Monday, January 16, 2006

Boat to taxi to Gatwick & now at the gate next to Air Montego Bay...

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Mobile Email from a Cingular Wireless Customer http://www.cingular.com

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Heading West...

Well, it is departure eve here on the isle. It has been a very quiet day. Zoe spent a better part of it helping Bob & Wendy organize old items while I stood and made wise cracks and carried the occasional trash bag outside. Bob's brother, Mick, came to visit us later on in the afternoon and Paul and Sam stopped by as Mick was leaving. Paul & Sam promised to keep us updated on the twins progress. Everyone is really excited.

Tonight we are going over to Tasha's where Ant is going to be making us dinner. We will go to bed hopefully in good time and then will be up at 4:30 AM local time to make the 5:45 catamaran. That will be rough. 4:30 here is 11:30 PM back home. The return trip is always the worst.

This blog has been an interesting experiment. I hope it has provided some insight as to what life is like over here. I have at least highlighted the differences in my own off center way. It is a very rewarding experience to be taken completely out of your comfort zone and thrust into a whole other country, environment, culture...or whatever. Although it is alien to me, yet also familiar, I look at it as almost a "time out" in the game of life. It is extended trips like this where I tend to evaluate where I am and where I am going. I know if I had the opportunity, I would like to live here for a short period of time. Unfortunately in my career and our way of life, that is not always the most prudent step at this juncture. It is not uncommon in English culture to take a year off after studies and see the world. Gilly told me last night that he spend two months just traveling the US.

This has hardly been a vacation in the typical sense. Although, I have read two books (I finished The DaVinci Code in two days...great book), worked on the blog, ate well, drank well, drank really well and met and made a number of new friends. For Zoe, this is simply coming home. Although our suburban landscape can change drastically in a short amount of time, little changes on the Isle of Wight.

I feel something burning inside me and I am not quite sure what it is...no intenstinal jokes please. 2005 closed the book on a number of, it seemed, neverending chapters. 2006 is fresh, new and hopefully full of something new to quench whatever it is pushing me. Zoe says that I am never satisfied and to a point, I think she is right. But is that a bad thing? I think not. There are always bigger hills and larger challenges. To steal a Rush lyric:

A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission...
So, thanks for tuning in. I will leave the Blog up, but I'm not sure what I am going to do with it. As we all know, routine life can be somewhat dull and boring to read. If it is interesting, it is probably something that we can't talk about...or photograph. To leave with a quote from another great English sitcom, The Royle Family:
Denise Royle: Dad! Your flies are undone!
Jim Royle: Ah, the cage might be open, but the beast is asleep.
Barbara Royle: Beast my arse!
See you Tuesday...if anything goofy happens on the way home, I will be sure to post something!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The English Language

You know, it wouldn't be a trip to England if I wasn't trying to juggle going to the bathroom with taking a picture of something in the men's room. While at The Crab, I was reading the newspaper on the wall while doing man business. A particular crime story caught my eye. Now at home, this would have been a paragraph in ye old Independent. However, the English have a great way of making anything sound really important. I love it. In this case (sorry the photo quality is poor) a laborer (aka roofer) was found guilty for breaking out the window of another man's car who he had thought struck his vehicle. According to the article, the laborer "received incorrect information after drinking eight cans of lager". The vehicle he broke the window out of was apparently not the vehicle he was really supposed to target. I am assuming that if he had gone looking for the right vehicle before drinking the lager, everything would have turned out okay. Oh well, live and learn.

