Published: June 3rd 2012May 28th 2012
Picadilly Circus, London
Waiting outside the local Coach store for our coach bus to pick us up to go see Liz Haliday, a three-day eventer, race car driver, and news anchor. Our group has been having a lot of bad luck lately, especially with busses. But today is a brand new day; our weekend has been pretty crisis-less so our good luck is sure to continue!
Jordan called our bus company, a bridge somewhere has been closed down, and so our bus has to take a detour to get to us. So no worries, and Ms. Haliday knows that we are going to be a little bit late.
Our coach bus has arrived! With air conditioning, and a bathroom! We’ve all loaded on and are now on our way out of the city and to North Chailey farm.
Driving through some small town outside of London. Our driver was just chugging along, and suddenly his door just kinda flies open! Solution? Use one hand to hold the door shut and the other hand to drive. Effective? Temporarily. Dangerous? Definitely. But it holds long enough for our driver Dan to stop and fix his door.
The GPS keeps telling Dan to turn down these little roads that our giant coach bus cannot fit into. So we are taking personal detours and using the map to try and find this farm. We are already pretty late; we were supposed to be at the farm at 2, and it’s already closer to four.
The GPS tells us that we’re close, but all I see is a very small street leading to nowhere. So Dan is getting out to see if the farm is close, and Dr. Brady is calling the farm for directions.
Turns out that the farm is only down the street! We drive about 100yrds and there it is! We’re pulling into the farm now, and it looks gorgeous. There are a few paddocks along the driveway with different styles of jumps scattered around. The horses inside the fences are beautiful as well.
As soon as we step out of the bus, our driver Dan informs us that the bus is broken, and that he should have it fixed by the time we are done touring the center.
We get inside the barn and meet Ms. Haliday. She has a girl named Zoe take us around the barn, because she has to school one of her horses in the arena for a bit. So Zoe shows us all the different horses. A few of the horses are ones that Liz herself owns, and other are boarders. The girls who work here can have their horses boarded for free, as well and room and board. Zoe tells us some of the records that these horses hold in eventing.
We’re standing up on a viewing platform over the indoor arena watching Liz school one of the horses. She talks to us and tells us a little about herself. The shows she’s done recently, and what she used to do back in California. She’s originally from San Diego, California, but has been living in the UK for some time now.
We get the chance to watch Liz and one of her worker girls jumping in the arena at the back of the barn. While we’re watching, Liz is schooling the rider and teaching her while on horseback herself. They’re both good jumpers, and I really enjoy watching them.
We’re getting ready to board the bus to go back to London, and Dan tells us that the bus is still broken, and that someone should be coming to get it fixed. So Liz tells us about this pub that’s about a mile up the road. The whole group is pretty hungry, so we are all going to hike up to this place called The Bull in Newick. We get up to the gate to leave, but there’s no way to open it from the inside. So James and Andrews decide to jump the gate and push the button from the other side.
We’ve made it to the pub. On our walk here, I saw a bunch of weird decorations at people’s houses, they were like stuffed people. I asked myself if these people knew that it was May, and not October. It looks nice enough; we’re ordering our drinks and food while they make a table for us all to sit at in the back. There’s mac and cheese on the menu, and I have been dying for some good mac and cheese these past few days.
Everyone’s sitting at this really long and fancily set table in the back. Some people have ordered themselves drinks of the alcoholic variety, and are sipping them while we wait for our food. James is playing the piano over on the far end; I had no idea that he could play that well! Best thing so far, this place has wifi! So while the password is being passed around, I’m going to try to check my Facebook and phone messages before the server gets bogged down by 23 people trying to log on at the same time.
Our food has arrived! And this macaroni and cheese looks just as good, if not more than I expected. Let’s see if it lives up to my expectations.
I think I may have just tasted heaven.
Most people at the table are feeling the effects of their drinks by now; we’re starting to get pretty rowdy, especially on the other end of the table. Luckily, I don’t think our group is causing too much trouble, because there’s not too many people in the pub right now.
Our bus is still not here, and people are starting to get really loud here at the bar. Shout-out to Annie Van Proyen; she specially requested to be in my blog =)
At this point, I think that I am one of the most sober people in this pub right now.
A man by the name of Tom’s been talking to us. He’s a new dad! So he and some of his friends are at the pub celebrating, and he decides that he wants to buy us all shots. Who am I to disagree? Also, props to the people at The Bull in Newick; they’ve managed to put up with 23 college-aged American students for near the past seven hours. Plus, they have amazing food.
Our bus is finally here! We have a new bus and driver though, because the old bus is still broken, and our driver Dan wants to stay with his bus. So devoted. Jordan is playing Momma Bear and herding us all out of the pub really fast and onto the bus. Frankly, about 80% of us are shwasted. Like, really really drunk. And our driver smells strongly like cigarettes.
On our way back to London, and I think our new driver is going to kill us all. He’s driving really really fast, and that’s kinda terrifying on these back roads.
For some reason, our driver has completely stopped in the road. The dashboard is making some sort of alarming noise, and it is my belief that this bus may blow up.
*Most of these time stamps are a rough estimate, and are not fully accurate.