Taking a ride on a big wheel, and other things

Right, and so to complete the posting from Seattle scene…

Thursday, I decided that the little toe on my left foot wasnt going to stop being an issue anytime soon, so decided that was the day to ride the full length of the Seattle Light Rail, up the other extension since I was previously here, the one up to the University of Washington. I have to say that the extension at this end of the route (to Angle Lake) has been an absolute boon, as its nearer than the Airport station to here, and walk-able. Well, in perfect health, maybe, but I survived. There is one killer (but thankfully short) uphill stretch on the walk from here to that station, which I wont be missing now!

Coming out of the University station, I rather expected to be on the edge of the University grounds. Ah well…What I was very close to, was Husky Stadium, the home of the University football team. Well, seemingly in these days of glorious sponsorship, its now called Alaska Airlines Field, but will always be Husky Stadium to me! I hobbled a short distance further, didnt find anything more than sports facilities, so gave up on that idea. When I got back to the station, I did find a map, and the grounds were relatively nearby, but decided I wasnt going to push my foot by setting out again, in a totally different direction. So, defeated, back into town, earlier than planned. So I headed for a landmark with memories for me, that I knew hadnt moved, the rail station. Wrong time of day to see the Empire Builder train, though I did see a goods train trundling through the station, heading south. One of these days I will do another long distance train journey, though whether it will be the repeat Empire Builder again, or more likely, Los Angeles to Chicago (via Kansas City, please note), I have no idea. In theory, I could do a ‘Clara Johnson’ and travel by train from Oklahoma City, via Texas, to Los Angeles, if timed right, but I wouldnt put good money on that one. Requires a change in Texas, a slightly shorter one than I suspect Clara did!

After that, I headed down to the front again, and ended up seeing the city from on high again, this time from a giant wheel, hence the title of the blog! The last time I did one of those was the London Eye, with my mother, and that would be about 25 years ago! This time, it wasnt just one turn around the wheel, but 6, but then again it was a lesser radius, which probably explained why! Blonde moment, I realized eventually that I’d only looked in 1 direction for about 5 turns, so turned to take in the other side, and that was when the wheel stopped at the bottom lol! Ah well…

Yesterday, day time at least, was relatively quiet. Went and did the holiday shopping for others, and also found myself a new (much needed) handbag, that certainly looks vintage, even if it clearly isnt! I also found a gorgeous dress in another store, very 30’s, but a bit pricey for me (about $60, plus tax, however much that might have been), and was only a medium size, so I talked myself out of it. Hindsight to that, I discovered I wasnt quite as impoverished as I thought I was, so I decided to go back today, and see if it actually fitted, or not, and probably buy if it did. But no, someone had already beaten me to it, not surprised, it was gorgeous. Macy’s did also have some nice period dresses, but with them you’re talking over $200 each, plus tax, so didnt even consider it, way beyond my purse!

Yesterday evening saw the return to Safeco Field, and the Mariners, this time, all went far more smoothly. I also have to thank Melissa for the Goody Bag (not that she will see this) that was provided too. Must be a lucky mascot, mind, as I saw them win twice! Hobbled back to the Light Rail station just in time for a train to pull in empty, and run back from there, to Angle Lake. Still got my commuting skills, got a seat, no idea how!

Today, beyond the failed shopping trip, was the farewell tour. I didnt go right down to the water today, its a steep route down, and more critically, up, as I discovered on Thursday, so settled for a seat at the top of the steps, and looked out over the water from there for a while. Then back to the Light Rail, the ride out of town, and for now at least, the final farewell. In theory, if nothing changes in my life, I’ll be back in 6 years time (my post retirement trip), as this place will be my stop off point to Alaska. In reality, the way my body is currently falling apart, I wouldnt put good money on being in strong enough health for that, even with breaks en route, but we will see. Thats one thing I have realized, west coast trips really are going to be a no go, very soon, if not already! There will be 1 more, even if I have to drag my shattered body to LA, it will happen at some point! But Seattle…?

