Monday, June 24, 2013

Week 41

Because we haven’t had a trip “in a while,” because I’ve been feeling like I’d rather live on a farm lately, because I’ve been feeling particularly sensitive to and unforgiving of city living lately, and simply because we can and we should, Keegan, Liam and I packed up and headed out to the lovely villages in the countryside of England, the Cotswolds, just an hour and a half drive from London.  Set against a backdrop of rolling green hills, endless prolific farmland, and wildflower meadows splattered with God’s very own paint palette of the most brilliant yellows I have ever seen, the warm limestone storybook villages nestled themselves into these hills as if they had been there since the beginning of time.  It was indeed the perfect, regenerating weekend of which I was, in fact perhaps we all were, in dire need.  Saturday we spent the entire day, aside from a two hour lunch at the village pub, hiking through fields, working farms, wildflowers, along streams, ancient stone cottages, gracious English Manors and stately cows at pasture.  The weather threw just about everything it could at us just short of snow really . . . rain, sun, gale force winds, but we forged ahead, somehow feeling that no matter what, we could not turn our back on something quite this special.  I’ll stop now, because the images speak louder than I ever could.  Can’t wait to go back.  Trying to figure out how we could spend an entire summer at our charming little Honey Cottage and send Daddy off to work as needed ;)

This is literally the hike, from start to finish, as we saw it.
Heading out of town:
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Sound of Music anyone?
Random soccer ball to pass some time . . . 
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Arriving at halfway point, the Lower Slaughters, for lunch . . .
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Heading through town . . . 
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And back on the return path . . .
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This was Liam's longest hike ever at right around five miles I think.  He complained a lot about the distance, and rightly so, but in the end, I think he was giggling and thoroughly occupied with the surroundings 90 percent of the time....
Going home with the cows . . .
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This promptly went all over Daddy . . .
Keegan and I heavily rewarded ourselves that evening with local cheese.  There may have been some wine and chocolate involved as well . . . 
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Next day, Liam all tuckered out, we had a driving tour of some of the other well-known villages:
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Week 40

I’ve neglected my blog.  The truth is, when I sat down to write it last week, I felt completely deflated.  I felt flat.  The weather was flat, my photos were flat, my thoughts were flat, even my hair was a bit flat actually.  Every week in London can’t be epic or exciting or awe-inspiring, although I think I often have that expectation because we are living a dream after all.  But sometimes, just sometimes, the homesickness sneaks back around, I get tired of feeling like it’s still the beginning of spring, or worst yet, not quite the end of winter, the schlepping back and forth to school on foot in a very urban setting gets oh-so-old, routine is synonymous with monotonous, and not feeling settled into anything of my own really other than taking care of Liam and making our flat pretty feels just a bit lonely when he’s off doing amazing things at school, Keegan is making things happen at work, and I’m left to my own devices.  Inevitably, I was starting to take my surroundings for granted.  When we first moved here and the weather was still nice tolerable, Liam and I embraced the adventure of exploring a new city.  But as the year continues, Liam finds less and less joy in hopping on and off trains and busses and darting through masses of people on his scooter and more and more interest in playing with his friends.  As such, I have been quite busy arranging and rearranging his social life and realized I was not finding time for much else.  But this week, as I was struggling with finding ways to rise above my bad attitude, that summer day for which we have all been waiting . . . dawned.  And not a moment too soon.  Layers of clothes were shed, we walked to school with a bounce in our step, I spent the morning figuring out something fabulous to do after I picked Liam up (it was all I could do to keep myself from pulling him out early), and we embraced the day like it was the only summer day we would ever have here (and, incidentally, it may very well be)!  We hit Hyde Park, took a stroll along the warm pollen-laden path, played in the cascading, swirling pools of the Diana Memorial Fountain, had an early alfresco dinner on the Serpentine Lake complete with wine and sparkling raspberry lemonade, took a paddle boat out for a spin, and concluding the evening with a walk back to the tube with a huge bubble maker I bought Liam at the gift shop.  We were surrounded by masses of giddy families doing just the same.  Since the sun doesn’t set until 9pm or so, we didn’t leave the park until 8pm, the time Liam would have been regularly scheduled to be fast asleep in his bed.  It didn’t matter.  That day could’ve lasted forever.  It was perfect.  

(P.s...if you're sick of seeing photos of my son {i.e....because you aren't family}, stay tuned for my next post of our weekend trip to the lovely Cotswolds...)

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