Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What I Did on My Summer Vacation: England Day 2

  It's beginning to blur already. What did we do on that second day? Oh yeah. We had to go into town to pick up the train tickets for London, which we were going to in a few days, and to buy phones, since ours didn't work over there. We decided that at least Emma and Ken should have phones in case we got separated from the girls, and to be able to communicate with our friends in England while we were there.

Emma in line to pick up our tickets for London. Trains are all modern now, and not the Hard Days Night trains I used to ride. You don't even have to lower the window to open the door any more. The poor guy who used to shut all the doors and blow the whistle is out of work now. The stations we saw have been remodeled and look like malls.
 While we were at it we had a look around Hull. Ken was born in Sudbury, but grew up around the Hull area.

Emma and Ivy with one of Hull's unique white phone boxes. I was surprised to see that there are still quite a lot of public telephone's in England, unlike here. I had heard that the red phone boxes were being converted into cell phone charging stations. I saw some like that in London, but there were still alot of regular phone boxes. Unfortunately there are still not many public toilets! I was surprised there were still pay toilets over there. They were discontinued here years ago. I hit the pay toilets as soon as we got to London. As badly as I needed one, I didn't want to spend 30p to pee. 

We saw several places Ken used to live and work. Then we headed to Thorngumbald, (Yes, it's really named that...), the town, (Village?) where Ken lived when he was a kid. It was on the way to Thorngumbald that I met my new best friend, Mr. Bakewell Tart.

And then we arrived at Thorngumbald.
Sorry Emma, but you know how hard it is to get a picture of several people where ALL of them look their best...
That's better Emma. Ivy, me, and Emma on the road Ken grew up on,(at least partly.)

Sister Gloria's husband Alan, (The falling policeman you'll remember hearing about in my previous post.),Emma, Ken, me, Ivy, and Gloria,in the garden at The Royal Mail, the pub where Ken and Gloria used to drink lemonade, (The closest thing in America to what the English call 'lemonade' is Sprite or 7-Up.),while their parents had a drink of stronger stuff. British pubs are much more kid friendly than American bars. Families often go to the pub together and eat a meal or have a drink.
Or even play darts. Ken tried to teach the girls how to hit the board and do the scoring.

They didn't often hit the board so there wasn't a lot of scoring to be done...
Emma, that's an inappropriate way to play with darts...

Gloria had one of my favourite drinks, Appletiser, a fizzy apple juice drink, waiting for me at her house, but here I had to order the next closest thing, a Britvic apple drink. I had formed an attachment to Appletiser on my trips to Engalnd, so Gloria brought some over for me when Ken and I got married. We toasted with it, since I don't drink anyway,and the reception was held in a church basement that didn't allow alcohol.

Ivy found her own lane.

  From there we traveled to Withernsea, where Ken lived and went to school as a small kid. Withernsea is a coastal town, and our first stop was the beach area.
   As soon as we got out of the car we could feel the sea spray on our faces! The sea is through that distant castle looking structure and down some steps! It's that far away and I was getting speckled in the face with sea water!

 Ken really wanted the girls to go swimming in the sea. Even his relatives thought he was crazy for that one. The North Sea is freezing cold. Ken, hate to say 'I told ya so'...
The girls went down to the bottom of those steps to take pictures. The waves were starting to come up onto their feet and they were shivering.

You don't see anybody on that beach, do you?!

Can you tell she's shivering?

   Ken got to eat fish and chips for the first time since we got to England at this chip shop. He also had black pudding on his list of 'must eat's,so when the girls and I went a few doors down to find chips that were cooked vegetarian safe and found the place had black pudding, I made sure he got some, even though I don't approve of it myself. Good thing, as it turned out, because he only got it once more while we were there. Black pudding is a disgustingly primal food made of cooked blood and fat. When I still ate meat I did try black pudding. It was actually good. It kind of reminded me of the part of the turkey stuffing that is up against the inside of the bird. I only ate it twice though, because even then the idea of how brutal it was to eat straight blood was just too much for me. Once to try it, twice because that's what was for breakfast where we were staying and because it did taste good.I just couldn't do it again though, because I couldn't handle the idea of how caveman brutal it is.
  The girls tried chips for the first time. There is definitely a difference between American potatoes and English ones. I hate potatoes, but I do enjoy English roast potatoes and chips with vinegar. American potatoes are gritty, but English potatoes are smooth and creamy and melt in your mouth. I wish I had had a chance to have chips more often while I was there.
 Ken got to visit with his childhood friend Michael Park, who he hadn't seen since they were 17. Somehow they managed to fall right back into their friendship and act like no time had passed.

Michael and his wife Jo are really nice and we all enjoyed getting to know each other. Ken kept Michael to himself out in the kitchen while we hung out with Jo in the lounge,so I didn't get to know Michael as well while we were there. But I could already tell that if I lived close enough I could see myself hanging out with Jo quite a lot. We laughed so much the guys kept coming in from the kitchen to see what was going on. One of them even said, 'What can they be laughing so much about when they don't even know each other?!'

I like Jo even better than Mr. Bakewell Tart.And hanging out with her isn't fattening...
Thanks to Michael and Jo for welcoming us into their home on almost no notice and being so friendly!
  From there we went back to Gloria's.Next post, day 3. Bear with me. I'm getting to the toys...


  1. Awww, such great family memories created. I felt so happy for Ken all through this post. I can't imagine what it was like seeing Michael again. So do England chips look like our fries?

    1. Chips are thicker and wider cut than fries. As Ken puts it, chips are better than American fries because they are thicker, and are more 'inside', instead of mostly crispy 'outside'. Normally I would say that would make them worse, since I hate the taste and texture of American potatoes. But English chips are creamy smooth inside and taste really good. Ken photographed all his food for his food review blog, so I'll post a picture in an upcoming post. As for Michael, that turned out much better than what was to come in a few days...

  2. Those pictures from the North Sea remind me very much of Huntington Beach, on the shores of Lake Erie. Only that looks like Lake Erie in the winter. This far into the summer, the lake has warmed up so that it is pleasant to swim in. Also, the beach here looks less rocky. Those waves look like they would be fun to swim in, if it was ever warm enough.

    1. We used to take the kids to Lake Erie to 'swim'. (None of them really swim. They just walk around, and try to float, and splash each other.) I've never seen it that gray! Ken claims the North Sea gets warm and swimmable, but I've now seen it in April and in August, and it looked the same to me both times. Wait until I get to the day we went to Scarborough.

  3. Ooooh fish and chips with malt vinegar and salt...lovely!
    You know you're making me awfully hungry and awfully homesick!
    And yes, the North Sea is COLD. I swam in it many many times as a child when you don't notice the cold, but no, definitely too cold, even in August!

    1. Ha! Tell Ken that! He still insists it's swimmable!


Thanks in advance for your comments.