Falling Water

A little over the top High Dynamic Range processing to rescue this image from a very heavy overcast day in Western Pennsylvania a year ago.

Falling Water-20-Edit
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Happy Thanksgiving


View from The Inn At Thorn Hill

Blue in Newbury

I just wanted to share some iPhonegraphy taken yesterday morning as the sun rose on Plum Island. Mary and I were fortunate enough to be able to go on an overnight to a beautiful inn called Blue. We had the penthouse that overlooks the beach and the wildlife refuge. We felt like we were miles away nestled in a sublime oasis. Too short but very reinvigorating. Thanks Kim and Jim.


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Support Matinicus Island Post Office

This holiday season if you are sending out holiday cards please consider purchasing your postage stamps at the Matinicus Island Post Office. Matinicus Island is over twenty miles out to sea off the coast of Maine. Although you don't have to go there yourself to purchase stamps you can purchase them free of shipping and handling charges. There are self addressed order forms that go through the postal system at no cost to you. The postmaster Wanda, will be glad to fill your order. Why is this important? The post office on a remote island is one of it's physical connections to the mainland. In order to maintain it's presence it needs to show sufficient sales to justify it's existence. External sales help make that happen. For the last eight years we buy as much postage as we can from Matinicus. Not only holiday postage but our year round postage. If you'd like more information on how to do this here's a link.

Indianapolis 500

Indy 500
We went out to celebrate the Memorial Day holiday with my family and to take in the annual sporting spectacular. These pictures are more about the adaptation of my photography workflow than anything else. Hopefully this new process will allow me to be more "agile" in getting my photos sorted and published from now on. There are plenty more things I have to publish. The pictures are now in the photo album for you to enjoy.

Mosquito Lagoon

Polling at Sunset

I took a detour at the end of a January business trip to Mosquito Lagoon near Titusville Florida. The lagoon is located in the shadow of NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Florida's east coast. There I met up with Captain Scott MacCalla of Back Country Charters. We had a wonderful day and I caught my first fish of 2009. There was a record breaking cold spell going on during this week so the fish were not too interested in feeding until very late in the day. We ejected the bananas (bad fishing mojo to have them) that were in our lunch bags and once that was done the smell of skunk was gone. We soon found tailing redfish as the sun was setting. I've posted some of the pictures from the trip in the Photo Album.

Southern Encounter

While I was down South during the Holidays, we stopped at the ABC to purchase some beer. It was in the 80's during yuletide. My brother-in-law and I spent a while debating which libations to purchase and we settled on Abita Turbo Dog made in Abita Springs, Louisiana and Sam Adams Boston Ale, made somewhere north of the Mason-Dixon Line. While at the register a voice from behind us asked "you yankees?" I turned to see a camo clad toothless gentleman as the question wholly sunk in. Knowing to not voice what I really wanted to say to someone still living in the mindset of the stars and bars, I paused. My reply was short, "I hate the Yankees, I'm a Red Sox Fan" I think we left him speechless.

Amsterdam Video

Here is another travelog from a brief trip I took to Amsterdam in 2004 on business. There was a quick trip to Milan in the middle. I recently figured out I did not take a single picture while in Italy. Hopefully the set in Amsterdam made up for it. You can also find it in the Movie Album.

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Matinicus Island Video

The first time we went to Matinicus Island, Maine we fell in love with the place. While experiencing it's newness, we took lots of pictures. I put them into a little slideshow video. Here it is for you to enjoy. It is also posted in the Movie Album.


Washington, DC

The White House

Our Thanksgiving destination this year was Washington, DC. We met with family and friends and had a wonderful time. Lots of love, food, conversation, fun and memories. In order not to suffocate our host Tim, we ventured out to see some of the sites on Friday. We had a great time seeing many of the sites along the mall. They included; The Smithsonian Castle, Washington Monument, The Capital, Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, Renwick Gallery, The White House, The American Art Museum and The National Portrait Gallery. I took a manageable amount of pictures on our tour and because of that, I've created an album with some of the highlights. Please have a look.

After the whirlwind tour we all met at Brasserie Beck for a wonderful birthday dinner and celebration. Kevin turns thirty this year and wanted to celebrate drinking Belgian beer. So we did! Thanks to our hosts and to the whole family for a wonderful time.