College Night

We headed to The Crab in Old Towne Shanklin tonight and met up with 3 of Zoe's old college friends. Jen and Jacqui live on the Isle of Wight and Justina lives in Brighton and came down to IOW with her boyfriend Gilly. Zoe and Justina have not seen each other in 18 years. While the girls caught up, Gilly and I drank beer and traded stories. One of the interesting things about living this side of the Atlantic is the change in vacation destinations. Gilly and Jus traveled to China and then South Korea for holiday. Gilly had some interesting stories about China markets and the language barrier. It is not uncommon for people to vacation in Australia, Greece, Spain or islands off the east coast of Africa.
Gilly still lives in Colchester, so it was ironic talking about the pubs in Colchester I had already visited. Gilly has an affinity for Homer Simpson which he believes is related to the fact that the both work in Nuclear Power Plants. Gilly said that it sounds interesting, but in reality it really isn't. The photo on the left shows the power of the cellphone as the women all double check all of their cellphone numbers.

Tomorrow will be the last morning I can sleep in before we can head out on Monday morning...ugh!

Stunning News

For those that haven't seen it, more fun from that crazy American Blog Left Behind. Not to be of course confused with the Hollywood Direct to DVD blockbuster Left Behind with Kirk Cameron.

Royal Mail

Bob has been delivering mail for Royal Mail for 33 years. He gave us a tour today of the office he works out of. It was a fairly new building. For the record, the Post Office is at a State of Vigilance: Code Black. Bob said that around the Anthrax time in the US, they were at a Code Red...or something or other.

Bob showed us his mail sorting cubicle. I wanted to take some photo's inside, but seeing how much security there was, I didn't want to get Bob into trouble. The place had CCTV cameras everywhere.

Zoe is off to visit Jen this afternoon for a massage. Jen and Zoe both went to college together and Jen practices massage like Zoe. Last night, Jen told the same story of weirdos calling for a massage and asking about "extras" and so forth. Jen also does waxing and offers those same weirdo callers the "back, sack & crack" which thankfully turns them away.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Warning Sign of the Day #3

Although you might not have believed me, this is a typical warning label on a packet of cigarettes:


Yup, smoking kills and if that is not enough, check out what is in a typical cigarette:


So, does the presence of formaldehyde and benzene stop the average Brit from smoking? Apparently not...



Bembridge

Tonight we traveled to Bembridge and met with an old high school friend of Zoe's, Steve, and his wife Debbie. Steve has his own construction company on the island and is also a retained (aka volunteer) fire fighter. Steve gave us a tour of their fire house. Bembridge is fairly small and Steve is one of about 10 guys that work out of the fire house. The fire house is totally volunteer, but elsewhere on the island the departments are combination, much like at home.

Steve carries a pager which gives a simple alert tone when there is a call, there is no radio traffic. They do not know what the call is until they read the call information off of the printer at the fire house. They call their calls "shout outs". Steve has a short two minute drive to the firehouse where he picks up the engine. Steve's description of the firehouse in Bembridge just about mirrors things back home. The engine holds a crew of six and it is not uncommon to leave the slowest man behind. The bay door you see is an old fashioned, manually operated, horizontal door. Steve indicated that they have a call volume of only 50 calls per year.

After the fire house tour, we headed to one of the local pubs. Once there, we met up with another one of Zoe's old friends, Jen, and her boyfriend, Mike. Outside of everyone catching up on old stories, Steve and I talked about the fire service as well as his experiences as a builder on the island. Pictured from left to right is Zoe, Jen, Mike, Debbie and Steve.

One thing I have not touched on is the price of homes. A basic townhouse on the island probably goes around £175,000 which equals around $288,000. That is also with no land. A typical singlefamilyy home starts around $300,000. I equate living on the island to living on the east or west coasts of the US.

Our time at the pub was great, although Zoe, without her voice, was fairly frustrated in not being able to talk more. I have met Jen and Mike before and I am convinced that if I ever wrote a move or a sitcom script, Jen would be a character. Her humor and commentary on life is second to none. She is hilarious. Tomorrow night, we are meeting Jen again as well as another college friend so the fun shall continue.

My talking

They have now labeled my talking chin wagging. I'm not sure how to take that...

A couple things...

Well, Zoe has officially just about completely lost her voice. She visited with another friend this morning who lives just down from Bob & Wendy and tonight, we are meeting another friend who works as a volunteer fireman a couple cities over. We are getting a tour of the firehouse, so I am looking forward to it.

