the right side of the bus

today i went to a suburb (?) of london-it took me 3.5 hours to get there and 3.5 hours to get back and i had a lovely 3 hour visit with the manager…you do the math….lucky me the day was sunny, the train was reasonable and i am soaking up every last minute of my time in england!

last night? i had a fantastic night out with the benetton gang…my brazilian, indian, south african, philipino friends and us…me, rose and christine at jamie olivers italian-wow! (pics to follow)

today on the way home from town i got spontaneous~spur of the moment~implusive and sat in the front row of the upper deck on the right side of the bus. i usually sit on the left side-hundreds of times i sat on the left side but today i sat on the right side~~

it gave me a different view-seriously, i didn’t realize what i was missing on the other side of the bus.

have bus pass…


will travel!

yep that’s how it works. now that i have a bus pass i am free and easy….no more counting out £1.70 or £3.50 for a daysaver…

yesterday i took 7 buses!!! three to get to work and 4 (over two hours) to get back from my bosses house…

speaking of the meeting at my bosses house~he’s been firm but incredibly supportive. we’ve redone some of my slides and tomorrow will be cut and paste (literally) my notes on to 3×5 card day…and practice, practice, practice!!!!

i am hoping mr a and i will be able to enjoy barcelona~it seems like everyone i talk to has been there~~

i hope we have at least one magnificent moment……

excitement-a new definition

i got up to go to leisure centre this morning, had my water bottle and sweats (again) got on my mom’s favorite bus, the 27! a few stops down, my mom’s favorite singing bus driver got out of his little driver box and he wasn’t singing today…

in fact he seemed a litle stressed and annoyed~~he looked down the bus and said “is everyone going to northfield?” slow nods, groans and mumbles from the passengers in the affimative. well, he says, “the road by the train station is blocked off so the only way to northfield is down the bristol road, so we are having a diversion today”

oh, boy-a diversion!!! how sad am i that when the bus has to take a new route because a road is blocked ~i tick the box in the excitement category?

and what was the highlight of the diversion?? i got to drive by the old longbridge car factory site which is now being majorly developed. reading about the history of longbridge is pretty interesting

The Longbridge plant is an industrial site situated in the Longbridge area of Birmingham, England. Opened in 1905, Longbridge was once the largest manufacturing plant in the world. During the 20th Century the site employed many thousands of people, central to the economy of the local area. Longbridge has produced a wide variety of products, although consistently over time the product has been cars, perhaps most notably the iconic Austin Mini. During the Second World War the main plant produced munitions and tank parts, while the nearby East Works of Austin Aero Ltd at Cofton Hackett produced several marques of aeroplane such as the Short Stirling and the Hawker Hurricane.

that explains why there are so many austin minis around here

okay so maybe they won’t open a crate and barrel, an oberweiss or even a target on that site but having a college and big, new industrial must be a positive for the neighborhood!

free time?

well, it’s not really free…but i have a few days free of external commitments which means i can indulge my inner agoraphobic. i do have a seminar to prepare for next tuesday and a short, late shift on sunday but that seems trivial compared to yesterday’s 3.5 hour journey to newcastle for a 4 hour presentation and a 4-5 hour journey home.

why the longer return home you ask???? ah well, everything was rolling along on schedule until i got on the ol’ 45 bus…usually at 8.30-9pm it’s a pretty quiet ride but i guess summer weather brings out all the chavs at dusk…kind of like mosquitoes!

the driver, bless his little cotton socks (note to self: email the bus company to tell them he was very professional in the face of a chavalanche), had to stop the bus at least three times because the little twits wouldn’t pay their fare…and then a totally new bus experience. they started smoking and set off the alarm on the bus so we had to wait for the police to come. one policeman, albeit a very large, muscular one, showed up and then we all spent 20 minutes listening to the usual…i wun’t doin nuffin…i paid ma fare, i ain’t gittin off…we was jus avin funnnn…

ARRGGGHHH!!! you’ve heard of road rage…which i did suffer from as a driver…i think i will invent bus rage. that’s where the innocent victims of idiots on buses extract their revenge by intimidation and harrasment..

anyhoo, it’s pretty sunny and warm here, the garden is heavy and wet from recent rain. and you know who are back… for the first time i found one IN THE HOUSE!!! on my new oak floor nonetheless…

i have done a quick inspection of the plantation and they don’t seem to have done too much damage. the plant, red hot poker, they nibbled all the buds off last year is too big and tough for them this year but some slug pellets will be placed there just to be safe…

i officially have a veg patch…a very small, pathetic excuse for a veg patch that is…

it consists of exactly 3 cucumber and 2 cherry tomato plants. if there was a competition for the smallest veg garden i think i might win! they do look happy and the weather is pretty good do far…

just a note: england’s first game in the world cup on saturday is against the US.

England v USA: justice bus introduced for on the spot arrests at England opener

The specially-adapted vehicle contains an on-board police station and holding cells to allow suspected criminals to be arrested and imprisoned at the scene of their alleged offence.

