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Friday, December 10, 2010

Going to the movies...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tonight I will go to the movie with a woman for the first time since 2004.   The last time I attended a ovie with a woman was seven years ago, not counting the times I’ve gone with my Daughter and her family.  But that is not the same as her husband sat next to her.  However, he does not want to be married any longer so is leaving her.  I listened to his reasons for not wanting to be married to my daughter any longer and tried not to personalize them.  How many times had I heard these words from men or woman who were no longer interested in the dream that they had once had together.  Now they would have separate dreams so live would not pass them by. I though back and could not even remember what words I used to end my marriage in 1987.  I sure some were the same as the ones my son-in-law, after twenty plus years what else can I call him, used.

It took some time for my divorce to happen during my “midlife crisis” and the preverbal younger woman to come along.  In fact there were several preverbal younger women after the divorce along with the red sports car.  The last woman was in 2003 who decided to leave after my first bout with cancer.  She found in more acceptable to be with a drug dealer then someone who could die from cancer at any time.  We went to the movies a lot since she had a younger son who when with us every ware.  Going to the movies is a way for me to leave the real world for at least 90 minutes.  It is a place I don’t have to deal with having to give up a dream of working for H & R Block during my retirement.  Actually, to be clear, I was working for 227 Tax Services Inc. a franchisee of Block.  Now I’m forced to start my own business because my ethic’s no longer allowed me to work for someone who rewarded a bulling drunk.

After seven years of working for H & R Block the stores I worked in were sold to this franchisee  I was told by my old boss to hang in with the new owners and I be rewarded.  Yep there was a reward alright forcing me to start my own business.  My forced you might say?  Because the money I made doing taxes allowed me to go to Europe every year for the last five.  So if I want to return I will need to work at a business where I can earn enough to do so.  I have two partners who will be working with me on this new business who seem to have the same goals I do in terms of building a tax business that does taxes at a reasonable price.  We are creating a tax business that available to client’s year around to help them with any tax problems that may come up.
At a Chamber of Commerce meeting where I talked of this new business a fellow member offered free tickets to the movies.  He gave me the requested three tickets in the Home Depot parking lot where I had gone to purchase supplies to fix my wood stove.  It had decided to start leaking filling the house with eye burning smoke. My brother, who as worked for Home Depot in Texas, would know what to do.  Today I’ll work in the wood stove then will go to the movies for the first time in seven years with a woman. If this is not circular thinking I don’t know what is, but it was fun.     

Sunday, July 11, 2010

England 2010: Part

You will see that this is not complete at press time.  From time to time I'll remove this post and replace it with an updated version.

Sunday, May 31, 2010


Overcast again today and my plan was to hang out at the library and just get my blog caught up however today is a holiday so it is closed. Back at the Old Kings Head Pub and hiding in a corner

Today I’m having porridge for breakfast this morning which was a first porridge, by the way, is Oatmeal. Quaker Oaks cartons are marked Quaker porridge.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010







Wednesday, June 02, 2010




Thursday, June 03, 2010


Story Teller



Friday, June 04, 2010

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Town Market

End of the Festival

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Ride to Wilcot:

Everything is loaded on the new bike and it’s ready for the first ride. This is a route that I’ve taken twice before and so I know what to expect and how I’ve managed in the past. So off I ride with great expectations that this will be much less difficult then in the past. Hills seem to be easier to get up which is what I paid for. There is one hill that I walk no matter what on this ride. It is very narrow and lots of speeding cars. At low speed creeping up the hill wobbling at times is not very safe. However this time I am able to ride half of it something new.

Taking a few rest stops I end up in Wilcot and have covered 29 miles in 4 hours or a little over 7 mph. That may not sound like a lot but the first time I did this I averages 3 mph. Last year Mark and I averaged about 2 mph. So I’m thinking not bad, not to darn bad. However, I have found an easier way to get to Wilcot. That the train to Pewsey and then ride 10 minutes to Wilcot. All in all the entire ride was very nice, not to hot, no rain, light traffic. Along the way I come up on a “Gypsy Wagon” complete with horse, woman driver, and “Hansel and Gretel” in the back waving out the window. Nothing along this route has changed much that I remember. I pass one area where construction of what appears to be a channel of some sort. That’s about all that’s new!

Arrived at Wilcot and my hang out The Golden Swan and was greeted by Peter the owner. We changed for awhile then I stated how I’m looking forward to some great food. Peter informed me that he had no chef so they were not serving food. No problem I’ve got enough in my “kitchen” to eat tonight. Sandra, who I met here last year have been corresponding all year she is to meet me here tomorrow. I’ll learn yet again that expectations are useless and can take the fun out of an event. After I’m finished eating it is time of Peter to open for business. He shows me a table near and outlet so I can plug in and blog. We talk a bit about the condition of the world and what we’ve been up to for the past year.

After spending some time with a beer and blog I retire having the camping field to myself.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Wilcot and Pewsey:

It has been raining most of the night and is still raining in the morning. No cooking today! I have to find away to carry some kind of cooking shelter for days like this. I ride into Pewsey and find a Pub that offers breakfast and free WiFi. The rain has stopped and I explore the area riding along the Kennek and Avon Canal where I find pill boxes decaying in the wood. This canal has pill boxes all along it and was to be a line of defense if Germany invaded from the South. It is a dark overcastted day with sprinkles of rain from time to time. I stop in at the Pewsey Co-Op food store to pick up a little lunch. While sitting outside eating I have a conversation with a gentleman who was “born and raised in Wilcot, spent my whole life there.” I find this amazing as Wilcot is a very small village of many 20 houses, no stores and one Pub.

I head back to the Swan to see if they will be cooking tonight and meet up with Sandra. Peter informs me that they still have no chef, but there is a nice pub down the road. I’ve not seen hid nor hair of Sandra, Peter tells me where she lives. I trot down there and knock on that door of three cottages receiving no answer. Back at the Pub Peter goes checks to see if he can find a telephone number for her; none listed. I look though my emails and find her number and we call. She informs we she is in bed already and will see me in the morning. It’s 8:30 pm??? So now I’ll have to ride back to Pewsey to get something to eat. At first Peter has told me I can order something on the phone then he run and get it. That offer seems to have disappeared so in the rain I ride back to Pewsey.

The Royal Oak in Pewsey is a very nice local Pub with ceiling so low I have to take my hat off to walk around. Walking up to the bar to order dinner the lady behind it is in a very animated conversation. Slowly I make out that her daughter has been in a car accident do to the slippery conditions on the roads. Her daughter is alright my dinner is ordered and served along with a nice local Ale. It is getting dark and I’m trying to worry about riding back to the Swan. It is now time to head back to the Swan in the rain, and semi darkness.

On the way my front light decides to die so I have to go very slow so as not to end up in a pot hole. Arriving back at the Swan safely I find a new camper and his wife at the bar. Bill and Sara come and sit with me so there will be not blogging tonight, but rather a very pleasant conversation with a lovely young couple from York. We talk about taking time to enjoy life and their kids now and let the future be. He is a mountain bike rider who wants to ride the Alps, not through them but on them. He is unsure if what he is doing, taking time off from work, a month, when his friends are working. Shouldn’t he be doing the same making money and saving for the future rather than riding around with his family for a mouth. I assure him that in my opinion he is on the right path.

Bill and Sara

The Royal Oak

The Swan

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Rain

The Train

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Thursday, June 10, 2010


Packed up my stuff and gave it over to the care of Wendy and Nigel at the campground. Road down to town to pick up a pair of pants at JK Maxx, the off to the Pub for a spot of breakfast before heading to the rail station.

Friday, June 11th to 17th 2010


A most unbelievable experience!

