I haven't had a free moment to! Truth is, I still don't. So I'll be brief, in the hopes that some day I'll be able to update in greater depth.
I managed to pack everything into my Very Small Luggage (of Holding). If I had it to do again, I could pack even less.
London was fabulous. I felt like I was home from the moment we landed at Heathrow (by this I mean that I felt that London was home; not Heathrow). We did three London Walks (two were excellent; one sucked arse). We went on the Eye. My camera died on a pubwalk.
Birmingham was fabulous. I went to a trade show (woooot.)
Stoke-on-Trent was fabulous for the whole hour I spent there, even with the strange schizophrenic man talking to me in some language that sounded almost, but not entirely, unlike any English I know. I picked up this book, and started underlining with my four-colour bic on the way back to the trade show. I haven't touched it since. Despite the fact that I was quite geekily pouring over a Perl book in the quiet car, a strange Frenchman toting a bicycle felt compelled to flirt with me and talk about camping and leap year love.
Edinburgh was fabulous. I picked up "aye." It's an insidious little word. Paul was about ready to kill me by my third day of using it. Our room had a perfect view of the castle. Unfortunately it also overlooked Edinburgh's busiest party street on a six nations weekend. The castle was all I expected. The Real Mary King's Close was awesome. So was our ghostwalk. And Valentine's lunch here was grand.
Wickham was fabulous.
Leixlip was also fabulous. The town is rich in history, and the B&B we stayed at was outrageously luxurious. It definitely had the biggest rooms and the biggest bed I'd ever seen. And it was just a twenty minute bus ride from Dublin. I'd give my left pinky toe to stay there again.
Dublin was a dirty old town full of drunken bastards and I can't wait to go back, so there. We made the trek to
Paul wanted to get me a claddagh ring in Dublin. Can you believe that there weren't any claddagh rings in the jewelry district of Dublin? We must have gone to ten stores. I know it's more of a Galway thing, but dayamn. We'd figured it just wasn't meant to be until we got to the airport... where we found a jewelry store with a large selection. I chose a lovely white gold one with three little sparkly emeralds. I'll take a photo when I get a new camera.
Paul's colleagues and guides-- John (in England) and Jim (Scotland and Dublin)-- were both terribly nice. I was genuinely happy to have spent time with them. Through them I got to see Dublin's (Leixlip's, really) Intel Fab Plant and a company that makes hunormous magnets for the MRI industry. They showed me one that was 11 Tesla. 11 TESLA!! I think I may have been the only person there who really grokked what that meant. They had other neat things in development there, too, which appealed to the geekier side of me.
Oh, and I didn't shop hardly at all, except for books. And two issues of my new favourtest magazine, New Scientist. Hm. I think my geekiness has been pretty firmly established.
And that's it! I mean, I'm sure there's more, but those are the basics. Oh, and I ate a lot of wonderful fantastic out of this world food (and regret it not one bit!).
Maxman was happy to see me :) He'd stayed with M and her
Since my return, I've already done five loads of laundry, gone through all my mail, paid my bills, worked two nine-hour days, researched and chosen my next camera, gone food shopping, had a full night's rehearsal, blah blah blah blah blah. I even made another Monster Salad for lunch tomorrow (leafy greens, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, blue cheese, swiss and cheddar, cucumber, baby carrots, sprouts and more).
And now I shall sleep.
Hope everyone is well and happy :) Hugs to those who need 'em, those who want 'em, and those who don't run away quickly enough.
While I yearn to return to the UK already, I can say in the same breath that it's still good to be back.
I'd missed you, you know.