September 5, 2005

Don't Mess With The Sussex Police

Forgive how scattered this --- I am sleep deprived and on battery power so have maybe 20 minutes and can't proofread...

The Sussex Police were at Gatwick Airport with Sub. Machine. Guns. I don't even think they were SUB actually. I've only ever seen guns like these in the hands of Arnold Scwarzenegger. These machine guns were longer than me and had big clear plastic cases full of bullets so big they looked like pencils. Not like NUMBER 2 TEST TAKERS either. I mean, fat kingergarden pencils. And over the loudspeaker, this guy who sounded like a refugee from a Terry Gilliam Film kept saying, "STAY BY YOUR LUGGAGE! If we find your luggage unattended, IT! MAY! BE! DESTROYED!"

"England is SCARY!" I said, bug-eyed from an 8 hour overnight flight---and willing to trade my immortal soul for a toothbrush.
"Don't let the Sussex Police hear you..." said Scott.

Also at Gatwick: GODS IN ALABAMA! I went in and the cover LEAPT out at me. It was both on the front table and in a woman's hands---she was book hunting and had picked it up. I practically snatched it from her, hollering. THIS IS MY BOOK! She looked at me like I was a loon (a loon with terrible breath, no less) and I said, NO NO I MEAN, NOT THIS COPY! I MEAN I WROTE IT! And then I stood there giggling at her and googling my fiery red eyeballs out of my head until she bought four copies. REALLY I needed more sleep. And really really she was lovely to me.

We spent yesterday going to every bookshop we could find and meeting booksellers and signing storestock--- EVEN HARROD'S! I AM IN HARROD'S! Along with VERA WANG. Anyway. We did that because thats what makes this trip so tax deducta---er, I mean, special. AND in our copious spare time we toured Kensington Palace (WOW) and walked to the famous Peter Pan statue. I have pictures of all this, but am running on batteries as we forgot to bring those converter plugs... I even have pictures of me holding up my book in HARROD's to show the IR---I mean, my parents. I will have Scott upload them later.OH I do not have pictures of the Sussex Police. You wouldn't either.

It's like 4 am here?? Is it MONDAY? We were so punchy and tired all day yesterday, but giddy with thrill at the same time.

OH in the custooms line thing, We were in front of some weirdo American who apparently travels to London all the time as an ambassador for making-Brits-hate-America.

Him: This your first trip? Business or pleasure.
Me: Scads of each!
Him: Oh. Well. it's okay. I mean, They speak English. It's a good place to be, if you can't be in America.
Me: .....

Later I slipped a note about him to the Sussex Police, so THAT man won't be a worry anymore.

We ate at a PUB, by the way, Because they had beer there. And BANGERS AND MASH!! and MUSHY PEAS! It was grand.

Everyone here says Brilliant the way Americans say Cool. Scott and I plan to take it up when we get home.

Anyperson in America: Blah Blah something cool Blah
Us; Oh, that's brilliant. They say that in London, you know. Where we just went. They say it all the tme and we were there four days and it was brilliant OH OOPS there we go again, see we practically became natives! Want to see our SLIDES?

OH We passed the Victoria and Albert and stood looking at the pitted stone walls. Scott indicated the huge chunks of stone missing and said, World War Two...

He was right. We put our hands into the holes that time has worn smooth and looked the building, imagining what it went through, and yet there it still stood, strong and lovely. It was sobering and amazing and a little like feeling up history.

I love it here.

Posted by joshilyn at September 5, 2005 12:13 AM

"...a little like feeling up history" PWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA FEELING UP HISTORY ::::::::::hooting:::::::: you should be a writer or something....


Posted by: Jilly at September 5, 2005 8:04 AM

Yay! You made it! Can't wait to hear more. BTW don't have eggs at a pub, that whole "fry them really hard" thing will fall on deaf ears, there. And the only thing worse than runny eggs is runny eggs in England which are surely swimming around your plate with a mess of BEANS.

Posted by: Mir at September 5, 2005 8:39 AM

jealous jealous jealous

It survived WWII, but could it have withstood Katrina?

Posted by: Heather at September 5, 2005 2:41 PM

Hey, I say 'brilliant' all the time and I'm Canadian. Of course, I also call people wankers and describe people as foppish. I may be rather British. Or, I've been watching too many Colin Firth movies. Whatever.

Posted by: Jennifer Jacula at September 5, 2005 10:38 PM

Hey Joshilyn
You think it's crazy finding your book at the airport? Well I bought it only yesterday in a supermarket in a little town in Yorkshire called Halifax. My Canadian friend was amused to find that we Brits also have a town called Halifax.. I was quick to point out that the Canadian version was named after ours!

I was stunned to see your book, as last September when my husband and I were honeymooning in NYC, I met you in the bathroom of an Italian restaurant! You were celebrating your new book and talking excitedly on your mobile (sorry, cell phone) to a friend. I can't remember what was said between us.. I think we just got chatting whilst hurriedly applying lipgloss.. but I made a mental note of your name.. I even looked it up when I came home but assumed (wrongly!) that the book may not travel across the Atlantic. Anyway, a year on, there it was, in a branch of Tesco in a small town in the North of England. Not the most salubrious of places to have picked it up, but I'm so happy to have tracked it down! Once I've finished the weighty Charlotte Bronte novel I'm reading I'll pick it up. Btw, the Brontes are locals so if you make it this far North, the Bronte Parsonage is a really atmospheric place to visit.
all the best

Posted by: Rebecca at September 6, 2005 4:14 AM

Ok, once again...Brilliant!

Posted by: Amy-GO at September 6, 2005 8:25 AM

Unless you live in the east or south of America... you don't realize what it is like to live in history. Well maybe that is because I lived in Germany for two years, and stood in awe of the history I'd learned in school, and read of in copious books. (I've a Gatwick type story - but it take place 28 years early in Frankfurt at the height of Bader Meinkoff reign terror.)

My three week visit to England (which was originally to have begun the week after 9/11) was awesome, awe inspiring, and of what dreams had been originally made (oh wait, there wasn't some handsome devil to sweep me off my feet - which of course my husband probably appreciates, as does said bloke because he'd need a fork lift which is not really romantic in the least.) I walked away believing that everything and everyone was Lovely - oh so lovely - isn't that brilliant?

It is so nice to live vicariously through Joss' experience and trip to London. Filled with her joy at finding gods on more shelves in England than I've found here. I have this mental picture of her jumping up and down after grabbing the book out of the poor lady's arms, and then having to show her id to prove who she is because after 20 hours of sleep deprivation she doesn't look like the lovely photo on the jacket.

Ah, the QMII awaits.

Posted by: Cele at September 6, 2005 11:30 AM

Psst...Gatwick security was like that when I first went to London 12 1/2 years ago- Kevlar vests, machine guns, ear pieces, and looks that could kill. The Europeans have always been more progressive than Americans, but back then it was the IRA and not Al Qaida.

Posted by: Sabra Wineteer at September 6, 2005 5:05 PM