A Change of Plans

A photo taken from the plane somewhere over Texas.

I hadn’t planned to come to the States until September but my Mother had some serious health issues so here I am. I was very worried when I first arrived but she is much better now, though weak, so I’m feeling better.

As for my blog, I’m not sure what will happen. ¬†It’s been well over 100 ¬†degrees every day so it’s hard to get out. It’s also what they call the “monsoon” season where heavy thunderstorms are the norm in Arizona so there is humidity added to the high temps. I am getting a few photos on my very early-jetlag-morning walks so I may dip into my archives to do posts.

Stay tuned.

Beautiful London

Big Ben photo taken from our bus. The area was packed with tourists.

Memorial on the bridge where that horrible terrorist attack took place. London seemed busy with tourists to me. The attack doesn’t seem to be keeping people away.

Seen across the street, Fleet Street I think, and I assume it is art. Nothing there to say, “Beware of falling stones”.

This was so striking. Another place I saw just walking along. I always wonder what London would be like without the damage of WWI and WWII, and that fire in 1661 when much of London was burned down.

So elegant.

There were quite a few places to eat outside of restaurants, just not on the same scale as Paris.

London

After seeing some tennis in Eastbourne we headed to London. I’ve been to London several times but never really feel like I know it. It seems much harder to get around than Paris with a lot more walking and things that you want to see long distances apart. We did a city bus tour this time which helps to get an oversight of a city but around Big Ben and the bridge where recent attacks occurred there were major traffic jams due to construction so we spent a lot of time just sitting in one place. I had made a list of places I wanted to see which I found mostly on Instagram or places mentioned in the English mysteries that I read so many of.

Our hotel was in the Bloomsbury section of London and there are several really nice parks in the area. This one is called Russel Square. And you are allowed on the grass so there were a lot of people sitting on the grass, having picnics or napping.

One night we had Japanese food at a place called Eat Tokyo which is a small chain in both Tokyo and London. I really liked how Maurice’s meal looked. It had a great ambiance and was very small and crowded. Beautiful sushi too, which we don’t eat. In fact, I always ask for a fork. I just never got the hang of chop sticks.

One of my favorite things to look for in London are the many taverns and pubs. They always have wonderful signs overhead and there are usually beautiful flowers.

Here’s another pub. Note the beautiful flowers and look at all of the people standing outside. I don’t know if this happened when they stopped allowing smoking inside or not but you have to fight your way through them if walking past. Some pubs have huge crowds outside, inside too, as we found out when we went inside. I’m sort of cranky and not a fan of crowds and places so noisy that you can’t hear anyone talking to you so we went to less popular places. Maurice didn’t like how you have to go to the bar each time and order but that part didn’t bother me. We had some good fish and chips at one or two. Such a part of England, pubs.

More to come on London.,

The Next Day

It finally stopped raining in Eastbourne long enough for us to see some tennis matches.

This is Kuznetsova, a long time Russian player. This was on one of the outer courts at the tennis tournament and you can see how close we are able to get to the game. It’s a lot of fun for tennis lovers.

I also saw this. They were a rather elegant couple but his pants were the color of the tennis balls. Caught my eye to say the least.

That evening we passed this entrance to a school on the way to dinner. English schools look so elegant, at least the ones with lots of money.

The pub was called The Dolpin. We were lucky to get a table as it was quiz night in another room there. We had a good meal but had a long wait for it.

Candles and flowers were on the table.

This interesting, very refurbished building, a Masonic Hall, was across the street. The Masons are said to be a secret society so maybe that explains the lack of windows.

England

Maurice and I love to watch tennis and have been to Eastbourne in England twice before to see it. We decided to go again this year.

Here is the famous pier of Eastbourne. It caught fire two years ago. It looks like they have it pretty much repaired.

The beach, or shingle, as they call it. No sand, just pebbles.

As you can see, there is lots of green grass around, besides the courts, for having a picnic if you would like.

This is Djokovic serving. We got to see about 15 minutes of the game before it started raining. It continued all day so that was it. I noticed that the group having a picnic just pulled out umbrellas and kept eating, drinking and talking just about all day.

I decided to walk to a nearby bookstore selling used books called Cailla’s.

It was loaded with books. Heaven.

We had some hamburgers and these really delicious fries.

Before We Began

Before we began walking the Camino de Santiago we went a day early to check out the area and stayed at the starting point for us in a village called Barcelonne du Gers in a beautiful gite called la Bastide du Cosset. It was in a really pretty older house full of antiques and a joy to wander around. There wasn’t much to see in the village itself.

From the back.

Looking down the staircase from the second floor.

A lovely set up on a landing. The owner also had a collection of chickens in one area.

Breakfast one morning.

The striking floor in the entrance.

Too pretty and delicate to use.

These were real flowers. I guess they won’t last as long as if they would if in water but I loved the look.