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A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 1

Rev Nick { Only the dead are without fear }

... everyone ought to do something totally out-of-character. And so, as some of you know, we chose to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary by meeting some h2g2 friends and seeing their worlds as they live them. Please be forewarned that this may get long'ish, but I will try to not bore too much. *having only been home an hour, after a 23-hour-day smiley - zzz*

The scheduled ride to the airport (190 km away) and the whole international flight thingie to Gatwick (roughly 4,000 miles, 7 air-hours) went without a hitch and on-schedule. We were surprised by the length of the walk to reach Passport control, and the size of the queue, but even all of that went very quickly. And then ... being a week-end, every train to tube to train link we wanted was derailed by 'maintenance'. We saw a lot of interesting places, sympathetic staff, and re-directions while lugging 70 pounds of luggage. Despite all of these shuffles and stuff, we still arrived in Chelmsford only 10 minutes later than our best guess had hoped for. And there, found our own personal 'guardian smiley - angel' awaiting us.

To minimize her embarassment, let me now state that if anyone reading this is blessed with the opportunity to have Venus as a hostess and tour-guide, you simply could NOT do better. Charm, wit, humour and genuine warmth pretty much sums up our entire experience of that segment of our travels. She brought us safely and easily to her domicile, prepared the perfect supper (without hint of char or ash, to her own amazement) and simply made our first day in England a very homey and comfortable experience. She then bested this by showing us her work-place, and spending a day with her 'tribe', seeing their world. In every way, that day proved perfect, relaxed and we both felt a natural part of the family. How can anyone beat that, eh? smiley - smiley

Our travels and tours began with a need to convert some cheques into working cash, and so once in London, sought a bank. For the initiate, let me state that Lloyd's TSB was the 4th and only financial institution that dealt with the common AmEx things, at no charge or quibble. To learn this ate up easily 40 minutes !!! And then away to investigate every nook and cranny of The Tower of London. Later, a self-guided tour of Westminster Abbey, the greatest indoor graveyard existing. It is a beautiful place, full of history, but really seems quite chilling and morbid in ways. We were scurried out of there by the staff, wanting to close for their own dinner, just in time to catch the tubes immediately before a work-strike shut them down. Envision a blend of tinned sardines and rabid stampedes of wild cattle, and you have that last hour of the tube system. smiley - yikes

We had hoped to visit the Kew Gardens, but with the tubes out of commission, and the bus connections too time-consuming, our hostess suggested a day in historic Colchester. What with the hills, steps and such that we met there and the previous day, we were pretty sure that we had met every step England had to offer. Again, the day was perfect in company, weather and things seen. It was kinda topped off by my taking milady for a quiet stroll in a beautiful park, getting some grass-stains on a knee while 're-proposing', and presenting her with a personally made-to-order ring to add to her marital set. She was quite teary-eyed for a time.

Because of circumstances with tubes and the B&B, our final day and plans (our actual anniversary date) became a leisurely day of strolling, doing the weekly business and shopping of our hostess, and then simple quiet and homey-time. As we hadn't visited the Kew, we watched several episodes of the BBC productions on DVD (though we have no idea where she got those smiley - whistle). And far too soon, another morning arrived with tickets in-hand to take us by coach to Cardiff, Wales. With far too little time for proper hugging and thanks, we were again travelling.

We saw some amazing country-side of southern England, and then Wales, and in due time arrived at Cardiff station. A quick call, (did I mention that Venus also loaned us a mobile phone for the duration of our travels? smiley - smiley) and Tsarina collected us ... bringing us to her manse. Okay, I have already become far more 'wordy' than I had hoped, so I'll try to trim things a bit. During the following 5 days, this wonderful Lady showed us her home world, we met her family of several generations, saw her environs and places of pure history and life of the Welsh over two millenia ... and again felt fully at-home. I have no idea where the time went, but some pics, a few bits of special jewellery and guide-books of sites seen (as well as a daily journal) will entrench these days in our memories for a very long time. Before we knew where the days had flown, the Lady Tsarina was delivering us to the airport, with noses pointed towards Dublin!

The lady-pilot of Aer Arran obviously had a heavy foot, because we arrived at Dublin airport fully 20 minutes early, and yet Aye Bee the Pirate Wench was awaiting us, with two mini-men in-tow. We only had about 60 hours to give the Emerald Isle, to the regrets of our hostess. And yet, we met family, local folks and neighbors, saw life, sites and beauty that truly amazed us. And this being but a snippet of that country. When (not if) we return, we WILL allow far more time.

I really ought to mention a most novel experience here ... We went out for dinner in a beautiful Irish village, to a Chinese restaurant which had loads of 1960's and early 1970's country music playing, and enjoyed a micro-Meet. Besides milady and the pair of mini-smiley - pirates, there was myself, the Wench, and from Belfast ... Dai the Death and Beatrice (Lucky Star). The company, the freely sampled orders of each others selections, the light and easy humour ... Once more, it simply felt as if this occassion was part of our normal lives. Now I ask, is all of the UK and Europe this homey? If it is, I can only be envious and demand an opportunity to return.

Anyway, the allotted time passed, and once more to an airport and Manchester-bound. This segment of the travels was planned to be simple and with a single purpose ... to meet a pair of mates and imbibe a few. If a few brags and lies occurred, this was expected. smiley - winkeye The flight out of Dublin was delayed nearly an hour due to a late arriving plane, so we registered in to the Premier Travel Inn (thanks, lil for the pointer) about an hour later than expected. Just about dozing off for a bit of a nap, and a text squawked the mobile phone. Two thirsty lads were next door, and sought reverend assistance. So from 6'ish pm, until the last buses were rolling near 11'ish, we snacked, imbibed, chatted, drank, laughed and drank with Flamestrike and Sponge-Rob (Lucifer). Meeting these men, a proper firm grip of a hand-shake, ... just more of the dreams from hootoo that I never expected might happen. In a word, the evening was wonderful. And too damned short !!!

Finally, our last morning arrived, a taxi to Manchester airport, 8 hours (against headwinds of the jetstream) an unexpected hour and a half delay for our last connection in Toronto, and I find myself home. Wondering if it was all a dream. In a flurry of 15 days, we met 7 fellow researchers, no less than a dozen immediate family members of them, saw life and regional histories of most of them, and simply see the whole time as our own version of a magical mystery tour. And we KNOW for a certainty that we shall return another day. To more leaisurely see places, get in more proper hugs and time ...

To everyone on and off line who offered pointers and directions, to our most warm and lovely hostesses, to so many folks everywhere, we offer the greatest measures of appreciation and thanks for creating the most memorable experience of our lives, next only to our wedding day that 20 years ago.


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 2

~:*-Venus-*:~

smiley - blush Aaawwww what a nice thing to say smiley - blush
It did go all too quick eh! smiley - sadface Still when you come over next time, we can go to Kew for real smiley - biggrin
btw, you forgot to mention Seabrights barn smiley - laugh


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 3

Amy Pawloski, aka 'paper lady'--'Mufflewhump'?!? click here to find out... (ACE)

*sigh*smiley - smiley

Sounds like you two had a wonderful time.


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 4

Rev Nick { Only the dead are without fear }

Nawwww, didn't forget at all, m'dear. There were so many specific bright spots to the the whole venture that I chose to keep it simple. Come the day milady's journal is fleshed out, in 14 volumes, ... It will be available upon request. smiley - laugh


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 5

Rev Nick { Only the dead are without fear }

And yes, Amy, it was all such a wonderful time. Certainly worth waiting the 20 years. Mind, our next visit will be far sooner. We are already contemplating the next in about 4 or 5 years, unless the gawds-of-the-lottery smile, and allow it to be sooner. And far longer !!!


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 6

Sho - unemployed again - Thanks Covid-19

>>Now I ask, is all of the UK and Europe this homey? If it is, I can only be envious and demand an opportunity to return.<<

My experience is that it is the h2g2 resarchers who are like this. But then I've only met European ones.

Sounds like you had a fabulous trip!


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 7

Jimcracker7[magiclink.rip gone altogether. im back.in my home from home.

hi rev
-
it was a pity you couldnt have visited my neck of the woods, you could have seen the buildings you edited in the guide for me.
-
you never know, next time lol smiley - dragon jim


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 8

Reefgirl (Brunel Baby)

Sounds like you had a fabulous time Nick


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 9

Rev Nick { Only the dead are without fear }

It was the best of times, ... and then some. I really don't think that we could have asked for much better, except perhaps the tube-strike to happen a day or two later. And yet, because of them, we saw Colchester instead of another slice of London. So really, it was still no loss. smiley - biggrin


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 10

swl

Savour it Nick. It sounds like a once in a lifetime trip. I'm glad you had such a good time.


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 11

Rev Nick { Only the dead are without fear }

It just proved to be far to bleeping short for our liking, ... as do those rare 'personal' times. So we will indeed savour every moment, into longevity.


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 12

~:*-Venus-*:~

It was too short for my liking too smiley - sadface


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 13

Hypatia

I'm so glad you had such a nice time. Aren't our hootoo friends marvellous? Both times I've gone, I've been treated like royalty. h2g2 researchers are just lovely, lovely people.

I'm glad, too, that you're planningn to go back. There are too many people to hug and too many places to visit to do it in one trip - or several.


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 14

benjaminpmoore

Hey Nick- glad you had such a good time. Sadly you seem oblivious to the fact that a display of traditional formation transport disruption was organised especially in honour of your visit. This is a ceremony that goes back centuries, like the trooping of the colour.


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 15

~:*-Venus-*:~

smiley - laugh


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 16

serenity

so where you impressed? wanna visit us again????

i would come and see you on my 20th anniversary, if i had one smiley - laugh


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 17

Rev Nick { Only the dead are without fear }

So then that disruption was planned just to impress colonials? I really AM impressed. smiley - rofl


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 18

Reefgirl (Brunel Baby)

All for you Nick

*A little giggle from one who moved from London 9 years ago*


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 19

Rev Nick { Only the dead are without fear }

Awwww, you Brits really are just so accomodating. smiley - laugh


A Rev Nick Journal: Every 20 years or so ...

Post 20

Reefgirl (Brunel Baby)

smiley - biggrin


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