On the Road — UK Eat, Play


On the Road — UK Eat, Play

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.


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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