They Should Have Asked For My Advice

While flying to DC this week when I opened up my tray table I was accosted with these.
Airline Tray Table 1
Airline Tray Table 2
There was only one thing I kept thinking about. The pure white airsickness bags had no advertising on them and should have had Pepto-Bismol adds all over them.


This is misty, Tim's cat. Isn't she cute? What's the matter? You can't see the picture? Neither can I. Why you ask? Because I forgot to bring the card reader for the format my digital point and shoot camera uses. I have three of them. I also forgot a download cable. I have several of these also. Yes, the man who gets stopped at TSA checkpoints because he has too many electronic devices for a person to normally have, forgot some gear. Mrs. JohnLeJeune dot COM forgot hers too. Maybe another family member will make one magically appear and you will see Misty. Until that time I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Have a wonderful holiday.
I'm finally able to add Misty.

Maine Fishing Trip 2008

The Flying Moose
Last month I took a wonderful trip to the Moosehead Lake region of Maine. I went with five other anglers who were excellent company and lots of fun to be with. We stayed at Maynard's Camps in Rockwood Maine. We were well taken care of and enjoyed three wonderful meals a day. The fishing was fun and rewarding. We had to work hard, but we all caught fish. The area is beautiful and the weather cooperated. There were many different locations to fish and quite a variety of water.

During the week we also took a float trip one of the days. The guides were booked through the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville. It was a fun day as well as a challenge later in the afternoon with high winds and fussy fish. It was the first day of a true caddis hatch and we were able to fish dry flies during all parts of the day. Streamers and nymphs also produced fish. Our target species for the area were landlocked salmon and brooke trout. In addition to those species, we also caught lake trout, smallmouth bass, perch and chub.

I've added an entry in the photo album using my pictures as well as Rick's and Willis'' pictures that they sent me. There is also a movie of the same set of photos if you'd rather see all the pictures set to music and not have to click to see each picture. Rick also has documented this trip and previous trips on his website. Take a look over there too. Enjoy!

Sad News of a Fire on Our Maine Vacation Island

From Maine Coast Now

I poke to Robert, the fire chief, earlier and he said this is a terrible loss for Matinicus Island. The islanders are already rallying to rectify the situation. A temporary trailer to house the Post Office is said to be on it's way and the owners of the new general store as well as Craig, the property owner, have insurance to cover the loss. I guess we'll have to wait a while for the long anticipated General Store. There hasn't been one on the island since we started vacationing there five years ago. Our most recent visit was in January for a taste of the Matinicus winter. Robert and Cynthia were our gracious hosts for the long weekend.

This brought to light the needs of their all volunteer fire department. They are collecting donations and receiving aid from several communities in Maine. Hopefully they will get some much needed equipment upgrades.

Additional coverage from WLBZ

England Days 9 & 10

We awoke to a beautiful morning and the faint sounds of sheep in the pasture.
Breakfast was made from the eggs from Christine's chickens and included all sorts of yummy goodies. We discovered we had landed quite close to a place called Bratton Water. A fly fishing only pond with trout that are raised on site. Steve made a quick call and I was all taken care of complete with gear. I had not intended to fish anywhere in England but if the opportunity presents itself. . .A few hours of wonderful fishing with two very well fed rainbow porkers in the 14 to 16 inch range and I was at my limit. All fish landed must be taken as this is a hatchery that supplies many local tables with their harvest. One fish was taken on an olive nymph and the other on a blood worm. The owners Mike and Jan were very helpful and accommodating to this traveling angler without a kit. The Fish were taken back to our hosts at Bracken House as a gift for their hospitality. We had already scheduled partridge breast for dinner and did not want to disrupt Christine's menu planning. There was also good odds of coming home with nothing. After depositing the fish we were off to Marwood Hill Gardens to see the amazing efforts of the late Dr. James Smart and what he has accomplished in just fifty years. The eighty acre property is comprised of a small valley that faces the house. Because of the different elevations he was able to collect and plant a wide variety of plants from upland alpine species to lowland boggs. There are many national specimen's on the property specifically grown to assure seed stocks in perpetuity. We started with a light lunch in the tearoom and while we were there we were able to listen in on a brief overview of the place by the head gardener, who was giving a tour to the rhododendron society on that day. After lunch we took a long walk around the property. Even though it was April many plants were already in bloom. England has a much longer growing season than us and their spring has a big jump on our New England growing season. They are so lucky to have such a wonderful climate for gardening. After our long walk we went back to Bracken House to see what the sheep were up to. As we arrived, so did the farmers that own the sheep. They fielded questions from two wacky American tourists incredibly curious about all these woolly critters. When they emerged from a back pasture they had #191 in tow. He had a bad leg and was in need of some medicine. It was back to the barn with it for some TLC.Back to the barn for us too and time for a little reading and blogging, accompanied by scotch and ale before dinner. This included nice conversation with our hosts until Christine rang the dinner bell. The partridge was wonderful and was served with mustard mashed potatoes, sauted leeks, roasted parsnips and broccoli. A nice private label Bracken House white wine brought the flavors out nicely. The finally was rhubarb cobbler with custard (for her) and vanilla ice cream.

