Monday, March 24, 2008


Galveston is a small city built on a sand bar a couple of miles out from the Texas coast to which it is connected by a causeway. By nature of being a sand bar, Galveston has beaches. The seaward beach is forty miles longs and has reasonable surf on a good day. The landward side is protected and has excellent wind surfing, good fishing and dinghy sailing. Five million tourists visit Galveston during the summer months.
I ride into Galveston in early evening and head for the city center. Four Black men in a smart car draw along side at each red light intersection. The man in the back is filming me. The others try for a conversation. The lights turn green and drivers behind immediately hit their klaxon. So it goes, so it goes, all the way down Broad Street to the Catholic Cathedral. I make a U and halt in front of the church where a Latino family are taking photographs.
I ask if they are Catholics.
Sunday, would doing a good deed make them happy?
Do they have a cell phone? Could they call Carol Davis for me? I have the number.
The mother calls Carol and tries to hand me the cell phone.
I explain that: a) I am deaf and can never hear over a cell phone.
b) That I need directions and Carol's address.
The mother writes directions on the back of a hymn sheet.
I am in business.


Yes, well...My apologies, readers, if I occasionally write what I feel. We have had Homeland Security PR, coffee, Malls, obesity and politics. Here is a return to travel. I have 650 Ks to ride. Edinburgh to Galveston is flat. A highway fly-over rates as a hill. Cloud hides the sun – fortunately, no rain. Other dangers lurk: primarily, an Old Man's stupidity. I take on gas midway. Three Harleys cruise into the gas station. I ask permission to touch the big, broad, leather seats. Heaven!
Excitement makes me forgetful. I run short of fuel 150 Ks from Galveston and discover that I left my billfold and address book on the gas pump at the last halt.
This is bad.
Actually, this is very bad.
I am almost out of gas. I am staying with Carol and Peter Davis in Galveston.
I have their telephone number. I don't have 50 cents for a phone call.
Very bad...
The gentleman manning the cash register at the gas station is an immigrant from Karachi, Pakistan. Yes, he is one of those evil Muslims. I relate my predicament and offer my camera for a gallon and a half of gas. He is unimpressed by the camera.
He says, “This is something that happens to everyone some time in their lives.” He takes six dollars from his billfold. “Is that sufficient?”
“More than sufficient.”
I ask for his address. He tells me not to be silly.
This is my thank-you letter to a dear kind sweet man....And, of course, one of those evil Muslims.


I write much of the day in my motel room. Edinburgh is a good place to write. The alternative is visiting a couple of Malls (no great temptation). Between writing I watch TV news. FOX and CNN are delirious with joy. They have grabbed an opportunity to destroy Senator Barak Obama. Obama's pastor is the weapon. FOX and CNN broadcast endless repeats off the pastor bouncing up and down while fueled with rage at the suffering of Afro Americans. “God damn America,” the pastor yells.
God has saved MacCaine, breathe Republicans.
God be blessed for passionate Afro American Christianity, breathes Hillary Clinton.


I am in Edinburg, Texas. I feel slim. People here waddle rather than walk. Obese is an understatement.
A Chinese restaurant in Edinburgh, serves a great buffet: all you can eat for $6.95. The buffet contains four different shrimp dishes, stuffed crab, calamares and every kind of meat. A notice hangs above the buffet: PLEASE TAKE ONLY WHAT YOU CAN EAT.
Customers serve themselves mountains.
I prefer Asian food to European. Latin America doesn't do Chinese. It tries – the result is inedible. I serve myself at the buffet both days that I am in Edinburg. That one meal is sufficient intake for the day. The food is excellent. The Chinese lady who runs the restaurant has a sweet smile and is happy to chat.


We live in a small village back home. Ledbury is our local market town. The route to Ledbury from our cottage runs through country lanes and over hills and through ancient woods and glorious green pastures. My wife, Bernadette, tailors hand and travel luggage. She numbers movie stars and Royals amongst her clientèle. Her work is exhibited at Ledbury Market House. The Market House was built in the 13th century. This is not a digression. I am writing of coffee. An Italian coffee shop serves great coffee upstairs on Ledbury's Main Street. The coffee shop is the same distance from our cottage as MoonBean is from my Edinburgh motel. Ledbury is a pleasant drive from our cottage. Riding to MoonBean is a procession of Malls. I want to go home.

Find photographs of Bernadette's luggage and of me talking with one of her Royals in the biography section at


I ask directions to Edinburgh town center. Edinburg doesn't have a center. Edinburgh has Malls. Drive enough miles in any direction and you are in the next town which is also Malls. I ride 7 Ks to a Starbucks. Starbucks considers itself superior. So do its staff. I need black coffee. I am faced with an incomprehensible menu. Bewilderment merits a sneer and half an inch of black liquid in a ceramic cup. WiFi Internet connection is an extra.
A woman whispers to me that Internet is free at MoonBean. MoonBean is on the next block in a neighboring Mall. Staff are friendly and relaxed. Coffee comes in a beaker. Customers talk to me. I am happy.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


A patrolman at Border Patrol recommends Motel 6 for a cheap clean room. Motel 6 in Edinburgh began life as a Holiday Inn. I have a room the size of a South American small-town hotel. Towels would bandage an army. I am due Sunday in Galveston, Texas. I am way behind with writing. I book in for three nights, drag out the waterproof purse that hangs round my neck on a steel wire. Where in Hell is my credit card? Have you suffered the same disaster?
You hunt through every pocket.
Then you hunt through every pocket.
Finally you hunt through every pocket.
The reception clerk comes to my aid with a bright suggestion: “Have you checked your pockets?”
Don't snarl – the clerk means well.
"Where did you last use it?” the clerk asks.
How would I remember? At 75? Close to the end of my journey and I got careless. That is the truth. Stupid, stupid, stupid...
I pay cash for the room, dump my bag on the bed and cool my brain in a shower. Then I call the bank to cancel the card and call Bernadette to wire me money through Western Union.


Border Patrol PR is a misnomer. The PR man for Border Patrol is forbidden to discuss illegal immigration, illegal immigrants, coyotes, progress building the frontier fence.
These are major points of discussion amongst ordinary and extraordinary citizens of Texas and New Mexico, Arizona, California, Washington politicians and candidates for the Presidency.
Accompanying a Border patrol is illegal (I might get shot).
A poster of a Nascar saloon decorates the office. The car is sponsored by Homeland Security. Racing cars are cool with the type of kid Homeland Security hopes to recruit. Has the car won races? Is that a forbidden subject? Is PR superfluous?


I expected to wait in line at the Brownsville border. I was through to a Customs bay in minutes and through to Immigration with equal speed. Immigration takes a while. Back home I understand computer delay: our sons download music from weird sites and collect viruses. I don't like to ask the woman official what Homeland Security downloads. Perhaps the computers are antique.
I want to ride with an agent from Border Patrol on a night hunt for illegals.
The head office for this sector is north in Edinburg.
The PR man will be back late in the afternoon.