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Old Posted Sep 7, 2018, 2:18 PM
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The Eternal Thirst: HHNC visits the UK

Yes! You know you were waiting for it... another half-assed photo thread featuring cell phone pictures of middling quality. My partner and I just got back from a week in the UK, where we visited London, Cardiff, Bath, and London again just for good measure. I can't wait to report to you the many exciting things we saw and did. For example, I'm pleased to say that I will never again be able to view an image of the iconic Tower Bridge, one of the world's most recognizable landmarks, without thinking to myself that I pissed in the north tower. Likewise Hampton Court Palace where, after reading Henry VIII's edicts on how to properly use the toilet off the throne room -- the King did not wish to hear others' bodily functions and they were required to cough to hide any erstwhile plops or whistling farts -- I was inspired to use the restroom there myself. And while we're on the subject, we also viewed King William III's velvet toilet there.

Meanwhile, considering that Europe is the arbiter of world fashion, I can report to you the looks that will be de rigeur in America next year. We can expect jean shorts with the cuffs, such as they are, rolled up exactly two turns. We can expect unflattering, high-wasted, tapered-leg mom jeans -- as well as unflattering, mom jean overalls. We can expect floppy hats. Basically this. And that was on men and women alike. Get ready, America! Europe wears it a year before we do!

...Unless, mind you, this is what fashionable young men and ladies in New York and Los Angeles are already wearing this year, in which case carry on. Sorry to have disturbed you.

Moving on, I can also report that, sadly, it it still considered extremely unfashionable for a man to have an ass in London. Therefore, most men are still wearing indescribably unflattering skinny jeans and skinny pants, of the sort that compress your ass -- should you have one -- into a compacted mass of tissue the density of a bowling ball, thus rendering you flat as a board from shoulders to ankles. Occasionally we would see a rebellious soul daring to wear jeans or dress pants that showed off their ass -- in the case of one handsome African gentleman in line ahead of us at an ice cream shop, nothing short of surgery could have gotten rid of his ass -- but these were depressingly few and far between.

And I have to say to London that we really do need to have a talk. Look at this, London. Look at it. It's called a tea urn and it is used to brew commercial quantities of iced tea, both sweet and unsweet, for sale in restaurants. We learned that Europe remains the land without refills, the land of eternal thirst whenever one is eating in a restaurant... That is, of course, unless one requests tap water. Request tap water and you'll get it, served refreshingly lukewarm, but you'll usually be able to cajole the server into another bottle. Sometimes even a pitcher! Sometimes, if you're lucky, even with ice! Nevertheless, America, and particularly the South, is light years ahead of Europe when it comes to providing adequate quantities of refreshing beverages, at the proper temperature, in restaurants. I will hand it to you though, London. You have discovered and incorporated the concept of the restaurant bathroom into your lives. This concept -- and follow me closely here, it's a bathroom inside a restaurant -- still eludes New York, and is, in my frank opinion, the only thing that keeps New York from being a truly great world city.

But you didn't come here for sardonic commentary. You came for pictures. And here they are. I'll follow the trend I've seen here lately and put up a day's worth of pictures from our trip at a time, but keep them all in the same thread so I won't clutter up the forum with a bunch of different threads.

This was our first night in London, after a nine-something hour flight that arrived more than an hour late. We took off from Charlotte and were out over the ocean when we had to turn around and land again in Raleigh. Some lady in the back of the plane was having a medical problem. We had to land and get her off and into an ambulance before we could get going again.

Day 1: Friday, August 31 -- The Usual Blithering of Pleasantries



Did you know the National Gallery stays open late on Friday nights? We went in search of the Monty Python foot, which is located in Room 8, and comes from the painting Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time by Agnolo Bronzino. After we found it, we toured the rest of the museum. Hopefully we can find prints of these two paintings, which we both liked quite a bit.





Then we had ramen and went for a stroll.









Then we went back to our hotel. This is the view from their rooftop bar.





That was our first night in London. The next day we headed off to see more of the country. Once somebody says something, I'll put up pics from the second day soon.
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Last edited by hauntedheadnc; Sep 7, 2018 at 6:18 PM.
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Old Posted Sep 7, 2018, 7:15 PM
robk1982 robk1982 is offline
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I'm a firm believer in "cell phone pictures of middling quality". Great view from your hotel.
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Old Posted Sep 7, 2018, 7:24 PM
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I'm a firm believer in "cell phone pictures of middling quality". Great view from your hotel.
It was the best I could do... My partner brought his camera, but I didn't bring mine. And the view was great, indeed... which is good, because that was the most expensive "Dark and Stormy" I've ever drunk in my life.

