Monthly Archives: October 2015

20151025 – Cry God for Harry, England and St George; Is This The Friendliest Town In America?

Sunday – hot, humid and slightly overcast.

Agincourt 600th Anniversary – Cry God for Harry, England and St George – I hope you’re all out having street parties to celebrate this victory over the French.

At last a gator. Only a little un..

At last a gator. Only a little un..

As usual a lazy morning. After all it is Sunday.

Drive down to Huntington Beach State park. Have our lavish lunch. Followed by a stroll to the beach – much quite than Surfside. Then we have a walk across the causeway. Get to see the usual Herons and finally a couple of alligators.

When you look in all this marshland there doesn’t seem to be much wildlife, but on closer inspection of the mud it’s all teaming with life, especially the mini- crabs.


My sorry sense of humour

DSC_6091 (1)It seems that yet again another budget crisis is looming in America. Really think it’s about time we took back this country, as they are clearly not capable of even balancing the economy:

In the light of your failure to set sensible budgets and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchial duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Oklahoma, which she does not fancy. Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable David Cameron, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

DSC_6167You should look up “revocation” in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up “aluminium”. Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘favour’ and ‘neighbour’, skipping the letter ‘U’ is nothing more than laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters. You will end your love affair with the letter ‘Z’ (pronounced ‘zed’ not ‘zee’) and the suffix “ize” will be replaced by the suffix “ise”. You will learn that the suffix ‘burgh is pronounced ‘burra’ e.g. Edinburgh. You are welcome to respell Pittsburgh as ‘Pittsberg’ if you can’t cope with correct pronunciation.

Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up “vocabulary”. Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as “like” and “you know” is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up “interspersed”.


Rant of the day

It looks like the English Bill of Rights 1689 – An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown – is the progenitor of the American 2nd Amendment:

“That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law.”

hqdefault (1)

It’s all our fault, sad to see such religious discrimination.


 

Monday – hot with sun and cloud.

 

DSC_6151 (1)Drive up to Wilmington in North Carolina.

Start off with a trolley tour. Well apart from the USS North Carolina, the main reason for our visit, Wilmington doesn’t have that much to offer. The trolley tour reveals a lot of lovely old house, most of them with plaques on to indicate their historical significance. Black plaque for over 75 years old and brown for over 100. Still has a lot of cobbled streets and a quaint old town with not real that much to offer. The river walk seems to be about the best of the old town.

DSC_6144 (1)One of the unique aspects of the trolley tour is our driver / guide. He really is some throwback to the 18th century, with a vocabulary fresh from the bowels of the full 18 volume Oxford English Dictionary. He even requests that we not talk during the tour – well that’s no hardship, since when do married couples talk. Although silencing our smart phones is going to be a tribulation that will have all 4 customers clutching for the silk edged bunking blanket.

A truly Verbose trolley tour with such verbal treats as “please allow me to direct your attention……”; “One would observe……”; “Preface this information…….” along with such juicy words as “edifice” and “facades”. Quite a character.

Oh and by the way I’m so grateful to the New Yorker who told me “I gave him a $5 tip”. Well bully for you, what has that got to do with the price of bread in Albania?

DSC_6100Do a tour of the battleship USS North Carolina that saw action in World War 2 and is now moored as a memorial to the heroes of WW2 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Really interesting self guided tour. So self guided that once you get below decks it’s a minor miracle if you ever find your way back out. “I’m sure we’ve been through here 3 times already!” Hidden behind the very next bulk head you expect to come across whole families of skeletons, a veritable below decks Donna party.

We finally make it to the surface and start to climb the external superstructure.

Scuttle but.

These little beauties can lob a 16" shell 23 miles.

These little beauties can lob a 16″ shell 23 miles.

Overnight in yet another Comfort Suite. Get a king bedded suite, with sofa, desk, fridge and microwave. Including good wifi, now that’s rarer than a web site with no bugs, and free hot breakfast – yeah waffle machine here I come. All for $90 – £60.

Now this is a first for a hotel. After 10 minutes in our room we gat a call from reception to check whether everything is ok with our room. What cracking good customer service. I’m truly impressed.

Find a great American diner for dinner, they serve the best Reuben’s I’ve ever had:


My sorry sense of humour

Pack em in like sardines.

Pack em in like sardines.

More new rules for America:

There will be no more ‘bleeps’ in the Jerry Springer show. If you’re not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn’t have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary then you won’t have to use bad language as often.

There is no such thing as “US English”. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter ‘u’ and the elimination of “-ize”.

DSC_6180 (1)You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn’t that hard. English accents are not limited to Cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier). You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents – Scottish dramas such as “Taggart” will no longer be broadcast with subtitles. While we’re talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is “Devon”.

If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become “shires” e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.

In charge of all that firepower. Thats what you get when you give them the vote. Worrying.

In charge of all that firepower. Thats what you get when you give them the vote. Worrying.

Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play English characters. British sit-coms such as “Men Behaving Badly” or “Red Dwarf” will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience who can’t cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness.

You should relearn your original national anthem, “God Save The Queen”, but only after fully carrying out task learning the pronunciation guidelines above. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.

Wilmington.

Wilmington.

You should stop playing American “football”. There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American “football” is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays “American” football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game.

Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American “football”, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US rugby sevens side by 2025.

One of the many swish homes in Wilmington historic district.

One of the many swish homes in Wilmington historic district.

You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the ‘World Series’ for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls’ game called “rounders” which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

Rant of the day

Net Neutrality:


 

Tuesday – warm and rain, catching the tail end of yet another hurricane.

 

Wendy meets the Yetti. Just the suit you need for a spot of poaching.

Wendy meets the Yetti. Just the suit you need for a spot of poaching.

Hot hotel breakfast and lazy morning. Nothing else really much to do so we set off back to Myrtle Beach.

Lashed out on an audio book to try whilst we’re driving these long, long roads. Chose Tom Sharpe’s “The Gropes”.

Call in at Piggly Wiggly – a rather unfortunate name for a supermarket – but this one in the Market Commons is very up market. Almost mistake it for a Wholefoods. Wendy gets very excited about it.

Klan cross burning in a town near here.

Klan cross burning in a town near here.

Just watched a programme on the Klu Klux Klan. They believe auschwitz was a summer camp for the Jews, with swimming pools and coffee shops. Grand dragon of the KKK believe White people went to Africa, mated with gorillas and produced black people.

They’re the ISIS of the American Christian World. A sad bunch of racist morons but protected by the first amendments, freedom of speech. Much as you may hate their vile philosophy you have to worry how we in the UK are loosing our freedom of speech rights.

They have some awesomely stupid titles. Grand Dragon; Klabee – treasurers; Klavern – local organization; Imperial
Kligrapp – secretary; Imperial Kludd – chaplain. Then best of all they have the Kloran – ritual book.

Ridiculous and dangerous. The real worry is that the way Islam and associated terrorism is going this sort of madness could take root in the UK.


My sorry sense of humour

More new rules for America:

You should declare war on Quebec and France, using nuclear weapons if they give you any merde. “Merde” is French for “shit”. The 97.85% of you who were not aware that there is a world outside your borders should count yourselves lucky. The Russians have never been the bad guys.

You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because we don’t believe you are sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2th will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called “Indecisive Day”.

All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.

All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips. Fries aren’t even French, they are Belgian, though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called “crisps”. Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat.

The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat. Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.


Rant of the day

A voice of reason. A voice of common sense. A voice of experience.

Does the EU, especially Frau Merkell the unappointed dictator of the EU, not appreciate that accepting these migrants encourages yet more to risk their lives. We are not doing them any favours.


 

Wednesday – warm but torrential rain.

 

Conway river walk.

Conway river walk.

Sat after breakfast watching the torrential rain. Another real frog strangler.

After lunch we have a drive up to Conway, a small town on the unpronounceable river. Call in at a giant Mall on the way.

Have a coffee at the River Town Roasters on Main. Coffee shop, served by a lady with a passion for her job as a barista. A work of art as she prepares my Dirty Chai, with a money where her mouth is guarantee. “If you don’t like it you don’t pay for it.”

Conway has to be the friendliest town in America. Everyone we meet is so friendly. In the coffee shop a guy from the Chamber of Commerce gets chatting to us and phones into the his office to ask them to get a goody bag ready for Wendy. He insists we call in for it.

This has to be the best coffee shop. The friendliest. In the friendliest town.

This has to be the best coffee shop. The friendliest. In the friendliest town.

Have a walk along the river. Quaint little small town America with pleasant river walk, friendly people and a coffee shop run by a barista with a passion for coffee.

Wendy’s orgasmic with her goody bag from the Conway Chamber of Commerce. She just loves freebies like this. Any way her goody bag contains 2 Shopping bag; calendar; notepad; 5 fridge magnets; letter opener; 4 note padsHand sanitiser; first aid kit; 2 tee shirts; mouse pad; 3 drink coolers; 3 cups; pill box; plastic wallet; fan; sample face cream; sample perfume; 3 pencils; 8 pens.