Well if imitation is flattery, I am not quite sure what to make of the English version of Extreme Make Over, Make Me Perfect. First of all, after being subjected to Extreme Makeover, I am not sure Perfect is ever really something that is ever obtained on the show. I would call the English version the kindler, gentler version. They take the "candidate" back to traumatic places in their life where their unusual physical form caused some sort of mental trauma. They then hold hands and talk about why people were making fun of them. If that was me, an entire series would need to be devoted to these "visits".

As all things European, they show everything...I mean everything. They don't just talk about using a hammer and a chisel to take off the extra nose stuffing, they show it. They also show the Full Monty when it comes to the before picture. I looked over to the telly and saw some women doing the 360 degree camera thing and they showed everything. They are now showing the doctor retrieving his watch from her abdominal...no just kidding, although they show more of the procedures here than they do on Discovery Health. We are so close, I feel like I should be passing tools.

The woman is now going on how she is in some pain after the procedure. After watching the Doc beating the fat out of her, don't show her the video...whatever you do.

Hey lucky for this young lady, they just announced that they are using the Make Me Perfect A Team. This of course begs the question, who gets the B & C teams?

Lunch

Bob came home and decided to treat us all to lunch. We went to a pub called The Wishing Well. The pub had a beautiful view out the rear. I was told that the field is for RV's in the summertime. Lucky for us the field was empty for this picture.

As I try to assimilate into English culture, one thing I have worked hard on is the holding of my utensils. At home, we typically place the knife down after we are done cutting our food and then place our left hand in our lap. The right hand is then used with the fork to pick up whatever it is you want to shovel into your mouth. Over here, the left hand is assigned the knife and the right hand is assigned the fork and neither the two do part until your plate is clean. As I observed, it is much easier to shovel food into my mouth if both utensils and hands work as a team (No comments KL). I can now use my knife to ram food onto my fork which makes eating a much more efficient operation.

On the way out, I spied a list. Yes, it is a dessert list and not a list of village ailments in case you noticed that they offer Spotted Dick. Instead of the disease that no one speaks of, it is actually a pudding with currants (raisins). I have had it before...the dessert that is, not the disease. You can get it in the can at Meijer...once again, the dessert, not the disease...although in this case at Meijer it might actually be both.

Texting

Everyone in the UK has been using their cellphone, or mobile to be linguistically correct, for text messaging for years before us. Apparently in the world of mobile use there are two distinct camps: Nokia users and Non-Nokia users. Michelle had mentioned this and someone else recently asked what we used. Apparently phone preference is based upon the text system used. Nokia's predictive text messaging is quite different from everyone else. I guess once you go one way, it is pretty hard to break and change formats. Fortunately I have my QWERTY keyboard on the TREO, so it is not as big of a deal for me.

Oh yeah, and not that it should be any surprise, but I guess the fact that I carry my TREO in a cell phone holster signifies that I am a looser. No one uses holsters or belt clips. Everyone puts their phones in pockets or bags. The RAZR is pretty popular because of its small size. My favorite ring tone is vibrate, so I will have to cling to my cell phone holster awhile longer.

In the same vein, in yet another step of combing fashion with technology, Levi's has announced that they are launching a line of jeans next year that includes a hidden docking station for your iPod. The jeans also included a "joystick" in your front pocket to control the iPod remotely. Joystick, ehh?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Out again...

We went out with Paul & Sam tonight and hit a number of pubs on the High Street in Ryde. We started out at Wetherspoons. Wetherspoons is a part of a franchise, but where it lacks in old time charm, it exceeds in variety of real ale. Wetherspoons maintains around 8 Real Ales and rotates 3 of those with other guest ales on a regular basis. Fear not ladies, although Sam is pregnant, she is pictured below drinking a non-alcoholic beverage.


