Thursday, 18 November 2010

The calm before the storm - two nights in on the trot...


And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. Apologies for no blog last night - despite being a quiet one in, it was still a late one. But let's recap, shall we?

Yesterday was a good day in the office, but Sammy the Bull once again FAILED to make the gym. Let the record state that the cardio I worked so hard to put back into place is steadily leaking out of me (or perhaps filling my ever-expanding waistline). However, no complaints, as we always knew that this last 6 weeks was going to be one big caloric shooting gallery. CHUUUUBBY BBBUUNNNYYYY!!!!!!

A congrats is in order for the Wednesday as well, as 17 November, 2010 marked the 9th wedding anniversary for Tom and Mandy Price - CONGRATS, GUYS!!!! I think you should go eat 9 Buffalo Wing Pizzas at Hawthorne's to celebrate - it seems only reasonable.

The highlight of the evening was hanging with Yazz back at the flat. It was a good night (which FLEW by), complete with the following:

1. Yazz channeling through Jenny order a stir-fry with veg and "special sauce"...which turned out to be oil...cause, yeah - oil IS pretty hard to come by these days...

2. Yazz, Muffin, and I playing "Code breakers" by trying to translate and decipher this message from some Algerian dude that has been leaving Yazz voicemails since that night at Strawberry Moons. Seriously - the guy's message is like something from the movie "White Noise" (which was DONKEY TRASH, for the record) - I am now a firm believer in EVP.

3. Discovering that Yazz has 14,579 memory cards with photos dating back to 1857 - seriously, her collection has photos of Moses holding the Ten Commandments. Yazz - BACK THOSE PUPPIES UP! It's like the Smithsonian Archive in that wallet!

It really was a great night, even if the wine flowed a little too freely (translation - Pumpkin and I did NOT feel that great today). But hey, NO COMPLAINTS!!!

Today was another good one, as Team Taylor both got to work out (muffin to the pool - Michael Phelps style; Sammy to the gym for a SLOW 5K). I still feel rather chubby and blah, but on the whole I'm SO GLAD that I got a workout in. I'm hoping to crank out another one tomorrow prior to the weekend and THE START OF VACATION!!!!!!

Tonight's gonna be back to back Skyping sessions, with momma up in 7 minutes and then Jenny's folks up after that. As I type this, Perfect Pumpkin is making din-din - a much needed salad!!!

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Catherine Cay would be so proud of our cabinets right now...


And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country! Sammy the Bull FINALLY got back in the act today for the Land's End Challenge, spending 33 minutes on the bike (just 19KM, but I'll take it!). I have been absolutely exhausted lately, and I could tell during the spin that my legs were a bit tired. That being said, it felt SO GOOD to burn a few calories, and it also gave me time to finish "The White Tiger," a book that I HIGHLY recommend. I think it fizzles a bit in the last 30 or so pages, but on the whole I think it's a fabulous debut novel.

After all the mayhem of the past few weeks, Team Taylor finally has a night in. How are we celebrating? DORITOS AND CHEESE, BABY!!!!! But honestly, is there another way to commemorate one's last full week of work in the United Kingdom? And yes, that's a true statement - next week's vacation, followed by a 4 day week and then another 4 day week before shuffling off. How on EARTH is that possible?

It was actually with that thought in mind that I titled tonight's blog, as for the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, I fear that I have more food in the cupboard than JT and I can possibly consume. Why is that humorous? Because back in 2006 when we met Lady Catherine for the first time, she opened our fridge looking for breakfast food. What she found was beer, water, juice, milk, and sweet chili sauce. Opening our cupboard, she found sugar, salad dressing, and some other condiment packets. She stood there for about 30 seconds, simply unable to comprehend what she was seeing. And then, as if it suddenly clicked, she said, "I've never seen a kitchen with absolutely NO food in it." Cath - look at how we've changed out ways!!!

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

Monday, 15 November 2010



And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. Today Team Taylor made a pilgrimmage back to the spot where it all began: the land of brie and mayo sandwiches, the Abbeye, Australia Day at the Walkabout (VB in bottles - utter DONKEY TRASH), and the place where, after landing for a 4 month stint with only a dodgy passport, Bev Fleet first asked, "Sam - do you have a work permit?" It is the place where that impressive specimen of gorilla coding, a smelly Spaniard, national holidays in Malaysia, and Babelfish all converged to create the monster known simply as "EuHReka!" It is the one, the only, the incomparable....BROMLEY VEGAS, BABY!!!!
Jenny and I made the pilgrimmage for 2 reasons. One - we really did want to see Bromley one last time and have a proper farewell. Two - we had dinner with one of Muffin's friends (and fellow financial analysts) from 2007. The commute over was GREAT - I'd honestly forgotten how much more civil and relaxed the train journey out of the city was than the Jubes to the Wharf (not to mention that you pass Battersea Power Plant - our favorite landmark in London - en route to the office). When we arrived, we wandered the High Street, stopping for Pret before checking out all the poppies on display to commemorate Armistice Day. And what's that in the background? That's THE GLADES, BABY!!! OH, YEAH!!!
The work day was good - steadily busy and filled with shaking hands with old friends (as well as meeting a few new ones). The highlight of the day, however, was the trip just away from the office to Adriana and Chris' house!
So Adriana (Brazilian) and Chris (English) invited us over for dinner OVER A YEAR AGO, and we've just now FINALLY managed to make it happen. We were fed LIKE KINGS, including a crab cake starter (mom - this would have CHANGED YOUR LIFE), followed by this shrimp soufle (or however the hell you spell it) that the Brazilians stole from the Russians ages ago (and VASTLY improved, for the record). We even had a dessert of merange, double cream, and peaches, all of which had the double effect of adding inches to my waistline and stripping years from my life. But hey, NO COMPLAINTS!
Throw in some nice wine, lots of great conversation, and some HILARIOUS moments with their daughter Nina, and you have a recipe for a great night. However, for the second day in a row, Sammy terrified an infant. I mean, seriously - I know I'm ugly. I know that I sound weird. I know that I haven't ironed a shirt in six years and have socks that can be smelled from Scotland. But seriously, at least SOME children have to love me, right? Well, not Nina - instead of saying hi, she hid between her mother's legs and ran like a rabid BANSHEE whenever I looked her way. And at the end of the night, who got kisses? Mommy? Check. Daddy? Check. Muffin? Check? Sammy? NO WAY JOSE! GET OUT OF MY HOUSE. Oh well, that's about par for the course. :-)
Chris and Adriana - thanks SO MUCH for having us! It was delicious, and your house is simply BEAUTIFUL!
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Museums with the Martins...


And a good evening to you after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. Now I realize that Team Taylor prides itself on new experiences, and this day was no different. However, instead of visiting a new country, trying a new beer, or eating something raw and/or still moving, Sammy and Jenny tackled something WELL BEYOND their comfort level this time – taking a 2 year old through a museum.

