A Race Down Prescot Street

October 3, 2012 - 10:37 am No Comments

This morning, we packed up, dropped our bags at reception, and squeezed in a bit more London, starting with a quick stop at the Tower Bridge.

Tower Bridge

On Tower Bridge

From there, we headed to the Tower of London. Dave, our guide, gave us a quick and gory history lesson, keeping it light with some quality humor. The self-proclaimed history buff knew his stuff, answering my question about window coverings by saying that the holes were historically covered up with animal skins, carpets, wood, or shutters. But I stumped him when I asked when glass windows put into common usage. Wikipedia says that glass became common in the windows of English homes in the early 17th century, but it’s possible that it was used in royal buildings earlier than that.

Dave, Tower of London Guide

White Tower

Anne Boleyn's Execution Site

The crown jewels of England put Scotland’s to shame. Lots of jewels, swords with exquisite etchings, and shiny gold relics. The best example of England’s garish opulence were an oversized punch bowl and ladle, both made of solid gold.

It’s cool seeing some of these relics in old paintings with historical figures from centuries ago. The accuracy with which these relics have been captured in the paintings gives us some frame of reference for how accurate and true-to-life these artists were when they painted. I’d guess that the people in these paintings have probably been rendered quite accurately. That’s what they really looked like.

Presentation Armour to King James VI & I

All the King's Horses

Returning to the hotel, Jerry consented to a foot race down Prescot St. Here’s the story…

One night many years ago, Jerry and I emerged from a bar in Georgetown. He challenged me to a race, claiming that he would “smoke my ass” if we raced up a nearby street. Despite the fact that I was completely shitfaced, that the street was steeply uphill, and that I was wearing my dress shoes, I decided to take his challenge. We selected a light pole for a finish line and shouted “Go!” He smoked my ass.

The only thing worse than the horrendous vomiting at Philadelphia Cheesesteak Factory that followed immediately afterwards were the years of taunting that I would never beat Jerry again. Annoyingly, every time I asked him to race under more controlled conditions, he’d wiggle out of it. Until London.

Here on Prescot St., in front of our hotel, he consented. We picked a light pole for a finish line and took our marks. Conrad got behind us, clapped his hands like a starting gun, and we were off.

Jerry & Jeff Race Down Prescot St.

Jerry Congratulates the Champ

I won by a nose.

With that, our trip was complete. We collected our bags and made a mad dash to Heathrow. Despite the fact that I got stuck with a middle seat, the flight home was quite pleasant.

And now, I’m back home. Regular life. Computer desk. Work. Yuck.

All in all, a great time with the guys. The only casualty of the trip was my big green suitcase, which I have used for every trip since first setting off to Australia in 1999. The zipper, handle, and wheels all finally gave out. It had a good life.

With proper sleep, proper showers, and proper meals, I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things. Over the next few weeks, I’m saddled with the tedious task of finishing up this blog from all of my shorthand notes and the seemingly impossible task of editing and captioning thousands of photos. It’s a lot of work, but I keep reminding myself that it’ll all be worth it.

No Regrets!

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