Ahhh 30… thought maybe I’d lose you by skipping to another continent, but you found me anyway, and in fact, 6 hours sooner than if I’d just stayed at home. I’ve found with 30 comes memory loss and decreased endurance. Truth be told, I’m just a “daft bird” (see vocab lesson below), and I’m out of shape. I can’t blame age, though it would be easier.
Today was the first day in England which the sun came out and continually shined. I interpret that as a sign that my 30s are going to be bright! I slept in until 9:00am at which time the doorbell rang and my massage therapist, Nicki, had arrived. She set up spa in the living room and Ryan & Ashley treated me to a hot stone massage, here pronounced MASS-age. The MASSage was delightful and I realized how sore my legs have been from all the walking. To be quite honest, I am now terrified of the walking to be required by London and Paris. I’m going to be bedridden by the end of this trip. Interestingly enough, the massage therapist doesn’t step out while you undress, however, she does busy herself to give a bit of privacy. The technique is similar to Swedish massages I’ve received before, however, there was no face or head involvement, and very little shoulder and neck. In fact, I would say the legs received the most attention, which under normal circumstances would not be my preference, but it sure was nice this morning. Also, it is not customary to tip for treatments such as pedis and massages in this country. One pound is considered sufficient, which last I checked is about equal to $1.60-some.
After my massage Ryan & Ashley treated me to another delicious breakfast. This time bacon and oatmeal were added to the beans, sausage, toast and egg. It was very good – they are feeding me so well over here! I’ve only eaten out for breakfast the morning I got here, and for lunch today. There are not many fast food restaurants around, though they tell me fast food is becoming more prevalent and the English are seeing a rapid rise in obesity. (Way to go US for setting that trend)! When breakfast was done, we got ready for our day at the Lake District – a national park created by periods of glaciation over thousands of years and now flaunting a picturesque landscape made up of mountains, rolling hills, valleys, rock, native oak and pine woodlands, boggy moorland (due to high rainfall), and lakes, of course. It is made up of 8 regions which are not all geographically alike. We visited the South-east Fells near Windermere, which is characterized by hills, moorland and treelines. I also found interesting the amount of sheep farms in the area – right in the national park. It is somewhere near this region that Beatrix Potter lived. (For those of you who don’t know, she made a name for herself writing the Peter Cottontail books while struggling against gender prejudice… see “Miss Potter” with Renee Zellweger – cute flick).
At any rate, the Lake District and surrounding countryside is some of the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen. I was completely awe-stricken. In the fields were stone walls acting as fences. Who knows how long they’ve been there? I mentioned to Ryan they must be durable and he informed me there was a special art to making them, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon! Once we arrived we walked through a quaint little town, tailored to tourism, but still appeared as what I would consider typical of a small English town… little cottages and such.
We walked up a gigantic hill out of the town, through a fence, and up a hill. We walked and walked and walked and when we finally made it to the top, I could see for miles in all directions.
We spent some time at the top and then hiked back down and around. We’d brought Jove & Juno with us and they had a great time. They ran so hard! I so wish Mina & Merrick could’ve taken advantage of such a beautiful playground. The only hangup was when the dogs found the sheep. They cornered one and were trying to show their dominance by herding it. The poor little sheep couldn’t get away, and bumped its nose on a rock wall. There was a little bloodshed, but he seemed to be ok once Ryan got the dogs back on the leash. He just kind of stood there looking at us… didn’t even bother to run back with the rest of the herd. I felt bad for the fluffy little guy. Once we got back to town, Ryan & Ashley bought me lunch – a traditional Fish & Chips meal, complete with “Mushy Peas”.
I thought this was slang for something, but it really said “mushy peas” on the menu. They are exactly what they seem. I was surprised to learn that “chips” are actually fries. I did enjoy the meal and can cross it off my To Do List. We grabbed some hot chocolate for the ride home, as it was a bit chilly following the hike.
Once we got home, Ashley and I both napped. I was ZONKED! I was awoken a couple hours later to a duo singing “Happy Birthday” with a card and cake in hand (impressively baked and iced by Ryan).
I made my wish and blew out the candles – thankfully not 30 of them. The remainder of the night involved packing for Paris/London and eating birthday cake. Delicious! Thank you Ryan & Ashley for being such great hosts and making my birthday a very special day! You are both wonderful people.
- Hot and cold are on opposite sides than in US.
- There is less of a priority on looks here. Very attractive men are paired with unattractive women and vice versa. I’ve noticed that most women also dress in current fashion trends, despite their body types.
- With age comes wisdom – Ryan so kindly informed me of this at breakfast when I answered a question correctly. I can’t remember what it was (refer to memory loss), but it was confirmed later on as we were driving to the Lake District and a gigantic dark rain cloud hovered above our destination. I told him it was going to be sunny on my birthday… and it was. I have so much wisdom now, and it comes in handy for predicting weather patterns as well, apparently.
- I am still having a difficult time entering vehicles on the correct side. Furthermore, crossing the street is nearly impossible because I never know which direction to expect cars to be arriving from. Of course I can look both ways, but it’s still confusing. Additionally, I’ve been informed that cars don’t stop for pedestrians here. I’m taking my chances and just crossing the street whenever Ashley and/or Ryan do. Otherwise I have no idea when to go.
Vocabulary Lesson: As England is an English-speaking country, I didn’t expect there to be any type of language barrier, however, I was wrong. Some words I have been able to figure out on my own, while others I’ve simply had to ask!
- A “pint” is a beer.
- “Cheers” means thank you.
- A “ginger” is a red-head. (My dad has informed me if I watched South Park more frequently I’d know this. Who knew South Park could be so educational)?
- A “basket” is a dog kennel.
- A “lorrie” is a truck / tractor-trailor. (Sidenote here: Ryan informed me of a fun tongue twister from his childhood…. Red lorrie, yellow lorrie. Have fun with that one).
- “Daft” means ditzy.
- A “bird” is a woman… usually used by men in a somewhat derogatory context. Similar to what men in the US would call “my ol’ lady”.
- Mushy peas are in fact mushy peas. :o)
We are traveling on to London tomorrow. Hopefully there will be no issues with obtaining wireless internet access, but in case there are no posts, know that I’ll catch up when I can! So glad you all are enjoying my adventures!