Sunday, November 11, 2001

Sunday Bath Time

Sunday Bath Time

Saturday night’s hysterics were no different then Friday nights with the exception of guests in the hallways. Sleep was a mere memory after two nights with limited rest, but we had the train ride today to look forward to.

After breakfast, we threw our things into the suitcases, which by now you would think everything would just jump into the suitcases automatically by now. No such luck! The train station was only six blocks away, no sweat.

The train was in the station when we arrived so we boarded and got comfortable. Within minutes, I had my head nestled into the wing rests at the top of the seats and was napping comfortably. Train motion is better than being rocked in a cradle for falling asleep. Every once in awhile I would open my eyes to see the scenery, but decided that dreamland was more scenic at the moment and back to napping I would go. We had to change trains at the last stop of this line, so there was no concern about falling asleep and missing our station.

Ron was sitting across from me and was reading most of the time, since he benefited from more sleep than I did the night before. At one point, I opened my eyes and he was gone. Since he disappears often, I did not give it a thought and went back to sleep. Ron is notorious for wandering off without saying a word, even when I am awake. It is a constant guessing game trying to figure our where he went off to and when he will return. Something catches his eye and he has to go investigate. When I woke the second time, he was still not there. Neither time did I check my watch, so I did not know if I had been asleep for five minutes or an hour. I used to get these sinking feelings in my stomach that he got off of the train to get a soda or have a cigarette while we were in a station and the train has left without him. He has tried this race the train’s departure stunt in the past and won only by a slim margin. I was confident that past experience was a wise teacher, but one never knows. It is not an uncommon thought for me to picture seeing Ron running along side the train while I am cozy in my seat waving both of our train tickets in my hand. “See you at the next station, I will wait for you there”, I yell to him in my daydream. Deciding not to worry about him since he is an adult, I went back to snoozing. If he did not appear by the time I woke for the third time, three was not a charm and I would have to organize my befuddled mind and think of what to do next. He appeared.

We made our connection by a matter of two minutes. I waited with the luggage in the station at Bristol, while Ron went to get the schedule of the next train. It was sitting on the track ready to go. Each with a suitcase in hand, we went flying down the hallway and up the flight of stairs to the platform to our train. It was crowded, so I stood and watched the luggage. It was only one stop to Bath. It was not a long trip, so it was not a bother.

When we arrived, Ron wanted to get a ‘spot of tea’ before venturing to the B & B, which promised they were only a ten minute walk from the station. We found a little café a block away from the station. On the wall, there were signs advertising what they were serving. One of the signs shouted out at me, “Spotted Dick with Cream”. Now, how could anyone pass up an opportunity to like this? So I said to Ron, that is what I want and laughed. Then I pointed to a frosted tart on the counter and said I will have this with tea. Sitting at the table with the luggage, Ron was ordering our teas and snacks. When he returned, he set down two mugs of tea and then went back for our treats. He returns with two bowls swimming in cream custard.

I said, “What is this? Where is my tart?”

Ron responded with “You wanted a Spotted Dick, didn’t you? Well that is a Spotted Dick covered in yellow custard.”

To which I explained that I had said that, but then pointed to the tart. Having never heard of a spotted dick even after teaching Human Sexuality for twelve years, who could pass up the opportunity to actually eat a spotted dick and then to be able to write about it? Under other circumstances I would resist the temptation, but the restaurant looked like it passed its health inspection. Ron couldn’t resist either; he had to taste my spotted dick so that he too could say he has eaten one. Now for those of you who will never try eating a spotted dick unless they change the name or the recipe, it is a cake roll with suet in it, then topped with custard. In this case the custard was necessary since the cake was rather dry feeling. This was the most humorous teatime we have had. When we were in Scotland, there was a dish called ‘Tatties and Nips” often on the menu. From the name alone, I would not try it. I had visions of some large chested women having to feed it to me. It turned out to be a mix of mashed potatoes and turnips, not as adventurous as it sounds.

When we left the café, there was a hot air balloon sailing in the horizon, which would not be too outstanding a sight, except there was no pilot’s basket. There was a person hanging from the balloon without a basket to surround him or her. This person has more chutzpah then I could ever hope to have. With my fear of heights, I can’t even stand ladders. Off he or she went into the sunset without any signs of stress. As we walked back to the train station to take the pedestrian tunnel to the B & B, we saw three more balloons and similar balloonists following the winds.

The guesthouse owners did not lie in their assessment of the time it would take to walk here from the station. It was only ten minutes to get to the door. A very friendly gentleman who owns this the Radnor Guesthouse with his wife and their twelve year-old cat, Poley met us at the door. Our room is spacious with a double bed and also a twin, a bay window with a padded window seat, three end tables, and a bar with all of the makings for hot chocolate, coffee, or tea. The bathroom has a well-equipped shower, which I give a four star rating. This is definitely a woman decorated room as it has a flower border all around the room that matches the fabric on the window seats. The drapes, bedspreads, and table lampshades are color coordinated. And God bless these people, the radiators are not just for decoration. They actually use them.

Bath in the evening is charming. After our nap, it was dark and we walked the streets after Ron perused the map that Mr. Guesthouse owner gave him upon entering. It was like there was a secret pact decided upon, prior to arriving that the first tactical event would be the presentation of the map when we crossed the threshold. Maybe it was a case of one map lover recognizing another, whatever. We found our way to the town center where the abbey was dramatically lit along with the old Roman Bath and other key tourist sites. My first priority was to get to the Internet café to get off the last chapter. Ron’s priority was a pint overlooking the abbey. After the first Internet café announced that they were closing early, I ceded to the beer first.

By the time we read the e-mails and sent off the chapter, it had become over an hour later. Being Sunday, being a small city, there were not many businesses open. The young man at the Internet café said our chances were slim for finding a place to eat dinner. He had no suggestions. We tried a couple of pubs, but they had stopped serving food much earlier in the day. We finally became lucky with the Garfunkel’s hotel where we were able to satiate the pangs of hunger with hamburgers and tea.

We walked back to the B & B crossing back over the bridge that straddles the Avon River. Come morning, we had to call Lynne and Mike, the last two of our Egypt cruise friends we had yet to connect with and make arrangements for later Monday evening. Then we had to call Anne and Bruce in London, to make sure they received the e-mail that we want to pick up the tonnage in suitcases for further eastward adventurous moves. Although the street the B & B is on is a major street, the traffic slows down considerably in the later evening and it is peacefully quiet and comfortable for deep slumber.

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