Subject: Laurie's UK travelogue, May 2002
This is my sister, Laurie's travelogue of her visit to England and Scotland, May 14-22, 2002

Tuesday May 14

Left for England around 9:15 p.m. Good flight. Screws up one's mind though. When you get settled in to maybe have a snooze around midnight, about an hour later you see the sun start to rise then there's beams in your face!!! Wow.

Arrived in Jolly old England at 7 am their time, 3 am our time. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. The trek to the passport people seemed like 3 miles long but alas I got there only to see a longer lineup - longer than a popular ride in Disneyworld!! The same serpentine like aisles. We were all were very tired at this point. and it was TOO HOT and the line was moving quite slowly. 40 minutes later I was through. and off to get my luggage which was easy. Went to bathroom to freshen up and then on my way out, or so I thought, a fire alarm went off and we were stuck in the corridor that leads out to the Heathrow Airport foyer where everyone waits for you. This wait was about one half hour long. lots of grumbling, sore feet and legs for all the waiting, but finally got through and could not find Gary. He was picking me up. I looked and looked and searched and just could not find him. I was almost in despair and ready to cry when I heard my name over a loud speaker. Would Laurie F****** please come to the meeting place. I looked all around and could not find a meeting place and really did not have a clue as to what it was anyhow. So teary eyed I asked a man. WHERE IS THE MEETING PLACE PLEEEEEEASE??? Ok a bit louder even than that. He pointed me to it and there he was just as worried and frustrated as I was. Was GREAT to see him again and off we went for the hour drive to his and Ann's ( his girlfriend) home in Dagenham.

Ann was not home. She works two part time jobs so got cup of Earl Grey which I drank the whole time I was in UK and then about 2:30 p.m. had to go for a little sleep and went right off for about 2 hours I think.

Upon awakening went to the Macaroni Grill for supper and had a delicious lasagna and then it happened. I had the most awesome experience there, one I have never had before and one I will never have again. The dessert! Never in my LIFE have I had a dessert like this! Can't remember the name even. It was some sort of chocolate mousse, torte, cake, whatever but was a truly exquisite experience! And that is what it was, an experience! An event! The chocolate was thick and warm, it wasn't too sweet. Yet, it was smooth and almost sensual. Thought I had died and gone to heaven! Actually Gary ordered it. I said I was too full but would have a few bites. Well I think I ate at LEAST half of it. He was scared it was going to turn out to be a When Harry met Sally experience. You know, that SCENE! Everyone should know it. It was... I can't really even describe it, however, it is a memory I will never forget!

Wednesday May 15

Left for Devon after a good night's sleep. That was about a 5 hour drive.

Saw Stonehenge. I really wanted to see that and was quite fascinated by it. Wished I could have gone RIGHT UP to it but for safety reasons no one was allowed to. Very windy that day but sunny though. Lots of tourists there, two big busses of Japanese tourists with all their cameras with telephoto lenses etc. Took a few pictures and Gary took one with his digital camera so I could send to my son Ryan in particular who is very interested in Stonehenge. Warned me though. Mom, do NOT go through the gates, you will disappear!!! (myth) - I think.

Continued on to Devon in southwestern England. A beautiful drive there. Gorgeous scenery and just an all around lovely drive. Great cds playing. We were singing silly songs at the top of our lungs, mixing up all the words. Took a bit of time to find the place we were staying. It is a bed and breakfast called Strawberry Waters owned by Ann's cousin Dave. It is wayyyy down deep along a narrow road. Beautiful scenery but a bugger getting there if another car came along. They were very nice people. They have this Dalmatian dog named Hector and a few cats to Gary's chagrin. At one point Dave scratched the cat and Gary had shook his hand when we were on our way to a scenic little town called Clovelly and he must have touched his eyes and had a nasty allergic reaction.

He sneezed a million times. His eyes itched and watered and got red, as did his cheeks. He had his inhaler but he said it would only last about a half hour. He washed out his eyes and after a bit he felt better. I was a bit nervous though cause I didn't know how to drive on the left side of the road in case I had to take him to doctor. Ann had a migraine and did not come to Clovelly with us.

However, all was ok in the end.

