Leave here tomorrow for Iceland. Then to Baltimore. Then to Indiana. Then to Nashville. Will update when I am back home. I know I am way behind.
Monthly Archives: June 2006
Morning came way early…Stella Arteois is NASTY stuff…yikes!
Left Youlgreave and headed south. Stopped briefly in Stratford-Upon-Avon and saw Anne Hathaway’s cottage (Shakespeare’s wife). Drove to near Oxford and went to the ruins of one of the best preserved Roman Villa’s. I saw this when I was here 5 years ago…then you could drive down the Roman road (Roman’s built many roads in Britain) but you can’t anymore but I enjoyed the walk.
Had a really expensive Thai meal for dinner but at least it wasn’t 1) fried 2) mushy peas. Stayed at the same place I had 5 years earlier when in the area. At the time it was a real inn meaning there was a restaurant and bar downstairs and rooms upstairs. Since then the keeper has sold his parking lot to have homes put up and so had to close the bar. Fortunately, I drove into Oxford for the evening so I wasn’t bored out of my mind.
From Oxford the next morning headed to Avebury via the Sanctuary. Avebury is the largest stone circle in Britain and I think the world. The Sanctuary is 2 miles up the processional path and was one of the originial sites. From there you can see Silbury Hill which is a large burial mound. It is all just so spectacular and incredible. Walked all the way around the outter most circle at Avebury. The town is essentially inside the circle–that is how big the circle is. Unlike Stone Henge you can touch the stones and sort of hangout. Several groups were clustered around the inner circles.
It is interesting to read the various books/information that are available about Avebury. Everyone has a theory about why it was built and how. I think it is interesting that the aerial views of it resemble several of the carvings that the Picts used (the Picts obviously came after Avebury was built). How would someone who had not had an aerial view know that that was exactly what the area looked like??? Anyone else hereing the music from Xfiles?
From Avebury the natural next stop is Stone Henge. I am glad that I once again refused to pay money to stand yards away with throngs of strangers to see it. Instead I looked at it through the fence. This is probably the last year that that is even an option as they are building a visitor’s center 2 miles away and are going to dig a tunnel for the highway to go UNDER the field that Stone Henge is in instead of in front of it. So. Just as I am sure when the government roped it off and started charging admission people who had been there already and appreciated it felt like dirty capitalism was taking over it seems to be happening again (that was a horribly worded sentence but I am tired and it is getting late).
From Stone Henge to Warminster. What a horrible name for what seemed a relatively peaceful place! Spent the night at a hotel that became a hotel in 1423. BEFORE Columbus “discovered” America this place had been a business for almost 75 years. Wow. No wonder the floor slopped at an incredible pitch and the window sash, frame, window, and storm window did not meet up at all or at anything like 90 degree angles. Reminded me of that Ani DeFranco song Heroine where she says, “some guy designed the room I’m standing in, another built it with his own tools, who says I like right angles?
these are not my laws, there are not my rules,” except that right angles really are pretty keen. Things don’t roll around in the middle of the night. Nor does it take long to process how to open a window when things are predictable like that. But I guess buildings settle and all and since this one was 500 years old I can cope.
From the Manchester Airport headed for the Peak District of England. On the way to Youlgreave, which is a tiny town perched preciptiously on the side of a hill, stopped at Arbor Low stone circle. Only a few of the original stones remain but the center altar stone was intact and time has not worn away the ditch or the side cairn. Arbor Low is a recumbant stone circle which I find less spectacular (the stones are all on there sides rather than upright) but the size of the ditch and surrounding created hill are awe inspiring. Imagine digging out 9 feet of dirt and piling it up into a circle using antlers and hipbones.
Since it was the 20th and the day before the solstice there were several women worshipping there despite the wind and impending rain. They were interesting to observe as they circled the stones, laid on them, and chanted to them as they caressed them.
