Having just finished watching the new version of Pride and Prejudice (with Kiera Knightley), I feel freshly invigorated and inspired to continue my reflections upon England. However, having just finished watching the new version of Pride and Prejudice (with Kiera Knightley), I also feel myself somewhat indisposed to rant at even more length than usual.
If I still manage to keep this at a reasonable length, I shall expect much adulation from my faithful readership.
I did not discover the loss of all my money until I reached Oxford and tried to pay for my lodging. My friend had met up with my by this time, and by way of consolation offered to buy me a drink at the Eagle and Child, otherwise referred to as The Bird and Baby by its former patrons, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. A drink by this time would have done me much good, but it did me even better when it was coupled with the thought of spending time in the same place where two of my favorite authors used to meet. She bought me a pint of English Cider, which is supposed to be only about as strong as a beer, but as I had not a lot to eat that day, and was rather worn out physically and emotionally from waking up at five in the morning, changing time zones, trucking my luggage around London all day, and having my pocket picked, it did rather more to my head than I believe it should have. This is not to say I was at all seriously intoxicated, only that it felt like I was not wearing my glasses even when I was, and my notoriously bad balance grew slightly worse when I stood up. (I did stand up, however, and was able to walk straight.) Regardless, after my drink, the world did seem a much nicer place.
The funny thing about British pubs, at least my brief experience of them, is that it seems perfectly acceptable and normal for complete strangers to strike up friendly conversation with each other, if neither party is part of a large group, and if both are situated reasonably near each other in the room. Shortly after my friend had returned with my cider, and we had begun a comfortable conversation about anything not involving the loss of three hundred dollars, an older man probably between sixty and seventy years of age joined us in our very small room, and seated himself at a nearby table. I assumed he was waiting for a friend, and so thought nothing more of him till he broke in (with a wonderfully quaint Oxford English accent) with the line “I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help but overhear…” and then took off on our thread of topic, adding his advice, recommendations, and business card to the conversation. We chatted for a few minutes and were presently joined by a younger man about forty years old. I expected the older gentleman to greet him as an old friend and leave me and my friend to our chatting, but instead he turned to him and said, “So by your accent I would guess you come from Denmark.”
And (surprise surprise!) I am going to break off there. Suddenly, I am very tired. I think it had to do with spending the afternoon cooking a supplementary Thanksgiving meal for my German family. It was a very small sort of Thanksgiving meal, because I was doing it all myself, but it did involve Chicken and Dumplings, Cranberry Muffins (minus fresh cranberries-I had to use dried cranberries which were inexplicably flavored orange. Why anyone would buy cranberries if they did not want cranberry-flavored cranberries is beyond me…), Waldorf Salad, and Pecan Pie (a la mode.) Everything went very well and was greatly enjoyed, much to my satisfaction. Particularly the pie. Apparently pecans are not sold regularly in Germany, and can only be found when Lidl does an American Day special. I did not realize pecans were American, but that puts pecan pie comfortably in the list of great American foods along with pumpkin pie, peanut butter cookies, and anything with cranberries.
Coming up: The Youth Hostel, Blenheim Palace, and English Cream Tea!