My sorry sense of humour

Conway town hall. Quaint and friendly town.

Conway town hall. Quaint and friendly town.

More new rules for America:

The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as “beer”, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as “Lager”. The substances formerly known as “American Beer” will henceforth be referred to as “Near-Frozen Knat’s Urine”, with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be
referred to as “Weak Near-Frozen Knat’s Urine”. This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in Pilsen, Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

From December 1st the UK will harmonise petrol (or “Gasoline” as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2016) prices within the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the
Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $10/US gallon – get used to it).

So tell me Mummy why am I so fat? Why are we all so fat?

So tell me Mummy why am I so fat? Why are we all so fat?

You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you’re not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you’re not grown up enough to handle a gun.

Please tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us crazy.

Tax collectors from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776). Thank you for your cooperation.

Lines to become queues, yes we know it is abit more difficult to spell.

Passport control will forwith have 80% of the desks open for British Nationals, the remaining 20% can be used for Americans and the rest of the world.

All restrooms will be relabelled and referred to as toilets. If you need to rest so much then they should either open lounges with beds and settees (you can look this word up and then use it as the replacement for the word sofa).

All prices will be displayed including the tax, rather than your ludicrous habit of displaying the price without the tax and then asking for the tax inclusive price. Anybody found flaunting this rule will be deported to an EC country where they can really appreciate the meaning of pointless bureacracy.

You will learn how to brew and serve tea properly. Boiling water and milk, anyone found serving cream or half and half in a cup of tea will be sent to our penal colony – Australia. All coffee, apart from that served in specialised coffe shops, will be labelled WWWBW – weak wishy washy brown water. Americans are not really coffee conniseurs – look it up.

Food portions will immediately be halfed, lets try going for quality not quantity. This should also help with your obesity problem – look it up.

Finally to the Kyoto Protocol and global warming. You will immediately sack all your environmental scientific advisers, sign up for and implement the Kyoto Protocol, all members of congress and the senate will appear in the adverts admitting that global warming is a reality. In addition you will all acknowledge Darwins theory of evolution and stop bending science to meet your political ends.


Rant of the day


Religious rant of the day

cc85a10a67902af3a6494879c5a86107 (1)

Draft Constitution for Virginia (June 1776). TJ again one really smart cookie.

20151022 – Myrtle Beach; Wot No Alligators; What Goes On After Dark?

Thursday – hot and sunny.

 

Myrtle Beach - a sort of poor mans Blackpool without the drunken louts and Kiss Me Quick floozies.

Myrtle Beach – a sort of poor mans Blackpool without the drunken louts and Kiss Me Quick floozies.

Another lazy day starts off with an early, well 11:00 is early for us, stroll down the beach.

This beach is lovely, but certainly no South of France topless beach, thank god. There’s that many Walrus’s, if they were topless it would have you fleeing to the nearest monastery and begging for admission for the rest of your days. It really is enough to put you off sex, food, and even wine, for life.

After lunch we actually go down to the beach and sit and read for an hour. May not sound that impressive but we’re not really beach, sand and sea people. First time in 2 years. I can’t believe how many jollux’s there are, must be a mega weight watchers convention.


My sorry sense of humour

More good news on red wine from Bill Maher:


Rant of the day


Religious rant of the day

IMG_4451


 

Friday – very hot and sunny.

 

Myrtle Beach pier.

Myrtle Beach pier.

Let’s go down to Myrtle Beach. It turns out we’re at Surfside beach. Well thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster we’re not at Myrtle beach – it’s like a poor imitation of Blackpool. Not a whiff of a Starbucks.

It’s too hot to be walking.

Park up, have a hours walk around the boardwalk looking for somewhere for Wendy to have lunch. Give up. Drive down to an area called the Commons. Now this is more like it. No tat; no big wheel; no greasy spoon bars and grills; no amusements; no beach, but who gives a dam. It’s a bit like the up market Disney villages, obviously where all your YUPPIES live. It’s Starbucks land. Even have a shop selling Apple Macs etc.

The American answer to sugar tax, have a store dedicated to sugar. There's not a weight watchers convention on after all, they've all been in here.

The American answer to sugar tax, have a store dedicated to sugar. There’s not a weight watchers convention on after all, they’ve all been in here.

Lights out for caravaners. We’re confused! From our balcony we overlook this massive beachside caravan pretty full of motor homes, each one BIG enough to have an indoor bowling alley. Yet as soon as it goes dark not a single light can be seen from any of them. Now it’s certainly not through lack of power, these mobile gin palaces have every modern convenience you could conceive of, ranging from air conditioning, electric golf carts to save them from having to walk anywhere, through to power assisted chairs and vibrating beds.

George Town Rice Museum. The mind boggles. Almost enough to make you go in.

George Town Rice Museum. The mind boggles. Almost enough to make you go in.

What’s going on after dark? Are they all under the bed covers copulating away like rabbits, I very much doubt it, most of these need one of those under car bomb detection mirrors to even get a glimpse of their genitalia beneath that mountain of adipose tissue they refer to as a belly. Are they afraid of being bombed by ISIS and have air raid wardens checking no lights showing? Do they all belong to some obscure religious sect who believes in being in bed by sunset? Are they all out somewhere partying and wife swapping as soon as it gets dark? Are they all that exhausted from their exertions of sun bathing all day that they’re asleep?


My sorry sense of humour


Rant of the day

How to screw a planet:


 

Saturday – hot and sunny.

 

Duck.

Duck.

Beautiful swamp, who'd have thought it.

Beautiful swamp, who’d have thought it.

I’m up at the crack of dawn and off out to go Kayaking in the Cypress Tupelo Swamp / Waccamaw river. Even have to get my own breakfast – what is the World coming to.

Have a great 2 hour kayak tour with Chris and Jane. It’s a group tour, but I’m the only one on it so get the personal treatment. See plenty of birds, including my old friend the Pileated Woodpecker, along with water snakes and turtles, but alas no gators. It’s awesome being out soon the water such great scenery and we’re the only ones out there. When I get back home I really must look into getting a kayak, it’s great fun and so relaxing.

Kayaking in the swamp.

Kayaking in the swamp.

For the afternoon we drive down to George town and have a pleasant stroll along the historic – probably means it’s all of 10 years old – harbour district.

Finally come across a Starbucks on the way back. Not just any Starbucks but one with a Clover machine and the bank account draining reserve coffees. Try a Jamaica Blue Mountain – a guaranteed way to fritter away the kids inheritance. Reckoned to be the best coffee in the World.

George Town historic harbour district.

George Town historic harbour district.


My sorry sense of humour

Bill Maher on flossing:

You may well mock English dentistry but at least we’re not all wandering around with a horses mouth full of teeth the size of gravestones, so bright that everyone needs to wear welding goggles to avoid irreparable blindness.


Rant of the day

And for how long have I been banging on about this and the ridiculous levels of subsidies on solar panels:

I really do like the cut of this guys gib, but he talks so much common sense he’ll never succeed in politics.


Religious rant of the day

RICHARD DAWKINS takes on ISLAM on Al Jazeera TV

Interesting debate on atheism and religion.

20151018 – Richmond, Virginia; Virginia Beach; The Outer Banks

Sunday – hot and sunny.

 

Richmond Capitol building, alas no time for a free tour.

Richmond Capitol building, alas no time for a free tour.

Up and out to do the trolley tour around Virginia. Not one of your usual hop on and off tours but the guide narrates some interesting tales of the city and it’s a great way to see it.

River at Richmond

River at Richmond

Then drive down to Virginia Beach. Our Comfort Suites is supposedly at Virginia beach but is about 10 miles away. Must be some marketing departments magical slight of hand that it has a Virginia beach address.

Apparently our King Bed Suite has been over booked so they apologise and try to put us in a a two Queens suite. I of course kick off. “There’s no excuse for overbooking these days other than corporate greed. Move some one else. I’m not accepting it. Is this how you treat Gold Elite members. What are you going to do about it?”. We get a free nights stay and I accept the twin queens. To be honest I was not even that bothered. It was just the principle of it. If they’d said there’d been a problem and offered a $10 discount up front then I’d have been happy. Turns out to be a nice two room suite.

River, bridges and dilapidated flood defences at Richmond.

River, bridges and dilapidated flood defences at Richmond.

Drive down to Virginia Beach for dinner. Just like Blackpool without the fun fair and tower, except that there were no “Kiss Me Quick” hats or drunken herds marauding the sidewalks. We pass on dinner in one of the greasy spoon joints down there and resort to a sub (sandwich) from JJ’s near our hotel. A typical over stuffed american sandwich, so much meat that every time you take a bite a pile of meat shoots out somewhere else, like a 42″ DD smothered in oils between two slices of bread. At least Subway know how to make a sandwich that doesn’t try to ejaculate with every bite.

Not impressed with Virginia beach so at least we can have an early start in the morning down to the Outer Banks.


My sorry sense of humour

Some of the crazy laws in and around Virginia:

Not only is it illegal to have sex with the lights on, one may not have sex in any position other than missionary.

There is a state law prohibiting “corrupt practices of bribery by any person other than candidates.

Citizens must honk their horn while passing other cars.

Children are not to go trick-or-treating on Halloween.

It is illegal to tickle women.

No animal may be hunted for on Sunday with the exception of raccoons, which may be hunted until 2:00 AM.


Rant of the day
So true. What a wise old bird he was.

So true. What a wise old bird he was.


 

Monday – hot and sunny.

 

Nags Head. No, silly you, that's the name of the place.

Nags Head. No, silly you, that’s the name of the place.

Drive from Virginia Beach to the Outer Banks. Finally find the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk, no thanks to the map drawn by a 2 year old with the common sense of a politician and a rampant labelling machine.

Monument to the Wright brothers.

Monument to the Wright brothers.

Part of my pilgrimage to this awesome birth place. I don’t understand why, but it just seems such an awesome historical moment not to miss.

852 feet, 59 seconds may not seem much but on December 17th 1903 it marks the first powered flight. A giant leap forward for mankind. The birth place of aviation. Can you imagine what life would be like without the ability to fly?

Mockup of original bi-plane used on a day that changed the World, December 17th 1903 at Kitty Hawk.

Mockup of original bi-plane used on a day that changed the World, December 17th 1903 at Kitty Hawk.

Not only did they build the plane; they built a petrol engine to power it; they even developed a wind tunnel to refine the wing shape. To be fair though it seems that George Cayley was the original father of aerodynamics. His 1804 glider incorporated most design elements of a modern aeroplane, but then who’s ever heard of him – not even a pub quiz fanatic.

Wendy has finally found the aeroplane of her dreams, no claustrophobia with this.

Wendy has finally found the aeroplane of her dreams, no claustrophobia with this.

We then visit Manteo on Roanoke Island, a charming little town by the sea. Stop for Wendy’s lunch and an Amaretto coffee at a comfy little coffee shop.

Roanoke Island has been known in European-American history for its significance as the site of Sir Walter Raleigh’s establishing of an English settlement with his Roanoke Colony in 1585 and 1587. As the fate of the final group of colonists has never been determined, myths have developed about them. Stories about the “Lost Colony” have circulated for more than 400 years. In the 21st century, as archaeologists, historians and scientists continue to work to resolve the mystery, visitors come to see the second-longest-running outdoor theatre production in America: “The Lost Colony.”

Only 852 feet. Only 59 seconds. But it changed the world.

Only 852 feet. Only 59 seconds. But it changed the world.

Drive down to Pea Island nature reserve. Don’t really get to see much nature, apparently just missed two Bald Eagles. Visit one of the many light houses.

It’s a really lovely area by the sea and we’re tempted to stay for a second day.

Mockup of original bi-plane used on a day that changed the World, December 17th 1903 at Kitty Hawk.

Mockup of original bi-plane used on a day that changed the World, December 17th 1903 at Kitty Hawk.

Overnight at a Comfort Inn at a little place called Nags Head. Well in American style not really so little as for such a small population it sprawls like a Gulf Coast oil slick, over 15 miles long and straggly. Lovely little town on the outer banks. Not quite figured out the source of its name. Perhaps it was named by a keen horse race fan or even by some one married to a gobby trollop who needed fitting with a scolds bridle. Walter Raleigh landed in nearby Roanoke Island, of list colony fame, so perhaps it was even named after his domineering wife, Elizabeth Throckmorton, no wonder he spent so much time at sea.
The light of my life at Manteo on Roanoke Island.

The light of my life at Manteo on Roanoke Island.


My sorry sense of humour
Outer Banks lighthouse at Cape Hatteras.

Outer Banks lighthouse at Cape Hatteras.

No one may wash a mule on the sidewalk.

Spitting on a sea gull is not tolerated.

A man may face 60 days in jail for patting a woman’s derriere.

Women must wear a corsette after sundown and be in the company of male chaperone.

No person may keep a skunk as a pet.

It is illegal to park a car on railroad tracks.


Rant of the day
One child is holding something that has been banned in America to protect them. God bless the 2nd and don't F..k with the NRA. Madness.

One child is holding something that has been banned in America to protect them. God bless the 2nd and don’t F..k with the NRA. Madness.


 

Tuesday – hot and sunny.

 

Early morning fly past.

Early morning fly past.

Up early and off for a 330 mile drive down to our 4th home exchange in Myrtle Beach. After our experience of Virginia Beach we both have some trepidations that it will be another American style Blackpool.

Sunrise at Nags Head.

Sunrise at Nags Head.

6 hours, 330 miles and not even the whiff of an Interstate and we arrive at our home for the next two weeks. It seems to be well outside the central, high rise mess that we think is Virginia Beach. We’re in the trees by the see on a fairly big time share style gated resort. Our two bedroom condo is on the top floor (5th floor), with balcony and views out over the sea and the trees of an adjoining caravan site. In the distance we can see the high rises of Myrtle Beach. Best of all we seem to have good wifi and the ultimate enlightenment – no password.

Lounge in our Myrtle Beach home exchange, along with Cinerama sized TV screen.

Lounge in our Myrtle Beach home exchange, along with Cinerama sized TV screen.

Condo’s really brightly and tastefully decorated with Lighthouse and seaside theme. Only one minor downside, common to most American place, no kettle. Instantly feel at home here.

Get settled in with an afternoon tea and then do the weekly shop. Now most American supermarkets are pretty impressive, even by my “why am I here” standards, especially chains like Ingles with their awesome customer service. But alas not the local Food Lion. No Wifi; lousy choice of wine it seems everyone around here needs the giant magnums; as for beer forget it, American pickle water, not a decent German beer to be seen; and to add insult to injury not even a Starbucks to while away the day whilst Wendy savours the labels.


My sorry sense of humour
Balcony in our new home exchange.

Balcony in our new home exchange.

It is illegal to flip a coin in a restaurant to see who pays for a coffee.

It is legal for a man to beat his wife on the courthouse steps so long as it is before 8:00 pm.

It is also unlawful to drive by the same place within 30 minutes on Atlantic Avenue.

If you are drunk and not driving your car, and the person who is driving the car is drunk as well, you may both receive DUI’s.

It is illegal to use profanity on Atlantic Avenue or the boardwalk.

It is illegal for a woman to drive a car up Main Street unless her husband is walking in front of the car waving a red flag.


Rant of the day

Only in America would you have Halloween costumes for dogs. Even advertised on TV to top it off. Surreal.


 

Wednesday – hot and sunny, again not a clue in the sky.

 

An afternoon stroll along Myrtle Beach.

An afternoon stroll along Myrtle Beach.

Lazy day after all that travelling. Time to unpack, get settled in and get the washing done. Time to have a pleasant stroll along the beach. Time to plan our next 10 days here.

Most people on the beach have two things in common. Firstly they’re very sun tanned. Secondly they resemble a cross between the Michelin Man and the Pillsbury Dough Boy. A lot of them are fishing off the beach and yet no evidence of anyone catching a fish.

Open plan dining in our new home exchange.

Open plan dining in our new home exchange.

We’ve enjoyed our 6 days on the road. Seen a lot and visited many awesome places. I think we’ve got these road trips pretty well organised by now, but after living out of hotels, suitcase and great American junk food, it also nice to have a stable home to stay in with Welsh rarebit and simple meals. At least on road trips I get to avoid them pesky greens and vegetables. I suppose the ideal would be 10 days in a home and 4 days on the road, but so far we’ve not done so bad.


Rant of the day

Open plan kitchen.

Open plan kitchen.

Well here we go with more contradictions:

The earth is greener and farms are more productive because of the carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming, an author of the original UN climate treaty has claimed.

The planet can support more people because CO2 has boosted crop yields, the scientist Indur Goklany has claimed in a controversial paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is sceptical of climate change.

Bedroom.

Bedroom.

The report, Carbon Dioxide: The Good News, which has not been peer reviewed, proposes that the impact of rising carbon dioxide concentrations “is currently net beneficial for both humanity and the biosphere generally”.

So what’s new? It’s been known and acknowledged for some time that higher CO2 levels can increase crop yields. Must be a slow news day.


Religious rant of the day
Read it to believe it.

Read it to believe it.

20151015 – Charleston, the West Virginia one; Shenandoah National Park; Monticello

Thursday – warm and sunny.

 

Speaker Wendy Edwards in the West Virginia senate.

