Friday, June 16, 2006

"So, Where's Summer?" and other questions relating to England

It's June, finally. Starting in May, I stopped having to expect at least one low-lying cloud-originating rain storm to sneak up on me every day. My umbrellas (and yes, that word is pluralized) have been hung on my coat rack, but certainly not retired. Why, well, this picture tells the whole story. No, that's not a swamp, that is outside my second-story window. This problem was so widespread that first, I had to break out the ENTIRE rain gear collection my father, ever weather ready as he is, sent to me, which includes a pair of boots and a matching water resistent overpants and jacket. After this monsoon finally resided, I made my way to the nearest bus stop, and this walk involves a trip down a dirt path covered in packed wood chips. I took one step "onto" this path, and my boot (thankfully my boot, that is) sunk into what I can only term a "river" where the path once had been.

One thing that never goes away is wind. It is always windy, or at least breezy, out here. That tends to bring the temperature down a bit, and we aren't even close to the water--well, not by English standards anyway.

So, we have a succession of nice days, sun, warm, people in shorts lying on lawns, and then, the cloud cover, never to be thwarted and rarely abated, creeps over the delightful cheeriness that is clear blue sky and now, we're back to the usual "Englishness" that is overcast, just not threatening to dump two inches of water on you at any minute.

Right now, I am sorry to report that I am suffering from THE WORST possible ailment one could be stricken with here in York.

And that is....a foot injury, complete with swelling.

Ok, so that's no big deal. I'm sure you were all thinking cancer or a heart attack. Why is THAT so bad?

York is what I would call your walking city in England. The entire city center has been designated a pedestrian zone for most of the hours of the day. If I want to get anywhere for anything useful, I have to walk about half a mile for a bus, take the bus to the city, get off OUTSIDE of the city center (no matter what the FTR calls their Clifford Street stop), walk into the pedestrian zone, then walk back to the bus, and walk from the stop I get off back to my room. All in all, this has got to come close to nearly two miles of walking, and just for necessities. My other options are to pay Tesco or Sainsbury's to deliver food to me, for example, but I have to order about two days in advance, or to hobble over to the CostCutter here at Halifax College, which usually stocks milk, Asian delicacies, and the occasional bag of prawn-flavored crisps.

There have been many times when I have felt like I was in a live Monty Python sketch here in the UK. It goes back to my father's now-famous quote within days of my arrival here. I was waking up in my hotel room, next to that of my parents, and I heard between blow-dryer motors and shower uses, "I don't want to leave my oldest daughter in the middle of Monty Pythonland. That wasn't a comedy show; it was reality TV."

My most recent experience along these lines occurred when I called the Health Center on campus for an appointment when my foot injury really started to become bothersome. I knew that I needed to stay off of it, but that is next to impossible here in York and vicinity. After explaining my reason for needing the appointment, I asked about the acquisition of crutches.

Me: Well, there probably isn't much you can do about it. I really need to stay off of it, so I could really use some crutches to borrow in the meantime.

Health Center Secretary: Oh, we don't have crutches down here.

Me: So, you can take a look at it, and if I say, needed crutches, you couldn't give them to me.

Health Center Secretary: Yes, we can look at it for you, but we do not have any crutches.

Me: So, where can I get crutches if the nurse I see there tells me I need them?

Health Center Secretary: At the hospital in town you should be able to get them.

Me: How do I get there?

Health Center Secretary: You'll have to walk.

Yet another example of the brilliant British service you can expect here in England. Who says Monty Python isn't a reality TV show? Perhaps this is why I cannot get the series on DVD for Region 2 unless I buy an Asian knock-off on Ebay.

Oh, and another burning question. Why is Richard still with Judy (ref: Richard and Judy)? She has transformed into a bleached-blond hobbit, officially. Watch for press releases on this one when they restart at 5 pm on Channel 4. Maybe I'm just bitter about losing The Paul O'Grady Show.


Ravenbajan said...

Ugh. I hate when it is dreary or rainy for more than a day in the summertime. Sending some Canadian sunshine your way... (it's actually quite hot here right now!)

sparkyc said...

She was probably rebelling against your foolish transatlantic mis-spelling of centre.

Also, I hope your foot get's well soon -- did you need crutches in the end?

slskenyon said...

Well, yes, I do NEED crutches but I don't have them. Hence why I limp around dragging a wheeled backpack behind me when I go out now.

Any and all donations of Ibuprophen and food are appreciated...

barista brat said...

hope the weather clears up and you find those elusive crutches!

"Angeldust" said...

oh slskenyon...

not goog, not good!
hope you manage some crutches pronto.

we have had soooo much rain, I am beginning to recent it.

best wishes

Oh great One said...

I love rain, but enough is enough!

I hope your foot heals soon. It must be agonizing to have to walk everywhere on it. Take care!

Gem said...

Sending best wishes for imminent foot recovery your way...Personally the nice bit of cooling rain we had today was a welcome relief from almost unbearable temperatures. Kostas, Rania's boyfriend, told me that he found the heat very difficult to cope with here, which is pretty baffling coming from an Athenian, but still...

Sorry the denizens of Monty Python Land haven't been more helpful, but when in Rome, as they say...I'd be a bit disappointed if I went to the USA and found it was just like home. Maybe I'm just weird. *Everyone gives a firm cyberspace nod*