May 25, 2008 in England, Europe, Travelogue

< ![CDATA[  Bank Holidays are a bit of an enigma to us. Why does the bank get a holiday and why two since we've gotten here? According to the family camped near us there are only three per year... so we seem to be "lucky." A byproduct of Bank Holiday is that the whole country grinds to a halt and everyone goes camping. Or so it seems. All of the campgrounds ahead of us are booked solid for the long weekend, so we find ourselves camped at a fishing reservoir with a .3 mile walk to the bath house and showers for four nights. Could be worse. We could still be camped behind the pub like the homeless people we are! The kids are happy enough. A family group with five boys of just the right ages have set up residence next to us and their boys have taken it upon themselves to school ours in "football" which confuses Ez as it looks just like soccer to him! The wind is fierce and our little green tent whips wildly about us all night long. We're happy to be warm and dry inside. The rain has sprinkled a bit on and off, nothing too serious. The positives about the little town of East Retford include a lovely market square, which today is full of life and carpet sellers among other things. We spent two pounds on a plastic tub full of succulent olives marinated by the charming ladies selling them. Just the thing to add to our lunch of "Jesus bread," as the kids call the big loaves we tear apart by hand... like Jesus... and salami. We're looking for a church to attend tomorrow, with more attention to architecture than denominational flavor, we freely admit. Since we're marooned we're making a bit of a game of exploring the town, looking for little trifles, like a patch for Hannah's rain coat, and taking great delight in our daily shopping routines. Tony has been happy to top up his gas supply for our camp stoves from another generator running neighbour nearby. It seems that most British "petrol" stations have rules against filling up our little 1L fuel containers. This presents an irritating challenge for us once every three days or so. At the moment I'm sitting beneath a HUGE screen TV, one of about ten within my view with images blaring but no sound. The American Oldies are playing loudly. The children are playing UNO. I take that back. We interrupt this travelogue for a real time cultural experience: The oldies abruptly ended. All big screen TVs all of a sudden synchronized to a British "football" match and the sound is deafening, game coverage from EVERY direction. The pub has fallen silent and the patrons are worshipping the national pastime and their sports gods. We have now experienced football frenzy! You were here for it! The kids are still playing UNO. Tony and Meg, at a distant table with their coffee, shared a long distance laugh with me as the whole atmosphere of the pub changed. Welcome to England! With the shift in noise level, I suppose it's time to go back out into the cold wind and cycle back to camp. We are still trying to sort out the train routes north to try to make up some of the time we've lost to Bank Holidays. I've been looking into our ferry passage to Amsterdam and am a bit depressed to find it quite a bit more costly than I'd projected a year ago. So it goes, I suppose. It's just money, right? The kids are quite keen for the ferry, and I haven't even told them they'll get to sleep on it! They'll be beyond themselves with excitement when they discover that!]]>