"each step is like a vasectomy."

"Each step is like a vasectomy," said the teenage dude walking up the Miner's Track of Mt. Snowdon.

Yes, that is something I actually overheard whilst making my merry way down the Miner's Track path. Let me set the scene: the Miner's Track of Mt. Snowdon is mostly easy-peasy, lots of gentle incline and mountain lakes, with a straight up-hill climb that last bit. I don't want to down-play it. It took us 2 hours and 40 minutes on the way up to the top and only 1 hour and 50 minutes on the way down. And there were points where I was quite, quite glad that it was, in fact, misty and cloudy; vertigo being what it is.* But a vasectomy? Surely that uphill climb is easier than a vasectomy. Even to those given to hyperbole. After chuckling at the fellow I found I just wanted to call him a pansie. Yes, he had the decency to be embarrassed that 4 women witnessed that complaint. But still. Pansie.

Don't let my mini-rant throw you. Mt. Snowdon, though covered in cloud and mist almost the entire day, was lovely. Even with the hoardes of tourists. Seriously, you could spot the people on the various paths like ants at a picnic. On a clear day it must be spectacular. That was my second trip to Wales in as many weekends and I'd absolutely go back. Particularly to northern Wales. Get me a nice little cottage for a week by a creek and go hiking during the day, sit by a fire at night, pretend the the cute-as-a-button lambs in the field aren't the same ones I have for dinner....

Yes yes. Life is good.

The way up:
crazy 'path'

* I reserve the right to use commas and semicolons as I please.


Queenie of Snowdonia

Have a new nickname, folks. Queenie. One of my more entertaining officemates coined the name for rather obvious reasons. Feel free to use it as you will. In my own Royal news, I'm trying to figure out what I'll be doing for the Royal Wedding. There are supposed to be all kinds picnics and neighborhood parties and such. All I know is that I've heard the word "bunting" more in the last 3 weeks than in all the years of my life combined. But before I get ahead of myself, other schemes are afoot.

Friday we're off to Mt. Snowden in norther Wales, the tallest peak south of Scotland on this tiny island. I'm super excited even though it's only 3,500 feet tall. Last weekend we walked up Pen y Fen in southern Wales and it was gorgeous. We're even expecting fine weather! Which, believe you me, is quite a topic of conversation around here. Basically clear skies, temperatures approaching 70 degrees and 3 holidays in two weeks time. I'm surprised the whole of Great Britain is surviving this trifecta. And I didn't truly understand the extent to which Brits will run head-long into sun without sunblock until I saw a warning against sun in the weather report for Mt. Snowden. They list the various hazards, you see: blizzards, heavy snow, gales, persistent and extensive hill fog, storm force winds, thunderstorms, heavy persistent rain, and strong sunlight. Because among that list of things to watch out for, strong sunlight is on the tops of my list. Just so you know, we're expecting a "Medium" risk of strong sunlight.

Please feel free to leave suggestions on my Royal Wedding doings. I'll feel free to completely disregard them.

Atop Pen y Fan in southern Wales....


Notes from the Cubicle

I find myself working from an office consistently for the first time in over 2 years. Which is ironic, considering part of the reason why it's easier for me to do what I'm doing is because I've worked from home for the past 2 years. Friends and family asked whether the transition back to an office would be a difficult one for me. You know, since I couldn't roll out of bed at 8:00AM and stroll into my "office" at 8:30AM in a robe with a steaming cuppa. I'll admit that I was a bit worried, but I think the novelty will mostly last until I'm out of the office and in Germany. In honor (or honour, such as it is) of my return to the office, I present general impressions:
  • I'm doing my best to uphold the lazy American stereotype. An explination: I didn't pack any "office" type clothes because packing for 5 months is interesting enough without trying to please silly people in an office. Also! the Brits in the office just dress up a lot more than our own American offices. No big surprise.
  • I know I already said it, but they really do drink that much tea.
  • The low low cubicle walls makes me feel like I'm just a breath away from the office stylings of Mad Men.
  • It's nice being distracted by people you can actually see. It's a change of pace. I'm sure that might get old at some point.
  • I made my first journey with a cozy of tea drinkers today. I prefer coffee still. And I'll have to do some hunting of my own soon for new coffee. Sigh.
In the realm of small updates, we did not make it to southern Wales last weekend. It happens. Though it is still on the agenda and Mt. Snowden is definitely on the agenda, regardless of weather. I'm also plotting the next time I'll make Mexican food. Some things you just have to do yourself.

Happy Thursday, all!


brecon beacon beckons

The weekend is almost here and all my changes, travel, and adjustments finally caught up. With a migraine I am. Or I was, rather. Things are better now since I took my drugs, but when I arrived in the morning for a group breakfast I was completely loopy. Then I was confronted with beans at breakfast. That didn't help. In that moment I likened me trying to figure out what a proper English breakfast looks like to a choose your adventure story. I wasn't prepared and didn't know which thing to pick up or pass on. I was waved off the black pudding by a gentlemanly co-worker.

Things to look forward to: tomorrow we should be off to Brecon Beacons National Park in south Wales for a small walkabout. I think I shall like it. Take a look....

Hope y'all have a fantastic Friday and weekend.

Over and out.


Collective Nouns

Sitting in my new office digs at the lunch hour I can safely report that the British are huge tea drinkers. Not that everyone didn't know that already. But knowing intellectually and witnessing firsthand are two very different things. Very different things, indeed. To provide a little spacial context, I'm sititng near the door to the elevator that leads to a little coffee stand and the exit. I'm also sitting right next to the communal tea supply: there are 4 boxes, one with 160 bags in it, for approximately 6 people.

All throughout the day groups of people venture back and forth on tea excusions. The only thing I can compare it to, in terms of the frequency, is a smoke break. Top of the hour? Time for a tea break. Just finish lunch? Time for a tea break. Bored? Time for a tea break. It never ends. And it's almost always in packs. Except the word "packs" doesn't really provide the gravitas that I'm after. Think a parliment of owls, a murder of crows, a gaggle of geese, etc. etc. etc..

The order of the day is quite simple: create an appropriate collective noun for a group of british tea drinkers. Right now the best candidate I could come up with is a "staff of tea drinkers." It is with that small offering that I will now say I'm taking any and all suggestions to fill this gaping hole* in the English language. The winner will be sent a jar of marmite.

* ridiculous and telling spelling mistake pointed out by KFR; fixed at 16:16 UTC