Sunday Morning 11/24/2019: Week 12 in the UK

Our two old friends will be going back to work this afternoon when we start packing for our return to the U.S.

It’s our final Sunday in England. At this same time, four days from now, we’ll be on our way back to Portland once again. We’re flying nonstop from London to San Francisco, where we have a five-hour layover before heading on to Portland. The flight from London to San Francisco is 11 hours, and there’s no chance for an upgrade from our seats in regular economy. Our only saving grace is that the section of the plane we’re in appears to still be mostly empty (unless lots of people suddenly get the urge to fly from London to San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day) so we should have room to spread out a bit and get some sleep. Whatever happens, it’s going to be a very long day; we’ll be up for more than 24 hours.

We’re be staying at this inn on our last night because it’s located just a very short walk from the Moreton-in-Marsh train station. The inn began as a 17th-century coaching station and apparently back in the day royalty stopped here.

We’ll be spending Wednesday night at the White Hart Inn in Moreton-in-Marsh. Our train for Gatwick leaves early Thursday morning, long before any bus could get us over there from Blockley, and it’s been impossible finding a taxi to get us over there so early in the morning. This way though we’ll have time to finish our packing on Wednesday morning and clean the cottage, and on Thursday morning we’ll be close enough to walk the short distance to the station. Hopefully, it won’t be below freezing or raining.

You know you’ve been someplace long enough when you can almost immediately see that someone’s got directions or locations for the area wrong! This past week I caught a mistake (or maybe just a bit of a fictional license) in the Inspector Morse book I just finished. In order to interview a witness, Inspector Morse and Sargeant Lewis drive over to the Cotswolds from Oxford through Chipping Norton, which sits on the eastern side of the area, on the A44 road. Dexter wrote they first go to Bourton-on-the-Hil, then up the hill to Moreton-in-Marsh. What??? It’s just the opposite: Moreton-in-Marsh is downhill from Bourton-on-the-Hill on the A44, and you have to go through it first to get to Bourton-on-the-Hill from Chipping Norton! Continuing on, they drive downhill from Moreton-in-Marsh into Broadway on the A34 (which doesn’t exist here). Again, nope! Continuing from Morton-in-Marsh on the A44, you go up and through Bourton-on-the-Hill and then back down the long hill to Broadway, in the opposite direction from Moreton-in-Marsh. I was initially puzzled as I read, thinking I must have it wrong because surely his editor and millions of British readers must know this better than I do, but I pulled up a map to check and make sure I wasn’t going crazy. It was just as I thought though – he had the towns/villages in the wrong order and direction and used a wrong highway number.

The weather remains cold and miserable – the temperature barely went above 40 degrees this week. After getting some blue skies on Monday the rest of the week looked like it was going to snow at any minute, and felt like it too at times although all we got was some rain which began on Friday. It’s even been an effort at times to stay warm inside – we’ve had the fire going, the heat on, and covered up with blankets and still feel cold at times. We’ve had to keep most of the drapes pulled to help block the cold so it’s been fairly dark and dreary inside as well. I’m still on the edge of coming down with a cold and have not been willing to risk going out for anything more than a quick trip to the village market for supplies, and out to dinner on Friday, for fear of getting sick for real before our flight next week. There have thankfully been chores to keep us busy inside (we’ll start packing this afternoon), and both Brett and I are getting a LOT of reading done.

I can attest from experience that the shortbread is melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

Finally, another reminder that the Afternoon Tea Giveaway is still open, and that entries will be accepted until Midnight PST on Friday. You can enter once a day – the travel tips have been fantastic – thank you!

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I finished the fourth Inspector Morse book, Service for All the Dead, but the fifth, The Dead of Jericho, is neither available from the library or Amazon other than as an audiobook, so I may download it and listen while we’re on the plane or I may wait and see if I can find a copy of the book at Powell’s when we’re in Portland. In the meantime, I’m reading The Guns of August: The Outbreak of World War I, by Barbara Tuchman. One of my reading goals for the next year is to learn more about World War I, both through fiction and non-fiction, and this book is considered one of the greatest war books ever written, covering how the war started and the first disastrous 30 days.
  • Listening to: It’s very quiet this morning, maybe the quietest it’s been since we’ve been here. I woke up too late to hear the church bells ring (had trouble falling asleep last night), and since Brett is reading it’s very still. Outside it’s . . . wait for it . . . gray and gloomy, but at least it’s not raining (for now) and the wind isn’t blowing. It will get noisier in a little while when we go upstairs and get started on the packing but for now, this is pure bliss.
  • Watching: We binge-watched The Crown last Sunday and Monday – it was quite a change from the first two seasons, but still extremely well-acted and a pleasure to watch. Olivia Colman deserves an Emmy, especially for the episode “Aberfan,” and Helena Bonham Carter is wonderful as Princess Margaret (I love too that she’s now played both the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret as well as Bellatrix Lestrade!). We finished the last episode of Endeavour last night – loved how the season wrapped up – and we’ve started a new series, The Brokenwood Mysteries, although we won’t get to finish that. It’s sort of quirky, but pretty good. Since November 1, Christmas ads have been coming fast and furious. Our favorite is the one below from Marks & Spencer – we love to hear the way the actor (Paddy McGuiness) pronounces “panettone.”
  • Cooking: We’ve started the great fridge clean-out for the next three days. It shouldn’t be very hard this time because we only picked up a few supplies from the village market to get us through instead of going to Aldi one last time. We’re having steak and potato pasties one more time for dinner tonight along with some steamed broccoli; bacon and onion quiche tomorrow with more broccoli; and chicken & lentil soup with cheese, crackers, and fruit on Tuesday evening. In between, we’ll finish up all the other odds and ends. We plan to get fish and chips once more for our dinner on Wednesday evening after we get over to Moreton-in-Marsh (it’s just across the street from the hotel) and grab something from the Tesco Express as well for a quick breakfast on the train in the morning.

    In spite of being bundled up, someone was still very cold when we went out for a walk last Monday. It’s definitely time for a beard trim – he’s beginning to look a bit like Santa Claus. Brett’s wool watch cap is almost 50 years old – it was issued to him in boot camp in 1971!
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: This past week has been all about staying warm, which mostly meant sitting in front of the fireplace wrapped up in a blanket! I did get a few things sorted for the upcoming packing and kept up with the cleaning and laundry, but that’s about it. I took the big step of finally dumping Facebook this week, something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. It was a very difficult decision though and took several weeks to get up the nerve to do it. I’ve been on FB for over 10 years and it’s been a great way to stay connected with friends and family, but I could no longer support the platform and some of the recent decisions regarding advertising and such. I am staying with Messenger though as it’s been the best way to communicate directly with family and friends as we travel, and the girls want to continue to use it.
  • Looking forward to next week: Although we are not looking forward to our upcoming travel day, we are ready to get it over with!
    The non-profit Blockley Village Store & Cafe is located just a couple of minutes from our cottage. The coop also operates a post office, a newsagent, and an off-license (betting).

    The village shop has its own bakery which supplies cakes, cookies, and loaves of bread. The date cake is my favorite!
  • Thinking of good things that happened: Our Friday night dinner at the village cafe was absolutely wonderful, a great way to finish our time in Blockley and also have an early Thanksgiving celebration of a sort. The three-course meal included an appetizer, main course, and dessert and we also each had a specialty gin & tonic, our last ones for this visit to the UK. Last Monday we went for a long walk through the village to check out how fall is progressing. In spite of the sunshine, it was very cold, and at one point a big dark cloud came over us but thankfully didn’t drop any rain before moving on. We set out on our walk thinking it would be nothing but a nostalgic look at familiar places but once again we found a couple of new things, like the old British School, established in 1835, which sits at the backside of the old Ebeneezer Baptist Church.
    If you were a Baptist and not Church of England, this is where you sent your children to school.

