Monday, June 15, 2009

Quintessential Guide to the UK & Ireland

quin⋅tes⋅sence /Spelled Pronunciation [kwin-tes-uh ns] – noun
1. the pure and concentrated essence of a substance.
2. the most perfect embodiment of something.
3. (in ancient and medieval philosophy) the fifth essence or element, ether, supposed to be the constituent matter of the heavenly bodies, the others being air, fire, earth, and water.

While most of the following are inter-changeable, this is how we will remember our trip back across the Pond and our plans for one month ruined and stretching to just shy of 4 months!

The Quintessential English Experience
* Four seasons in one day
* University Cities - York, Edinburgh, Oxford etc
The English Pub
* Steak and Ale pies
* Mushy peas with everything - but especially with Fish and Chips
* Magners not Bulmers (Cider)
* Small meadows (1 - 2 acres) framed in hedges or stone walls
* Electric showers over the bathtub
* Full cooked English breakfast with baked beans
* Hamlets which are just a 'spit' from each other
* Red London buses and black London cabs
* Not understanding Australian humour
* Lack of whinging poms
* Narrow roads with high hedges on each side and tree canopies over roads
* Oxford and the girls

The Quintessential Scottish Experience
* Despite their own self-depreciation, people friendlier than you can imagine
* Black pudding and Haggis
* Amazing scenery
* Rugged and harsh northern coastline interspersed with the loveliest beaches
* Stone Circles and standing stones
* Unsurpassed seafood
* Isle of Islay
* Coming across agricultural machinery on the main roads and motorways
* Peat fens
* Castles
* Lochs
* Whisky Distilleries
* Abundance of seals

The Quintessential Wales Experience
* Roadside 'snack' bars and diners in caravans or demountables
* Stiles
* Scenery - the moors and mountains
* Castles
* Unpronounceable place names
* Shale hills
* 15% + road gradients
* Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia - the open and high country
* Lookouts
* Car dealers in remote settings in the countryside
* Self catering - old farm buildings and lodges

The Quintessential Irish Experience
* Constant rain interspersed with bright sunshine (hence the Emerald Isle)
* Celtic crosses
* Ruins in the middle of sheep paddocks (everyone's got one)
* Blarney Stone and other folklore
* Irish Stew
* Expensive overall
* All the Bs - Brooke, Ben and Bill, Blarney, Bunratty
* Castles
* Peat fens and cutters
* Amazing scenery - Cliffs of Moher and Ring of Kerry
* Coastal scenery - fallen arches, rocks, bays of isles
* Bill's pasta night and knowing how to appreciate Aussie Humour

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