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About Bigmike911

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Magnolia, Texas
  • Interests
    Reading, traveling
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  1. Congratulations on your May 2022 planned cruise. You are looking ahead. I am stuck in the here and now with some late summer early, fall garden chores. My tree trimmer is coming tomorrow to make a judgement on a Shumard Red Oak I planted a couple of years ago. It had reached about 20 feet into the air, and now the top 6 to 8 feet of the trunk is angled at about 150 degrees. Vile Squirrels. They did the same thing to a branch on one of my pecans but fortunately not the main trunk, but it has to be dealt with too. Other oaks I planted have created new trunks from lateral branches, but I don't know about Shumards. I also have to have a sweet gum cut down. It was a bonsai, that out grew its pot, and I put it in the ground. It did not do well and now is half dead. I suspect I can find a $1,000. worth of tree trimming for the Beaver Tree Service. We missed the rain from Hurricane Sally, and we could have used some free water. The humidity of mid summer returned but the high temps are now in the mid 80s, still not pleasant to spend much time in. The promise of a vaccine whets my whistle, and I am hoping they will get approval soon. There are at least three promising vaccines, and the government has ordered 100 million doses of each one. Once the FDA has given their approval, these will be distributed the next day to the hospitals and clinics. I am sure it will take time to work through the population, but as I am in the Senior, Senior set, maybe mine will come early. I have set mid-March to decide whether or not to pay for my 20July 2021 voyage. If I have had the vaccine, I will pay, if not I will have to cancel again. My fingers are crossed. I hope all of our contributors are o.k. and that specifically includes you Vette Princess.
  2. I second this suggestion, The Royal Navy yard also has the recently refurbished HMS Victory, Admiral Lord Nelson's flagship, as well as the Mary Rose. They are well worth a short train trip from Southampton to Portsmouth. If you do take the trip, be sure you get off at Portsmouth Harbor, which is within walking distance of the Navy Yard, not central Portsmouth.
  3. I listened to the "last night of the Proms" this afternoon, ( I am six hours behind London) before going out to dinner. It was a very melancholy experience. I did not find the commissions particularly good this year, but my very favorite classical piece, Ralph Vaughn William's 'the Lark Ascending" was played beautifully by Nicola Benedetti. I am of the personal opinion that the audience lubricated by a soupcon of alcohol makes the final night a joyous occasion. That was very much missing tonight. It was almost as if they wanted to make this year's final night a downer. We don't need that, we need uplifting events. Next year we will have better, and who knows maybe I can be there as I was on Sept 14 ,2001. That was a glorious Last Night I will never forget, even though it took me nearly two weeks to get back to the U.S. after that
  4. This morning as I stepped out to collect the newspaper, the most wonderful thing happened. The outdoor temperature was cooler than the indoors. For the first time in five plus months. I am looking forward to this fall with great anticipation.
  5. I review the Texas Department of Health and Human Services Covid 19 data base frequently. Trends for Texas testing continues with 5.5 million so far. Positives 640 thousand to date. Trends include fewer positive, now under 7%, fewer hospitalizations, and for three days zero deaths. We are going in the right direction. But we just had our Labor Day, our 'end of summer' holiday and lots of people partying and going to the beach. So we will see what happens in two weeks.
  6. LL, There are two wonderful You Tube videos on HMS Victory. One is about the repainting according to the original paint colors and the scientific search for the original colors, and the second is a ForcesTV brief story on the bracing that they have done to prevent the vessel from 'sagging' due to the fact that it is not in water. Both will give you an added reason to visit the ship. Enjoy.
  7. August is almost done, and we had the hottest day of the year. I got an early start with my gardener and by 10 am I was tuckered out. We are trimming and removing over grown plants as well as those which did not live up to their initial 'promise'. I decided to do my grocery rounds today, thinking a Monday would be light. It was at the super market but not at Trader Joe's the specialty market. I queued for about 10 minutes in the heat. But driving around allowed me to listen to the last hour of the Movie Hall of Fame on Classic FM, and that was pleasant. Last Saturday, I went to my usual family Mexican restaurant. Because I am over seventy, I go early to miss the crowds. The owner says his business is coming back and he had the best week in five years last week. Even though the place is working at 50%. Some friends in Surrey had a pub dinner last weekend, their first dinner out in five months. So slowly we are beginning to get back to "normal". The trends in Texas that saw a jump in new cases in June and July are now showing fewer hospitalizations and deaths, even though total cases are increasing due to continued testing. The Positive rates are now below 10% on the tests. And yet the total cases for my area of Texas is about 150,000 in a population of more than five million or under 3%. And it appears that a vaccine is on the horizon as well. Phew. I hope friends around the world are doing better too.
