Second born came home the other day. She’d been on a school band trip to the UK and France. By all accounts it was a bit disappointing. They spent most of their time there travelling between places rather than actually at places. It culminated in a couple of hours free time to go shopping in Paris.
On a Sunday morning.
Paris, you’ll recall is in France – a nominally Catholic country.
Though shops in La Défence were indeed open… they were ejected from the coach nowhere near there, and therefore were condemned to wander the streets of Paris sans distraction! Still – she brought home most of the Euros I’d given her.
They’d previously spent an entire day going to/from Chartres. Chartres has a cathedral with stained glass windows with a very special blue. It also has… it has… well, it has a cathedral. (These were PNW teenagers remember, not culture vultures who think centuries old stained glass and the science of colour is quite interesting really.)
Source: Wikipedia – Chartres Blue
At least when they were in the UK they got to see Stonehenge and Bath. Not Woodhenge though.
You think I’m joking don’t you? Second born did too. I shit you not – there’s a Woodhenge too near Avebury. Kind of the prototype, I suppose. (The post holes are marked with slightly more resilient concrete posts now.)
Wikipedia: Woodhenge marked now by concrete posts
She was very kind in getting everyone presents though, on her return. Mine were beyond awesome. Firstly a box of Jaffa Cakes! I did share a couple today at work to rapturous, if slightly confused reception. Jaffa Cakes are a British delicacy made by McVitie’s the biscuit company. Oddly, in Canada there’s a French pretender sold by the LU biscuit company, known as Pim’s Orange.
I found this picture of Jaffa Cakes on a web site called “Tea & Sympathy” a very English phrase – despite it being a New York site.
Source: Tea & Sympathy. Jaffa Cakes
There I also found the following delightful quotes:
“An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of 1.” – George Mikes
“Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn’t try it on.” – Billy Connolly
“The British have an umbilical cord which has never been cut and through which tea flows constantly.” – Marlene Dietrich
I also found a good image of the French pretender on Amazon, for comparison. One can’t deny it’s a little more polished. More refined. Chic. In a word – French.
Source: Amazon – LU Pim’s Orange
But that was not all. No – far from it! She also fed my obsession for socks. The more weird and wacky the better. Slowly, slowly my preference is being met in BC, but it’s been a long time coming, and needs regular supplementation from Europe. To date it’s mainly via H&M which is a Swedish company and somehow manages to get around the “boring sock” mandate so rigidly enforced in the North American market. That unwritten rule ensures that most North American men wear only black, grey or Darwin-forbid: white socks. The more daring might go as far as brown, but that’s your lot! I can’t help but feel the market here must surely be ready for socks of more than one colour! Or indeed a colour! I am not averse to wearing neon orange or lime green, if only I could find them! (I used to own a pair of each bought in Germany 8 years ago. Falke was the brand. Their subsequent demise was a low point in my life).
Source: Falke – Helio
Source: Falke – Absinthe
She brought me two pairs of quite jaunty socks from TOPMAN in the UK. Bless her.
Source: TOPMAN – Aztec and Stripe Socks
Source: TOPMAN – Geo Fox Socks