The other day, New Wife and I were suffering a little from cabin fever, so we thought about taking a weekend drive trip somewhere — preferably out of Texas, because there are huge swathes of the U.S. that she has yet to see.

The problem was that we are confined to a day trip — i.e. one day’s drive out, stay overnight, and one day back (because of NW’s M-F job) — and because we live in the Great State Of Texas, we are somewhat limited in terms of destination choice, viz.:

Because of the stupid Chinkvirus restrictions, we’d have to confine ourselves to sight-seeing of the “Nature’s wonder” kind.  But the problem is that within the confines of the above circle, there’s a whole lot of fuck nothing (e.g. Oklahoma, Kansas, etc.) and I don’t want to go to the collection of suburbs known as Lake Of The Ozarks.

Given that north Texas is flatter than Gwyneth Paltrow, we have to drive a long way before the scenery becomes a little less monotonous.  And we’ve seen West Texas, thank you, so a westward journey is a non-starter.

Anyone have any ideas?

Oh, Really?

At first, I thought this was good news:

Given the uncertainties of COVID-19, major airlines stopped charging penalties to change your ticket through the end of 2020. Now, United Airlines says it’s locking in the policy — it’ll be free to change in 2021 as well…

That sounds great, until you finish the sentence:

…as long as you didn’t book the low-price basic economy seats fare.

Which accounts for the vast majority of airline tickets sold.  But wait!  There’s more:

Apparently this wallet-gouging feature will not apply to international travel — which is the type of ticket most likely to be affected by borders closed off by the Chinkvirus for the foreseeable future.

Here’s the best part:

Since 2010, Chicago-based United has scooped up nearly $6.5 billion in change fees. Last year, it took in $625 million, third behind Delta and American, according to Transportation Department figures.

I already have a built-in animus against United Airlines, for reasons too many and varied to tell;  so it will be a cold day in Hell when they drag me kicking and screaming onto one of their foul airliners.

Update:  And right on cue, from American Airlines in my inbox today:


From her lair deep in the wilds of Berkshire in Britishland, Mrs. Sorenson (a.k.a. “The Catholic” on these pages) sends me the following Bad Things:

Sweeney Todd Pies

…and The Royal Berkshire Shooting School:

I’d sell my first-born to go Over There to partake of both but the Son&Heir, no doubt sensing my plans for his future, has been making himself scarce of late so I’m thwarted at every turn.

What makes it worse is that I was a guest of the Sorensons at RBSS many years ago, and it was spectacular fun.  Here I am, shooting the leaves off the tops of the trees:

…and here’s Mrs. Sor, firing a shotgun for the first time in her life:

Note the close personal attention, a reassuring hand placed on her shoulder by young Jason, her instructor.  (We had to drag her out of there, unsurprisingly.)

I am not exaggerating when I say that if I had the moolah, I would repeat that exercise at least once a year for the rest of my life — as well as going to the Barbury School in Wiltshire in the company of Mr. Free Market (as per my last visit Over There):

And to return to the very first pic:  I’ve never tasted Sweeney Todd’s pies.

Maybe next year, when the Chinkvirus bullshit has disappeared… [sigh]

Oh, To Be In England

…in normal times (whatever those are these days).

In Boscastle, Cornwall, where The Englishman has a holiday cottage, a local restaurant has set up a 24-hour webcam to show the outskirts of the village where the river runs down the hill on its way to the Atlantic.  Yesterday I went there, expecting to find a black screen.  Silly rabbit, I forgot it was England (note the time stamp):

I sat for a while, just watching as the occasional car went past on the road and people walked up and down the paths which run along both sides of the stream, and my mind went back two and a half years, when I was there all by myself…

A pint of Tribute Ale (local Cornish brew, on a par with Wadworth 6x) at the Cobweb Inn, hot fresh rolls from the little Spar grocery store behind from where we’re watching, and of course, the matchless fish ‘n chips from Sharon’s Plaice, just behind us to the right.

It’s a scene as familiar to me as my own backyard, it was one of the best weeks of my life, and I wish I was there right now.

Update:  15 minutes later:

Time to turn in.

Update 2:  The Englishman writes:

I too logged on yesterday to see the sunset.  The little building opposite the Old Store House has been turned into a bijou restaurant.
A lady staggered out with a bunch of flowers and meandered up the path to the bus stop which provided much needed vertical stability.  It was a joy to watch, especially with the jeopardy of the stream edge which she was close to several times.
I wish I had been there.

Fond Farewell

I see that British Airways is finally retiring their wonderful Boeing 747 airliners from service, which gives me yet one more reason not to fly with them.

Seriously:  if I ever had a choice between flying DFW-LHR-DFW on American or BA, I generally preferred to fly with BA even though my track record with the pocket-picking bastards has not always been a good one.  And the 747 was the only reason, because these ugly giants were designed back in the day when passenger comfort was the goal (as opposed to sardine-packing economic reasons, e.g. the 777), and Boeing aircraft could be relied on to act like airliners and not lawn darts (ahem  737MAX).

And call me a timorous wussy, but I’ve always preferred four engines over two when it comes to long-haul flights, because if I’m flying at 40,000 feet over an ocean, I like having the redundancy of lots of engines — no matter (or especially because) how much the engineers try to reassure me that two engines will be just the same, cross their hearts.  I know the odds;  and while one engine failure is bad with either a two- or four-engine aircraft, two engine failures will have a totally different outcome for a 777 versus  a 747.

Gah.  It’s probably a good thing that the Chinkvirus has fucked up international travel for a while.  It’ll give my irritation a chance to subside.