    The Church of England school was just down the street. The C of E School still operates in the village but has been moved to more modern buildings; the old building now contains residences.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: By booking early for a Portland Airbnb experience in January, a gift for WenYu and YaYu, I saved 20% off the already low price for activity! This coming week is going to be a challenge for our budget because travel days can be costly, but we’ve got a plan and we’re sticking to it! We get a meal and a snack on the plane (the chicken breast we got on the flight we took with the same airline last year was perfectly cooked and delicious – I’m hoping for a repeat), and we’ll bring along our own water and some other snacks. We will have to eat during our layover at the San Francisco airport and are probably going to want coffee as well, but we should be able to keep that affordable. Even with the expense of dining out on Friday, by skipping a last trip to Aldi this past week (where we would have most likely bought too much and would have also had to pay the bus fare) and only buying a few things from the village store instead, we’re under $33/day for the month.
  • Grateful for: Did we get to see and do everything we wanted or planned on this visit? No, but we did visit some pretty wonderful places, experience everyday life in a British village, and take some beautiful country walks. Brett and I are beyond thankful for all the wonderful experiences we have been able to enjoy here in the UK, and for the friendly and helpful people we’ve met along the way. We’ve dedicated ourselves to making a return visit someday to learn and experience more.
  • Bonus question: Are you making goals yet for the new year? I’m getting started on them if nothing else. I have made some reading goals for next year, including finishing at least 52 books once again. I want to read and learn more about WWI, but I also want to finish the Inspector Morse series and re-read all of the Harry Potter books next year. All of that should keep me busy with other books thrown into the mix as well. Another goal, since I’m now off of Facebook, is to get more involved with the blog’s Instagram account (I know Instagram is owned by Facebook but at least I don’t have to deal with ads, politics, etc.). Of course, the BIG goal for Brett and me is to come up with a firm decision about the direction we plan to take next year, whether that’s continuing to travel or settling down somewhere. We’ll have a decision before we leave Japan in April.
I’ll miss the little things here in Blockley.

What a time we’ve had though! I’ve found myself occasionally near tears when I think about leaving or about the things we’ve seen and done since we’ve been here. England, and most especially Blockley, now tops our list of favorite places, and we can’t wait to come back again.

I’m honestly a little sad that we’ll miss Thanksgiving next week because it’s my favorite holiday of the year – no gifts, just family, friends, and good food (and leftovers!). Brett and I have much to be thankful for once again this year, too many things to name, but most especially our and our family’s continuing good health, the opportunities and blessings all of us have been given this year, and for all of you who read this blog every week and comment now and again. I hope those celebrating will have a great Thanksgiving, however and with whomever you spend the day.

See you on the other side (of the pond) next week!

34 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 11/24/2019: Week 12 in the UK

  1. I suspect what you really need is a little extension called Facebook Purity. I have not seen an ad on the platform in years now, ever since I installed it. Don’t dump the platform, make the platform work as you want it to work and kick the ads to the kerb instead. 🙂

    You can even control the words that appear in your newsfeed. I’ll give you an example – here in one of our local groups people keep posting photos of funnelweb spiders they have caught and I cannot handle seeing them. I’m not good with seeing spiders at the best of times but I definitely DO NOT WANT in my facebook feed. So I go into Facebook Purity, click on text filter, and put in spider, funnel web, and funnelweb. Hey presto, no more spiders at all.

    One could do that with any word they wanted, eg if they did not want to read about certain politicians they can put in that name, and no matter who posts it you won’t see it in your feed.

    I will also say I have quite a few different ad blockers installed in this browser so I don’t get ads at any sites at all. I use ad block plus, ad block for facebook (which I probably don’t need now I use FB purity) and ghostery which stops all the auto playing videos etc.

    Anyway just a thought, if you wanted to give those things a try it might solve your problem. That way you can keep up with friends and family and FB can stick the ads where the sun does not shine. 🙂 Which is exactly where they belong to be fair. Especially the ones that pretend to be celebrities endorsing a scam, that annoyed me hugely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very interesting! I have to try this. I hesitate to delete FB because I belong to two groups that I really enjoy. But the rest of it has pretty limited appeal.

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      1. Lauren it has been a lifesaver for me, in particular with that one spider posting group. The one caveat I will say, if I click on the actual group and read the posts that way, the filter does not work and all the spider photos are right there waiting for me. It is because it is a newsfeed filter, not a group filter. So I just never do that and I am safe from those images.