Day Ten
Another hearty breakfast and then time to say goodbye. We had to make our way back toward London for departure the next morning. Our intention was a scenic drive through the northern coast area of Exmoor National Park in North Devon. This area is known as the soft hills of Devon and includes beautiful vistas of rolling hills and pastures. It also has that enchanted woods feel in sections as we waded our way through the twisting scenic toll road which included several switchbacks that traversed the many hills. The coast looked daunting and foreboding on this windswept and rainy day. The dramatic views really made an impact. A wonderful feast for the eyes as we made our way back to the big city for our departure the next day. We knew we had left Devon when we again started to see many fields of rapeseed flowers on the road back east.We had one more stop to make before we concluded our trip and we rushed towards Windsor to see if we could make it. After an anxious time in a traffic jam we were finally able to park the car and walk through the village and shops to the top of the hill. As we arrived we looked up to see what we were hoping for. The Royal Standard was flying and Elizabeth II was at home in her private apartments on the grounds.
The displays at the castle were magnificent and humbling showing the riches of a kingdom where the sun never sets. This last site infused our memories of England with royalty, castles and the beautiful landscapes we experienced on our visit. We had a most wonderful time. I want to thank my wonderful friend, partner and love for a unique and wonderful Birthday present. I also want to thank all of you who have read this narrative and for coming along. Hopefully in the weeks to come I'll post more bits and pieces from the trip as well as assemble a consumable set of pictures from the collection of over one thousand photographs we took. OK, now back to our regularly scheduled reality. Vacation's over , move along nothing more to see here.

England Days 7 & 8

Day Seven
We had a quick breakfast at the hotel to insure we'd be at the dockyard at opening time. We revalidated our tickets with till two, even though she works till four thirty. We ventured all through the HMS Victory from her quarterdeck right down to the lowest part of the ship, the hold.

The exhibits were extremely detailed and kept as accurate as possible. There is a plaque on the deck marking the spot where Nelson fell. The staff on board was very helpful in answering any questions we had. The dining cabin for the admiral was opulent and in sharp contrast to the gun deck mess where the common sailors dined on a table slung above a canon. After the victory we rushed on board a harbour tour boat boat for a cruise around the harbour while we ate a picnic lunch. We were able to see some of the might of the modern Royal Naval Fleet and the Portsmouth sights. We were also able to get a front view of the Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth's new signature landmark.
After lunch we concentrated on the Mary Rose exhibit. The Mary Rose is the oldest naval ship ever raised from the seabed. She sunk shortly after leaving the harbour, killing almost all on board. The reason why she sank is still a mystery. Many think it was a combination of factors. Thousands of items from the day of the sinking have been recovered and due to the exact dating of the sinking this has helped historians date other artifacts of the time period. Following this exhibit we attended the Trafalgar exhibit which connects Nelson and the Victory forever. This completed our visit to the dockyard and we checked off a must see item on our list for England. Back on the road again we pointed the GPS to Salisbury and landed there safely. After a bit of searching we found a nice little hotel in the town called The Clovellly. It was clean and quiet and across the street from two pubs. We stopped in for a pint of John Smiths Smooth. The pub was less cold feeling than most we had been in and we had good fun with the folks in the pub. After the tot it was time for a curry. We found a modern Indian restaurant that had very vibrant flavored foods and pleasing modern decor. A great end to a long day.