That’s right, folks – today Team Taylor met up with the Martins (that would be Debbie, Nick, and CUTE little Estella) for a wander through the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum, and honestly – it was HILARIOUS!

We met up with them around 1 PM at the science museum, and Estella simply couldn’t STOP staring at me when I spoke. She would think about replying, but then she would just look at her father. After about 10 attempts, Debbie said, “Estella, do you think Sam talks funny?” Two seconds later, that child is nodding and laughing like she’s just seen “Black on Broadway.” CLASSIC. However, I was equally as mesmerized by her, as she had a fondness of taking grapes out of their pot (red then green, red then green) and building some type of molecule looking construction. I mean, I’d rather eat the things, but she’s clearly got a future in engineering, and she had other ideas.

After a pair of elevator debacles (lesson for Sammy – “prams don’t go down stairs”), meaning 1 didn’t go DOWN (doesn’t that kind of defeat the point?) and the other didn’t go down far enough (again – WHAT IS THE VALUE OF AN ELEVATOR THAT CAN’T TAKE YOU WHERE YOU NEED TO GO?), we FINALLY found the one for the kids area. And let me tell you – IT WAS CHAOS.

The classic entrance was after Nick and I had parked the stroller. He and I walk in (two 6 foot dudes) and get stopped by a staffer who asks, “Do you gentlemen have kids in the play area?” We said yes (OBVIOUSLY) and she let us through. But seriously, WHAT DID THAT ACCOMPLISH? Let’s review the possible scenarios:

1. We DO have kids in here, because well, WHO WOULD COME IN HERE WITHOUT THEM? SERENITY NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2. We’re dangerous, but we just said yes and you let us WALK RIGHT IN – really?

Estella was in HEAVEN, and we spent about an hour chasing her around the water station, up ladders, through instruments, and every other contraption known to man. The funnies moment was when, after climbing a ladder, she ran across this platform to the other ladder to begin her descent. However, when she saw me waiting at the bottom, she froze. After a moment, she POINTED AT ME and said, “No – GO GET DADDY.” I mean, am I THAT scary?

After the play area, we rolled over to the Natural History Museum, where we wandered through the dinosaur exhibit (which was UBER COOL, by the way). The Natural History Museum (complete with its STUNNING main entryway) was the original Royal Science Institute and the playground of folks like Darwin, Newton, and countless others. Honestly, the exhibits are IMPRESSIVE - we could DEFINITELY have spent more time in there. After seeing the T-Rex (Estella wasn't remotely scared - she does a nice "roar" herself), we stopped for tea and cake at the cafĂ©. There we relaxed for about an hour (peppermint tea for me and muffin) before saying farewell and walking home past Harrod’s and through Green Park. On the way home I got to say HAPPY 94TH BIRTHDAY TO GRANDMOTHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We then hit up the Doot (YEAH, BABY – Bring on the calories!) before wandering back home, where we Skyped with Jenny’s folks before calling it a night. And now, EXHAUSTED, it’s time to PASS OUT.

Okay, that’s all the news that’s fit to print.

Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

Saturday, 13 November 2010

One of THE COOLEST sports experiences EVER - an International at Twickenham...


And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country - and (finally!) an AFD no less! Team Taylor made a pilgrimmage today, FINALLY visiting a spot that's been on the list since February of 2007 - Twickenham Stadium - to experience something on life's to-do list: watch an International Rugby match. I am happy to report that, in NO way shape or form, did this experience disappoint ON ANY FRONT.

So back story here: Muffin and I became rugby fans watching the 6 Nations in 2007. At the time, we honestly didn't know a single rule (and still don't know a lot of them), but we knew that the action was fast, furious, and INTENSE. By the end of the 6 Nations tournament, we were HOOKED. Soon after that, I began the quest to find tickets to an International Match. Let me tell you - that just ain't easy...

For starters, if you're not a) from Britain or b) a member of an existing Rugby club, then you really don't have a shot. You have to "know a guy who works with a dude who's dating a chap who plays darts with a lad" that MIGHT have tickets. In our case, the angel of entrance was the one and only Kristen Henderson.

Kristen's husband is a Rugby official, and this fine gentlemen (whom I now owe MANY beers) was able to score a pair of tickets IN THE LOWER LEVEL for today's match AGAINST AUSTRALIA!!! That's right - Lions vs. Wallabies - does it get any better than this?

Granted, the journey there was a small scale NIGHTMARE, as the trainride gave me a VERY good appreciation for what sardines must feel like during the canning process. Jenny and I had actually purchased pasties (that would be PASTRIES to you folks in the states - no funny ideas...), but we couldn't even move our arms to eat them! However, I'm happy to report that the ovens those puppies were cooked in were NO JOKE, and they were still hot 35 minutes later.

The Stadium was, in a word, INCREDIBLE. Seriously - we're talking 82,500 seats, all covered and ALL with a GREAT view. We walked around the outside (and the inside, for the record), taking in all the monuments, all the sites, all the carnival atmosphere, and enjoying the moment that we'd been thinking about about for so long. And if the pre-game was fun, it was NOTHING to the actual match.

The match starts with a singing of each National Anthem. Australia's was understandably quiet, but when "God Save the Queen" came on, it was AMAZING. Seriously - the noise was DEAFENING, and it put the crowd in the mood. And speaking of the crowd, they were GREAT.

Here's how it works:

1. England makes a charge and goes into a scrum - crowd yells "HEAVE!!!!"

2. England makes a mistake - f-bombs fly like bullets out of an uzi

3. Australia gets hit for a loss and stalls - crowd starts singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" - REPEATEDLY (side note: seriously? SERIOUSLY? WHY? But I gotta admit - it was AWESOME...)

4. England scores - dude in front of me stands up, looks at some Aussies nearby, and screams (totally off-key, for the record) "Who'll come a waltzing, Matilda, my darlin'...."

5. Kicker for Australia lines up to take a kick and takes over a minute - crowd boos

6. PA Guy reminds fans to "be respectful of kickers on both sides" - crowd boos louder

7. Kicker for Australia takes another kick and takes over a minute - crowd boos like he's Hitler

8. Australia gets ANOTHER chance to kick and young girl beside me (with a dude twice her age) yells "He's a @#$#ing prick!!!!"

9. Older lady who didn't make a sound all game looks back at young girl and stares daggers at her as if she were Stalin

10. England then gets a line out and the dude behind me (WHO IS A BIG BOY AND IS NOT WEARING A SHIRT - ONLY A VIKING HAT) yells "Come on, laaaaaaaads!!!!!"