Here is a shot of Wetherspoons as I descend the stairway. Hey, what's that guy looking at! You can readily tell that it is quite different that most of the other pubs I have talked about. A lot of purists do not like this type of pub, although the pub itself has gained good standing because of their choice of beer and their embracement of local culture. I have been told that Wetherspoon is the name of a local Ryde supporter of CAMRA.

This evening was nice, because it gave Zoe and Paul a lot of time to catch up and talk about growing up. In the UK, Sam gets a year off for maternity leave, 6 months paid and 6 months not. I am sure with the twins, that time will fly by.

Paul, like Bob, works as a letter carrier for Royal Mail (The UK equivalent of the USPS). It is funny hearing another public employee talk about his experiences with people. Paul's route is at one of the dodgy ends of Ryde, so you can only imagine his stories.

After Wetherspoons, we walked to the Yelf's Hotel. I had never been inside the Yelf's, but found it to be quite nice and a little posh. After getting drinks, we sat by ourselves in a conservatory off the rear of the building. Seeing that my bladder is the size of an overgrown peanut, I ventured to the bathroom three or four times through the evening. Here's a question for you: What is the last thing you want to see when you head to the bathroom and go through the Gent's Door? If you answered, "The stairs", then you are correct! Yup, I rounded the corner after opening the door, almost tripped after I realized that the urinal was not as close as I thought it was. Rest assured that I won't fall for that surprise again!

After spending some time at Yelf's, we walked down to Joe Defloes. For those music buffs, Joe Defloes was started by Isle of Wight native Mark King who is a member of the musical group Level 42. Level 42 was popular in the 80's (surprise, surprise) and is still recording today.

At Joe Defloes, Paul wanted me to try a new White Ale from Kronenberg. It was quite nice although I am not too sure about the word "fruity" on the top of the pint glass.

It was wonderful hanging out with Paul & Sam. It is nights like tonight where we realize that it is unfortunate that 3000 miles separate us.

To end the evening, we stopped at the Kebab shack so I could pick up a "Large Donner Kebab"...whatever the hell that is. All I know is that it is damn good. It is basically a Gyro on steroids. As with all things international, the Kebab shack is run by foreigners to the UK, in this case, Greeks. So, you can only imagine trying to give a Greek an order with an American accent who is used to speaking to the Brits. After the careful construction of my Kebab, he asked me something that I didn't quite understand. When this happens, I do one of two things. I go with the last thing I heard or I refuse politely whatever it was that I was being offered. In this case I refused. Well it turns out I refused any kind of topping for my Kebab. We got home and I found a slab of lamb in a pita with nothing else. Oh well...it can always be worse and afterall, it was still really good.

Warning Sign of the Day #2


On the way back home, we decided to take the bus. I snapped a covert picture. What I could not easily take a picture of was the warning sign hanging behind the driver on the right hand side. Most of the warnings were the usual public transit fare. One, however, stood out:

Eating Food in Enclosed Spaces Can Produce Unpleasant Smells

Funny, I always thought this is what happened after you ate the food.

Down by the seaside

We walked down the Ryde High Street today and I took the following photos:

This is as we walked from Zoe's parents house toward the town center. Notice the church is the highest structure in the town.

A view down the High Street toward the sea as we left a pub. One of the nice things here is that you can have a pint, or two, in the middle of the day and you don't have to hide your face and find some seedy joint where nobody knows you. Notice how Zoe is walking away from me. For some reason when I lug out my 25 lb 1999 digital camera she tends to want to distance herself from me.

A picture of the Ryde Pier. The Pier was finished in 1814 and was built because at low tide, ships cannot reach shore. On the photo on the bottom, you can make out the yellow catamaran leaving for Portsmouth. That is how we will leave the island on Monday.

This is a picture of the seafront. There are a number of pubs and hotels that cover this stretch of the town. This is a prime tourist spot for the English in the summer months. All though we have always been off season, I am told that the place is packed.

Here is the third way off the island, or fourth if you count swimming, the Hover Craft. It is about a ten minute ride across the Solent. You can see the Ryde pier in the background.