From there to the Nine Ladies stone circle which is the circle that got me into neolithic monuments in the first place. Hiked the mile and a half up the hill and the place was PACKED full of people camping. I would say there were over 200 people in about 50 tents gathered around the circle. Someone was picnicing in the middle of the circle. I wouldn’t say I was disappointed (I find other people detract from the experience) but it was just a different experience than I had the first time and was not what I was expecting to find this time. Didn’t stay long.
Went on to Youlgreave and the bed and breakfast. I stayed here when I was here 5 years ago. Still had much trouble finding the place. The street is on top of the hill but the houses go down the hill so you can’t actually drive to the place. I had forgotten that small fact. Finally found it. The guy who owns the place is a retired cermamics professor I believe. Anyway the house is full of interesting art and loads of books. Essentially it is exactly how I picture an english cottage should be. Went out to the pub for a pint and dinner and then watched the England vs. Sweden football match. They tied but it was a great game!
I stayed around the pub until it closed chatting with some of the locals. We had very interesting conversations which ranged from music (the English LOVE Bon Jovi for some reason…) to politics and everything in between. It was a fun evening.
My last day on Shetland (15th) I got up and realized based on a conversation I had with someone else at the hostel that my ticket for the ferry was not in fact for the 15th but for the 16th instead. Not what I wanted. So I hustled my butt down to the ferry terminal and thankfully due to the exorbitant rate structure *I* got to pay (there are like 156 different possible fares for any one voyage but when and how you book and what you say when you ask for a book in can effect the price bracket you are personally assigned…gotta love what???? Socialism!) I was able to freely change my ticket about.
Having that settled I walked back down the big hill into town and then up the hill on the other side to the library where I got to use their free internet services. Gotta love that socialism has brought internet to every island library for free. Found out that the bank I love is now the bank that I hate. They closed my savings account 2 days after I left thus making tranfers from my external savings account impossible to my checking account. Now, I know that I may seem to be complaining. And that is okay. I am. I am how ever many thousands of miles away and the banks response??? Oh, just go see your local branch. Yeah, I’ll get right on that. So, I am, err, will be shopping for a new bank once I get back in July. Yuck.
And thus began my wonderful day. Too bad it didn’t get better.
I set off (up and then down the other side of the hill) to the bottom of the island to see Jarlsoff which is a ruin sight which was in use from 2,000 BC to around the 17th c. building upon building was created here. On the way I was told to go off the main route and down this track to this tiny village where they grow Irises. The day before they were all in bloom and were, “lovely”. “Fields upon fields of flowers”. Despite it being about an hour out of the way I decided that it sounded delightful and so detoured. “Yes, we had flowers yesterday. No, we have no flowers today. We picked all that were bloomed and you can buy them at market in city centre up in Lerwick.” Great. Thanks.
Back down to Jarlsoff. I pay the admission (crime against humanity) and receive the guided tour headset. I am eager to begin my 1-2 1/2 hr (as my computer voice guide explained) tour. Well I followed the path to the place marked one and away went my CVG describing what I was seeing. Cool. Except that wasn’t what I was seeing. So I walk a little ways up the path in one direction, then in the other trying to ascertain what is being described. And then CVG is saying how to get to the 2nd site. So I follow the CVG directions and NOT the signs. And the CVG begins describing #2 and I realize I am actually seeing #1. And so the tour goes for 30 minutes or so where what I am being told by CVG, the signs, and my eyes do not match at all.
Until…I wander through one of the later (100 BC) high walled, stone ceilinged chambers. It is a dead end. So I turn to go out. Get almost
to the doorway and then I am sitting on the ground with my head hurting so badly that I am surprised I am not bleeding when I reach
up to feel what is going on. I slammed my head right into the “doorjam” which had about a 1/2″ lip on it. I decided to leave at that point.
Needless to say I had a strong, massive headached all the rest of the day, night, and next day. Delightful.
Decided what I needed was a good drive so I drove up to Mavis Grind. This is the exact spot, allegedly where the Atlantic and the North Sea meet.
