With all the Canadian celebrities there are, I've never thought much on how how I feel about Canadians -- all seemed a decent lot to me; however, after flying Air Canada, I've a new perspective, and I now lean more toward the opinion that they're cold and unfriendly.
From Heathrow, we rode the Express to Paddington station
and then went on a relaxing train ride through the English countryside to Paignton, Torbay in the southwest. Everyone deserves to take some time from their day to enjoy the English countryside.
We trekked, the wrong way, and then the right way to our lodgings -- the Wulfruna Hotel, a tiny, yet comfortable place run by a lady named Wendy.
The weather was gorgeous -- sunny and warm with a lovely breeze from the harbor, which rests directly across the street from our hotel, though the 'hotel' is really more a bed and breakfast than an actual hotel. Heather described the weather differently from me -- cloudy and cool/cold -- and did not find it so wonderful, though the differences may be found in where we each grew up: me in a valley of Virginia surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, Heather in a quaint beach town of southern California.
Paignton is a darling place; across the harbor lies another of the beach towns this way of England called Torquay (pronounced 'tor-kee'). Many people are about, a healthy mix of locals and visitors. Heather and I ate dinner at a tapas-style place called Olive. For the uneducated, such as I was, tapas is Spanish for 'small meal'; the idea is to order three or four items, which are small samplings, to create a meal. The samplings can be shared amongst everyone at the table. The food at Olive (including the Rockslide Brownie) was delicious, but the service -- I think they forgot we were there most of the time. At one point, waiting an eternity for our check, I almost threw some cash on the table and walked out.
* (This next bit is a bit long and boring, so feel free to skip down to the next asterisk below.) Let me explain the confusion and frustration. In England, when one eats at a pub/bar, you order and pay at the bar, and then someone brings your food to the table; you may either pay as you go or ask the bartender to give you a tab. As an American and someone not used to this, I find it all a little confusing and intimidating. Restaurants operate as restaurants everywhere do -- you're seated, you order, you eat, you receive a check/tab and pay.
Olive (the place we ate at) had two options: eat on the terrace for which you would pay as you go, or eat inside for which we had to wait to be seated. Heather and I were given a table. Everything was going as is normal in a restaurant. The table behind us was given a check, so we assumed, our check would also be brought to us. I ended up going to the servery, as they called it, and paying.*
So our biggest...um, 'adventure' since arriving in England has been the toilet in our ensuite at Wulfruna! Apparently British plumbing is designed for the sole purpose of making spoiled Americans feel like total eejits. We were pushing the handle on the toilet as we would in America, but the toilet, alas, was not flushing. After reading a few articles/blogs on the internet - thank you once again Google -- I finally figured out (for the most part) how to flush our bloody toilet so that we didn't, with much shame and embarrassment, have to ask our proprietor. So today, Monday the 22nd, as I write this, I am thankful for being able to flush a British toilet and for American plumbing.
For those still laughing at the thought of what kind of an idiot can't flush a toilet, Google either "how to flush a toilet in the uk" or "I can't flush the toilet in the uk" -- it is a real issue!
Me and my new pal Paddington Bear
Fairy Cove in Paignton