What is wilson silverleaf? We're organitarians; it's best for our bodies and the planet. We cloth diapered Nina for the same reason. We drive a hybrid car & wish we could afford solar panels on our house. I'm a strong advocate for homebirth, full-time mom, & also a movie junkie. We don't have a tv though; we watch dvds on our computer. We love contradancing. I garden & knit; Larry's a puzzle lover & plays fantasy football.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I made it to England

The computer say it's almost 5 am in San Diego right now so that means I woke up 24 hours ago. That was after Wannabe Hippie's husband's 40th birthday party and then the last minute packing on Friday night. But it was all part of my plan to force myself to sleep on the red eye out here.

I flew on Continental which has been advertising that they still give you food at meal times. I had a wonderful second breakfast on the flight to Newark; I had signed up for the kosher meals because I think it's always a good idea to get a special meal and I'm not really sure why I picked kosher over vegetarian. Anyway, it was an excellent egg with cooked vegetables, very hot. I slept a couple more hours on the flight, skipping "Becoming Jane" and got into Newark at about 4pm.

I'd arranged to meet my friend Judd in the city of Newark; he took the PATH train from NYC and I took the NJ Transit from the airport. There was a train at 4:25 and I got to the station at 4:27 but people were still waiting for the train. It never came so I got on the 5:05 for the six minute ride into the city. While I was waiting for the train, a big, pretty snow flurry kicked up. It was the first snow I'd seen in maybe six years and I was sitting in the nice warm waiting area watching it, so that was all good.

We took the train a lot when we lived in England and it was almost invariably within five minutes of the schedule. One day there was a lot of trouble with the tracks and all of the people waiting on the platforms got regular updates on when the train was expected to arrive. It is inconceivable that a train would be at least 40 minutes late and no one would provide any information. I don't know if we have bad train service because no one rides the trains or if no one rides the trains because we have bad train service.

Anyway, Judd and I had dinner at a place called Mix27 in Newark. He had checked out restaurants near the train station, which was very nice. We got there and the place was empty, which I thought might be a bad sign, but within 15 minutes every table but one was taken, which I thought was strange. The food was actually quite good; the only complaint I have is that they brought me the appetizer sized portion of my mushroom risotto when I definitely ordered the entree. Judd had a nice looking sandwich. If you search for "Judd Blaise" on IMDB, you'll find he's got some credits in the editorial department and recently has an Editor credit as well as one for Cinematographer. It also tells me his StarMeter is up 91% in the last week. Way to go Judd!

The train ride back to the airport was uneventful and there was essentially no line at security. We didn't board for our 8:55 flight until about 8:45 so I still ended up spending maybe 45 minutes waiting in the airport which I really hoped not to do because I ended up getting an ice cream cone at Ben & Jerry's. The flight was fine, less than half full so I had a whole row to myself and slept a fair amount. This time I skipped the movie "The Jane Austen Book Club." I could have had a very Jane Austen day. She spent some time living in Bath, which is the next town over from Bristol and which is almost a character in "Persuasion", my favorite of her books.

The flight came into Bristol. I was sorry to see that they now charge a pound to use the luggage trolleys. I got picked for a random search of my bag by the customs people. I ended up missing the first bus to the train station but caught the next one. From there I bought my ticket to Cheltenham, the town where my meeting is this week. There was a train leaving in about five minutes, it left essentially on time, and took about an hour, I think, to get me here. A good train system really does make things easier. In fact, all the travel went so smoothly that I arrived at something like 11:15 (= 3:15 San Diego time)and I wasn't supposed to check in until 2. A bus to the city center arrived while I was looking at my map outside the train station. I guess I'm going to keep harping on how convenient the public transportation is here.

However, I had been planning to walk to the hotel and I stuck with that plan. I did alter the plan by getting on to the walking path that was right outside the train station but not on my Google map. I think that it was slightly out of the way but it was very pleasant; there were people walking dogs, kids playing, people on bikes. It was just a very nice walk. Eventually I asked for directions to Suffolk Square, where my hotel is. The guy said it was quite far, definitely more than a mile. I don't know if he thought that was a far walk ordinarily or just because I was wheeling my suitcase. Anyway, it was a pretty quick walk and I got to the hotel a little before noon. I found someone who found someone to get me checked in.

I'm staying at the Willoughby House. I think this Willoughby has no connection to Jane Austen. The house was built on Suffolk Square in 1824 after the Earl of Suffolk died and his daughter sold some land. According to the book here, "It was to Willoughby House that the future Queen Adelaide, wife of King William IV, came to dine in 1837. She also visited Willoughby for afternoon tea on several occassions." The place is very nice and I think I'm in for a pleasant week.

Lorien and Nina, I love and miss you dearly.


Amber said...

We miss you too (in that 'I'm so jealous you're on a fabulous trip' kind of way')

Tag! You're IT!

mrsmogul said...

I lived in England for five years, it was a blast visiting homes of old writers and seeing really OLD STUFF!