Saturday, May 21, 2005

Four Noteworthy Things

1. A UK police officer was recently caught on camera going 159 mph on a joy ride... I mean to "test his high speed driving skills"... and he was cleared of any wrongdoing. I remind you that this is the same place where a camera takes your picture if you go 5 miles over the speed limit and then you receive a ticket in the post.

2. UK residents now have the option of watching TV on their mobile phones. In an odd twist, it seems this technology has been available in France for some time now. Of course, the most advanced feature on my decade old phone is the ability to choose between "jingle bells" and "mexican hat dance" ringtones. I wonder if subscribers to this new TV-mobile will have to pay the TV tax?

3. BK is back from Alabama... obviously time well spent because a) he made significant research progress and b) he effervesces when writing about Auburn University.

4. Today the Annual Jesse Owens Memorial Run took place in my hometown of Moulton, AL. It might be worth bombarding BK's blog with comments to ask him to pressure his dad into actually giving the JO a web presence. I'm about to do my own personal 10k here and will report back with my time. The downside is that they probably won't include my results in the JO. The upside is that I can get the silver platter for top local runner (if I go out and buy it).

FWIW, it's almost 8:40 pm here, but when I finish I'll bet that there will still be a flicker of sunlight. The summer days here are ridiculously long, and by necessity the winter days are short. When we leave in June, it will get dark well after 10pm.

Update (10:20pm): The first annual Birmingham (UK) Jesse Owens Memorial Run 10k race was won by yours truly in a time of approximately 43 minutes and some change. The course was not certified, and the poor publicity meant that turnout was low. However, all participants agreed it was a well-run affair.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Auf Weidersehen

Mom and dad are now back home safe in Alabama and they loved all the landscape work my bro-in-law did. Before they left, we all went to Bath. Of course, it is world-renowned for the Roman Baths (and they are awesome), but Bath Abbey and the Royal Crescent were also worth taking in while we were there. The coolest thing at the Roman Baths was the fact that we saw some Auburn people (we could tell by the AU logos) were there, though we never met. Mary and I also ran into 3 AU folks in the British Museum in London. Of course, this goes to show that Auburn produces the kind of people who appreciate history.

Below I'm including some pics from our trip to Powis Castle in Wales, etc.
The view from the castle grounds:
My Photo

The fam:
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A less than commendable attempt at using the timer to capture Mary and me with the castle in the distance:
My Photo

Helen having a good time in front of some of the flowers:
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Helen just after one of her new hobbies, trying to pull herself up with the chair:
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An older pic of Helen in mock pigtails:
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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Mom and Dad

Here's an update on all our doings:

1. On Tuesday May 10 - Thursday May 12 Mom and Dad were in Edinburgh, Scotland. Dad said it was hard to find the castle at first because everything looked like a castle.

2. On Friday the 13th (oooh) Mary and I drove to London whilst the grandparents watched Helen. We made passing visits to Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Parliament (ie Big Ben), and spent most of our time in the British Museum. One really needs at least a day and a half there to do it any justice. I recommend the Ancient Near East section and Bog Man. Next time we'll do the British Library, where I could spend several years.

FWIW to you Brits, my friend Lew tolf me (via JT) the best way from Birmingham to park and ride into London. Take the M40 which becomes the A40 outside London. Take the Northolt exit and go left past the train station. At the intersection turn left and park at the Swimerama swim baths for less than £3 all day. Brilliant.

3. On Saturday, I took the others on a repeat trip of Wolverhampton and Wales (the same as with Mary's parents in March). In Wales, we went into Powis Castle this time. The gardens alone were worth the price of admission. The castle was awesome and the view breathtaking. Of course, there were several valuable items on display, the most impressive being Bernardo Belloto’s "View of Verona" which is worth £12 million!!! And for you thieves out there, the security is almost nonexistent. Wink, wink.

Powis Castle is the kind of place that most people in the West Midlands/Birmingham area don't know about, yet need to visit because it is only 1 1/4 hours away.

4. On Sunday, we went to the preacher's family's home after church and spent the afternoon. We had a nice lunch of that traditional British meal -- lasagna.

5. Yesterday, Monday, my parents took a bus to London and will be returning tonight. We all plan one more trip... a visit to Bath on Wednesday. Dad was too cheap for the train, so they took a megabus. Cheap but no luxuries. Then mom and dad will be departing on Thursday, and we'll have one more month of UK living.

The weather here right now is about like early March in North Alabama. Thankfully, it has rained very little so mom and dad have been able to see most everything they wanted. They don't know this yet, but my brother-in-law Chris has added tons of grass and landscaping to their yard while they've been away. You Moulton folks make sure to ask them about it when they get home.

And Capes mentions that she has never seen my parents, so here is an old family photo:
My Photo

That's me on the right, mom to the left of me, my sister in the middle, dad in the traditional Wren male garb to the left of my sister, and on the extreme left is the one of whom we do not speak.