Sunday, July 27, 2008

England Trip - July 27th, 1983

Today was a special day. We got up early and rode the tube to Paddington station where we boarded the high speed train to Wales. I'm not sure how fast it went but I'll guess about 90 mph. It was an express, no stops, and we were in the little county where vowels were optional before lunchtime. Our destination was Cardiff Castle and it was our first big castle on the tour. What a beauty. I was impressed with the size and attention to detail displayed throughout the ancient palace. We ate lunch in the basement where I met an older couple from Ohio. They regaled me with horror stories of Yankee driving mishaps in the land of the left side right of way. We also toured a cathedral at Llandaff with many opulent stained glass windows. I will confess, by the end of my stay, I was less impressed with the castles and the cathedrals, but this was our first foray and we were all suitably taken aback.

Our Welsh rarebit took all day and we clamored back on board the London express in the afternoon. The four of us young tourists, myself, Marc, Tom, and Melissa ordered beers and I sampled my first Guiness stout. It wasn't ice cold, but slightly chilled. Tom fell asleep at our table in the club car and we made fun of his bobbing head. I called the play-by-play as if he were in a contest where the contestants tried to drive a roofing nail through a block of balsa wood with their foreheads. Everytime we thought his drooping melon might drive the nail home to victory, he pulled it back up, asleep the whole time. This was the first time I made my companions laugh. I guess we were getting more comfortable with each other. We were late getting home. The train was delayed by livestock on the track.

A note about the contact photos I included. The bottom panel includes a shot of the railyard, and the railway workers. I was impressed with the vast rail infrastructure in Britain. I shot a gargoyle from the bus on our way to Cardiff Castle, and then the cattle trail into the castle itself. The top panel shows part of the castle interior, a group shot of one of the tour guides for hire. That's her with red hair. She wasn't part of our group and if not for this shot I would have forgotten about her. I saw her again years later in a B-roll shot on 60 minutes, guiding tours in Venice, Italy in a piece about European tourism. That redhead got around. The man in the blue striped shirt was the aforementioned gentleman from Ohio - Shaker Heights to be exact, who experienced the thrills of driving from the passenger seat on the left side of the road. The last shot is obviously a garden and if an 18 year old boy thought enough to take a snapshot of the flowers then they must have been utterly unbelievable, or perhaps I had one shot left on the roll.

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