Bond Park is quite large for a municipal park. It has an amphitheatre, several picnic pavilions, ball fields, playgrounds, a small lake and boathouse with available rentals, and a huge open green space for frisbees or kicking around a ball or just idling in the sun. The trails all intersect with a large kiosk in the green space that points you off in the appropriate direction based on your interest.
On the morning we left Brighton, before the fog rolled in and swallowed the golden sunlight, there were children at a basketball camp on the concrete court and some teenagers were setting up soccer - no, football - goals by the sand volleyball court. On the rocky shore some young adults laughed and shouted, shaking brown glass bottles at each other and at the horizon.
The castle loomed large in the train window even from a distance. Sitting on a hill nestled by its quaint town it was an imposing place. A castle! A real life royalty-and-feudalism sort of castle with a bloody medieval history and a deep well under a rusty grate and a garderobe and coats of arms and rough-hewn stone and at least nine Van Dycks, all portraits of the castle’s noble family members. A castle with its own medieval chapel and an armory room with a Medici table and Queen Victoria’s coronation homage chair and a Casali and at least three Gainsboroughs and an execution order signed by Queen Elizabeth I for Thomas Howard, the 4th Duke of Norfolk.
I hardly slept on the plane ride to England. RDU to London non-stop and I was kept awake by anticipation like a young child on the night before Christmas. It was my fourth time to Europe so you’d think I’d know the drill - get some sleep or be a miserable zombie - but no, I’m batting 0.250 for getting some shut-eye on transatlantic flights now...I probably should know better than to take my vacation cues from two hundred (and three!) year old novels. Still, Brighton had a historical reputation as a place of pleasure and convalescence, and I hoped the seaside town would be a fine place for me to convalesce from my horrible jet lag.
The heat and humidity sulked over Kentucky like an unwelcome heavy blanket. In the Red River Gorge it lay so thick that the Kentucky bass could have risen from the water and thrived on the land gulping down swallows of wet air. Horseflies the size of fingers sliced through the haze with their glittering wings and left welts on sticky skin from their careening flights and sharp bites. At the campsite on the edge of Middle Fork Red River I melted. I slipped into the cool creek and watched crawdads dart from under polished stones.
I’ll admit: like many of my generation, I’m a Potterhead. I grew up with Harry Potter and dressed up for midnight book releases and midnight movie releases. As a Potterhead I knew about the new play on London’s West End “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” - the eighth installment in the Harry Potter story. I also knew that all the shows were sold out through May 2017, including the preview shows that started in June...Even so, on Saturday afternoon when we just happened to be in the neighborhood and we just happened to walk past the Palace Theatre, its gorgeous brick facade done up in “can’t-miss-me” Harry Potter headlines, I figured it wouldn’t hurt if I went in and asked about tickets at the box office.