Tomorrow, I fly back home, back to work on Wednesday, blessed with a bank holiday this week, which enables me to do it this way. Covering as Team leader again for that week, should be interesting, once I’ve caught up on work emails at least! 2 weekends from now, is Blackpool! Then, as far as I know, thats it until a few days away in Scotland in September, couldnt afford more at present, anyway! Especially as, maybe in November…? You’ll have to wait on that!

Right, video time. Big clue in the blog title, absolutely! Live performance, nearly 50 years old, now I really feel old!

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Sitting on the ferry dock, by the bay

No, I’m not promising a blog each day this week, but enough has happened for one today, so lets roll with it.

Today, for the 4th trip in 15 years (yes, it is the stat leader), I visited the center of Seattle. Fine, strictly it happened yesterday, but that was just a flying visit, to get the phone activated, whereas today was for real! Now its 2 visits where the way into town is by light rail, to match the 2 when there were only buses! Light rail has extended at both ends since last time though, which helps me at this end, and means I will visit the University at some point this week too. The other big change since that first visit, my first hotel is now gone, area is seemingly just another airport car park now. Other 2 are still there, though one seems to have had a change of name, and upgrade since my last trip.

My first stop, Westlake Center has changed too, and not for the better in my opinion, but maybe I’m just not a fan of change? I went looking for the food hall that used to be there on the top floor, but its gone, seemingly for some time, though I didnt stop to find out. Monorail is still there, so will probably use that to get to Space Needle at some point this week. Then to Pike Place, which seems to have had a makeover, but it so fits in with the old building, I found it hard to tell exactly where.

One other landmark of my first visit was a massage parlor, where some lady had worked on easing body pains in the past. Was still there on last visit, but that was nearly 10 years ago, but no sight of it now. Shame, as my body needs that massage even more nowadays!

Lastly, I found my way down to the front, where all the ferries, and cruise boats set off from. Yes, the stairs down (lots of them) killed me, but it had to be done. Well, it didnt, but more on that shortly! A walk along the front, I had lunch at a hot dog vehicle, who seemed to do pretty good business, and it was good too. Sat at a table, by the van, in the midday sun, by the bay…you might have worked out the video lol!

Anyway, rather than trying to struggle back up over 100 steps, I took a stroll along the front for further options, and found an elevator back up to the top, which was out of order! Thankfully, it directed me to one that was working, so I used that, and ended up back in Pike Place!

So, the last thing, yes, I heard back from the Mariners this afternoon. A phone call, a few questions about details of what happened (so they can discuss with worker), and where, and an offer of a ticket for the weekend, in an accessible seat. Somehow I suspect this might be a bit closer to the ground than yesterday lol! So yes, credit to Mariners for doing what needs to be done. Was actually offered 2 tickets for game on Friday (my preferred night), but as there’s only me, and I really dont know anyone in town, I said 1 would be fine! So I will go to the (base) ball, it seems, lol, though I have no plans on wearing ball gowns!

OK, video. As I say, you should have worked out this classic song, or at least I hope you have. Sadly, Otis Redding didnt even get to live until the end of 1967, dying in a plane crash. Video is a bit of a compilation mix,  due to the age of the song.

Disability training required!

Firstly, a quick reminder for the newer folk around here, and numbers do seem to have exploded viewing this, so…I’m on holiday now, in Seattle. What this means for those lucky people who know to read both blogs, there’s no point, they just get copy and paste treatment, as most would want to know the same things, and besides, I dont have the time to write 2! So… Yes, I know, its been a while, but more on that in a moment!

Strictly, the holiday made an early start on Thursday, as I went into Am Dram mode again in Cookridge, with a couple of work friends. I would spend time praising the performance to the hilt, and telling you to go see it, but there were only 3 shows, its finished by now, but…It was really good, I must say, as was the meal before that, both the food, and the company.

