Powell and Hyde Cable Car to Fisherman’s Wharf

Addendum to Technologies:

There is a great series showing currently on CNN called Race for the White House. It is directed by Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti. Kevin Spacey is also one of the narrators. It analyses the most hotly contested Elections for President in American history. For those who have been watching the three seasons of House of Cards, when Kev is narrating, it is hard to tell if it is he, or Frank Underwood!


Jordie and I had a great day travelling on the Park and Hyde Cable Car to Fisherman’s Wharf. This always involves watching the car being driven onto the turntable, and then pushed around to face the other way. It is done by the Conductor and the Gripman. Today the Gripman was a woman. ( Cable Car orkers seem to be exclusively African Americans.) One pushes with hands, and on the otherside one walks backwards with their back pressed onto a back plate until the car has completed its 180 deg turn. It is then driven a few metres to the head of the queue (waiters may have waited up to an hour and a half). Passengers may get into outdoor or indoor seats, or stand indoor holding a strap or bar, or ride on the stoop, holding a bar. The ride traverses some of SF’s steepest hills, inflicting considerable tangential G-force! Wonderful SF architecture, and glimpses of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge to draw the gaze…

We had a great walk down the Hyde Street Pier, looking at the historical shipping, followed by a walkby on Pier 45 of US Submarine Pampanito and US Liberty Ship Jeremiah O’Brien. Walking on to Pier 39 with delightful “mammal-watching” of the sea-lions – lots of noisy argy-bargy for the coziest, surrounded-by-sleeping buds-spot in the sunshine. Jordie had a finish-by time due to the smell of ? fish-laced odour of sea-lion pee…..

(USS Pampanito: After shakedown off New London, Connecticut, Pampanito transited the Panama Canal and arrived at Pearl Harbor on 14 February 1944. Her first war patrol, from 15 March to 2 May, was conducted in the southwest approaches to Saipan and Guam. She served on lifeguard duty south of Yap, then scored two torpedo hits on a destroyer before sailing for Midway Island and Pearl Harbor for refit and repairs to a hull badly damaged by depth charges.)

(USS Jeremiah O’Brien: World War II : The SS Jeremiah O’Brien is a class EC2-S-CI ship, built in just 56 days at the New England Shipbuilding Corporation in South Portland, Maine and launched on 19 June 1943. Deployed in the European Theater of Operations, she made four round-trip convoy crossings of the Atlantic and was part of the Operation Neptune invasion fleet armada on D-Day. Following this she was sent to the Pacific Theater of Operations and saw 16 months of service in both the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean calling at ports in Chile, Peru, New Guinea, the Philippines, India, China, and Australia.

Then on to the Pièce de Résistance…….

Seafood chowder………

Pièce de résistance - the best Seafood Chowder
Pièce de résistance – the best Seafood Chowder

We’re coming in, Captain!


Beam us up, Scotty! we are finally repixellating after about 28 hours travelling. Our plane from Sydney to SF was four and a half hours late leaving due to Qantas plane “breakdown” in LA the day before,  followed by thirteen and a half hours sitting next to a man with a severe cold, which W now has. W has started his wall to wall meetings prior to the Conference proper starting tomorrow. Jordie is on his way from Fijii, and will arrive later today. We are all dining with a revered veteran colleague of W’s tonight at the hotel’s (Parc 55) Kin Khao Thai restaurant.

Yesterday bought a few groceries at a little shop about 200 metres from the hotel which clearly had several not very well-off African Americans outside and inside shop. The shop lady suggested when I left to only turn right, never left, never return at night, not respond to requests for change, but she would have apples and bananas in a couple of days. Later shopped at Westfield a block in the other direction. Worst of being OS, so many countries don’t have our basic welfare system.

Have had a severe disturbance to my ipad with Apple’s latest ios update corrupting all major browsers, preventing use of any links within them, without even downloading it. Waiting, waiting, for the promised fix for ? millions of people. Meantime, am using a low data little browser called Puffin, very grateful. Walked to the Apple shop yesterday and bought a powered hub to assist with loading photos from the Sony camera to my ipad. Always IT issues to resolve.

Foraying out later to to find Codral Cold and tabs, then walk to Union Square.

Posting photos to travel album on Flickr….

So reassuring to see some of my best Peeps at home….DE961471-3F3C-4989-87A8-CE8E9CFC98DA

Night view from our window, 32nd floor
Night view from our window, 32nd floor



SmartWool PhD Socks!!


In April, San Francisco temperatures will average 10°C to 17°C approximating a cold winter’s day here. Scotland will average 0°C to 10°C, possibly like the cold winter’s days at W’s old family farm at Barryrenie near Cowra.

I have a great drawer full of SmartWool socks, which socks I discovered about 6 years ago. They are toasty warm and squeezy comfortable in all the right places due to the PhD elastane., and have a fantastic range of colours and designs. Great for the cold, or painful or puffy feet! I wear them most of of the year, except the hottest weather, with my sensible shoes.

New Zealand grows the wonderful merino wool, and California manufactures them. I have chosen six, now packed into the suitcase, and will wear the black PhD knee-highs on the plane……..


Currently reading “The Flight of the Heron” which is going slowly, mainly as it is my “bath” read. It was written by D.K. Broster, a woman who had worked as a nurse in WW1, and later worked as secretary to the Professor of History as Oxford writing this book in 1925. My copy dates to the compulsory read from my Grade10. Thus, it is (softcover), yellowed, very soft and pliable as a whole (will roll easily into a small tube), with a gentle smell of book. Back in the day, I never did really understand it or its historical background, but was very taken with the romance between Ewen Cameron and Alison, and would skip large tracts to where their names stood out together.

My copy's cover
My copy’s cover

Now, I am loving the historical context which Broster drew beautifully. I now understand that the English held Edinburgh castle, while The Pretender (to the British Crown)’s son, Bonnie Prince Charlie, passed through Holyrood House, (where W and I will see Queen Mary’s bedroom soon), separated by The Royal Mile.

Loving subtlties like Gaelic place names, as well as terms of endearment, e.g mo cridhe, meaning ‘my heart’. And also Scottish fey, or superstition……..the Flight of the Heron and its portents were predicted by the ‘taibhsear’.

66 years later, Diana Gabaldon published Outlander. This, too is strewn with gaelic terms, especially of endearment. Here is a great list of some.


More of Outlander, Claire and Jamie later, to be sure.

Granma told me on several occasions she was sure she had Scottish fey…………



New Year

It is 10 weeks till The Man and I set off around the world. I have been preparing for over a year making bookings, researching things to do, organizing cold clothes, brushing up on French, starting Flickr and WordPress accounts, booking Holly into The Pet Motel…..etc. There is only one more booking to do as soon as it is available….the train from Edinburgh to Paris. It is time for me to start packing!……early organized packing, unlike The Man who has previously arrived Stateside in only the pants he stands up in due to packing at five to midnight. The Man has managed to have his suitcase burst apart twice as it was being lifted into the car boot – could it really be bad luck twice?