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The quick story - went shopping and spent most of the day shopping for cute knitting and crochet patterns and wool for one of my best friends who told me she was pregnant while I was sitting in the Starbucks near the York Minster.
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Traffic stopped for miles and miles for the procession for Officer Findley. We had to get to Greenbelt to pick up my car, so our backup was only from Route 1 to Kennelworth, with fire engines and ambulances and police cars on the overpasses and sides of the roads to pay respects. We got the car, and headed back and saw miles of police cars coming down the inner loop, lights flashing, marked and unmarked. It was pretty impressive. Equally impressive was the back up, as the inner loop traffic was stopped from College Park all the way back into VA. Stopped. Dead. Nobody going anywhere.

Granted, the funeral procession has likely gone by now, but the traffic will not likely recover soon. I'm very glad we picked up the car when we did.

Now still waiting for word re: friend.
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How will I possibly sleep without the sweet sound of [ profile] exsmof snoring through his cpap? :-) Will it be possible to snooze without freezing? Hell yes :-).

Glad to be home. Had a great trip, but home is always a wonderful place to be.


Mar. 25th, 2008 09:18 pm
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The flight was relatively uneventful (hooray). Customs and immigration was blissfully uneventful, and after the hike across the tundra of JFK, we sit here waiting for the DC flight with power AND wireless. Oh goody.

Nose is stuffy, throat is a bit sore, and I'm really hoping it doesn't turn into something icky, but I wouldn't be too surprised if it did given the cold/wetness of the UK. When I lived there, I had bronchitis for about the first 6 months, which is really sad because I love the country. The food has even improved markedly since back then. They aren't boiling the flavor out of everything then deep frying it anymore. Yay!

So I'm planning on some good sleep LATE tomorrow. Anyone who wakes me up will be subject to quite a bit of fury.

Terminal 3

Mar. 25th, 2008 01:14 pm
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As I sit here with my lovely "mature cheddar and pickle" sandwich, I reflect on the time that was this trip. No, wait...I'll do that later. For now, I'll keep looking around this insane terminal/shopping center, and the strangeness of Heathrow.

First off, they have this double secret thing called VAT refund. But you can only get it if you ask for a special VAT form when you make your purchases. Only Rigby and Peller gave me said form, and it wasn't something I knew I needed, so I didn't ask anywhere else. Therefore, and this can be rather amusing, I only got tax back on my underwear :-). Har har har. So anyway, there I was, no kidding, in the VAT line, and found out that I can also exchange my money there with no commission, at a much better deal than the banks even. Course, this deal is only available if you are in line for your VAT refund :-). I changed my US money there and was happy for it. The rate is indeed better than it was just last week.

Now, about strange it was that they said NOT to take your laptop out of your bag. How strange it was that we did not have to take our shoes off when we went through the metal detector. How strange we THEN had to take our shoes off and put them on a very special conveyer scanner thing. And so it was. Security was well run and things went quite quickly.

The taxi ride here was quite pleasant as well, with a very nice driver who engaged us in political commentary, asking us who we wanted to see as president. [ profile] exsmof told a quite off color joke about when Bill C. was in office, which made the older rather posh taxi driver laugh. Score one for the [ profile] exsmof :-).

The package I was referring to before was a package filled with [ profile] exsmof's drinking glasses he had ordered that arrived on Thurs at the hotel, but they couldn't "find them." They also misplaced another package of his that was needed for the convention. I didn't think that business hotels were so careless with the belongings of their guests, but there you go. Not a happy [ profile] exsmof was he. The rest of the hotel stay was rather pleasant with free wifi (big bonus) and the convention having negotiated drink prices for the fans which were much lower than usually charged. Hooray. They also had a "real ale" bar that was quite popular. The only downside besides the careless handling of [ profile] exsmof's stuff was the broken temperature control in the room which basically froze me. And now I see it is 28 degrees at home. *sigh* At least our temperature control works :-)

This terminal is FULL of high priced shopping, all advertising "tax free" so that everyone will buy their stuff despite the insane pricing. Gucci, Hermes, and many other super priced places everywhere, including a little Harrods shop with bears and the such like. That was a bit lucky for us, as actually shopping at Harrods was a lesson in claustrophobia. Oh the pain :-).

