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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Musings – On Leaving England – Apr. 2012

It turns out I have developed a Seattle-like relationship with England:  When the weather is nice, you think you are in heaven, but when it is bad you are ready to move anywhere.  And so we find ourselves ready to leave England for . . . anywhere. 

Those beautiful sunny days in March, which many locals told us was as good as it gets all summer, turned into rainy and cold days in April.   In the U.K., the weather and the geography change on a dime and both attributes contributed to our enjoyment of this incredibly varied land.  Topping off our enjoyment was the arrival of two dear friends, and the making of others, during our last week.

What stood out to me the most about the English people (and I do intend to omit the Scottish here) is their love of caravanning.   As I noted before, we began receiving The Caravan Club Magazine at least a year ahead of our California departure.  The magazine consistently warns you to make reservations for the parks, particularly when travelling on a bank holiday weekend.   I suggest they add a note about the forecast:   If it is sunny, make sure you have reservations too.  Just like long time Seattle- or Vancouver-ites, when the sun shines the English go a little crazy. 

In looking over my postings, I realize I left out at least two places that, if you find yourself near, you should stop by:  The Haunch of Venison and The Dock O’ The Bay.

We ran (literally—during a rain storm in Salisbury) into the Haunch of Venison with our dear visiting friends in search of a warm spot for a refreshing beer.  We were rewarded with both as well as a hearty welcome from a local gentleman (dressed better than anyone around) who passed along a flyer on the history of the Haunch.  A charming man, when we were leaving he kissed me on both cheeks to which I responded, “How very European”, and he replied, “I am better than European, I am French.”

No one kissed me at the Dock O’ The Bay in Southampton, but I would have kissed the chef had he or she shown themselves.  A delightful little restaurant that sits neither on a dock nor near a bay, but serves some of the best food we have enjoyed in a long time.  Like the Haunch, it is clearly a local favorite.

And finally to new friends; we found ourselves a little quiet upon leaving Gold RV for the last time having picked up our Sani-con Macerator (I really just love to write those words) on our way out of the country.   We have often been asked, when being offered a grocery club card or to put a deposit down on a rental car, if we didn’t know someone in the UK that might benefit from the membership (grocery) or be of help in an emergency (car.)  I don’t think Gold RV would benefit from a grocery membership but I know we will continue to benefit from having met them and I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to contact them in an emergency--Sani-con or otherwise.