11. England scores a try (like a touchdown) and people dance whilst the medic attends to all the broken bodies on the field (note: they do NOT stop for injuries - the trainer works on this guy IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ACTION - it's like a scene from "Band of Brothers")

Rinse repeat for TWO HOURS

In the end, England played FANTASTIC (best match I've ever seen 'em play) and pulled out the victory 35-18. Honestly, it was SO THRILLING from start to finish, and TONS of action happened right in front of us (Kristen - you and Paul rock the party that rocks the pinata - those seats were AMAZING!!!!!).

We then made the walk back through Twickenham town and Kew, arriving at Richmond around 6 PM and going in for some Thai food (So GUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUD - peppy cheekies). After that it was a train home, and we're now back at the flat, enjoying a (much needed) night in.

All in all, today was one of THE COOLEST things we've done over here - I am SO addicted now. Kristen and Paul - thanks again SO MUCH!!!! You guys are EXTRA AWESOME - enjoy the Heart of Dixie!

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

I need more cowbell!!!! And one more stein...


And a great Saturday morning to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. IT'S THE WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!!!! Friday was a good one at work, with Sammy the Bull being lazy ONCE AGAIN and NOT exercising a bit. Honestly, this week was a TOTAL write-off, and I already know that I can't work out on Monday. However, Tuesday - Friday: I AM COMMITTED!!!! Beefcake! BEEEEEEFCAAAAAAAKE!!!!!
The featured event of the evening was our "Thanksgiving meets farewell meets catch up" dinner with Rebecca and J-Wade. He picked one of THE MOST fun spots in London, and a place we'd eaten at with them back at the end of 2007 - THE TIROLER HUT, BABY!!!!! A slice of Bavaria right of Bayswater!!! Shogun - this place is SO right up your alley.
So here's the deal with this place - it's basically a Hofbrau Haus style experience, with tables everywhere, lots of music, and even more beer. When you sit down, there is NO menu - only a beer list. That's right - start strong or go home. And once you have your steins, your ties are loose (or flannel plaid in my case - actually, mum - check out the cashmere!), and you are starting to relax...the music begins.
Honestly, you've never really lived until you've heard "99 Red Balloons" sung completely in German by a guy with a casio keyboard resembling the one my parents gave me in 1986. And then you're REALLY living when some random ass Mexican steals the mike and starts singing "La Bamba," at which point EVERYONE SPONTANEOUSLY STARTS DANCING. I mean, check out the moves from J-Wade! Throw it UP for the 2-1-3!!!!
The highlight, however, is when the owner comes out. This cat, dressed in liederhosen and looking like he's enjoyed EVERY SINGLE DAY OF HIS LIFE, performs every night. He starts with the Saxophone, then moves to the clarinet. But the MOST entertaining bit is when THIS GUY BREAKS OUT THE COWBELLS TO PLAY "DO-RA-ME!!!!!" Seriously, I pretty much detest "The Sound of Music," but this was HILARIOUS - and yes, I did get a moment at the mike to help break it down.
We were there from 7:30 (actually, a little later due to HORRENDOUS commutes) until 2 IN THE MORNING - it was just SO much fun and the time absolutely FLEW by. Between all the laughs, the pork knuckle (which was guuuuuuuuuuuud), a cheese plate for dessert that could have fed the Red Army, a brat to start, lots of FRESH Dortmunder, and some hilarious dancing moments, it was a PERFECT way to end the week. J - thanks for organizing, brother!
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat later today!
Sam and Jenny

Thursday, 11 November 2010

From Dark Island to Dil Chad - a spectacular Thursday in the books...


And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. So in an effort to COMPLETELY torpedo all training over the summer and put back on as many Transition pounds as possible, Sammy the Bull had ANOTHER day of not working out. However, life’s too short to count calories, right? But hey, it was another EPIC day in the Smoke, so no worries there.

For starters, Team Taylor made the run with Brother Morgan and the Hitman to Nando’s, where I took the heat down a level and went with just 5 wings. Fizzy – I am happy to report that the creamy mash is still SO GUUUUUUUUUUD (peppy cheekies).

The work day was rather quiet due to Armistice (UK)/Veteran’s (US)/Remembrance (CA) Day observations. There was a particularly haunting moment at work when, at 11 AM, a voice got on the intercom and announced “Please observe a 2 minute silence for all those who serve and served.” It was quite eerie, as the office went DEAD SILENT – not a key stroke, not a phone call, not a door opening, not a cup of coffee touching the counter – NOTHING. For Gran, Granddaddy, and all those in between – a heartfelt thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do.

After work, Jenny and I rolled over to meet Owain, Hitman, and Steve (the Tennessee – Saudi Connection) at the Ship. At first I didn’t think I’d ever seen this place, but as we rounded the corner (luckily Muffin found it – I was oblivious…as usual…CP – NOT A WORD), I realized it was the scene of the famous “Sammy pours vinegar in Dan’s pint…REPEATEDLY” incident. Ahhh…the memories. Wild Card – I can still remember the look on your face when you said, “This tastes funny to me. Sam, try this?” STILL CACKLING. The highlight of this place (other than the fact that it was a REALLY cool pub) – DARK ISLAND, BABY!!!!

So back story – for Christmas last year, Jenny bought me a “beer a day” calendar that highlights a different brew for each day of the year. I keep the ones that intrigue me, and the first one I kept was one I saw back in March – a beer from the Orkney Brewery called “Dark Island.” Before last night I had NEVER seen it anywhere, and so when I beheld its dark goodness flowing from a cellar cask, I almost wept for joy. And the best part – it was GUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUD.

After that, we rolled to dinner, where the Prime Minister’s (Andy Carter) legacy continued in good station. Andy took me to a place called the Dil Chad (Indian, of course!) back in 2008, and I had been wanted to get back there for quite some time. Well, as it was walking distance, we made the trek, and it DID NOT disappoint – even if Boyz II Men and SHABBA!!! were on a constant 15 minute loop – details. But seriously – If I EVER here “I’ll make love to you” whilst eating Jalfrezi again, I might require counseling.

The evening ended with pints of Doombar and Porter at the White Hart before calling it a night and making our way back to the flat. All in all, it was a GREAT night, even if Team Taylor continues to be EXHAUSTED.

Hitman – safe travels back to the colonies, brother. We’ll catch you in a month!

And last but CERTAINLY not least – HAPPY 16TH BIRTHDAY PATTIE RUTH TAYLOR!!!!! The roads of Hamblen and Hawkins county will never be the same…I love you!!!!

Happy Birthday to Heather "H-bomb" Sheehan as well - welcome to the Larry Bird Club H!!!

Okay, that’s all the news that’s fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Livin' Large: La Figa and Linkin Park, baby!!!


And a good evening to you from across the Pond after two FANTASTIC days in the Mother Country. Okay, so first off, apologies for no blog last night. However, as we’re in the midst of another EPIC week, Sammy’s age has caught up to him, and so now at the tender age of 33 I needed a night to sleep.

