Trip – Hot Springs Village, Arkansas

Monday:  Well, we are off! southwest-airlinesI will try to be less wordy and more picturey – you know – right brain stuff.  Anyhow, Laura drove over from Nevada City Sunday night and stayed with us  (April 13, 2014) so she could take us to the airport the next morning.  What a wonderful thing to do for Judy and me.  We only had one-way tickets, hoping to buy a car in Arkansas and drive home. Upon arrival we took a shuttle to Budget rent-a-car in Little Rock – drove out and had dinner at the Red Lobster – picked up food at Whole Foods – got a power supply at Apple for my MacBook Pro – and headed for the Village .   .   .HotSpringsVillagegot our keys to the condo .   .   .Living Roomand went to bed.

Tuesday:  We spent unpacking, organizing, and driving around re-orienting ourselves to the village.  That night, we went to a dinner play about the Titanic.  We got there and they had cards at our table to tell us and others at the table who we were in the play – ie:  Judy was Selena Cook, a 2nd class passenger, age 22, and a resident of Oxford, England .   .   .SelenaCook and my name was Percy Cornelius Taylor, a 2nd class passenger, age 40, a resident of London, England, and a Titanic musician who played the piano. (amazing – when I was in college I considered playing the piano on a cruise ship)       On the other side of the card .   .   .BoardingPass-copy-620x1075and at each table there were bottles of champagne .   .   . TitanicChampagneMany of the village residents were in costumes that depicted the dress in that epic event.  It was a fun night meeting others and being a part of this program.  The dinner show included a lady who sang for the ship’s entertainment and she was great!!

Wednesday:  I got up in the morning and prayed to God about finding a car to buyWithin a few hours I found, on Craigslist, a 2005 van like the one that we bought here in Hot Springs 5 years ago.  The positives were:  an 86 thousand mile odometer, regular service records, clean title, very clean car, & $3500 below Kelly blue book.  The negative was it was in Oklahoma.  After many more hours of looking I could not find any other car to fit our wish list.  So, I bought into Carfax, looked it up, and it checked out very positive.  I phoned the man and he said that he would hold it for us.  The next morning we took the 4 hour one-way trek, bought the car, and returned to HSV – 8 hours of straight driving.  Judy, as always, was such a trooper – following me in our new car as we got home late that evening.  We took the rental car back and WALLA! .   .   .HondaOdyssey2005atOpaolPlace2b copy Thursday, Friday, & Saturday:   The village has weekly garage, yard, & estate sales .   .   .JudyLeavingEstateand .   .   .Estate Sale Good Friday:  Thanking God, more driving and filling of the van in the morning, lunch, and I went and played golf in the afternoon.   Later, I phoned Judy and she informed me that at 3:00PM she caught.   .   .Judy'sFishPlace1 copy proof!Judy's 12" Bass That evening we went to a concert .   .   .BJThomasonStage copy he was fun to watch – and so was the lady in the row in front of us who jumped up frequently clapping and screaming. (and the average age in the audience is @70 years old)
Saturday:  We slept in and got up about 11AM, went to another sale, returned and attended a “Wine & Art” show.  A couple that we met at the Titanic table invited us.  They were showing their art at the show.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Easter Sunday:  At 8:30AM .   .   .EasterSunday2014and listened to .   .   .PastorMarkCain2014and after the service .   .   .SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA and .   .   .EasterBrunchFlowersatTanners What a tiring but fantastic week we have had!  Thank you Lord Jesus and thanks to you guys if you have gotten this far.

Love Judy and  George

These are just more pictures:   (if you aren’t dead tired from this blog) HSV-LAKE_BALBOA_HEADER1-620x378 FlowersatLakeIsabella copy BusyBee HondaOdyssey2005atOpaolPlace2 copy

London (finale)

Well, we got up on Sunday morning and took the bus .  .  .

IMG_1137The Tube

.  .  . to the tube as usual with more walking and sight seeing ahead.  The night before we looked on the web for a Christ centered church to attend and found this one.

IMG_0271

Wow!  It was great!  The music was just fantastic – the best I have heard in years.  A young gal who was obviously a leader of the group played her heart out on a saxophone and the guy next to her on the trumpet was great also.  We talked to them both and found out that she was a music teacher – figures.

