Of course our idea of 'useful' was generally things like helping to teach Sophie -- who was recently introduced to Dr. Who via the latest series -- to say "Exterminate!" in her best dalek voice. By the end of the week, even her baby dolls could say "Exterminate!" We disavow any ties, however, to the recent dalek disappearance.
Of course we would not impose on friends without bribing our way with some gifts; our currency of choice was the breakfast cereals and snacks far too unhealthy to be sold in Britain: Froot Loops (no longer Marshmallow Blasted), Lucky Charms and Doublestuff Oreos -- and the reasonably healthy Craisins. We are so very grateful to Brad and Liz for putting us up (putting up with us) -- hotels in London are outrageously expensive. Liz was kind enough to pick us up and deliver us back to Gatwick, as well as drop us off at railways before we got our Oyster cards, too.
The best thing was sitting around most nights just chatting and catching up. It's been a few years since we've been together, so there was a lot to talk about. It's great when you have the kind of friends who, even if you don't see them face to face for a while, can pick up with where you left off with ease. It was so relaxing and fun -- lots of laughs and silliness. We got a belated introduction to The Day Today, yet another terrific British comedy show. That ended up being the theme of the trip for me. I had planned to look for Sunshine on Putty and luckily enough, found it for 1/3 the cover price (yay!) at the Book and Comics Exchange at Notting Hill Gate. I also managed to get copies of recent books on Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, including Tragically I Was An Only Twin and Goodbye Again which includes many of their scripts together (Americans who only know Moore from his few films here are missing a lot, from Beyond the Fringe to the Pete and Dud dialogues). On top of that are several CDs of British comedy courtesy of Brad (thanks!) so I may keep laughing for months.
Much more to write, but I need to actually do a little work now. Good news - the Clive essay may be included in an anthology provided I can find the time to make a few alterations. But for now -- TO BE CONTINUED!