In the summer of 1993 Paul, Nate and Laura went to England. We'd like to say that after three weeks we returned to the United States with a better understanding of English life and culture. Unfortunately we were young and stupid so all we came back with was stories about hanging around the place we stayed watching "Telly". Also we went to see Jurrasic Park... great flick!
Nate kept a journal of his travels in Great Britain... Paul and Laura kept similar books but filled them with silly drawings. Presented here for the first time is Chef "Nate" Elf's English Travel Journals.... enjoy.
[The words in red are the words of Present Day Nate. You don't think that's too vain do you?]
Saturday July 24, 1993
6:28 A.M. (London Time)
I finally stepped in with the times and changed my watch. It's weird and jet lag is like space and time collapsing around you as you are hurled through a cruel and godless universe. It kinda makes you sleepy too.
The steward just passed out hot towels. I never felt better in my life! Some guy finally opened the curtain on his window, it's grand! The clouds look like valleys and mountains of cotton that have replaced the ground. EXTRAORDINARY! (Said with bad British accent)
The stewardess gave me breakfast then said to Paul "You aren't eating?" I'm glad to see that in this strange land Paul will not conform to their peculiar customs. He stays rigid in his beliefs. Namely: "Breakfast is not for me." Maybe after these three weeks are done we'll all learn a little something and grow from this experience... but I hope not.
We begin our decent. My ears are popping in agony and the captain says, "OH, I'm afraid that even at this early hour in the morning traffic at the Heathrow is quite backed up! So we're going to have to go into a holding pattern." Just wait until the folks back home hear that I was in a holding pattern. They're gonna be green with envy.
London is the foggiest place I've ever seen. We're in the middle of a storm and plane's shaking all around as we roll down the runway. Now it's time to get to Bulmershe... the place we'll be staying for the next three weeks. Bulmershe. That's fun to say because it's a funny word.
We're standing Lost in the the Rain near the Bulmershe centre. We're weary, cold and hungry but other that that everything is going just swimmingly. From now on I will be spelling things utilising the British spelling. Grab ahold of your knickers and... uh... have some bangers and mash, because it's gonna be a wild ride.
Paul and I finally got settled in our room. I haven't slept in almost a day because we finally settled down about 10 minutes ago. This place is great but we need food soon. I'd kill for a can of Coke. We got helped by the nicest man in the Cosmos. He took Laura and the luggage to the place we needed to go then he invited us to dinner. What a guy! Is this how they treat people in other parts of the world? Marvelous. Hmmm.. I haven't gone to the bathroom since 2:30 yesterday. I'm going to go now. I fear for my life if I don't.
[In retrospect perhaps it wasn't that wise to just give Laura to a stranger but we had to do something. He seemed nice and as it turns out... he was!]
It's almost 12 hour later. I feel 100 times better now. We were cold, wet, hungry and miserable but we finally got food and slept from 3 to 9. We're running on a reverse schedule but we have a secret weapon.... PK Gum. It was supposed to be a new kind of rocket fuel, but it kept burning out NASA's engines. So they gave it to the British and the British made gum. They're so resourceful over here. We sat around and watched telly for a while and we saw the best commercials. Dishwasher Fairy and something about a man made of cheese playing a trombone (I think his name was Douglas). Then they showed a very unfunny comedy about cannibalism called "Delicatessen." I had a miserable shower. The ceiling is so low that I can touch it with my elbows. The English also have a thing or two to learn about water pressure. They might as well tie an armadillo to the faucet and heat him up so he will sweat on you, it would be about the same. Also the showerhead is at eye level so you have to crouch down. Paul, being much taller than me, must really have a picnic. Other than the showers this place is pretty cool.
[The part about PK Gum is a lie. It wasn't a type of rocket fuel. It was just a gum that is about 100 times stronger than altoids. That's rough because Altoids are curiously strong.]
[Also, feeling nostalgic for Douglas the cheese man, I decided to see if there was anything online about him. Sadly about 10% of the responses were about "Who Moved my Cheese?" and about 90% of the responses were about Frank Zappa. Weird.]
Just recently I received mail from a Mr. Ben Croshaw informing me that Douglas was in fact made of butter and not cheese. I was shocked to learn my error and demanded more information. The company that made the butter was apparently called Lurpak and Douglas the Butter Man was made by the same guy that did Wallace and Grommet and Chicken Run. Who knew?
***Chefelf Supplemental Supplemental
Almost two full years after meeting Yahtzee he delivered the goods by sending me this picture of Douglas the butter man. I feel like a chapter in my life has finally been closed and for the first time in years I will truly sleep tonight.
Armed with this new and powerful information I felt that perhaps I was better equipped to jump back on the search engines and look for my old friend Douglas. No luck. All I found was information about a giant Douglas Baloon they are building for no apparent reason other than "honoring and immortalizing Douglas the Butter Man. If anyone has a picture of Douglas that they could send me or scan for me or ANYTHING, email me and let me know.
Incidentally Mr. Ben Croshaw has a website called Yahtzee Takes on the World about a boy named Yahtzee who buys a volcano and begins his mission of global domination. Cool site.
End of Day 2
Next time: our continued battle with jet lag and... Sultana Bran!