Month: March 2013

Gettting that New Passport stamped up – Brussels

Back when Mrs Trumpet and I (who am I kidding, it was all Mrs Trumpet) started planning our 10 day European odyssey we knew we wanted to visit Paris. On the morning that I found out that Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation I mentioned that we may want to see if we could go to Rome for a couple days as we may be there during Conclave. Sadly we had already booked our Paris hotel and train tickets and couldn’t get out of them. Mrs Trumpet did some research and found that we could do a day in Brussels Belgium and from what I recall of Memphis in May, they are famous for Beer, chocolate and waffles so I said YES!  We left our original group of 9 in London and ventured to the train station to head to Brussels via the high speed rail service.
First of all, I know know why Europeans think down of Americans; big gas guzzling cars, Natty Light Beer, the only rail service we have is the monorail at Disneyland and I get it. They really know how to move people over there across the pond and they do it very well! We both were very impressed with the ease of travel in Europe and I now know why so many of my friends who live over there don’t own cars. We arrived in Brussels around lunchtime and quickly found out that they don’t speak the language. You all know my man crush on Anthony Bourdian and we found out that it is sometimes good to immerse yourself into the unknown and travel to places off the grid. This was very evident as Mrs Trumpet and I walked for about an hour and a half through the streets of Brussels lost as a goose. On a positive note, we found the middle Eastern section of Brussels and developed some good arm strength by dragging our carry on luggage through the streets.
Finally we found a pub and decided to have a couple beers and asked directions to our hotel. Eventually we found our hotel/condotel and did some much needed laundry. You see we did this whole trip by carry on luggage and now that I think of it, I am glad we did because it would have been a bitch navigating the Tube, Train and streets with big luggage. After some wine and beers we ventured off to see the “Graceland” of Brussels and grabbed a couple nick nacks of the “Mannequin Piss” for our friends. Sadly we didn’t have much time to see any other sights in Belgium but we enjoyed it. We did find out that sadly Brussels doesn’t get up early like London and France does as we got shut out on getting some Belgium waffles. Oh well there is always IHop.
 
Heading to the Train to Belgium 

Did I mention we liked the beer?

Every time you order a pint of beer they bring you a small bowl of pretzels. Guess they don’t want you to starve as you are getting your swerve on. As Richard E would say “They gave us Buzz-Busters”
 
 From our vantage point on the Street side cafe

Forgot they serve Stella Artois here – And it is good!
 
Mrs Trumpet hit the Condotel jackpot with this place, it was great!

Brussels at night

My Cigar/Beer Store that I became good friends with the owner
 
Yep there he is folks! The little boy peeing into the fountain.
 
TTQ!
CBT!
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Off with her head! The Trumpet’s head to Tower of London

So after a nice evening of drinks, food and laughter we arise on Monday morning for a full day of Trumpet Touristing. On the list was a trip to the Tower of London as we are devoted “The Tudors” fans and I will be honest, a chance to see the crowned jewels is pretty effin cool.  We awoke and I noticed that the morning paper was still in front of AJ’s room and could hear him snoring through the door so I called Pepe and D3’s room to see if they wanted to go touring. Sadly Pepe was suffering from a case of “bottle flu” and said he would have to get back to us later. Two seconds later, D3 rings our room saying she was going to put on the big girl panties and was going to muster through the pain and wanted to see if she could tag along. We of course said yes so off the Tube to the Tower of London.
Now for those who are planning a trip to London or Europe for that matter, you need to understand that you will do a lot of walking. I guessed that we probably walked 10 miles that day but of course we did have to “reward” ourselves on occasion with a pint but seriously, get ready to do some walking. The Tower was really neat and sadly I couldn’t snap any pictures of the Crowned Jewels or the Mace but let me tell you, when Queen Elizabeth does decide to step down and give power to Chuck, the crown he will wear for the coronation is quite heavy. Ole Chuck better do some neck exercises or he may break his neck because the crowns that we saw were huge!
After the tour and some lunch Mrs Trumpet decided to do some retail therapy. If you know anything about me (devilishly good looking, fit as a fiddle, able to hammer a 10 inch spike into bedrock with my schmeckle) you would know that I do fancy a good cigar from time to time. Thanks to the 1962 Trade embargo with Cuba, the cigars that are made in Cuba are illegal in the US. From time to time I have found some in our travels to Belize, Mexico and Caribbean but I found that the cigars are overpriced, dry as hell, and a lot are counterfeit. Some of my Cigar buddies have told me about the Humidor at Harrods department store and that I have to see this place. Well since we were in the country I begged asked Mrs Trumpet if we could make a side trip to Knightsbridge and she obliged.
Anyway enough with my banter, on to the pictures.
 
 Here is D3 with Pepe (You do see him don’t you?)
 
D3 and Pepe in the Tube
 
Tower Bridge

Tower of London from the street
 
Oh yeah, we blend
 
I love this country, I am a giant!
 
King Edwards Oratory in St. Thomas Tower

 What the hell is going on down there? They filming a Mentos commercial?
 