Now, I thought they shared a fairly lengthy border but I was, evidently, wrong. Well, let me
tell you, it wasn’t the “4 Corners” of Shetland but it was hardly worth a mention. I hiked about a mile on either side of the road and what I determined
was probably the actual “grind” was about 2 miles more out on the Atlantic side of the road. I didn’t feel like climbing the locked fence to get out there.
Drove out to the island Muckle Roe and then to see the Busta Stone (thrown down by the devil because it hurt his eyes according to legend) more
likely dragged up the hill around 2AD by the picts or vikings as a sailing guide. Interesting but not spectacular.
Went back to Lerwick and waited to get on the ferry. The ride was uneventful and thankfully I had booked a cabin for this one as it is about 12 hours. I was
really looking forward to sleeping on a boat as I have slept in a cabin on a train and found it to be delightful. I did love the rolling of the ocean as it was
a little stormy and that made it easy to sleep. But what I didn’t like was that the lights were either noon bright or PITCH black. Wanting to actually sleep
I opted for the PITCH black. Like can’t see your hand right in front of your face dark. And so. I slept for a good 4 hours before “awaking” in panic. I reached out
my arm and hit a wall. Following it up over my body about 3 feet above me. Then reached a hand over my head and felt wall. And reached my toes down and felt wall. And I could
“feel” the wall against my back as well. I began kicking and pounding on the wall with my fist and screaming loudly. Until I actually woke up and realized I just needed to
roll over in order to turn on the light. Sigh. This only happened
2 more times. Stress gives me wakeful dreams which are usually just screaming at things I see. I’d never encountered this
type. I am sure the people in the cabin next door will take some consolation in that.
Drove to the Aberdeen airport to trade in my rental car because just prior to leaving Shetland I had catastrophic electrical failure-no power to any guages, brakes, steering, lights, or
gasp! the radio. I popped the hood and fiddle with the fuses but not being a mechanic I am fairly positive it was luck and not anything I actually did that “fixed” the car. Explaining this
to Hertz it was clear that the asshole behind the counter didn’t believe me. Whatever. I realize not only am I stupid American but also a female so of course I have NO freaking idea about
what makes a car work or what electricity is or what a guage is and you are a smart man who works as a rental car manager and thus is worthy of worship. Grrr. But I got a different car and
there haven’t been any problems.
Drove down to Stonehaven which is a beachside/seaside resort. I just wanted to lay on the beach for 2 days and rest and relax. It rained. The whole time. And was cold. The whole time.
But the bed and breakfast was just lovely. Have more to say including a rant on why I love American men but I have to get on down the road. Will catch up tonight or tomorrow. On my way to see
my “first” ever stone circle. It should be special as it is the night before the summer solstice. I am in a better mood and I’ll try to be more positive about the rest of my weekend. I did enjoy
my self it just wasn’t good–you know?
Spent all day Sunday driving down to Carlisle stopping briefly in the morning at the Falkirk Wheel. http://www.thefalkirkwheel.co.uk/index.asp
Wow! It was pretty neat except that I totally misunderstood what the ticket salesman said, “Right, then the boat will take you up the wheel, through the tunnel, to the castle and then back.” Sounds like fun to me. So I bought a ticket and waited the hour for the ride. In the meantime I watched boats come down the wheel and then through the lock. It was pretty amazing. Then it was my turn! The canal boat was packed full of people but the captain was amusing. He was so funny that most of the people in the boat didn’t even realize we were in the air until he pointed it out. So the misunderstanding was that the NAME of the tunnel was the RoughCastle tunnel. So there was no trip down to a castle. It was up the wheel, through the tunnel, and then turn around and back through the tunnel and down the wheel. It was an experience though. On the way back down it seemed like we were going to go right over the edge because people in the front (where I was) can’t see the rubber gasket which holds the water in. So it appears that one is hovering mid-air. Thrilling. The wheel is based on Archimedes principals of water displacement and balance. Yet it took us a thousand years or so to put them into practice. The wheel makes what used to be an 11 hour journey just over 40 minutes. Pretty impressive. Not as impressive as pricetag though.
