And a good evening to you from cross the pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. Okay, so first off, announcement (and don't worry - we're not going back on vacation) - the Budapest highlights will be in the Saturday night blog. Why, you ask? Because this has been a CRAZY week, and we've had so much going on that I would be remiss if I didn't tackle some of it now!
Monday: Meet the Wild Wallaby and the Pool Shark!!!!!!
So Monday was GREAT. For starters, we'd arrived back in London at a decent hour, which meant that we actually got some sleep and had a chance to get some rest before the start of the week (novel concept, I know...). The work day was good as well, as Sammy entered a new phase into his physical conditioning (that's right - my body is a temple...a Buddhist temple) - the Land's End Challenge. And for the record, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna regret signing up.
Our gym is currently holding a couple of endurance challenges, all if which are to be completed on equipment in the gym or outside along approved trails. There are myriad options - 3 Peaks challenge (you walk on the treadmill on an incline), cycle to Brighton (on the stationary), row across the channel (on the Concept-2), etc. Sammy, however, has chosen to tackle the big dog - the Land's End Challenge. And what, praytell, is the Land's End Challenge. I have FIVE WEEKS to cover 970 kilometers on the bike or running. Granted, I will admit - it's practically impossible. However, a pair of rugby tickets are on the line, and I want to see how much ground I can cover. I ended up logging 27 km on Monday in 46 minutes. It felt good, and I felt good in the knowledge that I only had 943 "clicks" to go...
The evening was a true highlight, as the Taylor clan had special visitors from the Lonestar state (deep in the heaaaaaaaaaaaaaart of Texas) - Henry and Jenny Robinson!!!! Also known as the Pool Shark and the Wild Wallaby (because, well, she's a kiwi and he's never shot a game of pool in his life - unless you're playing for money), these folks are T-bone's parents. We had a BLAST!
The arrived about 6 PM, and we chatted for a bit before nipping to the Marylebone for a pint (I needed my Sagres) and then to - where else - THE DOOT, BABY!!!! Their youngest (Kyle) had just married an Indian gal, so we knew they would love it! Consequently, we ordered up a ton of food and crushed plate after plate.
The visit was quick, but MAN did we have a blast. We sacked out about midnight or so, which is why there was no blog on Monday night (see Fizzy and Hairless - I TOLD YOU I had a good reason).
Tuesday: A quiet night in...
Tuesday was quiet and uneventful, but no complaints here. Actually, in truth, I have PLENTY OF COMPLAINTS about Tuesday. The day started great - we got to chat with Henry and Jenny for an hour before they left for the airport (Tommy Lee Jones was on their flight, btw). It continued great, as I got my Starbucks coffee and prepared for a day of working at home. Only then did my PC decide to tell me that it didn't like the idea of working from home that day. Consequently, after 30 VERY frustrating minutes, I packed it in and rolled to the office.
The good news was that I managed to log a 10K in 48:07!!! That's about 7:45 a mile!!! It was a perfect day, and it felt GREAT. All in all, I was thrilled. Plus, the quiet night in allowed for a) a salad for din din, b) an AFD, and c) a chance to wrap Croatia AND do some more vacation planning (Big Cat - look surprised).
All the same, we still didn't hit the sack until about midnight, at which point I laid awake for 2 hours. There is good news in my sleep of late, however. Normally, I get up every hour on the hour to pee (yep - you're welcome for that). Lately, however, I've been sleeping like the dead, barely waking up. The good news is that I feel rested. The bad news is that I have had some FREAKY dreams lately, and I've actually woken myself up 3 times in the month of September calling out (only once did it approach scream status, and it should be noted that Jenny has slept through 2 of these incidents. I really hope the kids take after her...). Clearly French benefits harmonization is taking a heavier toll than I realize...
Wednesday: Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea!!!!
So the Land's End Challenge entered day 3 today fueled by a Birley bacon and egg bloomer (Hitman - no cheese for me - I have decided that it is no longer a necessary part of breakfast). I logged 31km, and I FINALLY finished the Millennium Trilogy. And whilst I don't think that it's the best trilogy I've ever read, I really did enjoy them and would recommend them. That being said, it is REALLY twisted in places, so don't wander into it if you're looking for "light summer reading."
The evening yielded a VERY unexpected surprise - TICKETS TO A CHELSEA MATCH!!!! So if you go back to last night's blog, you'll remember a reference to a fella named Mark from Tampa that we met during our day trip to Vis. Well, as fate would have it, he is currently in London doing some work, and he asked if we wanted to go to a Chelsea match (Carling Cup, 3rd round). For the record, he had expressed a desire to catch the Sunday premiership match, but I told him he didn't have a chance. However, the boy scored a ticket for FACE VALUE!!!! So when he said we could get tickets for tonight's game, I abandoned all preconceived notions and took the District Line to Fulham Broadway, site of Stamford Bridge and Chelsea FC.
Granted, we did have to haggle, but the tickets that started at 50 quid ended up at 25 with just 10 minutes until kickoff. The scalper approach in the UK is CLASSIC. Basically you get the following phrases thrown at you by ALL of them:
1. "This ain't a charity, mate."
2. "I got kids to feed, too, yeah?"
3. "Do you think I like bein' out here and sellin' these for a fiver?"
4. "You won't be able to find 3 seats together in that place for all the money in the world. If you do find it, let me know. I'll get you a medal." (For the record, we actually got the three together for 5 above face literally TEN MINUTES after seeing that guy. As we walked back past him, he asked, "Did you get 'em?" When we said yes and gave him the price, he couldn't stop chuckling).
So bottom line, the unthinkable had just happened - WE HAD TICKETS TO STAMFORD BRIDGE!!!! Granted, the haggling did mean that we missed the first 13 minutes of the match (and Chelsea's first goal). You see, due to football being a sport of "thugs and hooligans," you have to enter the stadium one at a time through a metal gate that is, well, like entering San Quinten. Seriously - it was MASS HUMANITY trying to get in, and you have to proceed ONE AT A TIME. All the same, once we got in, it was AWESOME!!!!!
Truth be told, Jenny and I didn't even have "see a Chelsea match" on our to-do list prior to going home, as we'd always heard that tickets were impossible to score. Consequently, not only was this a surprise, it was a REAL TREAT. We saw SIX GOALS, experienced the GREAT atmosphere of 41,000+ Blues fans singing and chanting in unison, and got a chance to sit in one of the temples of football. Granted, the Blues did lose 4-3 in a shocker to Newcastle United, but we got to see John Terry on the pitch, which is something that I will ALWAYS remember.
After that we caught a pint at Brogan's Irish Pub before bonding with 47 BILLION of our closest fans and hopping the tube. There we said goodbye to Mark and then walked home, where I'm now blogging at 12:15 AM and eating cheese filled with herbs (SO GUUUUUUUUUUUUUD - peppy cheekies).
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Land's End Day 4 tomorrow - lookout treadmill! Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny