Saturday, June 6, 2015

THIS AND THAT SUNDAY, and Oliver Cromwell

Haven't been here for a very long while.  I was very busy writing my third book, and then I was very busy pimping it anywhere and everywhere I could.  So, here I am back again, several years older and not much wiser, but with something earth shattering to tell you, something life altering.

Nah, not really...

I conclude that trains are possibly the most uncomfortable way to travel - outside of, I imagine, ox carts with mismatched wheels, or covered wagons (I was too little to really notice when the folks headed west).  It was in July that we took our Amtrak journey from Orlando to New York city.  In my opinion, after experiencing a ride that felt as if we'd been into a barrel and thrown into Niagara Falls, I am amazed that a train ever stays on the track at all.

Here's another thing - where the hell did I get the idea that a train food car had curtains on the windows and tablecloths and waiters in tailcoats serving you by candlelight, bowing as they hand over the menu.


European Train Waiters

American Train Waiters

Our food car consisted of about eight hard industrial tables which you clung to for dear life as the train careened along - and, you're packed in there, sitting cheek to jowl with really creepy characters who look like they have issues with opiates!  And dental hygiene!  And then our ankles were all shackled together! - no, wait  That was that other time...

Don't even ask about the sleeping car - ok, ok, go ahead and ask.  They call it a roomette.  More like a broomclosetette.  I had the top bunk since Richie's hip was already hurting him, and there's a toilet right there in the broom closet with you, right beside you. No walls around it; no privacy at all. I had my Kindle Fire sitting on the closed lid while it charged.  The Kindle, not the toilet.  Ever try to pee while your husband is asking you if you closed the garage door? Anyway, to get up to the top bunk I had to stand on the toilet and hoist myself up - no ladders.  And, at my age, I had to climb down about six times during the night to pee.  Richie kept thinking we were home and the sprinklers were going off.

I hate Amtrak.  Extremely unfortunate about the accident though.  Especially since we're taking it again in September.


Yes, we are returning once again to the land of scones and honey, to that most blessed Isle, to England.  And, since we don't fly, we are again sailing for seven days there and back on the QM2.  Did you know that on the Queen Mary women are not allowed to wear shorts after a certain hour, and neither are men, nor flip flops.  "Gymnasium" attire is frowned upon when walking around and if you're not going to the 'Formal Nights' dinners (there are 3 on a 7 day crossing), nor to the two Balls that are thrown (the Black and White Ball, and the Ascot Ball, or something like that) one is not encouraged to linger around where those dressed up people may see one. They have Ye Olde Rack on the Lido deck.

Richie and I managed to miss every single formal night and both balls.  We buffeted our way across the Atlantic and sat back and watched the beautiful people stroll by in their sequined gowns and black tuxedos.  The men were dressed nice too.

The Brochure

The Reality

Our immediate impression was that ALL men - old, young, fat, skinny - look great in a tux, but there are precious few women over fifty who look any good dressed up.  I really mean it.  Well, look, most of us are pudgy, if not downright fat, and the hair is 'not what it was'...  Make up is always heavy and scary looking for evening.  It takes a real lot of money to look good when you're a certain age, and there isn't enough money circulating in the free world for me to get into heels again.


You know what really bothers me about this? It hasn't a thing to do with religion, or being an abomination to the lord, or 'a great athlete's tragic emasculation'.  No.  It's that she looks twenty years younger.  If I was transgender I would look like a real old John Denver.  


Again with England - We have tickets to see Mark Rylance (he plays Cromwell in Wolf Hall) perform in Finnegan and the Lamb Chop (that's not the real title but I am too lazy to look it up).  I really wanted to see Byzantine Crumberpants in Hamlet, however those tickets sold out before the ink was even dry, and now there is a lottery for one hundred fans to be superglued to the ceiling for a performance.  I'll take it.  Except... we have only four days in London.  What are the chances that I will (1) get chosen for a pair of tickets at all, or (2) that the date will be one of only three days left while we're in the city.  I keep telling Richie we should just move to London already.

Maybe not...

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