Warning Sign of the Day

The graphic pretty much sums it up: following your dog with a bag and a shovel in case it leaves a steaming turd.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

End of the day...

We came back and crashed for a few hours this afternoon. I have been reading Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, which is quite good, I will finish it tonight and then start on its sequel, The Da Vinci Code.

Zoe decided that she wanted to go out for a drive and hit a pub that I wanted to try. Before we left, Zoe picked up her international drivers license from AAA (Yes, for $25 you too can have an international drivers license!). I was informed that I would not be driving this trip. Something about her parents car being totaled and scaring the living hell out of her. Zoe's parents car is a manual transmission, so Zoe felt that if in the process of changing gears she was actually rolling the window down, I would most likely be driving the car off a cliff with the windshield wipers on. Zoe said it was like riding a bicycle and did great. Although she was worried about the distance on my side of the car (the left), she did really well.

We headed out and I tuned the radio to BBC Radio 1 (after 5 minutes of screwing with the radio of course). We drove for about 15 minutes up to a small pub at a place called Culver Downs. In World War II, this spot on the downs held artillery guns aimed towards France. This was one of the defensive points if England were to be attacked by Germany. It is also the spot where the cruise ships can be seen leaving Southampton and heading out to sea. This would have provided a view of the Titanic leaving with Leo, of Zoe's parents watching her sail off on the Queen Elizabeth II and of the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary II a few years ago. It has an amazing view that I will try and get some pictures of.

We nixed going to Culver and decided to head to a pub called The Solent Inn. The Solent Inn was the Isle of Wight's CAMRA pub of the year for the last two years. The pub is old and small. It is divided into two parts and we sat on the right. When I took this photo, my back was against the wall. It is that small. The pub won pub of the year because of their huge selection of real ale. A distinction well deserved. One of Zoe's concerns is that because these are small local pubs, that everyone knows immediately you are a stranger, especially when I speak. I think she was more concerned that my accent would be heard and the patrons would drag my body into the alley beating me to a pulp like I was an effigy of George Bush. I on the other hand felt perfectly at ease and simply wanted a nice pint. We didn't stay long as we learned it was Quiz Night and I am fairly certain that we would have bombed.

We decided to slide into a fish and chip shop and grab some quick takeaway. This is authentic fish and chips. Unlike Long John Silver, here you actually pick the type of fish you want. Yes, that is an actual piece of cod. Not some combination of four different types of white fish found in the Atlantic Ocean fashioned into some cruel type of triangle shape. Absolutey delicious.

Bob's Work...

We got home and found Bob working on my head...hmm, that doesn't sound right. I thought I would take this moment to show Bob' s papier-mache self portrait. I think it is really amazing. He does most of his work with wood, but he is using clay for my mellon and of course, used papier-mache here:

A Map

I have been talking about towns and places, so I thought it would be a good idea to show where exactly we are. The pop-up bubble hides Portsmouth, on the mainland. If you continue to drag the map to the northeast, you will find London. The sun was actually out today, so I plan on taking some island photos and posting those tomorrow.

Sightings...















At first, I swore they put pineapple chunks in the urinal to keep the smell down. After I realized they didn't taste like pineapple, I knew I had been fooled.














The Weight and Measures Act of 1985 controls all of the alcohol use. These signs are clearly posted in every pub that you go into. I am just glad the law spells out "Drinking-Up Time" because that is where I usually need the most help.














I know that when I'm hungry, I go for a bag of Salty D Nuts...Hmmm...As you buy the nuts, it uncovers more and more of the picture. Wow, what an incredible advertising ploy.

The Death of Me

Well, we spent another afternoon drinking and in the process, placed my name one step higher on the liver donor list. I am convinced that if I ever lived over here, I would die early from liver failure. Granted I spread my bitter out over the afternoon, but geezz.

