Imagine a world where we travel in tubes. Well, that IS the world we live in.
I was recently on my “Up Close In Your Personage” tour throughout UK, Ireland and EU. So much beauty. We were blessed with good weather. Sunshine days and favorable winds carried us from village to village.
Now, I typically prefer a more “olde tymey” mode of transport like walking or bicycle or even the trusty iron horse. But my show dates were many and in a short period of time, therefore I hired a Splitter-style wagon. My production manager, Anthony, was very familiar with this type of vehicle, and he would drive us from place to place. I’ll review that later.
We leave London in the morning and drive for a few hours through the gorgeous English countryside. Along M20 we pass towns like Hinxhill, Smeeth, Westenhanger, Peene and Flailing Mouse. That last one I just made up. The rest of them are actual town names. The tension was building as we grew closer to our point of embarkment in Folkstone. Anthony was pedal to the metal. I was chewing my nervous gum with great purpose. Tunnels under the water make me a little anxious. We approach and pass through the check-in gate with the greatest of ease. The attendant was helpful, and he understood Anthony’s Newfoundland English jargon. He cheerfully instructed us to proceed to the Flexiplus queue. There we were, front of the queue. We saw a few shops and restaurants there. I was tempted by their advertisements. “Starbucks. Come in and enjoy your favourite coffee. Open 24 hours.” Or maybe, “Burger King. Eat from the world famous menu.” I chose to stay close to the wagon lest we encounter any unexpected travel weirdness. That’s when it would typically strike. When all is well.
As we waited, I began to feel the need to use the facilities. I looked around. Lo and behold, not more than a few meters from us is a facility. I dash across the tarmac and facilitate inside of it. I reorder myself and jet back to the wagon as we are directed onto the next level of our odyssey. My anxiety is waning.
We proceed up a long drive of which there are many. Make a right and then another right and down a driveway towards the train. There are articulated lorries (juggernauts, semi-trailers) being loaded into the train. They drive right in! We are directed to proceed to the next train car ahead. Front of the line. I get nervous again. Things are going well. Too well. I’m expecting the travel shoe to drop at anytime. A nice man with an exciting yellow High-Vis jacket motions us into a waiting train car. As we pass, he waves. No smile, just waves. That confuses me. We proceed through car after car until we are directed to stop by a smiling attendant. She smiles and holds up her hand as if to high five us. I return the gesture. Pretty cool. I never space high-fived on a train before. We settle in for our tube journey underneath the English Channel. Is that what they call it on the other end in Calais? Or does it become the French Channel?
Anthony mentions that there are facilities a few cars up. I boldly leap from the wagon to explore. The high five has eased my anxiety and caused me to forget I would soon be in a tube under the ocean. These facilities aren’t as spacious as the facilities on the tarmac. This is just one facility. A wee little water closet. But still I manage to facilitate. As I emerged from the WC, two families were standing nearby speaking french. They say “bon jour” to me. I high five them all (with my gloved left hand, of course). They respond with great enthusiasm. We become fast friends (ami). I return to the wagon. As I take my seat, Anthony tells me we’re pulling into Calais. What? I never even felt the thing move. My anxiety was all for naught, and I met new French friends on a train in a tube under the sea. I can’t wait to do to again.
This all about the voting but I would totally get a tag or get tax here as well.
I used to think that voting was such a chore. First ya gotta do your homework. Learn up on the candidates and the referendiums. Listen to that guy on the radio and watch the t.v. And then, ONLY when I’m ready, I pump up my tires and lubricate my chain. Make sure my bell works properly, because pedestrians and drivers are nuts out there. Speaking of nuts, the squirrels…don’t get me started on the squirrels. Squirrels are cute and all, but they’ll just dart right out in the lane like little bitty ding dang daredevils. And I haven’t even pedaled out of the trailer park yet! But off I go.
