Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Camp Ramrod, Cambridge, UK

Both members of Team Ramrod are currently nestled into the lap of luxury in Great Abington, near Cambridge. It's nice enough although possible that the beautiful weather, regular healthy meals, occasional swims, and architecture older than our home country are blunting the competitive edge of the team. Our Nissan Micra is currently receiving similar treatment at the capable hands of Barry at the acorn garage around the corner. Having pried tax and insurance from the hands of the local bureaucracy by way of gentle conversation and generous palm-lubrication, we have only a registration document and supplies left in terms of major hurdles. We now look forward to a long evening sipping tea on the veranda enjoying the sunshine.

First, a recap; after nearly sleepless nights before travelling and nearly sleepless nights during the plane flight across the atlantic, the both of us landed safely in Heathrow airport. Immediately beset by confusion at the foreign culture surrounding us we sat down for a sandwich and felt better, proceeding to the infamous london underground to get into the city itself, and Charing Cross station. This would have been trivial except for the mountain of luggage we hauled behind us, and piled on top of ourselves in a comical heap while on the actual train. At Charing Cross we got in touch with Terry, the seller of the Micra, and then boarded a train to Ashford in Kent. Terry picked us up from the station in his fantastic Silvia and a swift jaunt through the countryside brought us quickly to the farm house.

Terry and his wife are friendly, as are their approx. 19 adorable children. The sun is shining and the micra looks great. Not as much can be said for the first frantic attempts for team ramrod of driving in England, as two lanes share the width of one and everything is backwards. One person drives, the other informs him of what he is doing that is likely to kill us and we adjust. Then we switch and come home. The Micra will do, and if that isn't enough the litter of tiny kittens at the farm house come out to wrestle with each other in the halls. We exchange registration info, pay the kindly family, and are on our way. It should be said that we had at this point been up for a long time and travelled a long time by car, airplane, train, and now are gearing up for two hours of highway driving through a foreign country, in a car that cost us 75 pounds. In fact the drive is not bad at all, except that the mere 5-10 miles over the speed limit I am comfortable with fails to satisfy the insane local drivers, Justin can't stay awake to provide directions, we get lost on the 50 million High Streets in the area, and the number we have for my Aunt is wrong. Ramdrod ultimately passes the first test of foreign navigation, however, and arrives safely in Great Abington none the worse for wear.

Since then, we have dropped by London, eaten Chinese food, enjoyed my relative's gracious hospitality, gotten insurance for the car and tax, and are currently poised for more adenture in local commerce and a trip to the DVLA for a registration document. Everything is coming up Ramrod, and we are in good shape to meet the crew in Hyde park four days hence.

Keep your comments coming, we appreciate the news of home!


Blogger Kim said...


That is what I come here for, people. Although I particularly like the phrase "everything is coming up Ramrod."

Hopefully the heat wave is bypassing you - it's supposed to be a hundred (~33) in Shef!

9:25 AM  
Blogger Father Kansas said...

Now this is how to make your mothers nervous. Show them a picture of a car that cost less than a hundred pounds, has a repaired right front fender, and is smaller than my living room sofa. Actually looks like it might just make it to Mongolia. Good choice!

10:58 AM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

Hey, we had the RIGHT address for Pennie, AND accurate directions, and we STILL had to find the place by Braille pretty much.

Did you see the Very Old Beam in her house? Erik whacked his head pretty good on it. Quaint ancient English architecture is not so compatible with 6-foot-plus strapping Vikings.

11:20 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Kim -- the heat wave is very much upon us, with reports of the highest temperature ever recorded in London today! We were distracted during the purchase of the vehicle and thus failed to photograph the kittens. You would have creamed yourself however.

Kate -- have seen the VOB.

2:47 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home