I was going to post something on Friday re the reduction of stakes on the ghastly machines in betting shops nowadays, from £100, to £2, but firstly I ran out of time, having my hair done (shock horror, I’m not a natural blonde!), and then packing to come here. So it never happened. Mind, as the reduction wont kick in until 2020, I shall probably be rude about the betting industry before then!

Yesterday was just a typical US Travel day in so many ways, that I’ll only pass on the interesting details. Yes, Manchester Airport redeemed themselves this time, though they get one more chance to mess up yet. As does Seattle, where a lovely young lady not only helped me through, and got my baggage for me, she actually ran me over to where the hotel courtesy shuttles pick up, and I’m sure thats not in their job description. But the middle one… No, it wasnt bad, just the opposite in fact, really good service, but…

Every other airport I’ve seen in the US (even before I needed this ‘old crock’ service) has either had a separate line for wheelchair passengers, or mingled them into the crew column, or a mix of both. Ah, but this is Vegas, so…Its not the biggest International sector, I suspect it doesnt need it. So there is a crew column, but access passengers…no! Seems we, regardless of nationality go into the US there, in the US citizen queue. So yes, lol, dont tell Trump, but I’m a US citizen, of sorts! Not really, but yes, it was amusing.

Today has been relatively quiet, as I gave the body chance to recover in advance with planning. In truth, with the warmth here, less needed, but anyway… Just to say, for those who care, I now have an active US cell phone again, until next Sunday, so if you wish to talk, for any reason, just ask for number. If I dont know you of sorts, tell me why you want to talk to me, OK? Not saying I wont give it, but just curious, thats all. Only works for 8 days anyway!

OK, there has to be a down point, doesnt there? Yes, there is one, though hopefully the Mariners will sort it out, they have been emailed already. The game was great, the only snag being that the seat was up more than a few stairs, which didnt help, but I got there eventually, with only minimal soreness. No reason they should have known, I’m not obviously disabled (brace is under top/skirt, and fact not mentioned), so how would the poor guy picking my seat know? I did come down after 7.5 innings, I needed to go ‘somewhere’, and never went back up. Actually found a more comfortable seat for the other 3.5 innings, as it went to overtime. Then, after Seattle had won…

Given I was sore, and given there was a sign for a disabled elevator nearby, I decided to use that to get downstairs, rather than struggling down a large number of stairs, in a large crowd of people. Unfortunately, the lady in the elevator had either failed her disability training, had never been given any, or just didnt think it applied to anyone in less than a wheelchair! So when I, and another lady who said she had walking difficulties got into the lift, she bluntly told us that the lift wasnt meant for ‘people like you’, and pointing at a couple of mothers, with buggies behind us, said, “Its meant for them!”. I have no objection to them using it, but it does say its a disability elevator, so… Complaint email has been sent to the Mariners accordingly! Do I expect anything more than platitudes from them? Probably not! But put it this way, not that they will care, but I had planned a second game at some point Friday, or Saturday, but certainly wont be bothering now! I know, whats 1 customer to them, but all the same…

Fine, video time. I couldnt think of a song that really fitted in with all this, so just made a random choice of an under rated Soft Cell song.

A couple of old friends, revisited

Its amazing to think that in just 6 weeks time, I might be doing a blog on a Sunday evening, but be 8 time zones away, in Seattle. Strictly, at this time in Seattle (about 12.25 pm at time of writing), everything permitting, I should be at the baseball park, about to watch my first Mariners game. Its not the first baseball park I saw, that honor goes to Fenway Park, 16 years earlier, though only from a distant observation tower, Seattle was the first I saw up close, and personal. That first trip there, back in 2003 began my love affair with Seattle that has gone on ever since. I’ve been back a few times since, though not recently, and never been there at the right time for a game. This year, I’m planning on 2! This time around, I sort of wonder if its the last time, because with my less strong body, old age, and only 1 trip to the US a year, it probably is, unless I get to Alaska in retirement year, as I would most likely transit through there, with a short break either way, if I get that far, in a healthy state.

