England: Inspiration to Travel, Write

Waking Up


[The view from the top of St. Paul’s]

There is much pleasure with coming across the photos from my England trip in 2007, thinking I had lost the discs amidst my moving a couple of times in the past few years.  It’s only fitting because the conversations and itches to travel have been so prominent lately.

Classical music no longer wakes me up; NPR does.  It’s funny how one transitions from one radio alarm to others through the years.  When younger, waking up to music was the cat’s ass, and discussing what you woke up to with others was a fun way to generate conversation.  However, it was soon learned that soothing music yielded more instances of hitting the snooze button.

In college, Bill taught me the importance of the buzzer and alarm placement.  The object was to put the alarm more than an arm’s length away.  However, both of us were (still are) 6’1″ and clock placement was difficult for an arm’s reach.  The buzzer alarm habit was kept until I met my ex, but I brought it back after breaking up.  Since then, my electric rooster crowed classical music, and that lasted up until a month ago.  The reception was lost for some reason.

Now, I am all about NPR.

The alarm is placed away from my bed (thank you, Bill), and I wake up to news.  It’s not as soothing as music, but it’s definitely less abrasive than the buzzer or Razzinator.  It is less tempting to stand up and hit the snooze.  The warmer mornings are also a plus.  However, temptation to doze off is voided.  Lying there is more of a meditative state, listening to news while waking up.

This morning’s topic pertained to writing, authors and up-and-coming writers.  These individuals, who were being interviewed, are from England.



England, Safely

In my previous post, I mentioned how England was my very first trip abroad. This trip was my first flying experience as well; my mentality behind this was of going big or going home.  Since I was already home, getting the hell out of town was the option that I had left. Paul was studying over there, so Liz and I had a thorough discussion while working at the M.O.S.T. one weekend.

The trip to Philadelphia was a short flight; one of those puddle jumpers was probably needed to get me warmed up for the big five-hour flight to Heathrow in retrospect.  White knuckling was the way to fly to Philadelphia.  The expletives pranced through my head while I wished I could wrap my feet around the legs of the seat.  A couple mid-air hiccups turned me a new shade of pale each bounce.

In reality, the puddle jumper’s flight went fine.  It heightened the anticipation of getting to England.  Liz’s family’s friends picked us up, and we headed to London, where we were staying.  It was Catherine Street, if I remember correctly, and we stayed in a college dormitory.  It was $100 a night, convenient, and hospitable.  Everyone was super nice.  The guys down the hall from my room were Americans, and that made me feel a bit safer.

I felt safe in London and throughout my travels in England.  Never was there worry.



Friend at Hand

I had always enjoyed tea before this trip; however, the herbally delicious beverage officially became a staple in my life.  The English enjoyed that I put a splash of milk in my cup as well.  No sugar for me, however.

I’m already sweet enough.


Being 24 at the time, I was still riding the party wave, the residual tide from college’s end.  That’s no longer true.  Whatever notions I have of going big, it’s come to the realization that this is my desire to live vicariously through others.  My naive side shows when I see places or clubs on television, triggering my wonder that there are places such as these.  However, pissing the night away was on the to-do list.

So, you’re in the late early 20’s or early mid-20’s.  You’re single and adore women with  accents.  You’re in England.

Pub crawl!

Liz took the high road, and she opted for going to see Spamalot.  Paul and I decided to hit the pubs around London.   If you don’t get pissed in London–in a respectable fashion, of course–you haven’t really had the experience.  The two of us ventured out for local grog and local fun.  We didn’t encounter any live music, but we did not get too sauced or have a terrible time.

I would have loved to encounter a live band in England, especially if the band was a garage punk band.  You can’t beat that.  Better yet, it would have been great to find some type of portal to time travel through.  What I wouldn’t give to watch The Who go bat shit in some hole-in-the-wall pub.

One of the pubs we went to was Friend at Hand, which featured a St. Bernard with a cask around its neck.


Of course, being abroad, I wanted to meet some girl and sweep her off her feet.  However, we must realize two things:

1.  I don’t live in England, or Europe for that matter.

2.  I am an American.

May whatever little charm I have falter if I dare come into contact with a young woman who I may try to woo.  Paul and I already had one strike against us:  we were talking politics in the pub.  It’s a common thing.  However, people may get the wrong idea when they overhear our conversation, recognizing our accents (or lack there of?).

Johanna was the young woman’s name, and we met her at Friend at Hand.  At that time in my naive head of mine she had everything that I thought was great:  tattoos, piercings, and an accent.  She worked as a bartender, so she knew her drink.  Her vocabulary was great, especially her cursing every other fucking word.

It was attractive to me: her mouth and all.

The fact I actually spoke to her was beyond me, but our brief encounter encouraged me to write down what I took from the moment.  In my upcoming novel–should it bloody write itself–she is the inspiration of a love interest for the main character.  Yes, the character does have an English accent and tattoos; however, she’s not a bartender.

Just kidding. She is a bartender.

Hey, when life gives you an opportunity for inspiration, use it.

That’s all I have.  No wild love or sex story, but a story about two guys in a pub who, while talking American politics, meet an attractive bartender with the ability to melt hearts when she uttered, “Fuckin’ hell.”


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