Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Touchdown... Finally.

I am now in England.

"England?" you ask? "Shouldn't you be in Ireland by now?"

Yes, England. I was meant to be in Dublin by now, but my flight was delayed for 16 hours (no, I didn't misstype that - it's a one followed by a six), so we missed our flight to Dublin and had to forfeit the hotel's deposit.

There were raging electrical storms in Toronto (also, I think there were some admistrative fuckups because they gave us a $100 Air Canada voucher and they wouldn't have done that if it were just the weather's fault), and the aircraft and pilot were trapped in different airports.

Damn. I was really looking forward to Ireland, but now we are less rushed and will explore London in the proper amount of time needed. (Well, really, the proper amount of time is 4 years, I'm sure, but 4 days will have to do.)

Terry had a little pod hotel at Heathrow, which was just what I needed: a place to sleep and shower after only sleeping one hour on the floor of the departures lounge of Pearson Airport. I slept my face off, showered the margarine out of my hair (how did that get there?) and then we got the train(s) to Kent, where my friend Ruth picked us up.

We are now kipping here for the next few days while we take in this great city, see some antiquities pillaged from the colonial years, a market or two, some historical landmarks, and maybe see a show.

So: first roadbump sorted. I'm here, anyway.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Shorthand.

This'll be quick. I've got 2 hours before I leave.

I quit my job on Friday. This is not because I disliked the job (teaching) as much as I hated that I felt like I was in retail, my integrity was constrantly challenged and undermined, and the administration was draconian.

So: how do you celebrate unemployment? By taking a month-long European trip!

I've added another date on my "Screw Those Kids" Tour '08! I'm going to see my old friend Sarah, who lives in Basel, Switzerland. Sarah and I have been in Europe together before: we were on the Singing Strings ISME '96 trip ensemble. This was when we coined the term "bread and crap" in Germany and Sarah chased defenceless rabbits on the lawns of a British Quaker private school near York. Defenceless save their speed. So... not defenceless, I guess...

I should go shower and actually put my belongings into some sort of carrier. And I have to finish stiching the flag on my backpack, of course.

I'll try to post when I'm away. Everyone hold your breath on that one!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Meet Duke.

Hi, all.

I went home last long weekend. It was meant to drive away my blues, and it did, for the most part, but it also made me more homesick.

I've been back at work for two weeks now, which means there are another two weeks left to conquor.

Then, I'm off on another adventure.

I may have mislead people with my post about Dublin. I didn't mean to write that I'll be in Ireland for a month, but I'll be in Europe for a month. 28 days. Whatever. I'll be in Dublin for 5 days. (I'll spare those who have been to Ireland the trouble of commenting: woefully too short, I know.)

Here's the plan:
June 15th: leave Toronto
June 16th (am): arrive London
June 16th (pm): arrive Dublin
June 20th: return to London
June 22nd: arrive Verona, stay on Lake Garda for 3-4 days (so close to Clooney!)
June 29th: arrive back in UK after driving from Italy along the Rhine through Germany
July 10th: arrive back Toronto.

Yes, there's a gap there. What do I do/were do I go for those 11/12 days before I go home. It's not settled yet. I want to catch a cheap flight to somewhere I've never been, but I also have a sneaking suspicion that I'm going to want to return to the Emerald Isle after getting a taste.

Now for something completely different:

I got a ukulele, and I love it. It's a pretty cheap one, so it goes out of tune as fast as you can say Isreal Kamakawiwo'ole, but it's such a plinky-plonky bit of summer fun, I really like it.

Its name is Duke. It's cartoonishly small. Actually, it's so small, sometimes it's hard to hold. I need to get a strap so I can take my act on the road.

The chords are not too hard to learn. In fact, because there are only 4 strings, barring is much easier. The strings are vinyl, too, so they're more comfortable than a guitar's. I'm still getting some familiar callouses on my left hand that I haven't had since I stopped playing bass.

I've also found a ukulele hero. Her name is Jules Nunes, and by god, this chick's got talent. She can jam on the uke, and damn, she's got some video editing skills. This is my favourite one (but also check out her "Her Majesty" and her "God Only Knows").