On 24th July 2008, I stopped being a teacher and became a retired teacher. On the same day, after an emotional farewell to my colleagues and the school I'd worked at for 26 years, I drove to London through a hot, humid, sticky afternoon. I arrived at my Daughter's flat in West London in the early evening. Stage one of the journey was over.
This was to be the start of the adventure of my lifetime. I have been invited to the Coronation of King George V of Tonga and I will use that as a springboard to take me on a world trip. I need to be in Tonga for the royal celebrations on August 1st. After that, I'll be visiting New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam and India. I'll stay in each as long as I wish, and modify the itinerary in the light of anything I find out.
Stage 2 Simple. Fly across the Atlantic and the States to the West Coast. I did that on Friday 25th. I was (thankfully) met at L.A. International by Harry's blog reader Christine Carmichael and husband Johnathon Pond, who had kindly offered to put me up for a couple of days.
Isn't L.A. Hot?
Many thanks to Jonathon & Christine. They looked after me in magnificent style. Freshly squeezed oranges from their own tree is hard to beat. I Met several notable Sci-Fi writers at a barbecue they organised, and was obliged to confess that I disliked the genre intensely.
I'm currently, day three, staying at a wonderful Hotel in Long Beach called "The Turret House B & B". This is sooo calm, elegant and welcoming. It could have been a 1930s English country house hotel that's been transported through space and time and dropped into Long Beach. When I arrived, I let myself in with the code that had been emailed to me, and walked into a delightful environment. There was the background of gentle classical music playing through a beautifully furnished antique house. I just sat and soaked up the ambiance. I didn't even need to go and find my room. Everything was, already, perfect.
Eventually, I picked up the note addressed to me (remember, there's no one here from the staff) and read that I was to make myself at home, help myself to coffee, beer, wine, food from the fridge, and how to find my room.
My room! Just beautiful. Air conditioned with a bathroom with a roll-top, claw foot bath and a machine that generated soothing sounds. This is beyond belief. Google it. Look. Book and enjoy.
I have dreamed, without any chance of realising the dream, of this hotel in the U.K.
Tomorrow. Buy a small computer, look around Long Beach, then Stage 3 to New Zealand and Tonga.
Harry's Blog from the Trenches
- Pte Harry Lamin
- Born in August 1887 in Awsworth Notts, to Henry and Sarah Lamin. Elder Sisters Catherine (Kate), Mary Esther and Sarah Anne(Annie) and Elder brother John (Jack). Educated at Awsworth Board School, just outside Ilkeston, Derbyshire, England. I served with honour in the 9th Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment seeing front line action in Flanders and Northern Italy from the end of 1916 to January 1920.