So when I left you it was Tuesday, and the Land’s End Challenge FINALLY clicked forward into the 600 KM club. I logged 20 km on the bike in about 35, and it felt SO GOOOOOOD to finally burn off a few of the calories that I put on this weekend. It should be noted that the weather is still NEGATIVE FIFTEEN THOUSAND DEGREES, and so might outdoor runs might have finally come to an end.

After work, we rolled to a pub we’ve never seen before – The Cat and Canary. There, Sammy the Bull continued his rediscovery of real ale (Fuller’s Porter - #2 in their catalogue in my opinion) whilst the Hitman continued his vehement protest against and refusal to drink Honeydew. In addition, Hitman has now announced that, after reviewing Byron Burgers vs. GBK: “Meat quality is better, yet portion size is smaller” for Byron. I mean, you can imagine the number of comments that followed that…

Once Muffin Puffin met Hitman, Brother Morgan, and myself, we then rolled to the Mecca of all things Italian: La Figa, baby!!!! That’s right – the smallest contingent of the donkey convention to date rolled over to Limehouse, where I’m happy to report the following:

1. The wait staff STILL hates us.

2. They STILL shake their head at our pronunciation.

3. Hitman still has to wait 45 minutes between Peronis.

4. The food is still RELIGIOUS.

I attacked the lamb shank (it never stood a chance), and JT devoured her plate of pasta. It was an impressive showing. I’m hopeful that we’ll get one more round there before we roll, but we’re running out of days!

After that it was a nightcap at the Narrow, where I actually ran into a fella I know! He works in my building and is also a chef at the Narrow. Consequently, he gave us a free round (which was extra awesome), but we were so stuffed I had to let some brew go to waste (which was less than ideal). But hey – it felt cool for a second to “have a connection.”

Wednesday was another great one as well, as lunch was a burrito the size of my TORSO from Tortilla. Also, I learned the greatest fact EVER. I mean, I’m just sitting on the Tube, minding my own business, when I see the following headline (how can this NOT catch a dude’s attention):


My first thought is: “Make a note of this country, because this cricket has to be FOURTEEN FEET TALL AND MUST EAT PEOPLE.” However, upon further review (translation – reading the paper of the guy in front of me – people LOVE that), I found out that it’s just 14% of his body mass. And whilst relieved, I am considering suing them for misleading advertising.

We had a few pints at the cat before making out way to the featured event of the evening: LINKIN PARK AT THE O2, BABY!!!!!! JT and I had always wanted to go to the O2, and Linkin Park was HIGH on the “bands to hear” list. This crossed off 2 birds with 1 stone!

So first off, the O2 is an AMAZING facility. Built on a former sewage site, I had visions of mutants and zombies wandering the grounds. However, I am happy to report that it’s a SWEET facility, complete with clubs, bars, cinemas, and then the feature space – the O2 Arena. It was REALLY cool.

What was NOT cool, however, was the food and drink counter, as we waited TWENTY BLOODY MINUTES for a hot dog that wasn’t, well, HOT. Hitman used the phrase “ice cold,” and the dog looked like a popsicle dyed neon orange. Worth every bit of 5 quid, right?

As for Lord, he couldn’t even ATTEMPT to eat his ice dog, so he sent it back. However, to get your money back, THE DUDE AT THE COUNTER HAS TO ASK FOR THE MANAGER…WHO WAS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.

All good, however, as we got in right as the show started (we skipped the opening band, some group named “Do I offend you, yeah?” - Really? That’s your band name. Chances are you will ALWAYS be an opener boys – just sayin’…). And from that moment on, it was AWESOME.

Seriously – LP gave a GREAT show. They played for about 100 minutes, and the sound quality was AWESOME. The guitar solos were OFF THE CHAIN, and they did a GREAT mix of old and new. The crowd was awesome (even if the mosh pit was subdued), and it was a VERY cool experience.

After the show, we rolled home, where Lord G is spending the night with us. As a “courtesy” to us, he just finished off a pair of Guinness that (I think) we’d stolen from Fizzy’s house back in April (yeah, Lord – sorry we didn’t tell you the age on those, but hey – they have a nitrogen core so it’s all good, right?).

Okay, that’s all the news that’s fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Proof that humans can live in NEGATIVE EIGHTY DEGREE climates...


And a good evening to you from across the pond after THE COLDEST DAY IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND. Seriously, it’s so bloody cold in this country that my bone hurt. Rather than taking it as another indicator that “it’s time to go,” I actually think England is saying, “Just get the hell out.” I mean, I know I’m thick headed, but I CAN take a hint…

So today was another good one, even if Sammy the Bull DID NOT work out. That’s right, sports fans – it’s been 4 DAYS since the Land’s End Challenge has had ANY love, and I’m feeling pretty soggy in the mid-section. Big Cat, Dinger, Hairless, you can say it – CHUUUUUUBBY BUUUUUUNNY!!!! Or as Dinger would follow up with: “Playin’ weight, my ass…”

So today was big for another reason, as this evening, after a THREE MONTH dry spell, Sammy rediscovered his love for real ale! Honestly, when it’s this cold outside, you realize why ale is the temperature and taste that it is in England.

Hitman and I visited his old hood – South Kensington – where I finally got my first tasting at the Queen’s Arms (Fizzy – you were with us in spirit). There I tried an IPA called Jaipur, which was AMAZING, followed by a DELICIOUS stout called Centurion Ghost Ale – talk about a winter warmer!

We then wandered over to the Tea Clipper, where a pint of Hobgoblin set us up right for dinner, which was Thai food down the way. I definitely had lamb shank envy, but mine was pretty darn good as well.

After that, it was a nightcap at the Bunch of Grapes (London Royal ale for me) before calling it a night and heading home. And now, exhausted yet again, it’s time to hit the sack, secure in the knowledge that I’ve rediscovered real ale!

Okay, that’s all the news that’s fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

Monday, 8 November 2010

Hair of the dog...Hitman style!!!


And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. Okay, so when I last left you, Muffin Puffin was PASSED OUT and Sammy was starving. Well, I actually left Perfect Pumpkin asleep whilst I grabbed a coffee and croissant from Pret before taking an hour or so to walk through Regent's Park. The trees are still holding on to their leaves (barely), and the leaves are still holding on to their (now GORGEOUS) colors.

The walk was great, and the sea of red, yellow, and orange was truly fantastic. As I walked through the park (actually meandering into the rose garden, some of which were still kicking, looked beautiful, and smelled AMAZING), it hit me fairly hard that time's almost up - we only have TWO MORE SUNDAYS in London! Taking it all in, I definitely had the twinge of sadness thinking about how quick not only this year and a half has been, but also life in general. To quote one of my favorite songs ever (by Benny Wilson, for the record): "Life goes zero to sixy in the blink of an eye."

But I cannot dwell on anything sad, as I had to get back to th house, rouse muffin, and then head out to meet the Hitman! That's right - Hitman's back on friendly shores, and so I met him at the Prince Louise for a sloooooooow entry back into the booze. I started with just an oatmeal stout, working through through something nice and thick to space out the drinks.

After a pint there, we rolled over to the Salisbury (that's right - BACK at the Salisbury - TWO DAYS ON THE TROT, BABY!!!!), where we took down a few more. Muffin met us here, and we spent th better part of an hour feeling as though we were in some bizarre alter dimension, as NONE of the tables around us seemed to quite fit together. Whether it was the group of 10 over weight naval officers in SKIN TIGHT POLYESTER ALL DRINKING CIDER, the 97 year old woman with dreadlocks hitting on the 30 year old beside us, or the parents who actually had their 1 year old SITTING ON THE BAR whilst they chatted, it was all a bit bizarre. And with our tummies rumbling, we made the walk into Chinatown.

And it was here that we scored our greatest victory, as we discovered a NEW AND POTENTIALLY BEST Chinese place called (appropriately enough) "Imperial China." This place, set back in a gutted building (cultrual revolution style) and with a waterfall and bridge you have to cross, was AMAZING. I mean, from the duck to the scallops to the crispy beef, it was WICKED TASTY. Hitman's heart was broken when he asked the server: "You guys just opened, right?" only to hear this cat say, "Well, we've just been here 8 or 9 years." GUTTED! But hey - better late than never!

We then caught a nightcap at the Imperial (or the Penguin as I like to call it - details...) before heading back to the house. And now, with another work week looming, it's time to sign off and call it a night.
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

Sunday, 7 November 2010

10 hours of malt & barley bliss, complete with an ADPi reunion...


And a good Sunday morning to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. It's 10 AM, the sun is shining, Muffin is passed out, and I can feel a slight headache approaching. However, as the Hitman is back in the Smoke, I have a feeling there there will soon be no rest for the weary. As dad would say: "You gotta gut divorce it!"

So we had planned to meet one of Jenny's friends from college and her boyfriend at 2 PM at the Covent Garden Tube Stop. We had a nice leisurely stroll to Covent Garden (which is fully decorated for Christmas and looks really cool - we'll have to get back down there before we bounce), stopping in at Pret for lunch (New York Bloomer, baby) and a coffee. We met up with Lauren, Seth, and a buddy of his named Mez and promptly marched to our destination - THE PORTERHOUSE, BABY!!!! There we actually found a table (SHOCKER, as we NEVER find a spot in there) and watched some of the Wales vs. Australia match (England vs. New Zealand was on the big screen, so we just caught snippets of that one) whilst throwing back a pair of Reds (they FINALLY had Hersbrucker for Puffin).

In the 2 hours we were in there, we found out some CRAZY facts about Lauren, Seth, and Mez. For starters, Seth has summited Everest. He did so with this brother, who was the first cancer survivor to EVER summit Everest OR complete the Seven Summits challenge (I told him he should hit the poles and knock out the adventurer's Grand Slam, but he didn't seem too keen...). He works with New Belgium Brewery in the states (FAT TIRE, BABY) and actually knows the cats at Brew Dog who brew Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Sink the Bismark. I mean, I honestly never thought I'd meet ANYONE with either of those connections, so meeting a dude with a tie to both was NUTS.

Also, Seth is part of a social network called Beer Advocate, which is basically Facebook for cats SERIOUSLY into brewing (Townsend and Eagle Scout - HOW DO WE NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS? I blame you guys...). Apparently, "beer swapping" is a big part of this, and Seth and Mez had OBSCENE quantities of beer that I'd NEVER heard of for just this purpose. Honestly, it was HILARIOUS to watch Mez just KEEP PULLING BEER out of his bag. And the craziest part? One of the beers WAS NAMED AFTER HIM. That's right - "Black Mez" - complete with a skull on the front - is actually named for this cat. I mean, that's serious...

We left there for a pint at the Harp (same one where we'd had our leaving drinks in 2007 - yep, the one that JT didn't make due to work) before rolling over to a place that's NEVER a good idea for your third pub - De Hem's. There lots of little evil Belgian beers awaited us, but I just took my time and worked through a single Maredsous 6.

We should now take a quick interlude to publically apologize to Kristen Henderson, as we had chatted all week about trying to meet up after the game. However, by the time the game was over and they were settled (which I'm guessing was about the time we were sitting at De Hem's), I can confirm that we weren't necessarily "fit for purpose" (Mum - fret not - I was very well behaved and still speaking coherently), meaning that an hour transit to Richmond was just not a good idea. KH - I'm sorry!!!!! I suck and I know it.

After that, we rolled to the Salisbury, where AGAIN we somehow got a table and sat there until we got kicked out for a private funtion at 9:00 PM. What did we do at that point? You guessed it - FOUND ANOTHER PUB. But not just any pub - HELLOOOOOOOOOOO CHESHIRE CHEESE, BABY!!!!! That's right - for the SECOND WEEK in a row we found the Cheese open, and business was booming. We did manage to grab a table, which was quite a feat given how crowded that place was.

After finishing our Taddy Porters there, we crossed the river and hit up Dogget's on the South bank, just across the Black Friar's bridge (which we'd never walked over, for the record, so that was cool). We had a final one there (which I just couldn't finish) before saying goodbye and making the walk home. And since they were both "alphas" together (or whatever the hell you call it), I made them do one "diamond pic." After all, "sisterhood IS forever.."

Oh, and it should be noted that it was the walk home when we FINALLY had dinner, taking down a kabob each (and I ALSO had a slice of pizza - I KNOW WHAT HEALTHY IS...). All in it was 10 hours, 8 pints each, and 6 pubs for Team Taylor - not a bad day's work. But let's just say it's morning's after like this are just one more reason why we KNOW that it's time to get out of here, as we need some REST!

Finally, about 1 AM, Team Taylor rolled back to the flat and PASSED OUT. However, as with any alcohol induced sleep, I pop up early (oddly enough, it's the ONLY time), and so here I am cranking out the blog and contemplating a starbucks run to get me going. After all, Hitman is on these shores now, it's like Black Hawk Down - you can't let someone from the homeland drink alone.

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tonight!


Sam and Jenny

Friday, 5 November 2010

Remember, Remember the 5th of November...

