June 28, 2007 - Home Again Jun 28, '07 6:07 AM
On Tuesday night at midnight Digi and I arrived back home after a week's stay in England. It was lovely visiting with his family for the first time in three years.
Last time, Brian and Irene had met us at the Liverpool airport. This time we flew into Liverpool and then went by bus to the Broad Green train station (well, most of the way; we walked a bit, too). From there, the rest of the journey was by train with a couple of changes. Someone had vandalized some switching equipment, which caused at least two trains to be canceled, but the man at the ticket window said there wouldn't be any problem with our tickets if we changed our itinerary a bit. Fortunately for us, he was right. Upon leaving Broad Green a little early, we hoped that we might be able to reach our destination in Cumbria early as well, but that was not to be, as we had almost an hour's wait at the station in Lancaster. Upon arrival at our final stop, we were warmly greeted and treated to a traditional meal from a local fish'n'chips shop. Landlubber that I am, I had a chicken pie with my chips.
After a brief visit, our most generous chauffeur (Brian) deposited us at Jean and Ken's place, a house built in 1672 (no typo... it's *16*72 - see the photo of the stone below), where we spent the week when we weren't out gallivanting. Jean (Digi's cousin) and Ken were away for a few days, but they came back on Friday, and so we were able to visit with them, too. And late on Saturday night, Jax arrived as well. It had only been a year (!already!) since we'd seen her, but we were nevertheless very happy to see her again!
View from the back garden:
Some of the things we did this time included celebrating Digi's birthday at the Stagger Inn, having lunch in Hawkshead (where the church above is located), ambling throught the lovely garden center in Ambleside (next to Lake Windermere), strolling the country lanes near the villages, making chutney with Irene (recipe to follow tomorrow), and finally experiencing a formal afternoon tea (below) at a posh hotel in Ambleside. There was also a fair amount of communing with nature, as this was such a beautiful rural setting.
We left earlier than we really needed to for our homeward journey on Tuesday, because when we were buying tickets we knew absolutely nothing about how much time it took for anything. Waving goodbye to Jax, Irene, and Brian, we got on the train at about 12:40 local time (1:40 p.m. French time). We took the train to Lime Street Station on the way back, and found it much simpler that way. Much less lugging of the suitcases. We were at the Liverpool John Lennon Airport by 4 p.m. with about three hours to kill. Digi smoked a few cigarettes and I took a few pictures. We did some browsing in the shops and ate our first commercial hamburgers in quite some time. After a blissfully uneventful flight, we were back in Paris. The hitch was that we had to wait quite a while at the Gare du Nord to catch a train back to our little Wrinkle-in-the-Outskirts. We arrived at our station around 11:30 p.m., and finally made it home at midnight with the help of Pat and Charlie*, who had already been pooped when we left the station.
It was good to spend time with everyone. They are so open and accepting. The downside is that it makes me a bit homesick for my own family in the US when we see Digi's family - and for both families when we come back to France. I guess the best solution is to arrange so that it won't be so long between visits - not easy when everyone lives so far apart. And when we plan our next trip, we have to remember what we learned this time to ensure the least possible lugging of the suitcases.
* For the uninitiated, Pat and Charlie are how we referred to our feet as transportation (at least, we did in NC when I was growing up).
I've always been fascinated with color and texture, but my interest in creating jewelry started when I noticed an ad for an arts-and-crafts shop opening in a local mall. I had lost one each of a couple of pairs of my favorite earrings and decided to try my hand at making my own. I bought some hoops and a few beads, put them together and had some left over... bought a few more to go with them... picked up a pair of pliers, some earring hooks, a little of this, a little of that...
And the rest, as they say, is history.
I'm a Carolina country girl transplanted to the Ile de France - a resident tourist, an amateur photographer, and a teacher for a very large international language-teaching company. We provide English lessons to French businessmen (and women) who need it to compete in this global economy.
Visiting France was a lifelong dream, but I never imagined I'd live here one day. Now I'm living in a Wrinkle-in-the-Outskirts of Paris with my husband and soulmate DiGi - about eleven miles from the center of the city.