Thursday, May 11, 2009
Weather: It has been raining on and off since Sunday. The sun was out this morning, with a clear, clear sky around 6am. By 10am huge dark clouds filled the sky, by 11a the rain started coming down. First a light drizzle then a steady shower which lasted about one hour.
Plans almost completed for my trip to Austria I’ll write more tomorrow on the plans for travel.
Sunday, May 14, 2009
Done, yep done plans completed and now just wailing for takeoff. Not sure what I’ll do from now until take off maybe some day trips to London, local bike rides, maybe some bus rides? I talked with the managers of the campground, Wendy and Nigel, about my plans and they have offered to keep most of my gear in their garage until I return. How nice is that? So I’ll leave here at 6:45am on the 22nd on train to Stansted Airport. From there I’m flying Ryan Air to Graz, Austria where I’ll check into a Youth Hostel for the night. In the morning I’ll take a bus to Gussing, Austria, my grandparent’s home, which will be about a 2hr ride. If there is a place to stay there I’ll stay there spending 2 ½ days there, then return to Graz to fly back to England on the 26th. I’ll stay in Salisbury until the 28th, then train to Crawley to spend the night so I can get hotel transportation to the airport for my return on the 30th.
That’s the plan, at least from the 22nd to the 30th. Now the 21st is a whole nother story. I’m going to be a Stonehenge with about 30,000 other people for the summer solicits. It should be a very interesting, very interesting indeed. It is the only day of the year that the stones are not roped off. It may be impossible, but I have five hours to attempt to get to touch them. The last bus leaves the campground at 1am and the first bus there is at 5am. So I’ll dress warmly, bring some food, and have been warned by Wendy and Nigel to stay away from the “Wacky Tabaccy.” The other day as I rode up to the gate to the campground Nigel approached me saying in a serious tone “I need to have a word with you.”
Shit, what did I do now! I thought. “I want to talk to you about the coming weekend. We have a lot of campers coming in who head down to the stones. We’ve never had any trouble here, but we want to offer you to put anything valuable, like your passport or wallet in our safe for keeping.” Now how great is that! I thanked them profusely and told they that I never went anywhere without my passport and wallet on my person. But I am going to approach them about keeping the computer over night, probably not a good idea to carry that around, and maybe leave everything but my driver’s license with them also.
So the rest of the day nothing much else happened just small stuff. The small stuff the stuff you don’t write about, day to day things like showers, going to the toilet, walking, sitting, reading, washing dishes and talking. The stuff everyday is made of but not paid much attention to. It’s just not important, yet without it not much of anything else might get done. When home there is no writing about washing the floors, turning the lights on or off, putting a screw in or taking a nail out. They just don’t rate a line unless something gets attached for the sake of a story, but they are only back ground noise. How many times do you put a can of food away and write someone about it. “Hey did I tell you I put a can of peas on the shelf today?” Or “I only used six squares of toilet paper this time instead of 12” not that anyone is counting. Just did small stuff today.
Monday, May 15, 2009
Salisbury – Bournemouth – Swanage - Salisbury
Salisbury – Bournemouth – Swanage - Salisbury
Popped into the bus station, picked up a flyer showing a picture of a castle, turned to the gentleman behind the counter and said “I want to get there!” “Oh yes we can do that in fact I’ll tell you how to go and it’ll be a nice day out for around 25 pounds” said he. He brings out this laminated sheet with pictures of the castle and town, piles on a couple of brochures and says “let me explain.” He draws me a picture, writes down some names, sells me a bus ticket and I’m off for my nice day. I get on a Double Decker bus, sit on top, but inside so as not to get my head sunburned for the first leg of my trip to Bournemouth.
Upon reaching this town I’ve been told to change buses for a very ride, including a ferry crossing that include, to Swanage. Now I’m at the sea side and I’d compare Bournemouth to San Diego, kind of looks like it. There is this beautiful park next to the bus stop and in the middle is the Bournemouth Eye. Not quite like the London Eye, because it is a huge helium filled balloon with a carriage under it that looks much like the basket of a hot air balloon. Now I figure out it’s filled with helium or some lighter than air gas as I watch it rise into the blue sky. It is hooked to a cable that is let out and has it is the balloon rises into the air. It sways around up there for about 10 minutes and then is hauled back down to earth.
