2002 Q1 Vacation:  51°49.46251’N, 0°44.9946’W

Day 4: Sat 23 Mar 2002

00:00 – 08:00 GMT (Sleep)

There was nothing too eventful this sleep.  There was some sort of dream involving a convention center organized like a huge tree house, and there was some guy giving a lecture about mushrooms.  My parents were milling around somewhere there too.  That’s about all I remember.

08:00 – 09:00 GMT (Breakfast)

Let me say another thing about these breakfasts.  Because of these breakfasts, I’ve been pretty consistently having a full three meals a day the entire time I have been here.  This is much more than the one (sometimes two) meals a day I usually have at home.  And I’d been trying to get in shape!  Now, the fact that I’m eating much more than I normally do has been perhaps offset to some degree by the fact that I have been walking so much, but I’m not sure it has been completely offset.  I could just skip some of those meals where I’m not really too hungry, but those times are also when I get to sit down!

09:00 – 12:00 GMT (Nap)

After breakfast, before I even knew what had happened, I was asleep again.  Back at home I usually sleep in on weekends.  So why would I do anything different here?  After all, I had been getting up all week at 08:00 GMT, which is incredibly early for me.  Normally at home my alarm is set for 12:00 GMT, but I am often not actually out of bed until more like 13:00 or 14:00 GMT.  Of course, there is that whole thing of the sun coming up five hours later back home too.  In any case, it was the weekend.  Sleeping in was a good thing.  Breakfast was just a quick detour from the sleep thing.

12:00 – 14:00 GMT (Writing and Little House)

When I woke up, as I was catching up on writing this thing…  that by the way is getting very long…  which is what happens when I take a laptop with me I guess.  When I write these things after I get home, they tend to be significantly shorter, which probably isn’t a bad thing.  This is in desperate need of editing.  For example, this little paragraph right here could probably go.  Oh well!

 

In any case, while I was doing that, on the TV was Little House on the Prairie.  I hadn’t watched that show since I was 10 years old or some such.  But I was a regular back then!  So I watched the whole episode.  It was the one where Albert arrives and Laura gets jealous that her new brother is getting too much of Pa’s attention.  But by the end the cow wins the prize at fair, and everybody is one big happy family, with a new adopted brother.  It was so heart-warming!

14:00 – 18:00 GMT (Duck In)

This time around I decided to hear away from town rather than toward it.  The sign said 3 miles to the next town.  I could do that.  They I would explore Ashton Clinton instead of Aylesbury today.  I headed along the A41 going toward the East.  The A41 is just one lane in each direction, but pretty busy with a decent amount of traffic.  Sometimes the sidewalk was on one side, sometimes the other.  In between I had to cross the street, which always involved waiting several minutes for a break in traffic, then running for my life.  Well, not quite.  But I did job a little.

 

My knee was still hurting with most every step, but I just kept going, I mean, since I hadn’t rented a car, this was pretty much a walking vacation, and if I let a little hurting knee get in my way, I’d end up missing out.  Now, I suppose I could have taken the busses and such that passed by occasionally, but I’ve never been a big bus person.  I like trains and subways, where you can look at a nice chart, pay the fare, then get on with a ticket or whatnot.  With busses you pay on the bus, have to worry about having change, usually the routes are harder to find out about, etc.  So walking it was.

 

AppleMark

 

If I had done this vacation with someone else, I imagine there would have been less walking.  Or perhaps that walking would have been more “directed” than the walking I was doing.  Like maybe we would have taken the train into London and walked to places we wanted specifically to see.  But being solo, I could just walk to explore.  I headed out with no real destination in mind and no plan.  I just wanted to walk somewhere I hadn’t gone yet.  By this time I was pretty much thinking that I would not do a day in London as part of this vacation…  other than going to and from Gatwick fro Aylesbury.  This vacation was to Aylesbury and the surroundings in Buck county.  Maybe on some other trip sometime I’ll do London.  But this trip wasn’t about London.  I was starting to wonder if I could actually fill the rest of my time before leaving, but I was determined to try.