Speaker Wendy Edwards in the West Virginia senate. Chance for her to give someone else earache!

Up and out for a day in Charleston, West Virginia.

Drive into the city. It’s the capitol of West Virginia. Doesn’t seem like a capitol or major city. Very laid back. Old classy looking homes in the middle of the city.

Start with a free tour of the gold domed capitol building. All very interesting but why do all these politicians need such palatial and expensive offices. What’s wrong with a few low cost portacabins.

The latest in hairdressing technology.

The latest in hairdressing technology.

Followed up with the West Virginia museum. A stunning exploration on West Virginia through the ages. One of the best museums we’ve visited and best of all it’s free.

Sadly the old capitol quarter of the city falling into neglect as all the trades going to the downtown mall. Not all that impressive apart from the Starbuck area. Comfortable seating and waterfall in the mall. Very impressive and pleasant.

Wendy earwigging on the switchboard. Just like the old days.

Wendy earwigging on the switchboard. Just like the old days.

Wendy has lunch in the old quarter. I get my usual liquid lunch of a coffee. Don’t I just love American coffee. Buy a coffee and get free top ups and they even offer you one to go. Now that’s amazing, sadly I’m not talking about those tax dodgers at Starbucks of course,

Pick up one of my all time American favourites the Italian Subway with lashings of Jalepenos for dinner.


Rant of the day
12 weeks here, 4 weeks of that time will be spent sat traffic lights. Get a life, get some roundabouts.

 

Friday – warm and sunny.

 

Skyline drive Shenandoah National Park

Skyline drive Shenandoah National Park

Up early and off down to Shenandoah as we leave West Virginia. As a state it’s famous for it’s coal and you can see why as you drive down the interstate and can see the coal seems on the side of the interstate. Lovely state of mountains and trees as far as the eye can see. Surprised to encounter two toll roads on the interstate, I suppose these along with parking charges everywhere in Charleston are essential to pay for the upkeep of the gold plated state Capitol.

Charleston, WV state capitol. Look at all that gold. What's wrong with a few portacabins.

Charleston, WV state capitol. Look at all that gold. What’s wrong with a few portacabins.

Arrive at the Rockfish entrance to Shenandoah National Park at lunch time which gives us the whole afternoon to drive the 105 miles up to the top at Front Royal. A slow trip along the top of the Appalachian mountain range; some 75 pullouts; autumn colours are blooming; one of the most beautiful roads in America.

Shenandoah National Park.

Shenandoah National Park.

After a long day, 9 hours on the road, we finally arrive at our hotel in Woodstock. Yet another SleepInn. They really are great value for money. Clean, trendy, comfortable, good free breakfast, good wifi and best of all reasonably priced. Compared to the Quality and Comfort hotels in the Choice hotels chain they are the best. These days when I think of Quality Hotels the first word that springs to mind is “tired”, can be run down and tacky. I think SleepInn seems to be the up and coming brand within the Choice Hotels chain.


Rant of the day
Amazing Americans visit England to see James Herriot or Downton Abbey. Bugger the rich history and culture.

 

Saturday – warm and sunny.

 

Vintage car display outside the Sleep Inn.

Vintage car display outside the Sleep Inn.

Drive the bottom quarter of the Skyline Drive (North to South) and then head to Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson. Glad we booked our house tour in advance as it’s the busiest weekend of the year. Tour of the house is really interesting. What an amazing character he was. What a giant of an intellect Thomas Jefferson was. Not only did he draft the American declaration of independence but was also president of the US, amongst just two of his many achievements. We could do with good old TJ to come and help with our Declaration of Independence from those control freaks in the EU.

Monticello

Monticello

Skyline drive Shenandoah National Park

Skyline drive Shenandoah National Park

Mind you quite a bit of his works were based on the English philosopher John Locke.

Drive down to Richmond for our next overnight at a Comfort Suite.

Tonight dinner is at a great all American diner, and unlike “family restaurants” – to be avoided, like Cracker Barrel – this place sells bottles purporting to contain beer.

Try the Rochester Garbage Plate

Wendy needs to add this to one of my all time favourites.

Monticello.

Monticello.


Rant of the day
Have his brains dropped out too. Don't let them back to spread their vile political ideology.

Have his brains dropped out too. Don’t let them back to spread their vile terror.


Religious rant of the day
A few words of wisdom on religion from Thomas Jefferson:

Wendy talking Thomas Jefferson into writing our declaration of independence from the tyranny of Europe.

Wendy talking Thomas Jefferson into writing our declaration of independence from the tyranny of Europe.

“No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.” 


Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1779), quoted from Merrill D Peterson, ed, Thomas Jefferson: Writings (1984), p. 347

Pity some Muslims don’t heed his words.

20151011 – Biltmore Village; 5 States In One Drive

Sunday – warm and sunny.

 

Wendy does lunch at Biltmore Village.

Wendy does lunch at Biltmore Village.

Lazy morning then we drive down to Biltimore Village for lunch. Pleasant stroll around. Amazing isn’t it, this place was built to house the workers who built and ran the Biltimore estate. Now it’s a real up market tourist attraction and all the original houses have been turned into expensive boutiques and cafes. There’s preservation orders and strict controls on any new buildings fitting in.

Biltmore Village cafe. Seems like that Obama geezer visited.

Biltmore Village cafe. Seems like that Obama geezer visited.

We were going up to Mount Mitchell but by the time Wendy finishes dining it’s getting too late.

Have a stroll down to Tomahawk lake before dinner.


Rant of the day
BBC Life’s Too Short (1)Brassed off with the half-wits who have tried to write the BBC iPlayer software. It’s a national disgrace. More flaky than a Cadburys Flake baked in flaky pastry. They need to sack the lot of them and hand it over to Netflix programming team.

Sadly there’s no direct retribution available against these incompetents. I’d gladly feed them to the lions at a Saturday afternoon colosseum if we had one. Thankfully I can’t get my hands on a gun in the UK so it stops me being bought up before the beak for justifiable homicide. My last resort seems to be to stop paying my license fee to the BBC. Ironically this is now legal if I only watch streamed TV, which of course relies upon BBC iPlayer. Well despite that when I get home I’m disconnecting my Freesat and stopping paying anything to that band of nerdy incompetents.


Religious rant of the day
Tomahawk Lake

Tomahawk Lake

Bradford family of seven feared fled to Syria

Why is this front page news? Why are we bothered? Why are the police wasting already stretched resources trying to locate them? If they want something to do investigate where they were radicalised and close it down.

Good riddance. Let’s get those Easyjet charters fired up ready for anyone else who wants a free flight to ISIS. Better them over there, openly against us, than some 5th column, lone wolf attackers. I hope we remember to take their UK citizenship off them – some hope!


 

Monday – hot and sunny.

 

Autumn in Black Mountain.

Autumn in Black Mountain.

Drive down to Greenville to pick up our Hertz mobile from the airport.

Wendy wants to pass on a walk around the park there, she’s not dressed for it. Fortunately she is dressed for the Mall. Not too bad at least there’s an Apple store. Still no Apple TV or big iPad.

Try to do the BMW factory tour over at Spartenberg, but it’s full

Wendy drives the Hertz mobile and follows me home.


Religious rant of the day
2015-09-30

 

Tuesday – hot and sunny.

 

Dam burn them leaves.

Dam burn them leaves.

Time to clean up and pack up. Wendy does the house while I do the car.

What is it with leaf blowers? I’m sat in my rocking chair having a quiet afternoon cup of tea when all hell breaks loose. More noisy than them dam hells angels on their Harley’s. One of the locals obviously had a blower for his birthday and is out there blowing all the leaves off his lawn. But hey ho tomorrow the wind will come and spread them back again. It seems to be some sort of fetish over here, the local council even employ people to fight the wind. Hopefully Hynburn council don’t get wind of it – pardon the pun – or we’ll have a cast of thousands gainlessly employed in a similar exercise in futility.

Garden view.

Garden view.

Now my Uncle Horace would have loved all those leaves. He’d have collected them up and composted them down.

After lunch we have a stroll down into Black Mountain and visit the supermarket for one last time. As usual walking risks live and limb as pavements are not universally adopted over here.


Religious rant of the day
Just typical, even in Canada, there really are too many dhimis:

When will they ever learn.


 

Wednesday – hot and sunny.

 

Downtown Black Mountain

Downtown Black Mountain

Up early, ready to set off.

Drive from Black Mountain, North Carolina to Charleston, West Virginia. Drive through 5 states – North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia; avoid the Interstate, but good dual carriageway all the way; 350 miles; trees all the way. West Virginia’s a new state for us, hence the visit. We tried to find East Virginia but I think it disappeared like Atlantis!

A really pleasant drive. Seems we’re following multiple tourist trails, Danielle Boon trail; Music Trail; Hatfield McCoy trail. Call in at Pikeville for lunch and to visit the Hatfield McCoy site, it’s the only tourist attraction in this one lazy Turtle town and we can’t find it.