Day Eight
We had a proper English breakfast at the Clovelly and walked over to Salisbury Cathedral. This church has the highest steeple in the country. In the picture below, that little dot at the base of the point of the spire is not a spec of dirt but a steeplejack repairing the spire.They are currently celebrating the 750th anniversary with a steeple renovation. There were three steeple jacks hanging off bosun's chairs while we approached. They were so high up that they looked like part of the ornamentation of the steeple until they moved up or down the peak. The interior of the cathedral was amazing with ancient tombs throughout. It has had three times more years to collect history than our own country. The cathedral also has one of the four original copies of the Magna Carta and they boast they have the most legible copy of them all.
After a romp through the grounds we headed to Stonehenge. They have done a really a nice job of managing the site that is in the middle of sheep pasture at the crossroads of two highways. Via portable audio players, you are taken around the site to hear the historic and astrological significance of the area.After a lap around the bluestone he headed west towards North Devon and the Exmoor park. We quickly discovered the unique driving characteristics of the region, which basically is like driving in a one lane trough. There is no shoulder as the side of the road is a high hedge usually bordering a sheep pasture. If you encounter a car heading towards you, you may end up driving backwards for a half mile to let the other car pass. We found wonderful accommodations at Bracken House in Bratton Flemming, Christine and Stephen were our hosts and provided us with wonderful food and hospitality. The cottage overlooked beautiful sheep pasture and we were immediately greeted by several sheep and their lambs. Some babies were as young as a week old. They are a joy to watch as the jump and frolic in the hillside pasture. After we were settled in, we walked to the local pub, The White Hart, for some local fair. The place was well kept and the staff was very helpful. The local folks were nice to talk to and very friendly. We ventured back to Bracken House through the foot paths with torches in hand and turned in for the night.

England Days 5 & 6

Day Five
Time to say good bye to our hosts Caroline and Richard as well to London. They were marvelous hosts supplying us with comfort, information, good tips and delicious breakfasts.

Richard was gracious enough to bring us to the car rental for our next adventure, driving on the wrong side of the road. The car is a "full size" Mercedes that is very comfortable and easy to drive - relatively. Full size means that the trunk fits two suitcases max. We have a GPS, so that takes a bit of the confusion out of getting around. Driving on the left is a bit dicey since I've been driving on the right for thirty-three years. My MO is to drive slow. Lots of folks passing on the right but lots not. Big Brother has a firm hold on driving enforcement here as there are cameras that film and time you going through certain sections of the road. The other thing that takes a bit to get use to is the roundabouts or rotaries. We have lots of them in "New" England but not one every few miles. I guess it beats traffic lights and they are cheaper than overpasses to build and maintain. We followed our noses down Kings Road to the A3 stopped for a brief visit in Petworth and made our way to Climping, West Sussex, on the southern coast, to the beautiful Bailiffs Court Hotel and Spa. This stay and dinner was a birthday present from our wonderful friends Kim and Jim. We can't thank them enough. Kim was taken there on her twenty-first birthday and it is indelibly etched in her memory. We can see why. The rustic yet formally styled complex is comprised of many buildings all as unique components of a country home complete with peacocks and peahens roaming the property. Beautifully landscaped and maintained grounds complement the five star service. The room was fully appointed with canopy bed and spa style bath. After checking in we ventured to Arundel Castle for a tour. Arundel is the current home of the Duke of Norfolk. The duke and duchess still live at the castle in a private wing but still access the parts contained in the tour. I know it sounds odd, but they have made the castle seem lived in and homey with all the personal touches added throughout the tour. This was an interesting and fun place to visit. Back to our room to prepare for dinner where prescribed dress code is smart. I donned a jacket and tie. We dined on Chef Russell White's chefs menu. I'll cut to the chase - SUPERB - The banana mousse put this meal over the top. All I could think of when I had the roast pork was my mother in laws fresh ham. If I make reference to her cooking the chef must be working magic. With happy tummies we turned in for the night.

