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Long Proper Trip Update
SSar's Beast
morbane
Hello! I am back from Singapore and England and Scotland and France.

We began in Singapore, where we were unexpectedly stuck for 24 hours, due to a saga that began at Sydney Airport. In Singapore they gave us a hotel and a whistle-stop tour of the island, during which we got lost in a Buddhist temple trying to find their sacred tooth relic. In Singapore, takeaway coffee comes all sloshily in plastic sacs! We also commiserated with the many passengers who were stuck just as we were.

We finally arrived in London early on the morning of Monday, June 2nd. A bus and a train got us to Paul, who took us on another bus to reach our base camp, the home of purplesparkler's (Ellen's) lovely parents Roderick and Audrey, and also the home of Paul and Ellen for the time being.

A fairly relaxed week followed, during which we hung around the small village of Oakley, the larger hub of Basingstoke, and explored places like the Imperial War Museum in London. We met Paul and Ellen's games club, which included the very generous Andrew and Edward. (We provided lots of excuses for Paul to avoid pre-wedding chores during these weeks, namely "I have to show Joel and SSar around", and occasionally helped with those chores, like setting up a garage sale.)

Then, on Saturday (7th) we embarked on a Northern trip, as follows:

A bus from Basingstoke to London on Saturday evening, a lovely evening in London, an overnight bus from London to Edinburgh, and a whole day in Edinburgh. (Though a lot of the morning was spent recovering in a nice comfy Starbucks, which is - in our defense - the only thing open in Edinburgh at 8am on a Sunday morning.) We stayed overnight in Edinburgh, then were off first thing in the morning on a train to York, where we spent another day - and half of the night - exploring that city. At 1:15am we caught a bus to Oxford, which involved getting OFF the bus at 4:30am and waiting in a bus shelter for another hour for a connecting bus. You can imagine we were not at our best in Oxford. Also, it was a very hot, dry, day, and I was literally feverish with the dreaded lurgy of hayfever. We enjoyed the Bodleian Library, and an art shop, and were more than happy to flee back to Basingstoke, and Oakley, again.

(Cool trip. Note we spent 2 out of 3 nights on buses. Neat - and cheaper - to do; not ever doing it again.)

By this time it was Tuesday. We collapsed, and I stayed collapsed all of the next day, in our host family's home, since I had study to do and hayfever to stab with a knife. Thursday was spent in a similar combination of duty and idleness, but we went to London in the evening there to hang out at Edward and Andrew's flat, and stay overnight, for my exam in the morning.

Friday involved an exam, which wasn't too bad (I walked out early and was put in the pleasant position of exploring London without cash, a watch, or a map - rather exhilarating, but mostly because I could have remedied all of those situations). Then Ellen showed me a favourite knitting shop, and shortly Paul, Ellen, Joel and I all met back up in Basingstoke to splash around in a water park then see Indiana Jones at the adjacent cinema.

Then we had the stag and hen parties, which took all day. Joel went off to supervise the Ten Terrible Tasks which Paul was put through, while we ladies enjoyed gentler entertainment (drinking, pottery, drinking, the Sound of Music sing-a-long-a) and after a general reunion, Joel, Andrew, Edward, Ellen and I went to a bar called G. A. Y. Okay atmosphere, boring music, in general all right. After a tour of Leicester Square lit up at night, we went "home" to Edward and Andrew's! And slept at about 3am.

The next week, as the wedding drew closer, we were mostly left to ourselves. We went to Portsmouth for a day, and then France - a truly odd visit where we ate a lovely French lunch then rushed around the available hypermarchés in search of things like "Maggi". Not "Maggi this or that" - the English only seem to know one product by this name, although the brand is identical - it is a soy-like sauce. And of course we bought about 40 bottles of fizzy wine.

Paul showed us a geekasmic London bookshop called Forbidden Planet, and then accompanied us to Winchester on the next day. (We did look for Wincest, Frances. Did you get our text?) We spent that night in a tent, as the house was full of bridemaids and associates - I got to meet the Made-of-Honour, Ian (no typo), his wife Aja, and meet Meredith again. We were all happily occupied in Wedding Preparations. At one point this involved lego. Believe you me.

Friday, the day before the wedding, was entirely taken up by icing cupcakes! A wedding rehearsal and another trip to the water park may have featured somewhere.

The day of the wedding dawned!
Joel made preparations for his role as the wedding cameraman, and we got to the church about half an hour early. The weather was rainy, and the wedding was gorgeous. Somehow I expected it to be even more serious - without Paul and Ellen's delightful smirks - but it was certainly ceremonial. There was singing, and readings, and a dramatic kiss, AND THEY GOT MARRIED OMG.

There was a reception, with fine speeches and a chocolate fountain and barn dancing, and at last by about 11:30pm everyone was disappearing.

The next day, Sunday was quiet. The last houseguests hung around Roderick and Audrey's home making ourselves useful with vacuuming and similar jobs. By evening only Joel and I were left, although Ellen and Paul popped in earlier in the day to sweep up missed items and hug us all.

On our last day in England, Roderick drove us to the train station, and off we went to London. Andrew and Edward looked after our suitcases for the day, which we spent doing only what I wanted to do, whirlwinding through three art galleries.

In some ways that Monday was the best day of all - except perhaps the wedding day. We had all our memories and gifts of the trip, we had one final day to explore, and we were looking forward to our imminent return. And something else to squee about.

Our flights home were as smooth as our flight out was complicated. I left the suitcases to Joel and a taxi, and went grocery shopping, and we separately arrive home to find... a very empty flat.

Nik appeared the next morning, and Clinton later in the day, and soon we will catch up with everyone else again. blairette, I'm looking in your direction...

Hope to see you soon, folks.

It's good to be back.

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:D DId you get to go to the bookshop in Oxford that takes up like 3 buildings. I think it's called Blackwells...so effing cool.

Yes! Yes we did! That was the one other thing we did in Oxford. It has a fun graphic novels section and I hung out there for about an hour.

wow that sounds like it would have been so much fun! it sux that you had hay-fever and had to take that horrible exam of ours, but the rest of the trip sounded amazing!

Yeah, it wasn't great, but I was still expecting it to be worse than it was... anyway it was nice when it was over and I could stuff all my textbooks back into my suitcase for good.

It was neat. Hey, I hope you're feeling better. I didn't know you were from Hastings. Was that where you grew up, or just where your family lives? I don't actually know much about Hastings, what is it like?

Yes i was definatly glad when it was over!!

yea I've lived here since I was 11, I hate it though, I just come up to see my mum.... It's boring, theres nothing to do and all the people here are wannabe gansters or boyracers... That sounds like a horrible generalisation I know but I just really don't like it here lol.

Hi, it's Aja. I've added both you and your old man to my LJ friends. I'm actually probably pretty boring as I post alot about my garden and whatnow though...
Glad you guys got back safe & sound!
~Å~

I think I will like to read about gardens occasionally. Unfortunately I don't have one - I have a cliff instead, and an intervening lawn two metres deep. It's nice to have contact with you two. Joel is weaselfilms, by the way.

Are you also back home now?

Ian is lamuella if he hasn't already found you. We got back home Friday morning. The plants have mostly survived, the cats are a little needy and Ian's already back at work. Yay normality
~Å~

Wow, you're tough - our plans involved returning on a Wednesday and going back to work the following Monday. Which we did - although I'm disappointed with myself for not phoning in, because there was time-and-a-half Saturday work up for grabs.

Good on your plants. Our only such dependents are the cactii in Alex's room. They'd survive anything.

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