Hatfield McCoy Feud

Hatfield McCoy Feud

Hatfields and McCoys, two American Appalachian mountaineer families who, with their kinfolk and neighbours, engaged in a legendary feud that attracted nationwide attention in the 1880s and ’90s and prompted judicial and police actions, one of which drew an appeal up to the U.S. Supreme Court (1888).

The Hatfields were headed by William Anderson (“Devil Anse”) Hatfield (1839–1921), and the McCoys by Randolph (“Rand’l”) McCoy (1839?–1921), each of whom fathered 13 children (some sources claim 16 for McCoy). The families lived on opposite sides of a border stream, the Tug Fork—the McCoys in Pike county, Kentucky, and the Hatfields in Logan county (or Mingo county, formed from a portion of Logan county in 1895), West Virginia. Each had numerous kinfolk and allies in the respective counties in which they lived.

The origins of the feud are obscure. Some attribute it to hostilities formed during the American Civil War, in which the McCoys were Unionists and the Hatfields were Confederates, others to Rand’l McCoy’s belief that a Hatfield stole one of his hogs in 1878. However, although animosities had built up and occasional fights had broken out, the first major bloodletting did not occur until 1882, when Ellison Hatfield was mortally shot in a brawl with McCoys and, in revenge, the Hatfields kidnapped and executed three McCoy brothers—Tolbert, Phamer, and Randolph, Jr.

These murders sharpened the backwoods warfare, and thereafter Hatfields and McCoys repeatedly ambushed and killed one another.

After 6 hours on the road finally get to Charleston, WV. We’re booked in at a Sleep Inn. Very pleasant 2 room suite complete with full kitchen and breakfast for just $124.

Have dinner at the local “Family Restaurant” – Family = alcohol free. Great food but oh a beer would have gone down a treat.


My sorry sense of humour
At last "How to Understand A Woman" is released in paperback.

At last “How to Understand A Woman” is released in paperback.


Religious rant of the day
2015-09-23

20151014 – Just 499 steps to the Top; A Cultural Evening with the Fruitcakes

Thursday – hot and sunny.

 

Chimney rock from Opera Box.

Chimney rock from Opera Box.

Drive out to Chimney Rock state park – see pictures. It’s at an altitude of 2,280 feet, about 499 steps – you’d have thought they could have added just 1 more. Of course being America there’s a lift. Unlike those youngsters who take the lift whenever possible, and then spend all their time earwigging on people conversations, we go for the steps – great exercise.

Nearly there, just 4 more steps to go.

Nearly there, just 4 more steps to go.

On top of that we do a few hundred extra steps and a hike out to the Hickory Nut Falls.

A great state park and yes worth the $11 entrance fee. Had an awesome afternoon. Plenty of exercise, especially for me gamy leg. Afterwards have a wander around Chimney Rock village and a well deserved coffee.

Wendy having a well earned rest after 499 steps and many stops.

Wendy having a well earned rest after 499 steps and many stops.


My sorry sense of humour
Only £0.05 to kill a Turtle – hilarious:


Rant of the day
Flag at top of Chimney rock. Yes it's a big one. Unlike the UK they're proud to fly it.

Flag at top of Chimney rock. Yes it’s a big one. Unlike the UK they’re proud to fly it.

Amazing you drive through the North Carolina countryside. Real hillbilly country, not a car or any signs of civilisation or sentient life form, not even the Deliverance clan or the Dukes of
View down onto Pulpit rock.

View down onto Pulpit rock.

Hazard. Nothingness, but loads of “No Parking” signs. Can’t imagine anyone would want to park there anyway nor would they want to violate the multiple “Absolutely no trespassing” signs. Perhaps Hynburn councils reach and terminal stupidity extends over here.

Religious rant of the day
Hickory Nut waterfall.

Hickory Nut waterfall.

I don’t think Muslims go far enough in killing people who draw images of the prophet Mohammed. What about dealing with all those who take his name.

 

Friday – hot and sunny.

 

One of the most picturesque stretches of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Not been there - yet.

One of the most picturesque stretches of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Not been there – yet.

Lazy day. Time to catch up on sorting out all the admin problems created by the weary of the World. Get a full refund from the ultimate wankers at Knowhow cloud as I report them to Natwest for fraud, then seek retribution via FSA, Data Protection and request for compensation. Pay dentist bill. Reply to those brigands at ParkingEye. Sort out home exchange in Alabama for end of our trip, that’s 6 home exchanges covering 12 weeks of our 14 week trip – saves a fortune. Order my foot stool and Wendy’s Coffee tables. I’m exhausted.

View of Devils Head at Chimney rock.

View of Devils Head at Chimney rock.

Time for some coffee, Kindle and rocking chair on the verandah.

Alan from downstairs takes us for a grand tour behind the scenes at Montreat and a tour of Black Mountain. It’s a lovely small town nestled in the mountains and trees of North Carolina.

Montreat is a small town in Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. The population is 723. The town is best known for Montreat Conference Center, Montreat College, and for being the home of evangelist Billy Graham and his late wife Ruth Bell Graham.

Watching one of our early morning visitors over breakfast.

Watching one of our early morning visitors over breakfast.

Black Mountain is a town in Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. The population is 7,848. The town is named for the old train stop at the Black Mountain Depot and is located at southern end of the Black Mountain range of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Southern Appalachians. Originally the land was occupied by the Cherokee Indians but the “Trail of Tears” soon solved that problem – part of Americas bad past.

Autumn on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Autumn on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Then in the evening we go down for dinner with Alan and Shell and 3 dogs. Lovely home cooked meal, Southern style. Great food, great apple pie, great company and of course some wine.

As always we put the world to rights and share war stories about the multicultural invasion of our countries. They have exactly the same do gooder, multicultural, politically correct storm troopers selling their country down the loo as we do. Immigration and the rise of Islam are a common theme.


Rant of the day
One smart sensible gun owner. One small step towards gun sanity, one giant personal leap of commitment to a safer USA.


Religious rant of the day
Sir Winston Churchills views on Islam:

 

Saturday – rain, the very wet kind, but at least it’s not cold

 

Our evening of culture.

Our evening of culture.

What to do in Asheville in the rain. Go to the Folk Art Museum; goo to the Mall along with the rest of Asheville and every leader visitor; shop at Walmart for knitting wool.

The rain here even puts Blackburn to shame.

Glass blowing at the folk art centre. Wot no potters or dodgers - sad.

Glass blowing at the folk art centre. Wot no potters or dodgers – sad.

We’re having an evening of culture, out to the theatre. After an extreme overdose of retail therapy we go to the Barleycorn gastro pub. I get the pleasure of going into a pub, looking at a range of 30 different perverted beers, yet as nominated driver can’t drink. Is there some completion going on to see who can make beer out of the most horrific ingredients. How about a sweaty sock fruit and nut Lambric, would certainly not be out of place among this lot. I can’t drink but almost thankful.

Broom making at the folk art centre.

Broom making at the folk art centre.

Back to the meal. A great menu with some unusual items on it. Food is really tasty. The chef obviously has a flair for creating different flavoursome food. Well presented. Plenty of it, of course. Good service in an pleasant, fitting and unique atmosphere.

My steak kabob. It was awesome and tasty. *BEEF & BOURBON BACON JAM marinated in garlic, red wine, dijon mustard, herbs with sides of lemon kale “BARLOTTO” and corn pudding.

My steak kabob. It was awesome and tasty. *BEEF & BOURBON BACON JAM marinated in garlic, red wine, dijon mustard, herbs with sides of lemon kale “BARLOTTO” and corn pudding.

At this minuscule theatre, seats about 100 on school chairs, with all the fruit cakes. Extreme arty farty types; some of them dressed fit to be a jester; tattooed of course; men, well I don’t think they’re women, pierced wherever the eye can see and no doubt where it can’t; tree huggers; and of course just to confirm my inane prejudices they’re bound to be veggies.

Then one member of the audience, on the front row, is prancing around before everyone like an escapee from “Strictly Come Dancing”.

Our evening of culture.

Our evening of culture.

In waddles this jollux (blobby), complete with 14″ pizza take away and alcohol, lollups down, onto two chairs no less, on the front row of course and proceeds to stuff his face with pizza.

Just your typical American theatre evening. All that’s missing is a surprise appearance of John Wilkes Booth to add some sparkle and delight for the NRA.

You wouldn’t believe that we’d both had some serious training in not being judgemental.

Then we have the nightmare drive home in the dark. Have they never heard of cats eyes and what about some street lights.


Religious rant of the day
3 Things you probably didn’t know about Islam:

Wake up.

20151004 – At Last A Black Bear

Sunday – sun and clouds but at least no rain.

 

Biltmore estate.

