British Humour

Fantasy in Harsh Reality

I have to say it.

Women who wear burqas are my real-life dementors. Seeing a woman, or what I presume is a woman, clothed in such a way that robs her of her identity and self-determination not only bothers me, but it terrifies me. And it does, in fact, cause that same sinking, dreadful feeling, as though my very soul is threatened by her shroud.

What I desperately need is a rational explanation for why some women are compelled to answer for men’s immorality.

Does anyone know?

Another Week Away

Good Lord. This time next week, I’ll be cuddling with my kitty and watching the Glee season finale. Stateside, that is.

Food ‘n’ France: Day 8

Our last day in France, we went to Reims to visit the Clicquot factory and tour the local cathedral. Like I said, my camera batteries were dead at this point. So sad. Alas, these two lonely pictures were stolen from a dear friend. That’s all I have.

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Factory. I have spoiled taste buds.

Cathedrale de Reims

Perhaps it’s better, anyway, to end this series with fewer pictures and more words. Because the shivers I get whenever I think about this trip surely deserve more than pictures and captions as recognition. Yet it’s so difficult to describe the magic we all certainly felt throughout our journey, but particularly in its denouement as we realized how very close we were to that magic potentially ending.

Early flights and early train rides meant the following morning was a rush of rolling our suitcases out the door, so that night in Paris was it for most of us. And I’m so sorry I couldn’t walk around after our jaunt to the Louvre for a few last pictures. I could feel the joy of the trip draining from me with every tear, and trust me, there were lots of tears. I wanted so badly to remember the happy moments, the spontaneous laughter, the long dinners that grew into early breakfasts, the late-night chats aided by wine and acknowledging our own vulnerability–like we could share anything with one another. And we did. That’s what I wanted to remember, not the goodbyes punctuated with choked sobs.

Of course, for those of us prone to writing sappy entries like this one, choked sobs are never far from the surface, always threatening to burst from our throats at the thought of a that last Perfect Day or, more solemnly, a life cut short.

So here I am, two weeks after the trip’s end, reflective and still a little sad. But it’s not leaving France that hurt so much as leaving them, those people with whom I’ve shared so much.

Again: I miss you all and I love you so much. I’ll see you soon, but in the meantime… Don’t forget to toast to Tuesdays.

Oxford Day Trip, or a Harry Potter Palooza

Another day in pictures. Can you tell I’m too busy to write more than a few hundred words? Well, I am. Soaking up my last few days in London requires little talking and lots of walking.

Radcliffe Camera--this place is still a library

Bodleian Library. These libraries are brilliant because they actually inspire studying.

Gardens outside of Christ Church College

Lewis Carroll attended Oxford and based Alice on the dean's daughter, so there's a big Alice theme here!

Lunch at the King's Arms

Chicken & bacon pie with veggies and chips. I'll miss how the Brits top everything with a flaky pastry.

THE GREAT HALL FROM HARRY POTTER. MY FACE DOES NOT EVEN BEGIN TO REVEAL MY EXCITEMENT, NOR DOES ALL-CAPS.

Outside of The Great Hall, where Ludivine is being studious. Duh.

The Great Staircase from Harry Potter. Swoon.

A boat ride along the Isis was tempting, but not for 23 pounds.

A sweet ending at the sweet shop, which kept playing songs from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. Another childhood fantasy realized.

So, I’ve done the Oxford thing. What else should I do in my last ten days? Any suggestions? Any questions about my experience abroad that you want answered?

Food ‘n’ France: Day 7

We took an early morning train to Paris, our last stop on the trip of a lifetime. Day seven also marked the death of my last AA batteries, meaning that tomorrow’s post will be tragically void of images.

Cafe de Flore for lunch. It's never too early for bubbly.

Cold chicken with mayo and a side salad (not pictured). After all the snails and cream sauces, I was craving simplicity!

Chocolate Opera, singing not included

Remember that chocolate river in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory? This hot chocolate tasted like the pre-Augustus-Gloop-entry liquid chocolate in that river. AKA liquid heaven.

Our hotel room next to Saint Sulpice

Ivy-covered courtyard in the hotel

The Louvre

More lovely Louvre

Just a quick encounter with Mona

Recalling my childhood obsession with ancient Egyptian culture

A perfect Parisian day

A perfect Parisian view

Ditto.

Dinner at Le Dome, where I had the most amazing lobster

We went to the Musee Jacquemart Andre first thing (the French equivalent of Biltmore Estate, with more art), followed by lunch and a relaxing afternoon touring around Paris. Sometimes, those kind of days are the best.

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.
Kurt Vonnegut

Hampton Court Happenings

I’ve been to Hampton Court, on the outskirts of London, twice in the last month. First, to see Henry VIII’s palace, where actors play out the day of Henry’s last marriage, which was to Catherine Parr. We got to wear robes as though we were members of the royal court and witnessed the many secrets hidden by the palace walls. It reminded me of going to Colonial Williamsburg as a child, but I continue to enjoy playing pretend as a quasi-adult.

Also, historical re-enactments always make me wonder how our society will be portrayed in 300 or so years. How will our generation be presented many years from now? Any ideas? I guess all the actors will have to check their computers/iPods/iPhones/Blackberries often, for starters.

The palace looking particularly ominous

Idyllic gardens, even on a yucky day

More perfectly-manicured gardens

Henry and Catherine

Another day, another English maze solved

Today, we went to Hampton Court for the Foodies Festival. I don’t suppose further description is really necessary, but I would like to add that the weather was gorgeous for an outdoor festival and an impromptu picnic/photoshoot.

Pig pickin', Portuguese style

Picnic, London style

Pork (with fennel and rosemary) + rocket + homemade applesauce + ciabatta

Eaten in five minutes flat

Followed by a garden jaunt

And some laying-in-the-grass-taking-photos

Sheer bliss. I have a whole lot of updating to do about how I’ve spent my last few days, but I’m headed to Oxford tomorrow and must mentally prepare for the giddiness I’ll experience when I see places where Harry Potter was filmed.