The bus winds through back roads and one has to wonder who laid out these routes. We are now going up and down some very steep hills, on a narrow rode with cycles, their legs winding away as fast as they can go, heading up also. The buses creep along behind them until it can pass, and makes me very glad that I’m on the bus not on the bike. These riders are barely making it up the hill with one small pannier on their bike, I grimace thinking of going up with all four of mine. We pass through small coastal town similar to those that border San Diego. Our ride ends at the steam rail station which will take me to the castle. There are several steam engines at the station, because today is a Steam Day, barely sending puffs of white smoke into the air.
I have a Cream Tea in a set of old rail cars that have been turned in to restraint while waiting for my train. Several old diesel locomotives pull in and out not attached to anything. I’ve boarded the train and am sitting very comfortably in peace in quite eating an apple when the silence is broken by a high pitched sequel. A quite noise little girl has climbed aboard yelling and squealing in a very high pitch egged on by her parents who are both going “chug-chug-chug-chug.” To which she responds quite briskly, loudly, and in a pitch that could break wine glasses. For the next ten minutes, as the train heads toward its destination I’m serenaded. My mantra is She’s just an excited child, she’s just and excited child repeated over and over in my head.
We arrive at a castle that was begun in 1100 by William the Conqueror, added to in the 1200 and 1300 centuries and order destroyed in the 1700’s by Parliament. Yes it was deliberately destroyed so it could not be used again in the English Civil war. It is huge and amazing to think how it was built stone by stone and after 1000+ years is still, somewhat, standing after being blown up by gun power charges. One tower which had been blown off its foundations, slid about four foot down an embankment, reportedly running over two men as it did still stand upright. I touch the old stones climb around a bit then head back to the station for the train.
Whilst waiting for the train the conductor comes over and informs us that our train is going to be late. About five minutes later he tells us the steam engine has decided not to move and they have to bring a Diesel on line to get us, the train will now be about 30 minutes late. Checking my timetables it seems I’ll not get back to Salisbury until 9pm if all goes well from here out. Upon the trains arrival I do my best not to be in the same car with the screaming kid. Try as I might they move into only three seats ahead of me, and I begin my mantra. At the Ferry we have to wait for a real ferry to go by taking all the time in the world. I’ve now missed the bus that would get me back at nine; maybe I’ll get back at 10. The bus from Bournemouth to Salisbury is a 1 ½ hour ride all of it with a screaming baby on board. No mantra this time as the kid is screaming for his “Da Da” because mother has said “no” to something.
Wednesday, May 16, 2009
Today is more small stuff today, just more small stuff. Eating a Roast Pork lunch, then a cream and blackcurrant jam pastry, a cup of coffee, a shower, a bike ride into town, buying some grapes at market, printing out my plane passes for Austria at the library, just small stuff. I did find while at the library the census sheets from 1930 which shows most of my family living and working in New York City
The Travel Trailer/Caravans are not all that big. The biggest may be 20ft long so instead of awnings they have tents attache which make the thing twice the size. Kind of a slide out with grass. The are usually pulled in or backed in to the space, which must be 6 yards apart, then they put locks on the wheels and hook up the electricity. There are no other hook ups in these campgrounds. Water must be brought in or hauled to the camper, waste must be rolled away to the dump site. Sounds like fun? Most of these people dress as if they are going to work. Most to the women ware skirts or dresses, the men slacks, polo shirts and some even ware ties.
I'm heading out one day and there is a new camper setting up his caravan. The car has detached he got a remote control in his hand. It takes a minute for me to see that the caravan is moving by itself. How freaking lazy can you get? In stead of pushing this thing, which would be like pushing a grocery cart with food in it, he positioning it with a remote control. The wheels must have drive motors on the to turn it and move it back and forth. I look at him, look at the camper moving around, look back at him and shake my head. He has a grin on his face like he just got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.