Monthly Archives: March 2016

Films 145-153


The Duke of Burgundy. What the? Is this the movie Jerry and George kept trying to sneak into? Not much here for me. Maybe the mannequins?

Dear Zachary. Well done and moving. Do we all leave this kind of hole when we’re gone? All make this kind of difference? Sad and maddening.

Before I Disappear. Finding my sweet spot is a dark hopeless world, then a bit of hope when we dare to love. This film nails it beautifully.

Cinema Paradiso. Liked it better 25 years ago. So his magical time spent in the theater lead him to abandon his family and never find love?

Time Out. I was drawn into this man’s slow paced web of lies. I understand his pressures and frustration. But still, first world problems.

Electric Boogaloo. Fun look at some of the best worst movies of my childhood. I want to watch them all. Then bring justice to the streets!

Reservoir Dogs. Racist dialogue sticks out like sore thumb in otherwise near perfect heist/single-location film. Great shots, performances.

Shakespeare in Love. The love story moves me. The rest makes my inner Shakespeare geek smile. Great performances. (And Gwyneth-hubba hubba.)

World of Tomorrow. Dark, cute, scary, hopeful. We need reminded–watching screens alone or spending time with people, maybe playing trucks?

An English Walk

See the previous Letters from England post for the photos described here. I tried to match them to that letter, but may have used some that went with this letter, or there may have been some overlap. I really don’t know.


June 22, 1989


Today I got my first taste of real English weather in quite a while. It’s been overcast and cool all day. Yesterday and today are my day and a half off this week. I work tonight at 5:30. Yesterday I took most of the day off. I couldn’t go anywhere because the trains weren’t running due to the strike. I did walk about 3 miles out to the country. It was nice. Speaking of that, let’s get right to the pictures.

#1 is an example of what I saw on my walk. It was a very clear day–hot too, up around 30 C (90ish). The horizon is supposed to be the coast. I’ll send more landscape pictures later. Photo

#2 is the “hotel” room I stayed in for the first four nights. There were five of us in there. A bunch from the east and me. During my four days there were 2 from Princeton, 1 from George Washington, a Yale person or two, and I don’t know where there others were from. As you can see, it was a pretty nice place–the only room in the hotel with a TV and “private” bathroom. Not bad for £11 a night – or maybe it was, I don’t know.

#3 & #4 are my room at the Dog & Bear. Not bad for free. The ceiling is just about 6 ft. high and it kind of slants toward the middle–due, I guess, to  almost 400 yrs of settling. I don’t know a shower, but I’ve adapted. Mom, note the hoes in the closet.

#5 is the bar behind which I work. That’s the assistant manager washing glasses. A pretty nice place–Rob & Sheila–the managers–keep the riff-raff out.

#6 of course is for R.S. Kent is very agriculturally oriented–as you can see in photo #1. This is on the main street leading into town oops, village. Lenham is not a town but a village. I’ve had that pointed out to me several times. I’m told that John Deere are common here. Anyhow this is the first one I saw.

And #7 is for I. Just and example of how yard-art can beautify one’s home. This house is also along the main street. There are some really nice 15th century houses here–and some pretty rose gardens. I’ll send these later also. That’s part one of the pictorial tour of Lenham.

Thanks for the letter and the Calvin strips. I saw Chang win the open & I heard about the fight. But the basketball was news to me. I wouldn’t mind being kept up on how the Royals are doing. I’ve sent an example of the baseball news from one of the major paper.


Cricket is big here. I am slowly starting to get a grip on the game. itself, but I have a hard time getting real enthusiastic about it.

I ran some numbers through V’s calculator and here’s what i came up with. If I work for 3 months or less I don’t pay tax. I do pay 9% health insurance, but not the additional 25%. It works out that I receive the same amount of money for 4 months work as I do for 3. The end of three months from my arrival (84 days) is August 29th. If I work past that I pay tax. I could work longer and then tour, but by then it would b e winter time. What I’m thinking right now is to work all 84 days. Then set out tramping around Britain for about a month. Then head over to Germany. I’m still planning things out, but those are my jumbled thoughts at this moment. Any suggestions might be helpful.

