Friday, September 02, 2011


Mike was kind enough to use a couple of his vacation days while I was in country, and we took the opportunity to drive to his hometown, Callington. He even had a work related meeting in the area, so his employer was covering the gas. Can't hardly beat that. He is a solicitor, which I humorously assumed meant that he was some kind of salesman. The only time we use that word in the US is usually the "No Soliciting" signs in the parking lots of businesses. Well there it means lawyer of some type. It's really complicated, but the practice of law there is divided between solicitors and barristers. I'm not going to go further into it here, but the solicitor wikipedia page explains it in detail.

Anyway, back on topic. Callington is in Cornwall county, and it was a nice change from the noise of London.

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The clothing company Lands' End is named after the western most point of the English mainland, where... the land ends. It happens to be located in Cornwall.

So we packed up the car and hit the road. Just getting out of London seemed to take forever.

St. Pancras railway station

When I told Mike our signs simply read "yield" he thought that sounded too bossy.

The traffic on the highway ground to a halt, and we were a bit hungry by this point, so we decided to take a country road detour and rustle up some food while we were at it. It was at this point I learned that people in these parts had really strict eating schedules. It was around 3, and we likely tried four restaurants and tea houses. All of them were open, and not one of them would serve us hot food. Mike kept calling it "the lacuna" which I assumed meant Twilight Zone, but it means "the gap". Like the hungry, hungry few hours that occur between lunch and dinner. So we had an elegant meal procured from a gas station.

Rarely does a untried flavor of candy bar escape my grasp.

England seems to have completely ditched the old magnetic strip type of credit card in favor of cards with a chip in them that have a matching pin code. At first I was annoyed by my lack of this type of card, but I began to enjoy confounding the locals with my ancient credit card. Most stores had the hardware to accept standard credit cards but on several occasions the staff didn't know how to use it! While trying to buy a sandwich and a candy bar at this gas station I signed my receipt, waited while the attendant compared the signature to that on the back of my card, asked for picture ID, then called her manager over to confirm. "It looks enough like him, he's just shaved his head." OK.

I really enjoyed the scenery on the drive. Cities are one thing, but the country is where real culture is hiding. We stayed on the back roads so long that this trip took longer than flying from Chicago to London.

I was rewarded for my endurance with a delicious Cornish Pasty. It's basically a hot pocket that doesn't make your stomach sad. The traditional ones have steak and potatoes, but there were tons of other flavors. It's hard to say if the pasty has won out over my love of Australian meat pies, but they were damn good anyway.

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