Days 2 & 3 - Crumpets at Dawn

Day 2 started at 3:30 AM, when I could not convince myself to go back to sleep. It was pitch black outside. I could see a few city lights sprinkled out in the distance from my bedroom window. With all the time in the world, I trudged downstairs. I made myself a crumpet with peanut butter and jelly. Sacrelig, I think.

Apparently I'm supposed to put jam and clotted cream on this thing. I'm probably not supposed to toast it either. P.S. WTF is clotted cream?

 

By 8 AM, the light just barely broke over the horizon. The pinks and oranges warned of a rainy day ahead.

My boss came by and picked me up in his super cool Tesla around 8 or 9. He asked what I had for breakfast.

"I toasted a crumpet and put peanut butter and jelly on it." I told him.

The second half confused him. "Jelly? Jelly or jam?"

I had never been asked this question before and, in this moment, realized that I had no mental distinction between the two. Was jelly different than jam? And if it was, how? I didn't know.

The correct answer to his question was "jam" but I still don't fully understand the distinction or when it would ever come up.

 

Work was a short, rainy drive- maybe seven minutes. This was my first view of the office. Like most buildings in Frome, it was made of brick.

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The first half hour or so of my day was shaking hands and/or waving at literally every single person in the entire company. By the end, I knew everyone's name. Just kidding. I couldn't remember anyone's name by the end of that. (It took me nearly a week to figure out the name of the girl who sits across from me, says future Katie who is editing this a week later).

 

There was a company meeting where I got to introduce myself in more detail and also hear what the company had been up to lately from an internal perspective. Toward the end, I could feel that 3:30 AM wakeup starting to take its toll. Luckily, it was nearly lunchtime and lunchtime... is Kelvin time.

 

At 12:30 PM every day, a red van pulls up with a honk in front of our office like a cocky boyfriend here to pick us up for a date. The girls scream at the sound, as though the Beatles just poured out of a limo.

His name is seriously Kelvin Hobbs. 

His name is seriously Kelvin Hobbs. 

"Kelv", as they call him lovingly, drives a coffee van called Cafe2U and makes REAL COFFEE- not instant- from the trunk. While you wait, you can play his blackboard quiz, which hangs on the inside of the van. Today's quiz was Tom Hanks movies: guess the abbreviation. I was very pleased with my Toffee Butterscotch Latte from Kelv and less pleased with my inability to guess "T.G.M. 1999" I kept thinking, "If it were Y.G.M. that would make sense. You've Got Mail. But what is T.G.M.???"

So what would T.G.M. circa 1999 be?

Did you guess it?

The Green Mile.

 

I had lunch with a couple of my coworkers at the "Pig Farm" called White Row. I was informed that it is now quite popular to open restaurants at farms in England. Check out this little piglet itching his little floppy head.

 

At White Row, I had my first Ploughman's. What's a Ploughman's? Well, it looks a lot like what happens when I can't decide what I want to eat. It's like a smorgasboard of farm stuff: salad, coleslaw, pickled onion, chutney, butter, and bread. And a pickled pickle. And a cheese block. I chose the Stilton Ploughman's. I'm going to keep saying "pickled pickle" until I understand what is going on with pickles in this country.

Ploughman's: bread, chutney, butter, stilton, pickled onion, pickled pickle, salad, coleslaw

After a full day of meetings and greetings, I was pretty exhausted. I'm not sure I even got dinner. I just went home and went to bed by 7:30. And woke up at 11:30 PM and couldn't get back to sleep. As if 3:30 AM the night before wasn't torture enough.

 

Day 3

I went to lunch at White Row again, this time with a different coworker. I got a panini with brie and cranberry chutney and... "bacon". This was the day I learned that "bacon" in England is ham. I tried my coworker's fish and chips. It was AMAZING. White Row has really good food. In fact, I hadn't had a single crummy meal yet from anywhere so far.

 

When I go to White Row, I order the Elderflower soda. It's like a fragrant sparkling water, almost. It's very good. It kind of reminds me of Ramune.

Photo taken a later day, when I got fish & chips for myself.

Photo taken a later day, when I got fish & chips for myself.

 

One of my coworkers showed concern for the fact that I did not have a way of getting around yet and hadn't run any errands. He was nice enough to take me into town center to help me get situated. He wasn't from the area so he didn't quite know where everything was, but I saw quite a few things that delighted and/or amused me.

At the "car park" in Frome by the shopping center. My coworker thought it was funny that I thought this deserved a picture.

I mean, name any place in America that looks like this. Maybe somewhere in New England but that's about it.

 

In search of a hair straightener, we went to Argos. Argos is like pre-internet Amazon. You walk in, thumb through a paper catalog, then press in your Item # on what I think looks like a giant calculator.

How ridiculous is this calculator, tho?

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Teeeeeeeth

Teeeeeeeth

Across the plaza, I spotted a cafe that immediately screamed "Katie would like it here!" called Cordero Lounge. It was open until 11 PM. I made a mental note.

 

Catherine Hill

We crossed out of the plaza to Catherine Street. Catherine Hill was wall-to-wall boutique shops offering everything from yarn to used video games. As we climbed the hill, I realized I was standing in the location of a picture I had saved from the internet and put as my lock screen before I moved. I was there. I made it.

The photo from my phone that I got from the internet.

The photo from my phone that I got from the internet.

While I didn't collect on the Argos' hair straightener idea, I did at least get to know where to shop for basics. I was depressed, however, to find that nearly everything closed at 5. That's not a typo. 5 PM. Like, don't people have jobs? Who are these people shopping before 5 PM on weekdays? Schoolchildren? Retirees? I don't get it. The place was a borderline ghost town by nightfall. Not to mention there are basically five street lamps total so there are dark alleys a-plenty.

 

I went home feeling kind of bummed out that there wouldn't be much to do at night while I was living here. As a major night owl, having stuff open at night was pretty important to me. At that point, I made the decision that Frome wasn't the right town for me to live in. I looked forward to seeing Bath.

 

For dinner, I went to my boss's house and we had some chicken curry stuffs. I was introduced to Redbush tea, which is now my favorite tea in the whole world. Love it. In the states, we call it Rooibos, but in my experience, it isn't as fragrant in the US. I really like it here. It's the perfect mix of earthy and herby without the bitter aftertaste many dark teas have.

 

I was given melatonin which made a huge impact on my sleep. While I still woke up at all hours of the night, I was able to go back to sleep without issue and wake up at a more reasonable hour. Never leaving the country without it again.