Political Pudding

I am exhausted by the news cycle.  Having been out of the fray for two weeks, even though every taxi driver asked “do we talk about Trump”, I am finding it more and more difficult to follow along.

I realize I have only been back just over a week.  However so much seems to happen, more and more disturbing, every single day.  But it is all so polarizing.  Each person is ABSOLUTELY right in their opinion or angle on the events of that day and it is impossible since those views do not actually match.

I can’t actually watch any of it without becoming frustrated.  I find I’m spending less and less time on twitter simply because of the heaping helpings of politics and opinions.

Most of what I read is my subscription to the Washington Post and the Economist.

Writing which is normally my outlet seems trite.  Really who cares that we cleaned out the garage or about what I did over the weekend when we are sliding quickly into a mucky existence and it is more and more apparent with random exchanges with strangers.  People are angry and lashing out, calling names, flipping people off, there seems to be no desire or need for civility.

Back to work

Today I am back to work.  I did have an 80 minute massage before work today which left me very relaxed and mellow as I went into work.  He also worked out the hamstring tie-in on my right side that was tweaked from the long flights.  It was the perfect ending to my vacation.

The last couple of days were a nice slow return to life after vacation.  We still had company for a couple of days.  Although I didn’t sleep much on the plane and fell right to sleep when we got home I was still awake super early.  We made it a full day, visiting with Vivian, going out to breakfast and then went out to get groceries and wash that were covered in pitch from being parked under the tree for two weeks.

Friday I was still waking up around 4:00 am.  We went to Seal beach on Friday and had breakfast before walking on along the beach and enjoying the ocean sounds.  Capped off the day with dinner with Kathi.

Saturday was another early morning as we were up at 4:00 to take our company to the airport.  After that we stopped for breakfast, picked up cat food, picked up e-waste from a friend about 8 in the morning and then went to a recycle event.  All seemed perfectly normal, we had been running errands for 5 hours and it was only 9:00 a.m.

We also saw Vicki and Emily for dinner and a little Farkle on Saturday night.  They made us yummy chicken tacos and Vicki easily won,  I couldn’t stay awake for another game so home we went and straight to bed.

Sunday although I woke early I forced myself back to sleep.  Trying to sleep in as much as possible but we were still up before 7:00.  It was a very very low key day.  We both worked on our sketchbooks.  I had a few sketches I added color to and we both glued some tickets and things in from the trip.  There is still more to add and I have some things I still want to draw in from photos that I just couldn’t draw on the spot.

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Vacation Wrap Up

The last day in Bath it rained.  Not bad for a European vacation, one day of rain – the last day.  We got use out of the little rain/wind breakers we brought with us and gathered with some of the group at cafe for lunch and some of the group sketched.  

I did not, I did carry all of my gear down there but with the rain and lack of table space I just enjoyed the company, the conversation and the people watching.

We had a farewell dinner in the evening.  Half of our group had taken a bus to Stonehenge during the day and I guess they really got poured on.  When we met up for dinner they were all a bit damp.  As it turns out one woman was feeling ill and had to leave….  but there is more to that story so let me back up.

The day before when Lori and I were sketching, we were going to try and meet up with others for lunch or dinner but we couldn’t seem to find the group and with little to no signal didn’t even bother with texting.  We ended up on our own and splitting a sandwich in our room.  The best “fate” we could have had in hindsight.

Six of the group had met up and went to a pub called the Raven.  This was a spot that the tour guide said was one not to miss.  Well drinking and eating and sketching ensued and the next morning our dear friend Marissa was not feeling well and thought maybe she had been over-served.  She did say she didn’t think she had that much to drink but was both headachy and stomach was not agreeing with her.  

By the end of that day when we were meeting up for the farewell dinner it was Susan who was not able to even look at the food and though maybe she had gotten food poisoning that day at lunch.  But all the pieces came into place the next morning when we were all leaving, Susan had flown off early in the day still sick, Imodium on board.  We came up for breakfast before checking out and found that Dave and Char were both down! Seriously down and possibly extending the stay at the B&B because they did not think they could travel being that sick.

