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Back from the U.K.

Hiatus explanation: I’m back from vacation in the United Kingdom. We went to London, Cumbria (the Lakes District), Simon’s cousin’s wedding in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Edinburgh. Quite enjoyable, where the pluses greatly outweighed the minuses. Two-bit summaries below!

Strange but pleasant observation upon returning home: I thought the 5.6M earthquake in San José would’ve at least knocked off a few books from shelves. But nope, everything was in place. Guess the shakes were in the “best” directions (whew).

What I already miss:

  • Beautiful hikes in Cumbria. No rain, either.
  • So little time to hang out and investigate Edinburgh. Again, our weather karma held out.
  • Old buildings. It’s exciting to be surrounded by unfamiliar (and often cool) architecture.
  • Delicious food, especially seafood, sandwiches and innovative Indian-fusion cuisine. More on that later, perhaps.
  • Easy access to tea. Tea rooms and cafés with fresh tea and cakes. Everywhere. Oh, right, it’s the U.K., duh. 😉
  • Rail service. It exists throughout. Lovely views going from London to Carlisle, as well as from Edinbirgh to London.
  • Reminders in perspective: While English might be the official language, it remains different from home! Communication styles and nuances required getting used to, but still intriguing to observe and learn from.
  • Friendly, helpful service people. Those in retail (e.g., advice at a pharmacy, the O2 franchises, etc.) seem much better trained and more clueful than those here. (Insert clichéd regret at the demise of American shops and retail.)

What I don’t miss:

  • The push of the Christmas sales crap in October, which seems sooner than over here.
  • Salty food, even at some upmarket restaurants! How odd.
  • How CDMA mobile devices are bricked overseas. Thanks a bunch, Verizon. Also, how other carriers make it difficult to roam overseas. Thanks AT&T, for neglecting to activate a service we’re already being charged for. And people wonder about my disgust with the telephonic technologies.
  • Rail service from the 19th century. Repairs and maintenance indicated, yet unavoidable. Delays and inconsistent news and announcements.
  • London Heathrow. Queues. Air and noise pollution. More repairs indicated.
  • Having a cold/the flu sucks while traveling.

Photographs (mostly by Simon) to follow. There are a lot to sift through, so it might, er, take a while.

I need to deal with a huge load of spam messages that Thunderbird can no longer handle gracefully or efficiently. So if you sent me an email and still await a response, you might need to send it again …or, uh, wait a bit longer. Techno-rant digression: To quote the hosting service support,

The Thunderbird e-mail client (v2.*) has a bug that causes the Trash folder to overfill with temp files when you try to delete a large number of messages or if there are a large number of messages already in the Trash folder. When this happens the Trash folder becomes unusable and usually causes errors (i.e., Connection dropped by IMAP server…). To work around this bug I’d recommend deleting smaller numbers of messages (at one time) and purging/emptying the Trash folder often so it doesn’t get very full.

Many thanks to my hosting service for their explanation and help! I cannot seem to find a Bugzilla number[s] for this issue, though. Sadly, this might be the ultimate push for me to switch to another mail client, sooner rather than later. 🙁

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