Adventure in Where Is the Damn Cereal Aisle

Guess who doesn’t have Lyme Disease! Me. Duh. But no one really thought I did. But now it’s confirmed. 

  
Yesterday, I was getting the most groceries for the least dollars. I only grabbed a basket. It was a mistake. I needed milk and toilet paper. That was future Hayley’s problem. I had a list. I have to have a list now. I was at the end of the trip. I had my toilet paper. I had my milk. CEREAL. It wasn’t on my list. But I saw it on a sign and needed it. Then. I forgot where I saw the sign. I walked by every aisle. I didn’t see it. I turned. “Cereal.” It’s right there. On the sign. I adjusted my basket. I forgot where I saw the sign. I walked by every aisle. I read the signs. No cereal. Where is cereal? “Cereal.”  I walked toward the sign. I dropped the toilet paper. I picked up the toilet paper.  What was I going to get? Where’s the cereal? This happened maybe two more times. It lasted over three minutes. Finally, I walked into the soup aisle. Sat on the floor. And cried. For a while. I picked up my basket, milk, and toilet paper. I went to the register with tears all over my face and shirt. The blonde teenage boy tried not to stare. He rang me up. I paid. “ILIKEYOURHAIR!” He shouted as I walked away. “Thanks,” I said as I started to cry again. I got in the car and drove home. I dropped my groceries on the kitchen floor. I sprawled out on the kitchen floor and cried. Amidst the cereal-less groceries. 

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phones are quite difficult

We got up this mornin’ and eventually bummed a ride from Richie into New Castle and then took a bus to Belfast. We spent the day wishing we knew what we were doing.

Belfast, while beautiful, is pretty much all under construction. I tried rather unsuccessfully to call 3 different people about 40 times a piece.  No dice.  I finally got Malcolm and Alexis’ answering machine, but ya know, what good is that? None good. That’s how many.

We met some nice people at a coffee shop called Charlies and got invited to their “open mic” night thinger.  Nice folk, that Karen and Jerry. Nice folk.

We wandered like crazies around Belfast for a few hours. Found a couple of book store. Got a couple of books. Totally mailing my books home before we leave Eire.  Otherwise, ya know, I’ll be faced with the decision of leaving my books behind or my clothes when we go to check in for our next flight.

I always feel like you all want some brilliant anecdote from me during each of these guys.  I won’t lie. I don’t really have any, ever. Thoooough.

This afternoon we found a vintage clothing store called “The Rusty Zip” (that’s zipper for you yanks).  Children in a toy store. Everything was so hideous or outrageous or smelly and still so fabulous.  It took us a bit but eventually we were trying on all sorts of outrageous outfits we’d put together. (Pictures to come upon my return).  Nothing terribly funny about that, but you know, it happened. So there’s that. You can chew on it for a while if you want.

We also met a boy called “Matt” from Kentucky who is staying in New Castle. He’s apparently been to Murlough house a few times before. OH! And the team from Taylor gets here Thursday. I learned this morning, when I was snooping around the house, that Kathryn, Elise’s old roommate, is totally one of the people coming.  Hooray for knowing people!

Lord knows what we’ll do tomorrow. Where we’ll go. Who we’ll see. Will Hayley ever get a hold of Ruth?  Will May ever call Hayley?  Will Bethany want to do something besides shop? And why are cities in the U.K. so insistant on having ferris wheels? All this and more next time on “A Broad Abroad.”

Alright there, Harry?

Oh. P.S. Have something for Sleeves. You’re welcome. Though I admit it’s a bit lame. But whatever.

P.P. (teehee) S. If you happen to be a Skype user you may catch me on there from time to time at the name “hayleypants” That is all.

waking up late is “well bad.”

We’re presently in the house of John and Bea Rhodes in Maccelsfield, England about 20 minutes outside of Manchester.  

But since we’d been without power for a bit I’ll tell you about two nights ago. 