We departed not even getting to say goodbye to Char (she put on this trip), not knowing if the others who were at the Raven that night were also sick.  It was a full day of travel.  We took a taxi to the train, the train to the bus, the bus to the airport for the long plane ride and my brother picked us up in his car.  Twenty-One hours from door to door.  I tried not to sleep on the plane but did nod off a couple of times.  That did make it easier to fall asleep last night although we were both awake before 5:00 with major headaches from not enough water yesterday. 

I have a few days off before going back to work.  Company is still at the house for a couple days.  Today I am looking forward to unpacking, laundry, washing my car that has been under the tree for two weeks and lunch, errands and possibly lunch or dinner with my brother and our friend Viv who is still here. 

Sketching in Bath

The sketching exercise today was on tone values, dark, medium and light.

Today we walked down to Bath to gather and sketch.  We met at the Abby and most of us got in line for the Roman Baths.  After we walked through and took a ton of photos there was no meeting up to sketch.

Lori and I walked down to a little tea shop, had tea and both sketched the scene across from us.  My focus was the bookstore across the street, Lori focused on the tree.

1) where we sat.  2) tea.  3) across from us,  4) my sketch. 5) Lori’s sketch




Travel Day and walking tour

Let’s just start with my feet, legs and buttocks hurt.  

The group headed out from the hotel to Paddington station for the train to Bath at 10:30 this morning.  The train was leaving at 11:51 to Bath.   Because of someone trying to open the doors after they had closed at one of the stops we ended up delayed at every station after as we had to wait for openings as we lost our “spot” in the line up.  

Lori and I had consolidated as much of our bags into the one on my back so Lori wouldn’t have to put any extra weight on her  feet.  We got both the contents of her carry on and the bag itself along with my day pack inside my big pack.  We only had my camera case and her roller bag.  Since all of these stations have stairs and very few lifts I would just carry the roller bag and camera up or down and then give it back to Lori to pull.  With teamwork we made it on and off the train, into the taxi and to our hotel.

We got checked in right about 2:30 and had to be at the walking tour at 3:30.  Lori did not go on this, instead she stayed in our lovely new hotel and napped.  After the walk into town and the 90 minute tour I know several comments were made that Lori had the right idea.

The tour guide was great.  So much information and time periods and dates and stories to make it all interesting.  After walking around Bath for about 90 minutes the group split up.  I know Char and Dave went to meet up with the sister/brother in-laws and the rest of the group dispersed for drinks and dinner.  I wondered around alone for a bit before trekking my tired feet back up the hotel to hang with Lori, bringing noodles with me for dinner.

Tomorrow we all are meeting after breakfast to walk back into town for our sketching class.  Then I think we tour the Roman Baths.  There is so much to sketch and not nearly as big an overwhelming as London’s sights.  I do think everyone in the group wants to sketch these umbrellas. 
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Kew and laundry

Adventures galore, the day started with me going to three nearby pharmacys until I found a cane for Lori.

Then the first adventure of the morning started with a tube ride to West Minster Abby with our entire group. The activity was to sketch the Abby and some people were going in to see it after sketching.

We gathered in the grass and most sketched.  I was having trouble with not only all of the detail, but all of the angles and basically being below the subject.  Lori and I were not going into the Abby and I gave up (frustration and lack of sleep left me with little patience for sketching) so as soon as she was at a good spot with her sketches we left for the Museum of Garden History.  

It was a short walk away, shorter than we actually thought.  We started off in the cafe having coffee and tea and Lori gave me a lesson on one and two point prospective for drawing.  We then walked around the whole museum (it was small) and took some pictures for her to draw on for the upcoming Landscape History class.

We then walked to the tube and took it to Kew Garden.  We had a lovely tour around the garden, going into the Palm house, the walkway in the trees and completely wore out her poor little feet.  We stayed there for several hours and chose not to go back for the evening sketching meet up.  I didn’t have anything to show and was simply having much more fun at Kew.

