Sunday, May 16, 2010

home is a boxcar so far out of reach

On Friday, Jack and I went to Peterborough so that Jack could get the windscreen of the car fixed – a rock hit it – and I could buy presents. He dropped me off at the roundabout a couple blocks from Queensgate (a mall that also has a strip mall outside it, so there’s about a million stores) and continued off in a different direction to the car place. He would call me when the car was done and I’d meet him at the Peterborough rail station.

It was nice and bright and sunny. I got to the market and found W H Smith right away – it’s a books and office supplies store, which also has movies. I was hoping to find Hero of the Rails for Bram, and maybe something for Josh or Zach as well.

I found the movie spot and looked through it – and found Hero of the Rails for £5! Hurray! So I bought it – after a lot of rigamarole about my credit card not being signed – I always mean to write SEE ID on it and never remember – and then went on back out into the street. I looked in a couple toy stores for diecast trains but didn’t find any, and around the market-y stalls that were set up for other presents, but didn’t have any luck. There was a candy floss stand, so I thought I might come back and get some before I left if I had time. I went on into the mall.

I walked through the mall looking for a toy store where I might find diecast engines for Bram, and also looking for a store index sign that would tell me where toy stores were. I didn’t find either of those, but I found a mall worker so I asked him. He directed me to the information desk, so since it wasn’t too far away, I walked over there. The girl at the desk told me two different places that might have toys – Argos and John Lewis and one other place that I don’t remember now because she told me it wasn’t very likely and I didn’t end up going there.

I went to Argos, but when I looked in I didn’t see any stuff – just computer portals with people at them. So I didn’t understand. I thought perhaps you had to order things and they mailed them to you, and there certainly wasn’t time for that. So I went on to John Lewis. I found some Thomas things, but they were only wooden and not diecast. I asked a sales associate about diecast trains but she said that was all the Thomas things they had. So I took what I did buy – I don’t remember what it was now… oh yeah! Jae reminded me! It was a pirate captain playmobil for Jae.

So then I wandered around a bit to a couple other stores to see if I was struck by any inspiration for a present for Josh or Zach, who I didn’t have presents for yet. I didn’t have any luck, though, and after I’d wandered about for a while, Jack called to say that the car was done and how soon could I be at the railroad station.

“Well, I’m right outside Waitrose now [a store that’s near to the walkway to the railway station], so however long it takes me to get down there is how soon.”

“Oh, okay! Good. See you down there.”

It ended up taking me a bit longer that it would have to get there because I had trouble finding the walkway and had to stop at the loo and was lost in the car park for a bit. But eventually I found the way, and made it to the rail station where Jack was just starting to call me.

We went to the tip after that because Jack had a bunch of weeds and branches and things from the yard. And we also stopped at Thorney Abbey! And I got to go inside this time and take some pictures.

I want our church to have a pipe organ...

And then we went to Wisbech. It was past lunch time by then, and we went to the bakery to get buns. He asked what I wanted, so I looked all around, and came back to the register, and there was a plate of smiley-face doughnuts that looked very delicious. I was just about to say that that was what I wanted, when Jack ordered one for himself.

“That’s what I was just going to say I wanted!” I said. So we both got hot chocolate and a smiley face doughnut and sat at a table to eat it.

Jack had a medical appointment in Wisbech, so when it was time for him to go he left me at the table, and after I finished the last of my doughnut, I went off to WHS (there’s one in Wisbech as well as in Peterborough) to find presents for Josh and Zach, and also look for the toy store that Jack had said was there that might possibly have diecast engines.

I went to the toystore first. It was a splendid place, and had playmobil and lots of diecast engines. But the diecast engines were the wrong brand, and none of the playmobil was quite right. So after I looked around the store, and knocked playmobil off shelves and took pictures of engines and in general made a fool of myself, I left without buying anything. I hope that they do not hate me now.

Then I went to look around the 99p store and Poundland to see if I found anything, but I didn’t.

But I had better luck at WHS. They had given me a £5 off if I bought £12 of stuff coupon at the other store, so that meant I could buy slightly more expensive things for them without spending any more money.

I also looked for a book about the tram line that the lady at the toy store said that the Rev. W. Audrey was inspired by. But they didn’t have it at WHS, and said they would probably have it at the tourist office. So I went there.

The book was quite expensive and only had one paragraph in it about the Island of Sodor, so I didn’t buy it. But it was cool because it told about how the tram from Wisbech to Upwell was the inspiration for Toby the tram engine. The man there helped me find postcards that had pictures of the tram on them for Bram.

Then I went back to WHS. After a long process of deliberation, I figured out which things I wanted to buy for Josh and Zach – only to find out that the coupon didn’t work until next week. Sigh. All that deliberating spoiled. And Jack had already called to say that he was at the parking lot, so I needed to hurry up. I decided what to put back, and then ran out to Jack. Oh yeah, and it was raining this whole time...

I don’t recall anymore what we did that night, or what we had for tea. I know that Jack went to his artist club, and that the theme was “sport” and he wasn’t that thrilled (except they say ‘chuffed’ instead of ‘thrilled’; and then ‘dischuffed’ is like ‘annoyed’ – isn’t that interesting?) about it. Oh! Whatever we had, we had custard tart afterward. Unless that was a different day. One of the days of this week we had hummus and naan bread for lunch. It’s kind of jumbled in my brain now…

On Saturday morning, Jan made porridge, and we could be papa bear, mama bear, and baby bear one more time. I have found out why mama bear’s bowl was colder than baby bear’s, because Jan puts lots of milk in her porridge.

After breakfast, Jack took me to go to WHS again to get something for Josh since I still didn’t have anything. It took me forever to decide, but I eventually figured out what I wanted to get, and then I spent all afternoon packing. I kept having to unpack and repack to fit everything in, and when I did get everything in it was too heavy and I had to put my books in my backpack.

Saturday night was a very nice last night, especially since I completed my packing at around 4 or 5 and had the rest of the evening free, except for sometimes wanting to cry because it was the last night.

We had a big dinner with all the things I liked best of England – a roast with roast potatoes and parsnips, brussel sprouts, and Yorkshire puddings. And watched Doctor Who and the last two Lark Rises that we hadn’t seen yet, completing the season. And had strawberries and cream, and chocolates. When Jack offered me chocolate it made me sad because he did that almost every night and tonight would be the last night.

That night before I went to sleep, for some reason I missed Geoffrey Ford a lot – I kept remembering him saying “I don’t want you to go away” – and I was glad that I was going home.


Shan said...

I am so glad that you are finishing writing about England. And, I am so glad that you had such a wonderful time. :)

lois said...

This made me cry, even though here you are! Isn't that funny...

Joe said...

I hope you get to go back someday. It sounded like you had a great time.