|Gallo The Chicken Headed Man mosaic from Brading Villa|
I hadn't realized until this morning but I'd been silent on the blogosphere since the end of April. It's been a busy summer but in a good way. Ive been traveling a lot - Halifax NS, Portland OR, Toronto and then the UK- and am looking forward to a few weeks at home before the start of the fall semester.
Our most recent travels were to the UK for three weeks. We joke about this trip being the world's most expensive cheap beach vacation. Every year my dad, step mother and step siblings plus kids and hangers on spend a week in caravans at the Isle of Wight in August - an inexpensive week away for a Briton. But throw in three transatlantic flights at high season, a stay in London (because if we're going to the UK...), meals out and a rental car - ouch! My wife, daughter and I used to go every second year but it had been 8 years since the last trip - looking at the credit card statements and I know why!
The trip was family centred so little of gaming note to report. I think about trying to link up with British blogging/gaming contacts but didn't get my act in gear this year. Highlights of the trip include.
- Surviving the Trump protests in London. We didn't see the Baby Blimp 😂but crossed Regent Street just in front of the crowds. This was a particularly hot day in the City and the crowds plus Trump 'copter made it hotter. Fortunately we found a friendly pub for lunch and a very nice Italian place before the theatre that night.
- The Monet exhibit at the National Gallery - plus other cool stuff like Canalettos and the like.
- Really, really good theatre. The Book of Mormon in the West End - very funny, very off colour, done by the Southwark creators. A play about English Quakers in the Georgian age at the Chichester Festival.
- Best theatre of all - Sir Ian (Gandalf) McKellan in King Lear in the West End. Amazing stuff! This was our last night in the UK before flying out - really nice dinner, great play then back to the restaurant for desert. Best way to end off a trip.
- A trip to Margate to visit my sister in law. The train trip was really interesting taking us past the Medway, Chatham and Rochester Castle (which fell to the French in King John's day - stuff you don't often read in British history books). Plus an ex-Soviet submarine in the Medway - yes I googled it it's ex-Soviet! WTF?
- Really really good food (yes in the UK!). Best of all was the allergy knowledge and labelling. I am coeliac and my wife has a dairy allergy so this was key. We went three weeks without a food reaction and ate damn well the whole time. Well done to the EU for proper food awareness.
- Swimming in the ocean. Three swims in the North Sea in Margate's retro tidal pool and three on the beaches on the Isle of Wight. I did think about swimming in the Serpentine in Hyde Park - the facilities looked really good, but it opened late and there were too may waterfowl sharing the waters for my tastes.
- A visit to Canterbury Cathedral - a first for both Lynne and I. We didn't get to see the alter where Beckett was hacked down because they were using it for Convocations that week. But the sound of the brass quartet and choir echoing through the Cathedral was wonderful. Plus Dad had warned us not to be too disappointed that Beckett's blood had been washed up since the 12th century!
- Driving on the wrong side of the road! This was the first time I'd rented a car east of the pond in nearly 30 years and the last time was to drive around Ireland. No damage done to vehicle of family mental states!
- A visit to Brading Roman Villa on the Isle. Out of the way unless your on the Isle but well worth a visit. Had me think about Dux Brittanarium, the Barbarian Conspiracy and ogling the MDF Roman villas available via Sarissa, War Wases etc.