England 23 – The Wrap-Up

FINALLY. I think it took me 4 1/2 months to do my travelogue for our First England Trip, and I thought that was ridiculous and swore to do it faster this time. And this time it’s taken me SIX months. Go me! I also swore earlier that I would NOT let this drag on into 2014. At least I’m going to be successful on that point. Well, hopefully — I have five more hours or so. And obviously am not out reveling at a New Years Eve party. Baker B and I are having our usual low-key New Years Eve with cats and wine and fun TV later.

SO. The actual Last Day involved getting up at 4:30 in the morning, although unfortunately I woke up even earlier. I’d slept in Kim’s extra twin bed that night because Baker B was snoring so loudly I could hear him from the livingroom. He had a cold which made him snore much more than normal, and thanks to the clever personal white noise machine he’d rigged up by using an old Walkman with the radio set to static, he ended up sleeping on his back all the time– and he always snores on his back. The headphones apparently were enough of an aggravation that he couldn’t sleep on his side. The white noise worked wonderfully for him, though – he wore it on the plane too. Kim’s alarm went off at 4 instead of 4:30- she’d bought it at Poundland, two little clocks for a pound, and it was pretty impossible to tell what exact time you were setting it to.

BUT at least we all got up early enough. And very sadly set off for Heathrow. We were allowing lots of time to turn in the car and get checked in, and we certainly were not late. Our flight didn’t leave till 10, and then got delayed till 12:30, so we sat around the airport for what seemed like five days. Better than missing the flight! Except I didn’t want to leave, so missing the flight would have been okay with me.

I won’t go into detail about the only tiff Baker B and I had, which was quite the BIG tiff as we were trying to navigate getting off the highway and finding the Hertz car dropoff at Heathrow, and involved me being confused over what the GPS was telling us to do and Baker B freaking out because he hates the GPS and was afraid of missing the road and ending up in London Madhouse Traffic, which upset me because he was shrieking at me, making me panicked and unable to think, so I was shrieking right back at him, as poor Kim tried to TELL us exactly what exit to take but was ignored by us as we were much too busy shrieking at each other to pay attention to the one person who actually knew where we needed to go. Sigh.

Anyhow. The rest of the trip home was uneventful. Looong and uneventful.

In conclusion:

  • Oooooh, I love England. I want to go back. RIGHT NOW. So does Baker B, I am thrilled to report, despite all his trauma and disasters and being out of his comfort zone which always freaks him out. Although obviously that means England is not out of his comfort zone! He was shockingly non-neurotic the entire trip. I think we only had to leave one pub due to the Non-Baker-B-Approved seating.
  • There was so much we didn’t see that I am making note of for the next trip. Partly because we lost a couple of days due to the Great Passport Disaster. But you can never do all that you plan in England, apparently.
  • We wanted to visit Castle Combe, a gorgeous little village not far from where we were staying. We wanted to go to the coast – maybe Clevedon, the little gorgeous town across the bay from Cardiff where Kim and I spent two nights last time, or Cornwall. Not really close, but a day trip. Maybe. Wales itself — we wanted to go drive around Wales! Salisbury, which was not far at all from where we stayed. That’s the second time we’ve skipped Salisbury. Gastonbury, which we ruled out due to the timing and the huge Gastonbury Festival. Kim and I went last trip but just walked up to the Tor and only saw the little bit of the town that we drove through. Swindon! STILL didn’t get to see Swindon, and we were really close to it. I didn’t walk up in the field behind the house where we stayed, where you could walk all the way to the Ridgeway trail. We didn’t see any crop circles, other than one from the road that I really didn’t get a good look at. (It was a terrible year for crop circles). Baker B DID see one before we got there, but his camera broke!!! And he didn’t get a picture. If MY camera broke I’d have had to immediately go buy another camera, but he just went cameraless after, I think, the first day. So he hardly got any pictures. TRAGIC!!! (Oddly his camera came back to life after we got home — it’s got something wrong with the shutter but is usable).
  • But, we DID see loads of things and we felt like we paced ourselves very well, and thoroughly enjoyed everything we managed to do.
  • This is random, but I LOVED watching television there. Of course, since we’re so hooked on British TV. But it was just so much fun getting to watch British TV in England. We didn’t watch a whole lot, of course, and that was only once we were out in the country in the cottage- well, we did see a little morning TV in London as we ate breakfast, and that was fun, but the TV at night was great. We kept coming across things we love- Red Dwarf was on! And QI! And Never Mind The Buzzcocks, which we occasionally watch on YouTube because Noel Fielding is on it. And we kept coming across all these other quiz shows, all of which had people we already love on them. Like Would I Lie To You, with David Mitchell as a panelist. I don’t even remember now what else we saw, sadly. Bits and pieces of all kinds of things. The quiz shows are so great- we don’t have that here, not like they do. They seem to be mostly made up of comedians, and they are always getting off topic and meandering around and it’s hysterical. And everyone we already love from other shows keeps showing up – David Mitchell, Dara O’Briain, Richard Ayoade, Noel Fielding of course, Jimmy Carr… oh the list never ends. I miss it, but happily there is YouTube.
    • I cannot wait to go back. Probably it won’t be SOON, thanks to the ungodly expensive plane tickets, but we’ll be back.

And since I seem to be just meandering aimlessly and going on and on forever, I’ll end with a few more pictures. That Kim took – I may have posted some already, but hey, I’ll post them again. It was fun seeing what Kim took pictures of that I didn’t, and odd seeing myself in her pictures. She loves pictures of people so kept taking pictures of me and Baker B. I hate having my picture taken but now I’m glad she did that.

We both found this really amusing. It was in the pub where we ate on our first full day in London – The Britannia. For some reason I didn’t get a picture of it, but Kim did!enter image description here

The entrance to the previously, pre-Olympics, kind of run-down mall right by the Stratford tube station. Now it’s all fancy, at least on the outside- not so much inside but I was glad it hadn’t really changed. There is a REALLY fancy new mall – Westfield, I think — practically beside it, by Olympic Park, full of fancy shops like Marks & Spencer and John Lewis, (well, they seem fancy) that was built for the Olympics. This one is much more geared to normal people, with shops like Boots and Poundland. It was our shortcut to the tube every day. Yes, that is me in the bottom right side.

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Cool angle she got of Westminster Abbey:

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She also got a picture of the inside of Greenwich Market, which for some reason I did not. Again, there I am. I think I was in 9/10ths of her shots.

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What I was doing the entire time:

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She got lots of sheep and goat pictures – more than I did, and I took zillions.

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And…. what we saw on the way to our gate in Heathrow. Our Tower of London guide, saying…..goodbye.

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December 31, 2013

Hi, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of your trip (and I think that’s most of it). I’m just doing a jigsaw of The Old Bull Inn at Inkberrow. It says it’s worcs and herefordshires. I don’t suppose that figured in your trip did it?

January 1, 2014

I love QI and Would I Lie to You? – we have them here. Stephen Fry is in the second Hobbit film, which was a surprise. Have never heard Marks and Sparks described as fancy before!! Just imagine what our parents’ generation would have made of a Union Jack toilet seat!!! PS: If you like taking sheep photos, I know somewhere you could take lots and lots… Happy New Year! PPS: That is exactly what WE did in the UK – argue about navigation, esp when monster roundabouts and motorway exits loomed!

January 1, 2014