This is my 1,000th blog post since I started this site back in August 2003. It’s strange, thinking about those first few entries, which started about nine months before I met Dave. If I could have imagined my life now, I’m sure that my imaginary future most certainly would not have included spending Christmas in England with my husband’s family, sitting at a cozy warm kitchen table with a cup of tea and my laptop, and looking up to watch sheep graze in the pasture behind my in-laws’ house. Meanwhile, my husband and our 2 year-old daughter take a nap together upstairs.
It’s not what I would have expected, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So, yes, obviously we made it to the UK in one piece. Catie did phenomenally well on the plane until the last half hour or so, but even with the one meltdown at the end, she did far better than we expected. We went through the border (where Dave got to through the fast & speedy UK/EU passport line, and Catie and I had to wait in line with all of the other “foreigners” – aka Americans, since I think most everyone else in line was on our same flight from Dulles). The very nice immigration lady told me that next time, Catie & I can go through the UK line with Dave, since we’re a family, even though Catie & I don’t have UK passports. Good to know!
We got our bags, got a rental car, and spent the night at a hotel near Heathrow. The next day, we got up and drove to Carlisle, where my mother-in-law, her partner/boyfriend (Grandpa Roger, as he’s known around these parts), and my brother-in-law Steve all live. It’s about a 300-mile drive from London, and it was probably too much to ask of Catie with the previous day being all travel as well. She did great for the first half of the trip, but the poor kid was just exhausted and bored, and she decided she’d had enough. We ended up pulling over and rearranging suitcases so I could sit in the backseat with her to calm her down, which (surprisingly) worked.
Also, from the backseat, I was able to effectively ignore Dave’s driving, which helped. I mean, he’s an ok driver, I just kept involuntarily reaching for a steering wheel that wasn’t in front of me, and almost screaming, “LOOK OUT!” because I kept panicking that we were on the wrong side of the road and the other cars were going to drive straight into us. It’s much easier to ignore the fear of your certain impending demise from the back seat.
We’ve spent the past two days just recovering from jet lag and not doing much else. This morning, Catie & I watched the UK version of the Wonder Pets. As in, the voices of Linny, Tuck & Ming-Ming are done by entirely different child actors with British accents. It blew both of our minds. (And, before you ask, no, the British version of Ming-Ming can’t pronounce her R’s either.)
Tomorrow, we’re driving up to Scotland – we’re spending one night in Inverness, then heading up to the Highlands to stay in our cottages. It feels weird to say they’re “our” cottages – like, oh so casual, “why yes, we own some land up on the northern coast of Scotland, doesn’t everyone?” But now that Dave, Steve, and their mom have made this a joint business venture, those two cottages really are ours, and someday they’ll be Catie’s.
I understand the cottages are near the cliffs and the ocean, and it’s supposed to be really beautiful there, so I look forward to taking a LOT of pictures.
In the meantime, here are a few of my favorites that I’ve taken so far. The rest of the set is here.