Adventure Business

Over the Channel

14:13Meg Cowan

It was time to farewell Paris and shoot over the channel to London. We picked up our rental car after a fair amount of phaffing about at the airport getting mobile phones sorted, rewired our brains to switch sides of the road again and hit the M1 towards Nottingham. Nottingham was all about our friends Sam and Amy and it was such a treat to see familiar kiwi faces. They are the kind of friends that you can pick up with after a year of separation and it feels like yesterday.

We had pub dinners and lunches.
There was a 'Kailee' put on by their church, which involved family games, where our team was robbed of victory in the final and we struggled to keep our competitive kiwi nature quiet.
G was in heaven with room to run and boys to rough house with. 

The kids and Emma also had a day at a 'farmyard' where E reportedly spent a good three hours standing at the fence talking with the horses. It seems we are slowly but surely moving further away from the city folk we used to be and strangely that's ok with me.

One evening Mr Evans and I headed out with Sam and Amy to an old cathedral, reclaimed and turned into a divine restaurant.
This was followed by a bizare late night trip to 'The Boiler Room'. Amy led us down the high street and and to a rather inconspicuous looking old shop front with a large glass frontage. The walls were sparce and white with peeling paint and only a few square white metal boilers, much like the old hot water 'zips' you see in a staffrooms across New Zealand. A counter ran the full width of the room and prevented any of the five people already in the building entrance from going any further. Behind the counter, sat a reasonably burly man with an ear piece and he asked for our name. We loitered patiently, watching as one party who'd had their fill, would come through the door to the left, lift the hinged counter top and exit the building, The people before us would then lift the opposite countertop and disappear through the door to the right, all with nothing more than an nod from our stout attendant. 

Our turn came and we followed the lead of our friends. Lifting the countertop we pushed through the white door and then we found ourselves in a small red room which looked like a bathroom, minus the lavatory. Sam pushed firmly against the handbasin and it swung wide to reveal a large, dimly lit, bustling room with industrial pipes, lamps and plants against walls and hanging from the ceiling. We were met by a chirpy waitress who took us to a table near the bar. The menu read like a safety manual and only cocktails were served, which looked more like science experiments and works of art when they arrived. It was all the fun we had anticipated while we had waited uncertainly by the main doors.

Due to a wedding at our first hotel the final night in Nottingham we had to book different accomodation and we were already well over the travelling hotel life by then. We arrived to what had promised to be a 'double family suite', which I had taken to mean two rooms but instead it was a cramped space complete with a sleeper couch and a trundler bed. To lighten the mood, and get some leg room, after getting the kids to sleep, Emma and I went to use the hotel wifi in the lobby and found ourselves surrounded by yet another wedding party. They had overtaken the small restaurant area and open lobby to the side of reception. Their DJ kept us entertained with a steady stream of 90's pop and 70's funk while we checked our emails. We were half expecting it to be a 'big fat gypsy wedding' and were slightly disappointed to see the older bride waltz past us for a cigarette break outside. It was all class.

The next day we set our course for Lower Brailles. Without a doubt, the prettiest part of England we've seen.
The Old Coach house was like a breath of fresh air after the last month of rather cramped travelling. E revelled in her 'ladies room', complete with iron bed, dresser and three sided mirrors and everywhere we looked made us think of Ma. It was just what an english country house should be, set in a quaint village and with a back yard to the kids to run riot in.

The week that followed was busy and full, with Mr Evans and I travelling between Lower Brailles, Coventry and an obscure part of Warwickshire as we prepped for a Tradeshow. We had only intended to visit the show but when an industry contact offered us his booth space as he was unable to make it we decided to take a gamble, use it for a little market test and see what the UK funeral directors throught of our product. Thanks to Ikea and various other homeware stores we pulled off a display and had possibly the most interest in our product that we've ever had at a tradeshow. It was a large greenlight for us on the UK market and we've been busy since then getting things ready to rollout officially. This was topped off by the novel concept of a medieval family day which the tradeshow ran on the final day. E and G were super excited about their first tradeshow. E relished 'selling' for the hour that she stood and helped on the display.
There were falconry and horseriding demonstrations outside complete with a medieval maid on horseback. E and G scoured the halls for giveaways and treats, heading home with loot bags full of magic card tricks branded for 'Enferno' and matchbox trucks signwritten to look like body removal vehicles. What wonderful memories we're giving our children!.

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