Thanks for taking a look and leaving your thoughts! I'll put up more pics later on tonight, probably.
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"Asheville air affects me like champagne; it goes to my head. I'm apt to do things for which I will be sorry in the grim dawn of New York." -- William G. Raoul, 1898
"After 30 years here, all I know is Asheville is a place where old souls and terrible angels walk among us..." -- Dale Neal, 2015
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Old Posted Sep 8, 2018, 2:36 AM
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Day 2: Saturday, September 1 -- Screaming with Binky

Appropriate theme music is required for full-length photo segments, naturally:

Video Link


The last thing you want to do, when visiting London, is actually visit London. To go someplace and actually stay there in that place makes one's balls itch, apparently. Though I fought it mightily, my partner had it in his head to go to Bath and take a hot-air balloon ride. He figured also, that if we were going to go all that way, why not shave another day off London itself and spend it seeing... well, pretty much anywhere except London? We settled on Cardiff and left from Paddington Station.









To his credit, he let me pick the places we visited in Cardiff, and I chose Cardiff Castle.





Personally, I rather liked Cardiff.









Before being gifted to the city of Cardiff by the family who owned it, Cardiff Castle was a private home... And living there must have been exhausting. Except for a bare handful of rooms, every interior in the castle was desperately overwrought and screaming with colors and images. The more you looked the more you saw and the more you saw the more you looked.



























The central city had a lot of historic shopping arcades.



























































This little diversion off the main drag through downtown Cardiff is what gives this segment its title: Screaming with Binky. Not long after we had passed by, we suddenly heard the most bloodcurdling shrieks echoing from this street. People turned and looked, dismissed the woman screaming, and went on about their business.



We ended our visit to Cardiff with this peculiar sundae, made of tart yogurt, lemon curd, and meringue. I would recommend this sundae.

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"Asheville air affects me like champagne; it goes to my head. I'm apt to do things for which I will be sorry in the grim dawn of New York." -- William G. Raoul, 1898
"After 30 years here, all I know is Asheville is a place where old souls and terrible angels walk among us..." -- Dale Neal, 2015
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Old Posted Sep 8, 2018, 4:37 AM
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Cardiff Castle looks like a worthy diversion from London!
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Old Posted Sep 8, 2018, 4:04 PM
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I enjoyed Cardiff, which had a distinct feel and was pleasant without being really gentrified.

Wales, overall, seems a bit underrated. All the tourists seem to be English. Especially liked the area around Snowdonia National Park.
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Old Posted Sep 8, 2018, 5:39 PM
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Have to admit that I’ve never been to Wales. I have a sister in Austria and I snowboard/ski, so when I go to the mountains I need a bit more than Snowdonia. My cousin went to university in Cardiff and liked it.
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Old Posted Sep 8, 2018, 11:08 PM
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Day 3: Sunday, September 2 -- Earthbound in Bath

We were promised balloons. We were led to believe there would be balloons. As the train traversed from Cardiff to Bath, the skies were downright dark with balloons. We could see dozens of people high up in the air enjoying their balloons, there in their floating wicker, held aloft by nothing more than nylon and spewing flames.

So, naturally, when the appointed hour arrived to call to find out the launch site the next morning, we were informed that it would be far too windy for any such foolishness as all that. Quite frankly, it sucked. However, it was what it was and we decided to explore the city on foot.

Video Link


Our hotel was literally next door to a cemetery.



One thing that stuck with me was how butterfly bushes, which people here pay good money to buy and plant in their yards, are a ubiquitous weed in England. They were everywhere. Then again, day lilies are something that people pay good money to buy and plant in their yard, and they're a ubiquitous weed here in WNC.









I've always enjoyed graveyards. Some of my fondest memories of childhood are the trips my mother and I would take to various area cemeteries, in search of tombstones that told how the person beneath had died.





Then we walked on to central Bath.











The ruins of the ancient Roman baths at Bath are, naturally, a must-see. You might get the impression that this, something that looks like a neglected, if unusually fancy, swimming pool is all there is to see of the baths. That impression could not be farther from the truth. The baths complex beneath the surrounding streets and buildings goes on and on. And on. The price you pay to get in is well worth everything you'll see there.













