So far, it’s been a nice visit to the UK, which is really no surprise to anyone. Christmas and Boxing Day were big family get togethers, which I enjoyed and only got a little drunk for. My jet lag problem is still present this year, though I think not nearly as obnoxious as it’s been in years past. I’ve had to take naps on a couple of days, and have had a little bit of insomnia, but not to the point that I’ve been up at 3 in the morning and completely unable to sleep like I have been in other years.
The weather in the UK has been just fine as far as I’m concerned. There’s been a lot of do about the temperature being below zero C, but I went for an hour and a half walk in it on Christmas morning while everyone else was at mass, and it was perfectly fine other than my ears getting cold since I forgot my hat back in the US. I think the bigger problem is just that the cold temperatures means the ice doesn’t melt, and I guess this part of the UK doesn’t know the wonders of car-destroying mag chloride the way we do in Colorado. I did have to avoid some terrifying icy sidewalks during my walk, to be sure. But other than that, it hasn’s been any kind of Snowmageddon. Yesterday when we got back from London (around 2200) it was actually raining fairly heavily, so that’s hopefully a sign that it’s getting a bit warmer and the ice will go away. We ended up taking a cab from the train station at Wokingham, since the line west of it was shut down and the rain was nasty enough we didn’t feel like waiting for the bus, or walking home once we caught said bus.
Speaking of Snowmageddon, we landed all right, but Heathrow has still apparently not gotten its shit together. Once we landed we had to park somewhere in the back of beyond for a good twenty minutes because there was nowhere for our plane to go, and then moved to a slightly less far away parking spot so that we could take buses to the terminal. Immigration was fast, but then we spent a stupid amount of time waiting for our luggage. I was also insanely thirsty the entire time, and there was nowhere to get anything to drink, though I could have apparently bought a SIM card from a vending machine if I wanted to. Maybe you can suck on those like mints. Anyway, our flight landed not long after 0900, and we didn’t get our luggage collected and get out of there until after 1100. There was also a frightening graveyard of lost and unclaimed baggage taking up one entire section of the claim, which did not inspire confidence.
It’s also worth noting that I didn’t get to sit next to Mike for most of the flight, since the television for his seat was broken, and they moved him to the only empty seat on the airplane so he had something to do. I mostly used the flight to catch up on movies… I watched Toy Story 3, which I thought was very good and don’t feel at all ashamed about sniffling through. I also watched The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The funny thing is, when Mike and I met up after landing and were talking about the movies we watched, we could each name two of them and it took us forever to remember which one the third was. For both of us, it was that movie. Which I think pretty much says all you need to know about how utterly unremarkable it was as a film.
Yesterday Mike and I went in to London. I paid a quick visit to Harrod’s – the store was insanely busy, but everyone apparently just desperately wanted to buy perfume. After we got out of that section of the store it was just fine, and we were in and out in less than twenty minutes. After that we met up with Sam and Rick, and spent the rest of the day taking up space in a pub and playing board games. The game we started off with was Ticket to Ride, which was a lot of fun and I’m going to have to pick up a copy once my checking account stops crying about the furnace.
Oh yes, translation for any UK readers: by furnace, I mean boiler. Even though it has nothing to do with boiling water. I do not in fact own any sort of smelting equipment. This announcement brought to you by Mike’s parents, who found that particular vocabulary mix-up very entertaining.
The Doctor Who Christmas special was pretty good, I think. I wouldn’t place it higher than the first Christmas Invasion, or even the Runaway Bride, but I definitely liked it better than the silly episode with the space Titanic, or the one from two years ago that was kind of about the cyberman and all it really had going was a lovely steampunkish Victorian setting. I’d say this one was as close at Doctor Who’s really gotten to just out and out producing a fable, and while it had the normal plot holes that you could drive a truck through, it at least had a lot more life in it than the last couple of episodes I’ve seen. (Which were, for the record, Victory of the Daleks and The Adventures of Spitty Timothy Dalton as the Most Underused Rassilon Imageinable [not its actual title].) Really, considering that I feel like the entire episode was based around someone saying, “I’ve got this awesome mental image of a shark flying through the air, pulling a rickshaw… let’s combine that with Christmas!” the end result was surprisingly coherent and fun. It’s also convinced me to give Matt Smith another chance as the Doctor… considering my first exposure to him was the underwhelmingly written turd of a Dalek episode from his season, he really needed something to recommend him.
I think a some point I may have to devote a post to how I feel about the way the Daleks have been used in recent episodes. It won’t be a very nice post.
Today Mike and I are headed off to Brighton to see Sam and Dan and Rhi and hopefully Captain Stu, so that’s exciting. It’s hard to believe we’re already at the midpoint of our trip, though this one’s a few days shorter than trips we’ve taken in the past, since Mike ran out of vacation. Something to do with a wedding.