I mentioned earlier that there's moss on everything. There's moss in the yards. Moss on the roofs. Moss on the walls. Moss on the sidewalk. There's also lichen everywhere. It's a very wet country. Especially in January. ;-)
(Rob and I loved it though. We like that misty, autumny feel.)
Last day in Cambridge/Histon
Vanessa went to work this morning and Rob and I slowly gathered up all of our stuff from throughout the house and gathered it together in the lounge (aka the living room). We ran a couple of loads of laundry (though the dryer works about as well as the dial-up). And we took a walk (where we actually saw many street signs. !!!) I took a shot of the moss that was growing on someone’s brick wall in their front yard. And we went by the house that Rob’s brother Ryan lived in when he was out here for a year. (At least, I think we got the right house. Did we, Ryan?)
I wrestled with slow upload times the rest of the morning and then Vanessa came home from work at 2 so we could pray for her.
The kids all got home from school (well, except Becca who, rumor had it, was stopping by the store to get some chocolate) so we could say good buy to them yet once again (we said goodbye last night thinking that we might not see them this afternoont -- but we hadn’t booked our bus tickets yet so we didn’t really know when we were leaving). Then Vanessa trundled us and all our stuff (lots and lots of tea as well as some hand-me-down clothes and goodies for presents along with all the stuff we hauled here in the first place) down to the Trumpington Park & Ride.
The bus was almost 15 minutes late, but he managed to make up the time along the way and we only ended up at our destination a few minutes late. Other than that, the ride was rather un-eventful.
Once at the Hemel Hempstead bus station we called Roz’s cell phone hoping she could find someone to come give us a lift, but she didn’t pick up. So then we considered walking, but we weren’t sure which direction to head out. So we finally hailed a cab and for 6 quid we were very glad we did. All it took was hitting the magic round-a-bout and we knew immediately that we would have been completely lost if we had tried to go it alone. And then it turned out that the bus station was rather far from Shendish afterall. Our cabbie was Indian, we think (as in, a person from India), had a very thick accent, and drove slightly more insanely than the typical Brit (which means I spent most of the ride praying).
Once at Shendish we signed in and were taken to our room which was on the second floor (which is the same as the third floor in the States). There was no lift (elevator) so we had to haul all of our lugguge up one flight up stairs, through a door and down a hall, up a second set of stairs, around a corner and down another hall, down some stairs and then back up some more stairs at the end. The manor director (or whatever she is) apologized several times (basically every time we hit another flight of stairs) but we ended up with a double room for the price of a single (which I think is 120 quid) because they had run out of rooms. (This also explains why our room was one of the furthest from the entrance.)
We got settled in, then headed downstairs to get something to eat. Shendish doesn’t have a lunch or dinner restaurant (though they apparently do take orders at breakfast and though they do serve catered food later in the day). So we started to walk back down towards town to grab a bite to eat. (The driveway is probably about 1/2 mile long.) About a third of the way down we ran across Roz and Alan (the soon to be newlyweds) driving up. They picked us up, took us back up to Shendish, rattled on about James (the best man) for a bit, and then drove us back down the hill. ;-) They eventually took us to Roz’s mom’s house and from there we walked over to an Indian restaurant where we met up with 16 or so other friends of Roz and Alan’s. (None of whom we’d ever met before since we knew Roz from San Francisco and they all knew her from England (or maybe Germany).)
To be perfectly honest, we found the food to be rather bland. I’ve definitely had better saag paneer, the service was rather slow (although having 20 odd folks arrive all at once could have something to do with that, I’m sure) and my prawn curry was just OK. (They used little shrimps, the kind I’m used to only seeing in salads.) The rice pilaf had colored rices in it. And nothing else, just rice. (We’re used to our pilaf being entirely rice colored except for the bits of peas and other odds and ends that are thrown in.) All in all, I’d probably recommend the restaurant for the ambiance, but not the food. (And, as in all other cafes and dining areas, the room was filled with smoke.Apparently Britain (and the UK?) will be banning smoking in public places in July, so it looks like we just came a bit early in that regard.)
We ended up sitting with two friends of Roz and Alan’s, Sarah and Martin. The rest of the crew was at one long table, but they hadn’t made enough room for all of us so we were seated on the other side of the room. We had a lovely discussion with them. Once we were done eating we headed out with the rest of the crew on a theoretical pub crawl. I say theoretical because every time we came across a pub, we’d stand around out front and talk about going in, but then someone would mention a pub further up and we’d end up walking toward that one instead. I think they eventually did end up at a pub, but by that time we were by the Manor so Rob and I just pealed off from there.
We met a few more of Roz and Alan’s friends along the walk and I quickly came to realize that the reception today may be much more of a camcorder event than a camera event. As Sarah said at one point during the walk, “I’m sure you’re beginning to see the Thesbian theme here.” There were several flamboyant personalities and putting them all together was like gathering several comedians on stage and having a laugh-off contest.
Before turning in we thought we’d test out the Bush iD flat screen television in our room. We received a note that if it were too windy out, the digital tv might not work, in which case we were told to switch it over to regular tv. Well, despite the fact that I didn’t see much wind outside, our digital definitely didn’t work, so we tried to watch the beginning of Stigmata but the picture was so fuzzy that I could barely make out the subtitles. And the rest of the channel options were no better. There were two stations with comedians. One made horrible jokes and the other was the guy from the Office and then the clip of him talking ended and it turned out to be a critical review (with 5 or 6 speakers) of his comedy routine. (I am not making this up.)
Rob and I decided we had better things to do than watch horrible tv.