Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Jolly Holiday for Jaime

I went away on vacation in April! Usually I just go to California to see friends and family (which I still plan to do as well) but now that I have three weeks' worth of vacation time I went to England to visit my old grad school haunts. Wait, actually, I didn't even get near Hendon, London, but I was in London, the Birmingham area, and Manchester to see old friends and new, like the children of the old friends. I also had a 'Busman's Holiday' by attending London Book Fair. Since I wasn't being paid to go, I didn't have to sit at the company booth unless I wanted to, which I did. I attended various panel discussions and took notes. I only fell asleep during one panel because the room was overheated! Despite my being there to goof around, I visited clients, chatted with fellow industry folks, and even attended the company dinner in Soho, although I think I crashed it by accident. People kept asking me if they'd see me there and I thought I better go! LBF was at Earl’s Court, much more convenient than where/when I last went to LBF.
Granted, I didn’t run into The Doctor whilst there but this TARDIS looked dodgy anyhow:
I mostly stayed with my friends Tracey and John in Finchley. They live close to a spot you'll have seen on film, the shop where Shaun worked in 'Shaun of the Dead.' I slept on their couch which is so comfortable that one night I dreamed of buying it and shipping it to Minnesota. I pretty much knew it was going to happen but had no idea Tracey was going to make me a Sunday Roast this gorgeous:
They also introduced me to a cafe down the road with this amazing breakfast that I admit to having a few times. I blame my love of free wifi:
Here, a close-up for your computer desktop wallpaper:
On top of great food, great banter and the deadly comfortable sofa, Tracey and John also introduced me to their friend Alex, who looked more than a little familiar...
Thankfully it was Alex Ferns, a real sweetie-pie! Screw EastEnders during my grad school years, this guy has moved on and doing ‘South Pacific.’ Here’s a shot of him performing (he totally nailed it!) at the Olivier Awards that same night:
I got to see my friends Purvi & Gilles as well as Asad & Ale, both couples who met at Middlesex University and married. One night I stayed at Asad & Ale’s house where I got to meet Christopher. He’s such a cutie and showed me all his toys, naming them as he went:
He then showed me what London traffic typically looks like:
Despite renewed American confusion with the stations I managed to hop on the correct train to Birmingham to see Jenny and her family. I lived with Jenny in San Francisco and would regularly see her and her future husband James when they came to visit London from where they were living in Scotland. Now they’re back near their hometowns and have two little crazy-cakes, Scarlett & Ava!
Scarlett, Ava and I spent about an hour playing with a whoopie cushion. It wouldn’t work on me! It just quietly became my third butt cheek. Only days later would I make whoopie-cushion noises in their bathroom and need more bog roll. I tried to blame it on Harvey but he had a weapon.
It makes sense now, the sign in the nearby park:
Jenny and I left the girls behind with dad James (who Scarlett called ‘Mr Chonies’ and scored huge points with me!) to take the train to Manchester to see Maria, her boyfriend Jamie (yes, awkwardness abounds in which Jaime/Jamie being addressed) and of course, Sophie! Last time I saw Sophie she was only 3 but now she’s nearly 10 and can knit like a pro.
Here we are at a park in Manchester, the biggest urban park in all of Europe. To think I met these two in 1999 in San Francisco.
But we haven’t REALLY matured. I mean, look at what I kept giggling at from the petting zoo portion of the park:
Coming home from the park that day we ran into Jo and Dave and their little boy, Charlie! Charlie was the last of the kids who paid no attention to me until I said something, and then he, like the others on my trip, had the same look on his face: She sounds like the Disney Channel!
All in all it was a great trip, really relaxing even when missing Tube trains, breaking some toes, having ‘trainsickness,’ and getting the bank statement this week. I thought the weather was perfect, the flights perfectly fine, and the queues miserable, as they should be.

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