She had a ticket to ride

Oh fine, this blog is going to amuse my younger readers, for sure! People are so used to just booking everything by phone, or online nowadays, that the concept of this might just blow a few minds!

Back in the mid/late 70’s, after I’d started work for the first time, I also started taking holidays by myself for the first time, which was fun. Now, back in those days, when the railways over here were still government owned, it was possible to travel the whole country by train, under the auspices of one rail company all over the country. And back then, it was made even easier by the fact you could buy one ticket, called a rail rover, and for 7 glorious days, the rail network was your limit. I started off doing the regional Southern version, and planning trips that I could do in a day, and get back home again for the night.

But before long, all those remote, and intriguing lines further afield, in deepest Wales, Scotland and the like took my eye, but to do that, I’d need the national version, and I wouldnt be able to get home every night. So I did! The main thing that would amuse my readers now, was that you couldnt just book these hotels online, like you can now, you either had to pick up a phone (which wasnt as cheap back then) and call them, or, write a letter! And yes, I tended to do the latter.

So armed with a very bulky British Rail timetable, and an AA hotel guide, I’d plot out my routes, plot out where I wanted to stay, then write a pile of letters booking my hotels. In truth, it was very rare not to get my first choice, but as I was tending to book in the ‘less obvious’ places, that may have been why.

One place I set my eyes on, was a very winding, very lightly served line in the north of Scotland. Funnily enough, nowadays, its called the Far North line, and runs from Inverness to Thurso, and Wick. Back in those days, the train divided at a remote station called Georgemas Junction, and a couple of coaches ran to each terminal. Nowadays a single train serves both! The thing is, its a very long line, and there are only 3 or 4 trains a day during the week, so its not easy to do. Also, it takes forever to cover the full length of the line.

So I looked for an interim place to stay, somewhere different, somewhere a little quirky, and found it. The Forsinard hotel was very close by to the railway station, which was ideal, but apart from a few other residences, that was it! By the time I got there, being summer in the North of Scotland, it was quite late, but not yet dark. A meal, a room with a bed, and breakfast in the morning, before heading back to the station, taking a train to Thurso (as I hadnt been there, but had been to Wick), having about 40 minutes to dash through town, before getting the same train south all the way back to Inverness!

Anyway, for some reason best known to myself, I decided to have a look, and see how much they charged for a room nowadays, as it cant have been too expensive back then, as I was on a budget, of course. Sadly, its closed, closed about 4 years ago, as much as I can tell, presumably through lack of trade. I know, I was never likely to go back in truth, but the sad thought that I cant do so now, still gripped me. Of course, I suspect they didnt have many other residents the night I was there, but after 40 years, I dont remember.

But yes, its probably the most remote place I’ve ever spent a night, and probably always will be. But still a shame that I will never stay in Forsinard again, all the same.

(I have passed an equally remote hotel while in a train, the Izaak Walton Inn, in Montana, but sadly never stayed there)

Video. I cant believe I’ve never used this before, but the tags say I havent, so lets have some very early Carpenters tonight

The delights of the mail service!

Yes, today was one of those days when I realized what a blessing email is! Because if you use the standard mail service…ah well!

As regular readers will know, I’ve applied for rent benefit, due to the fact I’m not working, have got no money, and everything else! All my correspondence with the local council, including the application, have been done online, either through the required forms, or by email. Anyway, when I checked the progress of things last week, by email, I was told that they were waiting to hear back from the rent officer on the matter, given I’m a private lodger.

So fine, this morning I had a job interview. I left here just before 11.00, to go to this, leaving Eric in the house, on his own, as Dave was already out in town. What happened, was that about 5 minutes after I left, the rent officer turned up here, to do an inspection of what my living facilities, and arrangements looked like. It seemed he had sent out a letter, informing me about this, but thats where the fun begins, as it hadnt arrived here.

Anyway, shortly after that, the mail was delivered, including a letter for me. Put in my room, awaiting my return! Yes, you’ve guessed it, said letter from rent officer! Given it was dated last Thursday, I’m wondering if it was put in the post, too late for Thursday collections. Given then that we had a lengthy Bank Holiday weekend, I’m suspecting that it went nowhere, before Tuesday! Which of course, makes arrival on Thursday quite reasonable, but if this poor man thought it went out last Thursday…

Anyway, I rang the number on the letter, to be told there had been several cases of this already today, so I strongly suspect the time of sending out did play a part. She did say he might ring up and rearrange a visit, or as according to the letter, he can make a decision based on the paperwork I’ve given him. At least he’s seen the house, knows it exists, knows I exist, so hopefully I will soon get the good news, and I can get a bit of money to help with things. At this present moment, I’m 3 weeks behind on rent (£420), which I hate being, because its causing problems for others, but until they pay up…No, I’m not doing one of those ghastly loans at a million per cent interest rates, nor am I expected to. But if anyone can help, interest free, until this gets sorted…would be nice!

