Friday, 23 April 2010

Coming Home

Travelling light
So finally we came back to England. Goodbye France, land of wine, wit, women, and wonder; hello Blighty, land of telly, twiglets, Tuborg, and taxation.

We were a bit tired after all that driving, but not nearly as tired as you poor buggers whose flights were cancelled from all four corners of the planet after Iceland blew up. Serves you right, I say; if you will ignore your carbon footprint by flying everywhere, then you have to expect a bit of Divine Retribution now and again.

Besides, walking home from Portugal is a great way to get fit, so stop moaning and get marching.

I like coming home. There's something comfortably incompetent about England. The ferry arrives (late) at Portsmouth Harbour, which is dominated by the lovely new Spinnaker Tower; 500 feet of gleaming white metal1. It was originally to be called the Millennium Tower until it became clear it wouldn't open until 2003. On the grand opening day, the swanky outside lift broke down halfway up, and trapped the mayor and several local VIPs. On a quiet night, you can still hear their plaintive cries.

Portsmouth is also home to HMS Victory. She was built in 1763 and is still a commissioned ship of the Royal Navy. Given relentless Navy cuts, she soon may be the only one. Should we be pleased at the peace dividend, or concerned? Dunno. All we can send to exciting international wars is five kayaks and an old car ferry painted grey. I blame the global recession, and Gordon Brown.

The Family Von Grump are great travellers so we are reminded of other comings and goings. We've been back and forward across the Atlantic a bunch2; we lived in Washington DC for a couple of years, then London, then my favourite: Atlanta. What a cool town Atlanta is. Everything's big! Big-hearted people! Big cars! Big houses! Big potholes! Absolutely stupendous insects! When we had to decide whether to stay or return, I was sorely tempted to stay. But Mrs G was strangely drawn to her roots, even though she grew up near Birmingham. Well, someone had to.

So home we came. And in the end Mrs G, and England, won; because at heart we are dozy and lazy. In America 'I'm pissed and I'm packing' means I'm very cross and I'm going to shoot you. Here I'm pleasantly drunk because I'm off on vacation. Again. Whoopee!

1 - Or plastic. Or it might be concrete
2 - Until we realised how big our carbon footprint was, naturally


  1. I swear, UberGrumpy, you spend your whole life on holiday. It must be very tiring for you; why don't you take a day off vacationing and do some work? I'm pretty sure you've earned it.

  2. I for one am SUPER JAZZED you're back. I missed you!!!!!!

  3. hey, you should've walked home on earth day. that will be a huge favor to earth, and it's a lot closer than from portugal right?

  4. Welcome back. Unfortunately, Iceland blew Earth Day to bits. Sigh.

    I'm glad I wasn't stuck on that lift.

    I was hoping you were reporting that you swam across the channel.

  5. When you say "Tuborg" you mean Wetherspoons right? Cheapskate. Just 'cos it's £2.59 a pint or something like that.

    I love the Victory. Childhood memories. Of visiting it I mean. I wasn't a member of the crew.

  6. Herr Von Grump! Delighted to see you, old boy! I take my hat off (perhaps both of them) to your carbon footprint stance. I may even consider kayaking the channel the next time I visit La Belle France (which I rather like). Pour me a large one, will you? Thanks. Indigo

  7. Welcome back. Alas, just when I may finally have some time to travel again, it becomes unfashionable because of carbon emissions. I'll have to be content with my long-ago three-month tour that fortunately did include London, Paris, and several other highlights.

  8. 'I'm pissed and I'm packing'

    Who told you our secret passwords??

  9. Very nice to see you back!

  10. Glad you trudged back safely from yet another holiday. Harrumph.

  11. My son's favourite on-line video game of the moment is one where you are flying a commercial jet and trying to outrace an ash cloud from Iceland.

  12. Iceland. First they go bankrupt and then the place goes up in smoke. Anyone else smell an insurance scam?

  13. Welcome home.. Sorry but the swim from Europe is a bit hard on the arms..not like I was there or anything.

    I love the ship.. we have the USS Constitution here which is really old and still comminsioned.

    Wtf is a twiglet

  14. Welcome home, Uber. Thanks for taking the Choco-Quiz too. I just put grades out. Knowing you were away and unable to study, I didn't have it in me to give you an F. Be grateful, since I'm pissed and I'm packing (per my status quo). xo

  15. "comfortably incompetent" I love that sentiment!

    Welcome home!

  16. Welcome back from vacation, Uber! Looking forward to reading more adventures -


  17. Min ~ You want to stay home next one then?

    JenJen ~ And I am JAZZED to be back! If that's a good thing

    Sarah ~ Very true, very true

    RefGeek ~ Why swim? There are ferries

    Blissed OG ~ Three months! I thought my vacations were long...

    mo ~ Yup; the very same Tuborg

    Indigo ~ Kayaking the Channel! Now there's an idea

    Marla ~ They're secret???

    Hunter ~ Nice to be back! Thanks!

    Mme D ~ Well, someone has to do it

    Captain D ~ Welcome! What game is that then? I want to try

    HappySlappy ~ Yup. Next they'll be fielding election candidates

    VL ~ I will do a Twiglet post, I promise

    Robyn ~ F! Is that good?

    pixie ~ Thank you!

    PCD ~ And thank you