The flight from London to Graz was smooth as silk with cotton ball puffs of clouds so the views were incredible. There are some pictures of flying over the Alps whose tops are still covered with snow or maybe I was looking at a glacier. From the moment of setting foot in the airport till it was time to head back home was a wiral wind of new experiences and new people. Elfi, my Great Aunt’s daughter was waiting for me at the airport. The last time I saw her was when she was 1 ½ years old before leaving Canada with her family to return to Austria. She was with her friend Hans who was our driver for most of the time in Graz.

He spoke only German leaving Elfi to be our translator. Elfi speaks very good English having learned it in grade and high school. I very quickly became use to listening to conversations in German all around me. Of course trying to guess what they were saying while listening for the few words I now. Our first stop was a restaurant where we sat in the beer garden for lunch. The menu was in German so, except for the few words I could pick up, it had to be read to me. It was like being a kid again not understanding all the lines on a menu what Mon and Dad take you out to eat. I order salad and water, oops; nope Hans was having none of that, its beer time.

Arriving at Elfi’s house I’m shown to my room and given a quick tour of the house and grounds. Elfi explains that this was her parent’s house and she lived in with them. They both passed away and now she has the house. That seems to be the way of things here. Several house had a second house attached for the son or daughter to live in. Some are empty because the son or daughter did not want to live there. Houses are past down generation to generation, but some of the children do not want the house so it either sits empty or is sold. I met Andria who is a distance cousin and she now lives in the house that belonged to our Great-Great-Great- Grandfather. She proudly showed me the room he slept in which is now a kitchen.

We visited museums, restaurants, castles, and lots of relatives. I never knew there were so many of our family left in Austria, especially in the home town of Gϋssing. The whole time I was there I did not spend a dime. Everything was paid for by my hosts. Questions were asked about what I liked to eat and there it was. I mentioned I’ve not eaten red meat in a long time and there was no red meat to be seen. We ate, drank, traveled to family members and ate and drank some more. Lots of homemade wine filled my glass and it was good stuff. It did bring back memories of my grandfather making wine, or eating and drinking again and again when we would visit relatives in Pennsylvania.

It was a wonderful time!!

Friday, June 18, 2010


Saturday, June 19, 2010


Today is my son Kevin’s Birthday.

I’ve decided to visit my relatives Ray and Pauline in Birkenhead via train and a canal ride. There is the Shopshirer Grand Canal which runs from Wolverhampton to Chester which is between Delamere and Birkenhead. Once I arrive in Chester I’ll jump on the train to the campground at Delamere then head in to meet my relatives for the first time. After studying the map for a while I work out a route that will take me there. It looks to be around 15 miles which I’ve ridden many times before. I head to the train station to pick up the necessary tickets and fine that the rail line is having work done on it so I can’t get to the town I’d like. Back to the Maps to see that my choices are take the train to Bristol then change to Manchester, then change to Delamere as I’ve done in the past or take the train to Wolverhampton and ride 30 miles of canal. I decided on the 30 mile ride figuring on reaching the campground by 7pm.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Salisbury to Wolverhamption:

This is a 4 hour train ride with three changes. Thankfully there are lifts or ramps at the stations the changes take place at. I’m able to type a bit while the train rushes up the county. I thing this year I’ve used the train more than any year past. I take to a biking person who

Canal and Back:

On to Shrewsbury


Monday, June 21, 2010

Shrewsbury to Delamere Forest

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Delamere Forest to Birkenhead to Morton

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Delamere to Shrewsbury to Wolverhamption to Salisbury

Thursday, June 24, 2010



Friday, June 25, 2010

Salisbury to Dorchester and Mr. Cornsby

Today was a day of expectations and of course you know what they can do. Took the train to Dochester to meet with Mr. Cornsby a British doctor who providers HIFU for his Prostate cancer patients. We talked a bit about my condition and he informed me there would need to be some tests run, but it look like I’d be a candidate for the procedure. The cost would be $12,000 to 13,000 pounds and would have to be done rather quickly as I don’t have much time left here in the u k. I had spoken to an American doctor who can only do this procedure in Cancun and his price was $23,000 payment plans available. He made me an appointment for next Tuesday at 5:00 pm to begin the tests. The hospital were Mr. Cornsby performs his treatment is a 36 bed facility not far from downtown Dorchester. It is a very quiet, clean and welcoming with a large pleasant waiting room complete with free coffee.

I arrived about two hours early for my appointment and was taken right in. Mr. Cornsby was a very pleasant, straight forward gentleman in a dark blue suit, power blue shirt and matching tie. We talked about what had been done so far in the U S and was surprised to hear that HIFU was not yet approved for us there. When I return on Tuesday I’d undergo two more tests which would finalize whether or not I qualified to have the procedure. I asked how much more the tests would add to the cost of the procedure to which he indicated they would only add about 200 pounds. I almost fell off my chair because I’d had these tests in the U S and know that they each cost over $4000. He walked me to the door and had the receptionist set up the appointment. He patted me on the shoulder and said he keep the cost down a mush as possible.

In town I found a Weatherspoon Pub, my favorite because they all have free WiFi, and logged in to see what the current exchange rate is. Today 13,000 pounds is equal to $19,850 quite a savings, but more then I had stashed away. I had dreams of just getting the thing done and going home cured, but that is not to be. I’m left with lest then desirable treatments that are approved and paid for by insurance. The FDA is about two years away from approving this treatment. I read a few things on the FDA website which really gives you food for thought. People are being cured from Prostate cancer around the world, but the before the clinical trials could start here the spent about two years finding an artificial blood and tissue to test first. Oh and by the way the FDA is also looking at this treatment for breast cancer. However, men in the U S continue to die, unless they have the money to go to Canada, Mexico, Japan, England, Europe, India and South America. If they don’t die they are left with incontinence and /or erectile dysfunction from the treatments currently offered. What’s wrong with this picture??

I wander around town at bid have some lunch then head for the train station for the trip back to Salisbury. Wondering where I can get enough money to have this done here. The more I wonder the more I think it is a waste of time just go home get what you can get then move on with your life. On the train now and with each station the train takes on more and more passengers as we’ve name them. I now occupy two seats and a table which may soon change. Right now I’m a passenger on a train not of my choosing, but I’m on it none the less. Now that I’m on it there are a few stations I can chose to get off on again none to my liking, but neither the less I can make some choices. Funny I use to teach this to my clients that there are always choices and times neither choice is what you’d like but a choice.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Today was a “work” day. Sat in the park working on my bike, eating lunch under a huge green shade tree, looking up at a power blue sky, not even working up a sweat do to the breeze that caressed me all day; this they call a heat wave? There was a little stream close by that from time to time I walk in which was so refreshing. Then I went to see Shrek in 3D at the local movie house. I keep asking if there are seats and getting strange looks from the ticket seller. The theater had two other people in it besides me and the thing just opened here. The same with Robin Hood and whatever Mark in I saw. In the U S there would be lines for days or you would have to sit in the seats under the screen.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Monday, June 28, 2010


Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Salisbury to Devizes

Up at 6:30 am show and pack up ready to leave by 8:30 am. I’ve done most of this ride what six times now. I’m heading up to Bristol where I’ll catch the train to Cardiff Central and from there back up to Morton. I’ll go back up to spent a little more time with the family I’ve found there and get some more background information. This will be my last ride this year, once I get back it will be time to go home. It will also be Time to make a decision, time to alter my body for the rest of my life. Spoke to Mr. Cornaby the doctor I saw here and explained about the money. He said I know where to find him if something changed. Like winning the lottery, or robbing a bank, or anything that will bring me enough money to have a treatment that does not change my life.