Anyway, I kept driving and driving before I realized that Carlisle is in England and I only had Scottish pounds. Okay get this. The UK has pounds sterling as it’s currency. But each country of the UK aside from England mints there only currency which has exactly the same equivalency as a UK pound but it is only good in that country. And it was Sunday so there weren’t any banks open to trade my money in for. So I drove up to the borders region (which is where my family hails from) to a town called Hawick.
Now I will bring a flashy souvenir back for the first person to email me with the correct pronounciation of that word. Sorry, no one got it right. The phonetic spelling would be something like Hoick the oi being like in “point”. I didn’t get there until around 6pm and the visitor information place was closed. So I went out of town to the “Christian Retreat Center” thinking that in lieu of a hostel and I didn’t want to camp in the rain that maybe they hand sleeping bag accomodation.
Well, the place was empty. The woman who was helping me said that she didn’t have anything clean I explained that I had a sleeping bag and that it didn’t bother me to sleep on the floor I just didn’t want to sleep in a tent outside. She got cheerful and said well let’s have a look at the room and that if she could just get the standard rate of 34 POUNDS we’d be set. WHAT! Standard rate to sleep on the excuse my lousy french FLOOR! Um, no. I enquired if she knew of budget accomodation nearby. She said to try at the Balchory House back on the main road up the hill. As I was leaving she said, Oh, and you have to be a Christian to stay there. I looked at her quizically and replied that it wasn’t a problem.
So, up the road to Balchory House I went. I rang the bell of this MASSIVE manor house. The FIVE locks on the door were undone and a man answered. I enquired if they had any room for the night. He said, “the woman who keeps the manor is in meeting and they just started. I am 90% sure that she does.” I enquired about price which was right at £15. He restated that they were all in meeting. I said no problem and when should I come back. It was 7pm and he thought they might be finished around 9pm. I said I would go to get something for dinner and then come back as I walked to the door. He then asked if I was Christian. I said yes. He then said, “well you should join them at meeting. Afterward there will be juice and sandwiches for free.” I said that wasn’t nescessary and that I would just come back at 9pm. He assured me that it would go along way to “proving” that I was Christian because they don’t allow non-Christians to stay at the manor. At this point I thought, “uh, oh”. But then I calculated my odds of finding someplace else for that price that didn’t involved sleeping in the rain in my tent without a roof nor illegal activity. And decided I would stay.
I told him I needed to use the ladies first and then I would be ready for meeting. In the bathroom I once again weighed my chances of finding other lodging in town (I had already driven through town once and hadn’t seen any place) or the rain lifting. I went and found him and he showed me through the bottom floor and out the back to what looked like used to be a garage. It STUNK and it was HOT. There were no chairs available so I took one down and placed it in the back. Everyone was already standing, arms in the air, singing a song I had never heard. There was a woman playing guitar. I was by far the youngest person of the 14 in the room. There was one African man who might have been in his late 30’s but everyone else was easily 50. There were about 5 songs and then a sermon. The sermon was on how we never feel farther away from God than when we are closest to him. Interesting idea–however I TOTALLY disagree with the premise. I did get a little freaked out when the pastor forgot what he was going to say and he started shouting that the devil had stolen his thoughts. Simultaneously two or three of the women began whispering various things like “amen”, “Holy Jesus”, and “Satan begone!” I think I was holding my breath wondering what was about to happen. But presto chango he remember and then they all started with the alleluias and hallelujahs.
Then communion was served. As the man began bringing it around it occurred to me that I didn’t particularly want to be eating or drinking anything that these people were. I am NOT a koolaid drinker (please see the Jim Jones reference) so when he presented me with the bread I asked if it was unleavened. No it wasn’t so I passed. Thank you God! Then when the liquid in the cup which everyone had a drink out of came to me I enquired if it was grape juice or wine. It was wine. I am, evidently, not in the water to wine camp but in the water to grape juice camp and therefore passed on that. Thank you God!
