Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Harry's James Bond Glasses A Bit Of A Flop

Harry as Steven King in The Wonder Eyes
People love candid pictures and video. Folks just behave differently when they know they are being photographed. So before our London trip - I bought a pair of glasses on Amazon with a video camera in them for $70. I had visions of going into museums and theaters - and just recording what I saw.

On our second day in town - we went to see Rebel Wilson in Guys and Dolls. Rebel Wilson is a very funny lady from Australia. We have seen her in many movies and also in a few comedy performances on Netflix. So I tried to capture here with my glasses at the theatre. We got great seats for $30.

The glasses could not keep up with the lighting in the theatre. You can only shoot video - and later you can pick out single frames to make photos. There is not viewfinder on the glasses - so you are not sure where to point your head. Also - you not even sure the camera is on. It is not dependable.

The glasses are a little goofy looking - they make you look like Steven King. But I do not think anyone knew I was recording. I do like the idea of video glasses - just not this pair. I am still hunting for a better pair.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Day 13 - London - The Last Night in Town at Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall is beautiful and special

We were there for a concert.

It is our last night in London - we fly home in the morning. Lulu always wanted to see a concert in the Royal Albert Hall - and tonight she got her wish. In the summer - they hold a concert series called The Proms. I do not get the name but ticket can be had for as little as 5 pounds to see world class acts. 

Tonight we saw The Welsh Symphony Orchestra. We bought nice close tickets on line for 9 pounds. 

Royal Albert Hall is 150 years old. They have 400 shows a year there. Of course it is famous for hosting Beatles and Rolling Stones concerts. You may recall the line on the Beatles - Sargent Pepper Album - "now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall." the hall seats 5200 people. 

The concert hall is on the Imperial College campus in the Kensington section of London. In that complex is a series of museums - including the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

We took the subway home - we must get a good night's rest because tomorrow we fly from 11:30 AM  London time to 8:00 PM Tallahassee time. We go from London to Atlanta to Tallahassee. It is a total of 13 hours  in the air and lay over in Atlanta. 

We were very close to the Welsh Orchestra

The people on the floor had to stand

Day 13 - London - The British Museum

Seminole Indian Jacket


It is Friday afternoon - we are trying to fit in everything we can. The British Museum is just around the corner from our apartment. We walked over and spent an hour looking at some of our favorite artifacts. Admission is free - and sometimes we take it for granted. Just down the street is the FSU Study Centre.

We have a special feeling for what the British call The Elgin Marbles. They are the famous marble sections of the Greek Parthenon. The Parthenon is the symbol of the world's first Democracy. We visited the building in Athens Greece on the Acropolis in the middle of the city. When we designed our home - we used several of the perspectives of this fine temple - the symbol of civilization. 

Saturday - tomorrow - we will head home. We are flying from 11:30 AM here to 8 PM in Tallahassee.

Centaur and Lapith from the Parthenon 

This room contains the Parthenon Marbles
stolen in the 1800s

This room is very controversial

The Rosetta Stone - has 3 languages on it -
it cracked the translation code

The famous British Museum Atrium


Roman Vase from 200 AD

Seminole Explanation 

Day 13 - London - Snorkel Masks

The Masks

The Store

Tami and Jackie told us about these snorkel masks. They are only available in England. We found a sports store that had them along the Thames River - out by the Olympic Park.

The masks cover the whole face and water does not come down the snorkel tube. They seem pretty neat.

Lulu is at the post office now sending them to Virginia.

Day 12 - London - Ben Franklin's Home

The only remaining home of
Ben Franklin.

From this desk - Ben would write to his
wife Deborah

Ironically this Rolls Royce was parked out
front. I imagined that Ben would ride in
one of these

Buckingham Palace is not very far from
Ben's home - same with Parliament

They give tours and multi media
presentations in the house. Someone
dresses up as Polly Stevenson

Many people do not realize that Ben Franklin lived in London 16 years from 1758 to 1774. He represented Pennsylvania and several other colonies to the Crown. In essence - his home here in London was the first American Embassy.  His house - 36 Craven Street - is just off the Thames River - between Parliament and Buckingham Palace. At one time it fell into disrepair - but it still has the original floors and woodwork. 

To the people in Europe - Ben Franklin was the greatest American. He was such a Renaissance man - he was a master in science - literature - government - art. He had more influence on the formation of America than any other man. He signed the Declaration of Independence - the Treaty of Paris - and the American Constitution. He invented - the Franklin Stove - bifocals - lightning rod - and glass harmonica. He founded the University of Pennsylvania - the first insurance company - the American postal system - and the first fire company. He convinced France to support the USA in the American Revolution. After the war - he served many years in France as our ambassador.