I arrived in Devizes at around 2 pm after a 30 mile not too bad a ride considering some of the traffic I ran into. I even had some flat riding today that is until I hit “The Hill” which had to be gone up to go down into Devizes. Then I should have been an easy ride down the canal to the campground. Almost to my oasis for the night I find the canal blocked, closed, not passable. What the hell! Well so much for the easy ride to my home for the evening. I find that there are two choices for me to get “home” for the evening. One is on a Dual Carriage way which is flat and direct according to the map, the other is back roads going up and down hills. I pull out a shiny octagon 50p coin and flip it, back road it is.

Rounding a corner a familiar sight greets me. There sits a pub that adjoins the campground and a few minutes later I’m being guided to my pitch. It is the same pitch Mark and I had last year after our harrowing canal ride. Only I had bypassed that part of the canal and about 2 hours of riding. Up goes the Tent, then take a short nap and it’s time for dinner at the pub. As I approach the Pub I attempt to remember if Mark and I had dinner here two years ago. Ah! Yes there we are at that table next to the wall yep we had dinner here. I order and am told that they can’t make it for some reason having to do with the refrigerator. For tonight Soup will do just soup will be fine and a Coke. Soup is thick and good but the Coke has not ice. They are very tight with their Ice over here. When you do get it, via request, there are about 3 or 4 floating in your drink. For a Pub that is out in the middle of nowhere it sure is busy in here. Some you can see are “campers” but most are locals stopping in for their pint.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Devizies to Bath:

Left Devizes at 8:00 am, arrived Bath 12:30 pm after a very nice ride. The tow path along the canal is smooth and wide, the weather was cool with lots of gray and white clouds blocking out the sun and sky. It was quite breezy with some gusts that hit you when you’re not expecting it which is a good way to end up in the Canal. So it is a tense ride until the breeze dies away about half way through. Last night during my many trips to England that no sleeping bag was needed. Usually I’m very cold here during the night but this year the combination of the air mattress I found and the sleeping bag Mark found I’ve been quite warm. My Big Agnes, Emerald Mountain tent is working as well as it has for the past three years. The GoLightly rain jacket has work well to keep in dry during the few rains experienced. I purchased a pair of Teva water shoes that are turning out to be quite comfortable walking shoes.

But, everything I purchased from Exped has failed. The first to go was the cover that goes over the air mattress so it can be turned into a chair or lounge. There are pole that stiffen the thing which poked right through the material, next was the pillow which sprung about six micro holes so it no long holds air and its inflation valve no longer blocks air from coming back out when you blow into it. Last was my air mat which did a great job of keeping me warm. First an outside seam parted making it difficult to use the built in air pump, then a seam in the middle let go causing a large bump to form when it is inflated. It manages to stay inflated during most of the night with the help of good old duct tape. I’m really sad that the Sleeping mattress has failed and because it has helped to keep me warm I’ll try a replacement.

As I ride the canal a young man rides up, asks a few questions then rides on as there is no way I’m going to keep up with him. I come around a bend and spy him standing in the road. I stop and ask if he’s O K and he tells me it was rude of him jus to ride on. So now I have a partner riding along side of me and we talk about his job, our bikes, and the canal. His name is Justin and he has a friend who is the designer of the bike I’m riding. He has been looking at possibly purchasing a bike like mine. It is very nice to have company for awhile and has he leaves I hand him my card so we can keep in touch.

Originally the plan was to ride the canal to Bristol then on to Cardiff then take the train north. However, it would be too late in the evening so I’d have to spend the night in Cardiff. I’m now on a train that will put me in Delamere again around 6 pm. This will give me time to do a few adjustments to my bike then head in to see the family. It is their anniversary this Saturday and that should be fun. I’ll head back down to Bath on Monday then ride the canal back to Devizes maybe a little further we’ll see. I should be back in Salisbury by the 6th and begin to get ready to head home. Arriving at Delamere campground and am told that they are booked up for the weekend do to a concert going on in the forest amphitheater. Luckily the manager comes in and finds a two night spot for me.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Delamere Forest to Chester:

After attempting to ride to Chester without a map it’s time to get on the train. My day is spent looking at maps as I’ll ride back to the campground, attempting to get hold of my relatives in Birkenhead, walking the only intact castle wall that use to protect the city, attempting to SKYPE my daughter, and sending emails. Toward the end of the day while hunkered down in a Pub I receive an email that a room awaits me in Morton. It is time to ride back to the campground and settle in for the night. Upon arriving back at Delamere Forest, which was not a bad ride, I can begin to hear the concert about ½ a mile away. The concert goes on well into the night and I’m happy that I’ll not have to be here tomorrow for the 2nd day. The music that is drifting through the wood is from the sixties and seventies so it is palatable.

Before heading back to the campground I stop in a Superdrug for some low dose aspirin that I take daily. The “powers” purchased when Mark and I were in France have run out. Not seeing them on the shelf I hunt down a clerk who takes me to the pharmacy counter. The lady pulls what I want from her stock and asks “You from Canada?” Now this is a question that has been asked a lot during my travels here in England. Must be the hat which is not my usual western head gear or the quiet way I talk. After telling her I’m from Flagstaff she informs me that she has been there many times and love’s it there. We talk about the Grand Canyon and some of the hotels she has stayed at in Flagstaff. A few she mentions leave me wondering as to why that place was chosen.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I’ve found a rail station much closer to the relative’s home that the one used in the past. It is a short ride on my bike, which is fully loaded, to the house from the station. I’m warmly greeted, shown to my room and after a chat I’ve been invited to a charming stay with Ray and Cathleen meeting relatives, cursing around Liverpool, Birkenhead, Rock Ferry, and Morton. I’m shown the places and told about people that would have been part of my grandfather Cooke’s life. After crossing the Mersey while the song plays in the background we arrive in Liverpool and stand on what is left of the pier that the S S Caroline sailed from bringing my family to America. We talk about how difficult it must have been to pack up everything you own in some steamer trunks, wave good bye to your family, and then watch your homeland dwindle in the distance. I know my grandfather never returned to his homeland and I wonder now if he ever wanted to.

We look at old photo’s identifying relatives both in England and the U S. We attempt to put dates in place for births, even connect with a new arm of the family back in the U S. Memories are shared of my grandfather’s brother Arthur who stayed watching his brother’s and sister’s sailed off to the land of milk and honey. He did come over for awhile, but decided to return to England to marry and begin the part of the family I’m currently with. These are my Second and Third Cousins with their children and wives who are currently taking very good care of me. I get to attend a Cricket match for 4th of July which lasts for seven hours having no idea what is going on, but enjoying the time with this new family. Looking in their faces I see vantages of my grandfather, sometimes my dad, and sometime my aunts in all.

Ray, Pauline and I talk continuously, at times well into the night, as if we have known each other all our lives. It is easy to talk to all including the children who are quite sociable. I’ve been here for seven days and sadly it is time to leave tomorrow. I’ll miss them and hope that next year will bring me back for another visit.

July 9, 2010

Friday, Morton to Bath:

We say are goodbyes after Ray oils my bike making sure all is well while Pauline has made me some sandwiches for the journey. I’m hoping to make it back to Devizes today, but this is a long train trip and I’m doubtful. I’m on the train at Morton by 11:03 am and will have to change trains four times which is a real pain. I’ll reach Bath at 6:10 pm and it is a two hour ride back to Devizes. I may hold up in Bath for the night and then ride most of tomorrow to get back to Salisbury or just take the train. I’ll decide once I reach Bath.

Only a few days left to this most eventful trip as I’ll be spending the 11th and 12th in Salisbury at the YHA. On the 13th, after securing my bike, I’ll train to Heathrow arriving by noon then leaving at 2:30 pm. After spending two hours in Detroit it will be home to Phoenix arriving there around 10 pm. Mark will pick me up at the airport and take me up to Stacey’s. I finally get to see my new granddaughter Rebecca, I’ll have to take Luke and Caden to get their delayed birthday presents, and maybe take my daughter and son-in-law out for an anniversary dinner. Then it will be time to make a decision about what to do for my cancer and am sad that the newer therapies were not available to me.

