They weren’t kidding when they said “service not included”
Well, I’ve made it to London, and the fun continues.
On Saturday the five of us (Allegra, John and her folks) had breakfast at the cottage then went to Burford (it’s really best pronounced with your teeth clenched and a Mr. Howell-from-Gilligan’s Island accent), which is one of the major villages in the Cotswolds. After that Allegra, John and I split off to go see Stonehenge! It’s wicked cool, although we didn’t pay the five pounds per person to go stand five feet closer; instead we took some great pictures over the fence. We also grabbed some English strawberries (yum!) from the side of the street while stuck in the holiday weekend traffic. I also tasted Chicken Curry Crisps (suitable for vegetarians – which, may I add, how fabulous would it be if they picked that up in the states? Being able to just look for the phrase instead of analyzing ingredients would be wonderful).
After Stonehenge we headed over to Bath, home of the famous Roman Baths. We caught a bit of the local cricket match, then went for a late lunch. It was a very leisurely afternoon, to the point where we were in line for the Roman Baths at 16:55, and told they were closing, as the doors shut at 17:00 (sadly, none of the guide books mentioned that even though it closes at 18:00, last entry is 17:00). However, Allegra wasn’t having it, and she argued we had driven three hours, we were in the queue before 17:00, and damn it we were going to get in. So we three were the last to get in, and it was well worth it. The baths were very cool – a temple to Minerva (!), and in the past you would write a curse down and throw it in. Now they let you throw in coins to make wishes.
We made it back to the cottage in time for a very yummy home cooked meal (Allegra’s father is an amazing cook) of asparagus risotto. Sunday we were up reasonably early again, and headed out to Blenheim. We were treated to weather more typical for England in February, but that didn’t stop us. Blenheim is the home of the Duke of Marlborough, and also where Winston Churchill was born! The downstairs was pretty cool, but the upstairs had this beyond hilarious “secret story” about all of the dukes, featuring (I’m not kidding) anamatronic storytellers. It was hilarious. Unfortunately, we couldn’t tour the grounds because of the weather, but we just pushed ahead to Oxford, where most colleges were closed due to exams. It was pouring, we got soaked, but we had loads of fun.
Today we tooled around the Cotswolds, visiting Lower and Upper Slaughter and a couple of others. You will definitely be treated to lots of photos of traditional English cottages.
I hopped a train to London, and Richard found me at Paddington without us even having to send blackberry messages back and forth. We came back to Canary Wharf (canarsees as he calls it), stopped for a pint (cider . . . yum!), and now are back at his flat at the Isle of Dogs, about to have some dinner.
Tomorrow I’m still not sure what I’m doing, but I’ll probably catch the train in to the banking district with Richard, and then wander from there.
I hope you all enjoyed the holiday weekend.