Today we learned a little more about life in a small-ish town in England. Here is a list of what we learned.
1.Water/plumbing situation - Modern plumbing has not arrived in England, apparently the boat with plumbers on it that left America in 1922 never made it. In the upstairs bathroom sink, the hot water comes out of a tap on the left hand side of the sink, and the cold water comes out of its own tap on the right. There's no warm to speak of; you'd have to run your hands back and forth from the Fire of Hades water over to the Glacial Run-off side and back. The kitchen tap is a little better - it comes out of the same tap, but you can still feel the hot side and the cold side if you think about it. The shower water fluctuates between those two temperatures, although Tim's answer to that is to leave the hot water tap in the sink running to moderate how much hot water gets to the shower. An American plumber would make a mint over here, selling our new-fangled pipe systems.
2. Sheep - they're everywhere and they are so picturesque it's almost unreal. If Hollywood wanted to stage Pastoral England, they'd take some grass and sprinkle it with sheep. In real life, it's not a sprinkle of sheep - they're everywhere. And here's what you don't know - so is the smell. I haven't particularly noticed it, but apparently during certain season, farmers (or someone, I guess) spreads slurry on the fields. As my dad so quaintly puts it, "I don't care what they call it, it's still poop." But the sheep are still cute. My brother Drew just moved here and both he and my mom have had scary driving moments because they were distracted by the sheep. My dad came home from hiking with Brad and told us about the cutest little lamb he saw. You just don't have those conversations in Orem.
3. Just An Old Church - We went into downtown Harrogate today and looked around the shops. I mentioned yesterday that it is the Main Street that every modern city is trying to replicate, and it is, although according to dad it's only from the turn of the century. So that's still, what, 80 or 100 years old? The buildings are stone or brick and most of them have that weathered, soot-streaky look that says "Ye Olde Building" and I love it. We passed an old church that was just so pretty I had to ask my mom what it was called. She replied, "That's just an old church." Old pretty churches are a dime a dozen around here, so many that they don't even merit any more than "just an old church." I love that, too.
4. Speed Limit - I drove with Drew and his wife Kim to Fountains Abbey yesterday, and they gave me a little education about driving in England. Kim had just passed her drivers license test, but Drew was the only one insured to drive their rental car, even though he hadn't taken the test yet. Between them, they are one whole legal driver. The speed limit on these twisty little two lane roads is like 60 miles an hour (although I'm sure they do it in kilometers; Drew was translating it into american for my sake). Dad says that there aren't even too many accidents, either, even with such an insane speed limit. Maybe people are aware that they are driving too fast, so they are more conscious about it. Or maybe seeing the sheep triggers some kind of "hey, pay attention, dope" reflex.
5. Crossing The Street - Driving on the other side of the street is just as bizarre a feeling as I thought it would be (even though I'm just the passenger), but I didn't expect crossing the street to be different. Generally, you are accustomed to looking the way that traffic is most likely to hit you before you step off the curb and maybe take a cursory glance in the other direction. Beware, though - chances are you are looking leisurely off into the distance while you step straight into oncoming traffic. You'll only notice when you make the routine, just out of habit, over-your-shoulder look - right at the car that's driving 60 and about to hit you. I now take jaywalking much more seriously.
6. Kick About - We had just finished dinner and were going to eat some of the ice cream that Drew and Kim had brought over (which is not nearly as good as American ice cream, btw - they've got our butts kicked in ambiance but we've got the corner market on ice cream) when there was a knock on the front door. A little boy was standing outside and said "I saw a boy come into your house and I wondered if he'd kick about with me." Brad was called over and asked if he wanted to "kick about" which means kick a soccer ball around, with this boy named James. He did, and so did Noah, so they left - without eating their ice cream, I might add, and not out of protest for the ice cream, just because they were happy to play with someone. Isn't that sweet? I went out a little bit later to see what they were doing, and I think Noah might have been having a little more fun than Brad - James was 9 and Noah loves playing with older kids. I took a picture of them playing with their ripsticks and James' skateboard.
Zack is playing in a little pavillion area in Harrogate.
A little gazebo at the far end of the pavillion area. The other end had a statue. I'm thinking Orem has a serious lack of statues. Although maybe we are too uncultured to be trusted with them - remember the head of the Christ statue getting stolen from the Orem Cemetary last year?
This picture (and the next few) are the shopping area in Harrogate. So quaint, I love it.
This was a not-so-good picture of the "just an old church" in Harrogate.
Okay, I must have really liked this pavillion area. The big building behind it is a shopping mall. I don't know what it used to be, it's too pretty to have started life as a mall. That's the first building I saw when we got off the train here yesterday - good first impression.
I'm looking a little bleached out here - I could have used some lipstick and jewelry and some liposuction, too. I was thinking this morning that I'm going to hate all of these pictures of myself on this trip because I still have baby weight to lose. So I decided I'm just going to have to come back when I'm thin again!
Coming up tomorrow: York, and tea at Betty's. And I need to eat some British food, just to say that I have.