But yes, if like most people nowadays, he’d used email to let me know, I could have arranged it for a better time today! But he didn’t, so…

Fine, the video. A tribute to the man who finally delivered that letter today

Heading into the future, for all we know

So fine, I might be exaggerating slightly, but strictly, I head into the future tonight, when the clocks jump forward an hour, for British Summer time. I know, all my American readers (and there are seemingly a few), went through this leap a fortnight ago, but this is the weekend that Europe catches up with you. At least I can stop trying to adjust my natural thinking as to how far behind me, various parts of the US are. Fine, in the end, we will also put the clocks back, before you do, but thats 7 months off, at present. So for now…

Ironically, last autumn, I missed out on getting my hour back, given I was in the US when Europe put the clocks back, but was in Europe, before the US followed suit! So yes, I feel a bit robbed, in that sense! No wonder I still feel tired lol.

Of course, putting the clocks forward one hour, is hardly heading into the future, in a literal sense at least. Strictly, it is time travel, but on a more serious basis…Yes, its not going to get me any cute little space craft to travel in, or develop the technology to turn me into a robot, by going forward one hour, so… Oh, talking of cute space craft, I’d love one of these

CJ and Todd

So, if anyone has one laying around…? No, thought not! 😛 Or has the ability to make me look like this?

gort

Ah well…

Yes, fine, if the opportunity arises to not put the clocks back until November, or I can manage to miss out on my hour again, I wouldnt say no. But as things stand at present, I cant see it happening, but a girl can dream, at least?

Funnily enough, this afternoon, I was writing a little time travel story, with travel from the 1930’s, right through to the 2060’s! Somehow I suspect my vision of life, 50 years from now, will be hopelessly wrong. Thankfully, I wont be around by then, to find out!

OK, the video. What does the future actually hold, beyond a one hour jump forward tonight. For all we know, it could be anything

All you get from love?

Yes, its that time of the year again, when I vaguely hold out hope that someone might be sweet enough to send me a secret valentine card, even if I know that in reality, its never going to happen! Fine, in theory, a card, or something could arrive tomorrow, or some guy (or girl) could ring the door bell on Sunday, but I think pigs flying, or Trans Pennine Express running trains on time, would be more likely! Yes, that likely! No, not expecting anything over the internet either!

To be honest, I’d love to be wined and dined, just once more, but doubt its going to happen. Fine, I’d probably enjoy it as much if someone snatched me up, took me away, tied me up, and did wicked things to my body, but thats another fantasy entirely! Yes, being turned into their brainwashed slave/sex bot would appeal no end, but is even less likely, given that most ‘mad scientists’ would want someone younger, and prettier, if they were going down that route! Even assuming it could happen in reality, of course!

Oh, by the way, if you think this blog is a depressing post, wait for Sunday! I wont ruin anyone’s weekend by passing on that news before then, at least.

But in truth, all I’ve got from love, for pretty much all of my life, is a love song. A fact which leads us to tonights video…

Calling occupants of alien space craft.

A few things have brought about this blog. Firstly, one of my favorite characters to use in stories, CJ (yes, the modern edition of Clara Johnson) has been involved in a couple of fun skirmishes with a group of aliens of late, of an interesting kind, and secondly, the old chestnut of whether we really have had aliens visit our planet, live on our planet, or indeed abduct people to space craft in the middle of nowhere came about today.

Now I know you’re going to ask, do I, despite all logic saying otherwise (in terms of distance), believe that aliens have been to, are on Earth? Yes, you gather from the way I put that, I’m going to say yes. I know, at speeds we know of being able to travel, and the distances involved, it doesnt seem likely. But equally, who knows what technology may be out there in deep space, way beyond our comprehension, or horizons? Lets just say that there is a lot of secrecy involved in a small area of New Mexico for good reason, and leave it at that!

Yes, thats where the alien part of my story was set up for, no surprise, I guess? And yes, cute little flying saucer type space craft were most definitely involved. Fine, my story, and what happened to CJ in it, are pure fiction, but its fun to think that just maybe…?

As to whether alien life actually lives currently on Earth, who knows? Quite possibly, though I’m pretty sure its safe to say that they have either taken human body forms, or taken over selected human bodies. Lets go no further with that, OK? But equally, if you’re asking me if we really are the only beings in this corner of the universe, my guess would be no, but due to their far superior technology, we only find know it, if and when they want us to!

Who, me? Would I love a flight in one of those space craft, you bet I would. I cant say that anal probing is really my thing, but if thats the price I have to pay, I’ll go along with it. And of course, if they want to probe, and do other wicked things to my mind, no complaints whatsoever! Please do, in fact!

So what do you believe? Are we really the only sentient beings in the universe, or are there others out there? Either to visit us in the future, or have they already done so, or even are they already amongst us? Well?

OK, to the video. Firstly, the version of this song everyone knows, the full length track, with classic video

But then, did you know? Did you know, that is in fact a cover version of the song, because most people dont. This in fact is the original version, sounding very different in places. Sadly, no live version to be found, maybe the aliens have got one? 😉

You can call me on Beechwood 45789 and make a date

No, seriously no, please dont. Besides, that wont be my phone number. But it fits in with the video, and that fits in (of sorts) with the location, so…

Yes, you’re right, the search is over. For better or worse, for crazy or totally insane, or whatever, the sanity break is officially settled, booked, and everything else. And no, not Plan B either! Which is why I can use the location connected video tonight. OK, the story, before the headline stuff.

