Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The beer/pounds ratio.

I’m not referring to British Pounds Sterling either.  It’s more like the amount of beer consumed in relation to the number of pounds around my mid section. 

Turns out it was a bit of a false alarm.  I thought I had put on about three pounds,  but they sort of vanished over the course of Monday.  There’s a possible explanation,  but we won’t venture into those nether regions here.  It has to do with travelling and some of the “things” I’ve discovered as the years roll by.

Travelling Companion will once again be working late,  since she has something or other that she has to try and explain later in the week.  It involves a certain amount of dim-wittedness and a bunch of numbers, none of which is really within her control.   She took along a great wad of paper with us over the weekend,  thinking she’d look it over on the train,  or perhaps on one of the plane rides.  Didn’t get to it until the trip home,  at which point she declared that she really needed a calculator.  I had a bunch of stuff with me,  but not a calculator.  I wouldn’t have done well if quizzed by Monte Hall I’m thinking.

It does get considerably tougher to carry too much of anything these days if travelling by air.  I try and stick with the essentials whenever possible.   Passport,  wallet, jacket,  house keys along with a couple other things like reading glasses and Mentos (for that “ears popping during the decent” thing) and that’s about it.   Trousers that don’t require a belt if at all possible,  and my shirt has to have a front pocket for my boarding pass and passport.   For security,  the loose change and most anything else goes into the “man bag”,  which then goes into the bin.   I never beep.  That is the objective. 

Well, I did beep once about four years ago,  as I forgot to take my glasses out of my shirt pocket.  Pissed me off too,  since I was on about a ten year “beep free” run up to that point.   Hence the need for the “man bag”.  I rarely leave home without it.

Also,  stay away from cheap jewellery,  unless you’re willing to either take it off,  or get the wand shake down.  Nowadays I hear the TSA in the States even want to check out your junk.  Not happening.

Which of course means that,  when T.C. had to buy a fresh lipstick for our Saturday night outing,  I had NOTHING with me to try and open the goofy tight hard plastic wrapping around the tube.  Even though I had checked a bag,  I still hadn’t packed anything sharp. 

It just occurred to me that,  rather than mess around with uploading pictures here,  there’s a way to see a host of them that I plunked onto Facebook yesterday.

Hopefully,  by clicking this link,  you can snoop to your heart’s content. 


The whole time leading up to our departure on Friday,  I was debating about renting a car.   Now you have to understand,  I HAVE driven in the UK,  but I really and truly didn’t want the added stress,  especially driving in Birmingham.  I’ve driven in Birmingham.  I know this.   Besides which,  the flight possibilities were such that,  we either had to haul our butts out of bed at some ridiculous hour on the Saturday morning,  in order to arrive at our destination in the daylight (if going by rented car)  or simply take the much easier way of flying out Friday night.   We chose the Friday night program. 

That meant of course simply heading to Birmingham for a first stop,  and then continuing on to Shrewsbury the next day.   Anyway,  I worked it all out in terms of cost,  and even though there were trains and cabs involved,  it was still cheaper (but not by that much) to not go with the car rental program. 

Upon first investigation,  it looks as though renting a car would be cheaper,  until you start reading some of the fine print.   They don’t include the tax,  along with a bunch of other stuff.  No telling how much the fuel would have been,  but that’s another little hidden “gem”.


So then,  once you put aside any issues as to whether or not it’s more “cost effective” to use one means or another,  taking the train becomes much more attractive.  Besides,  Muggins here then doesn’t have to watch the road.  Along with everything else,  and drive on the left.

Besides,  I’ve done the drive to Shrewsbury once before,  way back in 2009.   So I know the drill.  I also know it can be done,  plus just how messed up the traffic can be in Shrewsbury.  If you’re desperate to find out more about that,  you can catch up on that here.  Knock yerself out.


That’s our train coming in.


Mind numbingly smooth.  Could have brought the laptop I suppose.  Didn’t really miss it though.



The only slight disadvantage with the train program, is that the train stations basically “need work”.   Here in Wienerland,  without having seen all of the train stations or subway stations,  I would still ascertain that there are adequate escalators and elevators in each and every one of them.   The train stations that we used had FAR too many stairs,  which does a royal number on Travelling Companion’s knees.   She managed,  but it was always a better situation if there were no wrong turns, since that would mean having to back track.  That’s never a good choice.  Plus, carrying luggage up a couple flights of stairs is such fun,  isn’t it?

In fairness,  the New Street station in Birmingham did have one escalator,  and a lift.   (elevator)  The lift however,  was no bigger than the one we have here at the apartment.  By contrast,  the lift at the Meidling train station is big enough to fit a small car.   Built for hoards of people.  Wouldn’t that make sense?

Plus,  I didn’t mind paying 30P to go pee,  but really,  an attendant would have been considerably more useful than some stupid change making machine. The barrier to get into the loo only took exact change.  There are in fact people looking for work in the UK,  it wouldn’t hurt to employ a couple more to man the toilets.

Well OK,  maybe “woman”  the toilets if you prefer.


Curiously enough, when I was just now looking over that old post from July of 2009,  I had used the term “quaint”  to describe the hotel where we stayed in Shrewsbury.   It turns out that “quaint” was the way I described my review of the Mytton and Mermaid as well.   I didn’t cheat.  Honest!

In this case it appeared that the hotel was originally built as an Inn,  and was a coach stopping point on the way to Holyhead and Ireland,  that was then later transmogrified into a ‘modern’ hotel.   This is where the problems come about.  It’s impossible to put in any kind of elevator,  which means you have to climb a set of gawd awful stairs with your luggage,  to then be confronted with a door at the top of the stairs that opens back towards you.   It’s all about those “fire regulations”  in a public building you see.   Plus,  I soon realised that “quaint”  also meant crashing into things. 

Oh and yes,  “quaint” also means having a bed that offers absolutely no support at all.  And here I was wondering why my back was beginning to complain during the flight the next day!   Now I remember.


Well,  I don’t want anyone to nod off and possibly spill coffee on themselves,   so I’ll call it a day right here.


Happy Travels to any of you who might be underway.


Thanks for lookin’.




  1. How long will you be in England? Guess there is no chance that we have of meeting up? Hope the sun is shinning when we arrive tomorrow morning ( Yeah, fat chance of that!)

    Kevin and Ruth

    1. Oh dreadfully sorry. Arrived back here in Vienna Sunday night. Hadn't quite got to that part yet. My bad.
      The sun COULD be shining, but it never seems to happen for more than a few minutes at a time. Have a good trip.

  2. Rode the train from London to Edinborough once, loved it. My first experience driving on the wrong side of the road was on the busy streets of Edinborough. Oi vey. Not the seasoned traveler you are, for sure.

  3. We did the London tour ( 2002 with luggage, stairs and tube. The whole stuff. It was exactly as you describe. Lots of wrong turns and backtracking.:))
    But once you got it it is an easy thing to get around. And not having to drive on the "wrong" side of the road. I hate that. Every time I went by bus and that turned a corner I got a shock - someone came towards us on the "wrong side" of the road. Take a while to get used to.
    And the hotel room! A hoot. I could write a story about that too.

  4. You always have interesting stories on your travels, And I enjoynthem all .


Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.