High Street Mornings

I wouldn’t have trouble making “that 9:30 lecture” this morning. I woke up at 4:30. I’m typing this now with a first coffee at just after 6 AM.

We know it isn’t just university students who’ve returned to school. We live on our Hertfordshire village’s high street, which is a busy stretch of road in the morning and late afternoon “rushes” (and it’s officially 30 MPH, and if some few idiots insist on speeding – as they do – they’ll be a speed camera here eventually because that’s how this country is). The rest of the day, it’s an unpredictable flow.

Our village high street, Hertfordshire, England, seen from my office about 6:30AM today. Still quiet. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Our village high street, Hertfordshire, England, seen from my office, about 6:30AM today. Still quiet. [Photo by me, 2016.]

There’s also a bus stop right in front of our house. Mostly it’s only lightly used, with the exception of weekday mornings when a few dozen teens in the same school uniforms appear from every direction and congregate on the sidewalk (“pavement” in English) to wait for a bus that passes around 8 AM. They don’t generally have “yellow” school buses here in England; kids use the public buses. (At that, some American parents clutch their chests; but it is safe.)

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That 9:30 Lecture

The other day I mentioned that my niece – who’s 18 – has started university this week in Belfast. (She’s at Queen’s.) It’s her first extended time away from home without her parents around. I believe her previous “separation” record was when she was 15: she had flown with us – uncle and aunt – for two weeks in New York and in Florida, just us three.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a pencil and back to class text.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a pencil and back to class text.

If you are just starting out, university will seem unfamiliar and maybe at times intimidating. You are thrown back largely on yourself for perhaps the first time. Within days, though, trust me, it will all start to make sense.

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“Bonjour” From Soulac-sur-Mer

Well, we’re here: Soulac-sur-Mer, north of Bordeaux, on the coast:

View from our rental house in Soulac-sur-mer, out over the beach to the Bay of Biscay. [Photo by me, 2016.]
View from our rental house in Soulac-sur-Mer, out over the beach to the Bay of Biscay. [Photo by me, 2016.]

The drive up here from the airport vaguely reminded me of Florida – flat and sandy. Brittany is not like this.

Notre-Dame-de-la-Fin-des-Terres Basilica in Soulac-sur-Mer. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Notre-Dame-de-la-Fin-des-Terres Basilica in Soulac-sur-Mer. [Photo by me, 2016.]

Our lunch yesterday. Yes, a bit of a caricature, we knew:

Lunch at our house yesterday. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Lunch at our house yesterday. [Photo by me, 2016.]

We went out to dinner last night at a pleasant, small restaurant in the town center….

“Terminé?” she asked me with a smile.

“Oui, merci,” I replied as she leaned across me and cleared away my empty dessert plate.

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John Lewis!

If you read WordPress blogs you usually see ads at the bottom of a post. We, the bloggers, have no control over those ads (that I’m aware of). They are bought by advertisers to appear on WordPress generally.

Frankly, many I’ve seen are just awful. They look at times like cheapo nonsense at best. They are often not the sort of stuff you would want to be associated with you or your content.

However, yesterday I happened not to be logged in and opened one of my recent posts for reference to something else I was writing. When I scrolled to the bottom, I almost fell off my chair. I couldn’t believe the ad!:

Screenshot of an ad below one of my posts.
Screenshot of an ad below one of my posts.

John Lewis!

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Through Ayot St. Lawrence

We took a (longish) walk yesterday from the new house over to the historical village of Ayot St. Lawrence:

Yet another two-way English country road. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Yet another two-way English country road. [Photo by me, 2016.]
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London Vlogger Has Not Been Kidnapped

Welcome to our continuing 2016. The last Friday in July. We simply have to end this week with this:

Enfield? I used to live in Enfield. I have relatives there, too!

Imagine if she lives around the block from them? Or right near our old place?

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“In My Life”

We’re off later to see what will be our latest house starting on Friday. Another moving week ahead.

As I told my dad the other day on FaceTime, “It’s in Hertfordshire, which is pronounced Hartfordsheer.”

“Is that near Midsomer?” he joked.

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To “The Honorable Ezekiel Gilbert”

Yesterday’s post was depressing. The present day isn’t exactly doing it for me lately. I thought let’s have a retreat to the past for this one….

Main entrance. George Washington's Mount Vernon. Virginia. [Photo by me, 2011.]
Main entrance. George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Virginia. [Photo by me, 2011.]
But naturally there were troubles back then, too. Moreover when it came to communicating with our representatives back in the U.S. as to what we abroad were witnessing, there wasn’t even email! And we definitely couldn’t “@” them on Twitter!

We would have sat down and composed an ink-splotted letter by candlelight that we hoped might get to its destination in two or three months if we were lucky….

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Back To Britain

Hello again from London! Once more I’m “home” in the United Kingdom….that is also evidently on course to leave the European Union eventually: how our world changes unexpectedly. Incidentally, my Atlantic crossing reading….

[Photo by me, 2016.]
[Photo by me, 2016.]
….from back when the world was dramatically changing in another way. In yet another sense, we are also so privileged to be able to fly the Atlantic in about 8 hours. In the 18th century, it took weeks by sea – if you even managed to survive to get across it.

For Friday evening’s flight from Newark, I got lucky. I was upgraded to a window seat in premium economy – a benefit of being a frequent flier and of perhaps flying alone. I suppose it’s just easier to move you around when alone than if you are in a party of two or more.

For a time, I also thought I had hit the lottery in another way: I had no row-mate in the other seat. That didn’t last, though. About fifteen minutes after take-off, a flight attendant escorted a Finnish woman from behind in economy to the previously empty aisle seat next to me.

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