And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country - IT'S THE WEEKEND!!!!! It was another fantastic day in the Smoke, even if Sammy the Bull did NOT work out. That's right, folks - for the first time since July, Sammy did NOT work out 4 times in a week. But hey - we fly 5 weeks from today, so what's a few couple thousand calories not burned among friends?
The work day was good, but the highlight of the day came in the evening. Jenny and I met Yazz in Clapham Common, where we attending fireworks for BONFIRE NIGHT, BABY!!!!! So a little backstory here - Bonfire night (aka Guy Fawkes Night) commemorates the evening that Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up Parliament (November 5, 1605). If you've seen "V for Vendetta," you'll remember that Natalie Portman's character opens the film by saying, "Remember, Remember, the 5th of November the gunpowder treason and plot." 400 years later, it's a REALLY big deal.
For some reason, the tradition for this evening now is to hold fireworks displays ALL OVER ENGLAND, and they are MASSIVE!!! I mean, we are talking Boomsday in Knoxville style (no Matt - not Cherrybomb in the bathroom day in Tazewell style). Picture 25 minutes of NON-STOP fireworks, each second almost feeling like the finale of a HUGE show in the states. Of course, the other thing that school children do is create a Guy Fawkes scarecrow, which they throw on a bonfire to mock him in effigy. Now that I think about this, you realize it really is a very bloodthirsty little holiday.
After the show, we tried desperately to get into a few restaurants, but Clapham high street was CHAOS. Consequently, we did the next best (even better) thing - picked up Sainsbury's Indian, 2 bottles of wine, and went back to Yazz's flat! Ther we consumed enough food for the Red Army, washing it all down with 2 bottles of wine under 8 quid. All in all - a PERFECT evening. I mean, food in the oven for 20 minutes vs. 3 in the microwave - WHO KNEW what a difference it could make? Pauline - MAKE ME SUM SAMMICHES!!!!!!

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Good times...


And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. The Land’s End Challenge got a nice boost of 24 KM today on the bike bringing the total ground covered to 589 KM (out of the planned 970). I only got about 2.5-3 hours of sleep last night, which I think definitely contributed to the fact that my legs were just NOT functioning. I’m gonna hit the bike again tomorrow vs. running, as I think I just need to rest up a bit over the weekend before pounding the pavement again.

In book news, I finished “Too Big to Fail,” today, and it was EXTRA AWESOME. Seriously – talk about a GREAT read. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone, especially if you work in banking or financial services.

As for the evening, Sammy arrived at Piccadilly Circus at 7 PM STARVING (I’d skipped lunch, but luckily the Birley Breakfast sandwich was holding strong). Jenny and I met a blast from the blogging past – the Gallaghers! – at this DELISH Japanese place called Toku. It was only our second sushi run in the year and a half that we’ve lived here (excluding MattPa and OSC deliveries of Itsu, of course!), and it was SO GUUUUUUUUUUUUUD (peppy cheekies). Granted, I also had a pork and rice bowl that was WICKED good, so all in all I was fat and happy.

From there we rolled over to the featured event of the evening – the Pigalle Club. Alison and Ric knew a guy playing at the club, and so we wandered in, ordered a Corona (Heine for JT, and it was LIFE CHANGING GOOD), and met some of their friends before the show. And speaking of the show, these guys were AWESOME.

The band, called “Goodtimes Goodtimes” was a 4 man ensemble, and they were just FANTASTIC. It was definitely a Southern Rock meets Bob Dylan meets Blues Traveler kind of sound, and I honestly enjoyed their entire set (certainly better than the Italian Alanis Morrisette that followed). Keep an ear out for these cats, as they were GREAT.

We chatted with the Gallaghers for a bit after the show before calling it a night and walking home. And now, sitting here on the couch (WITHOUT CHEESE OR DORITOS, for the record – Muffin Puffin has SUCH willpower), I think it’s time to pass out and call it a night.

Okay, that’s all the news that’s fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Cracker Tsunami Part 2: Pounding the pavement of London and crossing off TONS of new sites...


And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. Not a whole lot to report on the work front, but may I present to everyone: NEW HAIRCUT JENNY!!!!! That's right, thanks to a 21 pound "groupon," Muffin Puffin saved 50 quid on her cut (only her third cut in 18 months - look at my perfect pumpkin saving us money!). How hot is my baby pie?

So two points of info for everyone:

1. I went to the doctor today, and he basically pressed so hard into my armpits that I thought he was trying to reach my molars. The good news is that I'm fine and nothing to worry about. That was money VERY well spent (even if it was only 3 minutes of time with the guy).

2. En route to the doctor, I had a CELEBRITY SIGHTING!!!! That's right, whilst walking down the street, I ran into...wait for it...wait for it.....WEE-Man!!!!!!!!!!!! Now this is the part where my parents (and Jenny's for that matter) ask themselves "Who the @#$# is Wee-man?" Fret not - it's not your kind of television (meaning you're NEVER gonna see this cat on Dancing with the Stars).

Wee man is one of the stunt guys in the Jackass series, and he's done some HILARIOUS stuff in his time. And I am happy to confirm that his grin was the same one you see in EVERY SINGLE EPISODE AND MOVIE. Good times in the Smoke...

Okay, so when I last left you, we were taking an interlude between the Cracker Tsunami tour of London. And before we roll into the second half, it occurs to me that some of you might be wondering WHY ON EARTH I keep saying Cracker Tsunami. Well, back in 2003 when Tait and I were traveling around Oz and New Zealand together, we spent some time thinking about where all the Granville 6 would be when they turned 35 (basically 10 years from the time of writing - Tait and I both expected to be single, for the record) - jobs, families, location, etc. Tait and I had both figured we'd never survive corporate America (insert GC and Hairless saying "Um, AMEN to that" here), and so we discussed starting a travel company where you called in, gave us where you wanted to go, what you wanted to do, and exactly how much you had to spend. We then would go and craft your itinerary, no matter HOW REDONKULOUS it might be (i.e. - you'll need to sneak into Brazil since you can't afford the visa - jump in at Iguazu falls and swim the 200 yards to the other side, but don't forget the peanut butter you bought in Uruguay and carried through Argentina to save $2!!!). The name of this company was to be "Cracker Tsunami," with a view of sending lots of crazy jokers who had NEVER traveled to ALL corners of the globe on shoestring budgets with only mine and Tait's advice on how to proceed. I mean, let's face it - it would have done wonders for US public relations.

And so, with that backstory in mind, I present to you Part 2 of the Cracker Tsunami tour of London...

Saturday: There's nowhere left to walk - why don't we just go to Scotland?

So we popped up at 8 AM this morning (a RECORD for Team Taylor on a day when we weren't traveling) and were out the door by 8:15. All 3 of us then proceeded to take a run through Regent's Park, and it was AWESOME. The weather was perfect, the leaves were gorgeous, and it was a perfect start to the weekend. Tait and I logged about 5.5 (although he could have done about 8 in that time - thanks for not killing me, T-bone), and Muffin logged about 3.75.

We then got cleaned up, at which point Tait and I went to Leicester Square to pick up theater tickets whilst Puffin went back to Regent's Park to get some photos. Fall is UBER short here, so you gotta take photos when you can!