I believe it’s my duty, as a citizen of this terrific country, to exercise my priviledge in affecting how my government is owned and operated. It’s so simple to me. I get outta my hammock and put the kettle on the fire. I have my coffee and head out to my usual polling place. Well, let me tell you. This time around it was incredible. As I rolled into the vast parking lot, I noticed an ample of parking spaces. Very myriad. “Where is everybody?” I wondered, as I parked my three-wheeler. I like to park far from the front door so as to get my walking fitness in. Gotta get my steps! The venue is operated by the best crew I’ve ever experienced. And they are helpful with directions. “Park here…turn there…the bathroom is around the corner…no running!” There were other dutiful citizens there, but it never felt crowded or anxious. The decor was very festive, a municipal Americana vibe. The fluorescent lights, the wood paneling, the polished linoleum. All the ink pens had red, white or blue artificial carnation flowers taped to the end of them. Real carnations would have been more classy, but carnations don’t really have a smell, so what would be the point. They even give away free flair. It’s a sticker you can proudly wear, but it’s functional, too. You can use it as a band-aid or that last piece of tape you need when wrapping a gift. I was kinda hoping for hors d’oeuvres, but then I remembered this is America, not France. And we as the American citizenry would have to pay for that, so maybe not. I could have brought my usual brown bag lunch of roasted potato, salsa verde, vegetarian cherry pie, a pack of imported Jammy Dodgers and my trusty coffee thermal flask. But I was only there for 12 minutes and 17 seconds. It took me longer to ride from my trailer than it took to cast my vote. I highly recommend checking this place out for all your polling needs. I would give it anywhere from 15 to 17 stars if I could. This DeKalb County polling place gets my vote (literally). Sadly, as it turns out, my candidate did not win this particular contest. But I’m always proud to participate in the patriotic process, win or lose.
What an engineering wonder and emotional rollercoaster! I prefer overland travel far and above other forms of travel. Cars, buses, motorcycle with a side car, walking, bicycling…the list goes on…skateboard, roller skates, toboggan (when snow is present). I don’t care for riding horses, because I wouldn’t feel comfortable with subjecting a horse to my weight and whim. Horses don’t deserve that.
So, this bridge…WOW! Traffic went along pretty smooth considering this is the one way to get across this stretch of Chesapeake Bay. As a passenger of a vehicle, the view from this bridge is remarkable. I’m sure it’s similar to the driver of a vehicle as well, but I wasn’t driving, so I can’t say for sure. The beautiful Chesapeake Bay, or as the early Spanish called it, “Bahia de Santa Maria”, is the World’s largest estuary and it really shows. And talk about wind. This bridge has it! That’s when I saw them. One after another. Every 10 meters or so. Seabirds who, by the look of their contorted remains, were the tragic victims of this confluence of wind and bridge. A terrible sight. Now, I have no inherent love of seabirds, but they have just as much right to fly or glide or whatever they do around here. I should write to the Mayor of the Bridge and suggest installing a scarecrow to keep the seabirds away. What are seabirds scared of? Obviously not this bridge. Or cars. Maybe the Mayor could disguise the bridge as Great White Shark or a Sabertooth Tiger. Or they could divert the seabirds from their apparently doomed flight path with a fish & chips platform out in the bay. Make it a tourist destination. Come feed the elegant seabirds of Bahia de Santa Maria!
¡Elegantes Aves Marinas de la Bahía de Santa María! I’d make a side trip for that!
Holy roller! This place is the best. They have it all. Great products. Great service. Their attention to detail is incredible. I go to lots of convenience stores worldwide and this one wins the prize. It goes way beyond “what’s on the rollers”. I like brekkie cereal. They have it. I like AAA batteries. Yep, they have it. Shoelaces, ice cream novelties and the GUM! Don’t even get me started. I would go out of my way to come here for a quick bite or sundries any time I’m in town. Keep up the good work. I love ‘the Sev”.
Last night, after my singin’ and dancin’ at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, I was presented with a gift that just floored me. A box filled with Aussie treats and home made peach preserves and peach pie! I LOVE PIE! Maureen and Brodie are the nicest folks. So generous and bursting with creative energy. I love y’all. I’m digging in.