Clovelly was really different. It was a cute little village that goes down about 1/4 of a mile... STRAIGHT DOWN to the ocean. You walk down a practically vertical cobblestone walkway/road and there are homes and little shops all the way down. No room for cars. You can walk back up a paved road or get a little shuttle back up. After walking down and having the most shaky legs I ever had there was no way I was going to walk up. That is just asking for a heart attack!! There were donkeys that you can take down and up but only for kids I think. If I sat on one the poor thing would be flat on its tummy with all 4 legs sticking out from its carcass!!

Thursday May 16 Continued to visit Devon. Last night I was awakened by nasty thunderstorms that had me letting out a scream from a dead sleep. Went to lunch at a nice pub on the coast called Hoops and the scenery! Wow!! Took bunch of pictures. It reminded me of Newfoundland, the craggy shoreline.

Drove the 5 hours home and then went to supper and met Gary's brother, Bill. The food wasn't too great at this pub which was probably the only time it was not great. The rest of the time it was fabulous anywhere we went. However, the company made up for it. Bill is hilarious! We laughed the whole time! My sides ached and so did my cheeks! Wish I had more time with him. We all planned to get together when we came back from Scotland but it just didn't work out.

Friday - Saturday May 17, 18

Left for Scotland. We decided to take a charter flight as they were really cheap. Only cost 25 pounds per person so that made sense. a one hour flight from Stansted Airport instead of driving 7 hours. So away we went. Good flight, cramped though. Reminded me of the charter flights we used to take to Florida. Doesn't compare to a nice Air Canada flight over with wider seats and more leg room and free drinks. The charter ones you have to pay. And I have developed an immense liking to Red Bull. It is an energy drink that tastes like a cooler but no alcohol in it. Must see if they have it here at home or else I will import a case!!

Interesting thing happened. As usual I beeped when I went through security. and got searched by a female security agent. Sometimes I beep sometimes I didn't. I was not nervous and thought of tons of remarks to make but decided to just be pleasant. Damn eh?

Took awhile finding the log cabin that Ann's uncle has in Ayrshire. The directions were good but weather was not cooperating too much. Again, the scenery was amazing. We had stopped off at a little pub after getting groceries and I could not really understand the guy very well. All I got much out of him was OCH AYE. I think he thought I was crazy lol!

We had to travel over 4 miles of moors to get to the cabin but to me it was like a windy bicycle path that only could hold one car at a time. And the sheep! Never seen so many freaking sheep in my life! They would hop over the little road we drove on and were so cute, especially the baby sheep. The moms were very protective of them. At one point a mom was crossing the road with her baby and I rolled down the window to get a pic and said hi bud and it looked at me and bleated like it was going to attack hahahah! then Gary said whasssuppppppppp to it and then said. it is probably saying. 'nawthin, just grazin, just chillin, havin a Bud. Grin.

The log cabin was really nice with two bedrooms. It reminded me of the cottages on the South Shore of Nova Scotia that we go to with Garth and Marie when Anna from New Zealand comes over for a visit. There were twin beds in each room, hard as rock. I put a few lumpy comforters on them as mattress pads and slept on top of them. Gary and Ann pushed their twin beds together and put a lumpy comforter in between because of the wooden ridge that was then created. It had a washer/dryer combo appliance which would have been pretty cool if it had worked right. It would not spin very well so we had to squeeze the excess water out of the clothes and it damn near set your clothes on fire when it dried them! And the vacuum cleaner sucked. Not literally, unfortunately. It barely picked up lint! Something I can't quite get used to is carpet in the kitchen and the bathroom. I'm shaking my head. Many places have this including Gary and Ann's house, even though it is like a brushed cotton flooring that cleans up well if you drop something on it. Just can't quite get used to it nevertheless. Oh well. Must Canadianize them someday.

The weather in Scotland was not the greatest. Windy, very windy and often around 10 degrees and spitting rain here and there but the scenery was beautiful and we had a great time.

Ann visited her Uncle Roger and Aunt Susan a lot and we joined in visiting tonight. We had a delicious supper there. They have 4 dogs and 3 cats that were abused that they took in. Really sweet animals. The animals liked to be around you when you were eating. Some people don't like that but we didn't mind. There was one time we were finishing up and they all seemed to be nearby in the hall and we heard Roger come down the hall and yelled out to the dogs WHAT IS THIS??? They all looked sheepish, or oops! caught again kind of looks and then SCATTERED. hahahahah was really funny.

Had a delicious dessert, peach halves and heavy cream warmed up. Yumm!

Continued...

Posted by Diane Johnston Travelogue and a few photos http://members.accesswave.ca/~tvor/laurieuk2002a.htm