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Stateside

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last week I wrote about my arrival in the south of England 37 years ago to the date (November 10TH 1985). Today is the 35TH anniversary to the date (November 17TH 1987) that I left England behind and arrived back home stateside.

I actually don’t remember much about that day. My memories are quite vivid from the Sunday morning 2 years and 1 week earlier when I arrived in England, but when I left England – not so much.

A friend of mine drove me from our (military) dormitory over to Billeting / Lodging at dawn, and there I got on a shuttle that I think took me all the way to the airport. I don’t think I did the whole British Rail trek going to London (like I had when I arrived). I got on my flight at Heathrow, and I was back in the Washington D.C. area a few hours later that afternoon. (I got those 5 hours back that I lost 2 years and 1 week earlier.)

My Dad picked me up at the airport, and we went home, and my cat – Fluffy – went ballistic with joy and happiness. It was a wonderful stateside homecoming.

I got to hang out with my family – dad, mom, brother, and cat – for almost 2 weeks through the Thanksgiving holiday week. Again – I don’t remember much from those 13 days, but I know that it was a good time because I was back home with my family again.

I’m with my family right now – mom, brother, sister-in-law, nieces, and dog. We’re continuing our annual November tradition that goes back almost 20 years – #ThanksChristmasGiving – or #Thanksmas. It’s where we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas combined in a single week. The Christmas tree and decorations have been up for a couple of weeks, and we are actively engaging in Christmas shopping and gift-wrapping. We’ll open all of the presents by the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving morning. Shortly after that the entire house will be filled with the aroma of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Next #TravelThursday is in 2 weeks – when I celebrate my 35TH anniversary here in Homestead Florida. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

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Blogging Career Holidays Military

Honoring My Fellow Veterans

It’s the 11TH day of the 11TH month – Veterans Day here in the U.S.A.

I’ve been employed by the United States Air Force for the past 38 years – going back to when I first signed on the dotted line of the delayed enlistment program near the start of my senior year in high school. I was hesitant in joining the military way back then, but it all turned out just right, and it’s become my career – both military and civilian. I’m looking forward to retirement within the next 12 months.

To my fellow Veterans – this is our day. From one Veteran to all of you – I thank you for serving your nation, so that we may be free indeed.

Veterans – Get the help that you need at VA.GOV.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
1980s Blogging Career Driving Geography Military Music Radio Travel

London To Fairford England

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. It was exactly 37 years ago this morning – the 10TH of November back in 1985 – that I arrived in a foreign country solo for the first time in my life – as a young 18-year-old.

It was a cold Sunday morning at London’s Heathrow Airport, and I had flown all night from Washington Dulles Airport. Of course I lost 5 hours overnight with the time difference.

I made my way to the British Rail station at the airport. I took that to Reading – where I got off the train. Oops. I wasn’t supposed to get off there. I got confused. I ended-up waiting at that station until the next train arrived. That didn’t take very long. I got on it, and I continued on to Swindon. At the Swindon station I hired a cab to take me to my new home and workplace – RAF Fairford – about 13 miles away.

The cab driver was nice and friendly. He welcomed me to the U.K., and he turned up the radio for us to listen to. I think we were listening to GWR. An eerie song came on that I had never heard before. It was Talking Heads with “Road To Nowhere”. How appropriate for that song to play on the radio as this young 18-year-old teenager was being driven on the left along narrow and curvy farmland roads from Swindon to RAF Fairford.

That was the start of my 2-year and 1-week adventure in the south of England as an 18, 19, and 20-year-old. I got to see a lot of England, Scotland, Wales, France, Belgium, and Netherlands. I wish I had seen more of the European continent, but I’m grateful for the areas that I did get to experience while I was over there.

I’ve attended about 150 concerts and live events in my life (100 since 2000), and the first 17 all occurred during those 2 years in England.

Next #TravelThursday I’ll return home stateside – just like I did exactly 35 years ago. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
Blogging Career Military Music Radio Travel

Luxembourg

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. It’s the start of a brand-new month – September. With this new month it’s all about the continents. I’ll be writing about a place in a different continent each #TravelThursday this month. That’s 5 continents in 5 weeks – starting with – Europe !

Today I’m visiting the curious small country of Luxembourg. Interesting story: Back in the mid-1980s when I was living in Gloucestershire England serving for the USAF and living in the dorm on-base my weekly hobby of writing down my favorite songs of the week was in full force. At one point it was up to a Top 50 chart. I also tracked the BBC-Gallup U.K. Top 40 and the Billboard Magazine American Top 40 amongst other pop music charts and weekly music-based shows on the telly. (This is starting to sound like an edition of #RetroFriday.)

Let’s get back on-track with #TravelThursday. One day I was scanning the AM (“medium-wave”) radio dial. That was by far the dominant radio band (over FM) back then in the U.K. and Europe. I discovered what is known in the radio frequency business as a “blowtorch” – a powerful station from afar with crystal clear reception. They played really good pop music, so I stayed tuned. It was Radio Luxembourg !

It was broadcasting at 1440 AM (208 MW), and it was known at the time as “Planet Earth’s Biggest Commercial Radio Station”.

So what’s a “Luxembourg” ? I had never heard of it at the time. I had to do some research – 1986-style (no smart phone, no Internet).

Luxembourg is a small country located in northern Europe surrounded by Belgium, Germany, and France. It’s just shy of 1,000 square miles in area. That makes it over 200 square miles smaller than Rhode Island here in the U.S. It’s 1 of the 30 smallest countries in the world. Its population is just under 650,000, and the south of the country – known as the “Gutland” (or “Good Land”) – is more densely populated than the north. Per capita it’s 1 of the 3 richest countries in the world.

Luxembourg City is the capital and largest city with about 20% of the nation’s population.

I’ve never been to Luxembourg – the country or the city. The closest I’ve come is about 2½-hours away by road (140 miles / 224 kilometers) in Brussels Belgium to the northwest. If I ever get the chance to tour Europe during my upcoming retirement then Luxembourg needs to be part of that itinerary. It’s the country that I discovered simply by turning the radio dial some 36 years ago.

VISIT LUXEMBOURG

From Europe to Asia. Next #TravelThursday I’m visiting a province in the south of China. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp