7.27.2006

Because Denial is a river at your mom's house

I just got back from another road trip. Sure, I have time for road trips. Why wouldn't I?

I went to North Yorkshire with Lady J and a couple of her friends. It's so nice sometimes to tag along on a trip that I didn't help plan. Because then no one expects anything from me and if it all goes to pot then I can't be blamed. And I don't expect much because all I want to do is look at beautiful views of beautiful England.

Highlights:

Knaresborough, which was a beautiful town with an aqueduct and castle and Mother Shipton's Cave, where they hang up teddy bears and the dripping water turns them to stone. And where the museum has this really creepy wax figure of a man who is supposed to be a local historical figure convicted of murder. He's hanging in a crow's nest thing with blood all over and an audio track groaning, "Euuuunggggh! Heeelp Meeeeee! Heeeellp Meeeee!!" over and over again while the crow goes for his eyes. Sick. Skip that corner when you go. We wandered around, found some great chocolate ice cream, (which dripped down the front of my shirt, of course), and rowed on the river with the swans and ducklings.


Drove to Rievaulx Abbey but it was too near closing time to make the entry fee worth it. I took this picture while balancing precariously on a stone fence. Decided that I want an English cottage for my birthday.


Drove to Byland Abbey instead, which was closed. The gate wasn't, though . . . got some great pictures!

Stayed the night at Easterside Farm in Hawnby, which is this beautiful 18th-century farmhouse B&B. The beds were so soft, the owner is really nice, and the view from our room was gorgeous.


It is with some misgivings that I tell the following story, but it was too funny. If anyone reading this can guess who I'm talking about then you must banish it from your mind and never speak of it. Or just skip the thing altogether. Agreed? The B&B room had 1 double bed and 1 single. (There was only room for 3 at the B&B, so Lady J stayed at a nearby hostel which didn't have room for all of us either--long story.) Anyway, one of the ladies asked for the single bed right away. I didn't blame her--I don't mind sharing a bed and figured if she would be uncomfortable with it then she should get the single. Only that night as we were settling in she started stripping down to put her nightgown on right in front of me, mid-conversation. So here's me: "Why yes, I've really enjoyed the librarianship course here aaaaaaaaand those are your breasts. No really, that's fine. I think you were one of the 10 middle-aged English ladies whom I haven't seen topless, so thank you." Really, I would have thought that sharing a king-sized bed with another fully-clothed non-cuddly sleeper would have been a notch down on the Uncomfortable Scale. But I guess that's just me.

The next morning we had this huge Full English Breakfast at the B&B which nearly did me in (they must keep a defibrillator in the kitchen somewhere), and I wasn't hungry again until that night.

Visited Whitby, which was just voted "Best Small Seaside Town" or something. I wouldn't know if that assessment is correct, though, because there were so many people that the place looked like Disneyland. We didn't stay long--it was way too crowded to actually see much, and it was all these very large women wearing tiny tank tops with the straps slung off their shoulders. For my friends who know and love Possession by A.S. Byatt, Whitby is where Ash and LaMotte go for their dirty weekend. We walked up to a seaside cliff to Whitby Abbey where it was less crowded, and it was beautiful up there--sunny with blue sky & blue water and even an old wrecked ship down below to add atmosphere.


Tried to make it to Castle Howard, where they filmed Brideshead Revisited, but got there too late to make the £8 entrance fee worth it. So we hung out in the free areas and managed to find a spot on the road where you could see the house.

Went to a lavendar farm, which I could smell before we got there--so nice. The owner has a family of deer and when he heard I was from Alaska he let me feed them. That's why it's cool to be from Alaska--cooler than actually living there, I think. This way I get all the celebrity perks without the frozen digits. When I get home I want to send him a postcard--remind me to do that, okay?

Travelled through all these small back roads to avoid traffic, so got to see lots of pretty little villages. Even saw my first real-live gypsy woman on a country road, with the little old horse-pulled caravan. She was building a fire out of broken-down office furniture.

Stopped for dinner at the Bluebell Country Inn in a little village called Alne. Had yet another fabulous English meal. Beef stroganoff & rice with the plate decorated all pretty, served with veggies and new potatoes and chips. I almost went for the creme brulee w/cherries & vanilla for dessert but picked a bread & butter pudding made with brioche and topped with fresh strawberries, cream, and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. If I could have made out with the thing, friends, I would have. It was that good.

Now back to work!


13 comments:

sakhmet said... [reply]

I'm not sure what I resent more: not being a part of this trip or your reference to Christabel's and Randolph's trip to Whitby as the "dirty weekend."

The McCulloch Family said... [reply]

Man. So lucky. Except for the middle aged boobs. I think I would've wanted to skip dinner and just get the desserts.

CoolMom said... [reply]

I want to go to England!!! We never go anywhere!!!!

Just joking, we just got back from a wondeful trip to North Miami where the weather was a delicious, balmy 300 degrees or so. Cooldad did all this for me so I could visit my grandbabes. Maybe we will get to serve a mission in GB.

Oh, Valli mentioned that her and Unmanageble were going to stop at Nauvoo on their way home after the weddding. She did a semester there. Again, so not fair!!!

The McCulloch Family said... [reply]

It WASN'T North Miami! It was FORT LAUDERDALE.

Nemesis said... [reply]

I wrote that bit just for you, Sakhmet! Also I wish you were here too. We could have looked at jet brooches together.

You wouldn't want to skip this dinner, Jen. Unless you were trading it for 3 desserts.

Sorry, Mom. Maybe if you didn't live in Alaska . . .

Stupidramblings said... [reply]

With all the talk of food, corpulent semi-nudity and dirty weekends, I had to scroll back to the top and make sure Miss Nemesis wrote it and not one of those middle-aged single-neighbor brit guys who you always see on the British sitcoms on PBS....

chosha said... [reply]

I am amused by the English-isms creeping into your lauguage. Has your accent changed much?

Suzie1 said... [reply]

I was clasping my hands in delight at the thought of English ducklings, but they suddenly threw themselves on my mouth to stop the flow of vomit brought on by the thought of seeing some strange woman's boobs. **shudder** I think you've just put me off ducklings for life.

blackjazz said... [reply]

Now I know why you said what you did on Sunday after church! OK - don't worry. It's now wiped from my mind, thankfully.

I think I need to know what chasha means by "English-isms". Please list them. To put her mind at rest, the accent is still there, so when you go to Utah the locals won't be asking if you're from Australia. But maybe you've started to spell words the UK way - colour, neighbour, realise etc?

I started to agree with suzie1 about ducklings, but then I remembered you'd had beef stroganoff for dinner. Shame, roast duck's really nice :-)

Nemesis said... [reply]

Stupid, I just like to keep you guessing, that's all.

Chosha, I catch my vowels sounding a little tiny bit different every now and then, but it's mostly the Britishisms that I've picked up (mobile, dirty weekend, etc.). My dad asked me the other night how long it will take before I start speaking American again! :-)

No, suzie1, don't go off ducklings! They really were the cutest little things (the ducklings). And anyway, I'm getting used to seeing strange womens' boobs now. I'm sure there are loads of guys who would trade places with me, but too bad for them!

Blackjazz, I just remembered what I said to you after church! Only I promise I wasn't actually thinking about that . . . incident . . . at the time. :-) The menu that night did list something with the word "duckling" in the title, which made me think, "Wait, do they mean--NO, they couldn't!" I'm just going to refuse to believe that people eat fluffly baby ducklings.

daltongirl said... [reply]

I think before Jenny said she "wanted to skip dinner and just get the desserts," she should have included a hard return. Because THAT comment, coming right after the "dirty weekend" comment, did absolutely nothing good for me.

Scully said... [reply]

I almost shouted (which would have been bad, since I'm at work) when I read your reference to Possession. That is one of my favorite novels and I push it on everyone who shows a remote interest in it. I love finding fellow readers of it, since the density of it tends to scare people away. And I seriously need to look into post-grad work in England. Also, at least you have an excuse for your 'English-isms'. Outlook is always correcting my work emails because I spell things with a 'our' instead of a 'or'. I chalk it up to a stead diet of BritLit.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Scully, there are about 5 million ideas why it's a good idea to do postgrad work here. Email me and I'll tell them to you--you should so do it!

I read Possession in Phil Snyder's Contemporary Brit Lit class at BYU, which was good because I think I possibly would have given up on the first try if left to my own devices. Once you get into it though it's SO great.

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