There is a fellow I’ve been watching on the train who seems to be in a great rush to get somewhere. After getting my bike ready to get off at the next station he comes to stand in the vestibule looking at his watch. I’ve found a way to back my bike into the space where the train cans connect and am standing there. He begins to talk to me about my bike, how long have I been in England, where have I been, and if I’m retired. I tell him that I work more now that I’ve retired then I probably did when I was working. He asks what I teach and after telling him he tells me of this study he has just completed. We now talk all the way to the station about outcomes, and different instrument used in the U S, and how people just do not understand the concept of constructs. He tells me he’ll email me a copy of the instrument they came up with and keep in touch. We are now walking down the Bristol station, he heading home, and me heading for my next train. I mention I’ve been thinking about putting together a one week group tour and he tells me he loves biking and would love to help me. Looking forward to his email.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bath to Woodbridge Inn:

Breakfast at the YMCA, pack the bike and hit the road by 9:30 pm well not the road the canal. I’ve ridden this part of the canal three times finding the hardest part getting out of bath with its many bridges to go under and over. It is overcast but warm as England is having a heat wave so it should be about 80 today. There was no forecast of rain last night so we’ll see if that rings true. The weather forecasts here have be spot on as they say. Speaking of the weather I’ve not had this kind of weather since my first trip five years ago. It has been just beautiful with little rain, mostly at night, warm breezy days and cool evenings just right for sleeping.

The canal is very busy as is the canal tow path. The path has quite a few bike riders whizzing both ways, older couples, dressed in their walking clothes taking time to stop and smell the flowers or at least admire them, and runners with the necessary ear phones attached. Those canal boats that are docked have fishing poles hanging off them, dogs lie in the shade barely opening their eyes as I ride by. There is a low put-put from the ones leisurely moving on the river. No matter where they are or what the people on board are doing there is always time for a “Good Morning” or a nod of the head with a smile. I’m moving along at a very fast clip so there has been no time for chats. Occasionally there is a “That quite a load your bikes got” I agree with a smile as I ride by.

I find myself riding the canal at a much faster clip then in the past. I now rarely get off the bike to go under bridges that have a narrow tow path underneath. The reason is that in the back of my head is the thought of riding all the way to Salisbury today. Wondering why it could not be done while riding along. On prior trips staying focused on the road has been paramount. This year my head is drifting all over the place, or just more in touch with the surroundings that the road. My mind rarely drifts to work or heath issues although when they do decisions seem to have been make which give me a start as to how they were arrived at. Reaching Devises at 12:40 pm it’s time for lunch and then I’ll decide if Salisbury is doable. It is 2 pm by the time lunch has been wolfed down along with several glasses of water. It is time to decide between riding the canal, for another two hours, or riding to a campground whose location I’m not real sure of which will put me closer to Salisbury.

Sorry Sandra no getting together this year because I pick the unsure of ride. The road is a fairly busy “A” road which I’ve ridden a lot in England. I keep looking at my speedometer and can’t believe how fast I’m going. I attempt to slow down as I have plenty of time to get to the area the campground may be. I’m going to have to chalk it up the new bike as my average speed has risen from 5 and 6 miles an hour to 10. I’ve now come to the conclusion that focusing on the road has become automatic. After 12 miles and a couple of good guesses the Pub I’m hoping to find looms up ahead. A very bubbly, attractive lady outside has just put up the dinner sign and assures me that there is space in the campground. This is a wonderful campground in the middle of not much. It is one of those campgrounds that you go do just to get away from the hustle and bustle. My tent is pitched by 3:00 pm on lush green grass next to a silently flowing stream. I want to stay here for several days but I have to be in Salisbury no later than tomorrow to get everything ready to head home.

I’m seating at a table in the pub next to an open door which allows a gentle breeze to flow over me. I’ve had dinner and now it’s time to sit by the stream before turning in. In this solitude I hope I wake up tomorrow!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Woodbridge Inn to Salisbury:

Worried about getting up did I say? Up at 6:00 am and on the road by 6:30 am with a new route back to Salisbury to follow. I’ve known this route to be there but, have chosen not to try it because of the traffic it carries. From time to time you can see and hear it from the usual route. However, it is early, and Sunday so I’ll chance it. I can always return to the old way if it gets to hairy. It was not to bad a ride for the two hours with only a few busses and Lorries going by. This ride, taking the back roads, takes us 5 to 6 hours. I’m stunned that it has only taken 1 ½ hours to reach Amesbury. This part of the trip on the old route usually takes 4 hours. I ride along and find myself pulling up to the Starbucks, in the middle of Salisbury by 9:30 and I’ve covered 38 Km in 3 hours. Wait till I tell Mark about this. We made the ride to Devises from Salisbury and it took us 12 hours. I made the ride, using lest taxing routes in 6 hours.

My bike is naked, my bags are packed, all unnecessary items have been discarded, I’ve checked with the airline and all is well. There will be a few things to do tomorrow, but for the most part I’m ready to return home. I’m at the YHA and Liz and I have talked about my trip and her upcoming wedding with a possible move to New Zealand. Had a nice dinner at the Cathedral Hotel and now back at the Y for a quick internet check and then off to sleep.

Monday, June 7, 2010

England 2010: Part 3

Sunday, May 23, 2010

From Canterbury we are heading North West to Bath where we will spend the night either at the YMCA or a campground. Hopefully it is the Y because my phone and computer are in need to charging. The scenery so far is long rolling green hills with farms in abundance. Thatched or slate roofs cover barn, shed, and home. This is a local train stopping at each small station some looking as if they were waiting for steam engine to come bellowing up. The train is becoming quite crowed probably because this is a holiday weekend. I’m sure we’ll be changing trains several times to make this trip from one side of England to the other.

Four hours later, two train changes, one station change we are in Bath. Our first train change is in London. I ask Mark if he wants to ride through London to get a train that has a direct route to Bath or does he want a closer station which does not offer a direct route. He opts for riding to Paddington station and the direct route. We spend about an hour riding around looking for the train station which I finally spy hiding under scaffolding. The direct route seems to have become the indirect route. We get yelled at by a police person for riding on the sidewalk.

On the train again we are off to Bath again. We arrive at Bath then check into the YMCA before going in search of dinner. I really don’t want to eat out again, but the stores are all closed. We eat our meals outside talking about the trip here and the trip we’ll embark on tomorrow. Back at the YMCA we sit in separate rooms working on our computers. Mark goes to bed earlier than I do and is cutting wood when I enter our room. I read a bit then finally am ready for some shut eye. Mark wakes up and wants to know if I want ear plugs do to the noise from the patio below.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bath to Wells:

I am up early and into the shower as Mark continue sleep deeply. As I sit eating my breakfast while watching T.V. I am wondering if Mark will get any when he wanders in looking half asleep. We talk about the news and that we need to get moving. We are loaded and on the road heading toward Wells. Now I don’t remember this being a hard ride, but my memory failed me or I took a different route. We ride up then down a little then up again. This is not turning out to be the easy ride I told Mark it would be.

After five hours of strenuous riding we look down in to a beautiful valley. I see St. Michael’s Tor in the distance and look around inside to see if I can fine the thrill I experienced the first time I saw it. Finding only a small glimmer of what once was I ride off, leaving Mark far behind, as I swoop down the hill which leads to the valley floor. I’m going faster than is prudent, but I want to feel some exuberance after this long hard ride. At the bottom my anger grows again as Mark descends at a madding slow rate. I am coming to realize, not wanting to, that my anger is not about Mark he just happens to be handy.

