Sunday, 30 August 2009
The extra room would be useful so I can have friends over for meals that aren't buffet style. To have a proper study/office might help organise my time so I don't find myself working quite so late so often, watch less television with it acting as background noise, do more activities if I have more time. It is certainly the correct time to move with the deflation in the prices affecting larger houses to a higher proportion than smaller houses and interest very low meaning savings aren't growing at any rate. The issue then becomes what I am looking for. The first time I was looking for something I could afford that was in a decent area and I think I did well. This second time there are more decisions to make.
1. Stay in the same area - within walking distance of my friends and the city centre. However it is busy, noisy, houses are quite small and I don't want to lose any more wing mirrors if I can avoid it.
2. Move to the suburbs. A bit further out means I am still in Norwich but outside walking distance of the city centre but it is more peaceful
3. A move to a pretty village. Most of them are in the school catchment which is a minor issue but am I a village person. Is this the end of ambition (even more than living in Norfolk anyway). Could I survive with just the local shop, pub and the cricket team close by.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
President Gaddaffi looks silly for thanking for amongst others the Queen. I might have believed Gordon Brown but by lumping in the Queen we know that they actually had no business in it
The Scottish government look weak on terrorism although very compassionate
The head of the FBI looks silly as it turns out it might be his organisation or the CIA with-held evidence showing Iran to be responsible that made the Scottish government fear an appeal.
Obama looks silly as he criticised a decision that was made in consultation with his State department
UK politicians look silly for criticising the application of the law of their own country
Gaddaffi's son looked silly welcoming him home as a hero as Libya relies on petrochemical dollars more than is good for them.
So no-one looks good and it will get worse if the cancer is not as serious as diagnosed. On the other hand if he is innocent...
Thursday, 20 August 2009
Stephen Hawking (who has Lou Gehrig's disease) would not receive treatment in Britain, which has a government-run health-care system.
An editorial in Investor's Business Daily on July 31 claimed: "People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service [NHS] would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless."
The debunking: Hawking, who is British, receives intensive treatment for his degenerative motor neuron disease at a local Cambridge hospital. Upon hearing the rumors of his non-treatment, the prizewinning theoretical physicist told The Guardian, "I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived."
It is tough to make decisions when opponents are deliberately spreading misinformation.
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Most unusual food seen - Key Lime Pie on a stick - take a slice of Key Lime Pie - freeze it, dip it into chocolate - serve in the style of an ice lolly.
Award for hope over experience - Southern US - just when you seem on the brink of being a success along comes Hurricane.... and it is back to square 1.
Best advert - Mussels, great legs and exquisite tails and just wait till you see the waitresses
Worst advert - Wendy's - we save you money but bragging about doing away with restaurant atmosphere, plates, cutlery etc.
Best Radio Station - Bob in Eastern North Carolina
Most boring city - Toronto (soul -less at best)
Worst seats - Rogers Centre Toronto - knee high bolt sticking out from the chair in front- still have the marks a month later
Best hotel - Duke Tower in Durham - lovely room and a nice courtyard layout with pool and giant chess set
Best Tour Guide - Faith in Charleston - knowledgeable and interesting as well as aware of the needs of the people listening such as shade - edged out the tour guide for the capitol of Virginia who was also very good but told us about Nancy Astor being elected to the House of Lords!!
Worst tour guide - Ramon in Miami - interesting but no point telling us all the things that are going to then be repeated by the guide at the attraction.
Best Attraction Improv Comedy show in New York
Worst Attraction - Gator World in the Everglades - tacky and expensive
Must pack item - insect repellent
Most abused item - Rover the case - lost and then broken - maybe terminally so
Least well organised people - Delta (check in was a series of every changing queues with people in the same queue for different things and no-one knowing what they where actually queueing) or Amtrak
Sunday, 16 August 2009
10am - back to the hotel spot of breakfast and a coffee
11am - reading in the shade of a palm tree watching the world and the ocean
12pm - spot of lunch
1pm - chill in and around the pool in the shade with a book and a puzzle (obviously not in the pool with the book)
4pm - back to the beach - even bigger waves, just the best swimming conditions this side of being safe. Red flag conditions with the threat of stingray!