I thought wow. We are almost finished and it isn’t even 8pm yet. Oh, no. Evidently the first sermon was just a teaching and not a sermon. The pastor was a shouter which I detest. Especially when there are only 14 people in the room. His sermon which lasted well past 9:30pm…ahhhh….was about a million things–what I remember—Adam and Eve and satan. Pride being man’s downfall always. No sin greater than pride. How satan fell from heaven over pride. The 5 “I am”s of Satan. And that Jesus, although nice to think that he died for us, wasn’t God’s main point. God’s main promise was via Abrahm (NOT Abraham!) ((I don’t know if this is a KJV difference or a different person or what but it was stressed many, many time)) and God’s promise that Abrahm descendents would fill the earth and descend to heaven. I tried to listen politely and really think about what was being said. But I strongly disagreed with a lot if not most of it.
Once the service was over we went into the dining room of the manor house. They offered me food and drink but I decided to pass. I was REALLY creeped out at this point. I have never heard of a Christian group who doesn’t really believe in the promise of Jesus.
The pastor asked me if I had ever been to a meeting like that before. I looked at him quizically because I wasn’t sure what he was asking me and I didn’t think, “no, y’all are freaks!” was the right answer. He then asked the question again slowly like it wasn’t that didn’t understand but more like I couldn’t understand and if he spoke slowly and if I was dimwitted I might get it. So I said, “Well, it doesn’t matter if it is the same people in the same location, each service is different depending on the spirit that moves the group.” Now it was his turn to look at me quizically. He said, well more asked, “You’ve been to church before?” I said, “Oh, yes.” He then asked, “Are you a Christian?” Evidently I had failed to put on my Christian outfit that day because he was the third person to ask me that. I said that yes I was. He looked really, really disappointed then. I think he was hoping to convert me as then he walked away.
Anyway, I answered all those questions 13 more times as each person there came up and asked me. It was mind numbing. Which sent up alert signals again. At this point I was very creeped out but it was almost 10pm and I knew this was the only choice unless I wanted to sleep in the car.
Finally the woman of the manor said that she would go make up my room. I told her she didn’t need to as I had a sleeping bag. She insisted and then showed me up 3 flights of stairs, down a stair, down a hall, to my room. On the way she said, “There is just the “colored” (I assure you these were HER words NOT mine!) man that you will have to share with.” I said that I didn’t think that would work well for me. She laughed and said that he was just on the floor not that we would be sharing the room. She showed me into a single room with a twin bed and said, “This is the Jane room.” Creepy. I smiled and thanked her. Then she said, “Now I will show you our bookstore.” Not a question or an offer but a demand.
So we walked up the hall, up the stairs, and then down 3 flights to their bookstore. Where I was lectured on the “true” faith, the Isle of Lewis revivals of the 1950’s where the “covenant” came to someone or other as the true way, and the “covenant” was explained in depth. She really wanted me to be interested but I really just wanted to sleep. She went on until almost midnight when I said, “Oh, I have kept you, how rude of me, I know that I am just exhausted and I am sure you must be too.” She relented at this point.
I practically flew up to my room and shut and locked the door and put the key in my pocket. Normally I leave the key in the door in case of fire but I was more worried about the creepy people coming to get me in the night for more indoctrination. At this point I had been lectured/sermonized/spoken to for 5 hours straight…
Needless to say I didn’t sleep well due to being a tad anxious about my surroundings. At 5:30am I tiptoed down to the bathroom then gathered my backpack and tiptoed as quietly as I could to the front door. After undoing all 5 locks and then quietly shutting the door I RAN to my car. I escaped without having to go to morning meeting or talk with anyone else.
So, learn from me my friends, when in Hawick, keep driving!
