I just mentioned in my last post on Friday that I was heading up to the English midlands for the weekend, and now I’m back feeling enriched and not a little bit in pain for it 🙂

We did indeed get to see the room (at least from the outside) where the Gunpowder Plot conspirators developed the bulk of their plan to blow up Parliament and the King right along with it.  The countryside around Ashby St. Ledgers is the most peaceful I’ve yet experienced in England and the sheer beauty made it absolutely no bother that we were trekking around in the rain.

Saturday night we attended the wedding of my husband’s colleague in Wolverhampton.  We did not participate in the day’s ceremonies, but we delighted in our first Sikh wedding reception.  Being big fans of Indian food, the assortment of lamb, chicken, and vegetarian dishes gracing the center of our table for family-style serving was a highlight, as was the dazzling splendor that was watching a rainbow of glittering saris swirl round—unique in their colors and embroidery, I certainly felt Plain Jane in my standard ‘little black dress’ uniform.

Hopefully it doesn’t sound terribly cheesy or stereotypical of me to reference, but I couldn’t help thinking of the wedding scene in the film Bend it Like Beckham that evening; it was my first time being a part of this cultural celebration that merged India with the United Kingdom.  My husband sees the bride on a day-to-day basis in her corporate attire, yet here she was glimmering from head to toe in golden embroidery and jewelry, the henna tattoo elaborately curling to her fingertips and harkening to another aspect of her cultural composition.  It was funny when she mentioned how her older female relatives admonished her for nonchalantly allowing some of the tattoo to already wash away, bringing to mind the cultural clashes that must occur now and then on both large and small scales.  The fusion of the two cultures was further evidenced in plain sight by the little movie posters mounted at the center of each table—corresponding with their numbers, each table was named after a different film, some Hollywood, some Bollywood.  We really felt in the midst of the latter cinema when we walked into a banquet room with walls and dancefloor twinkling like starlight through a pink mist, all of which really came to life once the music and dancing began.  (am frustrated with myself for having no photos to share here of the actual event!)

But what caused the physical pain I’m still suffering today?  Well, though the 4.5-inch heels I was wearing at the wedding were worthy contenders, it’s my right shoulder that’s making me wince after shooting a few dozen rounds yesterday at JJ’s Clay Shooting Club in the Darenth Woods (just south of London).  I’ve never wielded a firearm before, so what better way to be initiated than a big ol’ shotgun that made my arms shake every time I aimed and yelled, “Pull!”  A few clay pigeons met their demise at my hands, but I missed most of them, so am just glad I didn’t happen to be firing when a flock of real pigeons flew through, as knowing my luck I would’ve missed the disk and accidentally shot one of them instead…

So that was my weekend—packed with history, culture, and adventure.  All in 2 days, all accessible from London, so this is just a glimpse at how a London relocation can truly diversify your everyday experiences!