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A settled nomad living on the edge of Appalachia. I love to listen to music, spend time with my family, and play sports. I'm lucky enough to write code for a living. I'm often accused of having no "filter" as I tend to overshare. I make beer on occasion and try to sample new beers whenever I can.$BillRawlinson

A Few London Photos

1 min read

Last summer I got to travel to London for a week for work along with three of my coworkers. One of those guys, Mark, gave me a copy of the photos he took while we were there and I uploaded a few to my online photo albums. The first two are of the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace (I pose at attention alongside a guard, he looks a bit more professional). The others are taken from inside the eye which is a giant ferris wheel.

I didn't actually get to ride in the eye but Mark and Paul both did on a beautiful sunny day (Jason and I were actually working) and I'm really glad that Mark shared these photos with me because they show London from a totally different angle. I hope you enjoy them!


5 min read

I'm home from my business trip to London. I actually arrived back home on Saturday afternoon, around 3pm or so. However, I was really, really tired at the time which led to me not really telling anyone I was home and to a most unfortunate accident on my part.

The five days after my "day 2" post were pretty uneventful in general. Jason and I worked while Mark and Paul had meetings. In the evenings we would go out for a beer and dinner but otherwise Jason and I didn't really see much more of London. Mark and Paul did get an opportunity to ride on the "Eye" one day and I hope to see the photos from that soon.

We flew out Saturday morning and had to be at the airport by 6am so we had to leave the hotel by 5am. Because of this, and the fact that Jason and I weren't packed, and our plans to go out "boozing" with one of the guy sin London on Friday night we decided we wouldn't sleep until we were on the plane. We left work around 6:30pm Friday and headed to a bar fairly close to the office for our first couple rounds of drinks. Once we were done drinking Mark and Paul headed back to the hotel while Jason, Matt (our London guy), and myself hopped in a cab for the White Chapel area of London to eat at a really tasty Pakistani restaurant named Tayyabs. They don't serve alcohol there but you can bring your own. The guy at the table next to us gave us six cans of Carlsberg to drink while we ate just before he left. About 20 minutes later he reappeared and gave us 8 more cans of beer (Heineken and Fosters). It was incredibly generous of him!

We basically hung out at the restaurant until it closed near midnight and then we headed down to the Leichester square area looking for a pub to hang out in. However, all of the pubs close near midnight and the other two weren't particuarly interested in hanging out in a club. We spent a while trying to find an unoccupied cab for Matt to ride home in and finally bid him farewell at around 2am. Jason hung out with me for about 30 more minutes before heading back to the hotel to pack. I wandered around and checked out the various clubs and side streets until around 3:30am when I finally stumbled into the hotel room. I packed and then we gathered in the lobby for the cab ride to the hotel.

At Heathrow I picked up a bottle of Sheridans Liquor for Lisa. She had tried it on our cruise years ago and really liked it but I have never been able to buy it in the states so I picked up a bottle duty free. I had to stow it in my carry on for the flight to Dulles. I had planned on sleeping for a large portion of that flight but we ended up sitting behind two 3 year old twins who had blast playing and goofing off. Nearly everytime I dozed one of them managed to wake me again. Once in DC, I had to bury Lisa's gift in my checked bag because you can't take that much fluid on a plane.

We had about an hour layover at Dulles before loading onto our small prop plane for Charleston. I did sleep for a good portion of that one hour flight. Once we arrived in Charleston I pulled the bottle back out of my suitcase to make sure it survived (it did!). Then Jason and I piled into his car for the drive to Huntington. Jason dropped me off, I unloaded my bags and my bottle, and then opened our mailbox to gather the weeks worth of mail that had accumulated. In my utter exhaustion I wasn't really thinking and tried to shift some things in my hand to make room for the mail and I dropped the bottle of Sheridans which instantly shattered on the driveway. I was so pissed at myself and full of a great many "why didn't I?" type questions. Why didn't I just take my bags in first? Why didn't I put the bottle back in my carry on or suitcase once I knew it was OK? Why why why? I felt like crap that I had destroyed Lisa's gift.

I collected the mail and then headed inside to wait for Lisa and the girls to get home from Hilton Head. I had a long wait. Eventually I went out for dinner (around 6pm) and then came home and kept trying to stay awake until, finally, Lisa and the girls arrived around 10pm. I helped get the girls to bed and then went straight to bed and fell into a solid sleep for the night only to be woken around 7am to go to church? WTF? I don't go to church. But off we went becuase the service was supposed to be Shannon's schools service. Shannon wasn't involved though and I really don't think I'll be suckered into going back for another one. After my mockery of church participation we came home and then planned on going to a movie (Beverly Hills Chihuahua - which, while lame, was still better than the Astronaut bug movie I recently saw).

London : Day 2

4 min read

Our second day in London got off to a slow start thanks to our late partying the night before. Jason and I both slept until around 10am. However, after that I think we made great use of our time.

We gathered up Mark and Paul and headed on the tube towards the Science museum. While some parts of it were oddly mundane, such as the "Household Materials" section which featured such simple items as tootpaste and baking soda, other parts were fantastic. There was a large section just on math; specifically dealing with calculus and geometry. There was also a nice section on various ships throughout time populated with incredibly detailed models. Some were huge and all were amazing.

We spent quite a bit of time in the museum until Mark, Jason, and I kind of gave up. Right next door was the natural history museum but we didn't really have the motivation to hang out in museums all day. Paul actually started to get the flu or something equally irritating so he kind of wanted to go back to the hotel. However, we looked at the map and saw we were only a few blocks from Harrods so we all decided to head over there and see that part of town.

We hardly spent any time at Harrods at all - maybe 15 minutes tops. We walked through their fine watch department and some of the watches pricetags lived up to the billing. I saw many at the 30-50k pound range; that's the $60-100k range in USD. We walked out of Harrods and there were two Ferrari's and a Mazeratti parked on the curb. Amazingly those weren't the nicest cars we saw. In fact, when we first got off the tube to go to the science museuem a Lamborgini store was just across the street so we swung by and imagined we could take a test drive. In reality we couldn't even enter the store.

After Harrods I thought Paul was going to head back to the hotel but then we realized we were fairly close to Hyde Park so we headed that way, then we were going to load Paul on a train but realized we were close to Buckingham Palace so we went over there.

We couldn't actually get close to the Palace, it is pretty well fenced off but we did get some nice photos of the famous guards. I was a little disappointed I couldn't get close to them though since Lisa really wanted me to get a photo up close. As we were leaving and heading down the main drive up to the Palace we saw a satellite guard shack that was just about to go through a changing of the guards. Sweet. I took some nice photos of the guards and Mark took a photo of me with one.

After our encounter with the guards we realized we were close to 10 Downing Street (Prime Ministers House) so we went there, then we saw Big Ben so we went there. By this point it seemed like Paul would never head back to the hotel but we finally split up. Mark, Jason, and I headed to Westminster Abbey but it was closed for tourists on Sundays so we decided to cross the Thames and check out the huge ferris wheel that is the eye. When we got there we ran back into Paul who had also decided to see the wheel.

Finally we headed toward a tube station and rode back to the hotel where we deposited Paul and then went out to dinner. Dinner was at a pitifully bad "pub" that was really more of a chain restaurant that was like a crappy Applebees. All in all it was a really good day and I think we managed to see an amazing amount of stuff. We still haven't made it to the Tower of London nor have we ridden the Eye but both are still planned for later this week.

I've put up some photos from day 2.