The three airline stewards got up early for this event - it's 2:30 in the afternoon and they're not normally up until 3pm. Even that only gives them five hours of sleep. Only on average do they get enough. These three do the Boston-London route. Their airline doesn't even provide them with food anymore - leftovers if there are any after the passengers have been fed. No wonder they've developed food hobbies on the far ends of their commute. One stocks up on butter while in London. Another is tuned in to the Chocolate Week loop. After an hour's visit to Britain's oldest cocoa specimen, at the Natural History Museum, they're off to Chez Jules for chicken before work.
In a spectacular, spacious apartment with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Thames, at an afternoon tea party, I met a retired teacher. She didn't know what to do about the title issue either. She doesn't have a doctorate, so intimidation isn't a factor, but she does have the dilemma over what to do when one of her former secondary school students writes her. The students are twenty or thirty. It feels awkward to her that they still address her as Mrs. X.
Technically, I met rosamicula over a mountain of purple wool at sushigirl's, but I didn't really get to know her until itsjustaname organized the last lunch out. We loitered over drinks at Starbucks, exchanging life story threads and realizing how many people we have in common from different directions. She didn't go to York, but in some ways, she may as well have done so. She's engaging, intellectually energetic, and a very pleasant companion for afternoon drinks.
I was easily the youngest person at the semi-academic gathering. Even someone of retirement age would be in the younger half of the attendees. After the morning's talks, over borscht and chicken, we traded stories: where my name comes from; a story about trading letters during the Korean war; life at Little Rock in the early '70s.
Five of us were playing Valley of the Mammoths, mostly for the first time. I was wedged against a volcano across the stream from utopia_necro's villages. His turn was ahead of mine this round. He cross the river to set up his men to besiege one of my villages. His oversight. Not only did I have enough men to overcome his attack, but I too could cross water, and, in one turn, took out his fighters and one of his two villages. Between this coup and the protection offered by surrounding mountains, the game was mine. It's a good game - and not just because I won. (We also played two rounds of Betrayal at the House on the Hill. A fine and funny board game, but I'm not convinced about its long-term replay value. After six or seven games, would it get slightly dull and predictable.)
Many thanks to hungry_pixel! Being fed mountains of roast food and a homemade apple crumble is the best way of celebrating autumn.