I had the normal air line experiences, you know — on the plane and then sit at the gate for an hour while they figure out how to find a tug to push back the plane that isn’t broken. You could hear the frustration in the pilot’s voice when we finally got moving and then found we were in a traffic jam on the ground at JFK. But I made it to London unscathed and found the day typical — rain: This is Oxford Circus on strangely enough, Oxford Street, London’s prime shopping area.
I stayed only one night in London but it was worth it. I was able to meet up with Petronella, Andres and Sean, and have a great dinner. They good friends, and a long story I will tell you if you ask, in person, with a drink in your hand.
The food at the “Giraffe” was great, particularly the chicken nuggets and ‘chips’ for Sean.
I rented a car the next morning and headed up country. Driving on the ‘other’ side of the road wasn’t really a problem, but figuring the distances and spacial relationships was. My first challenge was getting out of the car rental place. As I turned onto the street I found a ‘lorry’ – read that truck, three taxis and a couple of cars jammed in a street that we in LA would call an alley, but it was two way and no one was moving. Finally someone started the process. I crawled up the street and a woman coming the other way in a Range Rover figured she owned the road. I did too. Our mirrors touched, but mirrors in the UK all are on hinges. Now I know why, no damage.
I made it to the motorway and was feeling a bit peckish. I found a “Welcome Break” and pulled off.
Waitrose is an upscale market, rather like Whole Foods or Gelsons in LA. I’ll let you figure out where I picked up a snack for the road.
The country lanes are narrow, and you have to have courage to keep your car on the road when meeting another vehicle — I was literally run off the road — and got the car a tad muddy. No harm no foul — I found a drive through car wash and after ‘misaligning’ the car, stopping the brushes permanently, but with the assistance of the manager and two ‘engineers’, I came away with a nice clean car.
My next stop was Chris and Camilla’s — another story for another time. They live in a small village about 100 miles north of London in a house that was built in 1800. Yep 200 years old:
Camilla served the traditional “Sunday Lunch.” It rather reminded me of Thanksgiving dinner — Ham, Chicken, Vegetables, Salad, Soup, two kinds of dessert. But my experience is that this is typical in the UK — Sunday Lunch is a big, and very satisfying meal.
We caught up on gossip, everything that had happened since they were in LA this summer. Their son , Max, is an American — he was born to his UK parents in Long Beach while Chris was working in Orange county. They have a US passport with his picture on it, when he was a couple of months old. He’s not too happy with the picture, as would be a typical 12 year old, but loves his dual citizenship
Daughter Alicia is 15 going on 21 and a heart breaker. She is a violinist, competition swimmer, and works out every day, rain or shine. That say a lot in the UK where its, cold, wet, and even snowing most of the time. Max and Alicia:
I got to bed early because Monday I was to head out to the National Exhibition Centre and the Parkex Show. Time to get to the “Park” part of the adventure.