Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Cymru am Byth!!!!


And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. So first off, let me apologize again for the absence from cyberspace of Team Taylor. Whilst most of you have been very understanding, there are some donkeys who shall forever remain nameless (RAY TAVARES) who have been rather critical of my absence. Regardless of which camp you fall into, I hope to make amends to you all going forward, with the caveat being that, since we have only 10 days until we leave the UK for good, you can expect some lengthy (and perhaps rather helter skelter) blogs coming up in the next week.

First and foremost, it should be noted that it is BLOODY FREEZING here!!!! I mean, I don’t want to give too much of my Jordan post away, but when we left Amman on Monday morning, it was 85 DEGREES. When we got on the plan, the pilot told us, “Weather in London isn’t bad – it’s just above freezing with a stiff wind that makes it feel a bit chilly.” Really? The STIFF WIND is what makes it less than comfortable? How about the fact that ICE ISN’T MELTING ON THE SIDEWALKS as a sign that you shouldn’t be outside. One thing I will definitely miss – the British gift for understatement.

Seriously, it snowed ALL DAY today, so much so that Jenny was stuck ON A TRAIN TEN FEET FROM THE PLATFORM FOR 2 HOURS. She was about 30 feet from sanctuary when the train stopped and was held due to the associated the weather wreaked upon the rail lines of London. Needless to say, a) she was NOT happy and b) a bottle of Chianti was opened to alleviate my poor perfect pumpkin’s pain. I tried to take photos of the snow, but as it was too warm in the Wharf for anything to stick, the photos look like I was just some dude with a dirty camera lens doing an expose on random British urban architecture. Where Muffin Puffin was, however (sunny Croydon!), it was a WINTER WONDERLAND. We’re giving JT the camera tomorrow, as it’s not supposed to get back above freezing for the NEXT TEN DAYS!!! SERENITY NOW!!!!!

In the Land’s End challenge today, Sammy the Bull logged another 5K, taking him to 638.75 of 970 kilometers completed. And whilst I plan to continue the good fight to get from John O’Groat’s to Land’s End, I will have to continue it outside of the UK, as today was officially MY LAST DAY IN THE GYM. That’s right, sports fans, today was the last run on the treadmill, as my membership officially expired as of 7 PM. After 16 months of loyal membership, it felt really weird to walk out the final time, saying goodbye to Ryan (trainer there) en route. I realize that this is just the first of many odd goodbyes and hurried final moments, none of which make the next one any easier or less awkward. Plus I’m sure my spare tire was doubly disappointed, as it knows the month in front of it, all of it most likely without a SECOND of exercise. BRING ON THE CALORIES, BABY!!!!

The evening was good as well, as I met up with the Bristol Pistol for a pair of pints at the Music Factory prior to heading home. Once back at the flat, it was wine and salad, both of which went down guuuuuuud (especially when washed down with Red Leicester cheese, something I haven’t had in A WEEK AND A HALF!!!!!). HEEEEELLLLLOOOOOOOO peppy cheekies!!!! Honestly, it really is amazing how quick you can trim down when your daily diet doesn’t consist of a block of cheese, 4 pints, Rocky Mountain Chocolate (thanks for that, T-bone), and a bag of Chili Heatwave Doritos. But hey, it’s cold in the UK – I need some insulation!!!

But enough of the day’s activities – let’s begin the catch-up blogs. We’ll start with Friday, 19 December – a day of Welsh delights, good food, and a long awaited meeting of some very wonderful people.

19 November: Bring on the rarebit, baby!

So Friday was a great day in the office, complete with a lunch run to Byron, where I ate 57 times my body weight in medium rare beef, mac n’ cheese, and skin on fries, all washed down with some A & W root beer (at 1.50, who can argue?). The work day carried through until about 5:45, at which point Brother Morgan and I shuffled off to cross off one of the most awaited moments of our year and a half in the UK: FINALLY MEETING MABS AND REBECCA!!!!!

So a little back story – you’ve obviously seen the Welshman on numerous occasions, but his wife (the elusive Mabinthy) and his daughter (the mysterious Rebecca) are two folks that I have never met in ALL MY TIME IN THE UK. On this night, however, we FINALLY rectified this grievous injustice.

Owain and family live in this GREAT townhouse in Richmond, near where Lovely Lynda and Barry the future professional artist call home. They recently purchased their place, and it is really cool. This was the featured destination of the evening, with the featured activity (aside from meeting the family, of course) being the Wales vs. Fiji Fall International Rugby Match. Cymru am Byth!!! That would be “Wales, forever!” for those of you like me who don’t happen to speak Welsh.

Upon entering, we heard the shuffling upstairs. And 10 seconds later, who was I staring at? Why, “Owain’s girls,” of course! I gotta tell you – they don’t come much cuter than Rebecca, and they CERTAINLY don’t come better behaved. WOW. Mom, after hearing the horror stories about me and then seeing this child in action, all I can’t say is MAN AM I SORRY. But if it’s any consolation, look how cute I’ve become (flannel plaid and all...). And I would simply be remiss if I didn't showcase my muffin puffin demonstrating her maternal skills. Hey future grandparents - don't get any ideas...

The rugby match ended in a draw 16-16, but the highlights of the night certainly weren’t on the pitch (but watching Owain and Rebecca sing the Welsh National Anthem was pretty darn cute). Case in point - check out Brother Morgan making Welsh rarebit – Gordon Ramsay eat your heart out. Oh, and did I mention the Ragu (traditional Italian dish – Mabs is from Rome) from the missus? It was WICKED AWESOME (I had 3 helpings). Throw in some dessert, some new beers (St. Peters, SA Gold, and Hooky’s Bitter – all SUPER GOOD), and you have a recipe for a GREAT night.

We missed the last train home but luckily caught a cab right outside the station. As the cost was only around 10 quid more and we were dropped right at our doorstep, we couldn’t complain at all. Plus this cabbie was a CHARACTER, which made the time pass even quicker. All in all – a FABULOUS night.

Okay, so I realize that I haven’t even STARTED Jordan, but fret not – it will be published before I leave for Singapore next week. As I said, you can expect the next 10 days to be rather haphazard, but I am GUARANTEEING a post every night (insert Tom Price rolling his eyes here – I just wonder if it’s at the same time he’s shaving his legs) until we board that plane.

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


Sam and Jenny

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