I finally heard from Plan A man, apparently he no longer owns said cottage, but for whatever reason, the website wont let him delete his advert. Funnily enough, by the time I heard from him, I was booked! Plan B lady also had an interest for a 3 month stay, that would have overrun with mine, so decided to pass on me. I hope she doesnt end up with mud on her face over that, but anyway, not my concern now, really.

So, head to Plan C. 2 options, slightly further out from the centre of things, but very nice places. One, the current renter had just extended their stay, but yes, the other was free! And yes, its not free now! Thats right, however sane an idea it is, and I’m still not thoroughly convinced myself on that front, the deed is done, apartment and flight booked, for a 4 week stay in Hollywood. No one amazingly has yet told me what a daft idea this all is. Now whether thats because it isnt, or whether its because no one is just prepared to say it to my face, no idea! Too late now, either way! If nothing else, the air fare is booked, and thats non refundable!

Whats that? You want a look? Oh fine… https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/5857564 should take you through to have a look. Nice, isnt it? Well, you werent expecting a Harlow mansion on my budget lol? 😉 But its got everything I should need though, for my sanity break, and everything else. The oven (and microwave) gives me the option to buy cheap meals, and eat in, at least to some degree, probably wise under the circumstances, as well as eating out sometimes.

Plans, apart from the crazy one of attracting the eye of someone from a movie, or TV studio, and getting employed by them (which may have worked in the 20’s or 30’s, but not now), are simple. Hopefully get to see some of the sights I didnt get to see in April (and there are plenty), see some again (including a return visit to Forest Lawn), and hopefully get some useful things, like writing done. And fine, should I see a suitable job opening while there, I might just have a go. Not going to happen, unless they are really keen on me, but hey, who knows? Would be wonderful though, but I’m being realistic. I’m sure there will be a couple of “silly”, more expensive excursions (Dodgers are at home my first weekend, end of season) as well, but on the whole, I will have to be practical on such matters.

Of course, I might get wined and dined by someone romancing me, but I suspect thats as likely as becoming a movie actress! If someone offers to buy me a coffee, I suspect that will be quite something! But hey, I’ll be in the home of romantic movies, so…no, not really!

Fine, yes, and not just in case someone at the Job Centre is reading this, I’m still job hunting. But clearly, I’m now looking for something starting at the beginning of November. Christmas season might provide some temporary work at least, if nothing else. So fine, now you know.

Miss Harlean Carpenter (I might have been, if I could have fitted the name change in, between trips) will be taking up residence in a private apartment in Hollywood for the month of October (close enough, 30/9 to 28/10), and open to all offers in that period

I will have to wait until I get back from the trip to arrange that, but I’ve left the money in the secure Paypal account until I’m ready. Thank you to 2 people for at least paying part of the cost of that. Anyone else that is still inclined to help, just ask, and I’ll pass you my Paypal account details. And yes, the idea of a major change, and going with Harlean Stephanie as my name is definitely winning out at the moment.

OK, finally, the video. Its a slightly different spelling, and definitely will not be my phone number while there (that will be a modern AT&T cell phone number), but its close enough

And today is…

National Classic Movie Day, so I’m told.

I do think that just maybe we are getting to a point of overkill with these things to be honest, but as it is one with a special meaning for me, I’ll roll with it.

When I was younger, I was fortunate enough to watch the likes of ‘Gone With The Wind’, ‘Wizard Of Oz’ and ‘Casablanca’, and realise just what amazing movies they were. Yes, there were many others too, too numerous to mention, but they are pretty much 3 films that everyone has heard about, so…

Of course, in terms of personal classics, everyone has their own. Some of those films probably werent classics to most, but to the person who really matters, you, they are, and thats all that really counts!

A lot depends on your preference, I guess? Musicals, light comedy, war films, westerns, and so much more, all have their fans. As of course, do silent movies! In terms of personal tastes, both ‘Metropolis’ and Pandora’s Box’ get mentioned in such terms, though neither was wildly popular at the time they were made.

Of course, for many of my readers, their personal classics will be a lot more modern than mine! The only recent one that stands out for me in that sense, would be ‘Titanic’, but as you know, in terms of modern movies, I’m not a big fan.

Oh, and before you ask, no, I dont think Jean Harlow made a movie that would truly be regarded as a classic. She may well have done, had she lived a bit longer, and indeed there are tales that she had been asked to audition for the part of Scarlett O’Hara, but I have no idea how true that is. The one thing known, is that she was reading the book at the time of her death, and most suspect that was related. But given events, we will never know…

‘Dinner At Eight’ is probably her gem, but that is probably as much due to the supporting cast, as well as her personal skills. But believe me, if you get the chance, watch it. If not, try and find the segment of the closing lines, one of the greatest “put downs” of all time, hoisted on Jean!

So, unless its late in the day, as it is here, take a portion of your day, go watch a classic movie. After all, its the day to do so. Even if it is late in the day, and you havent seen one lately, spoil yourself.

Lastly, as always, the video. What were those great actors, and actresses, I ask you? Super stars, of course.