately our last gig in Murphy, NC was just a 120 or so miles away, a mere stone’s throw to CDG’s standard of measurement, but it was ‘slow miles’. Meaning that most miles traveled would be back roads, not the interstate.

Kensington Palace - residence of Prince Andrew and Kate Middleton

Kensington Palace – residence of Prince Andrew and Kate Middleton

So I ascend to my place and start to make a more thorough accounting of my accoutrements I shall be requiring for my trip to London, England for R n’ R. A true vacation I’m taking. My flight leaves in the early evening and arrives in the early morning there, being 5 hours ahead of EST in London, I tell myself to try and stay up as long as I can so that I can set my sleep patterns ready for the first night there. I get to the somewhat new International terminal at the Atlanta Airport, which incidentally I like because it’s less crowded and it still retains a bit of its ‘shiny new’ look to it. We board the flight and lamentably the plane is of an older age and my screen is a bit cracked so its response to my finger touch is a bit off but I manage. I’m lucky I have a tiny screen in front of me at all, rather than the archaic and slightly draconian overhead screens that are still employed on some flights. Really?, we’re 15 years into the 21st century and the airlines have been maximizing their profits with negotiated terms with labor unions to hold firm on the wages, lessening the number of flights to fill more seats, over-selling the seating capacity of the flight, reducing(or charging!) for meals, and charging for baggage which has been a huge windfall for the industry, even when their fuel costs fluctuate downward at times, the economic swings are only reflected when prices go up, never down. But hey, I’ve still got a screen so quit yer cryin’. There’s always my trusty book that I bring along.
Plane arrives and Immigration and Customs is easy and the mellifluous sound of the British accent flows into my ears. Lovely sound. I depart Heathrow, now there’s just the heroic London traffic to navigate now.

My hotel in London

My hotel in London

A few years back I came here with Tomomi, (London is her favorite town by the way) and Celeste for a vacation and I took up driving duties because we were planning on seeing not just Stonehenge and the Magna Carta’s place of residence, but also Scotland as well. Train travel would have been sufficient but we decided to retain a bit of our American culture and shell out the big bucks for an automobile. So I do know a bit about the traffic scene in England and yes, I did make a number of directional mistakes. (So sorry old chap)

After expertly weaving, waiting and crawling through the morning rush hour traffic I arrive at my hotel. A Best Western but it did have a 4-star rating so I was a bit intrigued. I had called earlier before embarking on my trip to arrange for an early check-in due to my exhausted state of overnight travel and time in an airplane and happily the hotel accommodated me. The lobby was a nice but economically sized fare complete with tables and chairs to act as the breakfast room no doubt, and surprisingly I was offered the option of choosing my room. The first shown to me had modern décor inside but it reminded me of hotel in Japan. Although the bed was a queen size, (how befitting), the room was basically a square configuration with approximately two feet of space around the 3 sides of the exposed sides of the bed. A bit comfy but like most contestants in The Price is Right, I opted to see what the second choice had in store. The second room was basically the same but there was an entrance hall with the door to the ‘loo’ to the left and the same aforementioned square arrangement but with a charming little work area and a diminutive closet apparatus. ‘I’ll take this one’, I opted for the second showcase. By this time I was starting to fade, so much for staying up as late as I could, I needed a respite to regain my cheery self so I could start to enjoy the sights and sounds that this grand setting had to offer. I decided to lay down for a quick nap, I needed this rest because I was to start off soon, and the game was afoot!

Big Ben at sundown

Big Ben at sundown

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