How I tried to find Charlotte
or, a day in St. Albans
When I woke up at 7 in the morning, I noticed that I was not alone. The parking was full of trucks, cars, nearby sheep and even a giant construction vehicle. This one however disappeared just before I regained consciousness and could take a picture. It must have been a popular place because there was even a mobile breakfast booth.
After the usual teeth brushing procedure I left heading towards London. As I just though to curse about the foggy "Zurich" style weather, a radio caller rejoiced herself about the splendid, humid morning we all shared. This reminded me to indeed cherish such weather for the days to come, as it was possible to guess the rough direction from where the sun was shining, something that may change without notice.
The day's goal was to find Charlotte's new address. Charlotte is -- or at least was -- a very pretty & fun girl formerly from St. Albans just next to London. We met at the 1989 London Youth Science Fortnight, and while LHB wondered how I could possibly like a nerd, be assured she wasn't one. Either way, one day my mail got returned -- moved away, it said. Charlotte somehow forgot to give me her new address.
So there I was, in St. Albans. First step: the post office. The gentleman was very friendly, yet could not help me. He said that for someone who moved away 3 years ago they could not find the new address by any legal means. This meant that there were some records of some kind but not for me. But he sent me to the police station where the State Agent, as they are friendly called here, tried to help me. He suggested to try the phone book. He seriously asked me whether I knew how to use it, and even though I knew, I found nothing. So at last he suggested that I go and knock at the door and ask the current resident.
I did exactly as he said. After some 30 minutes I found the place, with a big red Mercedes in front of the garage, and a friendly lady in two towels (one on the head, the other around her body) and pink fingernails opened the window of the very nice and certainly expensive house and was ah so sorry not to be able to be of any help. So finally I drove back to the city center and went to the public library. I thought: find the full name of Charlotte's parents from an old phone book and find its appearance in a different UK phone book at the same time. But I didn't even need a computer: her family's address was not listed in any of the old phone books. Hence: if you know Charlotte Downs, formerly of 4 Darwin Close, St Albans, and now about 26 years old, please let me know. I still have a videotape to give her.
After this embarrassing failure I decided to finally head towards Scotland. Rather uneventful hours of driving on the wrong side of the road followed. When I drove through the town of Hawicks, just south of Edinburgh, I noticed some rather pretty young women. I have no clue whether it was by sheer chance or whether the entire female population of that town is as cute, but a good dozen of remarkable girls were around the roads when I drove by. Although they seemed rather used to the rain, they could show their beauty much better in a more favorable climate...
Now I am parked in a "very off" road a few miles off the motorway just before Perth. The car's 4WD may actually come handy with roads and weather conditions like these, even though it just stopped raining. The above mentioned motorway btw. featured something rather unusual. While traffic circles are a very good idea and frequent in Europe, and should be adopted by the Americans instead of the brainless 4-way stops which everyone disregards anyway, they are literally at every corner in the UK. Ultimately, the M9 just after Edinburgh features one such thing itself. Yes, imagine an interstate, suddenly a sign "traffic circle", followed shortly after by that very same object. Remarkable indeed.