This afternoon, we met another one of Zoe's old schoolmates, Tash, and her boyfriend, Anthony, and daughter, Kadie. Anthony drove us to The Dairyman's Daughter, a pub in the small town of Arreton. We have been there a number of times before and have been usually impressed. Today was no different. The Dairyman's Daughter had about 5 local ales and 2 guest ales. For this trip, I had my first pint of Badger's Tangle Foot which was quite nice. It seems that the portions of food over here have increased ten fold. Take my lunch for instance, a simple burger with Chili (Yes, I know I went American) and a side of chips. It was huge! Of course, I finished it, but it was still huge.

Seeing that it was only 2 PM and we still had drinking to do, we headed to the Crown Inn. I have shared many a beer at the Crown in the past. It is a truly local pub. The pub is one of the few pubs in Ryde that have extended licensing hours. Up until the first of this years, all pubs in the UK used to close at 11 PM. Pubs, through proper licensing, can now stay open 24 hours if they choose. The Crown stays open until about 2 AM, much like back home. It was at the Crown 2 years ago that Zoe left me for a little while and came back to find me "hanging out" with a bunch of hooligans. Although she was concerned, I felt quite at home.

We spent the next three hours talking about island life. Both Tash and Anthony have spent their entire lives on the island. Just looking out the window, both were able to identify people walking by and were able to bring Zoe uptodate on the goings on with old friends.

As a side note, I am feeling somewhat like a German must have felt like in London in the early 1940's. It seems that if I talk too loud, which I know I tend to do, I start getting stares. Hell, I had a whole work crew stare at me as we left the pub. I feel sympathy for Zoe whenever I order something. Fortunately, I know the lingo, but more often than not, I have to repeat myself because of how I say it. I am about two days from putting on my fake accent and embarrassing everybody.

Label of the Day

Next time you go to get your huffing kicks with your household can of Glade, think again:


Doesn't leave a whole lot of room for doubt, does it?

Test for Echo

I received some e-mail and I have been surprised at the number of people actually reading the blog. I never really figured more than a few people whould read this and I did it more for myself than anything else. To get a better idea of how many are actually reading this thing, I have made it so anyone can post comments. If you haven't posted a comment yet, please do so. Or, if you prefer more anonymity, please send me an e-mail. Thanks!

As far as my commentary being the basis for being deported, fear not. My editor (Read: Zoe) thoroughly reads what I am going to post. She may give me the "eye", which incidently does haunt me at night, but she has not censored me. If that is not enough, Bob's resounding laughter is encouragement enough.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Dinner at The White Horse


We had dinner tonight at the White Horse. The pub is the the oldest established inn on the Isle of Wight and was originally built in 1454. We ate with Bob & Wendy and Paul & Sam. Great meal and great conversation. Bob continues to slag english steak, but I had a really good strip steak in a nice bacon & mushroom sauce.

In yet another example of being able to look your meal dead in the eyes before you eat it, Wendy ordered trout. Her plate arrived, with head and eyes and the trout proceeded to stare at Zoe until Wendy gave it respect and covered it under some potatoes.

Zoe and Sam wanted doggy bags, so when the waiter came to clear the table, I asked for a pair of "doggy bags". Well apparently, I was taken literally and the waiter returned with two plastic bags. As I stared at the bag and wondered how I was going to slide the food into the bag, I began to also wonder how exactly chicken curry with rice would look in the bottom of a plastic bag. Hell, Sam had beef medallions. We would walk out looking like someone was swinging their colostomy bag in one hand and a bag of vomit in the other. Two crusades and two world wars and the Brits are still savages.

Our conundrum brought Wendy to tears...from laughing too hard. I think Wendy realized that once my phone came out, this would all be posted on the blog. Fortunately, the waiter offered to do the dirty work in the kitchen and when he returned, he wrapped the food in aluminum foil and then placed it in the bag. Shheww...

You haven't seen...


You haven't seen television until you've seen two men dressed in anatomically correct latex suits that depict nude overweight women getting it on...

Tonight, we plan on watching Tittybangbang...a new all girl sketch comedy show.

