Our Trip: Brentwood and Getting to Edinburgh

May 25 Sunday
I woke up at 5:30, but went back to sleep till 6:17. Then I got up, made myself breakfast, put away the clean dishes and stacked the dirty ones in the dishwasher, and then went for a walk. I took the camera.

I came back to the house to get a jacket, which is a good thing, because it did rain a bit on my walk.

I walked for almost 2 hours and took about 70 pictures.

In the 2 hours (-10 minutes), though, I only went 8024 steps. That’s 3.43 miles. I should be doing almost twice that.

I admit to meandering, rather than “walking,” but still… And my leg did hurt when I started. Now it is obvious I was walking on my toes again because my left big toe area (with all the bone spurs and arthritis) is hurting. So is the outside of my left knee.

I am just going to have to muscle through these things.

I did check, though, to make sure I could stick my tongue out straight and close my eyes and touch my nose. Didn’t want to have had a stroke and not realized it.

While I was on my walk, I took about 80 pictures. Of those I kept 40. Of those I rated 19 at 3 or higher. The ones I kept and rated 1 meant that I liked the composition, but the picture was out of focus.

There was a tree root, covered in moss, that I liked better in the out of focus picture. It looked like a dragon head. But the angle I got on the image that was in focus didn’t look like that.

Thinking about it, there was no apparent rhyme or reason to which images were in focus. Some of the close ups were and some of the distance were. Some of the ones with a lot of light were and some of the ones that were very dark were. …Maybe it was that on some of them I actually took the time to focus on something. I’ll have to try that more and see if it is the difference.

We left for church at about 11. Church starts at 1, but it is in London and, of course, we had to stop at Starbucks on the way.

Angela went off to feed the baby throughout church. I walked in the back because my back hurt so badly.

Monday May 26
It is a bank holiday and so Jon is off.

We went to Burger King for lunch. The guys went in and Angela and I stayed in the car with the baby. They got the food for take away and we ate in the car before we continued driving around.

My toes are going numb. It’s odd. It feels like they are asleep. I hope the osteopath can fix that.

Tuesday May 27
Jon and I got up early and went for a walk. It was rain-raining the whole time. We went to the old zoo area and the old manor area and saw the pigeon hill where the lookouts waited to make sure they didn’t get attacked.

Coats were soaking wet when we got home, but Jon had worn the one he loaned to Ron.

When we got back to the house, Jon took another shower to warm up and then Ron and I went into town with him when he went to Starbucks.

We hung out at Café Nero and Starbucks. We ate lunch and people watched at The Slug and Lettuce.

We went to all the charity shops, and Marks and Spencer, to find Ron a rain jacket. He bought one for 7 pounds. It’s an XL, but it will keep him dry and it doesn’t look HUGE on him, just big.

I called all the places we called on Friday for chiropractic appointments, but none of them had me down for a 3 pm. One, however, could see me tomorrow at 2:45. I took that.

Wednesday May 28
Jon was off today to go to the embassy, but since they didn’t get the baby’s birth certificate, that didn’t happen.

We went to Sainsbury’s and picked up groceries. I got cheese I could eat, a roast chicken, and a few other things. Jon and Angela bought pizza and I fixed them pizza for dinner and I ate chicken.

Thursday May 29
Ron and I hiked into Brentwood today. It took us over an hour. It’s about 3 miles. We went to Starbucks.

We ate lunch at Café Whittakers. Turns out that milkshakes in the UK are more like soda pop than ice cream.

I had Amelia Emery’s thesis defense today. It was two hours. Deb asked way more academically focused questions. It was hard to hear them. At first it was because they turned the microphone the opposite way. Then they just faded in and out, depending.

The cab was only 6 pounds instead of 10 like it has been the other times.

Angela had thawed chicken for supper. I made Ron’s chicken spaghetti. Not too happy to have to cook after the emotional exhaustion of the thesis defense, but whatever.

Friday May 30
I had an osteopathic appointment today again. It went well. I still have numbness in my foot, but my hip/leg is better. I dressed for the doctor, not for walking, and my slip on shoes, as well as the hip/leg issues made me very slow.

We got a volunteer bus into Shenfield—by making the full circle with the driver, who chatted with another passenger, picked up her grands at one stop, and let us off near the train station.

We ate at a very nice coffee shop there. I had tea and a raspberry and white chocolate muffin. Quite good.

Ron doesn’t think I am actually working when I am so he was constantly interrupting me. Maybe he was just trying to make me see how annoying it is. I don’t know. What I do know is that I got very annoyed, as I was trying to finish my dissertation before we leave Brentwood.