7pm - off for some dinner and a couple of beers
Question - why when the city of Miami advocate avoiding the beach in the heat of the day do the lifeguards only work 10 till 5?
Off to Key West on a day trip tomorrow. Then on Tuesday just time for a trip to the beach Tues morning before the long trip home.
Why did everyone else get out the pool when it started raining?
Saturday, 15 August 2009
Today I am going to the Everglades and on an airboat in a "Gentle Ben" style - however it is currently lashing it down - again.
Friday, 14 August 2009
How much stuff do I go and buy - underwear, new clothes, suncream, toiletries, Ipod recharger, unread books? Where should I stop. I am not sure that I covered insurance wise as they only pay for delayed luggage on the outward journey which technically I am not on - but then I am not on the return journey either but then they will cough up if it is lost entirely.
If I buy stuff do I buy a case to put it in because if the original one turns up then I can't take them both on board as you are allowed one case and it is a different airline to the one that lost the case - unless I go and explain and they are being nice.
It is annoying and irritating but no doubt will be sorted or not. I have been on I supposed it was bound to happen sooner or later
Thursday, 13 August 2009
I am really pushing the hotel services that they provide. I am not sure that 4.30am was what they had in mind when they put forward the offer of a free shuttle bus for guests (big tip) and when they offer to look after luggage I am not sure that they mean 7am before actually checking in.
The peninsula of Charleston between the Cooper and Ashley Rivers is generally very pretty and has a number of spectacular buildings but this is amplified in the historic section where
-due to a lack of cash after the Civil War (to build new buildings)
-the foresight of some visionaries to save the areas
-and the local government who refuse to change city ordinances to allow substandard or tall buildings have allowed a very attractive gentrified area to arise with some original buildings now costing some where upwards of $1 million for a basic family house.
The feature that makes them really stand out is the privacy door. To help make the houses cooler they have a veranda down one side as this allows the breeze to pass through the house more easily but to protect the privacy of the owners of the house it has a door on the front despite the fact that behind it you are still outdoors. Here is a good example.
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
It is illegal to feed the bears (tough at 65 mph as well)
Beware of the bears -they cause large dents
No four way flashing
No Entry - followed by - You are driving the wrong way.
Turn left - ignore your satnav.
Close to the hotel is a university and it is very different to the urban jungle that is the University of Sheffield or the suburb that is Canterbury Christ Church University College and far more beautiful than UEA. It manages to mix the vegetation with the buildings so they seem to hide in amongst the trees. They also have some lovely different types of design. This is the University Chapel.
Weather is a similar level of heat to the coast but the humidity is way up and the four mile walk that I did was maybe a fraction ill-advised without water but will act as practice as I have a walking tour of Charleston on Wednesday. Most of tomorrow is on the train for the second time this holiday.
Monday, 10 August 2009
It starts with the cooler containing ice cold soda or beer, sun shelters with an umbrella as a minimum and a 4 post sun shade at maximum, there is then seating for the family, games for the kids to play (bolo seems to be in vogue currently), books, musical equipment, fishing rods, body boards and everything that you could possibly want. In fact the only thing that they did not have was that game with wooden bats they play on the Med coast (not cricket). I got some odd looks (well more odd than normal) with just my towel, a book and a bottle of water. The picture was taken at 8am and some keen if under equipped people have just arrived. It is also good to see some parent ensuring their kids were protected from the sun but like a lot of UK parents there were some angry looking skin around, lets hope it does not lead to anything.
Driving again tomorrow. Lets hope Penny is as good second time round.
Sunday, 9 August 2009
Saturday, 8 August 2009
The system is clearly in need of improvement but the Republicans appear not to seek the best solution but to maintain the status quo. Some of the strategies have included shouting and screaming at "town hall" meetings where legislators meet their voters, slogans comparing Obama to Hitler and an increase in healthcare to Nazism and spreading of disinformation such as forced euthanasia by the state is part of the plan. It comes as a surprise that a political part in a developed country could act in such a way as to try to subvert the process as opposed to trying to win the argument or express their ideology.
I only hope that comparing Democrats do not suffer violence from comparing them to Nazis.
PS Socialism works well in other places. The US should try it some time.
