Sunday

The Start of Something Extraordinary and Exciting

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.

7 comments:

mgreen81 said...

Hi Bill,

Its Mike your old IT Tech from Cornwall. I just stumbled across this while looking for more info about your trip to Tonga. I couldnt believe it when Phil told me about it, its an amazing story - you could not write it.

I just wanted to say, have an amazing trip ( I know you will ) and keep this blog up to date with your stories, they will keep me entertained while I am stuck in corporate hell :-(.

All the best!

Mike (Green)

ger said...

please keep us updated on your travels its great...i feel like i now know someone who was at a coronation!really keen on reading harry's letters from the front.thank you.ger.

Katy and Scott said...

The Tongan coronation must have been quite something. It was covered on TV here (New Zealand). Hope you have a great trip to NZ and spend heaps of time exploring and enjoying this beautiful country (I moved here from England 4 years ago). Avidly awaiting the next instalment of Harry's story. It's so nervewracking knowing that the end of the war is coming (which of course Harry did not know) but not knowing what will happen to Harry over the next few months...
An avid fan
Katy
Hamilton
New Zealand

ex-escapee said...

Oi monsieur Lamin..what happened to all that red wine you promised me before you left on your amazing travels..?...s'just not fair..but at least I know where you lived.

Bring me back a mini-skirt (preferably one you haven't already worn)...and keep us updated of your progress...sounds absolutely fantastic

Cler
xx

d.j.richards said...

Hi Bill, interesting reading about your new life and travels of the world. Its hard to beleive that back in the 1980's you use to teach me, then in 2006 I started work at Pool as a Teaching assistant and we became colleauges. I still laugh at your leaving speech in the staff room and your comment about the practical joke played on Mr Crick and the man handling of his car on to the bridge..I remember that day as if it was yesterday, because I was there standing on that bridge that day..haha. Look after yourself and take care.
Dave Richards T.A. pool b+e coll

Anonymous said...

Absolutely delicious, soo enjoyed your description, even made me laugh out loud. Have a great time on the next part of your journey, I am realy looking forward to it - AND I AM NOT EVEN THERE!

Kind regards

Linda

Rodney Peasley said...

Hey Bill, fantastic to be able to follow in your footsteps and indulge in your experiences. Absolutely brilliant, typically Billian, descriptions and understatement. Great to be able to feel the heat and humidity that is so not here!! One moan...you didn't paddle out to that surf cracking off on the reef!!! Keep loving it!Fondest regards, Rodney(PBEC SURF CLUB,in case you've developed a tropical memory)

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About Me

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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.