Queen Elizabeth the Second died the day we arrived in the UK. It’s been All-Queen, all-the-time on UK television ever since. This TV is in the bar of the White Horse Hotel in Brighton on the south coast of England

Sam, Cindy, Karen and I were camping in Malibu some 25+ years ago when Princess Diana died.  We remember clearly where we were on that sad day.  Now,  Karen and I will always remember that we’d just rode into England when the Queen died at 96, throwing the entire country into a prolonged state of mourning.   The outpouring of grief among the British is truly stunning.  King Charles has very large slippers to fill.

Since our last report, we meandered down the Dutch, Belgium and French coasts to Calais.  Next morning we took the Chunnel to the UK and spent the next couple of days riding across the south coast of England, then northwest to Bath, which is where I write from now.

Thirty nine years ago to the month Karen and I took our first trip together to…. Bath!  She was working at Bankers Trust as an analyst and I was working at Saatchi & Saactchi, both in NYC.  We’d met a couple of months earlier and were dating pretty heavily.  If I remember correctly,  she was visiting a friend who lived in Bath and she asked me to tag along.  A couple of decades-long trends started then:

  • We travel well together
  • Our trips are often spare-of-the-moment
  • I rented a car and for most of the time we wandered the English countryside, driving on the wrong side of the road

The pace of this trip is slowing, softening. We’re going shorter distances when we’re on the road and taking more time in each location.   We like our comfort, staying in much better hotels than ever.   There are few better feelings than crawling into fresh sheets after a hard day on the road for a late-afternoon nap.  Then we get up and hit the town (until 9 of course).

While we’ve remained rubber-side down ever since our first tip-over on day two, (knock on wood  or carbon fiber) I’ve made a couple of riding mistakes in recent segments.  The combo of riding on wrong side, figuring out the reverse roundabouts,  navigating with two often-conflicting GPS devices, dealing with traffic and the rain have resulted in some unforced-errors.  None resulted in serious consequences, but it reminds me that not everything is as good as it was talent wise. I make sure I read the note I taped in my glass cases with renewed dedication every day: “Pay Attention.”

It’s good to be in a place where everyone speaks some version of English: ).  Makes everything a lot easier, especially during times of need (when we’re lost).  We’ve met a bunch of nice people, including five Westie owners!  We love talking about our dogs. Everyone uses the same adjectives:  “independent,” “adventurous and “stubborn.”  We couldn’t be describing ourselves could we?

Here’s what the past couple of days have looked like:

 

On the Chunnel train from Calais to the UK. Just finding the “right” entrance was a challenge, especially since it was raining hard. Ride took 35 minutes and cost $160.  We spent the rest of the day riding through the rainy English countryside.  Eventually made it to Brighton on the coast.

Typical English weather, here at Brighton. If it isn’t raining, its threatening to do so.

On Brighton’s pier. Nippy would be a good adjective

White cliffs, but not of Dover

We took an afternoon to visit the Arundel Castle. Like most castles these days, they have to let the commoners pay for access to keep the lights burning

Just your everyday Great Hall. Used for larger dining events.

This is what goes for a cozy living room in a castel

Your basic stairway to the “Living Quarters,” which are lined with paintings of the non-living.

Happy place. The town of Arundel gets our prize of being the friendliest place we’ve visited. Everyone wanted to talk with us. Go figure.  In this photo, Karen is packing up in front of our “Manor House” Avisford Park Hotel.

39 years later and we are still traveling and still talking to each other. Not sure which is more remarkable.

“Afternoon Tea.” There’s an FW behind this mammoth display of extravegance

One of Bath’s most famous architectural masterpieces, the “Great Crescent” appears in numerous movies

Next stop is the Goodwood Festival of Speed.  Report to follow:)

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