The buildings here are also fantastical, most have no ground floor (pillars and garages mainly), a testament to the storms and hurricanes that come through this area at times, They also have sundecks or balconies, are made of wood and are very large. I am about 8 miles along the beach meaning that I am about 7 miles from the major centres so it is going to be me the pool, the beach and relaxation for the weekend.
The drive down was ok, the sat nav (Penny) was very useful but entering a highway on the right lane and having to get across 4 lanes of traffic to an exit on the left lane in about a quarter mile was a tad optimistic but she got me back on track. I have rented a Toyota Camry which handles okay and don't think I annoyed too many other people. Am aiming not to drive again till I return to the city on Monday as I don't like it. I found it difficult to go so slowly (55mph) on the open stretches and make decisions quickly and accurately at junctions.
Thursday, 6 August 2009
1. The heavy rain (yes again) was not good
2. The "picturesque" Canal Walk went passed an electricity substation, an empty warehouse and a freeway before just stopping.The map showed it continued but in reality it did not.
3. The entertainment/touristy part of the city was generally closed. Apparently Richmond is a weekend tourist town.
4. Tomorrow I am driving and as this is the biggest chance of me hurting myself, someone else or incurring the wrath of the law. I will be fine when I get on the highway but have concerns about getting out of town.
On the brightside it is the end of pounding the pavement and off to the seaside for the weekend.
Picture of the Day
Welcome to the South. Richmond. Capital of the Confederacy. Home to Jefferson Davis. Home to the manufacturing might to keep the South going against the might of the North with cities like New York and Boston. Whose capture helped decide the US Civil War. In historic location like this where better than to stay than a historic location. A hotel dating from the 1800's. Well click here to read more.
While the location of the hotel may at one time have been near the centre of activities it is now located in a slightly run down area of downtown where taking pictures might not be the wisest act. Best to look confident in what you are doing and going and do it. In New York at 1am it was so busy with so many other people you felt safe at least on the main streets but here the businesses were not tourist orientated (nail shops, cheque cashing, pawn shops, lots of empty buildings) and had shut leaving the area feeling empty and more sinister, although this impression is probably my imagination than reality but best not to take risks.
Looking forward to some Civil War based tourism activities tomorrow.
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
A first I thought it was equal rights for LGB, then Palestine-Israel questions and turns out they want stronger penalties for people who commit hate crimes after a shooting occurred in a centre for Jewish gay men. As I think that murder is murder and the it doesn't matter who the victim so I took this photo of the milling that was occurring.
Monday, 3 August 2009
Sunday, 2 August 2009
Things that strike me as odd when traveling in the US
- Turning on red traffic lights - 1 day someone won't stop
- Jogging (good for you) next to 4 lanes of traffic (not good for you)
- Starbucks is my office - businessmen with laptops and mobiles holding their meetings in coffee shops.
- The number of people who live in apartments (think Friends style)
- Bringing main course before I have finished the starter or cheque before I finish the meal
- Relaxing in a chair at the front of your house next to four lanes of traffic.
- Plug sockets in the base of lamps - if i want to charge something I have to have the light on which is tough during the night
- Adverts for serious medical conditions including Viagra on TV. Have you got erectile dysfunction?
- Beer. Beautifully produced (not Bud or that stuff) and then chilled to reduce all flavour. What they do to Newcastle Broen Ale is enough to make Geordies weep.
This is the question. Is not knowing better or worse. It is great that Jackie Robinson is remember but wouldn't it be better if society was at a place where these things weren't really noticed or taking into account. After all if black players weren't banned and playing in a segregated league in the first place then there would be no need for a Jackie Robinson figure.
Maybe it is just that there is a much larger ethnic population in the US (79% white) than in the UK (93% white).
The quote says
"A life is not important except in it's impact on others lives" and there is a sense of irony that this is located in new York (Citifiled Rotunda) where people pay very little attention to those around them, the only city where people standing taking photos in the centre of 4 lanes of traffic get angry with the cars.
It took a while but I worked out how it happens
1. You wait for people to finishing walking past except it never happens
2. You then push in front as you have lost patience
3. You then realise that by being selfish things get done quicker
4. When you see a rule/ law you then ignore it as you are selfish
5. Eventually you stop caring about the people around you
9 mobiles ringing in a three hour show proves me right.