Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Thursday, March 10, 2016

There are Places I Remember...

The Beatles Story, Liverpool
Dr. Johnson famously said that to tire of London is to tire of life...but I love more of England than just the city. Here are some places I'll remember from my recent whirlwind tour:
  1. The comfortable location of the Comfort Inn Buckingham Palace Road, just across the street from the Colonnade office of Golden Tours, which whisked Linda and me to all of these places in two days: Warwick Castle, Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford with a tour of Bracenose College, Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Bath.
  2. The Newport Quay Hotel in Newport, Isle of Wight, a brief stroll down the High Street to The Castle, Newport's oldest pub. Unfortunately, it doesn't carry Old Rosie anymore, so settled for Stowford Press, Weston's milder brand, but I missed that "scrumpy" tang. I loved chatting once again with Mike Winter, who is a "caulkhead," born and raised on the Isle of Wight, and full of tales about its history.
    With peppery Mike Winter, The Castle, Newport, IOW
    I'd brought him some pepper seeds from California for his garden, and he told me about Carolina Reaper, rated as the world's hottest chili pepper by Guinness World Records since August 7, 2013. "Put some on cocktail sticks and torture your friends," he advised. I can barely tolerate chipotles.
  3. Finally going on The Magical Mystery Tour, with a guide, Jay, the brother of Holly Johnson, of "Frankie Goes to Hollywood", and a driver who allegedly played with the Beatles first drummer, Pete Best, at a concert in  Brazil last year. Everybody of a certain age in Liverpool has a Beatles connection, Jay told us. Sir Paul appears annually to hand out diplomas to grads of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. We stopped at Penny Lane, Strawberry Field (John added the final "s"), Princes Park which is Ringo's birthplace, Mendips where John lived with Aunt Mimi, and the homes of Paul and George, the latter still occupied by a family.
    Linda, Liverpool
    We saw St. Barnabas church, where Paul was a choir boy, and the street called Arnold Grove, the name George used to check into hotel, as well as St. Peter's Church, where Paul and George met, with its adjacent graveyard where an Eleanor Rigby is buried. We rocked out to John Lennon songs at The Cavern with new English friends who had come for the day from their home between Nottingham and Sheffield.
    At The Cavern,with John Wallace, Glenda Griffith
  4. The Victoria and Albert, "Curtain Up: Celebrating 40 Years of Theatre in London and New York" where Linda and I got to don costumes. The V&A will have an exhibit this coming fall and winter, "You Say You Want a Revolution: Records & Rebels, 1966-1970."
  5. I'm ready for my closeup, at the V&A "Curtain Up" exhibit
    The marvelous actor at Shakespeare's birthplace who, as Rumour, recited the prologue of Henry IV, and sang "Hey nonny, nonny, lovers love the spring."
  6. A sign I spotted on London's Cromwell Road, for a restaurant named "Scoff and Banter." Reminded me of a name Dickens could have chosen for a law firm in Bleak House.
  7. The great wait staff at our new "local" in Pimlico, St. George's Tavern, where Linda and I had fish and chips, a Sunday roast supper, and a full English breakfast, getting to know Veraya from Spain, Agnes from France, and Martin from Poland.
  8. Traveling with tour guide Antonio on Golden Tours, who made history come alive, though a rainbow flag at Bracenose College, Oxford, caused him to make a couple of odd remarks about "Gay Day."
  9. Discovering the French cafe at Victoria Train Station, Cafe Rouge, where I enjoyed a Bloody Mary and eggs Benedict, a nice change from the usual "full English," with grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, fried bread, poached eggs, sausage, bacon and baked beans. How is it that I ate these breakfasts, plus fish and chips, plus swilling cider, and managed to lose three pounds in the 12-day trip?
  10. Seeing friends from Seychelle's Hash House Harriers days in the 1990s, nurse Mimi from Seychelles, who now lives on the outskirts of London, and Heather and Nigel Bird of Weston-Super-Mare. Already looking forward to seeing them again

Breakfast with old friends, Cowes, Isle of Wight

With English friends, Heather and Nigel Bird, Southampton

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