While visiting London with my sister, the rain managed to hold off until our last day when we traveled to the Isle of Wight and its sailing town of Cowes. That visit was inspired by the Beatles song, When I’m 64. (“Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight, if it’s not too dear.”) Since I turned 64 this year, it seemed like the thing to do, despite the fact that I knew nothing about it except for those lines in the song.
As my sister and I trudged through London with our suitcases I realized again how old the city is, and how impossible it is to make it disabilities-friendly (and therefore luggage-toting friendly). From our hotel near Heathrow, we took a bus to the underground and had to make transfers (heaving our suitcases up and down multiple flights of stairs) getting to Victoria Underground Station. We walked the brief way to Victoria Train Station, took a train to Southhampton on the coast of England, then a taxi to the ferry station, where we caught a ferry over to the Isle of Wight in the English Channel. All this time, I was wishing I had been able to convince my friend, Dianne, to come along. She would not have put up with all this – she’d have rented a car.
We were the last people off the ferry and by the time we got to the taxi stand, there were no more taxis left. We stood there in the gentle rain, me with one suitcase plus a backpack and Nancy with two plus a purse in which a small dog could get lost. She looked me square in the eye and said, “this better be so worth it.” Then we both burst out laughing. The ferry station master called a taxi for us, and we completed the last part of the trip. The whole thing took us the better part of the day.
After a quick face-wash, we braved the rain and dusk to walk to a pub for supper. The taxi driver had told us “just go right-left-right-left…and eventually you will get there…about a 10 minute walk.” Soon after the first right-left-right, Nancy was muttering something about “sketchy neighborhood – you are a crazy woman.” (She’s first figuring that out now?) Trusting my internal map and my positive attitude, we eventually found the area with the pubs. After a hearty dinner, we plodded home a different way. Arriving cold, wet and tired, we hit the sack without setting an alarm for the first time this trip.
We slept late – 10 am. This part of the trip was designed to be completely different from London – quiet, peaceful and homey, so we settled right into it, doing laundry and cooking. It wasn’t raining, but being a damp cool day, we decided to make chili. I had all the spices along. We walked to the nearby Co-operative for the rest of the ingredients, where we found minced turkey legs (not exactly ground chicken, but I can adjust), onion, celery, mild salsa, and Italian chopped tomatoes. However, the store had no tomato sauce.
Beans were also difficult to find. They had kidney, red kidney, and more kidney. I hate kidney beans, though I wound up buying chili red kidney beans. Ingredients included sugar, basil, oregano, and thyme – really? They were very sweet, so I only used one can. The other will be returned to the Co-op to put in their donation bin for those in need. I hope they like sweet chili kidney beans.
Still on the look-out for the other ingredients, we walked to Sainsbury, a larger grocery store, where I found Mixed Pulses. Nancy was sure that meant the ingredients had been in a blender on pulse like mushy peas, but the picture looked like solid beans. Indeed, the ingredients said chickpeas, black eyed beans, pinto beans, haricot (?) beans, red kidney beans and adzuki (?) beans. I was a bit dubious, but bought them anyway. Again, no tomato sauce. What the heck? Then I spied a tube of tomato paste and added it to the grocery basket. When overseas, one must adapt.
The final result was adequate, but missing something. No worries. It was nothing that couldn’t be fixed by added chunks of English cheddar cheese to the serving bowls before ladling in the chili. Wisconsin chicks to the core.
See other essays about this trip to England:
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