This is the actual hot spring, its gases just a'bubblin', that gave rise to the baths, separate from the bathing pool itself.



A model of the baths complex at its height.









My partner enjoyed Bath much more than Cardiff, stating that the atmosphere in Cardiff had reminded him of Myrtle Beach whereas Bath seemed refined and classy.



















Something that amuses me about historic British city planning is how, except in rare cases like Glasgow, they'd make occasional stabs at order -- the Royal Crescent and the Circus in Bath, the New Town in Edinburgh... but occasional stabs is all they ever made. Seems almost halfhearted, and the legacy is that you have a drib and a drab of order here and there, knotted up in the bait-bucket chaos of the rest of the city's streets.

Note to London: The fact that all of your streets suffer from multiple-personality disorder and cannot maintain the same name for more than eight linear meters really doesn't help this situation.









Some people had done amazing things with their little sunken courtyards.















On one side of the street, this. Across the street, sitting in a doorway with her legs splayed, was an enormous woman (not pictured) with tattoos and dyed purple hair, smoking a cigarette and apparently airing out her cooch. Either that, or she was so darned proud of it she just wanted everyone to be able to get a peek. She was wearing a housedress and even from across the street we could see that was all she was wearing. No underwear.

Class out the ass. That's Bath.



In light of what was going on up the street, this picture of a large portal was only appropriate.











That reminds me... In the Roman baths, you can actually drink the mineral water.

It tastes awful.





Occasionally, a crappy cell phone camera will still net you something rather dramatic. Tell me this doesn't look like an album cover.

You can't, can you? I thought not.





Do you ever wonder what things would have been like had Victoria been named something less dignified, like Minnie, perhaps? Or Lulabelle?





































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"Asheville air affects me like champagne; it goes to my head. I'm apt to do things for which I will be sorry in the grim dawn of New York." -- William G. Raoul, 1898
"After 30 years here, all I know is Asheville is a place where old souls and terrible angels walk among us..." -- Dale Neal, 2015
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2018, 4:22 PM
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Great pics and I really enjoyed the commentary
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2018, 4:35 PM
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Love the Bath pics/commentary and VERY happy you didn't include a pic of that fetching damsel!
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  #11  
Old Posted Sep 17, 2018, 12:40 PM
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hauntedheadnc hauntedheadnc is offline
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Just a note, but I have tons more pics to post. Just a matter of feeling like posting them.
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"Asheville air affects me like champagne; it goes to my head. I'm apt to do things for which I will be sorry in the grim dawn of New York." -- William G. Raoul, 1898
"After 30 years here, all I know is Asheville is a place where old souls and terrible angels walk among us..." -- Dale Neal, 2015
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Old Posted Sep 18, 2018, 2:31 AM
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awesome. i need to go back.

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Old Posted Sep 22, 2018, 10:22 PM
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Day 4: Monday, September 3 -- Playing the Tower Card

In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that the nighttime pictures came from the second day. I feel terribly ashamed of having misled you all.







This is the upper level of what is easily the gayest pink party bus on which you will ever eat frozen yogurt.







For the last several trips we've taken, I tell myself I won't bring my camera because, one, nobody cares, and two, I'll just go and make the memories for myself. They're mine, all mine, and you can't have them. Then this shit happens. Every time.







Of course, we really did set out on more adventures the next day. Theme music is called for:

Video Link


A note about the theme music: Yes, I know it would be better suited to Budapest, but it's nice and light and bouncy, perfect for a sunny day when you, too, are light and bouncing along in a boat heading up and down the Thames.







Let's pretend this is an artsy shot of some sort rather than the abject failure that it is.







Big Ben looks... a little different... these days.



















































We got to Greenwich in time to see the ball drop at the Royal Observatory. It was not exactly an experience whose warm memory I will call to myself as I listen to the hospital machines beeping out the last moments of my life on this earth.



I was, however, quite fond of the merlion. The world needs more merlions.















I confess that I like eating at Subway restaurants whenever I travel, simply so I can compare and contrast them to the ones here at home. I have now eaten at Subways in Vancouver, where everything is printed in English and French; Paris, where you can look at Notre Dame across the river while you eat; and now London, across the street from the Tower of London, and where the chicken tandoori was surprisingly good. It almost negated the horror of being able to put corn on your sandwich.

Putting corn in a sandwich is a blasphemy before God.

