Stained Glass in The Lanthorn Tower
 
You don’t want to piss this dude off (outside the Crown Jewels)
 
Changing of the Guard
 
 
Sadly the only pic I have since the aforementioned dude gave me the stink eye
 
That isn’t a Mentos Commercial its a Muppet Movie!
Sadly there was a little boy standing at the barricade begging for Mrs Piggy to turn around. He was crushed and also wondered why the man to her right had his hand up her skirt too. 

I bet moving couches in this joint was a bitch
 
Tower Bridge
 
See what happens when you make a comment about the Royal Family’s Jewels?

 

Outside the Tower of London

A Purchase from Harrods (and it was fantastic)
 
 Another Purchase from Harrods (Look forward to smoking this little number on the Sunday of BBQ Fest with Jimmy Lee and Pepe

Harrods staff wasn’t thrilled when I said that I knew the Canadian and I get the “family discount”
 
English Mike’s company store inside Harrods
 
Caviar Display inside the Food Court at Harrods

 

The English and their proper warnings
 
Onto Brussels and Paris next!
 
TTQ!
CBT!

Post Wedding & Day One in the Big Smoke

So when I last left you we were closing the bar at half past 3 when they ran out of Guinness, Ice, Stella and patience which was a good thing since we had a full day at Casa de Barns the next day. We awoke, well some of us awoke, some slept in till almost noon, and checked out of the Marwell and into the Solent. The Solent is rather close to Mike and Claire’s home and was easier to get to and from than at the Marwell. One thing that we did find out was that over in England they do not play with DUI and that is a good thing. They are very diligent over there and will even breathalyze people in the morning, my God if they did that tomorrow (today is the St Paddy’s Day Parade downtown) then 201 Poplar would be busting from the seams.
Mike and Claire have a wonderful house and is perfect for Mike to have that bar installed in the dining room just off the kitchen. Yeah Mrs B wasn’t too keen on AJ and my suggestion to install the bar with french doors off to the garden to give it an alfresco look. I think her comment was “Robo, you go out there and measure a shed at the back of the garden for you and your wonder twins bar.” Oh well we can’t help but try. Personally I think  that Bar 32 East sounds like a great pub’s name. 
After the Open house we went back to the Solent for some dinner and even Mr B joined us for some pints and laughs. We took off the next day to “The Big Smoke” as Mike calls it and had a good first day. I will divulge more in the pictures.

Mike’s Claire’s Garden – Notice the Football Net and the BBQ grill on the left, It makes me proud knowing that all of Benjie’s cooking techniques have rubbed off on Mike…sniff.
 
The Guinness are ice down for us to enjoy – What you don’t see the ice in the picture?  


Looks like the man with 3 first names, Handsome Dan had to take care of a different type of beverage. How was that Smirinoff Ice Dan?
 
I should have put this in the other Blog entry but here is Mike’s father Digger. No word if Mike’s sister is also bald.
 
Yep you can tell that this is the offspring of Jimmy Lee. Wee Fiona kicking it old school while having her evening bottle.  


Here is Jess enjoying her Scab (aka Black Pudding) with her dinner entree
 
And here is Handsome Dan digging out the 3 cubes of ice that was spilled on him by the previously mentioned Jess for making a comment about Polish heritage. Like we said Dan, if you mess this up we are keeping Jessica and you can stay at the flophouse on Madewood.
 
 Mike surprised us after the party by swinging by for a couple of pints. Here he is texting his lovely wife by saying “Honey I will be here for a couple more hours, I am helping Robo with his English to English Translator for their trip to London tomorrow.”
Kuddos to Claire for being a good sport while we were in his neck of the woods

We made it to London and Hey Look Kids, Big Ben, Parliament!
 
 The London Eye, with my fear of heights this was the closest I got to the damned thing.
 
Day One in the Big Smoke and we went to Camden Market for some Lunch and Beers. Little did we know but this is the Hippy/Midtown section of London so we felt right at home. More on that later.
 
 The Camden Locks, Seriously it was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and the temps were in the mid 40s which ment it was perfect beer drinking weather.
 
Here we are in “The Largest Pub in England” this place was HUGE and no there wasn’t any bagpipe music or Adelle being played over the speakers system. It was Death Metal! Kinda brought be back to my Ozzy Osborne, AC/DC, Iron Maiden Days
 
 The Bieb was playing that night in town and it is good to know that the English think about him as much as we do. We went to the ATM twice to make sure the little Wanker died a couple times.
 

Here is Pepe and D3 having some lunch. And by lunch I mean BEER!
 
 Hey Look kids, Big Ben and Parliament! Taken from the Jubilee Bridge as we headed over to a pub to meet Jess and Handsome Dan
 
More shots of the buildings on the River Thames
 
 The Building to the right is the MI5 building or for those who watch Bond Movies – Universal Exports
 
 Playing around on my camera this is County Hall which was next to our hotel – The Motel 6
 
Yeah we know Carbunkle, Big Ben!
 
More pics and commentary tomorrow, I got to get ready for Sir Elton John.
 