We went down the street and met a few interesting characters. (There’s that meet everyone you can McIlveen gene, Mom).  Two girls from France, a boy called Iviu from Corsica, Jared from South Africa, Johnny from Manchester, and Craig from London. We were entertained by Iviu trying to practice his English. We made a trip to a curry house down the street from where we met them and spent a couple of hours with them laughing about cultural differences and country stereotypes.  Craig bore a striking resemblance to Jon Stewart in his younger years.  And Jared, some of you will be interested to know, was a Jason Latino looking fellow, though with a bit less hair. (Here are my details I’ve recorded about the evening in my journal)

“We talked for a bit before laughing at a 20-year-old Corsican boy called Iviu. Next thing we knew Iviu was sitting at our table practicing his English under the guidance of his Jason-Latino-looking flatmate Jared who hailed from Capetown, South Africa. Jared was a funny guy with a more pronounced face than Jason’s, he was also a bit slighter than Jason. After a bit Jared left us with charge of Iviu to help him work on his English. The language barrier was vast but manageable.  The whole event was, of course, entertaining. Around 10 we were invited to join Iviu, Jared, and four others at a curry house.  The 8 of us sat around the table laughing at our cultural differences and similarities, speaking in outrageous stereotyped generalizations, about stupid Americans, snooty Brits, goat-loving Corsicans, homosexual South Africans, and Rude Frenchies.  Johnny, an attractive and typical-looking British man from Manchester, spoke humorously about how thick Americans are. He sat closely to the French and beautiful Geraldine, who was not at all “I hate you for being here” like I thought she’d be.  In fact, she and I had a few silent jokes through eye contact.  Across from Geraldine sat Craig who was of London about 18 years and a young Jon Stewart minus the comb over and a longer face. He kept his 30-something self closely wrapped around the shoulders of Matild, another beautiful Frenchwoman who insisted we come out with them to Pink Rubee. Se was not as chatty as Geraldine and spoke mainly in French. Next to her sat Jared who while perhaps not being as attractive as Johnny or Craig caught my eye first. Perhaps because he was in his late 20s and hardly any hair or because he did remind me so much of Latino at his chattiest or because I simply did notice him first at any rate.  I sat next to him over Iviu as Iviu had much set his eyes on Bethany. I wish we’d met them sooner. It was just good to be with people.”

Next morning we waited around for ages to be checked out of our powerless hostel.  Then we caught the second train to Maccelsfield which was delayed because a plane crashed on the rail.  Whoops. Tragically three people were killed. Eventually though we made it there instead of having to get off nowhere near where we needed to be like they said would happen.

Had a lovely home-cooked meal last night.  I’d forgotten really how great the Rhodes are.  Chris reminds me so much in his appearance and mannerisms of a friend of mine. Won’t say which. (Brett, he reminds me of Collin. Think you’re the only one who knows who that is that’s reading this)

It’s been fun though.  We went driving through the countryside of Maccelsfield and Buxton today and it was absolutely gorgeous.  It was the England I wanted to see.  The rolling hills with walls around all the fields and the foot paths all over.  We took a stop at a chapel near Buxton just passed Bottom of the Alphabet called Jenkin Chapel where a scene from Pride and Prejudice was shot.  It was remarkably old and remarkably still in use.  

Last night we went out with Chris and about four of his friends. It was quite fun.  Bethany got scolded by the bar maid. Ask her about it.

Went into Manchester today with Bea and John.  Did a fair bit of shopping at Selfridges (bought you something, Lindsay).  Then met up with Chris and went to dinner. 

Back at the house now, watching Hot Fuzz. Simon Pegg. So good to be in the land of Simon Pegg. He was on the Sunday Night Project last night (which was a rerun obviously) and Simon Pegg was on it. Great, eh?