Day Six
The next morning started with a proper country stroll through the property and down to the beach. This was followed by a trip to the spa and preparations for departure. We made a quick stop in Littlehampton to secure a road atlas. Tip - we secured last years copy for two pounds $4. This years copy was 10 pounds @20. I know we have a GPS but an atlas helps with strategy and proximity. A quick walk through town, a peek at the mouth of the Arun river and we were off to Portsmouth. Driving was a little better this time but the senses are still on high alert. We arrived at the home of the historic naval dockyard, secured lodging, grabbed some lunch and ventured over to see some naval history. A tour through the Admiral Nelson exhibit was just enough to whet our appetite for a full day of exploration scheduled for the next day. We went for a much needed rest at our hotel, supped, did reading and writing, then crawled into our hammocks and slept until eight bells.

England Days 3 & 4

Hi everyone! Here are a couple more days of our travelog. I'll add more pictures at a later date.
4/16 - photo's added today.

Day Three.
Foiled by Starbucks. We wanted to check some information on the internet, check email and update the blog. The staff assured me that I would be able to connect but after a half hour of fiddling, it was no dice. One of the Barestas finally came over and said there was network trouble. Grrrrrr. Back to the B&B to ditch the computer and off to Trafalgar Square via the #11 bus for the National Gallery and St Martin's-in-the-Fields. as we left the bus, Mary immediately noticed an internet cafe. We popped in and quickly (relative term since the machines were running windows 98 and Internet Explorer 5, blah.) got on-line to read, write and post. Mail checked and apologetic post made and we rushed off for one of the free tours given by the Gallery. The docent was very knowledgeable and took us from fourteenth century up to the present with examples of European art through the centuries. We then went across the street for a lunchtime concert at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church. The featured group was Sahara, a wonderful quartet featuring violin, vIola, cello and soprano saxophone. The sound was unique yet familiar at the same time. I kept thinking of PBS shows with the same type music in the background. We purchased their CD and secured permission to post one of their songs on this blog. Doing this remotely is a bit of a challenge so I'll post a copy once I get stateside. After the concert we exited the church and discovered a rain shower. Can you believe it? Rain in London? Fortunately for us we had plans for lunch at the Cafe in the Crypt, St Martins own cafe in the basement. Yes lunch in a church basement. The food was yummy and is one of London's best meal values. With Lunch and the rain over we headed to our next destination the Victoria and Albert Museum. We were lucky to pick an elevator that landed exactly where we wanted to start the Morris Arts and Crafts exhibit. The roots of the the American arts and crafts movement that was in direct response to the Victorian era of decoration and design. We made our way through several exhibits and found the exit. A nice walk home through Chelsea and we pretty much crashed. Not however before Richard and Caroline suggested Tom's Kitchen for dinner. We made our arrangements and rested prior to our walk to dinner. Let me insert here that ALL the sights we went to today were absolutely FREE, the museums and the concert. Back to the important stuff - the food. Tom Aikens is a well known chef in London currently rivaling Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. This is his mid-scale restaurant that features local foods prepared in a simple but delicious manner. We sat at a white marble kitchen bar watching the chefs work their magic with never a waisted motion, It was wonderful. The food was tasty and wonderfully prepared. During diner we met two local gentlemen who invited us to drinks after the meal. We met up in Sloan Square at Oriel and had a lively time complete with a birthday party pub crawl featuring Roman gladiators. An end to a full and fun day.

Day Four.
Off to Greenwich to see the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory. We decided to go to Greenwich via the Thames River Cruise and experience London by water. The tour was informative and gave us a new perspective on transportation and maritime life in an inland port. The museum is on the grounds of the original Royal Naval College. The quadrangle is beautiful and inviting.
We focused on exhibits around the time of Lord Nelson and the early eighteen hundreds. Seeing the absolute reverence the British have for this man and what he accomplished is humbling. We then proceeded to the observatory to see where longitude starts. This one point on the earth is extremely significant especially to sailors like us. The research in figuring out how one can position one's location on earth using precise timing at the height of the noon sun never ceases to fascinate me. Included is the story of the work Harrison did to achieve an accurate nautical timepiece over a lifetime. The grounds for the observatory were beautifully kept and reflect the respect England has for the magnitude of these achievements.

After the observatory we came back on the river boat and ventured to see Buckingham Palace. The Queen was not at home so we could not pop in to say hi. The guards had finished changing and went home for the day fully dressed. We then walked to Hyde Park, Kensington and Back to Chelsea. Needless to say we walked a lot at the end of the day. We went to a local pub called Album and had a quick nosh before calling it a night. We also celebrate the reason for coming to England the golden anniversary of my birth.

England Day 2

Day Two.
A lovely breakfast in the company of Caroline and Richard our hosts and then we were off. The day's plan included the Tower of London, The Design Museum and the Tate Modern Museum. First stop was Partridges market for lunch supplies. Partridges is on par with US shops like Dean and Deluca or any upscale gourmet shop. The difference is that Partridges is a market endorsed with the seal of her majesty Elizabeth Regina II. Everything was fresh, tasty and beautifully presented. The service was also excellent. We then discovered that Mary's daypack strap was broken. With a bit of string from Partridges we made a jury rig for the strap and we were off to Sloane Square Station to be taken via tube to the Tower of London.
Upon arrival we were greeted by the Yeoman Wardens, aka Beefeaters, and whisked off to an entertaining tour of the grounds. I was amazed to find out this was not just a tower but many towers and the castle of the British empire, complete with huge moat, drawbridges, prisons and royal residences. Indeed this ominous location was where the expansion of the empire was planned and orchestrated. We learned much about the history of the Tower and enjoyed the architecture and beauty of this unique place. The crown jewels are also housed here and they are nothing short of breathtaking, The punch bowl was over the top! We finished our visit, crossed the tower bridge and had our picnic lunch on the south bank of the river Thames.

The Design Museum was our next destination. We were exposed to displays of beautiful and thoughtful designs in architecture, consumer products, fashion and transportation. It was then off to the Tate Modern Museum to prove my complete misunderstanding of modern art. There were lots of squares, cubes, rectangles and splotches of paint. The Picassos and Dalis were cool to see though. We then ventured across the Thames via the Millennium footbridge to find dinner.

We walked all through the theater district for an hour before deciding on an nice Italian restaurant called Bertorelli. The meal was superb and we highly recommend you go there right now to have dinner. On the way home we were approached by five girls from Holland, asking if we had an umbrella which I did have. No they did not want it but they wanted a picture of me with it. They were on holiday with school and were having a photographic scavenger hunt. There were screams of joy when the bumbershoot was produced and a photo ensued. After that adventure it was down to the tube and we were B&B bound.

England Day 1

Day one.
Made it to London safe and sound if not a bit foggy. No not the weather being foggy just our bodies from the flight. We knew we would be living the upcoming day on four hours of sleep on the plane and the effects of being bloated like a pufferfish from the altitude. Our arrival into London was very easy and included a nice walk through Chelsea. We passes some of the posh shops in the district. Our B&B is cheery and cozy. We got settled, had tea with our host and ventured to the Trafalgar Square area and the Board of Tourism to pick up our London Passes and tickets to the London Eye. Then it was off off for Fish 'n Chips at the Captain's Cabin, a traditional London Pub. Once refreshed we headed to Farlows, a fancy British fly shoppe on Pall Mall. Not much there I haven't seen before in the states, albeit in a much more upscale location. From there we crossed the river Thames via the Golden Jubilee footbridge and took the an amazing ride on the London Eye. From our eyepod (couldn't resist) we had a wonderful overview of the city and got ourselves oriented.

A quick crossing back over the river, via the Westminster Bridge, to Parliament which included a long look at Big Ben and Victoria Tower Gardens. This was followed by a walk to the Hoarse Guards to witness the olfactory delights of equine husbandry. After much discussion we decided on noodles at Wagamama for dinner. A wonderful asian noodle dinner with coconut ice cream with tangy mango sauce and toasted coconut flake garnish for desert. YUM! A short tube ride back to our B&B and we collapsed for a nine hour slumber.

Hello From London

No WiFi access at the local Starbucks, their network is down - TWITS!
I can't upload anything as yet. Hopefully this will be corrected soon. This internet cafe is brutal. I'm on a Windows 98 machine and have already rebooted once. Java script errors!!!! The good thing is I'm posting from Trafalgar Square! Huzzah for Admiral Nelson

We'll be learning a new language this week.

You too can learn a language in just a day Rick Steves can help.
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