Wednesday, June 08, 2005

11 days

We fly out on June 20th. In a few days I plan to blog about the things which have struck me most about living in the UK. I've got a running list.

A few more Edinburgh details... I was a little apprehensive about being able to rent the car we took because my Alabama driver's license expired in May. However, as I expected, the American convention for displaying dates helped me slip through. In the US, today's date is 6-9-05, but in much of the rest of the world it is 9-6-05. My license expired on my birthday, which is 05-07-05, which to a Brit looks like July 5th. Of course, I didn't say anything about this... they just assumed. BTW, my driving without a legal driver's license over here has parrallels to BK's driving without a license for around 2 years now.

On our trip to Edinburgh, we stayed about 12 miles outside the city in a town called Livingston. I actually had a good idea for once. I noticed a sign for a train station not too far from our hotel, so we drove to it on Tuesday morning instead of to Edinburgh. Parking was free at that station and the train came along in a few minutes. It took less than 15 minutes to arrive in the center of downtown Edinburgh. This was much easier than trying to negotiate Edinburgh traffic and find a parking spot. FWIW, we couldn't buy train tickets at the Livingston station but other folks there said we could buy them from the conductor. Well, he didn't have time to make it all the way into our compartment. So we left the train without having paid a cent or a pence or anything. When we were ready to leave, we only needed single (one-way) tickets back to Livingston. But, of course, we bought return tickets to pay for the morning's ride, too. I wonder how much money the train company loses every year from this stuff.

At the first little shop we entered in Edinburgh, I noticed that a woman paying for something at the register (till) had an Alabama driver's license. She was with another woman and both were from Gadsden. I struck up a conversation. As expected, they were tourists. We heard many American accents, and many Southern ones at that, on our visit to Edinburgh. They must think they own the place.

Though we didn't get to try any, I was glad to hear that our preacher and his wife will be bringing Haggis (picture here) to the cultural dinner our church is having the day before we leave. We'll be bringing biscuits (Southern variety), corn bread, and sweet tea. I wonder what the family from Malaysia/Australia will bring?

When we got home, the first thing I saw on the news was this. The news camera focused on a blood smear on the sidewalk. The incident took place on Tuesday not 4 blocks from our home. Always heartwarming to know. Or maybe heartworming.

I must mention this, too... At church last Sunday we were treated to Kit-Kat Lime candy bars. I hope I'm not the only one to notice the humor (or humour) in it.

One last bleat (which I hope does not offend my Limey British friends). It is my sincere hope that the BBC becomes a defunct organization in the near future. Besides being a waste of taxpayers' money, its news reports are skewed and as shoddy as any I've ever seen. Don't make me provide examples. The sooner the BBC has to actually support itself with its own revenues, the sooner it will have to wake up to the real world. I know, I know... it has some good radio programs and a TV show or two, but the product could be much better. I think most Brits don't like the idea of scrapping the BBC because they can't imagine life without it. But it's not hard for me. And you get used to the commercials.


At 5:46 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Nooo!! The BBC is about the only thing worth watching on TV, and Radio 4 is the best radio station in the world :) Jeremy Paxman is worth the license fee alone. Just watch this (the fun starts about 4 minutes in, nothing better than watching grilled Tory). We need some alternative to the commercial, lowest common denominator trash that is the rest of TV, and something that Murdoch can't get his greedy mits on. Hands off our BBC, Strickland :)

At 6:32 AM, Blogger Mark Goodacre said...

I agree (with previous comment)! If when I get to the US I discover that there is something as wonderful as Radio 4 there, I will change my mind. Ten more reasons for the licence fee, these just off the top of my head: Dr Who, Monty Python, Blackadder, Dad's Army, Little Britain, Newsnight, Test Match Special, Five Live, Match of the Day, Wimbledon coverage. Don't forget, Michael: Look around you!


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