Public safety spokesman Lesiba Kgwele confirmed the special coaches would start patrolling the mining town today (thurs) ahead of the arrival of up to 25,000 England fans for England’s first group stage clash against the USA on Saturday.

i don’t really care who wins but they certainly do!!!  i’ll play it safe and stick to lounging in the garden…although secretly i hope the US kicks their smug arses!!

trouble in brum

yesterday julie and i planned to go to see our friend james for the last time before he moves to california~~james is british and he is married to our american friend maria….maria~ shall we say….had “issues” with england…the weather, the NHS, her inlaws…..she seems really happy to back in the sunny warmth of arizona! she is not allowed to complain about the weather ever again!!!!

it stormed yesterday morning…wind and rain…i considered cancelling the trip but as james was flying out today, i was really keen to see him and wish him well…in a very reserved, arms length, no touching, no show of emotion, british way…of course!

when julie and i arrived in the city centre on our separate buses to head out together…the city centre was absolutely jampacked and it seemed like most were under 20 years old and the majority under 18….talk about my worst nightmare.

i put it off to it being the first weekend of the german christmas market and the improved evening weather. on my way in, i saw a helicopter hovering over the city centre but didn’t think too much about it.  i do  know it usually follows police activity though.

by the time i got home the reason for all the chaos was being reported….

Dozens hurt in lights switch-on

Martin Krol and Rachel Liddiard watched the crowd surge from their flat which overlooks Millennium Point

Around 60 people were injured in a crowd surge during a performance by the group JLS at Birmingham’s Christmas lights switch-on.

More than 20,000 people turned out for the event at Millennium Point which had been due to feature pop acts including Alexandra Burke and the Sugababes.

The city council said problems arose when people tried to force their way through barriers to get into the event.

Two women, a teenage girl and a boy required hospital treatment.

Reports say up to 27,000 people were at the site by the time JLS finished.

The council said a combination of fears over the number of people and bad weather led them to cancel the event.

One person was carried out on a spinal board – and we saw a police officer injured too
Martin Krol

Paramedic Barry Timms said: “There was a very large crowd, believed to be 21,000 people, in attendance and there had been a crush outside the event trying to get in as JLS started playing.

“A metal fencing collapsed trapping a couple of people underneath. One of them was a female in her 30s that’s got some quite serious injuries and a teenage girl also has crush injuries and was taken to hospital.

“As the barrier collapsed it’s believed people were trapped and trampled underneath it.”

He said a young boy and another woman were also taken to hospital with fractures to arms and legs.

Mr Timms said the woman with more serious injuries is being treated and it is hoped she will be fine.

The other three had minor injuries and would be discharged, he added.

read the rest of the story with video here  and here

never a dull moment in brum…and in case you haven’t seen the video (or forgotten)

B-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-bir-min-ham it’s bostin mate!

and brummy baywatch?

that was different…

I went to my boss’s house for a meeting, it turned out to be much further from our hospital than i thought. it was a full 20 minute walk at full speed but through one of the nicest neighborhoods i’ve seen here in england. the house has been described by a few different people..the markers..old, tudor, gravel driveway, volvo in the drive..

i was, ahem, slightly disappointed…i hate those gravel drives…like walking on rough sand…and noisy!

the door was impressive, the hallway was impressive and so was the kitchen in the middle of renovation looking out onto a lovely garden…i can’t say that what i saw was a good meausre of the entire house as i probably missed the other 20 rooms.

i arrived in time for lunch with the other research nurse and her baby and my bosses wife…a lovely, friendly thai woman.

on the way over i had made up my mind that he would be wearing his standard white shirt, black trousers, black shoes outfit. i was pleasantly surprised that he was wearing blue jeans!!! and a fleece jumper!!! and slipperrrrrrrssss!!!

he and his wife offered me everything under the sun to eat…i declined and in my slightly winded state stuck to a cold glass of orange juice. we talked about vienna and when i said (shhh, don’t tell her) i finally mailed my mom her gifts, my boss asked if she was in chicago -yes- has she been to birmingham -yes- and i proceeded to tell the 27 bus story…the one about the man in the kilt, the singing woman….

when my boss told his wife i am from chicago she said~~~

why are you here???

~~~everyone laughs!

business finished a few hours later, i am amazed that there is a bus right outside boss’s house…he does his usual concerned “how are you getting home?” routine but i assure him i will be fine…

i check the times of the bus when i get outside…debating whether i should just walk…it’s due in 7 minutes so i figure i will wait….but 7 mins turns into 10…then 13….when what do i hear???

door opening, gravel crunching….remember i am just the other side of the hedge from my boss’s house…who comes around the hedge in his jeans and fleece and a little backpack???    i wish i could have jumped in the hedge like in a slapstick comedy….but he sees me and he says..

oh, you are still here?? i must drive you to the train station….

no, no, the bus will be here in a few minutes, i’m fine…..reeeeeeally!!!!!

he spins round, goes back in the house, comes out with the keys to the volvo….screeching out of the drive…stops in front of me and tears off…

the traffic is horrendous and he is driving like a maniac…in his usual “get out of my way” style.  he hands me his phone and asks me to read a message….suddenly, we get about halfway to the station and he says…

tracy, i’m sooo sorry…i’ll have to make a U turn here and abandon you…the traffic is so bad i will be stuck for hours

he does just that…pulls in a driveway…assures me the station is just round the corner and drives off….tires screeching, literally!!!!

i just had to laugh, laughing still!

i was really touched at how affectionate and playful he was with his wife…in his jeans~~~it is nice to see that everyone has their human side