Muffin met us at Charing Cross, but before she arrived Tait and I saw something that we simply HAD to investigate. In front of us, looking like a rocket laid horizontal, was a vehicle (if you can really call it that) with a sign above it that read: "The world's fastest car - 1000 mph." NO JOKE! Apparently the British Engineering Society is about to test this puppy out for the first tim in South Africa next month. Um, would YOU want to be the first cat inside that thing? Heeellloooooo Johnny Knoxville! I think I see an opening for Jackass Part 4.

After joining up with muffin, we rolled over to London Bridge for an adventure 2 months overdue and DEFINITELY well deserved after the mornings exertions - BOROUGH MARKET, BABY!!! Oh man, this was, simply put - STUFF OF LEGENDS.

So I began with my standard Bratwurst (now up to 4 quid, for the record), followed almost immediatly by helping Muffin Puffin with her Raclette (which was SO GUUUUUUUUUUUUUD - peppy cheekies). We then considered the ubriaco (drunk wine), but I remembered KJ picking up some DELISH parmesan cheese across the way at another stall, and so we rolled in that direction. Getting here this early (before 12) was GREAT, as there were NO LINES! Who knew? :-)

As I picked up some cheese, T-bone started off with a custard pot, followed by a meat pie (steak and kidney). No sooner had he jumped into this puppy, however, before we'd ALSO purchased our Double Chorizo Sandwiches (NO LINE, BABY!!!!! - Previous wait times had been up to 37 minutes!). And whilst it was a daunting challenge to consume that kind of food, it didn't slow us down at ALL.

We then wandered into the cheese hall, where we picked up 200 grams more of cheese (now walking around with 3 different cheeses in our pockets) - oh, and did I mention the cheesecake brownie? Yeah, we killed one of those, too - but that wasn't dessert...

We then walked over to the "Flour Power Bakery," where Tait bought a peach tart (which was guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuud). But we hadn't taken 10 steps when Tait said, "I think I need another one of those." Consequently, we went back and EACH GOT a cranberry tart, which we devoured. Tait THEN proceeded to buy a croissant, stuff it with Crozier bleu cheese, and CONSUME IT. I mean, can someone say hollow leg? Needless to say, this is how we all felt when we left there, ONE HOUR OF SOLID EATING LATER.

Before departing th area, however, we realized that we had NEVER before wandered inside of Southwark Cathedral. This church, dating back to 1206 and being among the oldest in England, was BEAUTIFUL inside. And best of all, a choir from Bergen was there, and they offered a performance Chamber style, doing a capella Scandinavian Halloween songs. It was EXTRA AWESOME, and the music was just SPECTACULAR. We would have stayed longer, but we had a schedule to keep, and so we began the march to the Tube for the next activity in the day: WICKED!!!!!

That's right, folks, for the 3rd time on English soil, Team Taylor went to see this AMAZING musical. Honestly, we had GREAT seats, and this performance was THE BEST of the 3 that I've seen. Glinda was simply AMAZING, and Elphaba was, as always DEFYING GRAVITY (Mitchiner - that was for you, and it was SO TRUE yet again). Seriously, I got chills and almost teared up twice, as it was just MIND-BLOWINGLY good. This show absolutely takes its place as one of the finest crafted Musicals EVER.

After the show, still so full that I was convinced I wouldn't have to eat for another month, we made the 1 hour walk to the Porterhouse, where we proceeded to fill ourselves up a bit more on - what else - Porterhouse Red, baby!!!! It was definitely a fresh cask, and it was so guuuuuuuuuuuuud....we even hit the Kiwi store across the street beforehand, where T-bone picked up about 40 pounds woth of Kiwi candy (Wild Wallaby - you would have been so proud).

After that, I realized that, for a change, we might actually have a shot at FINALLY getting into "The Cheese." Consequently, we rolled down to Fleet Street, and sure enough - IT WAS OPEN!!! We managed to find a seat in the cellar (KJ - same spot we sat with Sarah and Steve when you guys were over), and we then tucked in to some Taddy Porter.

It was HILARIOUS down there, as there were these two HAMMERED Scottish dudes who were clearly speaking English, but not in a discernible way that I could translate. And when you add in their ATROCIOUS singing and the fact that they spilled beer TWICE onto the heads of the folks sitting beside them, you have a recipe for a brawl However, rather than get angry, the folks at the table actually INVITED THEM TO SIT WITH THEM AND STARTED SINGING AS WELL. I mean, it was just beautiful. You could feel the love...and the inebbriation.

After that we made the walk back down Fleet Street, determined to get in one final bar - The Southerner. This is (or should I say was) a Kiwi Bar, but it is now SHUUUUUUUT DOWN. And so, once again, you can no longer get Speight's outside NZD. Oh well, so it goes. That just meant we needed food instead! I know, I know...

We hit Manoram, Too (the OTHER Thai joint to where we were last week with the girls), where we proceeded to KILL some food. After that, it was a nice walk home and then PASSING OUT around 11 or so, proud of the effort (and already determined NOT to run AND to sleep in a bit on Sunday).

Sunday: Are you SURE the Economist HQ is around here?

So we slept in until 9:15 this day and made some time for coffee before commencing with the day's festivities. Tait had a list of items to cross off, which I could already tell translated to some SERIOUS walking. However, I am happy to report that Team Taylor ended the day with ADDITIONAL new places crossed off the "must see" list - some of which we'd never even heard of!

So first off was Camden market, a spot we hadn't visited in over a year! We walked through Regent's Park, admiring the leaves and enjoying the continued great weather. There were some sprinkles, but on the whole everything was holding nicely. We took a new route to the markets, strolling this time along the canal. It made for a great entry through the locks, at which point we spent about an hour observing EVERY POSSIBLE PIERCING AND TATTOO KNOWN TO MAN. And in case anyone's curious, we bought another forty billion pounds of candy (39.9 of that belonging to Tait).

The markets were bustling but not insane, and it was a GREAT day to see them. They've finally repaired all of the fire damage from earlier in the decade, and a lot of very cool shops have opened up. And whilst we didn't do a lot of spending, the people watching was WAY better than expected.

From there we hopped the Northern Line and rolled all the way to London Bridge to cross off the first of T-bone's final "to-do's." Tait had wanted to walk across the Millennium Bridge, and so we took the walk from London Bridge to the Tate Modern (we didn't stop in to see Wee Wu Wu, for the record) before crossing the "wibbly wobbly walkway." It was actually a really good day for it, as the lighting was nice around St. Paul's, making for some good photos along the bridge (as well as up close).
After that, I was BLOODY STARVING, and so we did what Team Taylor does best - found a pub for some proper British food! Tait said that he wanted fish and chips, and so after trying 3 pubs (NONE OF WHICH WERE OPEN - I mean, COME ON!!!!), we finally settled on a new one for us - The George. This spot, right across from the Royal Courts of Justice, turned out to be a gem, as they had PROPER Heineken and some GREAT hand pulled ales (could I be sliding back into real ales with the weather turning and the sun going down at 4:35 in the evening? Stay tuned...).