TTQ!
CBT!

English Mike and Mrs B get married

Distance from Memphis TN to London Heathrow (LHR) – 4356 miles or 7011 km
Length of time to travel from London Heathrow (LHR) to Marwell Hotel in Hampshire UK – 1 hour 20 minutes
Amount of time one would stay up traveling 6 time zones to reach Marwell Hotel – roughly 36 hours
Attend the wedding of “English” Mike Barns and Claire Turner – Priceless
 
If you have followed this worthless dribble or a blog, you would have seen some past posts about English Mike, Bar 595’s Marketing Director, and some of our antics. 3 years back during MIM, Mike and I had a good heart to heart chat over a lot of some beers and he told me that this was the girl for him and he was going to one day marry her. I told Mike that when he sets the date, Carbunkle Trumpet would be in attendance front and center. Mike asked the question, Claire said yes, so off to London for the Trumpets and 8 others from the Americas! The wedding was to take place south of London near Claire and Mike’s home in Hampshire and let me tell you, Mike worked his arse off making arrangements for the 10 of us and we do appreciate his hard work.
Mike and Claire were to be married at half past 2 on Friday, March 1st but before that the boys had to have a traditional English Breakfast of Kegs and Eggs that Mike arranged. I mean seriously, he arranged van service to and from the breakfast, van service to another hotel, this man was a mad scientist with his planning. The wedding was a civil service and (if my memory serves me correctly) their wedding registrar went on file in the Town of Hampshire that has been going on since the 1800’s. Following the wedding we were treated to a sit down “Breakfast” with table settings, placards, a timetable that was followed to the T, and lots of wine and drink. After a brief room set we had the “evening” reception with again more food, photo booth and DJ. I like the way the English celebrate weddings, it went on till 3AM till the bar ran out of beer!
Now if you have ever seen the movie “Four Weddings and a Funeral” you have seen the part about the speeches and let me tell you, it was everything that you could imagine. Si and Mark (Mike’s Best Men) made sure that Mike “had the piss taken out of him” and even had a taped recording when Mike was on BBC1 radio for a contest. I won’t go into great detail but I can say that I have never laughed so hard in my life.
I will cut to the pictures now but I would like to thank Mike and Claire and their families and friends for making our visit so wonderful and we look forward to seeing you many more times in the future.
Departure Lounge in Detroit as we have some time to kill waiting for our flight across the pond
 
I have a feeling I won’t be seeing you for 10 days there Mr Vodka and Soda
 
Ever wondered what a 15 month old looks like after being up for 36 hours? Poor Fiona wasn’t feeling it on her first day in the UK

Mike is tickled to death that he didn’t have to fly 12 hours to come drink with the Americans
 
Pepe and AJ figuring out why they drive on the other side of the road

Notice on the Table the bottle of Bud heavy that someone bought, the born on date was over a year old. Also notice the 5 hour energy drink – That was a necessity after the first day of travel
 
The day of the wedding with a Proper English Breakfast and many pints of Guinness (aka Kegs and Eggs) I think we had a total of 30 at the table

Traditional English Morning Suit with Converse Chuck Taylor training shoes – Classic
Oh and the plaid you see to the left, that was a guy wearing his traditional Scottish dress for the wedding too!
 
Notice a bead of sweat running down the back of Mr Barns head right before the ceremony

The Americans in attendance, where are you Pepe? We notice D3 sitting by herself again
 
 You know it is a big deal when even AJ puts on a jacket and tie
 

I promise to love you and will forgive you for climbing to the second tier of the South Bluffs Fountain
 
When in the UK…

 

That bald head in the lower left is Mike’s father Digger, Thankfully his mum has a full head of hair
Mike’s comments to his best men Si and Mark before they Zung the heck out of him
 
 Si warming up the crowd before Mark goes in for the kill during the speeches

Baby Elvis makes an appearance with the Yanks
 
This is Alfie, Claire’s 10 year old son and he is a riot, we can’t wait to corrupt him in a couple years at MIMBBQ (yep Claire, we got the ok)
 
 Fiona running on fumes and playing peek a boo between daddy’s legs

And we are crashed out
 
On Mum’s legs in the middle of the Disco with the music blaring!
Bless Erin and Jimmy Lee they were busy with her
 
 Sorry ladies, we are both happily married to great taller women who put up with our silliness

The Yanks enjoying a few beverages
 
 Why yes that is the Invisible Double Dutch being performed during the reception
 
Pepe just found out that he has been footing our bar bill during our stay at the Marwell.
As you can see, Danielle is ignoring this information and is “buried” in her iFoam
 
Handsome Dan made a new friend and wants to bring him to NYC
Claire’s cousin was a hoot and we had fun hanging with him even though we had a hard time understanding his English Accent. Kind of like the same accent we hear from Mike when he calls us at midnight our time after a couple pints.
 
 
So, that is the first installment of Carbunkle takes on the UK. Again congrats to Mr and Mrs Barns, we are honoured (England spelling) to be there on your special day.
 
TTK!
CBT!