  8. My first sailing on QM2 was in 2005 and we took the Orient Express/British Pullman train from London Victoria right into the Queen Elizabeth Terminal. Off the train after a wonderful brunch and much wine, right into check in, up the stairs and on board. It was a memorable trip. Unfortunately they haven't offered it in years.
  9. I am crossing my fingers that my 22 July 2021 from Hamburg will not be canceled and that I will be able to actually fly to London and onward to Hamburg to catch it. At this point everything seems up in the air. But hope springs eternal
  10. I envy you the trip to Portsmouth LL, I did that in Nov. 2018 and was aboard HMS Victory at 11 am on 11th November. It is fascinating as is the Mary Rose. Enjoy your trip.
  11. Sorry to hear about the violence it seems endemic. Where are you thinking of moving to Vette Princess? I must say living in a small town, near a big city is a very nice life style, and that is why I love being here.
  12. Storm Postscript. I live west of a township called The Woodlands, Texas. It is one of those master planned communities and generally speaking it is a great place. However, in the establishment of the community, the developer did a deal with an energy company to deliver power for the houses and business in the area. The company is a Louisiana company called Entergy. So to cut cost for interconnecting to the dominant power delivery company they bring their power in from Louisiana, and the storm shut most of their lines down. So this upscale community has been having rolling blackouts since the storm. I am sure the residents are not happy campers. As it happens the internet circuits that power my internet are powered in the woodlands, so my internet was down from 2 to 7 pm. when the internet company brought in back up generators. I must say, I do miss not having Classic FM playing in the background when I am working. But as you can see I am back on line now.
  13. Thursday Morning Report from South East Texas. Hurricane Laura made land fall early this morning as a category four storm. Landfall was in Cameron Parish, Louisiana and the town of Lake Charles. They are reporting 'Catastrophic" damage, but no loss of life. Trees, power lines and road signs have been blown down, and building have been heavily damaged. They are without commercial power for 500,000 people. The Governor of Louisiana has reported only one death, thankfully. The storm is currently at the Louisiana/Arkansas border still a cat one. Some damage on the Texas side of the Sabine River, but no where near the predictions yesterday. Here in greater Houston. some rain, but not very much, no wind to speak of and no casualties. So the nearly five million souls who live in the area are secure. The rest of my morning will be spent undoing the preparations I made yesterday in anticipation of strong wind and rain. In fact I need to water some plants this morning. The hurricane did leave us with high dew points, and it's going to be a slog this morning in the dew point 80 and 96f high heat. We missed another hit, but there will be more opportunities. This is an unending story in the Gulf of Mexico region.
  14. So far so good. The Sun is shining though we have already had passing squall lines from the outer bands of the storm. Fortunately we will likely miss most of the wind and rain being on the 'dry' side of the storm. I have removed any thing that might get airborne to storage and we have a 20 KW back up generator. The only impact on us is potentially loss of power and we've got that taken care of. It runs on natural gas, so we can go for weeks if we have to. The local authorities in the impacted area expect power to be out in some places for weeks. Unfortunately, for those who live along the Texas/Louisiana border it is going to be tough. The storm is now a Cat 4 and will likely be a Cat 5 when is slams into the coast at the Sabine River at midnight tonight. Coastal towns from Galveston north and east are under mandatory evacuations as are communities on Galveston Bay. The storm surge at Galveston is expected to be 6 to 9 feet above MHT, and that will flood a lot of places many miles inland. One forecaster had a map of Lake Charles, LA and it showed flooding in all parts of the city, with up to 15 feet of water in some places in the surge. Your friends in Lafayette are likely to get a lot of rain, and some wind but they should be safe. But if you live in the small cities and towns on either side of the Sabine you will suffer catastrophic damage. They are now forecasting Cat 1 winds all the way to the Louisiana/Arkansas border about 250 miles from the coast. Laura is going to be one of those storms people remember for years. I am keeping my fingers crossed and saying prayers for those in harms way. Thank you for your concern, Vette Princess.
  15. At this point we are on the southern side of the cone, so wind, rain and storm surge will be north east of Houston. That of course could change. I think tomorrow we will gain clarity tomorrow. Yes, the heat and humidity are a challenge, but having a long summer growing season has yielded me large trees from plantings only eight years ago. And, planting trees is my contribution to fighting global warming as trees take in CO2 and emit O. To date, I have planted fifty oak, hickory, sweet gum, pecan and pine trees, along with 20 citrus either in ground or in pots. As well as a couple of figs and plums. Watching them grow year over year gives me great joy. And Texas has been home to my family for two centuries this year.
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