Entries from May 2007 ↓

The parting shots…

Yes, we had a lovely time in England, but it’s always great to be back home in Boulder, Colorado!

Meanwhile, some thoughts:

The food is not all that bad! There are tons of good Indian restaurants everywhere and even the pubs serve chicken tikka sandwiches. The best, though, was the Welsh rarebit served at the Eagle & Child in Oxford. Yummm….. cheesy!!!

Where are the sheets? This idea of not having a top sheet, topped by a comforter or blanket is weird to me. Instead they have covered duvets, and that’s it. Not great for middle-aged broads who need a great deal of temperature regulation during the night.

Are soccer and cricket all there is? Apparently! You couldn’t get an NBA or NHL score to save your soul – don’t even think about baseball. But the Milan-Liverpool matchup was the lede story on the New York Times sports page the day we returned. Hmmmm…..

Don’t go to Dursley! Unless, of course, you’re looking for the British equivalent of Redneckville. We’re talking “Smoke on the Water” blaring into our “nonsmoking” hotel room at 1 a.m. – it might as well have been a stereo system full-volume right in our room and the “no-smoking” sign didn’t prevent rafts of it from drifting up from the bar below. I’ll be logging on to Lonely Planet to complain about suggesting this place.

Is our English really that different? I guess so! We misunderstood others and were misunderstood frequently. Pretty weird. And the grammar differences drive me wild. Every time I read the word “towards” I corrected it in my head.

Tipping. I just couldn’t figure it out. Sometimes when we tipped people in pubs or taxis, they looked at us like we were nuts. Other times they seemed offended. Whatever!

Wow, great newspapers! Such a huge selection to choose from – a big variety, with decent depth in many instances and some bold choices. Loved the biting cartoons and great features in the Guardian, the hard news in the Independent and Times. Unfortunately, most folks appeared to be reading one of the Murdoch tabs with the screaming headlines. Oh well.

On our way back home

That's a line from a Beattles song. And Paddington Station abov where we're catching the Heathrow Express. Note the time. We'll get to Denver around 7.

The big game(s)

This is huge!

Actually it's been tough for me to discern what's what in soccer, I mean, football. Last Saturday was the FA championship, in which Chelsea defeated Manchester United on an OT penalty kick. Tonight Liverpool is playing Milan for the European championship.

I finally found someone in the hotel bar I didn't mind asking about this, in part because I had the seat in front of the big screen and was paying enough attention to gain credibility. Apparently the Brit teams playoff to play in the European cup and Chelsea lost to Liverpool there. But Liverpool didn't finish as well versus other Brit teams. This seems more complex than the BCS.

Bummer. Milan wins, 2-1.

Peter Pan and fan

Another pic from Hyde Park.

Swimmin’ with the dogs

The sign nearby says no dogs.

A Borat moment

The news…

So we've made it to London and are in a café for lunch. On the television is Tony Blair, answering questions in the House of Commons. He's followed by one of his ministers with a statement on the importance of nuclear power.

Meanwhile on the crawler is the latest about Madeleine McCann, a 6-year-old who went missing on vacation in Portugal. Can you say JonBenet?

The environment

It seems that folks here take environmental causes far more seriously than in the U.S. There are daily frontpage stories about global warming (Is America about to discover climate change? Is one headline in today's Guardian). There is much talk about carbon footprints. In Bath, the slogan "Rethink Refuse" was all over green recycling trucks and bins. Most cars are tiny and bikes are everywhere. Train and bus service between various areas is excellent.

Yet, take a train ride and you'll see out the window nuclear power reactors. Apparently there's some controversy over building new plants (an older facility in southern Scotland was destroyed over the weekend). But streamlined planning reviews for everything from parkways to superstores to new nuke plants are being proposed by the government. Of course, nuclear power doesn't leave so much of a carbon footprint – it's the radioactive waste and potential for accidents that one must fear.

Along the river

It's a beautiful day here with many gathered along the banks of the River Thames. Many people and many ducks and gees hoping for a handout. Then there's the small herd of cattle in the Christ Church pasture. There's no escaping agriculture, I guess!

Bookish….

Books and church are themes of the day. First off, we visited Christ Church, one of the schools of Oxford. The chapel is another spectacular, ancient building with tributes to everyone from the philosopher John Locke to the poet and lyricist W.H. Auden. Also among the former school members with memorial stones in the chapel are the Wesleys, founders of the Methodist church.

The big attraction here though, is the dining hall. A painting of college founder Henry VIII is at the head of the hall, which figured heavily in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. But the real reason all these kids are here is because it's been used as the dining hall in Harry Potter movies. (It seems smaller than it looks in film.)

Upon exiting, we came upon the Oxford Press bookstore, then went to Blackwells, which resembles Tattered Cover. For lunch, we'll go to the Eagle and Child pub, where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein met and drank daily.