The inside of the church had very high ceilings .  .  . .  .  . which made the singing sound heavenly and gave us numerous uncontrollable chills.  The preacher was great also with a powerful message.  Anyhow, we told them how much we enjoyed the whole service.  We were certainly like-minded.  They asked us to come back that evening and it took no effort to do so.  The congregation was all ages but mostly college kids.  If I lived in London, that’s where I’d be going to worship our Lord!

 

After the service we walked for about a mile through the park and down some streets and found a round-about with a crowd of people following these decked-out guards on horses.  We followed them down a long wide street and watched as they did the changing .  .  .IMG_2173
.  .  . of the horse guards.  I saw this police officer and took his picture. (Below) He reminded me of my friend (Lou Trovato) who just retired from being the police chief in Nevada City.

While following the guards we stopped off at .  .  . .  .  . Buckingham Palace and watched because .  .  . .  .  . these guards were changing also.  Below is a picture of the palace gate which is just to the right of the above picture.

Who is that distinguished looking dude?  There were so many wonderful sites in London.  Down almost every street there was something interesting.  We so enjoyed being there and hope that we can return again.  Here are just a few of the many pictures that we took.

Great architecture with every turn of the neck.

We took an evening stroll down Portobello rd. (where the movie “Notting Hill” was shot)

Just another tourist stopping for a cool one.

Across the street from . . .

.  .  . Westminster Abbey.

 

On the way to Oxford Circus once again and . . .

. . . enjoying the night lights by bus  . . . getting out to window shop .  .  . but whoops! – we got lured into Urban Outfitters . . .

. . . where Vince bought a neat leather jacket from this gal. She just arrived from Boston a week ago – was really helpful.

Check out the name of this place! – thought they might give me a free meal but NO!

Piccadilly Night Lights – check out the 2 humps in the lower right-hand corner. I’ll bet you can guess what junk food establishment is below at street level.

Big Ben and behind the Abbey.

One of many bridges and .  .  .

just another square full of people – what a place!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Egg House – Simi Valley

My favorite place to have breakfast is only 384 miles away. 

Notice the chairs?  That’s because it is packed in the morning.

Oh well, this gives me another reason to drive or fly down and visit Vince.

When I went down to Vince’s to fly with him to the UK, he said, ” Dad I know you like omelets so let’s go to the Egg House”.   In our family, breakfast is the favorite meal so he knew he would score points.  Anyhow, this little restaurant is located at 1470 E Los Angeles Avenue in the Simi Valley.  Vince has been there a lot.  He is on a first name basis with the whole staff.  I am getting there also.  I have eaten breakfast there over 6 times in the last 2 months.

When you first walk in you are greeted with a smile of acceptance that is infectious.  Your server immediately brings you and chunk of home made coffee cake with the menu.  The food is as fresh as it gets and all the servers are great!  I especially enjoy Jenny .   .   .

Jenny on the move

who I call Lea because she looks like Lea Thompson – you know – the mother of Marty in “Back To The Future”.  She is faster than a “speedy bullet” (is that the Lone Ranger?).  By the time I get my order, which is about 3-5 minutes, I’ve already had 3 cups of great coffee (the bathrooms are close by).  Plus, she is fun to talk to as she whips around from table to table.  She is so natural and down-to-earth that I feel like I am eating in her home at her breakfast table.  And guess what, the food tastes home made also.   It is so fresh and made just the way you order it.

Another reason I like this place is that Dave, .   .   .

Dave (left) and another great server

the owner, is a die hard Giants fan.  Can you believe that!!!  A guy in LA who likes the Giants.  Hey!, if you are in or near the Simi Valley, you got to check out “The Egg House“.   Wow! New friends in a foreign land.  Guaranteed, you will not be disappointed.  You can click on the blue link to see their unbelievable menu, location, more pictures, etc.

The look of 3 satisfied customers – I think Laura had their Pumpkin Pancakes!

Intensive Teaching after the meal – great “Brain Food!”

London-Oct. 4th to 11th

Well, we arrived in London.   .   .

Tower Bridge

and immediately headed for our stay at a flat owned by Laura and Kamilo.  It was a 2 bedroom apartment in Islington and we stayed there for a week.  We each bought an Oyster card for 34 pounds ($55) which gave us a weeks worth of unlimited travel in Zones 1 & 2 using either the .   .   .

underground tube (subway), .  .  .

a train, .   .   .or bus.