Biltmore estate.

Drive down to the Biltimore estate. The largest private house in America, their equivalent of a stately home.

The grounds are big. Must be a 5 mile drive to the actual house. Now I guessed this place was going to be expensive but I needed resuscitation when I saw the price, $60, plus tax $4, plus if you want an audio tour gizmo thats an extra $10. And that’s each. But we go for it, how else will we ever manage to fritter away our kids inheritance.

The grand staircase.

The grand staircase.

Go to watch the short video. Oh it’s not playing. Ask one of the band of many attendants outside when does it start? Oh we’ve had a power cut it’s not playing. As I realise common sense and customer service are rarer than bacon butties in Iran, I point out that, “You know a sign at the entrance might not be a bad idea, there’s people been sat in there that long waiting they’ve died of starvation”.

The dining room - not at our home exchange I might add.

The dining room – not at our home exchange I might add.

At those prices you’d think they’d have no problem with you taking photos in the house. Oh no we’re told, by some rude arrogant facist attendant, it’s not polite to take photos in peoples home. Yes, and it’s dam right impolite to charge $64 to come in. But hey get used to the rip off.

Wander around at our own pace, hindered only by the occasional conglomeration of audio tour snails. At one point there’s a queue, created by the inevitable photo opportunity. But I thought photos weren’t allowed? Health and safety issue goes up the cry – always a good excuse, either that or data protection. It seems that when it comes to our health and safety, Baltimore’s wealth takes precedence. Dam the peasantry. We along with a few others jumps the queue to pass on the opportunity.

If only they'd had a Kindle.

If only they’d had a Kindle.

I suppose coming from England, with so many stately homes, we’re a bit blasé about these places. Bear in mind this ostentatious monument was built in the 1890’s but copied and furnished from centuries earlier. Just a blatant show of rampant ostentatious ugly wealth. Why did these people have no imagination or minds of their own? Who ever would want to live in all 175,000 square feet of such ancient ugly dark and gruesome interiors amazes me. If you woke up in some of those bedrooms you’d think you were having a nightmare. The awesome but horrific gargoyles on the outside were equally matched by the furnishing and decor inside. Enough to give a grown adult nightmares, never mind kids. There’s certainly no need for “Do Not Sit On Furniture” signs. It’s all so uncomfortable looking, certainly made for a “sit up straight” era, no comfortable slouching.

Glad we’ve seen it, we did enjoy it and overall an interesting place to visit, along with the grounds, but no way is it worth $60. Nor does the rampant greed stop there. Food and merchandising tat, including the inevitable “Upstairs Downstairs” memorabilia, is exorbitant. As a taster, a $1 energy bar is $3.95.

Some Islam jokes – go on lets broaden their minds and desensitise them – it about time they learned to have a chuckle at themselves:

Q: How do you tell a Sunni from a Shiite?
A: The Sunnis are the ones with the Shiite blown out of them.

Q: Do you know what the secret of an islamic marriage is?
A: The man get’s to see a striptease every night.

Q: How does every Islamic joke start?
A: By looking over your shoulder.

Q: What’s the difference between a Muslim and a vampire?
A: At some point the vampire will stop being bloodthirsty.

 

Monday – hot and sunny.

 

Asheville trolley tour.

Asheville trolley tour.

Go down to Asheville visitors centre and take the trolley bus guided tour around Asheville.

Asheville town council offices.

Asheville town council offices.

What a great tour it is and a good way to see Asheville. Drivers give a running commentary, full of all sorts of important facts and interesting trivia. I’m not a great fan of tipping but these guys certainly deserved one.

Hopped off at Pack Square for lunch, had a wander around but didn’t find anywhere suitable so it’s back on and up to the Grove Arcade. Wendy gets fed there. Then we have a very pleasant stroll around that district before finishing off the tour.

Now that's what I call a proper iron - outside Asheville Flat Iron building.

Now that’s what I call a proper iron – outside Asheville Flat Iron building.

Asheville is lovely and what a great day we had. Interesting when you come to realise that Asheville came to fame around 1900 for it’s good mountain air, people thought it would cure Tuberculosis. Of course they were wrong but it didn’t stop them flocking here in their droves hoping for a cure. As a result Asheville is now a thriving tourist town, sans TB, but with some of the best medical facilities in the country.


Q: What’s the difference between Mike Tyson and Osama Bin Laden?
A: Mike Tyson can take a shot to the head.

Q: How does a Muslim close the door?
A: Islams it.

Q: Did you hear about the Catholic Iraqi?
A: He was a Shite Muslim.

Q: How do you play Taliban bingo?
A: B-52…F-16…B-1…

Q: How did you get out of Iraq?
A: Iran

Q: What is Al Qaida now learning after Osama Bin Laden’s death?
A: Don’t put your contact info on the Playstation Network!

 

Tuesday – hot and sunny.

 

Our home exchange in Black Mountain.

Our home exchange in Black Mountain.

A lazy day. Sat on the balcony enjoying the sunshine and the views, with a coffee and a Kindle. Time to catch up on some reading, a biography of Mohamed (know thine enemy) and some words of wisdom from Pat Condell. Still struggling with “Gone with the Wind”. I suppose it must be the original Chic Lit book.

Eventually manage an exciting trip to the supermarket and the obligatory Starbucks to while away the hours.

Tea on the balcony - still no bear.

Tea on the balcony – still no bear.

Just love it. Me to manager “where’s the tinned fruit, please?” – yes It’s me in the supermarket. Manager “tanned fruit? Tanned?”, he looks that perplexed anyone would think he’d seen a ghost. I resort to the universal communications protocol and point to a shelf of tinned soup. “Oh you mean canned fruit!”. Me “no I mean tinned fruit”.


Q: Why don’t they teach Driver’s Ed and sex education on the same day in the Middle East?
A: They don’t want to wear out the camel.

Q: Why aren’t there any Walmarts in Afghanistan?
A: Because there is a target on every corner.

Q: What do you call a building full of Taliban?
A: Jail

Q: What’s the difference between a microwave and a Islamic extremist?
A: A microwave doesn’t blow up every time the timer goes off.

Q: What do you call a Muslim looking for a toilet?
A: Mustapha Shiite

Dawkins and Maher have a chat. Why are the ‘Regressive Leftists’ Giving a ‘Free Pass’ to Islam:

 

Wednesday – hot and sunny.

 

At last we get to see a black bear. Relax the only meat he eats is carrion.

At last we get to see a black bear. Relax the only meat he eats is carrion.

Take a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 400 mile stretch of awesome road through the Blue Ridge Mountains. One of the prettiest drives in America especially at this time of year, but not one of the fastest, would have been quicker on the back of a 3 legged arthritic donkey.

Another waterfall - Lindville falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Another waterfall – Lindville falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Call off at Grandfather Mountain. Must be owned by the Vandervelts, of Biltimore estate greed, judging by the entry fees – $18 each. At least we finally get to see a Black Bear. Famous for having the only restaurant in America that’s run out of coffee. Actually more likely a case of acute idleitis, it was 30 minutes before closing time and the pimples 13 year old didn’t want to put another pot on.
Autumn trees on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Autumn trees on the Blue Ridge Parkway.


A few handy Arabic phrases translated to English — in case you’re ever kidnapped by terrorists.

AKBAR KHALI-KILI HAFTIR LOFTAN.= Thank you for showing me your marvelous gun.

FEKR GABUL CARDAN DAVAT RAEH GUSH DIVAR.= I am delighted to accept your kind invitation to lie down on the floor with my arms above my head and my legs apart.

SHOMAEH FIKR TAMOMEH GEH GOFTEK BANDE.= I agree with everything you have ever said or thought in your life.

AUTO ARRAREGH DVATEMAN MAMO SEPAHEH-HAST.= It is exceptionally kind of you to allow me to travel in the trunk of your car.

FASHAL-EH TUPEHMAN NA DEGAT MANO GOFTAM CHEESHAYEH MOHEMA RAJEBEH KESHAVAREHMAN.= If you will do me the kindness of not harming my genital appendages I will gladly reciprocate by betraying my country in public.

TIKEH NUNEH BA OB KHRELEH BEZORG VA KHRUBE GOYAST INO BERGERAM.= The water-soaked bread crumbs are delicious, thank you. I must have the recipe.

Grandfather mountain mile high swinging bridge - not much of a swing.

Grandfather mountain mile high swinging bridge – not much of a swing.

Then people ask why we flee the country for 9 months of the year. Well one of the reasons is to avoid this sort of dhimitude.

A decision to remove a large Christian cross from Accrington Crematorium Chapel has been labelled an ‘absolute disgrace’.

The wooden cross had been permanently located in the chapel off Burnley Road since 1956. But it was removed by Hyndburn council as part of a recent £17,000 refurbishment of the building and will now only be put back if requested for individual services.

