The ins and outs of england

Photos from our trip are in the gallerydeelondon.jpg
We're back from England after a very sucessful trip. It was my first Christmas in England since 1999 and Deanne's first Christmas abroad. We were fortunate enough to have my dad's car the whole time, which made a huge difference because we weren't at the mercy of British Rail. Thankfully his car has navigation which was an absolute Godsend as driving in England is rather treacherous. The nav even gives you a little diagram of roundabouts so that people like me aren't overly confused.Since our trip was longer than most of our previous trips, we were able to take things at a slightly more leisurely pace, and slip into British life. This included things like: - popping down the pub for a quick pint - watching Match of the Day on a Saturday evening (after going to the match in person!) - nipping down to the village shop for a paper and some milk - complaining about the weather and then saying "oh well, mustn't grumble" - driving through villages with names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey, and Shellow Bowells - eating "Marks and Spencer's Chicken Korma Dinner for Two" with a really bad bottle of Spanish wine - sitting in front of the fire, doing the Times Crossword - speeding down country lanes that are no wider than the average California bike path - watching Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear and muttering "smug wanker" - eating at Little Chef roadside diners - being able to use words like fortnight, anorak, bollocks, and aerial without people staring at me You know, the little things I miss about England. The things I don't miss include: - wind so cold it feels like someone is slapping your face repeatedly with a rubber glove - roundabouts - tiny kitchens - smoking in pubs - steak and kidney pie - Countdown - people not making eye contact - The vacuous utterance of "Can I help?" when you're next in line Anyway, we had a wonderful trip, visiting with friends and family, wandering around London, shopping, eating and just having a good time. For me, this is the best way to visit England - often enough to experience the things I enjoy but not long enough for the little things to start irritating me again. I maintain that constant state of nostalgia for ol' Blighty. Now if only it were a bit closer....

10 things I learned on vacation

1. Cadbury's is, and will forever remain, the best chocolate in the world.2. Although temperature-wise, my grandmother's house is freezing, it remains the warmest place I'll ever know. 3. You've never felt cold until you walk for 5 minutes in London and can't feel your face. 4. You can make a very effective crack pipe out of one of those mini bottles of liquor. And to think I never would have learned that had I not glanced into a phone booth in one of the less desirable areas of London. 5. There is only one shop in the entire United Kingdom that sells dental floss. 6. Traffic roundabouts were designed purely to confound and confuse people like me. 7. England (and most of Europe) is so far ahead of the US in cellphone technology it's embarassing. 8. Writing "See ID" on the signature panel of your credit card will frighten and confuse your average British shopkeep. 9. I really miss Match of the Day 10. American tourists are embarassing to be associated with. "What was the name of that palace we saw today...Buckin' somethin'?"


We have arrived in England. Yeah, we're in England - I think I forgot to mention that fact to pretty much everyone! Things have been so hectic at both home and work that neither of us really had a chance to even think about this trip until the day before we left. So we packed frantically, tried to get everything squared away, at work and Darlene took us to the airport on Wednesday. Work gave me a Blackberry (gee...THANKS guys) so I can stay on top of my email. We were fortunate enough to get Upper Class again on the way over and despite a few glitches for me here and there at the beginning of the flight, I was ok. Each flight gets easier and easier.We were met at the airport and driven to my parents house by one of the Virgin limos which was kinda neat. Will was in good form when we arrived and my dad arrived later in the evening. We had a nice pub dinner down the road before crashing at about 10pm. Dad and will are off to South Africa tonight and we are heading to my grandmother's house tomorrow morning. I shall post here as oft I can.

Christmas Wishlist

It's that time of year again, and people are already starting to ask me what I want for Christmas. I think I frustrated people the first few Christmases I was back in the US, because I didn't tell people what I wanted and I didn't maintain a wishlist. So after much haranguing and cajoling, I put together a list last year.So I repeat the tradition this year and I present to you, my 2004 Christmas Wishlist Now that you have my list, I demand to see yours. Anyone and everyone, if you have an online wishlist, post the link in the comments!