England Days 7, 8 & 9

The next 3 days were big for the wife and Youngest-daughter; for me, not so much. Some of the wife's English relatives came to pick them up Monday morning and they went to Windsor Castle and several other places I can't remember. Of course I worked all day. They were nice enough to wait on my return that evening and we all went out to eat. Wife and I had another bland hamburger and chips and Youngest-daughter had chicken strips, all for a mere $65. Those people should be drawn and quartered for charging such outrageous prices for such tasteless food. And it wasn't like we went to some posh, multi-star foo-foo place; we were in a friggin pub!

Tuesday was a worrisome day for me. Wife rented a car early that morning and drove with Youngest-daughter to some other relative's homes about 2 1/2 hours away in Stoke-on-Trent. Another big day for them as they visited the house where my wife's mom grew up, saw the places she told the wife about when she was a kid, met more relatives and looked at pictures of her young mom and grandparents. The wife is not known as a good driver even in America so I had visions of her causing a mass pile-up trying to drive safely on the wrong side of the road. Evidently the concentration required resulted in her being cautious and she made it safely. She spent the night there so I had the bed to myself after another evening of uninspiring expensive food with a large group of people from work.

As I indicated before, we had lunch brought in by the client's food vendor each day so we could continue to work through. Unfortunately, they served the same exact thing every day - weird little dry finger sandwiches (pimento cheese on wheat was the best; little tiny shrimp on white the worst) with no mayo or mustard, hard, dry corn chips and mild "hot" sauce. The first day it wasn't so bad; the 2nd it was ok, but by the 3rd, we were getting pretty tired of them. The 1st day almost all were eaten; the 2nd day a few were left, and the 3rd, only about 1/2 were eaten. On the 4th day, people started verbally protesting and on the 5th, very few were eaten and a full revolt was imminent. Wednesday, our last work day, our host went down and requested they bring us something else. When we received those same sandwiches, we delivered them to a group of web developers (they'll eat anything if it's free!) and our host paid for us to eat in the cafeteria to avoid being beheaded by us peasants.

Wife and Youngest-daughter returned Wednesday evening, once again safe and without a scratch on the rental car. Yes, miracles still happen! It was raining hard and we had to pack for a 4:00 wake up to get to the airport the next morning so we decided to just get room service. Ham sandwich with a few potato chips and a salad with chicken strips wasn't bad - until I got the bill the next morning and found that in addition to the 17 Pounds for the food, they charged a 12.5% tip, a 3 Pound delivery charge and another 3 Pound charge for "tray pickup" - $40 for a room service ham sandwich and salad with chicken strips! Starting to get the picture? It was VERY expensive over there!

And so our trip was basically at an end. My team and I got a lot of work done and wife and Youngest-daughter enjoyed themselves immensely. Youngest-daughter can now go back to school having first hand knowledge in history and geography classes, plus the benefit of learning about a side of her family genealogy. I would judge the trip a success.