Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Me & me Mum (day 1)

Arrived at London's Heathrow Airport and the critically acclaimed, "Terminal 5" so I was really not expecting to disembark the plane... straight onto the tarmack! Are you kidding?! C'mon queeny. At least finish the thing before you hype it all up and then stick us on a shuttle and let us wait for an hour to go through customs. What was done was really cool modern, techy design... I did like that.
Upon renting our Toyota Prius, (which by the by, allowed us to avoid the congestion charge in downtown London. Magic.) we planned to head through Stratford upon Avon and then on to Nottingham to our friends the Adcock's. Well, as it happened I noticed a sign for Warwick Castle and mentioned how cool it was, having been there with my family a couple years back. Me "Mum" said she'd like to see it and could we make the diversion so I literally hurled the car into the left lane and up the exit. Very last minute you see. That pic on the intro entry is of Warwick Castle soooo, check it out. Really beautiful place!
Next we cruised into Stratford and strolled around town and down by the river. It was an uncharacteristically sunny day and people were sunning themselves and just generally enjoying the day. I'm always taken by the thought of Shakespeare and the like strolling around on the same streets that me & mum are experiencing that very moment. Wow!
From there it was on to a friend whom I had not seen since she'd moved back to the Stratford area a couple years back. She had no idea I was in the country but with the help of her employer and a co-worker they got in touch with. When her boss, John handed me the phone she had no idea who it was. What a great surprise! Me mum and I stopped by for a visit with Sharon and her parents in their back garden and it was lovely. Really good to see her and meet her folks and get a sense of her world far away from Starbucks (Village at Coventry). Great to see you Sharon!
Finally, we got ourselves to Nottingham and to John & June Adcocks house. It had been a few years since they'd last seen each other and we all sat up late talking about everything from family to Obama to national health care. Great fun.
As I walked outside to take a short walk, I was stricken by just how different the UK is from America. So very different. Different words, different architecture, different lifestyle... different everything. Good different but different. I was really looking forward to my time in Nottingham. Back where I played as a boy. Fairham Comprehensive School for Boys on Clifton Estate and Saturdays in downtown Nottingham, running wild and shopping for a new table tennis bat. Playing in the woods at Wollaton Hall on the zip line and going through the Hall specifically to gawk at the stuffed gorilla and it's fully exposed private parts. That was one big gorilla... musta' been Italian.
Hope you're enjoying it... I sure did.

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