Then we went to the train station. We got on a train to Colchester and discovered it was going in the opposite direction. It was an “express” train so it went all the way to Chelmsford.

We got off there and came back towards London—really towards London as it turns out. It was a real express train and went straight to Stratford. So we got off that and road the DLR (daily line?) back through Mary-land, Harold’s Wood, etc, to Brentwood.

This evening we watched the baby for Jon and Angela while they went out to dinner. We also watched way too much television.

Josiah wasn’t “good as gold” but he was willing to handle bouncing between Ron and I and settling down fairly quickly when he got upset. I think he has finally connected the changing table and a clean diaper, because he didn’t fuss about it tonight.

Saturday May 31
We got up early for our last day with the Rileys. We had thought about going to Stonehenge but it was too far away.

So instead we went to Maldon. I got pictures of two different Byrtnoth statues. I got pictures of the tide in and the tide out. I think some of them may have turned out very well, though I haven’t actually checked yet.

We also went to the Combined Services Museum—a one-person collection that is three stories’ tall and still growing. He owns a couple of tanks. He has swords from the American Revolution all the way back to 1400s. Also spear heads to 800 BC. Amazing place. About 5 pounds to get in.

Then we went to the Priory and to Castle Gardens in Colchester. That was John’s suggestion and it was a good one.

I got lots of pictures, including the three of them in the rose gardens.

We went geocaching and found two. The one at Castle Gardens Jon, Angela, and I looked for (mostly one at a time) for about an hour. The other, “at” the Reformed Church, all four of us looked for together for about half an hour before Ron found it.

Angela was frustrated, but I think she will enjoy it eventually. We need to go find the cache in the park (Billy Goats Gruff) and let her and Jon actually find it.

For supper we went to Chiquito’s. Everyone enjoyed it. They put small handfuls of popcorn on the table. I had one bite, spit it out, and took two Benadryl. They spice up their popcorn. The sweet potato fries were very good, but not really worth $8. There were about 25 of them.

Sunday June 1
When we got home I ate too much and went to bed. This morning I hurt so much I couldn’t sleep. Ice packs didn’t help. Now (2 hours later) the pain meds have kicked in.

Ron updated my iPad, because iBooks was crashing, and now I can’t open my Kindle, because it is not registered at Amazon. … Which I guess means that all my books are gone from the kindle too. That is NOT a good thing.

I must have been having smell seizures, because I smelled something bad—but nowhere in particular smelled. I put cinnamon and cloves on to smell the house up and overcome my nose.

I sent off my faculty goals. Those were due today. I even started next year’s. (How’s that for proactive?)

Beth P and I have been facebooking back and forth about the geocache at Castle Gardens. She couldn’t find the geocache in my picture.

I’m thinking we should start a new game—FB Geocache. Where you take pics of the caches you find and post them to see if they are visible in the pictures…

I made cinnamon apples this morning. I am making some more.

I need a nap.

Jon and Angela took us to King’s Crossing to catch the train. We got our tickets ahead of time and were so glad to have them. … However, when we got to the train, it turns out we should have purchased reserved seats or first class. There were NO seats on the train and at least 100 people were standing up.

I did not think I could stand up for 6 hours, so we got off and caught the next train. That was a problem because 1) we couldn’t trade our tickets in and get reserved seats OR 2) upgrade to first class.

We did get seats on the next train, though. It turns out if you can find a seat where the owner of the reserve isn’t getting on until later, you can sit there. We got on the train relatively early and found seats together.

There was an entire tribe/clan/movement traveling together, also without reserved tickets. They kept changing seats and moving around. I thought their kids were relatively well behaved, but the adults acted like there was no one else on the train. Ron, on the other hand, thought the kiddos just could not sit still.

It was warm on the train and my fan had broken. However, that which does not kill you can make you stronger, so hopefully I am stronger.

We arrived in Edinburgh, caught a taxi, and met our landlord at the corner.

The flat is a one-bedroom, with a living/kitchen. The bathroom is fairly large—larger than ours in Abilene, anyway. The bedroom is small, but it has everything we need. There is a chest of drawers AND two end tables, so it isn’t tiny. The thing I liked best about the flat on airbnb.com was the two rooms; it turns out that both the living room and the bedroom have doors you can close, so it is very private if you are trying to be alone.

I love Ron and he loves me, but I figure at some point, we are going to want to be by ourselves—and not have to go out into the rain.