Usually when we pack for our trips overseas, our dog Nick viewed our activities pensively. He knew what we were up to. We were leaving, he wasn’t coming along, and he wasn’t happy. This time it was different.
The day before our departure for the UK, the UPS man came through the front gate. Usually Nick would vigorously defend the front of the house against all who tried to enter. Delivery people had learned to fear Nick’s presence and they entered the gate carefully. This time it was different. Nick was gone. The UPS man was returning Nick’s ashes to us through the very gate he once menacingly patrolled. It was Nick’s final disappointment.
As Becky ransacked her closet for every remaining piece of clothing that she could possibly justify bringing along, Nick’s ashes sat in a well-crafted wooden box on his pad in front of the window. His box looked towards the front gate that he once so diligently guarded. His box will stay there, in his favored spot, until we can bear to move it away.
Usually this time of year we head to sunny Sedona, Arizona for the Thanksgiving Holidays. This fall, due to the uncertainty around Nick’s declining health, we changed our normal migratory pattern and headed to the UK, with its seasonal clouds and rain. For Becky, the trip would be her first visit to the UK, if you don’t include Heathrow Airport.
Often our overseas trips have some sort of theme. This time we plan on witnessing the evidence of the waves of Invasions that have recently appeared on the streets of London. (Stay tuned for more about Space Invader’s Invasions of cities of the world.) And, of course, we will eat well. After this year’s earlier trip to Northern Spain and meals at Mugaritz and El Celler de Can Roca, I had been to four of the top five of the restaurants on the 2009 San Pellegrino list of the world’s best. There was one restaurant that remained—Noma. Noma is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Not exactly next door to London but with a cheap European flight, a day trip seemed practical. We broadened our plans to include a day trip to Denmark. I’m a list oriented individual. There might have been a mild existential meltdown if I didn’t try to cross off the last of the top five restaurants before the next version of San Pellegrino’s List comes out.
The San Pellegrino List of the World’s Best Restaurant:
On our trip, we will also head back, with our high end dining gurus Ganesan and Catherine, to The Fat Duck. The Fat Duck is considered as one of the best restaurants in the world and is number two on the San Pellegrino list. This will be my third visit to the Corpulent Canard and Becky’s first.
After London, a brief trip to Edinburgh Scotland will finish the trip. As usual, after all the fine dining, they may have to shoehorn us into our airplane seats for the trip back. When we arrive back home, we expect to see Nick’s box still in his favorite spot. It will still be sad for us to see.