In truth, Seattle probably now only ranks Number 2 in my heart, after Los Angeles, but long before I ever visited there, I fell in love with this place. Maybe its because the weather is just so British, with all that rain? Well, I guess all those coffee places help too, lol! I’m sure I will see some new sights (I plan to visit the Uni, now that the light rail runs out to it), and some old friends too, like the Space Needle, Pikes Place market, and oh, some of those coffee shops lol.

But yes, its going to feel strange this time, when I get to say goodbye at the end of the stop, because this time, it might be forever, not just for a few years? But hopefully, one more time, just after retirement…?

The other old friend I plan to visit this year, well, I’ve been away a lot longer than just under a decade. More like 3 decades, in fact, if not slightly more! But yes, given a lot of my childhood holidays seemed to end up in the Scottish Highlands, Inverness holds a special affection for me. And indeed, after those childhood holidays, I went back a few times on my own too! So landmarks like the Castle, the river, and the Northern Meeting Park are all ingrained in my memories. But I’ve never gone back since then, because as tastes, and flight prices changed, I’ve been going abroad pretty much since then!

This year of course, due to cutting back on my work hours, due to my crumbling back, I can only afford 1 US trip this year. But the week was booked in September, and I can afford a short trip, so I’m going back! Mainly for some rail journeys, but I’ve now decided to renew my acquaintance with the city. I know, I said after Newbury that I shouldnt do things like that, but in truth, after over 30 years, there’s barely any details I remember, so I dont really see any issues on that front, in truth. But yes, in this case, almost certainly will be the last time. Still, given I thought I was never going to return…?

OK, video time. Inverness seems not to have produced many pop stars over the years, if Wikipedia is to be believed. But I found Runrig, and when I saw the title, assumed it was a cover of the Public Image song, but it isnt, just the same name.

The morning sun is shining?

Like a baseball, probably not? But fine, I’ve killed the most famous baseball song to death over the years, so lets try something a bit different for the song. Interestingly enough, I found a ‘live’ version of this, but not from either of the writer’s groups! So yes, a group out of left field for you tonight.

The season actually started yesterday, as many wise people might have noted, and yes, I managed to see a couple of games over here on TV yesterday morning before bedtime. Unfortunately, the Dodgers game was after midnight over here, even if it was a late afternoon game in California, so missed that one. Unlike many from last year, a real pitchers game, which unfortunately the Dodgers lost 1-0. Yeah, one of the games was 14-7, seriously!

This year, my plan, given I’m only going to make 1 trip to the US (unless someone else pays for my stay, or I win a contest or something, neither of which is ever likely to happen), and things work out that way, I’m planning to sneak in 2 games during my stay in Seattle in May. I’m pretty sure that given my health, sitting in a baseball stadium during the afternoon after arrival might be about all my back is good for! After that, Mariners are away for a few days, but then come back for the following weekend, so I’ll plan to go on either the Friday, or Saturday evening. Probably the Saturday, as the recovery time I’ll need will ensure I have no crazy ideas of trying to go very far from the hotel on the Sunday, after packing to go home, as I dont fly back until the afternoon. But at the same time, Friday might work better, as at least it would then allow me on the Saturday to look back one last time at Seattle before leaving, whereas late at night, I wouldnt see much?

Will that be it for a city I love? Not sure? If my back is up to my post retirement plan to visit Alaska, then I will probably be back in 2024, as its an ideal place to split the journey for me. But in truth, given the state of my back, I’m less sure I’ll be up to that trip by the month, but we will see. But yes, I’ll probably look back as if it is, just in case.

It will be a nice way to round the circle at least, as the first baseball park I saw on a solo trip to the US was Seattle. Strictly, back in 1987, I saw Fenway Park from a considerable distance, but that was it. Funny thing is, I’ve been to Seattle a couple more times since, but once was out of season (I did a stadium tour instead), and the second time, the only day they were at home on the stay was the Sunday. The plan was to go, but then my flight was delayed by 9 hours to Chicago, so spent Saturday night there, only arrived in Seattle at lunchtime on Sunday, and yes, it was an afternoon game! So, I plan to get it done this time, twice over, lol!

