Sunday, June 29, 2014

The First of Many Posts About Our Trip, TToT #54

I have until Cuckoo finishes a game with Bryan to get this done, so onward to the thankfuls!

1.  We made it to England to begin with.  When I got to the airport at 4:00am last Wednesday, the computer wouldn't list my flight for check-in.  I asked a teller what was going on and was told, "That flight was cancelled.  Didn't you get a notice?"  NO I DIDN'T GET A NOTICE!!!  WOULD I BE HERE IF I DID?!?!?  The panic set in, and the teller didn't do much to ease it.  Finally, he found a flight that left 15 minutes before my original one, but didn't arrive in London until an our later.  And THEN, as I waited in the terminal, a notice came over the loudspeaker.  "We regret to inform you that all flights in and out of Indy have been postponed for an undetermined amount of time.  There is a fire in the control tower, and it is being evacuated."  It was a bit of a stressful, sickening morning, but I did manage to get to England.

But THEN, Bryan had to get to London three days later.  He also had some problems.  His flight left very late, thanks to "too much luggage on the plane", which prompted this text in the wee hours of Friday night in London.

"Not good.  Missed connection.  Looks like I won't get in until Sunday morning at 7:00am.  Now flying to Houston."

I almost started crying right then and there.

Good news:  He didn't have to fly through Houston.  Bad news:  He got in several hours later than he was supposed to and his luggage didn't get there at all that day.  Poor guy had to wear the same clothes he wore to work on Friday all the way until Sunday night.

But, we got there safely and at about the right time.  The hassle and headaches were forgotten as soon as we hugged at the airport.

2.  We made it back alive.  Before we left, I was afraid of the plane going down and leaving our children orphans.  While that was still a worry, it was moved farther down the fear of dying list as the vacation progressed.  First, I made it through being a passenger in a car in England traffic.  While Lizzi was a lovely driver, my American friend living in Windsor was not.  Holy cow.  Roundabouts are popping up all over Indiana, but the behemoths of England put our roundabouts to shame.  Ours are organized delights.  One might even yell "WEEEEE!" while driving around one.  Not so in England.  One is more likely to yell "MOMMY!  SAVE ME!"  as the car dodges and weaves to avoid being hit while simultaneously trying to get off the blasted thing.  But then we got to Paris.  Dying was a real, in your face possibility.  The traffic there is bonkers.  There are no lanes.  There is no rhyme or reason.  And it's not just cars one has to avoid.  There are motorcycles everywhere, and they move faster and dodgier.  I can't tell you how many times I hollered, "We're going to die!" as we crossed a street.

Our first morning out in Paris, we saw a motorcycle get run over.

This is not a parking lot.  It is the roundabout around the Arc de Triomphe.
3.  I was able to have lots of fun visiting my friend Carissa and her family.  She took me to the Royal Ascot where I got to see the queen and Prince Harry up close and personal.

The Ascot is a fancy affair.  Dresses and hats are required. 

The entrance of the royals.  I used my phone with no zoom to take it.
And the next day we headed to Windsor.  While the queen was there.  I was in the castle with her.

Windsor Castle's Used-to-be Moat

Since the queen was in residence, hosting a lunch, the changing of the guard took place in the courtyard.  We watched it from inside.  From that gigantic window right there to be exact. 

4.  I GOT TO MEET LIZZI!!!!  After almost 2 years of talking through the internet and becoming friends, we finally got to meet face-to-face.  It was so much fun!  She was a fantastic hostess.  I knew she was good when I got to her apartment, and there on my bed was a pile of candy.  M&Ms and Butterfingers to be exact.  She knows me.  :)

You can read all about our visit on her blog, but I want to point out a few other details.  First off, Lizzi can make some yummy food!  The scones (with clotted cream and strawberry jam) and the Eaton mess she made were delicious!!  I ate seconds of everything.  Her mother is a whiz with a wisk.  Lizzi and I whisked until our arms couldn't work anymore, yet the whipped cream just wouldn't set.  Her mom took over for all of about 20 seconds and had lovely, fluffy goodness.  Lizzi's hospitality skills were clearly handed down from her family, as her mom and aunt were wonderful tea hostesses.  The garden was gorgeous.  At one point, her aunt came out with a big bag of England souveniers for me to take back for my kids.  The weather was fantastic, and the company made the entire afternoon perfectly perfect in every way.

