In the lovely Cotswolds again…

It’s day three of the spring trip to the UK and already so much has happened I’m going to be grasping at it like whisps of air – we did this and talked about that and saw these and, and, and…

Touring, as opposed to scouting or just personal travel, seems to generate a mad momentum all its own. Things happen quickly. At the same time, I find myself completely in the moment, so it all feels a bit like “Well, of course! Doesn’t regular life move at this pace!?!?!”

(Answer: no.)

Let me pause and summarize:

Made the drive over to Tulsa to drop dog and car with my sister and her wife for many weeks of care… Sweet Tea at the visit to the vet, at roadside break from driving, crashed out at final destination, at appropriate perch with sister and (oddly matching) dog cousin.

Successfully packed for 9 week trip in one carry-on and a backpack. (Thank you, Eagle Creek compression packing cubes. That small, blue suitcase has the density of a dwarf star.)

Endured Tulsa to Denver, Denver to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Birmingham UK flights and layovers in between. I’m now sold on the idea of sleep drugs to knock myself out on the interminable cross-Atlantic flight. I sat next to a gentleman who (with the assistance of Valium and Ambien) chatted with me for exactly ten minutes before drifting off to sleep for the entire 10 hour flight. I envied him immensely. I watched three movies, fidgeted a lot, knitted off and on, sighed many times, wandered the plane a few times, and snacked on various goodies in my backpack. I arrived in Birmingham in my usual haze of no-sleep-and-so-where’s-the-nearest-horizontal-surface-on-which-I-can-stretch-out state of mind. Luckily I had to go no further than an on-site airport hotel. I found the room, dropped everything and made myself acquainted with the bed.

I love you, bed.

Heather arrived at some point. I rallied for dinner, then returned to bed.

I love you more than at our last meeting, bed.

My bodily clock woke me at 2 am, insisting it was a new day. Luckily, I have manual override features and was able to turn over and go back to sleep for another five hours. And then… voila! A little coffee, a little yoga stretching, and the world is bright and shiny once more!

We met our group at the airport at about 9 am. I sympathized with their no-sleep-and-so-where’s-the-nearest-horizontal-surface-on-which-I-can-stretch-out state of mind! We quickly got them out of the airport and over to Stratford-on-Avon where we could enjoy a walk through the town, some wonderful gardens, a bite to eat, and a chance to spend time OUTSIDE after their many hours in airplanes and airports. Ah, fresh air!

We made it to Chipping Campden by late afternoon in time for a cream tea and assignment to rooms at the Bantam House, a tiny inn along the town’s high street. (Translation into American English: Main Street.)

Today we’re off on our first walk to Hidcote Manor and gardens. Pictures to come…

I’ll try to post short bits, and often, in order not to get behind. However, I make no promises. Behind the scenes, Heather and I are also concurrently working on next year’s schedule, attending to bookkeeping and other administrative tasks, and I’m hustling for a housesit as my need to scout in the Orkneys in between trips has abruptly changed into status:unnecessary.

Love to all! Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! (Love you much, sending kisses.) Off to breathe the gentle Cotswold air which smells of moisture and growing grass, while the doves, rooks and jackdaws offer up a chorus of calls all around us. Oh, and to commune with the many sheep dotting the green hills around us.

Cheers!

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