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September 2005
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November 2005

October 2005

Goodbye, Routemaster

Originally uploaded by TwoCrabs.

Today is a sad day in London. My regular bus, the Route 38 Routemaster bus, has been retired. And except for a few token "heritage" tourist buses, the Routemaster bus will vanish from London as of December 9, 2005.

The Routemaster, the red, double-decker bus, has been part of London's street scene for over 50 years. The Routemaster is as much a part of London as Big Ben and red phone booths. The coolest features is the open rear platform that allows riders to jump on and jump off whereever and whenever they want. Unfortunately, that makes it all but impossible for handicapped folks to use the bus. So all the Routemasters are being replaced by accessible but hideously ugly "Bendy Buses," one-level articulated buses, or the modern shapeless double-decker bus. Critics argue that London should have build a modern but accessible version of the Routemaster that retains the same styling. After all, if they could make a new Mini Cooper and VW Beetle, why can't they make a modern Routemaster?

And the end of the Routemaster also means the end of the conductor. New buses have automated ticket machines so the only human employee is the driver. The conductors were helpful chaps at the back of the bus who took your ticket (or not), and also helped with directions, loading packages, passengers and provided pleasant conversation, like a good bartender. And best of all, they provided crowd-control. If the bus was full, they would not let anyone else on. The new buses have no such option, so they often crowd up until they are bursting at the seams. So not only are Routemasters retiring but hundreds of conductors are out of a job.

Only one Routemaster bus line remains in London: Route 159. Catch it while you can. Farewell, good friend!

Family Ties

Originally uploaded by TwoCrabs.

Pineapple Princess' sister is in town this weekend. I played hookey from work Wednesday to play tourist and show sister-in-law the sights and sounds of London. Check out more photos on the Flickr photoblog by clicking on the photo above, or click here.

Just to rub it in: It's a GORGEOUS week in London. We're having a late Indian Summer. Yesterday it was 70 and sunny, breaking a 117-year-old record for the day.  I love global warming!

A Weekend in Paris

paris 039
Originally uploaded by TwoCrabs.

Greetings from Paris. The Two Crabs, having thoroughly exhausted London sightseeing, hopped over to Paris for the weekend.

Only 2 hours, 15 minutes aboard the high-speed Eurostar train through the Channel Tunnel (aka The Chunnel). At about $200 roundtrip, it ain't cheap. You can fly for about $75 roundtrip. But when you take into account all the transfers to get from downtown to the airports, the time involved for security check-in, transfers, etc., there is no competition. You can't beat the train for convenience.

Anyway, we had some amazing weather, about 72-74 and sunny. Hard to believe it's late October! As we've been to Paris many times, we skipped the sightseeing and mostly just hung out with Old Scratch's sister, who is lucky enough to live in the heart of Paris near the Eiffel Tower. And went a little crazy with shopping as the Euro is much better against the US Dollar than the British Pound Sterling.

We're already planning our next weekend getaway and our shortlist includes Rome, Vienna, Sevilla and Bruges, amongst others. Tough life, eh?

But it's not without it's downsides. Old Scatch will soon be heading back to the warzone (Iraq) for a few weeks. Ugh.

Woo hoo!

Originally uploaded by TwoCrabs.

Ok so it's been a long time since I've uploaded photos to this blog. But I've made up for it today. Check out our photoblog by clicking on the link here, or visit

and check out our photos from the Mayor Thames River Festival, held in mid-September along the south bank of the Thames River. Also a new set created from our daytrip to Bath, England, located 90 miles train ride west of London. Cheers for now!

Old Scratch & Old Speckled Hen (yes we've changed our nicknames again!)