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Archive for the ‘UK’ Category

England

Some time soon, I will sit down and do this amazing trip more justice.  But for today, I am exhausted and so I offer only this photo gallery (with comments!) and a few random videos I uploaded to YouTube.

Enjoy.

Pictures Of England

Driving Through Bollington

White Nancy

Snow

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Cor Blimey, Mate!

The only good thing about watching 1990s-era reruns of EastEnders on PBS is that when there’s a cliffhanger episode, you don’t have to wait until the next night to find out what happens.  You can just Wikipedia it.

I can’t believe Janine pushed Barry off a cliff after Barry left Natalie for Janine and married her, even though Janine was a prostitute who was blackmailing Ian to the tune of 200 quid a week after Ian slept with Janine and tried to hide it from Laura, whom Janine also killed in a suspicious staircase incident!

See?  Just like Dynasty, except trashier and with more chip shops.

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Richard and I have finally finished planning our much-delayed honeymoon and are now scheduled to depart in mid-March for England and then Spain.

The honeymoon itself was delayed due to the fact that we had out-of-state and out-of-country visitors in town for the wedding and wanted to spend time with them, since they’d traveled all that way to see us.   Richard’s poor brother alone traveled for fifty (50!!!) hours straight to get to miserable old Houston for the wedding, stopping on three different continents along his way (see: ways not to travel to Houston from Perth).  Then there was the whole hands-on aspect of the wedding itself (pfft…who needs a wedding planner?), which necessitated a lot of actual work on my part — both before and after — and wasn’t conducive to just jetting off somewhere afterwards.

So, here we are, two and half months later, and we’ve finally booked all of our flights and hotels and rental cars and have even started scouring stores for some good boots for me to trek around the frozen tundra of northern England in.  Here’s the itinerary:

March 21:  Depart Houston for Manchester.  Arrive nearly fourteen hours later, delirious from airplane-induced claustrophobia and possibly escorted by air marshals after slapping parents of small children who are misbehaving.  Go immediately to pub for drink.

March 22:  Adjust to massive time difference while learning to drive on wrong side of road; will send pictures of ensuing wreckage for all to enjoy.  After crashing car, take train from Alderley Edge (where we’ll be bunking down in Richard’s parents’ country home — sans parents, of course) into Manchester city centre and take in the sights.

March 23 – 25:  Trundle around England by car, train or foot, visiting assorted friends in Chester and Macclesfield.  Tour The Theatre of Dreams and surrounding Trafford Centre.  Drink lots and lots of lager.  Find and eat an entire wedge of Stilton.  Have proper doner kebab and chip-shop curry, preferably late at night after tastebuds have been numbed by Boddington’s.  Visit Richard’s grammar school and grumble while he tells me about its founding in 1502 and how I “don’t know what old really means.”  Sit by some roaring fires.  Amuse people with my heavy Texas accent.  Tour stately homes.  Go shopping for English groceries to smuggle home in luggage.  Attempt to survive extended periods in abysmally cold weather.  Have fun.

March 26:  Depart Manchester for Alicante.  Visit Richard’s parents at their home in Torrevieja.

March 27 – 28:  Enjoy relatively balmy Mediterranean climate.  Relax.

March 29:  Depart Alicante for Manchester.  Depart Manchester for Houston.

March 30:  Collapse, exhausted, into bed.  Wake up mere hours later to find ourselves back in real world and back to work.

I’ll try to bring some fish and chips back for you all, but no promises.

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Kids These Days…

Our fine friends over at Little Man, What Now? have offered some quality advice on how to handle those damn kids who won’t get off your lawn:

The second course of action, which I employed recently when I discovered some particularly rat-faced specimens sniffing around the back of my house, is to shout obscenity-laden abuse whilst brandishing a metal chair leg. If you take the second course of action you must give the impression that you are mentally unstable, care not for your personal safety and that you are capable of unprovoked acts of extreme and random violence. You have to unleash without reticence: the more spittle, the more violent the threats and the more unhinged the profanity, the better. Just conjure the vilest words in your vocabulary and string them together like a jazz-poet with Tourettes. If for a minute they realise you are bluffing and that you are in fact a physical coward with no martial ability, you are done for. Despite being genetic flotsam and jetsam, junior scum-bags have acute fear detectors.

The American version, of course, simply replaces “metal chair leg” with “12-gauge shotgun,” but I believe the general principle is still there.

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…you wake up with dirty, thieving scousers.

Fifth Liverpool player is burgled

Dirk Kuyt has become the fifth Liverpool footballer to be burgled in less than 18 months.

The 27-year-old striker’s luxury home in Woolton was targeted on Thursday while he was away on international duty with home country Holland.

Merseyside Police confirmed they were investigating a burglary in Woolton.

The Merseyside home of Jerzy Dudek, Liverpool’s goalkeeper from the 2005 Champions League final penalty shoot-out, was burgled in June 2006.

