Monday, December 10, 2018

Wouldn't recommend it

What were we thinking?

After a brilliant weekend in Paris, we made it back to London and headed for the rental office near Heathrow.  "Whatever for," you ask?

Well, in order to get around in the countryside of England, the very best way is to drive. And yep, we were stupid enough to think,  How hard can it be?  

Hard, I say. Hard. Extremely difficult. Grueling. Confusing.  Need I keep going?

Such friendly staff at the rental office. I wondered if they thought, Stupid Americans. Whatever are you thinking? Who knows! But, we signed on the dotted line, listened to all the things we were responsible for should we get in an accident. (That in itself should have clued us in. Yikes!)

We walked out to the lot and had our pick. "Which one do you want?" The sales lady asked.

"The smallest one you've got," I said.

We walked to the end of the row. "Will this do?"

Compact. Not a showy color. "Perfect."

She checked over  the car. "Any nicks or dents larger than a quarter will be your responsibility when you return the vehicle."
That was promising. At least she said, "When!"She had confidence in us. This is a good thing!
Once the paper work was completed, she shook our hands and said, "Good luck."

"Are we going to need it?" I asked.

"You'll be fine. Besides, you're not the one driving." She pointed in the direction of Mr. Wonderful. "He is."

Somehow that didn't make me feel any better. We wheeled our suitcases to the back of the vehicle, opened the boot (that's English for trunk) and packed them inside.

We must have sat in the car for at least twenty minutes figuring out how to turn the car on! (Bad sign!)  We fiddled with the wipers and plugged in our GPS.  Soon Mr Wonderful would pull out of our parking spot and do something we did every single day in America. Drive.
But, never had we practiced driving in the UK on the WRONG side of the road.

We buckled our seat belts. Mr Wonderful looked at me. "Ready?" 

"No," I squeaked.

"Ready or not, here we go." Mr Wonderful stepped on the gas.

I covered my eyes and peeked through my fingers. 

We turned the corner.  Our first round a bout in front of us, there was no time to think. No turning back. I ordered, "Just punch it!"

Stay tuned.



Monday, December 3, 2018

Before Leaving

Just a few candid shots of London before we move on to the countryside.
These are a few of my favorite London serendipitous moments.   

I'd like to think this bunting is waving at me! We walked past this pub nightly due to the fact that our hotel was mere feet from its front door. English pubs are so inviting. I'm convinced relationships are strengthened because of them.
 Relaxing over the noon hour in the parks.
Once upon a time they were used to make a phone call. Technology is a good thing, I know. But I hope these iconic booths never disappear completely from the London landscape.
 Love the signs for the underground. Notice it really does say TOILETS. I giggled many times throughout this holiday as the English educated me on that very term. It's not bathroom or restroom as we like to say.

One tour guide matter-of-fact replied to me, "A bathroom is for taking a bath. Is that what you plan to do in there, take a bath?" 

TOILET  just sounds rough for some reason, doesn't it?  But, the English are very proper, and if they're okay with it, then so am I!
Finally got to visit the Victoria and Albert museum.
Sadly, the  Beatrix Potter exhibition was on tour. SIGH. On the list for the next holiday to England.
Flat. Not an apartment. A flat.
I'm using this photo to visualize my fictional character living here for my novel!
The swans at Hyde Park. Stunning isn't it.
The famous Peter Pan statue.
It took me quite a long while to snap this photo without people in it. Patience!
This was our walk to get on the bus from our hotel. We always had great weather.
London is a wonderful city full of great adventures.
The stuff of fairy tales.