Wendy coming back from the mountain tops.

Wendy coming back from the mountain tops.

Coun Ken Moss, Cabinet Member for Cemeteries and Crematoria, said: “General guidance for crematoria is that the building should be non-denominational so that it has the flexibility to make all families welcome whatever their beliefs”.

Like it or lump it we’re a Christian country. Why should a cross offend. If the cross offends then tough titties. There are plenty of countries where the cross is banned, so why not bugger off to one of them.

Another Blue Ridge Parkway waterfall.

Another Blue Ridge Parkway waterfall.


Just goes to show how truly dhimi our council is. Christians have to request it be put back up. Surely it should at least be the other way around in that you have to request it be removed if it offends.

Hang on a moment I thought councils were strapped for cash and staff, yet they can create all this extra work. Someone needs to be looking into excess staffing levels in the Cemeteries department, and while they’re at it Ken Moss obviously needs his bumps feeling.

20151001 – Blue Grass Music And Church Supper; Hurricane Joaquin, Just Like Blackburn

Thursday – grey and rainy.

 

Blue Grass music and fish supper at an Anglican church.

Blue Grass music and fish supper at an Anglican church.

Turns out our house has two levels. Downstairs there’s yet another, similar sized place, where Alan and his wife live.

Have to take the tree hugger mobile back to Hertz. Good riddance.

I lead the way in our Saturn SUV – comes with the Home Exchange – and Wendy follows. Well she tries, but gets separated. Finally go and pick her up on a supermarket car park, typical. Then try and find a gas station. First one is totally out of action as the pumps are ALL being repaired. Use around me to try and find another. The next 3 are all abandoned. I can’t believe you can drive for over half an hour in America and not come across a gas station.

Leisurely afternoon watching the rain.

Why immigration from the 3rd World makes no sense:

 

Friday – grey and rainy but at least it’s warm.

 

Not bothered by the rain.

Not bothered by the rain.

Another day of rain. Go for a walk into Black Mountain despite it. Quaint little town. Have a walk around and come across a German Deli and restaurant. Wendy has lunch, I have a coffee and salivate over all those awesome German beers. Original Hofbrau is among them. We’ll have to walk down here one evening for dinner, German food and quality beer.

In the evening we go with Alan – he lives downstairs – to a fish supper at an Anglican church South of Asheville. Alan has some tickets and has kindly invited us.

It’s a really modern church hall, with a warm welcome. Packed out. There’s a small band in the church playing Blue Glass and then it’s sit down for a superb fish supper. Generous portions of breaded fish and the desserts are awesome, such a massive choice of great home cooked desserts.

DSC_5039A unique experience and very enjoyable evening with good company. Everyone is so very hospitable and friendly. Meet some interesting people including a fellow potter. Great conversations with Alan. He’s ex US army and taught civil war history. Some very interesting conversations about the civil war.

Well we’ve finally finished prison break and survived. Almost compulsive viewing but too much bad luck, implauseability and more cliff hangers than Flash Gordon in the Saturday morning club at the Odeon. A mind numbing way of whiling away the hours, I feel disappointed I didn’t stop wasting my life on it.

DSC_5031Anyone got any sensible suggestions for a worthwhile Netflix series?

Try “Reign”. Supposedly an historical drama about Mary Queen of Scots. More like a light hearted comedy. A cross between “The Tudors”, “Holly Oaks” and “Barbie”. Full of giggling teenage girls, dolled up to their nipples and prancing around in extravagant 20th century dresses.

Also give “Person of Interest” a go. Now thats more like it. No story. No cliff hangers. You can nod off through a whole episode and no need to catch up.

Well done to the Conservatives, all we need now is a dose of Corbynism to throw it all away. When will these loopy idealists understand that you need prosperity to pay for all their lofty ideals.

Britain has grown faster than any other leading economy since 2013 after bouncing back from recession far more strongly than had been thought, official figures show.

Following a series of revisions to past data, the Office for National Statistics said Britain is now 5.9 per cent larger than its pre-crisis peak. It was previously estimated to have been just 5.2 per cent bigger.

The revisions revealed that Britain enjoyed the strongest recovery of any G7 leading nation in both 2013 and 2014. On OECD forecasts, the UK is on track to top the G7 again this year, equal with the US. On a per-person basis, the UK is 0.6 per cent larger than ever.

IMG_4444Here we go again. More from the dhimmi multicultural apologist:

COMPANIES need to consider whether to permit staff to heat up sausage rolls in communal microwaves or keep bacon rolls in fridges, according to the author of new guidelines to help firms avoid upsetting people of other faiths or beliefs.

It’s simple if you don’t like the way our country works go somewhere that can accommodate you.

 

Saturday – Grey and heavy rain.

 

Still keeping our eye open for this geezer and his kinsmen.

Still keeping our eye open for this geezer and his kinsmen.

Wendy’s been having these blue flashes in her left eye so we drive down to Asheville to have it checked out by an eye doctor.

She gets a through eye exam and turns out she got a partial or incomplete posterior vitreous detachment. Apparently very common in the over 60’s, yet another benefit of old age, still better than the alternative. Normally clears up after 6 weeks or so but there is a small chance it can cause a detached retina so we have to keep an eye on it – so to speak.

Home for the good ole boys from "Deliverance".

Home for the good ole boys from “Deliverance”.

As is typical with American medicine you get friendly, professional and thorough examination. Careful explanation of the problem and prognosis along with written report and of course a DVD with detailed photos of the inside of your eyes.

Get back around lunch time and hunker down to avoid the rain.

That’s the thanks we get. Went to the church yesterday and for that we now get floods of biblical proportions.

Hopefully the tail of hurricane Joaquin will pass and we’ll be back to reasonable weather after tomorrow.

Pat Condell again, this time on “The Invasion of Europe”. As usual he’s spot on.

Islam the Untold Story:

20150927 – We Drive A Tree Hugger Mobile – Awful; Our Home Exchange in Black Mountain

Sunday – hot, very humid and sunny.

 

Fall Free Falls

Fall Free Falls

Gamy leg major step forward. I can now do a yoga Tree pose on my gamy leg. Really useful. I suppose it may help me blend in with the trillion other trees around here if we encounter a bear.

The plan for the day is a stroll around Blue Ridge. Some lunch for Wendy then a trip out to Morganton Point and a walk by the lake. You’d think it’d be around the lake but alas that’ll wear me walking poles down to nothing, it’s over 100 miles around.

Have the stroll. Interesting how, even here in the land of the mighty greenback, the more religious emporiums sacrifice a good days takings. Lunch at Danielles was a real trial. Great food but OMG I think they must have sent to Paris (well there is a picture of the Eiffel tower on their sign) for the food judging by the length of time it took. After exploring everything on iPhone, even I got bored, it was a trip to the counter, a few choice sarcastic words. I just couldn’t resist, and then the food finally arrived. By which time Wendy was ready to chase and eat the tiny lizard, as severe malnutrition had set in. Oh and yes they may only work for tips, so my tip was, work for an organisation that has at least a minor sense of urgency.

As for the walk, no way, it was just too hot and humid.

A pleasant geriatrics sort of afternoon.

Sadly we’re getting a tad bored with this area. Lovely scenery but unless you’ve got a boat, or into serious walking, it lacks significant places to explore. After a while all these trees do start to get to you. No doubt in a few more weeks we’ll have the splendid autumnal colours.

Curmuring
Meaning: A low rumbling sound produced by the bowels.
Origin: 1880s
As in: Nothing worse than Wendy’s noisy curmuring whilst waiting for her lunch.

Parking fines:

Terrorism police are monitoring more than 3,000 homegrown Islamic extremists willing to carry out attacks in Britain. British men and women, many in their teens, are being radicalised to the point of violence within weeks, MI5 warned yesterday. Investigators have also detected a significant overlap between Islamist suspects and those suffering mental health problems, leaving them vulnerable to grooming. The NHS now has full-time staff attached to the anti-extremism Prevent programme who try to identify signs of extremist behaviour.

To sum up then they seem to be saying Islamic extremists are a bunch of nutters. Didn’t we all know that.

 

Monday – hot and sunny.

 

Who keeps turning the table cloth back? Spooky.

Who keeps turning the table cloth back? Spooky.

Decide on that drive out to Morgantown Point and a walk by the lake. Not really that impressive just a beach on the lake. Pass on the walk.

We decide to go to Fall Branch Falls. Come across a Pavement ends sign. A bit confusing as like most American roads there was no pavement, after all it is America and nobody walks anyway. What it really means is road ends and your on a dirt track from now on. After 10 miles of pretty good dirt track we follow the instructions to the Falls. Apparently they’re over the bridge and the parking lot is on the right. No it’s not, there’s no bridge and the parking lot is on the left. To add insult to stupidity there is a sign for the falls, but it’s well hidden up the path so you can’t see it from the road.