So I spent last weekend in Stonehaven and essentially took a vacation from my vacation. On Friday night I went down to the local and watched the matches (Holland Vs. Ivory Coast ((who has the best goalie hands down and he isn’t even a professional player)) tie, Mexico Vs. Angola ((M)). During the Mexico game an older man came and sat down and asked if he could sit and watch the game with me. Sure, no problem. Then he said “oh, you’re American. America is shit isn’t it?” Well, y’all no how I feel about my country. I smiled. No, America isn’t shit, it’s one of the best places on earth but Scotland is nice too. Granted, I could have just agreed but that isn’t me. Needless to say he then wanted to discuss the war. And we talked for awhile until it became clear that 1) he was drunk 2) our opinions differed greatly. Then I suggested that it was great that we both came from countries where our opinions could be different and we could still sit and watch the game together with out a problem. But NOoooooo…he couldn’t let it go. So we talked for a minute and I pointed out that I wasn’t going to change my mind and that I wasn’t trying to change his mind and wasn’t it great that we could still get along and WATCH THE GAME. He shut up for a minute but was right back at it. Finally after this going on for awhile and I got more an more insistent that we not talk I left the bar. Yuck. Went over to another pub which was playing music. This is funny (at least I think so…)…I was sitting at the bar enjoying my pint listening to the bad music from the US 90’s and a fall down drunk old guy comes over to talk to me. I must look 75–younger women always attract older men, right? Well, the 4 lesbians in town don’t like this. So one of them comes over and says, “She’s with me, back off.” AFTER she whispers to me if I know the guy. I said no, because, well, I didn’t. So for the rest of the night anytime a guy came over to talk to me she would ask if I knew him. It really cracked me up. There is a lot of stigma here about being homosexual and I found it very interesting that this group of women was willing to be “out” as in they were clearly homosexual. I think we take for granted in the US our freedom to express ourselves be it religiously, sexually, vocally, musically, artistically etc. I think most people don’t realize how it is to be “yourself” in the rest of the world. Anyway.
On Saturday I went over to Banchory to a “Medieval” festival. Laughing to myself that it would be just like any Renn fest held anywhere while I drove in the rain. But it wasn’t. It was essentially charities dressed in handmade costumes selling donated items. But I got 2 really cool hand carved spoons for almost no money to support MR care in Scotland. Due to the rain I decided that I would just drive around for awhile hoping it would let up.
It didn’t stop before I got bored and decided to go look at stone circles. The first of the two was Cullerlie which is sort of the McDonald’s of stone circles. The stones were all hauled away, cleaned, the cairns were also cleaned, and then gravel was put down in a circle and then the stones and cairns arranged on top. It is very sterile and well, clean. Not at all the wild, natural way that almost every other stone circle is. Stone Henge comes closest to being like this of all of them. Anyway, it was different.
There was a horse fenced next to the circle and I was more interested in petting him really than the circle. So I did. He was a little skittish at first but warmed quickly when I could reach the grass on my side of the fence and was willing to feed it to him. I spent several minutes giving him some attention. When I turned to go back to my car I was very surprised to find that BOTH of my hands were BLACK with dirt. I don’t know if it was from his tongue as he licked both my hands or if it was from petting him but EWwww. Gross. It took 2 baby wipes to get whatever it was off. And they were both blackened when I was finished.
Decided I was hungry so I sat and ate a can of cold vegetable beef soup in the car watching it rain. That was also EWwww. Gross. But I was hungry evidently because I ate it all.
Then I went to SunHoney. WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW despite the rain WOW! Up a farmhouse road and up on a hill. Untouched in the last 4 weeks at least if not longer. Alone. No signs. In the rain. Wow. SunHoney is on a small hill in a valley that is surrouned by larger hills undulating across the horizon. 11 of the original 12 plus the recumbant altar are still intact and standing. A copse of trees rings the circle and is the perfect frame for the sky. This was obviously a summer solstice circle. I got soaked through just walking to and then through the circle so the additional time I spent seated on the altar didn’t do any further harm.
