The Streets of London

Welcome back....

"So how can you tell me you're lonely,
And say for you that the sun don't shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind." 

 - Ralph McTell

Well since we last got together less than two weeks ago, my travels have taken me to Toronto, Mt. Laurel NJ, Halifax NS, Philadelphia PA and London, England. Certainly not in Barack Obama's or Stephen Harper's league, but nevertheless I've been on the move indeed. In fact, I am off to Vancouver two days from now, so it hasn't stopped yet! I always say that getting on a plane to fly off somewhere to do a seminar is the second worst complaint you can have. The worst being that nobody calls you in the first place! However, I always have a book or two on me, and I think of the flights as time to think and relax. Sometimes it even works.....

Laura and I had one of those great travel experiences when we had a wonderful opportunity to fly over to London and back on a Gulfstream jet. Now that kind of spoils you for commercial travel, but, hey, somebody's gotta do it, right? We arrived at Biggin Hill airport in south London and were whisked through immigration. I had one of those great 'life comes full circle moments' as we pulled up to a stop. It all came back to me, that when we were kids living in RCAF Station Cold Lake Alberta, the school district was called.....the Biggin Hill School District. Who would have thunk it, right?

London was - as always - beautiful, with hardly any rain, and Laura and I did our favorite thing - walking through the winding streets of Mayfair, on our way to and from our three seminars. Although we didn't have a lot of spare time, we savoured every minute of the London experience.

The U.K has been hard hit economically and there is much political jockeying as Prime Minister Gordon Brown tries to catch up with Conservative Leader David Cameron in  public opinion. So far it looks like an impossible task, as he has to call the election by next May. We were there for the Queen's Speech, the British equivalent of the 'Speech from the Throne', written by the PM setting out the government's agenda, but delivered by Her Majesty. Although it seems like an anacronism to Americans and others, it has a certain majesty to it (no pun intended), which at the very least lifts it above the often nasty political discourse of the House of Commons.

President Obama was burnishing his foreign affairs credentials in Japan and China - and in spite of the censorship of the Chinese government - managed to tweak the Communists about their attempts to control free expression in a staged 'town hall' meeting with Chinese 'students'. Good for him!

Prime Minister Harper also made great strides in building his foreign relations experience, this time on his trip to India. Although lots of tsk tsking at home about the political impact on the 1 million South Asian Canadians (perhaps they would be more satisfied if he toured Antarctica?), it was absolutely the right thing to do - given India's rapid economic growth and increasingly global presence. 

So Sarah Palin's Going Rogue, huh? I notice that she is finally doing the kind of media interviews that she should have done during the campaign - Barbara Walters, instead of Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson! By the way I loved that faked-up Fox News item showing clips of huge crowds from the 2008 campaign, presenting them as the audience who are showing up for her book tour speeches:

So until next time.....may all your travels be smooth...and true....and if you could get on one of those Gulfstreams, go for it!

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