Thursday, September 25, 2008

'Planes and boats and trains...

Stuff's always happening. Marian's nieces in England have birthed another couple of rug-rats this year, bringing their total to six, we have discovered a seemingly low stress and economical way of becoming Euro-campers and I have to complete the involuntary task of osseointegration which takes its own sweet time. How many more compelling reasons could we possibly need to warrant a trip to check things out and while away the fall? None, we decided! Thus it was that we boarded the puddle-jumper to Chicago to meet up with the big plane that would overnight us to London. Here, a few dizzying tube rides later, we ferreted out our daughter's apartment in the Marylebone district, proving once again, that there is nowhere to hide from determined senior citizens. Now, for the next few weeks, we just had to concentrate on supporting Europe's financial crisis - a refreshing change from supporting our indigenous one back home. Hopefully, we'll have occasional Internet connection while in Europe and will be able to follow the surreal fandango of American politics, the economic Armageddon and the election melodrama. From overseas it seems a tawdry and somewhat embarrassing spectacle.
Anyway, enough of that twaddle. Middle daughter, Michelle, who shredded two husbands in pretty short order and is now a confirmed spinster, is on assignment as corporate attack dog in London for a couple of years or so and we seized the opportunity of having free digs in the heart of the city for a while.
Marian, who has some kind of genetic weakness for ankle-biters, shortly boarded a train to Nottingham and sated her maternal needs for a few days among the horde of grand nieces and nephews gathered for that purpose. I missed this excursion on the grounds that I didn't want to go. Instead, I had to visit the London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Tower of London and a bunch of other places - a sort of penance I suppose.
The second purpose of the trip was to check out a business we had discovered in the Netherlands that promised to resolve many of the administrative problems associated with owning and operating a vehicle in Europe as a non-resident. Rather than do things the easy way we had decided to take a train to the English east coast port of Harwich where we had booked a cabin on the ferry to the Hook of Holland. Upon arrival in the Hook the following morning we took a train to Rotterdam, picked up a rental car and struck out for Utrecht. Cutting to the chase, we spent a fascinating week in Holland and ended up buying a nifty little RV before hopping the ferry back to England.
After that, we continued with our exploration of London restaurants, shops and other attractions. Finally, discourtesy of United Airlines, we arrived back home in the middle of the night thoroughly exhausted.
Next up is the Thanksgiving get-together - more socializing than a chap can handle - so we plan to slink away on a Caribbean Cruise in December before returning home again to face Christmas. When that's finally over we will be heading south to escape the imminent cold stuff that will be heading this way.

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