The Norman Transcript

July 3, 2013

The measure of a good trip

By Mike Pound
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The trip was a success.

When we set out on our vacation that would take us to London and Paris, there were a lot of things we wanted to do.

We wanted to visit all of the great historic sites. We wanted to see Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London. We wanted to wander through Stonehenge and visit Windsor Castle. We wanted to see the Eiffel Tower, bicycle through the gardens in the Palace of Versailles, tour the Notre Dame Cathedral and take in the art at the Louvre.

Of course, when I say “we,” I mean my wife and our daughter, Emma. I wanted to drink beer in an authentic English pub and wine in an authentic Parisian street-side cafe.

I’m not exactly a patron of the arts.

But the main thing “we” wanted to do was find the “Parent Trap” house. For those of you who don’t have young girls, the “Parent Trap” house is the London home of one of the twins (played by a young and sober Lindsay Lohan) in the movie “The Parent Trap.” The house “we” wanted to find was in the film only briefly. But when Emma found out online where the house was, she decided we had to find it.

I know that I tend to come across as an insensitive jerk in this column, but that’s only because I am. But sometimes I can be nice, and when I found out that Emma wanted to find the “Parent Trap” house, I made that my vacation priority.

Last Monday, when we got to London, I asked one of the nice guys in charge of our tour about the “Parent Trap” house and showed him the address. The guy told me that the house wasn’t far from Harrods — a large, expensive department store where we were scheduled to have lunch on Tuesday. A word about Harrods: If you’ve ever wondered if you have too much money, walk into Harrods and randomly look at a price tag. If you look at the price tag and say, “Hmmm, that’s not too bad,” you have too much money.

After lunch, my wife and Emma shopped in Harrods while I hid in a corner and prayed that they wouldn’t buy anything. When they were finished “shopping,” we left the store and started walking in the direction of the “Parent Trap” house. After a few blocks, my wife stopped to ask a nice lady for directions. The lady looked at the address, nodded her head and said, “Right. You just go (something, something, something), hop on the bonnet, sticky wicket, have a go and there it is.”

I swear, the whole time I was in London I was able to understand about half of what people were saying. And often, what I did understand didn’t make sense. Once, I was sitting in our hotel bar having a beer and munching on some potato chips when the bartender asked me if I wanted some more “crisps.” I said, “No, but these potato chips are great. Do you have any more of these?”

Turns out, in England, chips are crisps, and fries are chips. No wonder they lost the Revolutionary War.

Anyway, with the nice lady’s help, we managed to find the right street, turned and kept walking until we found what we figured was the correct house. Just to be sure, my wife asked a guy who was working across the street.

The guy hadn’t heard of “The Parent Trap,” but he did say that American girls were always having their pictures taken in front of the house.

He also said something that sounded like “bangers and mash,” but I couldn’t be sure.

Anyway, we took Emma’s picture standing in front of the house on our camera, and then we took a picture on Emma’s phone so she could send it on to some social media website for her friends to see.

Later, as we were walking toward the subway, Emma looked at my wife and I and said, “Thank you very much for finding the house for me.”

So, like I said, the vacation was a success.

Mike Pound is a columnist for The Joplin (Mo.) Globe. Contact him at