Saturday, August 30, 2014

we're not in mexico any more, toto

"I really must apologize for this weather."

It was my friend Dr. Bob allowing his English genes to run rampant -- apologizing for circumstances that were well out of his pay grade.  We were standing on the beach at Cleveleys just north of Blackpool.

If you have never been to Blackpool, I am not certain that any of my writing skills can convey the spirit of the place.  But I am safe for at least one more day because our trip yesterday took us north on the carbuncle of land on the west cheek of Lancashire that juts into the Irish Sea.  The same sea that Bill Bryson called "tobacco-colored" and James Joyce labeled "snot green."

That may be why the English are somewhat apologetic of its more turbulent moods.  And turbulent it was yesterday.  Blustery.  Cloud-covered.  Misty.  A 9 on the Steve Cotton scale of weather, where a 10 is 55 degrees, overcast, and drizzle. 

And there I was in my shorts, short-sleeved cotton shirt, and sandals, as if I were walking the sweaty streets of Melaque.  The difference being that I was comfortable in Cleveleys.  The few people who were out and about on that Friday afternoon, most likely locals, were bundled up as if they were going to accompany Roald Amundsen to the south pole.

But, just as I did not move to Mexico for the weather, I did not come north for the weather.  I am here to see friends of longstanding and to meet new ones.

I have known Bob and Hilary for almost 40 years.  We met on a trip to Spain and Morroco -- the same trip that spawned the myth of Steve Cotton on a camel.  Even though they divorced years ago, I never miss the opportunity to spend time with them whenever I am in England.

Both of them have remarried.  I met Hilary's husband Ernie and Bob's wife Fon for the first time on this trip.

Fon treated me to several Thai dishes upon my arrival -- some traditional, others of her invention.  I love Thai food, but my experience has been limited to restaurants.  Her cooking was far better.  It was so good, I had the remains for breakfast today.

Yesterday was a day to enjoy where rural England and the sea transition into one another.  Today will be a variation on that theme -- riding the tram along this portion of England's coast.

But, better than the scenery, is the opportunity to share it with old and new friends.  And that is why I am here.

No apologies required.  Enough said.  End of story.

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