Picking up where we left off in Part A of the 3rd of November:
I did make my train to Merstham. Hooray! I sat next to an older couple on the train who were talking about miniature paintings – apparently the wife paints them and is a member of a society of miniature painters. They seemed nice and even alerted me that I had left one of my camera bags in my seat when I got up to leave!
From Instagram: “An oh-so-exciting photo to commemorate my first over-the-ground train journey since I arrived”
Once I arrived at the Merstham train station, I couldn’t get off the platform right away. When you exit the platform, you slip your ticket through a machine that reads it and the gate opens so you can be on your way. I bought a ticket to a town called East Croyden, because Kayla said I’d need to change trains there to get to Merstham. When my ticket was rejected by the machine, I had to hold it up in front of a camera next to the machine for a train station employee on the other side of the platform to see what was up with it. He sounded rather annoyed about my not having purchased a ticket that would take me as far as Merstham. Apparently, Kayla meant for me to buy a ticket to Merstham, and then just switch trains at East Croyden. Thank God Kayla was at the station to meet me and used her Southern charm to explain that I was just a tourist so the guy’d let me through!
I was glad that I had a little time to catch my breath when I arrived at Kayla and Martin’s place. We then loaded up the car to pick up their friends before making our way to the village of Brockham for their Guy Fawkes’ celebration. I had, in my mind, a quintessential “British” experience there. For the Guy Fawkes’ bonfire, they built a HUGE mound of twigs (and I suppose other flammable things) – I had never seen anything like it. There were so many people at this celebration. There were British anthems playing over loudspeakers, and all the (drunk, hehe) Brits were singing along: “Rule Britannia,” “Land of Hope and Glory,” etc. Very cool!
Kayla and me!
Traditionally, they parade an effigy of Guy Fawkes around for all the on-lookers to see, and then climb a ladder to the top of the mound to hang poor ole Guy up so they can burn him/the mound. They did all that. However, this year the mound only sort of lit on fire! It just got really smoky without properly burning. They had to skip on to the fireworks – which were AMAZING! I was so glad my trip to England afforded me the opportunity to experience this traditional British celebration!
The one case of there being smoke without a fire?
Apparently the British love sparklers just as much as we Americans do
Father-son light saber fight
Kayla, Martin, and I went for curry after the bonifre. Real talk: I felt like such a spoiled brat because I freak out so bad about onions in my food. Martin was like, “Uh, onions are the base for every curry dish.” So I was trying to remove and eat around the onions. It was funny/embarassing because the waiter kept chiding me and moving my glass and utensils around so they’d be in their proper places! I couldn’t tell if he was just having a bit of fun, or if he was serious. I was having one of my “I’M SORRY! I’M JUST A SILLY AMERICAN!” moments 🙂
Many thanks to the Hollises for a wonderful night!
Photos taken with my Canon Powershot SX230HS