Monday June 25th
Dear Family & Friends,
I now have absolute proof of global warming… The weather is England is unbelievably good. Clear blue sky and it is getting warmer and warmer.. Today it actually reached the 80s..!! The prediction is for record heat this week. It is hard to believe I am in England except for the beautiful countryside.
Last night I stayed with friends.. Flavien and Vanessa.. Vanessa is my friend Aubrey’s daughter.. I have known here since she was about 9 years old so it is amazing to see her as a grown woman, married with grown children.. I cannot see how this is possible.. I would have to be really old for this to be true…..
Her children and totally charming. The son is Oliver and a total gear head car nut.. Must run in the family. The last time I saw him (which wasn’t that long ago) he was up to my elbow. Today he is taller than me! And the daughter Chloe is a beautiful charming young girl.. It was a pleasure to see them all. They live in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK, in the lush green country of Oxfordshire in a small village.
Last night we went out to dinner at a very traditional British country pub. One the best ways to dine out.. If feels like your in some ones living room.
The following morning I took off again started riding to my next stop, Cambridge. I have my GPS set on back roads so it wasn’t’t the quickest route but it was wonderful motorcycle riding.
It seems every country has it’s own quirks.. I was on a very small country road with hardly any traffic when I suddenly came up to line of maybe 6 cars moving very slowly.. They were all in line to cross a very old stone bride, probably not more than 75ft long over a small creek and it was probably 200 years old. So what was the delay?? On the other side of the bride was a small stone structure with a young man collecting a toll for crossing the bridge.. I assumed it must be for the maintenance of the bridge. When I got the toll booth the toll was 5p! Yes that is slightly more than a nickel US.!! That toll man couldn’t’t collect enough fees in an hour to even pay his wages at that rate. All I can assume is some king long ago established the toll and no one ever thought about updating it.. Or maybe the toll takers union fought to keep that job??
By noon I was in Cambridge, one of my favourite cities. Beautiful to look at, exciting to walk around, and an amazing amount of history there.
When I walk around the young people there are so exciting to watch. From all over the world, knowing that if they are going to Cambridge University they are smart, and if you realize all the scholars from Cambridge (from Sir Isaac Newton to Steven Hawkins) that have had world changing lives it makes me wonder what next amazing person or discovery is walking around me..
Also like most great universities with students from all over the world they tend to attract a great assortment of foods from all over the world.. Needless to say I had an interesting lunch… Some sort of very spicy chicken noodle Asian dish.. Very good.
After an afternoon of wandering around Cambridge taking photos I got back on my motorcycle and rode a bit further and found a very inviting traditional British inn out in the country side in a small village.
So I settled in for a relaxing gin and tonic and quiet evening before I am off tomorrow to visit another friend in the classic car business..
I did attend the Classic Show in Bicester again on Sunday and they had an amazing demonstration of WW1 and WW2 aircraft flying around so I have a few short videos. If you want to see them click on these links.
Another video I took was of a German Gavioli music machine, a 1880 version of an I-pod.. It was fascinating to watch it make music and it sounded great. What was really humiliating was there was a mechanical doll that conducted the mechanical band, and even he had more rhythm than I do….click here to see:
As a foot note to this trip.. I was talking to a gentlemen over the weekend and he was asking me about my life and what I am doing. After I told him he said I had the look of contentment on my face. I thought about it for a minute and he is 100% right.. I feel very fortunate every day.. I am married to a women who after 31 years I still adore, I am healthy, I am financially secure, my children are making their way in the world, and I am able to do the things I want.. What more could I ask for?? Except to loose 30 lbs without trying??
A few more photos from last weekends big event..
This motorcycle demonstrates the amazing engineering abilities of the British. This is a Velocette motorcycle. The biggest motor they ever made was a 500cc single so this gentlemen used to 500cc cylinders and heads, built his own crankcase, crankshaft, etc and he now has a one of a kind 1000cc V Twin Velocette.!
Americana is alive and well in the UK..
My friends Venessa, Flavien, Cloe, and Oliver.. Did I mention Vanessa is also a racing driver!!
OK this is really getting out of hand. Bonnie gave me a few items to bring back from Ireland and of course I picked up a few items along the way so yesterday I bought another travel bag in a thrift store for 3 pounds and my bike is getting heavier and heavier..
The Pub where Venessa and her family and I went out to dinner.
The Village where Venessa and her family live… Picturesques doesn’t do it justice.
One last good bye photo.
A good bye pose…
Down the road, another day, another adventure..
Arriving in Cambridge..
Do I look like a scholar standing in front of the Kings College or just an old long haired mad man.??
What I love about photographing these cities in the UK is that they are living museums. Cambridge has been here since the Romans ruled GB yet the buildings are all functional and currently used in the modern world without losing their charm. By the way the original Brits were not good bridge builders. The city gets it’s name from the first bridge built over the river Cam by the Romans..
Gay Pride has even come to the UK. The world is getting better in some ways.
My business is 45 years old which is old by US standards, these guys have been binding books for HUNDREDS of years!!
Where ever you look the famous graduates of Cambridge are immortalized every where. Now I know my friends are highly educated and worldly people so I won’t insult you by naming these men, I am SURE you already know.
Even the shoe stores look classy..
My super spicy chicken and noodle soup lunch..
Grafitti is a world wide problem.. 🙁
I am glad I am married to the woman I am married to. Today I would be in trouble if I was a young man.. The ink is gross to me.
A huge assortment of foreign and exotic food you never use to see in the UK.