The raid at Kuyt’s house is the latest to see a footballer’s home targeted in the city while the players are away at a match.

Burnt-out Porsche

Dudek, who now plays for Real Madrid, was on holiday in Poland when thieves took his Porsche car, jewellery and a large haul of football memorabilia from across his career, including his European Cup medal.

Pepe Reina was burgled while he played for Liverpool in last May’s Champions League semi-final against Chelsea.

He also had his Porsche taken during the raid, among other things, with the car later found burnt-out in West Derby.

Reds defender Daniel Agger had his Wirral home burgled in September last year and striker Peter Crouch’s house in Alderley Edge was targeted in the same month while he was on England duty.

With the exception of Peter Crouch (my beloved robot man), they did choose to live in and around Liverpool, so they shouldn’t be too terribly shocked.  Maybe they should go and play for a proper team in a proper city…just a thought.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term “scousers,” I’ll turn to the always amusing Urban Dictionary for a few witty definitions:

  • Scouser, n.  A scouser is the universal term used to describe a person from Liverpool and more importantly one who is on the lower rung of society. Scousers are generally poor and fill their need for televisions with thieving addictions. Scousers can be found in poorly lighted car parks and dark alleys.  “That guy who stole your TV was probably a scouser.”
  • Scouser, n.  As everyone has said, a scouser is someone from Liverpool. Like all cities, Liverpool has its scum but I have to say they were colourful and well-mannered. When I stayed there in 1991 I witnessed a branch of Dixons being broken into one night but the thieves were all very polite. They wished me good evening as I went past and went to pains to ensure I wasn’t hit by any flying glass from the window they were breaking. I felt this was a very nice touch.  “Oh no! Someone has broken my car window and nicked the radio! But at least they swept the broken glass up – They must be a scouser!”
  • Scouser, n.  An inhabitant of a city fueled by insecurity, weakness and self pity. A city that has received millions in European funding over the years and is still in the top 5 deprived areas of Europe with a low academic record to match. In the main because of the lack of drive, ambition and a propensity to blame everyone else for their failiure. The scouser has a great deal of hatred towards Mancunians for building the ship canal, which defined the demise of Liverpool port trade. Where most economies moved on, Liverpool cornered the market in whinging thus creating a culture of state dependency. A common question is why so many people hate Liverpool, because the scouser hates himself.

And so as not to be biased, here’s a lovely entry from an actual Liverpudlian:

  • some1 from liverpool, city with less crime and unemployement dan manchester…but we’l stil put a stanley blade across the neck of any fuckin manc  “is ryt laddddddddddddddd”

And for a visual representation, we turn to the ever-reliable Harry Enfield:

And this has been today’s lesson on scousers, brought to you by the letter “S.”

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Last post of the day, I swear.

When Richard’s family were over here last week, we had several very interesting discussions with them regarding whether or not they’d ever move back to England permanently.  For both his mother and stepfather (who live in a villa in Spain, but keep a house back in Cheshire) as well as his brother (who moved to Oz three years ago), the answer was a resounding “no.”

They had differing reasons as to why — for his mother and stepfather it was the alarming and steady rise in crime as well as the dreary weather, while for his brother it was the lower cost of living and higher quality of life in Oz — but all three agreed that they wouldn’t be moving back to the U.K. any time soon.

This article was written over a year ago, but it’s sad to see that the trend of British emigration hasn’t been stemmed at all in that time:

They flock unstoppably through Britain’s border crossings, thousands every week, posing a threat to social, demographic, and economic stability, according to some.

But this is not another verdict on the perils of immigration. This is about people moving in the opposite direction. Surprisingly, for a country obsessed about immigrants, Britons are emigrating in record numbers.

Official data show that more than 350,000 people leave the country every year, up almost 50 percent from 10 years ago. A recent BBC survey remarkably found that 13 percent of people said they were hoping to emigrate in the near future – double the figure from a similar survey conducted three years ago.

At least 4.5 million Britons – about 8 percent of the population – now live abroad, a far bigger diaspora in percentage terms than those of other rich countries like France, Germany, and the US. Those anxious about rising immigration numbers should take note: more Britons now live overseas than the number of foreign nationals resident in Britain.

Be sure to click the link above for the full, fascinating article. 

Richard has expressed little interest in going home in the five years that I’ve known him.  Sure, we’d like to go back to visit someday soon, but aside from the sweet, fleeting memories of his childhood at boarding school and laddish nights spent down the pub, I’m not sure that we’ll ever end up there either.  He’s become too attached to the lower taxes, the easy ability to own two cars if one so desires, the far superior health insurance (sorry, Socialists) and the sunny attitude of his now fellow Americans.

In fact, as long as I can learn to cook Cornish pasties and steak & kidney pies, I don’t think the man will ever need to go home again.

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