I’m angry at having to deal with cancer yet again. I take fairly good care of myself, exercise, eat right, try to keep stress down while he does none of these things. I’m not wishing him harm, just want to know why I get to deal with it cancer yet again. I’ve said many times I now that cancer will kill me not old age, but not take me piece by piece. At this rate I’ll be an empty shell by the time there is no more to take. I want to see my grandkids grow up, and spend time with my kids as their families mature. There is more for me to do but…
The campground has a new owner who has fixed the place up quite a bit. After a bit to eat we ride out to the campgrounds and set up our tents. I keep losing my way yet know that it is not the correct path. We even road right by the campground without seeing that this is where we should be. Boy doesn’t that tell you something. Everything in my life was suppose to be easy from here on out, but that has gotten lost and I’m unsure of where to go next. Every ride, every trip to England has shown me something that is going on or is affecting my life. There are no answers given just a review of what I’m not looking at, over and over until the picture becomes clear.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wells to Glastonbury:

We have breakfast, shower, pack up, and say our good-byes and then it is off to Glastonbury. Again I say it is an easy ride and again I become misplaced. It takes a bit but after awhile the correct road is found and we arrive in Glastonbury about two hours later. I pull into the campground and Mark wants to know what I think about just keep going and getting back to Salisbury a day early. I say “NO” there are things I want to do here. After pitching our tents we wander around town looking at all the “new age” stores. Mark has no interest in what I want to do so we part ways.

I walk to the St. Michaels Tor and begin the climb up. If feels as if every step up pulls me closer to the ground. I’m growing heavier, and heavier and people walk by me as if I’m going slower than a snail. The last time I did this it was not difficult as this year it is incomprehensible. I struggle to the top having to stop time and time again. It feels as if I weigh tons, my backpack feels as if it weighs tons, everything I have on feels as if it weighs tons. It’s as if some invisible force is holding me back from getting to the top.

After sitting for awhile waiting for some mystical answer to my dilemmas it is time to head to the Challis Well. Going down is a bit slow as my balance seems to be drifting off. Just standing sometime causes me to sway a bit, stairs cause me to lose my sense of levelness. It is easier going down with my shoes off more connection to the ground. The Challis Well is at the bottom of the Tor and its waters are said to have healing properties when “bathed” in. You can’t really bathed in the, but you are allowed to stand in them. There is also a place where you can fill your bottles with water to take home to use for drinking and cooking. . I can hardly walk from one end to the other because the pain from the cold is so great. After walking through the ice cold water I’m resting on a bench when a woman and her child arrive. We chat a bit about her daughter, who is three, and my new granddaughter. The little girl walks though the water as if she was at the beach. Then she marvels at the foot prints her and mom leave on the paving stones.

The little girl sits on the bench with me to show me feet have grit on them. We giggle and laugh while running in and out of the water gets more grit on her feet then show me. Mother sits watching with a smile on her face and I’m glad at being here. Soon the girl wants to show me something called her “one” which has been left in the car. Soon she begins to use a three years olds favorite word is issuing from her lips “NO!” I move on in an attempt to let her get move on to the next thing that will catch her attention.

Leaving the well after collecting two bottles of water I head toward the Abbey or what’s left of it. There is a tree there that has become a haven for me. Lying in its cool shade sleep overtakes me. We meet up later buy some dinner to cook at the market then head back to the campground. After dinner Mark turns in while I head to the laundry room to work on the computer. Mark wanders in later unable to sleep, but goes back to his tent. I work late then get some shut eye

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Glastonbury to Castle Cary to Salisbury:

We are off early on what I hope is an easy ride to Castle Cary. I lose my bearing for a bit then get back on the path which is not to hilly. There is a stretch where we must ride a very busy road. I look back to see that Mark is some distance behind me turning back to the road I see a deer come out of the hedge just in front of a Lorie. The truck hits it sending it skidding down the road, it is up and limps to my side of the road, then turns and dragging its hind leg that was hit slinks into the hedge it came from. The truck stops some distance down the road and at the spot the deer was hit I look to see if it is around. I cross the road and peer into the hedge but see nothing. The truck starts up and pulls away and we continue our ride.

We reach Castle Cary stopping at a local shop for lunch then down to the rail station where we catch the train back to Salisbury. Upon arriving we head up to the campground were we receive a warm welcome from Wendy, Gerald, and his wife. We are given “our” corner near the “Block” and we settle in for the night. We have covered over 400 km not counting Ferry crossings and several train rides. Mark has only a few days left here in England as we wonder at how fast the time has gone by.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Not much to do but unwind from our whirled wind trip so we head to the Kings Head and get online during breakfast.

Friday, May 28,, 2010


We move from the campground back to the YHA for the last evening Mark will be here. He has a room and I’ll stay in my tent. He wants to go to see a Midsummer’s Night Dream, but when we find out there is a bus involved in getting there we chose to see a group called ECHOA. They are advertised as a group of purveyors of sound, music, dance and comedy. This is my first time attending a show in the Salisbury Play house and I look forward to the event. We have purchased our tickets from a very nice lady whose name I believe is Annie. She has the most wonderful smile and is quite helpful it getting everything arranged. Mark mentions that my story is going to be read at Saturday’s noon time reading. She says that she’ll try and be there to hear it.

After dinner and some work on our blogs it’s off to the Playhouse. I find the seating rather strange but the seats are comfortable and the aisles wide and the person in front of you would have to be a giant to block your view. Almost all the seats are taken as the show begins to start. In the seats behind me is a can’t sit still child who continually bums my seat as she moves from one seat to another. The show starts, the players play, the show ends leaving me thinking what else I could have done with 12 pounds. There were lots of sounds, lots of music, lots of dance, and some comedy.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Salisbury and Mark leaves for home:

We’re up early so Mark can’t get is bike ready for its hidey hole. We have some breakfast then it’s off to visit the Town Market before heading to the station. We take about how fast the time has gone by and all the ground we covered. An air of melancholy covers us as we arrive at the train station and he prepares to leave. We head to the platform where his train is counting down the minutes to be off. We become a bit teary as we hug good bye and he boards the train. Funny how goodbyes affect you like that it’s not like we’re not going to see each other in a month. But it is the end of an event that has had its ups and downs not just in hills. Do we come out the other side different remains to be seen?

I go back to the campground and pay for nine days to sit in Salisbury and be on a different kind of holiday. Somehow I’ve gotten into my head that my story is to be read today at the noon time reading. So I head over to the Cathedral where they are being held. The storyteller introduces himself as Taffy something and explains that he is not going to read any of the stories that were to be read today. WHAT! I shout silently. He explains that do to a stroke he cannot read very well so he’ll tell his own story. “What an arrogant SOB.” I listen to some of his stories and then watch him put on a coat he claims cost 4,500 pounds. It is special made for him with pictures embroider all over it.

He explains as he is helped on with the coat that all you have to do is touch a picture and he’ll tell the story associated with it. Two young children are chosen to pick a picture and he begins the story. At that point I leave devastated that my story, as well as the other five will not get read. At the Pub again I rush off an email to the Festival coordinator declaring my sadness that our stories were felt to be less important than his. Then I reread the email that was send to me as to when my story was to be read. Low and behold my story was not to be read on Saturday, but on Sunday.

Then I get and email telling me that no one will be left out and all stories will be read. I write back red faced apologizing for my brain fart and asking for forgiveness at not making sure my facts were straight. My believe till now was that I didn’t do that anymore as it had been a behavior I worked on stopping. This is when it settled in to my thinking just how much this cancer thing was affecting me, much more then I was willing to allow see the light of day.

