Monday, May 24:  Bath

Scrambled eggs for breakfast again. And we got some valuable subway advice for the trip to Heathrow from the same Indonesian fellow who let us use the key garden the other day.

Almost hopped on the wrong train on our trip out to Heathrow, and besides going through the wrong turnstiles at Victoria Station, it was a good trip, and at 32 cheaper it was the way to go. Eventually got transported out to the rental car parking lot, where she cycled through three or four cars before upgrading us to a Rover 75. I think we also got an upgrade when we booked through the US agent, Kemwel. So we are paying for Economy, bypassed Intermediate and now have a Standard. Seems like a nice car, just enough room, and very British. I like the faux wood-grain dashboard and the analog clock.

My Australian driving experience of seven years ago was of some help. If in doubt, veer LEFT, a LEFT turn is easy, and on the hiway, keep LEFT unless you are passing, turn LEFT to enter a roundabout. Nothing to it. Well, we got off the track right away and did an additional tour of the Terminal 1 arrivals area, only hit the left-hand curb three or four times and killed the engine twice. Other than that, no problem. OK, once we got on the hiway, no problem.

Only about an hour and half driving on the hiway, but we used a service area for a lunch stop. Bought an espresso and the lady snuck me a small paper cup of hot milk so I could concoct a noisette. Funny how everybody there, especially the senior citizens, looked so British!

Rick’s map of Bath shows our B&B on the outside edge of a large park, but what he doesn’t show is that the park continues across the street. So rounding the park puts you a good ways away. Then Marlborough Lane continues up the hill as a road named Marlborough Buildings. Eventually parked near the Marlborough Tavern and found our way on foot to Prior House.

The boys played at the large playground across the street, including a neat climbing toy about 15 feet tall, made of ropes in something of an Eiffel Tower pattern, where two strands are joined at a time with a single metal ball having two pathways bored through it. For dinner, we took one of Lynn’s recommendations and had fish and chips on Kingsmead Square. As they were out of cole slaw, Pat settled for “mushy peas” (we make ’em ourselves, soak ’em 24 hours, they ain’t tinned). (Photo 152)

The evening’s entertainment was the Bizarre Bath Comedy Walk. (Photo 154) No history, no culture, just gags with various parts of central (tourist) Bath as backdrops. Robert was the youngest along, and was one of the first props, as a demonstration of someone who didn’t need to have a student card to get a student discount. (Senior citizens were asked to pay extra, as “they just slow us down.”) Robert was then the center of many subsequent jokes. For example, when explaining how we all were to cross a busy street together, he asked Robert to come forward so he could use him as a “human shield.” Once across, he shouted, “I’m safe!” Later, a woman’s wedding ring ostensibly ended up tied to one of the two purple helium balloons that he was using a beacon for us to follow, and he tripped and released it. Of course, he produced the ring a few minutes later like a magician would. He then offered Robert the second balloon. Just as he was to hand it to Robert, he tripped and let it too float to the sky. (Photo 153) Later, to make it up to him, he made Robert a dog by twisting a long skinny balloon into an animal shape (Robert’s first choice had been a wolf!). By virtue of being Robert’s brother, David got an animal balloon too, a tadpole (one skinny balloon, partially inflated, no twisting). My favorite joke by the mildly overweight comic -- after poking fun at Americans, he says he really does like America and loves to go there on holiday, “. . . because I look thin there.”

Photo 152  Fish, Chips, Mushy Peas
Photo 153  Robert’s Balloon

Photo 154  Bath Comedy Walk
Photo 155  Kennet & Avon Locks
Photo 156  Kennet & Avon Locks

Photo 157  Challenger No. 4