Thursday, Nov 12, 2009

Sunshine! Imagine! We're in England and the sun is shining. The locals are so frightened that they all scuttled inside when the sun came up, but we Americans are used to this, so we welcomed it by opening our windows (Only from the top, they will slam shut if opened from the bottom) and only the ones in the bedroom open at all, but once open, with full sunshine, the humidity may inch downward from saturation, and some things, such as towels, may actually dry out partially at least.

We've been in England for about two days now, Wednesday and today, Thursday. We arrived on Tuesday, in a way, but the time is so different it seemed like Monday just went on for about three days.

The ride over on the tanker plane was wonderful. We got the best cup of coffee I have ever had in my life from the crew about an hour before we landed at Mildenhall.

RAF Mildenhall, as a destination, is very cheap, if somewhat dull. The rooms are $42.50 per night and the flight is free. Meals are served to retirees in the dining hall, or mess hall, or chow hall, and cost about $10 per day for retirees. The are prime examples of English cooking, which means that they are all but inedible, but technically nourishing I suppose. I've never seen a commercial establishment that couldn't manage peach cobbler before. It seems they bake the dough, then leave it several days to get stale, add a sprinkling of peaches on top and broil the results until the peaches dry out, then cut up and serve. I suppose you could soak the serving in milk?

You can't really hurt an egg much, but God knows they tried. Bacon and sausages can, of course, be served raw. Toast isn't, but the jelly is served in small plastic containers and so is American fast food standard. There is no butter to be had in England, so they serve some sort of butter look-alike in plastic. It is difficult to imagine the contents being better for you than the plastic shell, but it does smear around easier. The help is all American airmen, of E2 rank and no experience at all. I have cooked far more eggs than the young man responsible for that chore this morning. They didn't even have aprons on. Possibly the first two through the door in the morning are assigned to egg and sausage cooking.

All of the English women look like Jane Marple. They actually work at looking dumpy. The cleaning lady has her hair set in a way I haven't seen except in pictures of my mother in 1936. "Set", mind you, frozen into immobility. Possibly a plastic wig.

Paula is suffering greatly from a cold which I hope does not turn into pneumonia or bronchitis. She coughs constantly in the morning, and is a little better in the afternoon. She has no fever and does not feel particularly weak, so it is still localized to the lungs and upper respiratory region.

I hope we can move tomorrow to Bletchley Park by taking the free shuttle to London Heathrow and then by underground to St. Pancras station, thence north to Bletchley. As a poor second, we could beg to stay here a day or so longer and attempt travel on Monday, but then I think we would skip Bletchly and go directly as possible to Calais via the Eurostar.

We still have no Pounds, but may purchase them at the Galaxy Club after 11:00 am. I have my checque for 60 pounds which I can try at a bank in London. I probably can't cash it here on the base.

Relations with Great Britain are rather formal. Non-residents can't shop in the BX or the Commissary, as that competes with the English economy.