 

AppleMark

 

When I get to Ashton Clinton, I realize that unlike Aylesbury, this town did not really have a “town center” at least if it did I did not find it.  It was mostly residential.  There were a couple of shops.  And eventually I found a restaurant.  From the outside it looked closed.  Although I later came to believe it may have been open.  You see, as I headed back toward Aylesbury a few minutes later, and I stopped at another restaurant, it also looked closed.  The outside showed little signs of activity.  But as it turned out it was indeed open.  And there were a number of people eating inside.  They just hide it so you can’t tell from the outside.  I suspect this was true of the restaurant I had passed a few minutes earlier, and quite possibly a lot of the places I has passed up over the past few days when I was looking for food in the afternoon. 

 

The place I stopped was the “Duck In”.  A pun you see.  First, it was indeed an Inn, and you could stay there.  And then they want you to “duck in” for food.  Get it?  Ha!  Anyway, once inside they actually had instructions posted:  “1:  Find a seat you like, 2: Order food at the bar, 3: Relax we’ll bring your food when it is ready” or some such.  You got a wooden spoon at the bar with a number on it to let them know which seat you are at.  I ordered a Beef Wellington because it seemed like a British type food, and I’d never had it before.  It was a fine sort of dish.  I’d have it again.

 

Then it was time to walk home.  Now when I was walking, the knee no longer complained with every step.  It was just a constant aching down there.  I was limping a bit, but hey, I was used to it now I guess.  Or maybe it was getting better again.  Dunno.  On the way back I noticed a truck parked with the side pained with an ad for hot air balloon rides.  I thought that sounded fun, but neglected to note the number or anything. 

 

After dragging myself the rest of the way back to the B&B, I was (surprise) ready for another rest.

18:00 – 20:00 GMT (Rest Again)

I don’t think there was much too notable about this rest.  I showered again after all that walking, and got dressed slightly (although not much) better than what I’d been wearing for my walks.  Cause since this was Saturday night and I had missed the previous night, I figured I wanted to go into town and check out the nightlife.  The plan was to head into town around 20:00 GMT.  That was late enough so I could find dinner and early enough not to miss the whole Saturday night thing.  My timing had been off before.

20:00 – 00:00 GMT (Chicago’s)

So I head back to town.  My destination was this place called “Chicago’s” that I had passed many times over the past few days.  Of the various places around, it had big glass windows so I could see in and looked friendly.  They had a big signboard out front explaining what was going on each day.  Saturday was labeled as “Party Night”.  And so while I did do one last lap of town looking to see if any other places caught my attention, I ended up back at Chicago’s.

 

It was already fairly crowded in the bar and dance area, but I noticed the dinner area was still pretty empty (although not completely empty).  I decide to start by just having dinner, since I hadn’t yet.  So I get seated and order some sort of pasta thing.  As I am waiting there, I am doing two things.  One:  Watching the crowd dancing and milling about.  Two:  Wondering why I had just ordered a big dinner since I wasn’t actually hungry at all.

 

After finishing eating and leaving the food area, I went into my usual nightclub mode…  namely, go hide in a corner.  Well, not quite.  But I did find a nice place to stand with a good view of the dance floor, and then just people watched for a couple hours.  (OK, mainly girl-watched.)  I tend not to be much for actually “participating” and socializing much at such things unless I am already there with friends.  But I still really enjoy the observing of people and how they behave, and listening to the music and all that sort of thing.  There was this one group of like five people that were together.  This one girl in the group who looked kind of like Amelie kept just sitting to the side and not looking too happy.  She eventually left early.  One of the ones with her looked just like Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s little sister Dawn.  Then there was some other woman who rather than dancing in the same manner as everyone else was just sort of continuously slowly writhing in place.  That was interesting.

 

Anyway, after a bit of that I was ready to go back to the B&B.  I wanted to be home by midnight.  After all, there was this 08:30 breakfast thing happening in the morning, and I like my sleep.