Monday, August 14, 2006

All my worldly goods in a clear plastic bag

Just returned from London, filled, as usual, with admiration for the way official Britain acts in the face of terrorism (as opposed to the way they speak of late, which can only be described in Mrs. Thatcher's famous term, as "WET"). All passengers were kept out of the terminal until a couple of hours before their departure time, corralled on a 4th-level parking lot. Folding chairs, marquis tents, free water, sandwiches, and granola bars all provided, as well as four to six highly visible information officers at each door with lists of which flights were operative and had or hadn't been called in yet--all of the representatives of officialdom, by the way, sporting generally pleasant attitudes and good manners.

There were numberless whiners, of course, but that doesn't mean that things weren't being handled reasonably well-- the unpleasantness of the experience did not come close to our worst expectations. And, bottom line, is there anything quite so unpleasant as being blown out of the sky by some freaking jihadist with explosives in his lemonade bottle?????? I'll trade a couple of hours on the sidewalk for that any day. It was not nearly as chaotic and irritating as Toronto's Pearson airport two days after a bunch of flights had been cancelled due to a couple of days of serious thunderstorms.

My capsule assessment of the Israeli/Lebanese mini-war: The Rumsfeld Doctrine [attack of the High-Tech Toys instea
d of massive waves of boots on the ground] FAILS AGAIN.

* * * * *

Very much enjoyed being, on the whole, detached from reality in Oxford and environs for ten days. Would much prefer to think about earlier times when folks had a better notion of what was what, while sitting here:

and being one of these:

We thought we'd be fighting off the students and tourists to sit on these hallowed benches, but the nook was empty and we had it to ourselves.

I have seldom hoisted a pint in better company.

Other Tolkien haunts enjoyed:

--the Oxford Oratory

--Pembroke College
--Holywell Street
--Blackwell's bookstores

and these:

ROLLRIGHT STONES (possible Weathertop?)




WHERE TOLKIEN VISITED [I never read it in a brochure, but you can bet on it] -- a little piece of Normandy in Iffley village, Church of St. Mary, ca. 1170

When reality sucks, try this. Well, this is more real than "reality".