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Thames Barrier

October19

            Yesterday Ted, Chad, Becca, and I went to a craft fair, only to learn we arrived a week late.  It was my fault.  During the forty-mile ride there, Becca had misgivings about the date because we didn’t encounter the expected traffic.  When we arrived and saw no crowds and smelled no food, I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I would hear about this again.  My reputation for accuracy of dates has been seriously damaged.

            I have no doubt the day will live in infamy.  After all, one of us has never lived down the fact that in  the summer of 1990 we drove all the way to Nags Head, NC, only to learn that our reservations were for the following week.  Then there was the incident in London, where one or two of us (not me—I’d never heard of it!) had a burning desire to see the Thames Barrier.  We took the tube to the closest stop, then walked, and walked, and walked.  We never found it.  Also, we will never forget the incident in Las Vegas when the same person responsible for the Nags Head fiasco thought it would be interesting to walk, rather than take a cab, to the Rio to see the Penn and Teller show for which we had tickets.  It almost turned out to be a case of ‘you can’t get there from here’—at least not on foot.  As these ordeals were being remembered at lunch today, Chad recalled the time a certain person (also responsible for the Barrier debacle) thought it would be interesting to go over the Paw Paw tunnel on the C & O bike trail, rather than through it.  (Today, she admits the tunnel scared her.)  The trail would have been difficult unencumbered, but on bikes, it was nearly impossible for a woman in her 50s.  The only thing that kept me from complete collapse was my unwillingness to let my daughter’s boyfriend see me crumple under pressure.

            I would like to point out that this is the first time I have had to take responsibility for our ill-advised escapades.  Becca insists this is because she and Ted are the ones who plan our excursions, but I’m not so sure.

            In all honesty, I also have to say that the outcomes have not been all bad.  I can’t think of anything positive about the Las Vegas walk except that we survived and we arrived in time for the show.  However, on that evening in Nags Head we had a delicious seafood dinner, and Paul, on his temporary license at the time, acquired a lot of driving experience in a single day.  In London, we saw parts of the Thames that tourists—and probably most Londoners—never see, and we met a friendly cab driver who tried to help us out.  Our rugged mountain climb netted me the respect of my future son-in-law.  And yesterday’s drive provided a spectacular display of fall foliage along the way.  We had a good time eating at a local grill and browsing in the town’s charming shops before driving home, too. 

            Best of all, we remain friends and can laugh at each other’s foibles.

posted under Family, Travel
One Comment to

“Thames Barrier”

  1. Avatar October 20th, 2008 at 12:06 am cj Says:

    Hmmm. I remember a “shortcut” my family took that went on and on for miles until it became just a dirt road. We finally came to a tree in the middle of the road — which marked the place where we had to turn around to head back the way we came.

    Then there was the wonderful meal we had at Mom’s Open Kitchen in Elyria, Ohio. One of our party was attracted to the chintz curtains in the window. Turned out the curtains were plastic — and so, apparently, was the roast beef.

    That may have been where I came up with my travel motto, “The worst trials make the best stories.”

    cj´s last blog post..My civics lesson.


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I am a Christian, a mother and grandmother, a sister, a daughter, a teacher, a widow, a friend. . .  My life is first of all defined by relationships–to God, to my family, to my students, to my friends. Of course, I am many other things: a reader, an e-mail writer, a piano player, and a somewhat reluctant traveler, for example.  And now I am a blogger.  I’m not sure why, except it seems to be a logical next step for someone addicted to e-mail.

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