Category Archives: travel


That wasn’t so bad, though it tried to be. The plane was stuffed full, and I was in the middle seat of the middle aisle smack in the middle of the airplane. That’s usually the signal for me to begin punching the seat in front of me and making that high-pitched, keening wail so beloved […]

And then marched down again

We’ve had the traditional Drunken Lighting of the Lame-o Indoor Fireworks that signals the end of festivities. We didn’t quite set the flat on fire. Oh, well. There’s always next year.       Tea break’s over, back on your heads Tonight, we drive up to London (no matter which direction you’re coming from, the it’s always “up […]

The last rays of 2006

The Southeasternmost spot in Britain. You can get more South, you can get more East, but you can’t get more Southeast.

Hammered New Year

The weather in Britain is cruelly and unfairly maligned. The striking thing about it is not the amount of rain (which isn’t all that excessive), but how amazingly temperate it is all the year round. I grew up in the American deep South and spent my adulthood in New England; I know from weather extremes. […]

The moving finger writes

Spotted through a very rainy windshield this afternoon. The best touch is the “Merry Christmas XXX” in the bottom right. Or maybe the jaunty sketch of poo in the upper right. Writing rude things in the dirt on (the ubiquitous) white delivery van is an artform here. The best one I’ve seen so far is […]

More cultural exchange — the venerable British butty

    Behold the British culinary wonderment that is the chip butty! I watched my beloved eat this object not six hours ago. Wikipedia blandly defines “butty” as “a sandwich in British slang.” Which doesn’t get at the thing at all. helpfully backs up my assumption that the word derives from “butter” (~1850) — […]

Weasel fails toilet training — AGAIN

Is it true that the water in Aussie toilets swirls counterclockwise upon flushing? I do not know. I can tell you that British toilets swirl in both directions around from the back and meet in the front in a glorious clap of waterspray. I know this because I have witnessed the phenomenon hundreds of times, […]

The True Meaning of Boxing Day

There isn’t one. There’s a consensus that the day after Christmas has something to do with boxes, and something to do with Christmas…beyond that, nada. These days, it’s a big shopping day in the UK. Two thousand people queued up outside Selfridges in London this morning. But not us. It’s a gray, gray day and […]


Did you ever think it odd that the Christmas Carol, our most famous bit of Christmas fiction, is a ghost story? Did you? Really? You’re an ignorant sack of filth, then. The ghost story has been a feature of British Christmas celebration since…well, I’m not sure when. Early Victorian times, anyhow. You can see how […]

More Jolly Fun with Google Maps

Stupid to explore Britain with Google Maps when I’m, like, in Britain, but Dave in Texas reminded me of Stonehenge and I got to Googling. First time I saw Stonehenge, I didn’t know that was where we were going. I had no idea where we were. We topped a rise or came around a corner […]