I should say more, but my thoughts aren’t too reasonable. But I will say that if I lived in this country I’d want to live i an area like the one we’re in now. Didn’t much care for what I’ve seen of London. I love the rolling country and the wonderful places to walk and just smell the air.  I could barely stop smiling today at the beauty of it all.  And John with his constant fun fact commentary of history and interesting grand details.

I’m wide awake; it’s morning

tLet me begin by saying I came back to the room exhausted. I could barely stand anymore. I briefly slept for about an hour. Well, now it’s 4 am and I hate that nap.

Anyway.

Overall today was an exciting day.

After I got sleepypants out of bed we headed off to Kilburn station, which was a lot farther away than Willesden Green, but we go a little lost. We took the Jubilee line to Green Park station and then took the Piccadilly to Piccadilly Circus station, which thankfully was not a real circus. 

This put us right in the heart of Soho.  We wandered around the area for some time. Went to a few shops. Went to a mall. (Dirk, I have something for you). ALSO! Dirk! I saw that boombox bag today. There was a yellow one and a white one and wee black one. They actually had connections for you ipod in them as well and had speakers. only 19.99 pound.  

Eventually we ran out of open places to go so we stopped in a cafe where we found someone who didn’t hate us at all for being American.  We were standing outside the cafe looking in deciding whether or not to go in because it seemed full. The owner opens the door and says, “Come on then, ladies, we’ll make room.” We walk in. He moves a woman there by herself to a smaller table and seats us at her table.  We order our food and he brings out to us. He was actually quite great. We paid and he asked us how long we were there for and what we were doing for New Years.  We told him. He said that he hoped to see us again before we left, but if he didn’t happy new years anyway. Sweet man.

After some more wandering we finally got to get into the gorgeous Palace Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue to see Monty Python’s Spamalot. Now, I expected nothing less than fantasmic, and I got so much more. Even in my exhausted state I fell in love with the characters, laughed out loud numerous times, and oh, did I mention we were in the front row. Three rows back and I’d have been called on stage. The Lady of the Lake was superb. She was a Swedish woman who won the Swedish/Spamalot version of the show in America where people were trying to get on Grease. She was perfect. Her timing was excellent. Her voice was phenomenal. Also, a little surprisingly she was not a small woman.  I mean she was no cow, but she was about my shape (plus butt) and a little taller. I was surprised.  Lancelot and Gallahad had me wondering the whole performance. They both seemed so familiar.  But strangely enough my heart belonged to Patsy by the end of the show. He was spot on. I could not have been more pleased.

When the show ended we fought the massive crowds back to the subway and got home quite quickly. I think we’re finally getting a hold of this underground business. Tomorrow will be a new test.

Tomorrow we’re going to Oxford, which means to get there we’re also going to King’s Cross. Platform 9 3/4 this way. Now we have to get ourselves to the station and THEN figure out how to get to Oxford.

I think there’s a very distinct possibility that by the end of this trip I’ll have lost a fair bit of weight. We walk so much and we eat about a meal and a half a day, if we remember our half. Can’t argue with that kind of success, eh?  Then maybe I can start dressing like the women of London who all seem to have embarrassingly not called each other in the morning to make sure they didn’t all wear the same thing. They all seem to be sporting leggings and calf high boots with the tiniest mini skirts. And some other outrageous shirt. I saw a girl tonight in a dress, no that’s not fair to dresses. In this shirt that just covered her bum. Sleeveless. And boots. WHAT?! It’s 30 degrees! They’re all wearing this outfit though. Except for all the black women I’ve seen. We’re dressed much like them. Jeans. Shirts with sleeves. Sweaters. People clothes, not doll clothes. Oh well.

I also need to call John and Bea tomorrow after we figure out what time our train gets to Manchester to let them know when we’re coming.  We check out of our room on Friday at 9:30am, so we’ll probably be in Manchester by about 11:30 depending on the train schedule. 

oi, Mum, wanna drop a few extra bucks on my card, just in case?  Lovelove

 

Happy New Year, everyone. Make better choices in 2009. K?