England 2010: Other and Non-Chronological Thoughts
This is the 10th and final post in my series about our trip to England. You can also read about my getting to the first destination; our first evening in the Cotswolds; seeing the English countryside by bicycle; visiting Cotswold villages and local farm animals; exploring Oxford and Blenheim Palace; our first day seeing the sights of London; seeing Soho, the Tower of London, and The Mousetrap; exploring Kew Gardens, the British Library, and the British Museum; and saying goodbye.
Well, after my daily England blogging blitz, I needed a bit of a blog break, but now I’m back. (Could I fit any more “b” words in that sentence?)
- During our time in England I didn’t notice a specific lack of overweight people, but upon my return the difference was striking. America has a problem with weight. Newsflash, I know. I just found the contrast startling—faced with the evidence with my own eyes.
- The weather was perfect: highs in the mid-70s, lows in the 50s-60s. It was like a cool fall day only with the feel and smell of summer. About like the weather here in Ohio for roughly 4 days each May—after the cool rains of spring and before the scorching sun of summer. Even the cloudy days were beautiful!
- While outside the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, we saw a little girl running around who had squeakers in her shoes. You know how some kids shoes will have lights in the heels? It was like that only with squeakers… that sounded exactly like dog toys. This being England, there were several dogs sitting nearby with their owners, several of whom were very intently watching the little girl running around! It’s hard to describe just with words, but there were quite a number of onlookers for this humorous little scene.
- I love how all the pubs and restaurants have the menus posted outside on the wall for you to peruse before deciding to go inside.
- While waiting for our bus that was never coming in Stow-on-the-Wold, we noticed a little terrier taking itself for a walk. The dog was carrying its own leash in its mouth, while the owner walked behind! At one point, the dog stopped to scratch itself, dropping the leash in the process, but the owner just picked up the leash, folded it back up, and handed it back to the dog.
- They have some, well, interesting food flavors. I saw a girl on the train eating “prawn cocktail” potato chips.
- In London, you can tell when you’re off the beaten path (i.e. out of the normal tourist areas) when you no longer see “LOOK LEFT” and “LOOK RIGHT” painted on the pavement.
- Butterfly bushes grow everywhere, in peoples’ gardens and wild along the train tracks.
- When discussing tea with our innkeeper in London—a self-proclaimed tea addict—he said, “Earl Grey is dishwater tea!” I wouldn’t have thought to put it quite that way, but I don’t care for it myself either.
Just a few of the five senses from our trip:
taste: tea, glorious tea, everywhere; fish and chips; treacle tart, sconces, and clotted cream; full English breakfast: poached eggs, sausages, “bacon,” baked beans, fried tomatoes and mushrooms; Digestives; Cadbury chocolate
touch: just the right amount of warmth from the sun; metal poles of the tube train; worn pages of “Rick”; messenger bag strapped tightly across my back; comfortable bed at the end of a long, full day
smell: lavender, diesel fuel, fresh air through always open windows and doors
sight: women in gladiator sandals and skinny jeans, man-pris, parachute pants, girls in dresses; crowds of Japanese tourists; ancient manuscripts and artifacts from all over the world; history at every turn
sound: rhythmic clickety-clack of the train; click of my camera shutter; English words (rather than American) spoken with fun accents—especially the little kids; extraordinary voices in harmony from ordinary people singing outside Westminster Abbey; psalms of praise sung in an ancient cathedral; baa-ing of sheep, moo-ing of cows, nay-ing of goats, whiny (and sneezing!) of horses; grinding bicycle gears; street musicians jamming in the Leicester Square tube station