After spending some time at the Pub working on the Blog and revisiting what I had written during the time together. I’m surprised at what comes to my mind as I reread what I’ve written. I look inside for what feelings are lurking there as I read the rewrite and look again. Satisfied that what I’ve rewritten is more honest I delete the original blog and post the rewritten one. At many levels that seems to feel better.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


It is raining today started about the middle of the night so I think I’ll find some space to sit and type. After sleeping late it’s time for some breakfast at the Pub and catching up on emails. Have not talked to my kids and grandkids in a while and I miss them. Ride around town, take a nap, and then back to the pub to SKYPE friends and family. Don’t know what to do with myself so I do a lot of nothing. I purchase my tickets to fly to Austria and notify the family there of the time of my arrival and departure. Mark is home safe and glad to be in his own bed.

At noon I’m at the Cathedral listening to my story being read. She starts off by saying that she does not know where the writer lives. As she reads I think that it’s not too bad a story the listeners laugh at the appropriate places and some nod their heads in understanding. Not bad at all and it’s published on the Festival web site. At the end my story it says that I’ll be the festival this year as in the last four. The lady looks up when she finished and says “I wonder if he’s here?” I sit quietly thinking let them wonder it wonder, where was he from, is he here. A mystique has been added to my story for the few who listen.

I get my stuff together and unlock my bike then head out of the close. As I immerge one of the listeners is standing there watching me as I pass. I smile at him mount my bike an ride off just like the western stranger in movies of old.

Monday, May 31, 2010

England 2010: Part 2

Monday, May 17, 2010

Villequier to Jumieges:

Not much of a ride today as we are busy seeing the country side and just enjoying ourselves. We know there is no making Rouen today and there is no campground listed between here and there. So we decide to spend the night here, get up early and make the run to Rouen. We talk about the two ways to get to Rouen the first uphill, a long, long hill or second follow the Seine which will take an extra day. We sleep on it but first a ride down hill to the campground. There is an old abbey in town which we elect to walk around.
Now it is time to eat and we find this little café/grocery store which looks promising. The shop keep tells us there is no hot food available. But wait she rummages around and comes up with the most wonder meal. She is dressed in a beige skirt with a needle point vest to match she reminds me of Aunt Bea on the Andy Griffiths show.

I’m not very talkative and wonder why it seems there is nothing to talk about. I also find myself being very moody, must have my period, or is it the medication to reduce hormones? We stop and look a cemetery for about an hour talking about the graves and church. At the campground it time to settle in for the night. Mark has rented an adapter we can use to charge our computer. After a snack and a little typing on the computer it’s off to bed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jumieges to Rouen:

Up early, cook breakfast, pack up and hit the road to Rouen. We reach Saint-Martin-de-Boscherville were we need to decide which route to talk. Mark opts for up and over to get to Rouen and we begin the climb up. I did this hill the last time and ended up walking the whole thing. This time I make it to the top riding but, find no exaltation in the event. Mark has to walk like I did and pats me on the back he seems to be more excited them I am. As we coast down to Rouen I wonder why could it really the medication? We travel through Rouen in order to get to the other side. I’m irritated with myself because I see the way in my head but can’t find it.

I get my bearing and we arrive at the campground in Saint-Ledger-Du-Bourg-Denis a small village on the out skirts of Rouen. After setting up camp we walk down into the small town with Mark is delighted with. It has a bakery, butcher, café, florist, and small grocery store. We visit the butcher, baker, but not the candle stick maker instead we opt for the grocery store. We have picked up dinner and breakfast and will just hang out at the campground tonight.

Wednesday May 19, 2010


We site see around Rouen for sometime then Mark wants to find a WiFi café. About ten minutes later we are in this café that serves only hamburgers and chili oh yeah! A gentleman from the U. S. greet us and proceeds to talk our ear off: his name is Steve. I’m irritated that I’m in France and have to eat make-believe American food. We are told that if we order a meal the internet will be free. I should have seen this coming. Mark orders chicken fingers that look like pencils with bread on them. I order a chicken burger, or was it a veggie burger, while Mark goes for the good old fashion beef kind.

Steve finally, thankfully, has to leave for an appointment. We ask for the code to the internet and neither of us can get a signal. I’m pissed, Mark get a free sign on upstairs on the café computers. I’m noticing all the, what I consider, unhealthy food he eats, I eat healthy and get to deal with cancer, can’t lose weight and he just stays the same. I find myself being very angry with him. We ride to the train station which I can’t find and am getting angrier by the minute.

Finally he asks someone where it is and we find out it is right around the corner from where we are standing. We get prices for our trip to Calais and begin to leave the station. Now we decide to stay and extra day and go to Paris before we leave. We head back to the campground, take a little side trip to the butcher where Mark picks up a stake for the morning. I talk little as I eat salad, chicken, and green beans. I’m wondering why I am this angry as the day was not that bad.

It can’t be the cancer working on my subconscious? I have to make this decision which does not guarantee life, it only guarantees being free from Prostate cancer. I get to possibly lose the capability to have sex again, but I’ll be cancer free. I can continue to eat “healthy” yet with no idea whether or not it will keep cancer at bay; so far it has not. I’m trying to keep a positive outlook, but it is hard to do as I want desperately not to have to make this decision at all. I want my body to stop betraying me, but it may again.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Today we decided to spend an extra day in Rouen and take the train to Paris. It is a 1 ½ hour ride through very scenic French country side. After arriving in Paris we head across town to the International station where I hope to pick up a train to Graz. Mark has the map and will guide us to our destination. We arrive at the wrong station, but no problem the correct one is only a few blocks away.

Found out that there is a train from Paris to Graz which I really wanted to get on, however I’d have to stay here until Tuesday because it is a bank holiday this weekend. It would cost 117 Euros one way than another 117 back which is about what I paid for air fare last year. Next year I may just take the sleeper car and see what it is like, however I’d miss seeing a lot of French country side until Munich. That is where I’d change trains to head to Graz. My bike would be with me not sure where, but I was informed all that was needed was to remove the front wheel The train was an overnight and I’d have gotten to sleep in a bunk which would have been an new experience.

Second time I’ve been to Paris and again unable to see any of the famed sights. Oh wait there is the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Well somewhat more than the last time. We rode through Paris as if we were locals, even managed to get into a few staring matches with cab drivers who, like in NY, thing they own the road. We were supposed to have a nice dinner in Paris, which didn’t happen, and visit some sights, which also didn’t happen. But, all in all it was a decent and informative trip.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rouen to Calais:

Never ever believe what the internet tells you about traveling in a foreign country. First it told me there was no way to travel from Paris to Graz without it costing over $400. Not true! Then it told us there was no way to get from Rouen to Calais via train without going to Paris. Not true! Sadly you really have to get to a station and ask, or break the trip down into segments. Then you can get to where you are going inexpensively. I not once found it necessary to buy a Euro pass or any pass as they are very limiting and expensive. My experience is to buy tickets as you need them, which is much less restrictive and if you can travel on a discount pass of some kind you are better off.

We left Rouen at 12:30 pm on a local train that accommodates bikes. It was a leisurely ride 160 km ride through some magnificent French scenery takes a little over three hours. No problem getting the bike on to the train whose floor is the same height as the platform which is not always the case. We were lucky when we had to switch trains as our next train was at the same platform. There are some very old French train cars looking like something from the 50’s to the newer ones hot off the assembly line. The first one we took was fairly new and had sockets to plug in your computer, phone, what not.”

The second seemed to be something from the sixties lacking air conditioning. I used the toilet and looking down saw the track beneath the train. This certainly does not say much for the environment around the station. We zip through banked cures as if we are at Indy. Fly in to a station stop dead, motors off, the conductors chat a bit then we are off. I can see the guy driving the train from where I sit. The windows are open at fresh air blows through my hair. The skies are filling with clouds that are bluish-gray with white edges. I begin to wonder if we’ll have a rough crossing from Calais to Dover.

