Last Sunday Heather and I returned from a vacation and family visit to England. We were there twelve days and mostly it was a relaxing trip. There were a few issues like the day we needed to wash clothes and the only laundrette (English for laundromat) in town was closed for “technical reasons.” The guy with a box of tools and spools of wire doing something to the machines seemed to be the biggest problem.
But it wasn’t so bad, the next day family was able to wash our clothes for us – in a machine that does both wash and dry. I’ll describe the process as slow – five hours per load – that’s a lot of sitting around drinking tea and eating biscuits (cookies to you Americans). Of course that also gave us time to have dinner, check into our hotel, catch up on email, a few solitaire games, and talk about family – I think we were up to great-great-great grandfather when the buzzer finally went.
The only other real problem was when we arrived at the train station in Bath and started walking towards our hotel. As we followed the instructions on our Google maps app, Heather noticed that the walking time kept getting longer, not shorter. That was our first clue we’d gone the wrong way out of the station. It only took fifteen minutes to walk the nine minutes to our hotel.
I was thinking of writing a detailed travel log and posting a bunch of pictures, but I’ve got to put the pizza in the oven in a few minutes, so this will be short.
Normally when we go to England, we just go to visit family and often stay in their homes. This time we decided to do more traveling on our own and see a bit more of the country. I’ve never driven in the UK and don’t feel like starting so we traveled by train, bus and tube. Well, and once or twice family gave us a lift.
Since we were going by train, we traveled light. One small case each and just a few days of clothes since there was a laundrette right next to the place we were staying at in St Ives (as noted above this didn’t go as planned). As we went through what to take and not take, we decided not to take our bulky camera equipment and just take pictures with our phones. Great space saver. That would have been alright if my phone’s battery didn’t die after three photos. Note: There are no vacation snaps in this post.
Guess I need to buy my second cell phone this decade. Our current phones we bought in 2013 and I was hoping they’d last until at least 2020. Last month I did discover another problem with our cell phones – they are so old that the Starbucks’ app no longer works and we can’t do mobile orders anymore. Yeah, crisis.
I’m thinking of getting iPhone 11s, but the three camera arrangement kind of reminds of the Martians from War of the Worlds, so I’m investigating other options.
The first stop on our trip was in Bath where we met with friends to pass on the car parts we smuggled in to the country and I drank more beer in one night than I’ve had in five years. Yup, I had two – watch when you get me into a bar, I’m a party animal …
The next day I went to visit the Roman Baths while Heather went to the Jane Austin Center. Heather’s already seen the Baths and correctly gauged my interest in Jane Austin. That evening we met with family and saw an energetic production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, produced by the HandleBards – a touring group who travels between gigs on bicycles. The performance was fun and the four member troupe managed to play all the parts with a little help from the audience. On occasion they even quoted from Shakespeare’s play.
Then it was off on the train to St Ives on the Cornish Coast for a few days at the seaside. Turns out we got there just in time for the start of their September Festival. St Ives has a large artist community and part of the festival was that the local artists had open studio days. We had the joy of visiting a lot of artists and galleries. There were a number of musical events too and we got tickets to two of them. Both were fun.
After our seaside fun it was off to visit Heather’s family, over eat and get our laundry done.
Last stop was in London where we visited Kew Gardens. I wanted to spell it Que Gardens, but the English have weird ideas on spelling. There were these wonderful glass sculptures and of course all the gardens. Likely better if you just go to their website for the pictures as the three I took on my phone were … well maybe I need the Martian camera.
We had a great time and the oven timer just went so it’s officially pizza time which will conclude the post for this week.
Tune in next week when I’ll either revel the new phones I bought or will explain why it can take 5 hours for a load of laundry.