Driving like adults and other travel tales

We made it to London after a bit of a delay in Newfoundland (Q: What is there to do at midnight on a Wednesday in St. John's? A: Nothing!). Other than losing two hours to windshield wiper repairs on the plane, and the usual dearth of anything remotely resembling real food anywhere along the way (Q: What is there to eat at midnight in St. John's Newfoundlands? A: Nothing!), and the usual fatigue that comes from not sleeping properly in a cramped economy-class seat, it all went splendidly. The kids are now experienced travelers and they're helping a great deal with the luggage and in-flight entertainment (boy, do they talk).

We flew into Gatwick this time instead of Heathrow because we had a great deal on airfare with Westjet flying into the smaller airport. It worked very well, except for the part where the car-rental counter was in the other terminal and we had to schlep 12 bags over roughly 7 miles (including cool monorail ride) in very crowded terminals. But we got our ride, a nifty Citroen Grand Picasso (which we've renamed Grand Piano), blue because The Youngest asked very politely if it were possible to have a car that colour, and off we went to our rented flat in Croydon. We're all sorted out for a very early filming start tomorrow in central London. Just putting a few finishing touches here and there (including polishing one entire beer between the two of us; yes, we party hard) before a very early night.

Driving in the UK is a hoot. I'd never done it until last year, and I must say once I get used to going the wrong way I find it very pleasant indeed. There is not much room on British roads for error. They are all narrow and winding and generally lack shoulders. If you make a stupid mistake, you pay dearly for it. As a result of which, Brits drive way better than North Americans. Because mistakes here are expensive.

The one thing that surprised me was stopping at red lights, putting the car in neutral and having it stop running. It would just die right then and there, over and over again. Except... when I would touch the clutch again it would restart by itself! I was about to phone the rental car people to ask what the heck that was about when it dawned on us that this was probably an anti-emission thing that new cars perform on purpose. It's very unsettling at first, but I'm getting used to it as well.

And why not? Why wouldn't my car stop at red lights instead of idling for no reason? The restarting happens very fast and I have yet to lose precious time because of it. I suppose we call this genuine progress.

Right. You'll have to excuse the rambling post but fatigue and that almost-half-a-beer are hitting me a bit hard. We shall have more fun stuff to report after filming in London all day tomorrow and driving to Bristol tomorrow evening for what should be a spectacular shoot in Bath on Saturday.

Good night!

Adventures in BritSpeak

Time is a dangerous thing