Watching the people in the terminal is quite interesting as well. So many different nationalities, many wearing traditional costume. All the languages. Quite the sea of humanity. And through it all is Starbucks :-). At least one thing is standard. Heh.
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Once we collect the box the hotel misplaced...
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Why is there snow in Southern England in March? WHY WHY WHY? It must be because [ profile] calanish brought some from the frozen North country :-)
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Tonight/this morning I am being treated to a symphony of some of the loudest snoring I have ever been exposed to, as [ profile] calanish has come to visit. We picked him up at Heathrow this morning, waiting at the gate with a sign that said, "Mr. Haggis." heh. From Heathrow we went to the Tube and off to Harrods.

First thing when we got on the Tube was an announcement that it is illegal to take flash photos inside the train. Huh? No flash, but regular photos without flash are fine? Next set of announcements heralded the closings of 3 subway lines, including the famous Circle line. How do Londoners put up with that? We were told this is a usual thing, especially on weekends.

The Tube was VERY crowded, and I'm not really great with crushing crowds, so I was happy when we got to our station....or so I thought....the sidewalks were full of people, Harrods was FULL of people, there was really no where to go to get out of the sea of people. Any actual shopping at Harrods was quite difficult if not impossible.

Rather than shopping at Harrods, we went other places, got other things (including cool new shoes...w00t) and came back to the insane science fiction convention, which was very much like a US science fiction convention with people in various costumes, happy fun programming, authors and artists, and of course, the lovely dealer's room. Unlike US cons though, they had negotiated a flat rate for soft drinks and for beer here. Hooray! Made everything much more economical.

Later on, we found ourselves at a disco type event where [ profile] exsmof and I did a swing dance to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" which got much staring and was fun. Then it was off to bed, where I got maybe 1 hour sleep before the horrendous snoring began. Then I found out that my server had decided not to play nice anymore, so I had to wake up [ profile] dogpooh and get him to reboot it. Yay [ profile] dogpooh!

In a few minutes, I will wake up [ profile] calanish and make him stay awake so maybe I can get some sleep.

Wish me luck.


Mar. 21st, 2008 09:00 pm
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It's been quite interesting hanging around an SF con again. I haven't been to one in quite a long time. I'm actually pretty delighted that things haven't changed much. I moved a bunch of the photos and captioned them better so they make more sense. They're now located on my dot mac account right here where things will hopefully make a lot more sense.

I, however, am not making sense at the moment since I had to take some heavy pain meds since my knee has started acting up badly. I'm meeting [ profile] calanish at Heathrow tomorrow and we are supposed to go onward to Harrods afterwards, then he will hang with us for some of the con. Whole thing should be quite fun, as I haven't seen him in ages. More later :-)
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We have finally made it to the Eastercon Hotel. I have changed its name to OestaraCon. We will see if it catches on :-). The rental car is happily back at its happy home, which means I am safe from [ profile] exsmof's driving :-)

Tomorrow we hope to do the British museum if I have enough spoons. Today I didn't have any, so I sat in the car and knitted while [ profile] exsmof did Arundel. Little did I know that Arundel castle didn't open til Friday for the season. Grumble. So he did the cathedral instead and took some nice photos which I stole and threw into the picture gallery. They're on the last two pages.

Now I must find my earplugs and get to sleep, it being 2 am here and [ profile] exsmof having the "extra loud" version of a cpap :-).
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About to hit the road to London. Unfortunately, we didn't know that Arundel Castle doesn't even open for tours until Friday. Very sorry, [ profile] exsmof. Instead, he is going to the cathedral, which is a very pretty venue on its own. I'm not sure I'll actually go in there, because lightning might strike :-).

