The last week of a long trip is always a strange time for me. When we first started taking yearly trips to Europe in 1996, they were eight to ten weeks long. A few years later, when we were both busy with work, we shortened our travel time and took four to five week trips. This year I wanted a long trip, a mini “moving there” experience, so we did a nine week trip. Instead of moving around in one or two week increments like we used to do, we spent eight weeks in one cottage.
Nine weeks is a long time. I miss my cat. We had thought of bringing Buddy with us, but only if we were going to stay here for the year. I miss my house. And my friends in Santa Fe. And being able to pick up the phone and call friends in the same (or close to) time zone. I didn’t vote in the New Mexico primary. I didn’t watch the Academy Awards.
Then there is the other component. “I can’t have been here for 8 weeks already! I still have not done x, y and z.” I wanted to meet Felicity for tea in Chipping Campden, drive to north London for Sunday lunch with Beebee. At least we went to a GTG lunch in London our first week, met up with Amy and Larry in London another time, spent the weekend with Valerie and Bryan who flew up from Italy, spent a day with Wendy and Richard, and have had several visits with Jonathan and Philippa (all friends from the Slow Travel community).
It has been a wonderful trip and we have had a great time. This photo is from our one trip to the Northern Cotswolds, when Valerie and Byran came for the weekend.
Lists of things to do roll through my mind – day trip to Glastonbury, another hike on the Minch Commons, day trip to Avebury, find Rack Hill in Chalford (where they may have a donkey), go to Stonehenge and get a baseball cap for my friend John (like I said I would do two years ago). I know we are not going to do them (well, not all of them).
All this end of trip emotion seems extra intense because Steve and I are both sick with a flu. We saw Wendy and Richard (who live near London) last weekend, then spent a day in Windsor, then came back to the cottage and one of us has been sick since. First Steve, now me. We managed to do a Waitrose run and got plenty of soup and juice and prepared meals, and it seems like we are recovering.
I wake up in the middle of the night coughing and restless. A friend of mine who suffers from insomnia tells me to ignore the things you worry about in the middle of the night, because it is all distorted. I work through a checklist of possibilities. What if we are both so sick that we can’t drive? Answer: Waitrose delivers. What if we are not well on the day we have to fly? Answer: We can stay longer and change our flights. Do I want to spend a year in England now or get my life in order at home first? Answer: Unfortunately no answer for this one.
I woke up early today. The sun was pouring onto the house and yard, the sky was blue. Tuesday is garbage day and you have to put the bags out in the morning because if you put them out the night before, the badgers get into them. Those badgers! I have never seen a badger except as roadkill. I add our vegetable peelings to the compost heap, dig them deep into the pile, cover it with a piece of old carpet and big rocks, and they still manage to get in, find all my scraps and drag them out.
I go out in my pjs and robe, carrying the garbage bag. I set it down behind the car, think yet again “how did we manage to bash up that car!”, turn around and am completely filled with joy. Dozens of small daffodils are in bloom in the yard and on the edge of the driveway. Spring is in the air – you can feel it. It is sunny, crisp and beautiful.
I go back into the house filled with plans of getting out today. Here I am in the COTSWOLDS and I am locked in my house! We almost went to Cirencester this afternoon, but then we started feeling exhausted, we both started coughing again, and we decided to give it one more day of healing.
I have a very short list of things to do before we leave: one more walk on Rodborough Commons (easy parking!); one more visit to Cirencester (browse in the bookstore, walk up the tree-lined Bathurst Estate walk); drive up to Painswick now that the A-46 has reopened (it was damaged last summer in the floods and only reopened this month); find that donkey path in Chalford. A non-sick person could do all that in one easy day. Hopefully we can accomplish this in the remaining five days.