Lulu just reminded me that Franklin started the first lending library.

He spent almost the last 30 years of his life in Europe. His wife in Philadelphia - Deborah - feared travel and stayed home. She died while he was in England. Ben was very much a lady's man and several historians say he had an affair with both his landlady and her daughter in England. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tamaqua PA From The Air - 8/10/2016

I love Andy Leibenguth's videos. He does a spectacular job.

This is my hometown - August 10 - 2016.

Day 11 - London - Windsor Castle - Eton College

Main entrance protected by machine gun guards

Overhead view of Windsor Castle and Thames River

The changing of the guard every half hour with machine guns

Lulu always finds these cute little libraries
Wednesday afternoon in England was a beautiful one. The temperature barely reached 70 - the breezes were strong - and the sky usually sunny - with a few bouts of overcast - that looked like rain but didn't fall. Our two week stay at 11 Bedford Place is winding down. We are getting a bit of melancholy with having to leave.

Windsor Castle was built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. It is the largest continuously occupied castle in the world - almost 1000 years old. It is Queen Elizabeth's favorite home - she spends weekends and summers here. It is about 25 miles from our apartment downtown - it took us about 45 minutes by train - the Queen can do it in a few minutes in the Royal Chopper.

The castle extends from right in the middle of Windsor town - out thru the countryside along the Thames River. It was originally designed as a stronghold to protect the river and as a refuge for royalty. During WWII - King George spent much of his time here away from the Nazi bombing. 

When we got there - there was a line about 2 hours long to pay the 20 pound fee to enter- I took my pictures and was ready to walk away. But Lulu went online to buy tickets for 18 pounds (pensioner rate) and we passed the line and went right in with our iPhone tickets. We spent about 2 hours touring the various rooms - full of furniture. About 500 people live and work in the castle. There are plenty of apartments of guests. The flag was up - so the queen was there while we were - she did not greet us with tea and cookies. 

You were allowed to take pictures of the outside area - but they did not want you to photograph inside. I did not see the "do not photo" signs for a while and no one stopped me until Lulu pointed it out.

I liked Windsor Castle much better than Hampton Court and Buckingham Palace. I particularly like St George Chapel - which is a giant cathedral. Many of the recent kings and queens are buried there - Queen Mary - Jane Seymour (Henry VIII's wife) - King George (the stuttering king) - and many more. I expect Queen Elizabeth will be tombed there. 

An interesting note - your 20 pound ticket can be stamped to be a year pass for free. You can come back again and again without paying for a year. 

After the castle tour - we walked the streets of Windsor - a very nice place to shop. We also walked to Eton College - about a mile away. 

Eton College - is an exclusive boys boarding school - ages 13 to 18. It costs about $50,000 a year if you can get in. Prince Harry - Prince William - Boris Johnson - David Cameron - are some of the recent grads. After Eton - a usual stop would be Oxford or Cambridge - in the educational chain - a few steps up form Tamaqua High and Kutztown State Teachers College.

The college has beautiful old grounds along the Thames River. After that we had a nice Italian supper with a full view of the Castle and the street full of tourists. After a few glasses of wine and a delightful meal - we slept the way home. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Day 10 - London - The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism - Cable Car Over The Thames

The Rolling Stone tongue logo
welcomes you to the exhibit

Duke of York Headquarters - now the museum where the
exhibit is displayed

Riding the cable cars over The Thames - the O2 Arena -
downtown London in the background -
the cable cars held 10 people
In the 60s - everyone loved The Beatles. They wrote the sound track of our generation. But they only existed as a touring group from 1961 to 1966. Some say the greatest rock and roll band was the Rolling Stones. They have stayed together to the present day. In 1964 - at the height of Beatlemania - the Rolling Stones were voted the top group in England. Mick Jagger - the lead singer of the Stones was a symbol of the counter culture. Even today - at age 73 - and worth hundred of millions - he is famous for being an expectant father. He has maintained his youthful skinny body - and can rock with  the best of them. 

The Rolling Stones started by playing American Rhythm and Blues songs of Southern USA black musicians - like Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf. Later - they moved to Southern France to avoid paying Britain's heavy income taxes. 

The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism is a collection of multi-media to cover the history of the band from the 1960's to the present - up to an including the massive USA tour this summer. The members of the band are in their 70s now. Three of the originals - Mick Jagger - Keith Richards - and Charlie Watts - still tour together.