Once we hit London, I'll likely go back to bed :-). *snore* The days are catching up with me. I knew I would have to take a break eventually. Today might be that day.....
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Well, today I slept. We were at the Swan, a very lovely Inn in Fittleworth, with a nice soft bed, nice soft pillows, and everything anyone would want cept for Internet access in the room. However, Internet access is available here in the pub, and so it could be SO much worse.

Anyway, I got up a bit late, and so we went off to my old hometown of Arundel a bit late. It was so nice and warm, and I had my lovely earplugs in so I wouldn't wake up unless I had to. Once we woke up, it was off to the pub for Internet access (bad me) and we started off a bit late. Then we wound up in Arundel finally, checking out shops, and [ profile] exsmof wanted to check out a map and print shop, so we spent FOREVER in there, not because of [ profile] exsmof but because of me, because I started yapping about Arundel when I used to live there and how things have changed. So that made it impossible for [ profile] exsmof to see Arundel Castle today, which was annoying (sorry [ profile] exsmof) and we will have to try tomorrow. Pictures here

Instead of the castle, I took him off for a tour of my own stomping grounds in Tortington Park which used to be an American college, but has now been turned into condos. Ugh. I also showed him the building where I lived in Arundel, as well as worked downstairs in the tea room. I was not the best waitress, go figure :-).

Off towards Brighton we went, and found lots had changed since I lived here, including the horrible creation of the "superstore" which is a horrible huge food and walmart like complex that sucks you in via bad gravity and all and doesn't let you out. HORRID! I took [ profile] exsmof along the coast road which was quite slow, but he got to see some things and almost kill us on a roundabout, but hey...he's getting a bit better :-).

In Brighton we parked near the Royal Pavillion in search of actual FOOD, but found none, so went back to the Swan and had a lovely dinner. More to follow.
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On our whirlwind tour of England, we find ourselves zipping along from Bristol to Glastonbury, and a climb of the Tor. The photos should be up by now from here through here (sorry for the duplicates. I'll get rid of them when I have some more bandwidth) which will show you what an insane climb it was. We took a bus to the bottom, and then climbed up, along with a group of crazy French kids who would say "HELLO" to us every time they passed us which was lots :-). We took the bus from there back to the car park to change camera batteries, then to the Chalice Well which was beautifully peaceful. Very nice.

Then it was off to SHOPPING through the witchy shops, which was lots of fun. Lots of the same stuff we have at home (go figure). Then we found a really interesting person at a witchy shop and we babbled about stone circles and UEW and things. She was quite interested in UEW and liked the way we're academic about things :-). Yay. She told us about a stone circle outside of Bristol we should go to next time. I purchased a beautiful little bottle where I could put [ profile] exsmof's ashes after I kill him. I had mentioned this loudly which is what caused the proprietress to cackle witch like. Heh....go figure.

Then we took many diversions and reached Stonehenge just as they were closing. However, you can basically see as much from the road as you can from being let in. So I shot photos, of course, as did [ profile] exsmof despite having seen it before and all that sort of thing :-).

Then it was on through Salisbury where we waved at the Cathederal, through Southampton, Chichester, and up to Fittleworth where we are staying at this lovely place called The Swan which is a beautiful pub but has no Internet access in the rooms, so I won't be typing terribly much as we have to run off to SHOPPING!!!!!


Anyway, more later on Glastonbury.
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Enough grease to carry me on my day. Also had 2 cups of coffee. Will I sleep tonight is the question. Oh, and I got to deftly close the elevator on people twice in a row. Recalcitrant heaven :-). Now the [ profile] exsmof wishes to leave. But I LIKE this place. Want stay and shop and.....*sound of feet being dragged out the door.* Bye now :-)
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I was unable to post last night, having run completely out of spoons at a much earlier time than desired, likely due to climbing up and down cliffs via steep footpaths and stairs. Wheeee. From our happy home at the Travelodge, it was off to Tintagel Castle. Of course, the Brits can be as tacky as Americans, and the roads were littered with "King Arthur's" this and "Lancelot's" that, including one place claiming they had King Arthur's Stone (hope it wasn't his kidney stone..that'd be rude), and Merlin's Cave and all these other super fluffy places of fairy insanity. (Photos are of course still here. Note there are now 2 pages worth. Then it was off to the castle itself, down a HUGE cliff/hill thing where the wind was blowing at approximately 20 knots offering a downhill barrier that likely kept me from tumbling headlong into the sea :-). It was also COLD...I mean ear freezing cold, and I wished I had brought a hat and gloves. But stupid me, thinking it was March, and gee, it couldn't be THAT cold...well, was INCORRECT. Upon finally making the gift shop (first stop before castle), we found they had HATS and GLOVES....ugly but functional and yay. Much better instantly. Then the climb to the castle began. Spoons began plunging off cliffs and into the sea. It took lots to actually GET to the first rise, but made it we did, and shot many pictures. After making sure Covert wasn't going to jump (heh), we headed back down after seeing what kinds of insanity they desired one to go through to get to the main castle portion accessible only by going all the way back DOWN more steeply than one had gotten up, then up again on the other side, a process that, of course, had to be repeated to get back to the beginning part of the castle, then back up to the main road. One had to be of great strength to lay siege to THAT castle, let me tell you.

Upon stumbling back up the hill close to death (well, it only felt that way), it was off to a traditional tea room for a cream tea. Check out the photo. Cream tea is this and a sugar rush of gargantuan proportions. After this, it was back to the car park to head to Glastonbury. Course, we had spent too much time in Tintagel to actually see much of Glastonbury, and when it became clear we weren't going to make Salisbury for our hotel there, we decided to find a place to stay near Glastonbury. Heh. Boy was that ever rather stupid. First hotel was full, second was 375 POUNDS per night. Oh the pain. Yours truly wanted Internet access, so a very tired [ profile] exsmof decided on an old fallback - the Marriott. Closest one, however, was in Bristol. Oh well, off to Bristol.

Here in Bristol, the bed was WARM AND FLUFFY! The room was super nice, and wow, look...wireless. Not sure when we're going to have any of that again, so it may be a bit before the next post. However, had a great night sleep, and now it is back to Glastonbury, and perhaps Stonehenge, and then off to the Toy's old stomping grounds. I'm sure I've forgotten many things, but [ profile] exsmof will fill them in with his elephant like memory later :-).

Beware Teh Fluffy!!!
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We are currently in Exeter, which was not where we were supposed to be. We were supposed to be staying in Tintagel at some "Ye Olde" whatever it is place. However, in the interest of preventing road splatter, I persuaded (well, strong armed" [ profile] exsmof to just stop at the Travelodge which was right in front of us, rather than try to make it another 1.5 hours to Tintagel.

So.....the day began with a short hop to JFK, a long wait, a LONG flight to LHR (wherein orange juice AND lasagna both attacked [ profile] exsmof at different times during the flight), a REALLY LONG customs check in, a rental car, the fine art of the British roundabout, the finer art of looking for road directions ON the road, more of "my GPS doesn't work, read this map for me" to which the response was "It doesn't have victor airways, it's useless."

We went to Avebury, which was quite nice, and shot many pictures, soon to be uploaded but I'm really tired right now. Avebury had a really nice witchy shop that smelled of incense, and had really nice T Shirts that we purchased a couple of, as well as some books, etc. The stones were quite nice, and it was possible to actually walk up and touch them. I charged a really nice amethyst point. We made several stops to the bountiful highway rest stops, which [ profile] exsmof finally figured out how to get into and out of (mostly). Then it was off to Cardiff where we HAD to find "The Hub" so we could see if the lift worked. It didn't. Rats! More pictures to follow. Apparently there's a site called "" that shows all of the locations used in all the Torchwood episodes and how to get there to gawk. How'd we find this out? Well, SHOPPING of course. The creator is the boyfriend of the woman who helped me purchase some more clothes. Whoooppeeee! Clothes!!

We had basically given up on finding the Hub since the roads we wanted to take were all closed. Apparently some kind of a bloody great Rugby championship was being held there, and you know about those British "fans." But the woman in the shop told us other ways to get there, which we used, and voila! Twas US in front of the stadium where it all began. *swooooon*

Now, remember that we had been up all night (as neither of us sleep on planes well), and were working on very little tolerance for anything at all, and life was basically really weird. I had to keep insisting to [ profile] exsmof that he cease attempting to kill me. Little things like slamming on your brakes when confused or startled, cutting across lanes going around the roundabout, running red lights, drifting into other lanes on the motorway (with the cats eyes going thumpity thump thump) were all indications that sleep was necessary. VERY necessary. So dah Toy did what she does best.....stomped both feet and said *FOO* We'd made it to Exeter and there was no way in hell that the [ profile] exsmof was going to be allowed to attempt to continue the charade of being awake.

Ah... I have made a picture gallery. It lives right here

So here we are. I really miss the [ profile] dogpooh and the Recalcitrant Child and the [ profile] calvinthedeeple, but so far so good re: fun.
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Brought to you by a country who STILL doesn't inspect all air cargo, but puts passengers through some of the most abusive nonsense known to humankind in order to get from point A to point B

The US administration is pressing the 27 governments of the European Union to sign up for a range of new security measures for transatlantic travel, including allowing armed guards on all flights from Europe to America by US airlines.
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We always try to get to the airport early in Bonaire because the check in line is conducted outside with no AC. We called a taxi for noon to get the 15 minutes to the airport for a 3:10 flight. When we arrived at the lobby, we found that there were 4 other people with all their gear who were also going to the airport and the taxi driver insisted he could get all 6 AND all the scuba and photo gear, etc. into the van. We didn't believe him. He was right, we were wrong. A good start :-) We got to the airport with minimal waiting in the heat, quick security clearance, and a nice place to sit with power and 2.85 per hour Internet access. All was happy. The flight to Montego Bay was relatively painless, until the very end, where [ profile] dogpooh dropped my wheelie carry on directly on my head. I saw stars and got nauseated. Drat. We were rushed across the airport to our connecting flight where we got directly to another line for boarding :-).

When we were finally put on the plane, we found ourselves way in the back of the plane, each with an aisle seat. We also found ourselves in front of several screaming brats, including 2 who were hysterical for most of the flight, one being old enough to be disciplined by the parents, who did nothing. The other was a baby whose parents didn't provide them a bottle on ascent or descent to pop their ears. *sigh* The baby's screaming was so loud that the volume was above the highest level we could turn the volume. It was truly horrible. The poor woman next to me was almost in tears.

Luckily, we got home in one piece without murdering anyone, wonderful [ profile] exsmofpicked us up, and I spent the night yapping with him, going to sleep very late, but happy to be home. This morning I found that the auto top off had been auto topping over the aquariums, leaving water everywhere. *sigh* At least I was here to deal with it. More fish tank work will be there for me to do tomorrow. Joy :-)

i am home

Oct. 21st, 2007 12:18 am
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that is all
recalcitranttoy: (Default)
We are at the airport, where for 2.85 you get an hour's worth of faster than tin can and string Internet access. The place was relatively empty and quiet...and then..... a KLM 747 arrived and offloaded everyone so they could refuel. The place is full of people, which is interesting to watch as I sit here behind a large plant with my electrical outlet and Internet access. What more could anyone want while stuck in an airport? ;-)

We're on our way home.... tra la la


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