        I know for a lot of folks at the moment they are sick of seeing all the political posts and for one friend in the US they were able to just put in a lot of the most-seen political names in the news and it made their feed “great again” lol 🙂

        My personal Facebook I try very hard not to let it get out of control, I do have one friend who posts stuff that I’m not a fan of but I am a fan of that person so I just scroll on by those posts. If I had a lot of those friends I think I would be less able to do that scroll past.

        Also being ruthless and unfollowing when I see a post that I’m not a fan of, or unfriending from time to time.. those things have helped. 🙂

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    2. Thank you for this suggestion – I’m going to think about it. I guess I should say for the record that I didn’t take the final step of deleting my FB account, but removed all the tabs, etc. I could get back in if I wanted but it would be a lot of work. If I had deleted the account it would be difficult to impossible to use Messenger, but this way I can still communicate with friends and family, share pictures, etc. Most of the people I communicate with have moved over to Instagram anyway.

      My issues with FB are more about what’s been going on behind the scenes, and their immense impact on what’s going on in our country now. The less I have to do with FB the better.

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  2. Aaahhh, I feel your sadness about leaving Blockley—your description of your sense of connectedness to Blockley and surrounding areas is clear.

    I also believe due to your travels and places you have lived it must be difficult to tolerate the cold. It would be tough for me as well, although in summer I complain about the heat and humidity we experience. I certainly “get” why my British friends like to holiday in sunnier climates as often as possible.

    I certainly hope that cold waiting to grip you stays at bay. And I am impressed at your reading goals. Over the years I have enjoyed your book suggestions based upon your blog.

    No, I do not envy you your upcoming transit time but hope you two can soldier on knowing what awaits in Portland—family time! My DH and I always start with the over the counter extra vitamin C powders or gummies before we travel. Maybe it does work or maybe it works in our heads but we do it.

    Maybe your next longer sojourn to the Cotswolds can occur in late Spring to Summer—when the changeable English weather may be more favorable.

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    1. Both Brett and I have lost our tolerance for cold which means our time in Japan next year is going to be “interesting” as we’ll be there during the coldest part of the year. I had such a problem with my knees last year – the combination of the cold and having to climb so many flights of stairs was torture at times. As much as we have loved being here in Blockley, the UK, and are looking forward to coming back, it’s been a strong reinforcement of what we’re looking for weather-wise whenever we do settle. We want to come back again in the late summer, early fall (and tack on a longer visit to London).

      I am dreading the upcoming travel day, and I’m already anxious. The packing is almost done though, thank goodness, but the bags are heavy – I’ll be glad when we get them checked. I take a multi-vitamin every day with loads of extra Vitamin C – I think it’s the reason the cold has never settled.

      Can’t wait to be together with the girls again – we’re online every day planning things and plotting what to give for gifts.

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  3. Snoskred, thank you for tips on controlling what you get on FB. I rarely go on the site but do want to keep for the friends & relatives who post. I plan to see if I can do some of the things you have found to be successful. Thanks!

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    1. I am very lucky that I have a couple of people who are into technology and keep on top of these kinds of awesome programs that are created. I mentioned that I was having a problem with these spider photos on Facebook – I had actually rage quit the main local group where they kept being posted but I missed the local news posts – and my bestie in the US knew right away what would solve it.

      Once I installed it and looked at the settings I realised this would also work to cut out the ads etc, and took some time really setting it up well. I had already got the FB ad blocker happening but sometimes things would slip through that – I now keep them both so I am double covered. 😉

      If I ever see one of those spiders in person at my own house, that is it we are moving, perhaps to another country. They used to be limited to an area of 30kms around Sydney but have been hitching rides on campervans and in peoples packing down to our area, and have now installed themselves here. We do have a local version which is not venomous and this is why people keep posting photos of them to ask people which kind it is. I don’t care which kind it is, I say hit it with your shoe until it is dead! 😉

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  4. Another travel tip I thought of when you mentioned you hoped it wouldn’t rain on your way to the train station. We learned to always have a few large yard size trash bags tucked in the outer pockets of our suitcases. We learned this on a particularly nasty crossing between islands on a small boat in Fiji. But you’ll never know where you may need it – for your bag or for you! Have a safe flight, maybe you’ll get a little Thanksgiving on the plane?