I had just finished reading Perelandra by C.S.Lewis which has given me a new perspective on Stone Circles etc. which I really appreciate. Essentially (and please not I am not prosletizing unless you want this to be prosletizing) his point was that anything that happened between the Garden of Eden and the coming of Christ was humanities trying to reconnect with God and should be looked on as such. I think that is a really interesting perspective and I appreciate that (especially once I tell you about the cult…).
The path back (well and there) was just a tiny sheep track set between 2 BARBED wire fences. I was worried I was going to slip in the mud and seriously injure myself. But I didn’t. The path was a sharp contrast to the natural beauty of the circle.
That night I went back to the pub I was at the night before to watch the Italy vs. US match. As the only American watching the game I have to tell y’all that our boys did SUCH a great job. They were down 2 players for maybe 20 minutes and they held the Italians off. This is a major feat. Our goalie sucks. The game tied 1 all. It was an excellent match. Way to go USA.
After the match I went to a local disco. I think that is such a silly word for a dance club. So, 1970s if you will. Anyway. It was alright. I stayed for awhile but the music wasn’t very good. Think love of the 80’s and you’ll see what I mean. So I went back to the room and tired to go to sleep but I realized I was famished. In my alcohol soaked brain it made perfect sense to boil water and then stick the can of cheese ravioli that I had bought earlier in the week in the boiling water to heat it. After the disgusting cold soup I wasn’t going to eat it cold. Anyway, it made a horrendous mess and I wound up with ravioli in tomato flavored water. But I was able to quench my thirst and my hunger simultaneously and fall asleep.
Sunday morning I had breakfast and decided to go down to Carlisle on recommendation from the inn keeper’s wife.
I drove from Hawick down to Manchester in the rain. It had been raining for 3 days at this point. I decided that what I really wanted to do was go to the movies. I know seems like a waste of time when compared with seeing museums and ancient monuments but I was really worn out from my cult experience and I just didn’t feel like sloshing through the mud to see things.
Near Manchester there is a HUGE (bigger than the mall of America) mall with a 25 screen movie theater. I arrived there a lit after noon and the only movie playing was RV with Robin Williams. I had already decided that I would see whatever was playing so I paid my money and bought a ticket. RV was hillarious. I laughed out many, many times. It occurred to me about half way through that I am typically not a fan of slapstick, ridiculously over the top 4th grade humor (as in the name of the RV was the “rolling turd”) and that if I had to see it again I probably wouldn’t enjoy it at all. But it was just what I needed. I decided that I wasn’t ready yet to face the world and bought a ticket to see Mission Impossible 3. What a great movie. I love spy movies and this one did not disappoint. I think it was better than 1 and was much better than 2. I would definitely see it again. The special effects were great and it was action packed.
After my day of movies I headed to the city centre to do email. This is where I discovered Skype. I was able to call the states for 2 cents a minute. Even better within the US it is free to call. By the time I was finished yapping on the phone it was 10pm and I realized I didn’t have a place to stay.
There was a hotel across from the email place which was only £235 a night! Holy cow. That is almost $500 US. They suggested I try the place next door which was a Travelodge. They wanted £50 which was a little more than I wanted to pay. They didn’t mention at this point that they had bath tubs or I would have not wasted the next 2 hours driving around trying to find the hostel. Drove all over town. One high point was finding the Manchester United stadium. The low point was finding myself back at the airport for the 2nd time that day. Finally gave up, admitted I had chosen poorly, and went back to the Travelodge.
Was delighted to take a bath and actually feel clean. I have had more water pressure from a water fountain in the US then some of the showers I have had here. Oh, and hot water. I have had more icy cold showers in the past month than I have had probably in my whole life, including when I lived in the apartment without air conditioning. But the bath was wonderfully, scaldingly hot.