23 October 2011

Frolicking in the ruins

I decided to skip touring the behind the gates of most of the best known castles on this trip but wanted to go explore one because, well, you just HAVE to if you visit the UK.  Using ye olde trusty google search, I quickly narrowed my choices down to two that were a short distance from where I stayed most of the time......Warwick Castle got knocked out of the running thanks to its way too kitschy website and that left me with Kenilworth Castle.  It's actually a ruin but still breath-taking AND you actually get to explore it almost completely unfettered--perfect!!!

This reproduction garden is very recent and in my opinion took away from the experience 

Loved seeing the kids playing in the castle :-) 

Unfortunately along with the being able to explore without someone breathing down your neck also comes the bad side of human nature

I also had my first cream tea here :-)

In the south, we would call that scone a biscuit, lol

These photos are only a very minuscule fraction of what I took here (over 200) but I didn't want to overwhelm everybody's bandwidth and attention span more than I already have but I do hope they are providing some entertainment.

Where does the door lead

Another recurring theme/fascination of mine for some reason are doorways, entrances, and gates.  Not quite sure why, perhaps the thought of wondering what lies beyond, is it something I shouldn't know, what are the inhabitants doing, IS the grass greener. For whatever reason I do find myself snapping (mostly mediocre) photos of them fairly often.

Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle

Warwick Castle 

Church in Warwick

 Oxford (I think)

One of the very few "modern" pics I took 

Entrance gate/path in Rugby

Derwents Dam


22 October 2011

Readjusting plans

So I'm sure you've read my bitchfest in the previous post........let's throw in that my favorite stress reliever and just all around fun thing to do is out of the mix right now.  I managed to do something to my left foot on Tuesday (no idea what, grrrr) that started out with just a niggling irritation then escalated to a pain so bad on Thursday that I was near tears.  The area affected is on the sole of my foot, just below the pinkie toe area and extends down about 2 inches and my foot is slightly swollen. Walking right now is a struggle so running is definitely out of the question.  I'm taking the weekend easy, staying off my feet as much as possible, icing and ibuprofen'ing the hell out of it.  If it's still this way Monday, I'm headed to the doctor but as of right now it looks like the Marine Corps Marathon next weekend is out.......Flight and hotel are already booked and while I can cancel the latter, the flight is non-refundable so I may be going to DC to cheer rather than run.  Think positive thoughts please!!

So with all that, leaving you with a vid of my latest music love--Middle Class Rut with a slightly lower key version of "Busy Being Born"

riding the grumble wagon

I've had a couple of cruddy weeks at work.......it actually feels like WORK, now.  Yes, trucking has always been frustrating but it's always had its redeeming features, like not having a boss directly looking over your shoulder, enough challenges and changes of scenery to keep things lively for the most part--yes even on a dedicated route--and the ability to take an odd week or 2 off here and there without worrying about conflicting with anyone else's vacation.

All of that has changed this year, there's been more than enough written about the Lola trials and tribulations with repairs and breakdowns.  Gone through a couple of "new" dispatchers who keep futzing the dedicated routes up, had the truck turned down to a speed that is not even up to what the speed limits are in the states I drive through, EOBR's (electronic on board recording system) have been installed AND a pay cut of .09 cents per mile (down from .43 cpm to .34cpm).  So, yeah I am not a happy go lucky trucker at the moment. I'm so disgruntled at the moment with my job that I haven't even re-installed my cb radio from when I had to clean everything out of my truck for vacation.

While I'm on the grumble wagon, had a couple of interesting things occur at the Mt. Juliet customer this week.  First off there was an owner/operator from a different company that stopped and asked me to help him slide his tandems while I was hooking up to my new trailer. No problem, there are always trailers where that is a two person job no matter how big, strong, or experienced a driver you are so I was happy to help.  What I found odd was that there were 2 other of my fellow company drivers right across from me that were guys......not grumbling there, just found it odd he'd ask the only girl about to do the heavy work, lol.  My guess is that he asked me because I'd been standing there chatting with one of the customer's drivers about what I was doing at that particular place instead of my usual and he (correctly, btw) deduced that out of the 3, I was the one who'd been driving the longest--not that it is a particularly long time (11.5 years).  The grumble comes in with him not double-checking to make sure the pins had locked down after I gave him the thumbs up........I ALWAYS do that!!!!!!!!!!!  Yes, I've offended a few people but it is my arse if they haven't locked down and the duals slide out from under the trailer, granted that's a long shot but it has been known to happen.

The other tidbit was one of those other company drivers asking if I wanted to run down to Laredo with him.  First off, I don't like doing that because you always feel bad about making someone stop when you want to or worse yet, having to stop when they do.  Second, I don't know this guy so not sure what kind of person he is.  Don't care that we have the same employer, doesn't mean he's a good person--of course I'm not saying he's a bad guy either but I just don't know for sure.  Third, remember the no cb from earlier? Well, how are we supposed to communicate, especially since he doesn't have one either?  Yep, you got it.......he wanted my phone number and was very persistent about it.  3 times he asked, almost insisting towards the end.  Not happening and I wouldn't even accept his number when he offered after I refused to give mine the second time.  Call me a bitch or paranoid if you must but that's my personal phone and I am not sharing the number with someone unless it's absolutely necessary.

How many bloody colleges are there????

Oxford.  Entirely too much to see and I took way too many photos that have been taken by way too many other people over the decades so just quick impressions here.

Lots of colleges/universities (d'uh!!!), 38 was the number I was given.

Views of most of the universities from the street

Spires are everywhere, large and small, but mostly large

Lots of imposing architecture

Tired and hungry so I didn't exactly stand up straight and suck in the tummy (grrrr)

Bicycles are the preferred mode of transport (love!)

Random shots around Oxford that I loved

This is not a particularly good shot but I was intrigued by the shadow and light

Sorry that this post was extraordinarily photo heavy (oops, bandwidth) but I really didn't want to split it into two separate posts.  However if anyone feels different just leave me a comment and I'll see about separating it out more.