My better half has a new-found affection for ice since so little is to be found in British restaurants. Unlike U.S restaurants, service does not automatically start with a glass of water. And, when one asks for water, it does not come with ice. This scarcity, coupled with our inability to overcome our accents to make ourselves fully understood, has led to many glasses of tepid refreshments in various establishments. Today he asked for a lot of ice with his water. Somehow that was interpreted as, “no ice, sir?” and I saw a flash of desperation cross his face as he began to pantomine a glass full of ice (no easy task!). I make a feeble effort to suppress a laugh and then dissolve into giggles.
My battle with British plumbing rages on, leaving me unusually afraid of bathrooms. The shower in our bed and breakfast, hardly big enough to turn around full circle, alternates between scalding me and shocking me with blasts far cooler than anything we’ve had to drink. And every shower is set up so that the hapless user has to lean in all the way to get the taps on. I’ll leave the result to the imagination.
Moving to a slightly more delicate subject, I have encountered some amazing toilets, including one that probably dates to the time of invention, with the tank above my head and a long pull chain. Figuring out how to flush them has been an adventure. Then there’s sinks – all kinds of them. The more historic the building, the more interesting the sink, including one so tiny it would not fit a baby Chihuahua, never mind a normal size pair of hands. Bending over trying to use it, I felt like Gulliver.
Meanwhile, my better half is working on a business plan to sell ice to American tourists in England.