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March 6, 2018

We Went to England!

When I go on vacation, I usually like to put up a post and tell you so, to remind readers that there is indeed a human being behind this blog who sometimes needs a holiday, and also so I don’t leave you hanging (and having to head over to Instagram to find out just what I’ve been up to in the last five minutes). But about three weeks ago, I made the fatal error of noting that I hadn’t been ill or even really had a cold in ages and ages, which meant it was inevitable that I’d become sick a few days later. Three days before we were set to depart for a trip to England, I was in terrible shape and confined to my bed, and the prospect of an international flight seemed impossible. Fortunately two days in bed meant there had been some kind of recovery, in that I no longer felt like I’d been hit by a truck, but I had to lie down frequently on the way to the airport, and by the time we got there I’d developed a fabulous rash all over my face. So all this is to explain just why a review of Kim Fu’s The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore has been hanging out here for ages. But then it’s such a terrific novel, maybe/definitely it deserved to be.

But the better part of the story is that we went to England! And losing an entire night of sleep left me so discombobulated that my body forgot I was sick and the rash mostly cleared up, and we were ready for all kinds of adventures that would not be deterred by the weather event titled, “The Beast from the East,” to be followed by the less-intimidatingly named “Storm Emma.” We were happy to be staying on the northwest coast, where the weather conditions were not so severe, and really just meant that everywhere we went we didn’t have to queue for things. Our AirBnB was in Lancaster, and it was fantastic—with an actual hot tub. And it was not so wintry on our first day there, where the sun was shining and there were flowers in the windows. We explored the city centre, happy to be in the company of Stuart’s mom and sister, and our tiredness mostly just had the effect of making us all laugh hysterically at stupid things. We hiked up to Williamson Park, which afforded beautiful views of the city, and delighted in the butterfly house and the animals in the zoo there, and then took turns on the zip line.

On Tuesday we drove (our amazing little Mercedes hire car!) to Stuart’s town by the sea, and had ice cream cones in frigid temperatures. We had our first experience looking for English beach glass, until the beach got too cold and we had to go in.

On Wednesday winter had arrived with a vengeance, and we took in the snow-covered hills of Yorkshire on our way to Ilkley, which is one of our favourite places in England, where we partook in afternoon tea at Betty’s and on the way home the kind people at the Pennine Service Station all worked together to figure out how to open our bonnet because we’d run out of windshield fluid.

On Thursday, we all went to Bowness in the Lake District to see the Beatrix Potter Attraction and eat lamb shank in a pub, and we had the best scone of the week (we had many) at the Cornish Bakery there.

And on Friday we had another pub lunch (our children are confused and now thinks their auntie only has lunch in pubs) followed by delicious ice cream cones, and then Nana and Auntie Jen took the children to the Blackpool Sea Life Centre while Stuart and I went looking for bookshops. (More about the bookshops in a following post.) And then back to Stuart’s parents’ house for fish and chips, which were so delicious.

On Saturday, we went into the city centre for the Magic of Harry Potter Exhibit, and Harriet got to hold an owl whose variety was the British Little Owl, which is the cutest name ever. And then one more pub lunch with Auntie Jen—this time with a cheese board—and we really loved Lancaster so much. Then we drove back to Stuart’s parents’ down the narrowest road of our entire vacation (which is saying something) and I wasn’t even terrified. We spent our last afternoon there, and I got to read the Saturday Guardian (with all the supplements!) and then had a roast dinner before heading to Manchester for an airport hotel stop. And then getting up at 5:30 am (but they were already serving our continental breakfast and we got to have it!) and heading to the airport for the long trip home, via Amsterdam, where we had the most delicious lunch in an airport ever, and then I spent $17 on cheese.

It was a wonderful week, so good to see our family, discover new places, and eat delicious things. And now we’re back and getting over the jet lag, and happy to settling into ordinary life again, and to be reminded that ordinary life is pretty darn nice.

2 thoughts on “We Went to England!”

  1. Joyce Campbell says:

    Glad you made it back OK. Sounds like a wonderful time was had by all.

  2. theresa says:

    Wonderful! And that little owl, wow. Lucky Harriet.

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