It must be a common feature of the Georgia’s tourist departments, they couldn’t organise a f..k in a brothel with a fist full of fifties. Poor directions; badly promoted; no one really gives a dam.

A common site round here, in “Dukes of Hazard” country, of some good old boys flying the confederate flag from the back of their souped up, giant tyre'd, high suspension, noisy pick up truck.

A common site round here, in “Dukes of Hazard” country, of some good old boys flying the confederate flag from the back of their souped up, giant tyre’d, high suspension, noisy pick up truck.

The falls are ok but really nothing to blog about.

Bit of a disappointing day.

Every time we go out the table cloth on the outside dining room table is turned back. Is it the wind? Doubt it, no wind around. Is it the squirrel? Is it a poltergeist? Is it a bear with OCD? I weighted the corner of the table cloth down to eliminate the wind. When we came back the other corner was turned back and some flowers were left in front of the door! Spooky and certainly not a quantum effect.

Monsterful
Meaning: Wonderful and extraordinary.
Origin: 1810s
As in: The Breaking Bad finale was every bit as monsterful as I’d hoped.

More crazy laws below the Mason Dixon line:

Though it is illegal to spit from a car or bus, citizens may spit from a truck.

It is illegal for a chicken to cross the road.

Cars are not to drive on sidewalks.

Erotic dancing is prohibited on Sundays.

The flooring of adult bookstores and video stores must be nonabsorbant and smooth textured.

No spitting on the sidewalk is permitted after dark.

Members of the Ku Klux Klan yell as they fly Confederate flags outside the statehouse in protest at its removal.

Members of the Ku Klux Klan yell as they fly Confederate flags outside the statehouse in protest at its removal.

Well here we are in the deep South, below the Mason Dixon line, and lo and behold those right wing fascists, the Klu Klux Klan are still around. One would have hoped it had withered and died like a dried up cow pat. What a lovely bunch of slobs (very judge mental I know) they all are, tattoos and swastikas on every piece of flesh and orifice. Fortunately the Klan today is small, weak, poorly led and largely looked down upon by other white supremacist groups, who see them as illiterate and unhelpful in the greater struggle. The Klan is about 4,000 members strong — down from a high of 4 million during the 1920s — with 23 chapters nationwide.
Even 3,500 miles away we get fed up of hearing all this hooha about British muslims being radicalised and trooping off to fight for ISIS. And to top it all America has its fair share.

Good riddance I say. Let’s lay on free flights for anyone who wants to go, but make sure we strip them of their British citizen ship; finger print them; get a DNA sample.

If we find their family has been involved in the radicalisation they should be shipped off with them. If it is further found that the mosque was involved then the inman should be sent packing to follow their converts and for good measure the mosque should be closed down. Soon solve the problem.

 

Tuesday – hot and sunny.

 

Black Mountain Home Exchange - open plan lounge complete with giant flat screen TV.

Black Mountain Home Exchange – open plan lounge complete with giant flat screen TV.

Drive up to Cleveland, Tennessee to pick up the Hertz Mobile.

Mr hertz has seen fit to offer me a choice of a Nissan, rather hire an arthritic donkey, or a tree hugger mobile (Toyota Prius). Made a big mistake and went for the Prius. A word of advice, don’t ever drive one – see rant below for reasons why not.

We were thinking we may have a wander around Cleveland but nothing to it, so settle for a Starbucks instead.

Open plan lounge.

Open plan lounge.

In the afternoon we, well Wendy mainly, cleans the house and packs, while I take the car to be washed and fuelled up. Collect a couple of Giant burgers from Sue’s a locals cafe that comes highly recommended. You can cut the local accent in there with a chain saw.

Resistentialism
Meaning: The seemingly malevolent behaviour displayed by inanimate objects.
Origin: 1940s
As in: That water bottle looks like it wants to kill me. It exhibits resistentialism.

Life in the South:

    The proper pronunciation you learned in school is no longer proper.

    Open plan kitchen.

    Open plan kitchen.

    Be advised that “He needed killin” is a valid defense here.

    If you hear a Southerner exclaim, “Hey, y’all, watch this,” you should stay out of the way. These are likely to be the last words he’ll ever say.

    If there is the prediction of the slightest chance of even the smallest accumulation of snow, your presence is required at the local grocery store. It doesn’t matter whether you need anything or not. You just have to go there.

    When you come up on a person driving 15 mph down the middle of the road, remember that most folks learn to drive on a John Deere, and that is the proper speed and position for that vehicle.

    Do not be surprised to find that many 10-year-olds own their own shotguns, they are proficient marksmen, and their mammas taught them how to aim.

    In the South, we have found that the best way to grow a lush green lawn is to pour gravel on it and call it a driveway.

    If you do settle in the South and bear children, don’t think we will accept them as Southerners. After all, if the cat had kittens in the oven, we wouldn’t call ’em biscuits!

A list of just a few of the diabolical features of a Toyota Prius:

    The gear shift is counter intuitive.

    Open plan kitchen diner and lounge.

    Open plan kitchen diner and lounge.

    Put it in neutral and it stays in drive or reverse, nearly mowed down a grey haired old lady and destroyed another car.

    No cruise control. Probably the loopy greens are worried it will create too much CO2.

    I think it must be possessed as engine keeps cutting out, unnerving, ungodly.

    When you shut the door it’s amazing it doesn’t fall off, as you get to hear how tinny it is.

    When the engine does wake from its slumber you need ear defenders, it’s so noisy.

    Has all the speed, style, grace and acceleration of a three legged tortoise.

    When Wendy drives she needs a periscope to see over the bonnet.

    All round visibility makes my old SLK sports seem like a panoramic window on the world by comparison.

    Engine management system diagram drives you nuts.

On the plus side, for an American car, it’s fairly fuel efficient, but with a gallon of petrol costing just £1.20 who gives a CO2 molecule about global warming if you have to suffer this green tree hugger mobile.

Yes, we have become a society of cowards:

 

Wednesday – hot and sunny.

 

Formal dinning room.

Formal dinning room.

After a pleasant 3 hour drive – spoilt only by that rickety tree hugger mobile – down the side of the Smoky Mountains, a few trees on the way, we’ve arrived at our next home exchange in Black Mountain just outside Asheville, North Carolina.

It’s a lovely and homely (for the avoidance of any doubt that word is the highest compliment we could pay to a home) brick built bungalow. Very spacious. Immediately feel at home here.

Open plan front parlour.

Open plan front parlour.

After 2 weeks in a log cabin in the wilds of Blue Ridge it’s quite refreshing to be somewhere closer to civilisation. At last I get some civilised Internet, rather than electrons being delivered on the back of an arthritic donkey that needs a rest every few minutes. The nerd in me just loves 38Mbps with a 20Ms ping.

Just sat on the rocking chair watching the birds. Now all I need is for a bear to come and pose for a picture on the lawn below. Then it’s off down to the supermarket so Wendy can get her weekly fix. I suppose I’ll have to suffer another Starbucks.

Master bedroom with en-suite bathroom.

Master bedroom with en-suite bathroom.

Don’t I just love the free wifi everywhere, even in a supermarket. But sadly by the time I’d read the 21 pages of small print weasel words it was time to go.

Fantastic news, even got me up from my Starbucks coffee. This supermarket sells Hofbrau Oktoberfest and a few other decent German lagers. Now that’s a thirst for America. I’m orgasmic. Then to top it all we have the ultimate in checkout service. They take the goods out of your basket for scanning and a packer packs them and then offers to take them to the car. What’s more no tipping allowed. I’m impressed. How neat is all that? So is it Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury, Waitrose, Aldi or Lidl? No it’s Ingles, they understand customer service.

Back porch complete with an All American giant gas barbecue.

Back porch complete with an All American giant gas barbecue.

After a pleasant day the heavens open up for a right good frog strangler. To top it off, despite being in the driest time of the year round here, we discover that there’s five days of rain forecast – OMG even Blackburn’s not that bad.

Quockerwodger
Meaning: A wooden puppet, controlled by strings.
Origin: 1850s
As in: The president has no real power, he is a mere quockerwodger.

George Carlin on complaints and grievances. Full length show 70 minutes. If you’re not broad minded then don’t watch. Awesome stuff.

Back garden. Just waiting for the bear to come now.

Back garden. Just waiting for the bear to come now.

More crap from the EU. Never mind all helps in the “Get Out” argument.

We, the British taxpayers, face an extra European Union bill of £384 million (€519 million) next year after MEPs defied national governments and proposed to raise Brussels budgets.

National ministers agreed an EU budget for 2016 of €142.1 billion, yet now the European parliament’s budget committee has reversed the cuts and increased spending by €3 billion.

They’re out of control. Let’s get out. Let’s get back control. Let’s get back our sovereignty.

Richard Dawkins, a voice of reason: