Sunday, September 30, 2007

Local touring

Went to Shrewsbury today with Karen and Rich. A sleepy seaside town. Mostly just wandering around gawking. Shrewsbury is the birthplace of Charles Darwin. Also the final resting place of Robert Cadman. On to Iron Bridge, the birthplace of the industrial revolution. A drink in Stafford and dinner in Woore. Could write more but need to pack. The cab is picking me up at 4:20am to go to the airport!

Saturday in Nantwich

Slept from midnight to noon.

We went to the food festival today. It's an annual event. I meant to grab my sister's camera but forgot, so no pictures. My sister lives in rural England, so there are lots of good, fresh farm products available. I home in on booths with local foods, ignoring the Mediterranean and wine booths. I'm heading to the source on Monday, anyway. Cheeses were the easiest to get samples of, so I had quite a few tastes of local cheese. My favorite, probably not too surprisingly, is the mature cheddar. The more mature, the better. It reminds me a lot of a provolone piccante, but is creamier. I'm considering buying a hunk to take to Italy with me. I was intrigued by the wide variety of smoked meat and fish, but there were not free samples forthcoming for those.

We had lunch at the fair. My sister and I opted for a taste of the local Indian food.

Nantwich is kind of interesting architecturally. They have buildings that are centuries old and buildings that were built last year, so there is quite a bit of variety. I think one of my favorite buildings is an old 17th century pub that has obviously, uhmm, settled a good bit. Makes it look kind of like it was built by a drunk person, although I'm guessing there were probably some straight lines in it when it was originally built. We ducked very quickly into a church in the middle of town, just to have a peek. Very pretty. Especially the stained glass. I tested the acoustics from where the choir stands and it sounded quite nice. They asked me to sign the guest book so I signed it "Captain Saturn."

Back at Karen and Rich's house, mostly Wii and TV, with dinner thrown in there somewhere. I have to admit, that the Wii is pretty addictive--I'm sure I'll get tired of it soon enough, though. I hope I do, anyway. I also have to admit that on average, TV is probably a good bit smarter and more entertaining than what we have. Even the stupid TV, which let's be honest, is most of it. So I guess I'm saying their stupid TV is smarter than our stupid TV or something like that. Or maybe it's just that everyone has a British accent. Karen and Rich made three kinds of sausage, lamb burgers, roasted potatoes, and salad with huge hunks of tasty cheese (I missed what kind) in it. Had some sort of German ale with it that was quite tasty. The name, which I forget, means strong in German, which it is. Although it doesn't taste alcoholic the way many high alcohol beers do. Reminiscent of a Trappiste Ale--same basic family.

Dessert was ice cream with a store bought dulce de leche from a squeeze bottle (never seen that before.)

I obviously must still have a bit of jet lag, since I'm up at 2 and don't feel all that tired. I'm going to go lay in the dark for a while, though, and see if my body takes the hint.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Travel day

Brian picks me up to go to the airport. I teach him to jowl. His iPhone has a slow CCD so it is mostly motion blur, which is an interesting effect in and of itself.

African American woman at RDU is checking my passport, looks at the passport photo, looks at me, grins really big, says "You got the hair thing! I can feel it!" Thank you.

On the ground at RDU, on the plane, woman gets my attention, semi-paniced, "Is that normal?" There is some fog coming from the AC vents on the ground. I assure her it's just condensation from the AC. She seems semi-convinced. Some passengers use the word "smoke." I run my hands through it--it's cool and odorless--look, it's just water vapor. Finally they get the steward's attention and he tells them the same thing.

Airplane is broke. Left engine is making a strange noise. They make us deboard and wait for a new plane. No real complaints. No one wants to fly a broken plane.

On the ground in plane number two--an hour on the tarmac due to an air traffic jam in the NYC area. Have to wait for clearance to leave. Four hours after leaving my house, I've traveled about 15 miles.

Need all of the four hours of connection I've allowed for myself at JFK. Nothing unusual, just 2 hours worth of ground delays at RDU plus the usual clusterfuck of having to change terminals at JFK. Going back through security the second time they confiscate the water I'd bought inside the secure area at RDU.

Immigration official in Manchester: "Has anyone ever told you, you like Jean Claude Van Damme?" Actually, I never get that. "Well you look like him in your photo." Ok, if you say so.


Jet lag. A bit of wandering while my sister goes to the doc. Cute little town. Muffin (chocolate) and cappuccino. They are roasting pig in the square. We get some for lunch in a roll, with dressing and apple sauce. Not as good as NC BBQ sandwich.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

First Post

Hello, I am going to Sicily and some of my friends are going to come see me out there. I think we will have a great time. I think I might even blog about it. I'm notoriously a pretty poor blogger, though, but I'll try. Let me know you're reading and I might be motivated to post.