We watch the ship we will be traveling pulling in to its berth. It is an amazing site seeing this huge ship dock. No tugs to push it into its berth, it has jets on the side shooting water out to push the thing sideways. It slowly closes in on the dock so the ramps line up perfectly while the jets hold it against the dock. Truck after truck disembarks from the bottom deck with cars and motorcycles come off the top. Now it is our turn to load and we are motioned to ride up this very steep ramp. I’m getting on my bike when I see Mark wiz by like he had a rocket attached. I’ve never seen him move so fast. He is at the top of the ramp before I even start up.

It is difficult for me to get up the ramp because I’m laughing rather hard at this sight. After parking the bikes we head up to the top deck where we secure a table with a view. Then we decide to have dinner in the dining room instead of the buffet. It is as if we are dining in a first class restaurant with all the amenities. China and crystal glassware along with spotless white table linens next to the window we eat in style. The food is nicely presented and has wonderful flavor. We finish our meal the run down to the buffet for desert. Back at the salon table we which the White Cliffs of Dover come into view. The channel is as calm as bathwater and we have enjoyed two wonderfully smooth crossings.

Once in Dover it’s off to the train station in order to get to Martin Mill our campground for the evening. After looking at the terrain Mark agrees with me that the train is the way to go. It is even make clear as the train climes a very steep hill to take us on our six minute ride. The campground is quite nice with heated bathrooms and hot, hot water to shower in. We decide that tomorrow we’ll take the train to Canterbury.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

We arrived in Canterbury this morning around 10:30 via train from Dover. After a brief walk about the town we decided to find a campground and spend the day here. After we settle into a campground not far from town I had most to the day to myself as we went our separate ways. There is a place call the Canterbury Tales which is a set of scenarios based on Chaucer’s writings. It was quite entertaining and took about ½ an hour to wander through. The after visiting an abbey, Franciscan monastery, and the Museum of Canterbury I settled in for a cup of tea. After a sip I decided that it would be nice to have something to nibble on so back to the counter to check out what was to be had.

The young lady behind the counter assure me that they did indeed have some sweet pastries and said I should go sit and she would bring them to me. In a few she arrived at the table carrying two nice looking pastries and handed them to me. Upon asking how much they were she responded “Oh they are free. They are the last two of the day and I usually give them away.” What a pleasant surprise, yet another was to come. The particular establishment had free Wi-Fi so I signed on to check email as I figured my daughter was about to strangle me for being out of touch for so long.

There was an email from the Salisbury Festival informing me that a story I had entered in their contest was to be read in the town square on May 30th. How fun was that to learn that someone was going to read my story in the middle of Salisbury. We get back together and at the campground have some nice home cooked pork burgers for dinner. It turned a bit cool more to the dampness in the air then actual being cold if that makes any sense. I get into my sleeping bag and type a bit before heading off to sleep.

England 2010: Part 1

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Preparing for my fifth trip to England! Having hoped to be able to do this once, I never imagined doing it five years in a row. It has been a very trying year filled with frustration, new challenges and health issues. New equipment has been purchased to supplement the old tried and true. The big question, again this year, will my bike still be there? One can only hope that for the fifth year my bike will have survived the winter and vandals. My bag this year consists of a new pair of panniers that will hold everything and stay under 50 lbs. At this point they weigh in at 41 lbs and need to be unpacked and packed again to make sure everything is inside. The last item that will be needed is a new Deuter backpack which I’ll purchase with my REI dividend and 20% off coupon.

This will allow me to carry on some of my stuff thus reducing the weight in the panniers. It may allow me some extra room to bring my Hobson bike seat. As tax season comes to an end the want to be riding my bike increases. My friend Mark will be coming over again this year for a three week stint. Tickets have been purchased costing more than any previous trip. Finding a ticket for under $800 was not to be this year. We will be flying a combination of Delta and KLM going through Detroit and for the first time landing in Heathrow. I’m thinking about taking the National bus to Salisbury as I’ve not done that in a few years and it costs less money. Money could be an issue this year, but I’ll not know that until the end of April.

Somewhere on one of my computers is an equipment list that I had intended to post this year. So I’ll have to have to head home and see if it can be found. I also just realized that I have not finished my posts from last year, especially the most exciting part. So maybe I’ll work on that tonight also.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Scottsdale AZ again for more doctor’s meetings, more information plus and ultrasound to see how the baby is doing. Ha-ha!

Going to be busy right up to when I leave. Teeth cleaning, getting the house ready for my being away, another test, end of season dinner with the Block gang, finals, and putting in grades for my classes. All stuffed into 11 days, however I’m packed. Everything is stuffed into two panniers and a back pack. I have less weight than last year only 41 pounds hope I’m not forgetting anything. Maybe I should repack just to make sure.

This is when the stress starts to build up! Will I forget anything, will I make the plane, and will my bags get to where I’m going and on and on. It all goes away when I get on the plane and am in the air. Then it is time to sit back and relax forget about all the stuff going on in my world and focus on the here and now. Enjoy the ride to Detroit which is the first time I’ll be landing in that airport that I can remember. Three hour layover then it’s off to England and Heathrow again a first. Prior trips have taken me to Gatwick a less hectic airport.

I’m excited to go this year as this is the first time I actually have an agenda for part of the trip. So this will be a new experience to deal with. Past trips have been willie nillie where I am there I am no plans kind of thing.

Monday, May 6, 2010

Arriving at the hospital promptly at 5:30am I’m checked in and then follow a nurse to the surgery suite. They keep saying surgery I keep saying “no surgery, Test, no surgery.” They smile “it’s just a term we use.” Not smiling I retort “I don’t like your saying!” They take pleasure in that by using the S word more than necessary. “Take off your close and put the gown on with the open facing the back.” Gee you think!

I’m sitting on the gurney and Nurse Betty comes in. All the cute young nurses are assigned to other patient’s, life us just not fare. ‘You have any valuables, money, wallet, jewelry?” Not being quick on my feet I answer in the affirmative. “I’ll get the guard to lock them up!” My wallet contains my passport which as not left my sight for three days. You’ll have to arm wrestle me to get it I think, but she looks like she could take me. “I get the guard.” Say’s she.

She comes back guard in tow along with several forms to fill out “So your stuff will be safe.” “I don’t want my stuff locked up I didn’t have to do that the last time why do I have to do it this time?” So round we go until she finally gives my “valuables” stay with me as I’m wheeled off to the “surgery.” Later I’m told that there is not reoccurrence of cancer in that area of my body.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Time to leave! Up at 5am ready to go, packed, as usual nervous about getting to the airport on time. Always worry that the road will be closed, the car break down, or some such rot. My son Kevin will take us to the airport, I’ve already woken Mark up. We will pick him up a tad earlier then he expected, but we’ll be there on time.

On the plane we end up sitting together along with seat mate Caroline who is returning from an Erikson Hypnotherapy workshop. Pleasant conversation al we sit on the runway awaiting departure. Packed flight heading to Detroit were we will connect with our plane to England. Now that we are in the plane I begin to relax allowing the world of work and illness slip to the back of my mind for now. I’ll let my unconscious dwell on the aspects of both for awhile.

Oh sitting at the airport I pull up the urologist’s telephone number and there is a like to a blog written by someone in Kingman. He was the same age, and the Doctor involved is the same as the doctor I saw in Scottsdale. The gentlemen in Kingman had the same treatment that has been prescribed for me. The doctor told me that everything would work just fine after the treatment. This fellow in Kingman writes that he is cured of cancer however the Package does not work correctly, and continues not to work after four years. I’ll do a little more checking.

We are off to England and Marks seat assignment has gone a rye. After much hassling he has, unhappily found himself in a middle seat in the middle row far from the seat he had booked. After watching a few movies it is time to get a few winks hopefully waking up in England.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Arrive at Heathrow.

After standing on long lines to get through customs I am again faced with the feeling of being home. It washes over me after stepping through the customs gate. Thank the baggage gods that our stuff arrived alone with us. Off to the bus station to pick up a ticket to Salisbury and after a three hour wait we’re on the way. The bus offers a better view of the English country side which is quite refreshing. From the bus stop in Salisbury it is a short walk to the YHA were I have started my trip from for the past five years.

After settling in at the YHA it is time to take a walk to the train station to see if the bikes have survived another year. As happened before I cannot find the bikes on the first look see. And them for the fifth year in a row my bike is waiting at the station for me. Marks bike is waiting for him also this will be his second year.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Around Salisbury

Today was spent at several stores picking up some things to get the bike ready for a nice long ride from Salisbury to Lyndhurst in the New Forest. After another trip to the Pound store the bikes are ready to go. So we take a 12 mile ride to the Upper Woodford and back. I had to stop a few times to adjust my seat which seems to be a rather precise undertaking. After several stops the thing is still not adjusted correctly, this is going to take time. (Posted 5/16/2010)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Around Salisbury: Part II

So I talked to Liz today who told me, sadly, she will not be at the YHA next year. She is getting married and will be teaching French to school children. The place will not be the same without her lovely smile. We have dinner at the Cathedral Hotel then down to the local movie house to catch Iron Man 2. Mark is a bit taken aback by the smallness of the screens at this movie and we were in the main theater. We hung around today to catch the Village market only to find out there was none until Saturday.

After doing not much of anything it was all in all a very relaxing day. I’ve not spent a lot of time thinking about whether to have surgery or radiation when I return. Just letting it run around in the back of my head. It does come to the forefront every time I take the medication to slow the growth of the cancer. I hate taking the medication, but it is a necessary evil for now.

My daughter calls or text’s me daily as if it were local calls. Remember when you could only call with in your area or it was long distance. Well there is no more of that via cellular except when you’re out of the country. Oh well its only money. Miss my kids.

Friday, May 14, 2010

It is time for the first ride of 2010 to the New Forest then on to Portsmouth. I’ve picked a new route which looks more direct and will shave off some miles. Told Mark that it will still be more than the 10 mile limit he talked about prior to our leaving. He tells me this is O.K. so off we go avoiding major roads as much as possible. However the map lied and we are heading to a road I’ve tried to avoid riding on for many years. Funny the way life works when you try to avoid riding on some road and then you find yourself on it anyway. Then you find out the road was not as bad as your head fanaticized it to be. Such it is with this road which turns out to have a very nice path along side it so you don’t actually have to ride on it.

I can think of a few times that I found the nice path rather than ride out in the middle of the road. But, there are times, due to lack of wisdom, I’ve chosen the harder ride down the road, rather than the easy one. It is my hope that those days are no more and some of this wisdom can be passed on. We’ll see! As we ride the hills become more packed together and steeper. Another dictum from Mark was “NO HILLS” So now he says “O.K.” So we ride down and then walk up the hills several times. We are heading for Lyndhurst where there is a campground I’ve stayed at before.
The new panniers I’ve spent $129 on flew off the bike because the hooks bent. My $120 saddle is not working and my butt is getting sore. Other than that all is well. Upon arriving we find a nice little café to have lunch and decide our next move. I leave to go to a store to pick up a pair of pliers to fix the new panniers. Upon my return Mark informs me that he has lost his phone. He wants to ride back to a place where he thinks it was dropped. Now I’ve been down this route before. I too once when in search of a lost phone which was never found. But, if he wants to go look we’ll go look.

Outside the café he says “You stay here and watch the stuff I’ll ride back.” I spy a bench across the street, but Mark is already somewhere else. I call to him as a bus is going by and I make a face at the noise the bus is making. The next thing Mark is screaming at the top of his lungs at me. Now I know that this is because he is upset about the lost phone. However, I don’t like people screaming at me so I walk across the street and say with a smile “I’ll wait here.”

About an hour later he returns no phone in hand. Arriving at the campground, which is really a farm, we are told that it is not open for the season yet. So we ride on to see what we can see. We find another campground, but you must have your own toilet to stay there. I offer up a green garbage bag but it is not acceptable. So Mark spies a path leading off into the wood which we follow until there is a spot that looks as good as any to camp in.

We make dinner, and then eat while being eaten alive by nasty little bugs, than it is time to turn in.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I have a quick breakfast as the bugs are after us again. After a short ride we arrive at the town of Beaulieu which is a nice little tow with narrow streets, cottages, and sitting on the edge of a lake. Mark did not get to make breakfast so we hunt down a place to eat which is part of a nursery. Mark has a nice breakfast while I have coffee. Our next stop will be Brockenhurst where we’ll get a train to Portsmouth.

Upon reaching Brockenhurst we check out the local bike shop then head for the train station. We find out that the train for Portsmouth is on the next platform. So we have to unload the bikes drag everything including the bikes up one set of stairs and down another. We arrive in Portsmouth and Mark wants to keep going. So we head for the ferry and book our passage. It is 2 pm and we do not leave until 11 pm. We snagged a little lunch then work on the bikes at the ferry port. Met a fellow who tells me about how miserable it was to live in England especially with the new government. He tells me about his home in Spain and how it is going there with everything collapses. He has a well and stream along with several aches of fertile ground. That way he can grow his own food and make his own drink and believes he will do just fine. Guess he missed the special about folks from England buying land in Spain then having the government sell it right out from under them once it’s been improved. Hope is dream comes true. He scoffs when I tell him I’d love to find that in England.

We board the ferry at around 10 pm after waiting about ½ hour on the open wharf with the wind blowing at us. Upon boarding I find this ferry is far different from the one I took two years ago. It seems to be a smaller ship so there are new things to figure out. I had told Mark where to go, but there were no seats like I had on the last crossing. There is no Wi-Fi, nor are there electrical outlets for the computer. Mark wants to upgrade to a sleeping room which has a reclining seat then share it each sleeping half the night in it. I pass.

I blow up my sleeping mat, slid into my sleeping bag and out for the night. I awake in the morning about an hour from docking in Le Havre plenty of time for breakfast and get ready to disembark. We have breakfast and after docking we disembark and ride into Le Havre.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Le Havre to Villequier:

I tell him which way we are going and why and off we ride toward the campground in Villequier. This is not the same campground as the one two years ago. It is one that I saw the next day which was much nicer. We ride and I am able to retrace the route I used two years ago without the getting lost part. It is a pleasant ride through small villages, on fairly empty roads. The weather is cool, but the sun is bright with puffs of white and gray clouds in the sky. When the sun disappears behind a cloud it is pretty darn cool so the jacket comes off, the goes back on, then…

After about 20 miles we arrive at Villequier and finally find the campground I’d seen. It is very nice and the people who run it go out of their way to make sure our stay is pleasant. We set up our tents then head to the dining room for a very nice dinner. Not understanding the menu we ask the wife what some of the items are. She runs into the kitchen and brings out cans or frozen meat to show us what is on the menu. The meal is ordered along with drinks. Mark has a Coke, but I have something called and orangeina. I am hooked! Sadly we do not have this drink in the U. S. nor do I think they have it in the U. K., but I love this stuff.

Dinner is done and I glance to my right and see a small girl head in my direction. She walks up to puts her arm on my back and her head on my shoulder. I am amazed at the gesture and she picks up the place mat which has games on the other side which she points to. So we play the games and she giggles and laughs as we play. We then play tic tack toe which I let her win. She makes up a game we all play which Mark wins much to her dismay. Mark excuses himself as Orialmarie and I continue to play.
Mark comes back with a Grover puppet in hand and the little girls giggles with glee. The girl’s parents watch from behind the bar as we spend time together. She reminds me of my granddaughter Elizabeth and I begin to miss her and my family. and we ask if there is WiFi around. Low and behold the campground has WiFi for sale so we buy and happily tap away.