All set for the tea.

Her sister made a yummy chocolate cake.  

She took me to a great little pub called Pig in the Wall, being that I'm a pig farmer and all.  The menus were in these books.

She also took me to the ocean.  I didn't realize the ocean smelled differently in different parts of the world until that day.  The moment I stepped out of the car, I was reminded of my grandma.  She lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I hadn't been there since I was 14 years old.  England and Nova Scotia have the same smell, and it is very different from the ocean in southern USA.
Basically, our visit couldn't have been any better.  I loved every minute of the time I got to spend with her.

These photos are taking forever to download, so my time is running really short.  Gotta finish up quick...

5.  My knee held up through the entire trip.  It was swollen, and by the end of the week it was starting to really bother me, but considering the massive lengths we walked, I was very happy with how it all worked out.

6.  The weather was fantastic for my entire 10 days in Europe.  Despite all the rumors I heard about lack of sun, Vitamin D deficiency, and rain in England, we had not a drop fall on our heads.  We both actually got a bit of sunburn.  We wore shorts every day and never needed more than a light sweater in the evenings.

7.  The kids had a great time while we were gone.  They had sleepovers and movies and camp and playgrounds.  They hardly even missed us.

8.  We came home to a clean house.  Considering we had been up for 22 hours straight for the trip home, walking in to a house that needed nothing done was about the best gift I could have gotten.

9.  I said it before I left, and I'll say it again.  I'm so very grateful to still have my mom, who is healthy enough and willing to come stay with my kids.  I can trust her completely, and I know they will be well cared for.  My gratefulness only increases when I hear that a pig died while we were gone, and despite her strong dislike for even live pigs, she helped Buttercup drag the dead one out of the pen.  (I am very disappointed to hear that no one got any photos of the situation.  Very disappointed indeed.)

10.  I will forever be grateful for Bryan's wonderful attitude while traveling.  He is so much fun, and we had a fantastic anniversary trip full of laughter, good food, and new experiences.  You'll hear all about them and see lots of photos in the coming days.  :)

Alright, Friends, it is your turn.  What good things happened in your lives while I was gone?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

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  1. so glad you got home more uneventfully than getting there and that the trouble of getting there was soooooo worth it...
    sorry about the piggie...not about missing the photo op ... jjust the loss of another pig... bummer....
    cool to come home to a clean place..I cant even do that after work nevermind ten days...
    surgery soon?

    1. The trip home was much better. A delay in New Jersey was all that happened. The trouble was worth it. It was a marvelous trip.
      I'm sorry about the piggie, too. Two down, and only two left.
      I do like it when my mom is in charge. She is so good about getting the kids up and working. :)

      Surgery is next Tuesday. Now that I'm home, I can get a bit nervous about that. :)


  3. I've been waiting to hear your report, and I'm so glad you had a great time (once you finally arrived, of course!) And I'm glad you survived the traffic--those photos of traffic in Paris are crazy. I'm happy you and Lizzi were able to meet in person. And happy anniversary to you and Bryan. Looking forward to hearing more about your trip!

    1. Paris traffic is unbelievably crazy. The photos can't do it any sort of justice.
      I'm glad we got to meet, too. It was a bit weird the first 15 minutes or so, but then we fell right in like we do that sort of thing all the time.
      Thank you!
      Oh good. I'm glad someone is. I've got a lot of photos. :)

  4. What a great trip indeed. Well once you got off the plane that is.

    Have a fabulous day. :)

    1. The planes caused some stress, but the trip was awesome.

  5. This is SO AMAZING! Glad your travels at least involved no physical pain :) and everyone got to and from safely, after all the stress.
    SO jealous you got to meet Lizzi, and it was so wonderful and proper! What fun.
    You know, I've been to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and my cousins took us to South End in England and I don't think I ever noticed they smelled differently! The thing that sticks out the most are the BRIGHT PINK jellyfish I saw in the ocean when we went in England. Hopefully you didn't see any, not close to you anyway!
    Welcome home, sounds like everything was well taken care of, what a blessing!

