Yeah, I'm still off-kilter three days after coming home from the glorious two-week vacation in England. Short version of recap, sans handy links or else I will sit here too long and forget to pick up Ben from school:
The Chester Zoo is awesome. Dramatic highlights: The bat house, in which fruit bats fly around in a dark space, swooping past the human visitors and freaking out a few of them (read: me). The tapirs. I was just beginning to tell Ben how Mr. Tangerine and I had once seen a gnarled tapir penis at another zoo, and how crazy that thing looked, when one of the sistah tapirs took umbrage at my talking smack about her brethren, so she sprayed us all with pee from a good six feet away. And there were no warning signs! "Don't let a tapir turn its back on you unless you're wearing full protective gear." Great zoo, though.
Liverpool is boasting of being a "Culture City 2008," but holy crap, have they got a lot of litter. And a lot of ramshackle boarded-up buildings. They've revamped the Albert Docks area with retail and museums and restaurants, but...most everything is closed by 6 p.m. Work in progress, that town.
The vows in England's civil ceremony (or at least the vows used by this particular marrying official) are perfect. The bride (my old high-school pal) and groom promised to respect and support one another, and "I will be there for you when you need me most." Isn't that lovely? The wedding reception's high notes: My first Pimm's Cup cocktail (sweet like candy! yet potent!), temporary tattoos, Englishwomen with crazy-ass feather thangs affixed to the sides of their heads, a post-dinner/time-to-dance buffet line so you could eat something instead of drinking on a now-empty stomach (brilliant! why don't we always do that?). Alas, I left my Merrell sandals behind in the castle, and some limey bastard is probably wearing them now. I just bought a replacement pair (plus a super-comfy pair of Naot sandals) this morning.
London! Too much to say about London. Super-short version: We walked a ton (or perhaps a tonne), saw many historic sites, loved each day we were there and hated to leave it Saturday morning. Spent far too much on the luxury hotel, but you know what? Our suite had laundry equipment, which was invaluable. And a kitchenette, so we could have breakfast on the cheap.
Next time, I will have to better coordinate my vacation plans with those of my regular mail carrier. She's on vacation now, and dammit, the post office screws things up when she's not around. The two weeks' worth of mail that was held? Is nowhere to be found. Got a small amount of mail on Saturday and Monday, haven't seen the giant stack of accumulated stuff, and it ain't at the post office. I suspect a substitute mail carrier burned it all in his back yard (because that sort of thing actually happened a few years ago with a mail carrier working out of my local post office). Irksome! Two weeks' mail, desaparecido!
Hope to write in greater detail when I have more time—remind me, or beg me to skip the travelogue, whichever you prefer.