A Full Year Later…

How can it be that a full year has passed since I last posted here? That is remarkable? Unbelievable? Pitiful? Understandable? Goodness. It’s not that nothing has happened in the last year. In fact, much has. But perhaps in all that’s happened, I must have laid down my writing mojo, then couldn’t remember where I put it. That kind of thing happens more and more, you know? Honestly, travel time, which is work, is very hectic. It’s full of to do lists and worry about someone’s meal with gluten in it and whether our driver can really get us from here to there in the time I’d planned. Home time is also busy, but decidedly unremarkable. Or so it seems to me.

What’s worth sharing?


A quick recap of the last few weeks:

Janet, Colleen (coworker and friend) and I departed Santa Fe on a Sunday. We had a fairly uneventful set of flights over to London (hooray!), getting there at some ungodly early hour of the morning. Then we were off to central London by train, to find our hotel. Navigating by Google Maps is highly useful, but I’ll admit that I also experience it as completely disorienting. There you are, a blue dot on a map. You’re trying to get to another dot on the map. That should be simple enough, yes? But instead, I’m never sure if I’m going right or left, up or down the street, north or south. Ugh. In certain cases, I really. prefer to be a Luddite. Give me a MAP, with north as up, and I have a picture in my brain from which to navigate. Give me a phone, which changes scale, direction and orientation at the slightest adjustment and I’m flustered.

Luckily, we didn’t have far to go.

Lugging our bags, we made it to Roseate House Hotel by about 8:30 am. We were more than ready to drop our bags, get into a room and feel like we’d landed. But life being life, our room wasn’t even close to being ready. We had breakfast instead. (Second breakfast, actually, so just tea thank you). Room still not ready. We went out for a walk over to nearby Hyde Park. Started on a nice walk by the Italian fountains and within minutes it was pouring. Ummmm… museum perhaps? Taxied to the Tate. Have you ever looked at paintings after an international overnight flight? Slightly surreal. By the time we returned, our room was ready. Blussful horizontal surfaces and comfy (if European sized) room.

The next three days was me and my sister Janet exploring London. We had a splendid full first day on the first-things-first Hop On/Hop Off bus around London. The second day we explored neighborhoods and went to see a show in the West End — Hamilton. Fantastic. Utterly amazing and worth the seven year wait to see it live and on a London stage. What a treat.

Our final morning Janet stayed back to relax because I was on my way to Westminster Abbey. Churches are NOT her thing. And although this is not just a church but a frickin’ gothic cathedral, we’d walked so much the day before that she really needed a break. Shades of things to come (for both of us). So off I went.

And wow.

More on Westminster below.

The masked sisters, with a masked Colleen behind us, heading for the UK!
Proof we were there. BTW, this is Tower Bridge, not London Bridge. Did you know that? I certainly didn’t.
Our hotel was on this block. Lovely London.
The beginning of London’s canal boat neighborhood, “Little Venice”.
Boats, canal, beautiful houses.
Actual blue sky was seen.
Wandering the city.
West End shopping with Janet. Guess what? Neither of us really wanted to shop. We walked and walked and walked and walked and walked. Oh, and we saw Bill Nighy!
Evening work & whisky session at the hotel.
Standing in line to get in Westminster. You think to yourself “Agh, so many people!!!” but it’s so huge that once you’re inside, you and everyone else are dwarfed by its size.
Another pic of the exterior, while waiting.
And inside. Huge. Beautiful.
Amazing stone carving everywhere.
And of course, stained glass.
An amazing array of historical and cultural British icons are entombed in the cathedral, including royalty, an entire section of scientists (from Newton to Hawkings) and the famous Poet’s Corner. But I loved looking for the unlikely folks, scattered throughout the building. Like this guy.
The cloisters.
I’ve never seen anything like the intricate detail of this cathedral. It still doesn’t overshadow Durham Cathedral, my favorite, or St. Magnus, also much loved (on the Orkney Islands), but WOW was it an amazing place.

Then we loaded up and headed to Manchester via train. Unfortunately, we were taking the London Underground from Paddington to Euston station in order to catch the train north.

Have I stated lately how much I hate the London Underground? Visitors: avoid confusion, frustration and stress. Take a taxi. Worth every penny, I tell ya.

Finally on the train to Manchester. British rail service: love it. London Underground: absolutely defeats me every time.

In Manchester, we spent the night at an airport hotel and met the first tour of the spring so we could go here:

More on that in the next post. Cheers, love!


  1. Such spectacular photos. I love how you see and frame texture and color.

    And I love you shorter hair. Do you?

      >    >


  2. You saw Bill Nighy!!!!!!! Lucky you! You’ve convinced me that seeing Westminster Abbey would be well worth the wait. And that last pic is a real tempter!


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