Finally home again! Our UK trip was amazing and we are still a little dazed. These are my bare bones summaries of those 19 days and hopefully Kate and TeeJei will add their adventures in Glasgow, Liverpool, York, London and Aylesbury! I want to thank Deirdre & Steffi for bringing us over there and for Cherie, Lindsey and Philippa for putting up with me during my travels around the UK.
Random observations: Sunny side up eggs, English plumbing weirdness and not rinsing dishes make the UK seem more foreign than I was expecting. Two out of the four homes I stayed at owned a rabbit (maybe three... Cherie, is there a rabbit at the farm?). Walking fast keeps you warm. You can't ever tell what is going to come out of TeeJei's mouth. Mukluk/UGGs and miniskirts are the height of fashion. I ate more pork in 17 days than I have in the past year. Everyone's houses are very tidy! I love small refridgerators. What is veggie-min and meat-min??? Jet lag sucks. Was asked whether we were Tribal Fusion (mean RB brand) or ATS many times and had a time deciding whether to say both or neither. There really isn't a concept that there are other kinds of Tribal over here in the States.
Thrs Oct 30- me, Kate and TeeJei flew out of Atlanta on a direct flight to Gatwick London-British Airways baby! Didn't sleep well at all.
Fri Oct 31- We got into Gatwick early in the morn and had to learn all about the rail system the hard way (we missed our connecting train at Euston to take us up to Glasgow and got up there two hours late). We had a rough learning curve on pay toilettes, queuing for the train and finding unreserved seats on the train. I had a great time on the train since I got to sit at a table with three other chatty people, everyone wants to know about Obama. One girl is heading up to the lake district to a Halloween party. When we get to the Glasgow train station there are lots of teens running around in costumes, too much fun! I stayed with Dierdre and the girls stayed down the street from the TribalVibe venue with Kate's sister who is attending university there. Neil brought us blissful Indian food and Deirdre had carrot lentil soup ready for us when we get to her house...I lived off that soup that weekend, need to get the recipe!
Sat Nov 1- Up early to teach three classes at TribalVibe North (Technique, Zill Drill and Spins/Level Changes) and then perform at the show. The venue is a great old community building. We love Scottish audiences and want to stay forever. Everyone is always wowed by the candle puja. I think that Deirdre is going to put some of it on YouTube eventually. Tried to see some of the show from the back, saw a good veil fan piece, fun Bollywood, cute boy drummers (TeeJei found another husband...yum).
Sun Nov 2- Up early again to teach more classes today, lots of moaning and groaning in our chilly room for the technique class that morn but everyone was laughing and enjoying it in the end (especially after Neil brought us coffee and tea). There is some sort of West African church service next door to the class and the singing is incredible. The sword duet class went smashingly, had everyone acting like pirates. Deirdre drove me around downtown Glasgow a bit and we ate at my first Wagamama...lovely!!!! Watched Stephen Fry's America (the episode with the bellydancer in it).
Mon Nov 3- Took the train into Glasgow, ate at Wagamama again and spent the day walking around Glasgow, taking a bus tour and way too much time at the only Apple store in Scotland (I hate AT&T) which was around the corner from the Wagamama (there is always a Wagamama around the corner from an Apple store there). Went back to Deirdre's and spent a quiet night planning for the Shewsbury and Inverness trips. Morgan and Ava called from the vet, they were there having BoyCat put to sleep because he had blood coming out of his nose and the vet found a tumor sitting on his kidneys. Deirdre went to her first prenatal yoga class.
Tues Nov 4- Got up and repacked, walked through Pollock Park to the Burrell Collection to see the suzanis. Got horribly lost in a huge wooded park full of museums with no signs once you are inside the park to direct you to them. Just barely caught the train out of Deirdre's neighborhood that got me to the Crewe train on time. Caught the train to Shewsbury at Crewe and sat with the mayor of Wem, the town I was getting off at to stay with Cherie at her husband's family farm, Whixall Hall. The farmhouse smelled just like ours in TN and I was even served country ham (gammon) and eggs for dinner just like home. This is the only part of the UK that felt familiar in a very family way, I can totally believe that this is where my grandmother comes from.
Wed Nov 5- Woke up to the news that Barak Obama is president! Brilliant!
Had a chatty mornng with Cherie about sponsoring workshops and bellydance and lots of other stuff and we walked around the farm a bit. Walked along a canal that was originally part of the big canal system but now it is a nature preserve. Drove into Shrewsbury and parked at Cherie's mom's and walked about. Ate at an old pub and had a COKE in a restaurant (because no corn syrup!!!). Went to a tourist info shop and got a Cadfael tour book. Dropped Cherie at her dress/gift shop and then went to the abbey. It was already closed (everything closes early because it is pitch dark at 4pm!!!) but the part that was interesting to me was the grounds where the dormitory, herb garden and workshop would be...all of Cadfael's turf! Of course all of those parts have been ripped down because any monastery portions of churches were ripped down by Henry the VIII but I was still able to orient myself to where all the things once stood, it was very amazing. Walked around for a bit more while Cherie did some merchandise shopping for her shop. We grabbed a snack at her mom's and then walked to a pub. I got a "Sprite" and drank it under a 13th century wall mural of the Last Supper. The Rajisthani workshop went great, it was the stuff that all the Shrewsbury dancers commented on at the Glasgow show so I geared the workshop to their interest. Cherie got me to the train station in time to catch the train to Crewe and then I caught a Caledonian Sleeper train to Inverness. Next installment is Inverness and getting to see Morgan and Ava again!!!