Here’s a  wish list–things I would like you to send: the two hats from Uncle Ed (I got a call from him last week about 6:30 in the morning, just wanted to see how things were going–you’ll have to be careful about who you give my number to. By the way. If you do plan to call, the best times would be around 9:30 am your time–the bar closes from 3-5:30. At that time I would be finished cleaning up & would be east lunch. Or after 5:30 pm. the bar closes at 11:00 pm–again, I would be getting things finished up then–closes at 10:30 on Sunday.) Anyhow–the 2 hats, some of the neater paper match books. I showed them on from the Hyatt & they – R & M (asst mngr) said they could hang them up or something if they had more–they thought it was neat. And a bell with Ike or or Abilene or Kansas or something. Before my arrival in Lenham, the hotel had been booked for this week, so I have been moved in with the cook & her two kids. I noticed last night that she had several bells in a case in her living room & thought that would be a neat thank you gift for putting up with me for a week. And something with Mickey Mouse on it. I was talking to a girl who said she would like to go to America to get something with Mickey Mouse on it as all she had close to that was a picture of her boy friend. These are tow of the nicer people I’ve met. Nothing outstanding about them–just neat people. The hats are for John & Peter, two regulars. Both have been to the state and are sort of “Yankophiles.” I’ve seen both of them in similar head gear from America. They are also pretty good guys. (John was thrown out of the country as an undesirable. He had a 3-week holiday passport stamp & stayed 6 months working for the head of the border patrol in West Texas before being deported.) That’s about enough for now. See you later.





Some Pictures from Lenham


Saturday 8th [June, 1989]. Got your letter today. Just finished the crossword–got it all done. Between the rail strikes in London and Sundays, it is difficult for a letter to take less than 7-8 days between Abilene and Lenham. First I’ll answer some of your question, then if I do anything worthwhile tomorrow or Sunday I’ll tell you about those. The bar is pretty busy–particularly on the weekends. But some afternoons it is very slow–just a few customers. Many people drink Lager–beer like at home–or Bitter–warmer, darker, flatter, and supposedly tastier. They aren’t too bad but I understand it takes some getting used to. There is also cider. And many people mix their bars with each other–Light & Bitter, a half pint of Bitter in a pint glass and an open bottle fo Light Ale (ale & bitter same thing)–with lemonade–Lager Chandy (Chanty?), half Lager half lemonade–and with whatever else they can think of–1/2 pint of Guinness 1/2 pint sweet cider. But they also drink Gin & Tonics, Bacardi & Cokes, etc., as well as fruit juices & Cokes. I don’t really get tips, but people do buy me drinks–which I save up & have after 11:00. The English have this “stupid” tradition (quoting an Englishman) of buying everyone in their group a drink, then the next person gets the next one, etc. Tom, the Englishman quoted above, and I would both rather sit & talk with our friends and buy our own drinks. Tom and  man named Bob–both about 60–got into a friendly discussion one very unbusy afternoon. And it reminded me of a K & V reunion in the year 2026. Tom – K & Bob – V. Bob is the first & only person I have yet talked to who did not hate Margaret Thatcher. Tom is fun to talk too–you know how some people are just easier to relate to than others.

You know language was much more of a problem than I thought it would be. Now–a month later I am beginning to understand most of them. However, people come in who are from up north and often they have to repeat their order a couple of times–slowly.

Sunday afternoon.

I am enjoying my afternoon, watching Becker & Edberg. I missed the first two sets. Thanks very much for the phone call. Great to hear from you. I am getting used to the long hours. And am feeling more & more at home. Had roast beef for Sunday Diner today, along with veg–peas & cauliflower, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding & cheese cake–not bad, huh?

Had a great thunderstorm here Thursday night–right out on the square. Since then it’s been drizzly and overcast. I told the Hedges that if I was here Christmas time, you all would be as well. they said great! Don’t worry about me not getting to see all I came to see. I have all kinds of time.

More answers–After landing in Gatewick, getting my luggage etc, I went to get my passport stamped. Where will you be staying? What will you be doing? How much money do you have? Do you have a return ticket? You will purchase that here then? After that I just walked through customs. I slowed, but they said don’t stop unless requested to do so, so I passed right through. I talked to a guy here that was stopped–he’s English & was traveling somewhere in Europe–and forced to have is butt opened & searched. That or wait there ’til he had to crap. I would have waited.