All in all, you have to hand it to the English. They did an excellent job of rebuilding Tower Bridge after it was destroyed by the launch of the Steam Castle in 1865. In this trailer, tragically blurry as all fuck, for the fascinating and 100% true (really) documentary Steam Boy, you can see Tower Bridge being destroyed at 01:22.



















































Were you expecting delicate little lace curtains at the Tower of London? I wasn't.











On the left, you see that they don't build 'em like they used to. On the right you see that perhaps they should stop building 'em like they are now.









Quoth the raven: "Every other Tuesday between 3 and 3:45PM."











__________________
"Asheville air affects me like champagne; it goes to my head. I'm apt to do things for which I will be sorry in the grim dawn of New York." -- William G. Raoul, 1898
"After 30 years here, all I know is Asheville is a place where old souls and terrible angels walk among us..." -- Dale Neal, 2015
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Old Posted Sep 23, 2018, 1:26 AM
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But you didn't come here for sardonic commentary. You came for pictures.
You couldn't be any more wrong, in my case!

Entertaining thread, as always.
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Old Posted Oct 28, 2018, 7:50 PM
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Day 5: Tuesday, September 4 -- The Accidental Castlevania LARP

This is the problem with waiting so long between installments. I had all manner of snarky commentary lined up in my head as I was taking these pictures, and have forgotten it all in the intervening weeks. Pity. Anyway, our objective that day was to visit the hinterlands, namely Hampton Court Palace and Kew Gardens.

Video Link








Something we do when we travel is seek out hospitals to see what they look like in other countries. We do this because my partner is a nurse, nurse educator, and is well on his way to becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner. We rarely seek out departments of social services in other countries, though, even though I am a social worker. The stench of despair of such places gets in your clothes and people stare at you on the train.



Meanwhile, out in the London suburbs...



Aren't cell phone cameras just the best?







I pestered my partner to let me remodel our front door to look like this... but he decided to crush my spirit by reminding me that we rent our place.



This was the face I made after he reminded we're merely renters.







King Henry VIII says you can't cook naked.









It had been nagging at me how familiar Hampton Court felt and I couldn't put my finger on it... until I realized that the place with its various elements and sprawling gardens reminded me of... Castlevania. Yes. Dracula's castle in all its mutations from Super Castlevania IV to Castlevania: Dracula X, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Seriously. Go back and play some Castlevania and tell me if this place doesn't remind of you of it.









Absolutely perfect for left-to-right side-scrolling.







Who knew the NRA's secret jack-off room would be in England? I was certainly surprised. All of those decorations on the walls are swords, knives, and guns.













King William III's velvet potty.









I really just wanted to rampage through these gardens with a bullwhip, whipping the hell, literally, out of armies of walking skeletons and bats.

















That face at the top should spit fire or something.



Hands popping up from the ground to hold you in place, or outright zombies erupting from the dirt would be appropriate for this level.





Perhaps some kind of plant monster, like you find in the Versailles level of Castlevania: Bloodlines.



Yes... an attack by a bloodthirsty plant would be very appropriate.















Ideally, this fountain should turn to blood, although to have it turn to blood and then have blood skeletons start popping out of it might be a bit much.









To my knowledge, only Super Castlevania IV features paintings that attack... Perhaps more of them should.







Just imagine the mayhem if everyone up there decided to pop out of the mural and try to get a piece of you. You'd likely have to use a Special Attack.

















Are you tired of all that talk about video games? Well, okay then... That's fine, because to my knowledge there aren't many video games that feature botanical gardens.

















I asked my partner if I could redo our front yard to look like this, but again he crushed my spirit by reminding me that we rent. However, he was quick to add that when we decide to buy a place, I can add as many Japanese lanterns and as many gargoyles as I damn well please.











I asked him if, when we buy, if I could build an addition like this on to our place. He said sure.



























































































This cat was chilling in someone's doorway on the walk back to the train station from Kew Gardens. I think this cat looks very British.



We stopped for cake before heading to the station.

__________________
"Asheville air affects me like champagne; it goes to my head. I'm apt to do things for which I will be sorry in the grim dawn of New York." -- William G. Raoul, 1898
"After 30 years here, all I know is Asheville is a place where old souls and terrible angels walk among us..." -- Dale Neal, 2015
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Old Posted Oct 28, 2018, 10:00 PM
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Nice ones mate
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