Well, Tait and I got fish and chips, whilst Muffin Puffin got a leek, mushroom, and stilton pie. At first I was convinced that I was FINALLY gonna pull off the upset and give Jenny "food envy," but OOOOOOOH NO - once again it was not to be. Our fish and chips, while okay, was pretty soggy and rather tiny (and NO - that is NOT what she said), whereas Jenny's pie was HUGE and OFF THE CHAIN TASTY. Consequently, Sammy did the only thing he knew to do - ORDER ANOTHER ENTREE. That's right, after all that damn walking, I was determined to eat EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED. And so, after cleaning up the fish and chips, I tucked into my own pie, and it was SOOOOOOOOO GUUUUUUUUUUUUD. Dinger - playin' weight - that's all I'm sayin'...

Next up was another T-bone request: Thames House. This place, the HQ of Mi-5 (their FBI) was apparently located at Millibank and Horseferry Road. When Tait said that, Jenny and I looked at each other puzzled, because, well, THAT WAS OUR ADDRESS WHEN WE LIVED HERE IN 2006 AND 2007. And sure enough, OUR APARTMENT SHARED A BLOCK WITH THE FBI!!!! How do we not know these things? Amazing. But Wild Wallaby and Pool Shark - you'll be happy to know that Tait not only found the location - he also found a locked door and tried to force his way in. I mean, it wasn't exactly Watergate bad, but we looked like some bumbling burglars.

A more serious issue outside of Thames House was the ATROCIOUS pink BMW that we saw on our walk. I mean, I'm sure this was a custom paint job, but unless you are a) Prince, b) RuPaul, c) the CEO of Pepto Bismol, or d) the ACTUAL Pink Panther, there is just no reason to drive this AWFUL vehicle around.

The other concern? Tait and I both needed to pee, but the toilet we'd wanted to use was closed. There was another one for 50p (that's right - 75 cents - Chuck, does this ring any bells? Hellllooooo Tijuana...), but I flat refused to pay it. However, running out of options, Tait and I did what any civilized gentlemen would do - find an alley and pee in the corner. Granted, it happend to be our old building, but hey - a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. The more embarassing thing was the FREE PUBLIC TOILET we found literally 30 seconds later...details.

After that, we wandered back toward home, swinging by Buckingham (lit up at night - a first for us) and then through Green Park before taking a detour to see the final item on Tait's list - the tailor shops of Savile Row. And whilst we found Savile Row (which was actually REALLY cool and EXACTLY what you would expect, by the way), we did NOT find the Economist Headquarters on New Bond Street. That's right, T-bone - I'm calling you a liar! This magazine does not exist! Juuuuuuuuuuuuuust kidding - it's now on the list for us to find this weekend. But hey, at least we found the Allies Memorial - that's worth something!

After that, it was a final pint at the Mason's arms (Deuchar's for me) and some American football at Wembley (Broncos vs. 49ers - what a JOKE) before heading back to the flat to exchange pics, give Tait time to pack, watch Alien (that's right - ALIEN), and relax a bit before calling it a night and saying farewell. Suffice it to say that Monday morning my legs felt like BRICKS, but I wouldn't have traded a second of it.

T-bone - it was an absolute BLAST, brother! It had been WAAAAAAAY too long, and I'm already counting the months until PK, baby!!!!

And there you have it, folks - the whirlwind trip from our last visitors before we shuffle off the British Isles.

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

A perfect way to turn the big 3-3…


And a good evening to you from across the Pond after PHABULOUS DAY in the Mother Country. Today is a big one, as Sammy the Bull officially turned 33. That’s right, folks, I’m into my last year of the “early thirties.” But I gotta tell ya – if your birthday has to fall on a work day, it couldn’t have been any better than this.

For starters, I woke up early and had a nice 4.25 mile run around Regent’s Park. The leaves are still colorful, and so it was a great run down some lanes and alleys that I hadn’t explored before. Checking the mail upon my return, our RUGBY TICKETS HAD ARRIVED!!!!! Less than 2 weeks until our first International EVER at Twickenham – we can’t wait! Thanks, KH! The check is (more or less) in the mail…

I treated myself to a Starbucks as well for breakfast and then a Pret wrap (with soup) for lunch. Oh, and did I mention that I washed it all down with TWO GLASSES OF MOUNTAIN DEW, BABY!!!!! How does life really get any better?

I also got a chance to chat briefly with dad, which was awesome. I had chatted with mom the night before on Skype, and I have to say that it was wonderful hearing both of their voices around my big day, as it’s obviously tough having a birthday overseas where you can’t see them or talk to them as often as you’d like.

Also, thanks to all the folks who shot me birthday wishes – I definitely appreciate it.

My present for the evening was our 2nd show in 4 days, with “The Phantom of the Opera” being the winner this go around (hence the joke above). I started the walk to the theater (Her Majesty's, that is) about 6:30, as I wanted to go slow, take my time, and soak up the pre-Christmas sights (they are hanging a TON of lights that will be lit up next Tuesday - sponsored by "Voyage of the Dawn Treader"). And when I got to Haymarket, I actually RAN INTO MUFFIN PUFFIN coming out of a store!
We had GREAT seats (royal circle on the end - we were practically on top of the stage!), and it was a truly phenomenal performance. And while I still think that Wicked is my favorite show, there is no denying the majesty and pageantry of Phantom, especially given that it's the same choreography and staging they used in 1986!
And mum, I know that you were sad you couldn't be with me on my birthday, but fret not, as I have GREAT news. Not sure if you remember this, but on our first international trip together (London and Paris when I was in 7th grade), we had a free afternoon in London and looked into buying Phantom tickets. At the time they were 40 pounds, and despite us both REALLY wanting to go, there was just no way we could swing it. Well tonight, a scant 20 years later, I saw the show we wanted to see in the same theater it was showing in back then (and at almost the EXACT same price, for the record), and I couldn't help thinking as I entered the theater that you really were there, helping to make a dream come true.

Whe then came home, where Muffin showered me with a host of goodies, including a SHARP tie (Hitman - I know you're happy), 2 GREAT looking scarves, and, most especially....BEER SOCKS!!!! And just WHAT THE HELL are beer socks, you ask? Well, I think the photo says it all. THANKS, MUFFIN!!!! You are the BEST WIFE EVER!!!!!

And now, after our second AFD in a row, it’s time to call it a night. I can’t believe that my birthday has already come and gone, but it was a great day and so no complaints here. Normally my birthday is an absolute whirlwind of emotions, but today has been one of surprising calm. I’m not sure why that is, but I suspect it has something to do with me having the greatest parents on earth, the best wife and soul mate EVER, a job I love, and wonderful friends and colleagues that truly make life fun and wonderful. In short, my heart is full, and my cup runneth over.

Okay, that’s all the news that’s fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny