far too much writing, far too many photos

Boarded a plane on Thursday, touched down in Heathrow 2-1/2 hours later. My existence shifted into ‘charmed life’ mode, everything that could go smoothly doing so without effort — no line at customs (getting waved quickly through), trains (both subway and aboveground) pulling into stations just as I walked through the entrance, people friendly, needed information coming easily. The English countryside slid by outside coach windows, richly, lushly green, even in mid-December. Friends materialized like adrenalized angels, providing food, lodging, company and (sometimes intentionally, sometimes not) excellent entertainment.

Late afternoon yesterday: exploring Bristol with a friend as the December p.m. leaned slowly toward evening in the long, gentle dusks they get in this part of the world. In a tree near the graceful suspension bridge that spans the gorge to the city’s west side, a bird sat hidden among foliage singing its heart out, as if springtime had arrived instead of advent, as if new greenery were bursting out all around instead of holiday lights and Christmas trees (one each propped up atop the toll booths at the bridge entrance). It sang on and on, drawing amazed attention from couples walking by, from people walking dogs. The day’s light faded, the air cooled, and still it sang. When we finally headed downhill into nearby local streets, it continued singing, its music slowly fading with distance.

Rode a crowded train to London this morning, the sky gray, the air cold and raw (the soft illumination from lit Christmas displays taking the edge off the weather). Will be here until Wednesday a.m.

Further entries will happen (or not) as time allows.

Later.

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Strangely eye-catching Sunday a.m. scenery — near Reading, England:

Madrid, te quiero.

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