Jun. 23rd, 2010

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This is NOT a comprehensive list by any means - since I am sitting in an internet cafe and will be flying outta here in a few hours.  But I thought it would be good to make a start.  As I have begun to chronicle my adventures I am realizing how much I was able to pack in to these last four years!  It really has been a great ride!

Bath - went to the spa and watched my daughter dissolve into ecstasy when she bit into a Sally Lunn Bun!
York - walked the ancient wall, went to evensong in the beautiful cathedral
Cambridge - did a walking tour and bought stuff at the historical outdoor market
Oxford - where it all began!  Mooted, mooted and mooted again.  Met A for the first time...and later, met [livejournal.com profile] pearlette .  Tolkien's gravesite and the Radcliffe Camera, picked up cobblestones from the courtyard and found out how bad I am at punting.
Liverpool - great day trip!  All Beatles, all the time.
Isle of Wight - day trip, weekend and an "extended field trip" with 100 5th graders.  Hiked, ate, saw the rescued tigers and other animals, visited Queen Victoria's residence.
Cornwall - fantastic few days with Pearlette - hiked all around "The Lizard" - petted the ponies, sat in the hot tub, relaxed on the beach.
Cotswolds - stayed at a friend's B & B.  Visited a National Trust museum and a special farm for over 100 varieties of chicken!  Went to Stratford and saw an amazing production of "Julius Caesar."  
Portsmouth - Hung out by the sea, climbed the Spinnaker Tower.
Glasgow (and beyond) Took a bus trip up to the highlands and breathed the free air!
Wales near Cardiff.  Visited the ruined abbey and an ancient castle.
Iona - beautiful, remote island.  Spiritual and refreshing.
Norwich - didn't hear the bells of Julian, but had a lovely walk on the beach and climbed a tower with a great view!
Exmoor (and the Lynton and Lynmouth cliff railway.)  Beautiful area - lots of sheep and lambs bounding about.
Edinburgh - worked as a volunteer for a week at the Fringe Festival - had a great time, and discovered the Best Scotch Whiskey EVER.
Lots of hikes just outside London - the lost village of Dode, the Goring Gap, the Thames path, Box Hill...

I'm sure there are more...and I never did get to the White Cliffs of Dover!  I'll have to come back!
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Since I got to the airport in plenty of time, only to discover that my plane is more than an hour delayed....

I will miss the availability of culture that comes with living in an international city like London.  The plays, concerts, poetry readings, art exhibits - everything literally a stone's throw away.  I'll miss the Southbank Centre where there was always something happening.  St Martin in the Fields - beautifully restored church with a great little cafe in the crypt and wonderful classical concerts.  The little pubs with couches to sit on and the real ales...OMG, the real ales.  The Green Note Cafe with it's funky folk/world music and unbelievable fudge brownie with ice cream desserts.  I'll miss the sense of going to a film being an event (well, it would have to be an event for the prices they charge!) and the hustle and bustle of Leicester Square.  I'll miss the little stores like Marks and Spencer that sell individual portions of food - fresh fruit and veggies and pasta and full meals - great for a single person on the go.

I'll miss walking along the Thames and seeing Big Ben and the Houses of Parliment.  I'll miss being able to go to service at Westminster Abbey or St Paul's and hearing glorious music while sitting in a glorious space.   I'll miss the easy way people just get together on short notice for a drink or a meal or a chat or just to hang out.  The way it is so easy (and relatively cheap) to get almost anywhere from London...and how much fun it was to plan weekend jaunts to different countries.  The way cash is almost unnecessary and even the cabbies have little chip-and-pin readers.  I'll miss the international vibrancy of the city and the people.

I will NOT miss the abyssmal customer service and the way any kind of "improvement works" seems like it takes forever.  (and then, when it's done, they start all over again!)  I won't miss the constant tube closings, the stop-and-go service of Southwest Trains, the inexplicable delays and re-routing of bus lines.  I won't miss the bland and unimaginative food (except for the free-range eggs!)  I won't miss the gloomy weather and the inadequate heating. I won't miss the stupid taps in washrooms that force you to either wash your hands with scalding hot or freezing cold water.   I'll be glad to say good-bye to the tiny washing machines and the stiff towels and jeans because there aren't any nice,  big clothes dryers.  I never did get used to walking down a busy street, only to have the people in front of me suddenly stop in the middle of the sidewalk.  I'll be happy to go back to calling the underground railways "the subway" and calling a lift an "elevator" again.  (I might hold on to using the word "loo" though...it's kinda cute.)

And of course, I'll miss certain people very, very much...but that's another post entirely!

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