    1. No physical pain, thank heavens.
      It was wonderful to meet Lizzi. It was weird for a little while, but soon enough we fell right in like the friends we are.
      I didn't know they did, either, until last week! I've been to plenty of beaches, but as soon as I hit Lizzi's beach, the first thing I thought of was Nova Scotia's. I was quite surprised by it. We did not see any jellyfish. I saw plenty of those when we lived in Bermuda. They are beautiful creatures...when they aren't in the water with me. :)
      Thanks! All was well here at home. I'm so blessed to have people who are happy to help and give us the chance to take a trip like this.

  6. 1. All's well that ends well. You both made it. Bryan's luggage made it eventually.
    2. Worse than Boston. None of the cars on that roundabout are pointed in the same direction. I see that as a problem. I couldn't live somewhere with that kind of traffic. LA has a lot of traffic, but it's ORGANIZED traffic.
    3. How does one get an invitation to the Royal Ascot? I can't believe you were thisclose to the Queen and Prince Harry! He sure does look like my college boy! They made good use of that moat, too.
    4. Beautiful! And that cake! Glad you had such an amazing time with Lizzi and family.
    7. You were gone?
    8. That is truly a miracle.
    9. I am just as saddened as you that there is no documentation of this event. Now I know where Buttercup gets her peachiness!
    10. It's so much easier to travel with a husband when there are no kids along.
    Glad you had a fabulous time, but I'm glad you're home, too. And even though I would have done it WITHOUT HESITATION, I'm glad I'm not buying Cuckoo Fruit Loops because your plane went down.

    1. 1. In this case, indeed.
      2. I've never seen Boston or LA's traffic, so I couldn't tell you. However, I've seen lots and lots of traffic in many big cities, and I have never seen anything even close to the madhouse that Paris was.
      3. No need to be invited to the Ascot, unless one wants to be in the upper level. We found out too late that we actually could have gone in the upper level. All we needed was a letter of recommendation from a US attorney. I know plenty of those!
      4. It was! Thanks, me, too. :)
      7. Pretty much their reaction.
      8. I know! Love my mom.
      9. So, so sad.
      10. So, so much easier.
      As glad as you are, I am far gladder. :)

  7. So glad you made it back in one piece, and even more glad that you had a great holiday. Love the photos, the Windsor Castle 'moat' looks lovely.

    Sad to hear about the piggy, but good on your mom for helping Buttercup to move it - disappointed there are no photos though :(

    1. Thanks! I'm glad, too. :) Glad you liked the photos. You always take such lovely ones on your travels, so your saying that means a lot.

      I'm quite sad about the lack of photos. They would have been awesome. But, I'm glad that she and Buttercup did get the pig out of there, anyway. The photos of one of us dragging it out after many days being dead in the pen would be too terrible to contemplate.

  8. (I have mentioned how scotts are the best of the three at traveling, haven't I?) Excellent photo-documentationing!

    They really love their head gear over there in England, no?

    the thing that has me curious is, how did you manage to climb the Arc de Triomphe.

    that picture of the Queen and them in the carriage, I can help thinking how tired the guys who have to run behind the thing must get, they must be in great shape.

    Good to hear that you are back home safe and sound (that your knee was starting to bother you (only) at the end of the trip is way impressive, given how things looked only a short time ago…)

    1. Of course we are! :) Thanks! You ain't seen nothin' yet!
      The variety of hats we saw was amazing. From plain and boring to completely outrageous. I could people-watch all day long.

      I walked up the steps like everyone else. It was first thing in the day, so my knee was at it's strongest.

      I was always thinking about how hot they had to be in their uniforms. They only walked a couple of miles, so it wasn't too taxing that way.

      Me, too! A month ago, I never would have guessed I would have been able to do all the things we did last week.

  9. Ohhh well I just LOVE hearing about the rest of your trip :D I should probably have warned you that driving in England is a DELIGHT compared to driving in France...they do roundabouts in a TERRIFYING way (you give way to traffic *entering* the roundabout - RIDICULOUS)

    Such a shame about Bryan's clothes and the pig, but WONDERFUL that you arrived home to a clean house and happy kids and your knee still manageable.


    1. AHA! That explains much of the honking we heard! They are maniacs!

      It was a shame about the clothes. He wasn't enjoying putting the same things each day.

      YAY! WE FINALLY MET!! It was absolutely perfect.