Let’s do some pictures now. This is the last of what I’ve had developed so far. Some of them are pretty bad. #1 is the hotel–just like the brochure. The door on the right–your right [who else’s?]–goes into the bar. The other into the restaurant.


#2–pretty obvious, but I thought it was a neat sign. (Bear bating–now that was entertainment.)


#3–also obvious, but I was amused.


#4 is part of the church cemetery–the same church as in the other picture. Big stones.


#5 is sheep. These were on the same land as Tom Baker’s (Dr Who) house.


#6–Tom’s house & hop house.


#7–part of my walk–in the distance you can see a cross. That cross is just outside Lenham. It is a war memorial. It was first done in the 20’s for WWI. Then it was covered up so German pilots couldn’t use it to tell where they were. After WWII it was uncovered again.



#8–the same cross. You may not be able to tell, but the road sign has been shot with a shot gun–people are people.


#9–English country side on my walk.


#10–Just outside Lenham. Doesn’t remind me much of England. Kent is a real pretty area.


#11–More of Kent. Again, in the distance is supposed to be the coast. I like this picture.


I like the horse one too. The next two stink.


#12 is a view from my room in London.


#13 is the train station at Canterbury. Why I took these two pictures, I do not know. [I’m sure a few pints had nothing to do with it.]


The rest of the roll had photos from the evening at Warren & Phylis’s & one of Sadie.

Monday, July [June?] 10th. Today I went to Deal. Saw the two castles on the post card. Deal castle is pretty much empty except for a couple of displays. But I think I enjoyed it as much as I did Walmer Castle. Deal was built by Henry VIII. It is right on the coast. Built for defense, but used only once during a civil war. It was fun wandering around the tunnels beneath the castle. I got a little lost at one point, but eventually wandered out.


Then we–Brett went with me–walked down the coast to Walmer Castle. Still lived in by the Queen Mother sometimes, so much of it was closed off. But the castle garden was real nice.


The beach was alright–but as you may or may not be able to tell, it’s not sand, it’s smooth stone. Daytona is a little nicer. But it was still nice to sit and watch the ocean.


As for the banking situation, I got an account at the National Westminster Bank in London through the BUNAC agency. there is a Nat West bank right across the square, so I just deposit it there. I should receive some checks in the mail soon. After 3 paydays–paid in cash–taxes already paid–I have £120 in the bank and £80 to deposit tomorrow. I figure every week of work is at least a week of eventual travel, minus the cost of a back pack and sleeping bag. I go the pre-Racy wedding letter today. [I don’t know what this is.]

If I get so fed up with this job that I can’t take it I will do something else. But as of now I am content. The pay is good, as are the accommodations & food & people. And I am feeling more & more at home. There is a lot to do and I have a lot of time to do it. The weather today was mostly overcast & cloudy, but the sun did come out for awhile. In the near future I am going to try to get to France, London, and to Leeds Castle to play some golf. We’ll see. Thanks again for the letters & stuff, and for the calls. See you later.




Films 136-144


The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. I really liked this collage of a film. We’re all a bit unstuck in time. And all sort of in a diving bell?

Return to Homs. The “Syrians should stay home and fight” folks should pick up a half-loaded rifle and joins these guys. I don’t understand.

Forrest Gump. My first viewing. I love the last 30 minutes of this film. Him meeting his boy and marrying Jenny is worth the silly stuff.

Spotlight. Not sure why it’s fascinating to watch hard working people doing important and difficult work. But it is. And I’m glad they did.

Winter on Fire. “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.

“Inside Out. Creates such a giant, crazy, intricate world. Yet it totally works, sucked me in, grabbed me, and squeezed my heart a little.

Hot Rod. Not a fan of the man-child genre. This one surprised me. Seems smarter than most. Loved the Footloose dance homage. Plus Samburg.

The Martian. A great tense, exciting, funny adventure story. And all the engineering, and people working together. And Matt Damon was great.

History of The Eagles. Three hours long. It didn’t seem like it. Fun to relive our history through those songs. What a fine sight to see.