Like many people who have lain dormant for the better part of 7 months under wooly sweaters and electric blankets (just saying ‘wooly sweaters’ is making my forehead perspire, it’s that warm right now), the minute the sun starts shining my bare “Oh my god, has she been using Colgate White Strips on her legs?” gams come out and my brain turns to mush. I don’t have much more to say about my legs save the fact that polar bears see them and think its still winter. It’s the brain thing that matters. When you are transporting around a small child to an unknown place, it’s best to know as much as you can about the place you are going to as well as how the fuck to get there. While I am fully aware of that fact, my brain is full of sunshine and looking up train schedules and bus lines and bathroom facilities at certain destinations doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere.
Yesterday I got it in my head to take Henry to a farm. There are a few urban farms in the Liverpool area but after doing some research on navigating my way to them, they seemed a bit far…like walking far, not distance to my house far. Basically, if Google tells me I’m going to be walking for more than 20 minutes in that single direction, I know that it will actually be 35 minutes (I walk slow and I have a kid who’s nose always needs wiping) not to mention that it’s hot and Henry will get crabby sitting in his stroller for that long, blah blah blah. I didn’t bother. I did however find some internet listing for this small farm down in Halewood which would only include a 9 minute (read: 15 minute) walk from where the train would drop us off. Yay.
To make a long story still a bit long, I walked all the way to our local train station only to find out that the train wouldn’t be leaving for another 45 minutes. So I decided to take the bus whose stop was on the other side of my town from where I was. I get to the bus stop, see a bus, and yell at it to stop for me only to finally realize it’s the wrong fucking bus. Being a brave sort, I go with it, as it’s heading in kind of general direction I want to go.
Once in Halewood, we start hoofing our way to the farm (which is now a 25 minute walk away (actual)). This is when the kid decides to shit his pants. “No problem,” I say, “there is a lovely pub right there that states it serves food which means its family friendly which means that they will have a big ass toilet to clean my son’s ass off in.”
Fucking pub was boarded shut. “We don’t take to no family friendly pubs down here in Halewood, boy howdy.” There was nothing else but a newsagent and a hairdresser, so we keep going.
When we did make it to the farm, it was certainly not the type of farm I had going in my mind. It was quite clearly a small working farm (fine) that decided to open itself up to visitors by having a small produce shop that also sold fancy jams. When I asked the owner lady (who I must admit was very nice and accommodating) where the toilets were and were there any animals there to see, she first gave me a bit of a pity look and apologized.
“Well, the toilet is over there under that shanty roof – you have to pull the cord at the top for the light. Um, we have a couple donkeys and goats but I think they are in the shade because it’s hot. The same with the chickens, they are probably in their house because of the heat. Sorry, we are thinking about adding on a little café sometime in the future.”
I bought some jam and the world’s most phallic cucumber because I felt bad.
This next bit is for Beth as it’s just another little quirky thing about England that she might find funny.
While I don’t want to get into how lost I’ve made myself in the last few days trying to navigate around a city I’m still trying to get to know, the one thing that has made my life just a little more difficult are the street signs in this country.
Most of us are familiar with what American road signs look like:
I so wish that said "Hardon" instead.
We sometimes even illuminate our signs! What a concept!
The signs are either directly above the road at a major intersection or tacked on a pole on the corner so you almost always know where to look when you want to find out where the fuck you are.
In England….OK, listen. England is old. They have things that are still standing from the barely A.D. age. Many (and I mean MANY) of their street signs are old and quaint (read: impossible to see or locate). If the street has one of these older signs, the sign will be on a small plaque – usually located on the second story of a building AT LEAST 40 feet from the corner of said street. Now wait. If the street sign has since been replaced, the sign will almost always be located ON THE GROUND, usually around the corner so you don’t know the street name until you passed it. If you see it at all. With the combination of little plaques high up on the second story of building and normal sized signs that only are as high as my waist; you tend to look like a bobble head doll trying to sort out what street you might actually be on*. I seriously believe that’s why England invaded India. They all got lost on their way to the new pub on New Quay Road and just ended up there.
Old timey signs
A newer sign. Tell me, can YOU see the corner anywhere near this sign?
*I’m going to have to exclude London when I say this as London is full of foreigners (like me) who get lost easily so they do their signage pretty consistently. Fucking London.