And a good evening to you from across the Pond. Today was a mixture of highs and lows, but let’s definitely start with the highs first.
So after a GREAT and uber-productive day at work, I shuffled off the island that is Canary Wharf with Lord G (aka Mark Goodyer) and Liz Mirza (you might recognize both names from the Great British Beer Festival) to meet Governor Harwood (aka Andrew Harwood – a mate from Chester) at the MOST AMERICAN (for you, Deano) place in the UK – Sports Café United Kingdom (aka SCUK).
Honestly, I’ve never really liked this place. It sells (typically) bad beer (meaning there are no cask ales), it’s always crowded, I find it to be a bit kitchy American, and there’s a dude in the bathroom handling out paper towels for tips (which, for the record, normally means I just walk about without washing my hands – bring on the Swine Flu). However, knowing that I won’t taste Wild Wings, Hooters, or Picasso’s for another year, tonight I rediscovered this place as a lowly expat searching for a taste of home.
Yes – England got throttled by Holland in a footy friendly. Yes – it was so hot in there (because who needs air conditioning when it’s a BILLION degrees ouside – I was sweating like an absolute BANSHEE). The wings, however, were FANTASTIC. Mix that with a GREAT burger (I asked for Medium rare, and she actually LAUGHED IN MY FACE – CLASSY…) and 3 pints of Beck’s Vier (I’d never tried, and let me tell you – quality on draft), and you’ve got a recipe for a great night out.
The classic bit – in the UK you sit at tables like it’s Roxy’s Delicatessen, meaning that you are sitting beside cats you don’t know who talk as if it’s the last speech they’ll give before Armageddon. Tonight, an African and an American were talking American politics for 2.5 hours. Honestly, listening to them was hilarious. They couldn’t remember Karl Rove’s name, so he was just “that White Devil that worked for Bush,” they couldn’t remember what state Bush was from and called it “The big one where they all wear cowboy hats,” and they yelled about Obama for 2 straight hours, explaining how he was going to fix EVERYTHING (Sean and Ray – if you are reading this, I was tempted to lean over and ask if he’d painted any fences or mowed any lawns lately, as I know that’s the precursor to socialized medicine – where’s Kevin Woest when you need him?).
All in all, a great night. Also, we can now finally call out from our balcony! That is GREAT news, and it means a few more random phone calls, friends and family, so beware.
But I must take a moment for the low as well. Family, after 18 wonderful years by both mine and my father’s side, the last of the “gap animals” passed away this morning. Dad found Useless in the grass in the rain just before leaving for school. The good news – she passed quietly (she ate a full dinner last night). The bad news – it’s the end of an era for dad and I, as “Uley” was a great companion for 18 years, be it in the trailer or back on Cain Mill. Gal, you will be missed – here’s hoping you find an England Stove in Heaven that keeps you every bit as warm as the one at dad’s…
Okay, that’s all the news that’s fit to print. Tomorrow will end happier – I promise (knock on wood)!
Sam and Jenny