Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Bath on Foot

Bath on Foot

Our hosts at the B & B are really delightful. This is the first time we have had fresh fruit salad as well as organic yogurt for breakfast along with the traditional eggs, sausage, bacon, mushroom, baked beans, stewed tomato, and toast. That is more than a truck driver needs for the day. We picked and chose what we wanted, but by this time, a full breakfast was out of the question. Ron finally had the option for a poached egg. He has been wanting and needing some change. I have long nixed the mushrooms, the tomato, the fried toast (some fry bread like French toast without the egg), and the sausage.

It took us two hours at the Internet catching up on e-mail, checking and paying bills, and checking accommodation options for our next jaunts. The closer we get to Christmas and New Years, the more imperative it is that we book in advance. It is really not fitting with my stay in the moment philosophy, but sometimes you do need to plan ahead. One of the e-mails was from my Aunt Carolyn. I did have two relatives from Ireland, a great grandfather and another similarly close relation. I hope she has all of this information on her computer. I keep saving her e-mails, but I seem to be getting this family heritage in tidbits. My father has since forgotten any family relations beyond Michelle and her children, so Aunt Carolyn is the only family historian we have on my Dad’s side.

We had a very simple agenda for the day and that was just to walk back to some of the places we had seen on the walking tour and look a little closer. We walked back to the Crescent and the Circus. On Great Pulteney Street, we were tempted to peak in Lynne and Mike’s flat since they admitted their favorite passtime is to peek into other’s windows to see how they decorate. Unfortunately, we would have needed a ladder and that is probably the only thing we did not pack to bring with us. At the end of their street on the corner, there is something that can only be described as a toy rescue. In the basement patio area, there are about two hundred different toys of all kinds, but many of them are stuffed. One of them is a giant snowman that looks like he has seen his share of the worst weather and pollution over a number of years. There were some signs about helping charity, but it was not clear what the cause was. Evidently, people throw coins down there on the toys. Supposedly, over three thousand pounds have been collected and donated to various charities, thus far.

Along one side of the river is a river walk built for the market place. There used to be docks there where people could bring in their goods for sale. The river has twenty-nine locks and by the market area, there are steps in the river that gives a waterfalls effect. Along this walk is a little café that tall ones like us have to duck to enter. One of the many options was a potato bake with salad. Assuming it was a baked potato, I ordered it, while Ron ordered falafel with salad. We did not realize that the restaurant was a vegetarian one, but it was more evident when the food came. The accompanying salads were the most comprehensively assembled mix of vegetables we have ever had in a restaurant. My potato turned out to be a casserole with mashed potatoes, scallions, and other spices with melted cheese and tomatoes on top. After enjoying the salad, I could only eat a fraction of the casserole, but Ron enjoyed a portion of it.

Our cozy room at the B & B was a perfect resting, typing place after a day in the cold. That is exactly what we did until it was time to meet Mike and Lynne at the theater. The show was a one-man performance about an older single man who lived with his elderly mother to care for her. The stage was on a carousel and revolved to change from the entry hall to the living room. As the play opens, it is obvious that she had recently passed away and he was aimless and lonely since his life revolved around her. He has a sister, who converted to Judaism to marry her husband and from his perspective, this put a rift in the family relations. Lesley, the character and his mother did not have a telephone, television, or any other modern necessities. He mixed his grief over his mother’s declining heath and subsequent death along with complaints about his sister’s lack of contact and compassion.

In the second act, the same actor played his sister Maureen. She was in the kitchen giving her complaints about how she viewed her brother and mother’s relationship. She complained that her brother was too frugal to have a telephone and how she would have called often if they had one. After about ten minutes, it then became evident that Lesley had now passed away and Maureen was mourning the loss of her brother and mother and also what all three of them could have had, but missed out on due to none of them compromising.

The sole actor is a regular in the British comedy, ‘Coronation Street’, a show with a thirty-year history and still going strong. He was believable as both characters and did a magnificent job of evoking every imaginable emotion in the audience. It was a well worth seeing and we were thankful to Mike and Lynne for inviting us to be their guests.

After the play, we went to a pub for a drink. The pub was busy and we were practically screaming at each other to hear. After a few quick gulps of our drinks, we abandoned the rest to find another pub that was more conducive for conversation and found it a block away. We were able to sit and talk without feeling like we were shouting at each other. At one point, this young man came over to our table and showed Mike a game card he had where he had to answer three questions correctly in order to win a free Guinness beer. He had successfully answered the first two, but was stuck on the third. He wanted our assistance. It turns out he was from Dublin and was doing some contract work here in Bath. He is twenty-one and his wife was pregnant and due any day. Lynne took advantage of the opportunity to ask him what the Irish eat on St. Patrick’s Day. He responded with “Who eats? We start drinking in the morning and continue until the pubs close at night. It is a perfectly good reason to celebrate.” Lynne told him about the corned beef and cabbage and he turned his nose up in the air. He confirmed that this is an American tradition that did not originate in the Ireland that he is familiar with. He said “My mum used to make me eat cabbage when I was a kid, but I hated it.” It was one in the morning when we said our good-byes and final thanks to Lynne and Mike. Poor Mike had to leave for work at six in the morning. We had two magnificent evenings sharing their company. This completed our circle of meeting up with all of the wonderful people that we met and became friendly with on the Egypt cruise. You could not ask for nicer people, they are all gracious, generous, caring, and giving.

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