Absolute Beginner: The Adventures of a Middle-Aged U.K. Newbie

[Blogger’s note: I was born and raised in America, moved to Canada for love in the early Aughts, and recently relocated again, in my 50s, with my British-born spouse to the southern coast of his homeland. This is an occasional series about learning new tricks in Merry Old England.]

Late for the Train: Parking the Car—Permanently?—and Hopping Aboard Britain’s Railway System

fcvebWhen it comes to getting from point A to some faraway point B, I’m an avowed overland man. I get no kicks in a plane, what with fares ballooning in inverse proportion to shrinking seat size and leg room, and airline meals, never Michelin Star-worthy to begin with, now so inadequate that you count yourself lucky if you’re served a lukewarm pizza pocket in a cardboard sleeve. With ships, ferries and other waterborne craft, my fascination is strong but my sea legs and stomach are weak. But take me there on terra firma, via steel wheels or rubber tires, and I’m one happy pilgrim.  Some may find the incremental nature of land travel, the steady procession of miles/kilometres one after the other after the other, to be about as exciting as a PowerPoint presentation on navel lint. I find it can be soothing under the right circumstances, traffic jams and jabbering fellow travellers notwithstanding. The opportunity to take in vivid, varied scenery at one’s leisure while allowing the mind precious time to roam, free from distraction, is better stress therapy than a thousand fidget spinners. Continue reading


Dugout Disc of the Month


Rhapsody in White/The Love Unlimited Orchestra featuring Barry White
UNEARTHED from the Banana Moon Music stall at the Shambles Market in York, England. U.K. pressing. Pye International Records, 1974.

Pool party at Barry’s place! The invitation is for ladies only, of course. Dress for guests is pre-Labour Day cruise ship chic, while your host will brave the sun’s glare in a suave but ill-advised leather jacket and turtleneck. Activities to include poorly executed games of hide-and-seek, though, strangely, not swimming. But as always, the main draw is the opportunity to soak in the legendary soul singer’s supersized sexy aura. And to ogle his spectacularly sculpted coiffure. But don’t touch, baby!