Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Back to Routine

After a whirlwind trip with Nan around England during reading break, I'm back in classes. It was great spending time with her and visiting old friends. We picked up a Vauxhall from the car rental place and headed off, driving to Nottingham from Norwich on the first day, then travelling down to the Cotswolds and staying in a place called Chipping Campden - an absolute jewel of a town. The hotel was small but clean and cozy, and included a full breakfast. Nan wanted to see Hidcote Manor Gardens, famous for its topiary, but when we got there were told the gardens had closed to the public two days earlier. It was disappointing because it was a perfect day for viewing gardens. Not to be thwarted, and thinking we might be able to see them from the surrounding fields, we took a path that looked promising. Before we knew it, we were actually inside the gardens. For half an hour we strolled through the most stunning landscaped grounds with nary a soul in sight. Nan took photos and mentioned that you would never be able to get shots without crowds of people in them when the gardens were open to the public. 

Feeling hungry from all the fresh air and walking, we decided to get a pub lunch before heading to Bath. As we were leaving the car park, Nan backed into a tree that wasn't there before (ha!) and we checked the bumper to find just a little dent. We drove on and parked at the first pub we saw, but it didn't look promising so we backed out, this time Nan hit a trailer attached to a small car, and the damage was significant this time - although no harm was done to the trailer (or us). I told her she wasn't allowed to put the car in reverse from then on. It wasn't her fault, really, and she's a good driver, it's just that the visibility out the back window was almost nil. 

From there, we headed to Bath and checked into a guest house for two nights. We took a bus tour around the city and were shown points of interest, Jane Austen's house for example, and the Bath Abbey with its lacy facade, founded in 1491. The shops were brightly lit and inviting, so of course we had to take a cursory spin through floors of merchandise. 

We then headed off to Hampshire to visit Pip and Selina in Wield and spent two nights with them. They put on a very stimulating dinner party on the Friday night, with a total of ten, and the next day another visitor came down from London, Loren, a young woman in marketing, who brought a nice touch of youth into the mix. I've been visiting P&S for 25 years and their penchant for having a houseful of visitors and continual dinner parties has not waned. On Sunday, we drove to Marlborough (photo is of the chapel at the school) where P&S's daughter, Emily, is studying. She is a beautiful girl, well mannered and caring, and invited us for a tour of her room in the student residences after we'd been for a pub lunch and watched her field hockey match. I'm exhausted just recounting all of this. 

Nan and I got back to the flat in Norwich on Sunday night and Nancy Patterson was at home, so we had a G&T and recounted our travels. Nan left this morning and Nancy Patterson went to London, so I've got the flat to myself. Just as well. I had a meltdown this afternoon, probably from too much excitement and a feeling of being overwhelmed by the courses and the amount of reading.  I feel better now; that's why I'm able to mention it. I've been living in a bubble for the past seven weeks and being taken out of it and put into the real world brings out all sorts of emotions for me. I have to remind myself that I've taken a gargantuan leap, that I need to stay focussed on the task at hand and give it my all, not get soppy about those I've left behind in Vancouver.  Everything else will "become clear in the fullness of time."

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