  10. Sounds like a very exciting trip!
    The chocolate cake looks great.

    1. It was a wonderful trip.

      Lizzi knows I love a chocolate cake, so she had her sister make one specially for me. Sweet, isn't she?

  11. Yay, you managed a recap and your TToT! I am seriously impressed. What an absolutely wonderful, and I am so pleased your knee held up!

    1. The list this week was about the easiest I've ever done. So many things to be grateful for.
      Thanks! The knee is in recovery and getting back to where I was before the trip. We massively overdid it, and I'm thrilled that the knee held out.

  12. It may have gotten off to a rocky start but your trip sounds amazing! I love the photos (but I always love your photos!) and you know I'm just thrilled you got to meet Lizzi. She has the photo of the two of you standing in the ocean together and I think that is my favorite. That one and the one of Windsor's gorgeous! I can't think of anything that would be better than coming home to a clean house after a great trip either so BOOYAH!

    1. It was a fantastic trip, despite the rough start. Thanks! (about the photos) I really like that picture, too. We were laughing at Lizzi's mom and aunt, who both had cameras and were snapping away. I felt like I was 5 years old, and my proud parents wanted to capture the memories.
      It's amazing what those English can do with a moat, isn't it? :)

  13. Glad to hear that you arrived back home safely and with out much incident; and to a clean home. Mom's for sure are the best I can rely on my mom for almost anything...this weekend i wanted to hem three new dresses well after cutting the first one and the darn thing wouldn't pin right i thought oh forget this so I called my mom, asked her if she can do the hems; her answer was sure no problem (she was a professional seamstress) sorry about the pig! I loved seeing the pictures on instagram of your trip with your husband and with Lizzi too... you looked stunning at the royal Ascot.

    Enjoy the week

    1. Oh, I am jealous of you seamstress mom! I can't even sew a button on, and my mom doesn't sew either. But, she had my house clean and watched my kids, so I'm not going to complain.
      Aw, thank you!

  14. Sounds like a great time and and I can't wait to hear more! Most of all, I am glad you didn't get killed in that crazy traffic (or anywhere else)! :)

    1. It was a great vacation, and have no fear. There's going to be plenty more telling!

      I'm pretty jazzed that I didn't get killed, too. :)

  15. Your trip sounds wonderful and I'm jealous that you and Lizzi were able to meet! So that clotted cream thing - for real it was good? Because it looks gross in the pic. Anyway, yay to the ocean and your mom taking care of the kids and the poor little piggy who bit the dust and coming home to a clean house! Also, there's something about flying to EU at all - the flights seem to almost always be messed up. For me at least.

    1. It was wonderful, and meeting Lizzi was fantastic. You'll so enjoy her when you meet next year.
      For real, it was delicious. Really, really delicious. I was actually looking for it all through our trip. Delicious.

      It seems like it's United that was the problem. Bryan's flight to England left on time. Unfortunately, his connection to get to that flight did not. Chicago is always a pain to get through.

  16. Eeeep! Sorry to hear about your trials and tribulations both getting there but happy to read that all went well after that. Looks like you had an absolutely marvelous time!!! Love seeing the pics and reading all about it.

    1. We did have a fantastic trip. Glad you like seeing photos. You'll be thrilled on Wednesday! :)

  17. Ah, sounds like a great time! Mostly great that your knee didn't sideline you - that would not be fun at all. So glad you had a wonderful trip!

    1. It was so fun. Many times I thought about how horrible the trip would have been if I couldn't walk.

  18. Oh, this trip sounds wonderful on every count! And I'm glad the homefront stayed intact during your absence. That's a big deal for moms. You make me want to go back to England in the worst way.

    1. It was fabulous! My mom is so good about keeping everyone in line and up on their chores when she's here. I love it!
      I make me want to go back to England, so I know how you feel. :)

  19. Its Harry! I am not sure what it is about that boy, but I have always had a soft spot for him. Maybe its the bad boy side... or the ginger hair...

    1. It really was Harry! He is completely adorable, and he seems like a fun, nice guy. And he gets the royal lifestyle without the pressure of being an heir. What's not to like? :)

  20. I want to read all about your trip. Love this post. My adrenaline was pumping because of how it started off. Glad it Bryan made it. I really don't understand the roundabout picture AT ALL. It seriously looks like a haphazard parking lot. Wow! Going to check out Lizzi's post.


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