Trip to England to visit Anne

Anglie Anne

Finally in April we went to England again. Well, for me it was again after several years (if it was up to me I would go every year). It was the first trip for Lenka. We planned the trip to manage two things, a visit with Anne and a visit of RC Wiveliscombe. You can read about it in a separate article.

We flew to England by a direct flight on Easy Jet to Bristol, the Devonshire airport. The flight was quiet, but we did not see anything out of the plane because of clouds. The Bristol airport is small, such slightly larger Hosín, with Boeing landing capacity. From a plane you get directly to the tarmac and walk to the hall. The interesting thing is that during departure they put us on a bus and took us those 100 meters to the plane.

Anne was waiting for us in the airport hall and her sister Heather was circling the airport in the car, because parking at the airport is free for 15 minutes, and each quarter hour afterwards is expensive. We came out, got in the car, came out of the parking lot, and Lenka almost suffered a heart attack when she looked at the car driving against us, and we were on the “wrong” side. I must say that she got rid of this bad feeling pretty soon - she is a smart girl.

We went home to Heather, who lives near the airport. We knew Heather from before; she visited us once before with Anne, so only her husband was new to us. He looks like a wild man, but he is a fine guy.  We got coffee and tea and I saw a glass cylinder for coffee preparation for the first time. You make a normal coffee with grounds in it, but then you pour the coffee through a sieve into a cup and end up without the grounds. Really handy gadget. I got one from Anne at the end of our stay as a farewell gift.

pist na kafe

From Heather we went to Anne which is some 60 - 70 miles, luckily mostly along a freeway. Because Devonshire county roads are really narrow, it is hard to compare them to anything; we don’t have such roads here. Maybe just some really narrow ones between villages. Additionally in England it is more interesting, since the roads are bordered by high live hedges, so you don’t see around the next turn.

We spent Tuesday to Friday at Anne’s and we loved it. We traveled, and at the same time it was so calm and home like. We went to see Tauton and tried to go shopping to Exeter, but we did not buy anything at the end. At least we looked into Starbucks, but they did not have commemoration cups, scoundrels. Of course, we took several walks around Tiverton. It is a small, cute town. Probably nice to live in, but not too interesting from the tourist point of view

Great experience is food. Generally you can eat very well in England, but we have some extra experience with Anne. She made a real English roast beef as I wished. It is like this: when I was in England for the first time I found out that not all we know from movies and books as typically English is actually like that. For example, when I mentioned five o’clock tea, one really old lady reacted by: “I remember that when I was young we came together for tea". So, when I wanted to taste roast beef, Kathleen told me that I had to go to some more expensive restaurant, since nobody could prepare it at home anymore. I told this to Anne and she said that she knew how to do it. And that is exactly what happened. She made roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for Lenka and me. Lenka was afraid of the pudding, she thought that it would be jelly, but when she saw, what it really was, she stopped being afraid and liked it. Anne’s brother with family came to the roast beef dinner, too. He is an English gentleman, his wife an English lady, and their daughter a totally normal fifteen year old teenager, for whom social decorum is yet an unknown expression. It was quite interesting to observe collision of these two worlds.  Although, both sides managed beautifully.

Another food experience is fish & chips lunch. This is a modern English meal, and most likely also American. You buy it on the street wrapped in brown paper and eat it traditionally on a bench in a park. We took it home. It consists of very greasy fries and even greasier deep fried fillet. When you take the skin off the fish it is possible to eat. This meal is not my favorite.

On Thursday I had a chance to call at the MS club Anne sometimes visits. The caller (and his calling wife) was a large, in its way unpleasant, surprise. They are both about seventy, done square dancing all their lives, and the Callerlab is “this new thing” for them. Their music is maybe from 1930, and they play their records on an ancient gramophone. Their sound system sound was like a radio from the first republic. The worst thing was that we could not connect my laptop to their gramophone, nor a microphone, so if I wanted to call, I had to use their music. When we were looking at the connections, I mentioned that I expected Hilton. Their reaction grounded me completely: “We don’t use Hilton, we don’t like its sound.”

Not everything was wrong, though. I called two tips and sometimes during this some dancer came to Lenka and told her that she could understand me better than her own club callers. You have to admit that praise like this beats adversity with the gramophone and old music.

The visit ended on Friday when Anne took us to Wiveliscombe (about 40 minute trip) to the Kellets, where the second part of our English trip started. After this quiet, family time, we were not so happy to go; we were afraid that the Rotarian visit would be too official and too social. Luckily, also this part came out OK.

I kept one experience with driving for last. One time after a trip Anne was tired, so I offered that I would take her place behind the wheel. Anne agreed, we switched places, I got familiar with controls on the other side of the car and was ready to go. Before I took off, Ann says: “Remember that you drive your bonniest gal and your loveliest auntie.” To tell the truth, it was not so tragic. Anybody, who did not try it, thinks that the hardest part is to stay on your side of the road. But this is not true, at least not after several days in England. The hardest part is estimating the distance between the car and its left side, since that is where I normally see and estimate the right side. And since I was driving well I decided that next time I would go to England with my own car. When I will sit in a car that I drive automatically, I will have to concentrate on one thing only, that is to stay on the right (wrong) side of the road.

We saw Anne only on the last day, since she wanted to pick us up and take us to the airport, where we lived through a golden final dot of our trip – during waiting for a plane we saw a small Starbucks booth, where we readily bought two commemorative cups. One England and the other Scotland.
Photos here..