We finally walked back to the tube and got back to the room.  That was it for Lori’s poor feet.  Even though she had blister skin pads and mole skin she now has blisters UNDER her blisters.  

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We packed light and expected to wear every shirt twice.  However we have sweated so much, everything we brought needed to be washed.  I packed up the laundry and walked to the laundry mat.  Everything I brought except what I had on and nearly everything Lori brought fit into one bag.

We had been stacking up our change and I took it all with me to do laundry.  However, the machines in the place would not take the new pound coins, it only took the old ones.  I had three old ones in my stack, each of my small loads would take five pounds to wash.  I asked the woman at the desk and she did not have any to trade me.

I then went next door to ask the shop keeper there and he was able to buy one of my two pound coins and one of the one pound coins.  Back to the laundry mat I went and started the jeans and dark clothes.  I put the rest of my pound coins and found (not by the unhelpful attendant) that the machine also took 20pence coins.  So I loaded up what I had in the light load and was 1.40 short for getting it started and this left zero for drying because those machines also took only old pounds or 20p coins.

So as every piece of our laundry, everything we had in London was in a running machine and one waiting for more coins I walked about a block to the grocery store and prayed I could find somewhere to get change.  The Customer Service desk was right inside the door and a dear woman, Sharon,  looked at me when I walked up and said “do you need change” ?  Must be a common request.

I explained my plight, she dumped out the 1pound coins and had none that were the old coins.  So I traded a 5pound note for 25- 20p coins.  I then scooted back to the laundry mat.  I loaded six of the coins into the lights and got those washing.  Soon my darks were done because they started so much earlier and I loaded them in the dryer.  20p gets you two minutes in the dryer and I had 3.60 left in 20p coins left for the two loads.  The majority went in with the jeans and when the lights were done the rest went in there.

Everything was clean and nearly dry when I brought it back to spread around the room to dry so we get to pack clean clothes in the morning before checking out and heading to bath.

Another 22K miles on my Fitbit today and my feet hurt, can’t really complain about them however after seeing Lori’s poor feet.

  




Touring on no sleep

Another night with little sleep.  It didn’t help that our room is stiffling hot.  The AC up to high barley spits out any cool air.  We have now asked for a fan and although it is now cooler here it is near midnight and I am again wide awake.  But little sleep did not detour me from being a full blown tourist.


Today we(*) took the tube and a taxi to the Bermondsey Antique Market.  It is a well known local market.  Not a big tourist spot and it was fun to talk to some of the locals.  After that we took a bus and a tube to the Camden flee market, Marisa, Susan and I stopped for lunch and then went shopping and to wonder around the market.  I turned around and had lost them so I investigated myself before catching the tube back to the hotel.

As I was walking in so were Sherry, Martha, Diane and her husband Martin were also just getting back.  They were heading to the V&A Museum.  I went up to the room, checked on Lori, dropped my stuff off and joined the others to a walk to the museum.  We wondered around a bit, they certainly had a goal which was to photograph the history of fashion for a project one of them is working on.

Since all museums are free here in London, it didn’t matter that we were only there for an hour before walking back to the hotel.  The whole group was meeting for the sketching part of the day at 5:00 pm instead of the morning since no one really wanted to carry their gear all over the markets today.  I went up to get my sketching stuff and Lori and we met everyone in the bar of the hotel.  A couple drinks later and once we were done with the sketching people portion of the day eight of us walked to the corner for dinner.

Tomorrow is the last day in London.  We are heading out to Westminster Abby to talk about sketching architecture.  Once we are done there Lori and I are heading to the Museum of Garden History.  This will be a work trip for pictures and information for her upcoming class.  From there we hope to get to Kew Garden AND to a laundromat.  We head out to Bath on Sunday morning.

*This morning “we” did not include Lori.  She did not go as the blisters on her feet form the Bushy Park walk had popped and she figured one day down would be better than overdoing it and being down for the Bath portion of the trip.