Tuesday 29 October 2013

Half As Much

My friend just returned from a three week visit to the UK. He’s originally from there so he and his wife have a good list of places and things they wanted to do while they were there. They are lucky in that they do have relatives still in the UK and those relatives actually want them to visit, which helps defray the cost of hotels.

You should never go on vacation worrying about what things are costing. You will have the rest of the year to develop ulcers and deal with the collection agencies. When Louise and I were in the UK a few years back, I found that things seemed to cost about twice what they would cost here. If a cup of tea were $1 in Canada, the same cup of tea (probably better tea) in England would cost £1 which at the time was close to double with the exchange rate. Beer was the same price, and it was just better on the other side of the pond. I’m not a beer drinker as a rule, but when it tasted that good, I changed my habits.

Peter and Joy had a great time and I think he said that they put on about 1500 miles on the rental car. He told of too narrow roads and oncoming buses that didn’t slow down causing some scratches and damage to the rental car. Luckily, when he turned the car in, those scratches weren’t mentioned. He will be scrutinizing his credit card charges for the next few months to see if the damage was added on. They went to Portsmouth, the Lake Country, Bath, and London of course and a whole bunch of destinations that he mentioned which drifted out of my memory almost as soon as he finished talking. Like I say, he had a great time.
He spent some time wandering around the ruins of Avalon of King Arthur fame. There wasn’t much left, but one or two thousand years or so will do that. What has always struck me is the skill and workmanship that went into the building of some of the castles and buildings. I guess they would have had lots of repair over the years, but the bones were built to last.
Peter went to Bath where the Romans built, well, baths over two thousand years ago. The buildings are still there, in a state of disrepair, but they are still there! Back before we had all of our technology, naturally occurring hot springs were of high value. Heating water was a major undertaking, which involved hauling water and firewood. Therefore it wouldn’t happen very often. The Romans built aqueducts to channel the water and catch basins/pools to bathe in. I wonder if the average guy got to use the baths. If I ever return, I will have to go and see this ancient engineering marvel.

Peter made the trip sound so nice, and I am sure it was. I know that I wouldn’t be the tourist that Peter was and would sit in a pub somewhere talking to people who have the same concerns (more or less) that I have. Work, family and the fucking government! I can stay home and talk to people here about that kind of stuff and it will cost me half as much.

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