A perfect London fog

Today I was treated to a perfect London fog. Finally, after all my adolescent years, after retiring countless coats and sweaters with that semi-famous label*, after witnessing numerous episodes of very-bad-faux-fog courtesy of my childhood TV fav Doctor Who, after taking the Tube to work for the first year and a half in London (and thus being underground for most of my commute), it happened: perfect London fog. And I was there to witness it in style.

In a previous post I mentioned that I had acquired a proud new piece of British engineering: the Brompton folding bicycle. Heretofore I haven't gone into any detail about what a joy that bike has been. Initially I bought it simply to eliminate the tail ends of my workday commute: inbound I would walk 15 minutes from home to the Woking train station, take the overland train ~30 minutes into Waterloo station, then take the Bakerloo line to District line underground trains (subways/tube) to Victoria where I'd walk the last 5 minutes to the office. That tube portion was a killer, taking as long as the prior two legs combined; it was hot, loud, packed, and at a not-insignificant yearly transport cost.

The Brompton paid for itself instantly because within a month I had cancelled the tube portion of my yearly transport pass. That portion cost about the same as a new Brompton. And the additional benefits were much greater:
doing my part to avoid fossil fuels, skipping the 15 minute walk, a bit of exercise to get me going in the morning (round trip 6 miles/day total), and an increased mobility to wander through the city. It was this last one that has since proved to be a gem - I can meander along the Thames or within Westminster or in Belgravia on the way to work, all the while looking ahead, up, and around at new buildings. In any case, my basic city commute is now quite satisfactory indeed (that's British English for "not too bad"): after arriving at Waterloo station I head directly west over the Westminster bridge where I enjoy a great view of the Thames, Parliament, Big Ben, Charing Cross, Westminster Abbey, Scotland Yard, Westminster Cathedral, finally ending up near Victoria station. Fortunately, Westminster bridge is wide and clear so you can get a relatively unobstructed view from it's slightly elevated arc (all this probably by design).

It was crossing over this bridge today that I looked left and into the fog covering the Thames. I had seen foggy days before to be sure, but this particular morning was just perfect. Parliament (actually called the Palace of Westminster) was engulfed in a whispy white fog that stretched across the river and further upstream.
I almost hate to spoil the painting of a poignant picture with words, but well, I've probably yammered on enough already. So without further adieu, I present to you a very comparable picture to what I saw that morning. This picture was not taken from my camera and I don't know it's provenance, so to whomever took and published it on the internet, "thank you".

* Did you know that the London Fog clothier known to many Americans is, after all, an American company based in Baltimore? How strange! Witness:


Another training day... but first some travel to whet yer appetite

First I have to acknowledge these elusive, and nearly ridiculous by now, 3rd and 4th "update from England" posts that have yet to be published. Elusive because, well, I've been making allusion to them for nigh on a year+ now. Ridiculous because I somehow still believe that someone out there, somewhere, gives a holy hootenanny. (<- that last one for my friends in Argentina who seem to derive some enjoyment from uncommon American English colloquialisms. Espero che disfruten el post!)

I remain eternally optimistic. I have plenty of material. Plenty of material.

One way to shake myself out of this lackadaisical conundrum is to simply list out all of the places we've traveled to here in the UK. In this way, perhaps, one or another locale piques your interest and you will come a'running back for more -- or you may feel the urge to post a comment asking whether the settlement in Bath was in fact occupied by those industrious Romans even earlier than 1AD. Why dost think I should possess of such chrestomathy?

Thus, here is the geographically organized list of our Great Britain family travel days out. Thereafter I may actually get around to telling you about this Big Training Day on my road to the London Marathon.


(This reads a bit like the Shipping Forecast, doesn't it? Enjoy the meditative rhythm.)

Hayfield (hello relatives!)
Edingburgh (Scotland)
    Perth (Scotland)
      Pitlochry (Scotland)
     Inverness (Scotland)
   Warwick (impressive castle grounds)

Every castle, Historical Trust site and museum in Surrey county (Okay, that is not true. But you might be amazed at the sheer number of such destinations in this one county alone. We aim to visit a significant portion however.)

So you can see, there is a fair helping of pent up travel angst chomping at the proverbial bit.

Now on to more substantive matters: fundraising. That's right, I need your help. And that of your friends too. A couple weeks ago I completed the Brighton Half Marathon (bib 2005) as the first in a number of self-prescribed "official" runs leading up to the London Marathon. I ran this same course in 2010 and swore that I would never do it again; the rain and wind and cold were so substantial. But weather be damned, I signed up for it again and actually had a great time. I ran with a friend, Shane, with whom I also ran the previous year. I did not fundraise for this run simply because I need to keep focused on my still substantial Children's Trust fundraiser goal. It could also be said that another reason for not fundraising was due to the fact that Shane and I decided to contribute to the local Brighton economy by donating a hefty sum to the oh-so-efficient Ethical Parking Management bureau. Egad.

The course this year was really enjoyable. It snaked up along the coast to the east of Brighton on Marine Drive. Along the way it made a steady incline along the ocean front for about 3 miles until turning back on itself to head back towards Brighton Pier. From there the course continued a further 3 miles west towards the neighboring town of Hove. At all times the sea was either on your right or your left or your right again. Now, provided there is no gale force wind pummelling you like a boxer from the left then the right and then the left again, you're fine. Body blow! Body blow! Otherwise, you would be better equipped for a day of windsurfing than, pfooey, this running business.

In any case, it was a successful day with no injuries and a good dose of Brighton scenery taken in. My next big run is the Reading Half Marathon in a couple of weeks. I look forward to running with some of the team from the Children's Trust. They tell me that a number of us are signed up.

I also hope to have passed the GBP 1000 mark by that date. I'm very grateful to those who have already sponsored me - every amount brings me one step closer to the goal. And I've even received donations from the US. So indeed you can donate in dollars without much hassle. Fantastic.