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    1. The trash bags we’ve seen here are all marked for recycling! We do tuck a few plastic bags in our carry-on, but I’d hate to be seen in these ones. The walk to the station from the inn is very short – unless it’s pouring we won’t get too wet if it’s raining. If it’s pouring we can have the inn call us a taxi – they’ll know who will come early in the morning.

      Sadly, I don’t think we’re going to see any turkey this year. I wanted to fix it for Christmas, but the girls all said they’d rather have ham.

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  5. Every so often, when Facebook feeds me a memory post to review, I am saddened by the organic way we I was able to be (feel) honest in my postings, vs.now, where I’m utterly generic, fully aware of the analytics and bots just waiting in the wings. In order to control my content, I’ve unfollowed dozens of people, which allows us to remain attached as Friends, but stops any of their posts from appearing in my feed. Like you, I’m often tempted to cut my ties with Facebook, but the ability to quickly reach folk via Messenger has stopped me. I will say my time on yhe platform is down to just a minute or two per day, mostly checking to see if my family has put up any photos.

    Along the lines of family, and largely due to following along with your long-term travel stays, we are going to be booking a one month stay in Metro DC next fall in order to enjoy our family, plus experience an east coast fall. Thank you for the inspiration to do so!

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    1. One other thing I have done to save me a lot of time and make sure I see the things I want to because the Facebook news feed can “hide” things from me, if there are specific people I always want to see the posts of, I bookmark their profile page. I usually put them into a folder and then open all in tabs.

      Even more important to do this with business pages that you want to stay in the loop on, like there is this local coffee shop I love and I want to know what is happening, I rarely see their posts in my feed but when I go to their page I see everything they have posted.

      I do this on Twitter and Instagram too because the feed never shows me the posts in order and it bugs me to scroll through and see posted 14 hours ago then posted 10 minutes ago then posted 10 hours ago.. WHY must this be? 😉

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    2. I can’t tell you the times I would get on Facebook and get right off because I had to scroll so far down to actually see someone’s message, or at least an original one. I was tired of seeing posts repeated over and over as well, or never hearing from others. And FB’s behind-the-scenes political manueverings was leaving a very bad taste in my mouth as well. As I said, I didn’t delete my account so I can stay connected through Messenger, but otherwise FB has been banished.

      We’ve decided that four to six weeks is the sweet spot when it comes to staying in a place. I think you’re going to like it – knowing you’re in a place that long is very freeing and relaxing. Three months has been just to long – two months will be our absolute maximum going forward unless we decide to settle down (and Japan excepted because of family).

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  6. Brrrr…it sounds cold there. My DD has commented that the homes there just aren’t insulated like there are in the US, so they don’t keep the cold out. But a lot of reading sounds quite lovely. 🙂 And despite the weather, I understand your sadness at leaving Britain. Of course, having a daughter living there makes it hard to me.

    The inn looks lovely and I hope you get a dry walk to the station and as easy a trip back as possible. Crossing my fingers for you to have a mostly empty plane…so much easier. Bon voyage!

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    1. It has been bone-chilling cold here, and damp too for many days. I have to admit enjoying the laziness of staying indoors all day, of being able to read for long periods, but I also miss being able to spend time outdoors. Portland will be gloomy as well, but hopefully better than this.

      Fingers are crossed that it’s not raining Thursday morning, or if it is, that it’s very light. It’s a five-minute walk at most from the inn to the station. I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to eat fish and chips once more before we go!

      Fingers are crossed that the plane is still fairly empty so we can stretch out.

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  7. I have read and enjoyed your blog for at least two years. It’s the first thing I read in my email feed on the days you post. Thanks for writing!

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    1. Thank you so much! Your post absolutely made my day, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your taking the time to write and let me know.

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  8. I feel the same way about leaving Australia! We’ve had such a fantastic time here and made so many wonderful memories. On Saturday we had a group of friends over to celebrate an American Thanksgiving. Everyone brought a side dish and beforehand there was lots of back and forth about finding an ‘authentic ‘ dish. We even played a game where you had to identify the numbered states on a map. Everyone got really into it and it was fun to see what they knew about the individual states.