I will see more from here during the summer, for sure, mainly matinee games due to the time difference, but there will be a few of them, for sure. And of course, there may be some live games on ESPN (assuming the hotel has it?) while in the US too.

And yes, fine, I’m sure that in about 7 months time, I’ll be looking at the climax of the season, and hopefully Dodgers will go one better this time around!

Video time. Paul Simon (Simon & Garfunkel), and Bruce Woodley (Seekers) wrote this song, but as I say, I cant find a live performance by either on You Tube. But seemingly, the group that first brought it to fame were a 2 hit wonder called the Cyrkle. However, dont feel sorry for the guys, apparently they went on to write numerous famous ad jingles from the 60’s and 70’s!

Take me back to the ball park

Yes, its early April, and that means the Baseball season gets back into serious business tonight. I know, like many sports, there have been so many pre season matches that its unreal, but tonight, the ‘messing about’ stops, and we get down to the serious stuff.

And what better place (other than maybe Fenway Park?) to start the season than historic Wrigley Field, in Chicago, now 101 years young! Though the Cubs have only been playing there for 99 years, but who’s counting? Their opponents tonight, the St Louis Cardinals.

Well, I’m told the Cubs are going to look a whole new team this year, and supposedly they are talking about making the World Series. The fact that they havent won one, since 1908 is besides the point, and they’ve looked awful in recent times. But the team has had a major overhaul, so who knows, but I cant see it, sorry.

No, I wont be watching tonight, given it starts at 1.00 am our time, even if I’m not working at present, I need some beauty sleep. I’m sure it will be shown again on ESPN tomorrow, and then there is plenty of baseball tomorrow evening my time, so…

As to live baseball, well, I’ve got one game in mind. Last September, I watched a game in Kansas City, and in a couple of weeks, I’ll see a game just down the road from Hollywood. Of course, neither team was there in Jean’s time, but… I might also try to get to Anaheim, and see the Angels, but it might get complex for a non driver, so dont quote me on that! Also, I might find more than enough to do around L.A that I simply dont get the time to consider it! Still, Dodgers and Rockies is a definite fix for me, unless I break the SoCal drought!

I’m told my Seattle Mariners will be a contender this year, but I’ll believe it when I see it! Other than that, I’ll be rooting for the Royals, and Red Sox, and booing the Yankees, some things never change!

I might get another game in September, but that depends on a lot of things (including finding a job, probably), so we will see.

But one thing is for sure, if ESPN are showing baseball, at a reasonable hour, I’ll be watching it!

The video, well its the obvious baseball song. Wrigley Field too, where the season will start tonight

162 games, and you still cant get a decision!

Yes, I’m talking baseball here. And yes, tonight is the end of the regular season. Unsurprisingly the Mariners were eliminated from the playoffs a while back, Kansas (for the Brooksie side of me) fell by the wayside recently, and the Red Sox managed the turnaround of all time, not only making the playoffs, but the No 1 seed in the American League!

But no, none of this concerns any of them. The introduction of a second wild card team in each league, was meant to increase the excitement. Didnt work with the NL this year, but in the American League.

Its not impossible tonight, we could have a 3 way tie for the 2 wild card places, after 162 games! Of course, if Cleveland win, and one of Tampa Bay, or Texas lose, all straightforward. Well, if both of the latter lose (or if all 3 win), we have a shoot out between them, but…

Personally, I dont mind them knocking 6 bells out of each other, as the eventual winners of all this are the opponents for the Red Sox, and hopefully that will improve their chances, if they’ve been battling through multiple games before meeting them.

But seriously, 162 games, and we still get a tie, possibly a 3 way one…!

The video, apt, I feel. This is actually a US rip off of a UK TV series called ‘Man About The House’ from way back when.

Puts on her Red Sox cheerleaders outfit, and shakes her pom-poms lol! If someone gets me one, I’ll post a picture, hows that?