So it's not a fountain?

I learned the hard way that these towels are not for drying off your face after a morning shave.

English sweets

Zoe has been going on about having something called "Iced Fingers". She was quite happy to snatch up a packet at Tesco's today. I was expecting something like a fancy Danish or a cruller. No, apparently this delicacy is a hot dog bun with icing. In fact, the only thing it really is missing is the hot dog. It even tastes like a hot dog bun. When I get home, I plan on recreating this treat with something I have around the house. "Iced Palm" - Hamburger Bun with Icing, "Iced Sausage Fingers" - Hoagie Bun with Icing and maybe "Iced Pinkies" - Vienna Sausage Bun with Icing...although Wendy says those already exist.

Into town...


Wendy, Zoe and ran a few errands today and drove into Newport, which is the capital, or county seat, of the Isle of Wight. I learned something new this trip about English roads...before I just thought they were stretches of asphalt that led to pubs. All roads are graded according to type. If you are on the M25, you are on a motorway...the equivalent of our interstates. After motorway, you have a dual carriage way which is kind of like Riverside Drive. You have two lanes each way, that are divided. After that, roads are like typical two way streets that are graded by type...A or B. A12 or the A21...you get the idea. The road above is supposed to be a B road, but after driving on the mainland, it is more like a D road. The roads literally cut into the lay of the land. Because of the uniqueness of the English countryside, the construction of new motorways take into account the scenery. To avoid being an eyesore, most new motorways are constructed at a lower grade so that someone looking across a field would never see it. There are no motorways and only one dual carriage way on the island.

Once in town, we did some quick running around. We grabbed lunch at the Wheatsheaf Inn and Wendy snapped a picture. You will notice the rack of heads above me. Nice.

While the ladies did...well lady things, I perused a few shops. I found this product in a drugstore. The name says it all...I'm fairly certain WalMart wouldn't stock this. Although, Zoe thinks she has seen them in the states before. Bob says I should make my own brand and call it Ashol.

The morning was wrapped up with a quick stop at Tesco. Tesco is the English equivalent of Meijer...albeit on a smaller scale. One of my biggest problems with Tesco is their shopping carts. Study the picture and let me know what you notice about the wheels. If you guessed, hey they all can spin different directions, than you are right! I managed to use muscles I never knew I had just trying to keep the damn thing going straight.

Outside of running into things, the other funny part was trying to take this picture. I was trying to find a cart in motion and for some reason, I didn't think people would be too thrilled of me snapping photos. This was like the 6th attempt and only because I found it parked. Sorry there is no video...maybe next time.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Any idea who this is? (WARNING: Graphic)

Bob is actually a master wood carver and sculptor. Although I feel after his latest project, the word master might be removed on account of the subject. This is supposed to be something the English call a caricature. I think that means he makes me look better. Bob let me take the picture if I promised to remind everyone that it is a work in progress. He is also working on the sculpture too.

This is actually the third one he has started. He has another one in clay and one in papier-mache. Those two versions, which did not meet his standards, actually had the mole on my nose. His final plan is some kind of Sherlock Holmes beer thingy. I will keep you posted.

Food and Beer

Well, here is a topic I haven't talk about before. One of my favorite meals is breakfast, lunch, dinner, breakfast. Especially in the UK. Typically, I will have eggs, bacon and bangers. The bangers, or sausage, is entirely different than anything at home. The bacon is also cut differently and more along the lines of candian bacon than our bacon. Both are a delight.

In preparing dinner, I was getting ready to season the chicken when I realized something didn't look quite right:

At home, we just leave the legs. Apparently the English, who are always in for a good joke, like to leave the shins too and opt to only lop off the feet. I'm surprised the head wasn't still attached.

Bob took pride in supplying some beer for me and indicated he had assembled a fine collection:

Wait a tick...is that Coors Light!! After about passing out, I questioned Bob on his purchase. He told me that he was looking for something light and weak so he got an American Beer. That British wit...