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    1. I’m so glad to hear your trip went well! Were you affected by the fires at all – it’s been awful reading about them over here (and the heat, too).

      Your early American Thanksgiving sounded like so much fun – good food, fun games, and good company. That’s what the holiday is all about, no matter where it’s celebrated.

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      1. Thankfully we haven’t been affected by the fires. They were very close to Sydney right before we arrived but the winds changed and there wasn’t any danger. There is smoke in the air and is very noticeable. We haven’t seen any of the clear crisp blue skies; it is always hazy. Thankful we aren’t in danger and my heart goes out to all of the people (and animals!) who’s homes are being destroyed or threatened.

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  9. USAF issued me my dark blue watch cap in 1975, and I too still have it and wear it.

    We love the Cotswolds and visit as often as we can, from our home base in a suburb of Portland Oregon. It’s cold here, but little rain has shown up thus far. Welcome back!

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    1. I had no idea the USAF issued similar caps. Brett’s is a treasure. He had his original pea coat for many years as well, but passed it on to our son who still wears it from time to time (I wore my uncle’s WWII peacoat for years back in the day, but sadly accidentally left it behind somewhere).

      Glad to hear PDX isn’t too bad (so far) – hopefully our stay there will be a nice one, weather-wise, or at least decent. We are already talking about coming back to the Cotswolds, and Brett has already said he wants to stay in our same cottage again when we do. We have had the best time here, with all the beauty around us for extra measure as well.

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    1. Oh, I hope it goes well. The anticipation is getting to me though – I’m having trouble falling asleep as night, wondering if our luggage will be overweight, or if we’ll be able to sleep, etc.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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  10. Who is that man!! I read on my phone and glanced at the bearded man in the photo. I thought you were going to give us another tale about a friendly local. What a difference a beard makes. I bet it helps keep Brett warm!

    I agree with you about wanting to reject the politics and manipulation of FB. But like you, I like messenger. Just don’t have all my family and friends on other messenger services like viber.

    Well done on picking up the error in Morse’s directions, you local you!

    Safe travels. And when you’re mid long distance travel, remember you Aussie and Kiwi friends who fly for 24 hours and have to add all the prep, travel to and from airport and transfers.

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    1. I was quite shocked too when I saw that photo of Brett! I see him all the time but there was something about that photo to crystalize how full his beard has gotten. We’re both looking forward to his getting it trimmed – it looks a little too “mountain man” for both of us right now.

      I do think about the long flights you Aussie (and Kiwi) people have to take. We purposely planned our visits there so the flights wouldn’t be as long as coming from the U.S. (we came from Hong Kong to Perth, and then went from Auckland to Tokyo), but they were still long flights even then. Since our flight back to the U.S. is now full I am sort of filled with dread, and pray that I can at least get a couple hours of sleep along the way. Thank goodness for movies though. I’ll be able to fit in four or five on this flight and catch up on everything.

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  11. Another vote for FB Purity. I started using it a few years ago and it’s been great. I was ready to leave Facebook because I was tired of the ads and other nonsense. Now I can just concentrate on keeping in touch with friends, which is all I use it for.

    I’ve been to the UK twice. Once in March and the other time in July and the weather in July was wonderful. The weather in March was like what you’ve been experiencing, so if I ever go back there again, I’ll be sure to go in the summer, but I bet August and September are nice too.

    I’m leaving for Maui and Kauai a few days after Thanksgiving. I like to travel but really hate long flights and dealing with the stress at the airports. Enjoy your last couple of days there and have a good flight!!

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    1. The weather this past month has been, quite honestly, depressing. I have SAD, one of the main reasons we moved to Hawaii – I just couldn’t deal with the gloomy weather, and this past month those feelings have all come back. I’m not sure our six weeks in Portland is going to be any better, but at least we have some time in Hawaii after that before heading to Japan. Brett and I plan to come back to England some day but it will be late summer to early fall (no later than mid-October) next time.

      Our flight is almost completely full! The airline assigns almost all seats and did that three days ago. So much for stretching out and getting some sleep.