There system of travel there is so convenient and much better than renting and driving a car.  The tube is easy to understand and will get you to a general location very quickly.  The buses are almost all double-decked and new.  Buses take you to more specific locations, however, figuring out which bus to take is confusing even to the locals whereas understanding the tube is easy.  It was fun to ride around London on the top deck of the bus .   .   .because you can see so many wonderful things.    .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .  on the river Thames, or .   .   .

Piccadilly Circus, or .   .   .

Oxford Circus, etc.

We would see something interesting and just hop off and , .   .   .

walk and look (Buckingham Palace Entrance), .   .   .

walk more and look (Trafalgar Square)-National Art Museum behind, .   .   .

and walk a whole lot more and look (Big Ben), .   .   .

 and continue on until my legs were pooped out.  At that point we would either sit down .   .   .

and eat Fish and Chips at one of the thousands of restaurants everywhere, or .   .   .

eat raw organic food (Vince’s favorite-expensive) or,  .   .   .I actually found a California tortilla (cheap and just like our Fresh Mex in Placerville, CA.-Vince had a sad face)  or,  .   .   .

more fish and chips (this was the best fish ever) then we would walk some more or .   .   .

take another bus ride and get off  .  .  .

and find other interesting things (these are not in operation and are full of garbage) – everyone has a cell phone here.

Just up the street from here are theaters.  When we were in Scotland, Jenny and Nick told us to see the production of “War Horse”.  They told us that they got tickets for 10 pounds and that it was a fantastic live play.  Around the corner to the left is the Theater.We went in and talked to a less than enthusiastic man who did indeed sell us 10 pound tickets and we came back the following day and saw the production.  Just as Jenny and Nick had said, all of the seats were excellent even though the prices were 10 – 110 pounds per seat. (thank you to our Scottish friends)  Anyhow, the only props on stage are the puppets of the horses, geese, birds, wire, a door, and a kind of tank toward the end.  The sound was almost all acoustic and the way those people operated the puppets was just unbelievably fantastic.

Anyhow, in between our walking we would find a .   .   .

seat at a Cafe Nero, Costa Coffee, or one of the many Starbucks that are on just about every corner in London, and sip on an Americano. (Vince has to have his coffee)

After more walking, we would get on another bus or head back underground to a different area of interest .   .   .

or simply head back home to relax the body-Phew!

 

More to come .    .    .

Train to London Oct. 4th

Well, we made the train and decided to go 1st class.

The upgrade was well worth it.  We were fed and liquified all five hours and had the car pretty much all to ourselves.

Such a smooth and wonderful way to travel – beats the heck out of flying!

Scotland is rolling hills with thousands upon thousands of sheep.  The lush green hills are filled with white poke-a-dots and just a smattering of brown and black cows and horses.  It is easy to understand why we have smelled, tasted, felt, and tried so much Haggis, Stew, Kilts, & Cashmere during the last week.  And yes, after a few drinks Wednesday night, Jenny got me to eat some Haggis.  Actually, once I forgot what it was made of, it tasted pretty good.  Goodbye Scotland!  We love you and plan to come back.

Hello England.  It is fairly flat down here with more cities and Oh – these guys.   .   .

Guess they don’t have the E.P.A or A.C.L.U. here.

Here are some more scenes .   .   .

Town and nice clouds. . .

Entering York – a very old city. . .

and. . . more food!!! – can’t lose weight this way. . .

Well, here we are at the main London hub for trains. . .

More to come from London ,   ,   ,

 

 

Trip to UK – Edinburgh, Scotland (Sept. 28th – Oct. 4th) p. 3

While walking around Edinburgh we not only feasted on beautiful sites but got to see.

Local musicians.   .    .

Farmer’s markets. . .

Architecture. . .

more locals.  .  . you know, this guy actually sounded like an American. . .

more Architecture. . .

more local musicians. . .

more Architecture – Circus Street. . .

not so local musician – Nick and Jenny let me play their grand.

a little less Architecture. . .

another not so local drinking coffee at Starbucks. . .

and finally, Nick, Vince, Jenny, & George celebrating by the fire on Wednesday evening.

Nick and Jenny were wonderful to stay with during our week in Edinburgh.  They are such nice people and their cats aren’t bad either.  It was just a great week.  Vince and I packed up that evening and left for London the next morning.

More to come.   .   .