We got an early start of sorts today: board games and wine 'til 2 a.m. (local) -- you'd think we were protesting the time change, with 9 p.m. EST being a perfectly reasonable time for such things.
On O'Neill's patio
I had time to finish The Cider House Rules before Tea was ready to begin Day 4 proper. First up was lunch at O'Neill's: Tea had the two-cheese burger -- with some sort of blue cheese that she really enjoyed -- and I had Guinness fish 'n' chips with mushy peas -- I can see I'm gonna be a big fan of the mushy peas!
Then it was off to a bookstore Tea had heard about called Cooking: The Books; as you might expect, it was packed to the rafters with all manner of cookbooks, and books about food and drink in general. The printed-word trend continued with a stop at the library; not a big branch, per se, but laid out very well, with a good mix of old and new titles (including movies, CDs and comic books -- a.k.a. graphic novels). The facade is under construction right now, and I loved the smell of freshly-cut wood as you entered and left the building.
We then made our way to High Street, and decided to pop in to Starbucks for a pick-me-up as the rain began. (I love the way they assume you're staying in there; nice, big, ceramic mugs too.) A bit of grocery shopping at Tesco and Wilkinson followed, and since the rain was still fairly heavy once we'd finished, we decided to see a movie.
The subtle differences continued when the lady behind the cash asked us whether we'd prefer to sit in the front or the back of the theatre: they assign seats at their cinema! We had an hour to kill before the show -- Last Chance Harvey -- so we headed across the way to Frankie & Benny's for a pint.
Inside the cinema
Our return to the theatre brought new surprises: they serve liquor, for one; and they asked Tea whether she'd like her popcorn sweet or salty. (The latter, of course, silly woman; my girl is nothing if not a salt lova.) The ratings are also very prominent, on both the trailers and the feature. I think they should've had them in front of the ads too: they played one for the Royal Marines that left me thunderstruck -- I think I muttered something along the lines of "f***in' hell..." following it.
An interesting consequence of assigned seating was that hardly anyone showed up before the feature began. Prior to the trailers, it looked like we'd share the theatre with half a dozen couples at most. Halfway through the trailers, the theatre was still half-empty. Then they just started spilling in, and it was about five minutes into the feature before it trickled off, leaving only the first two rows free for the most part. It was refreshing, actually, compared to the line-ups at our multiplexes.
We were feeling a bit peckish after the show -- excellent movie, incidentally, as you'd expect of anything that would interest both Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman -- so off we went to Thai Emerald. What an impressive restaurant! Big, banquet-size tables that still manage to feel warm and welcoming; and the food! Oh, the green curry was amazing! Everything was, really. Even the Thai beer, Singha, managed to surprise me, tasting more like a bitter than a lager, and, honest to goodness, reminiscent of Fuller's ESB (which I love). A great cap on the evening, to say the least.
Finally, here's some comic relief from the morning. If you're interested in looking at more photos from the day, check out our Day 4 album -- note that we've had a request for supermarket photos; this isn't some sort of fetish of mine. :-)