      I’m avoiding FB for now. No apps, no tabs, nothing. It’s actually been pretty nice and I don’t miss it at all. I’ve been communicating with friends via Messenger and Instagram and so far so good.

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  12. Been thinking of you & Brett in the throes of getting ready to get ready to go. So excited the girls are already planning activities. Pretty sure they are thrilled to know Mom & Dad will at least be in the same N American continent. If anything their wings have fully grown and your travels are exciting for them as well as you two.

    Oh but the lure of family and the familiar is strong and I cannot think of a better time to be home than Thanksgiving. I love to travel but along about the 8th week I know it is time to go or be home. For various reasons I cannot be away beyond 7.5 weeks. And we have learned 7 weeks also works well for us. But slow travel is the best to really explore. On the other hand travel is usually refreshing even if a short stay.

    Our Thanksgiving used to be a full on gathering of my sisters and their families with our parents, but our large immediate family has dwindled with time. Now we will have a low key meal with traditional items I will make or have purchased. Nonetheless we will enjoy it, just as you will. Safe travels…

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    1. “In the throes” is a good way of describing our current state. We spent most of yesterday packing and repacking because any way we slice it our bags are overweight (by just a couple of kilos though). Our Norwegian reservation says we have “4 luggage” but we’re not sure if that means one checked bag and one carry-on, or if that means two checked bags because everyone gets to bring one carry-on no matter the fare. We’ll find out on Thursday, and we have mentally prepared ourselves to pay for the extra weight. We’re disappointed that the flight is now full, but we’ll manage. I’ll definitely be catching up on my movie watching.

      No turkey this year for us, although the more I think about it I may get a small turkey breast and fix that and some sides for Brett and me to have before the girls arrive. The only one of the girls that has let us know she wishes we would settle somewhere is our youngest, but I think that’s more to do with having a permanent address. All three (and our son) are otherwise very supportive of our current lifestyle.

      We’ll be in Portland for six weeks, and our mystery destination following our stay in Japan for five weeks, and want to see how we feel about that length, whether, like Goldilocks, it’s too much, too little, or just right. I personally think two months is nice, but we may find that we like a slightly shorter amount of time better.

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  13. I look forward to hearing about your Norwegian flight experience. I have seriously considered using them but so far have not. Although we packed very light on our recent UK trip I knew by the time we got to Belfast N Ireland and our Flybe flight to East Midlands we would probably be in trouble with our carry on bags. I considered another small suitcase to put extras in and pay up front to avoid hefty fees. However my DH did not want to do that. Luckily a Spar was close to our Airbnb and had a post office in it. We both used the Rick Steves adage “was it likely to be used or worn often enough to warrant carrying it around and/or paying an overweight fee on Flybe!” Okay that was a paraphrase based upon our needs. We sent 4 kilograms back and were okay for Flybe. Whew!

    I also read blogs where travelers wear their heaviest shoes and layer clothing so bags are not overweight. This is generally carry on bags which means once on the plane or at the gate waiting to board those same folks take off the heavier coat and/or layers and place in their bags they have with them.

    Hope all goes as well as it can with the the arduous journey ahead. It will be long but worth it! Again, wishing you both a safe journey.

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    1. We carry a fishing scale with us so we can weigh our bags and according to the scale we’re both 2 kilos over. The cost per kilo isn’t too bad, and certainly less than we’d pay for postage. My carry-on is just under the limit but it can be checked if Brett’s backpack is overweight as he is carrying the computers, etc. We are flying back in a Dreamliner which has more room in the overhead bins, so we’ve got our fingers crossed. The plane is full though, so who knows? We’re both wearing our heaviest clothing and wearing coats, etc.

      One thing about budgeting for upgraded seats, especially on long-haul flights, is that it comes with free and increased weight allowances which ends up knocking some of the cost off the price of the ticket.

      I’m not looking forward to our upcoming travel day, but we’re ready to go.

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    1. We made it back to the U.S. although it was a very long and anxiety-filled (at times) day. We had such a wonderful time in England – we feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to stay for as long as we did, and in such a beautiful location. We’ll definitely be going back some day.

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