An English Christmas: 2013

21 Dec 2013 – Day 0.5

Arrived in England. Nearly missed transfer flight to Heathrow due to significant delay for unknown reasons in Indianapolis. Joel enjoyed several movies along the way over the Atlantic, his mirthful laughter intermittently awakening me.

Had a not-entirely-by-chance meet-up for lunch with Emma’s dad at Heathrow and then had a very pleasant journey to Tolpuddle with Sophie, ending the day at Cob Cottage, part of a 500 year old building where we will enjoy Christmas, 2013.

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22 Dec 2013.  Day 1

Slept in today to remove the remains of jet lag.

Went to the Jurassic Coast and we enjoyed a re-introduction to the English countryside as well as to the scenic coast. Joel explored for fossils. Lunch at a pub and another beach stroll concluded our journey. Yes, there was indeed sun and blue sky today. A fantastic first full day.

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23 Dec 2013. Day 2

Blustery, rainy, and windy weather persisted all day and continues into the night. Does this even have any impact on the daily routine of people here? Apparently not.

A drive to Dorchester and damp shopping was the main activity of today. Despite the weather, I think we all had a memorable time. Or, perhaps it was memorable because of the weather…

All ended well with a cozy dinner, a fire, and of course a viewing of A Christmas Vacation – a nice way to spend Little Christmas Eve.

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24 December 2013. Day 3

Joel has been enjoying his holiday with the gift of extra game time. He has read through just about all the books he’s brought along.

Today we drove to a nearby castle, Corfe Castle and enjoyed the views, the history, and even some hail. Apparently Corfe Castle was designed by Joel’s great (x30) grandfather, William the Conquerer, not too long after the Battle of Hastings. This personal connection obviously made it a special trip for him!

After our return to Cob Cottage, I enjoyed a few minutes strolling down our street in Tolpuddle, a town with its own particular moments in history.

I’ll be preparing my limited version of Wigilia dinner for our English hosts today, without the opłatek

Today I was fortunate to be able to successfully take several worthwhile photographs, many of which are below.

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25 December 2013: Day 4

Our Christmas celebration actually began the night before when, during a miraculous clearing of the sky, was able to witness a blazing Sleigh traverse the English heavens, in a pattern surprisingly similar to the International Space Station’s orbit.

This morning began with Joel opening a stocking full of goodies, a light breakfast, then Christmas Communion Service at Tolpuddle’s St. John’s Church (images below). This was followed by some furious, short-lived present opening, then some furious and not-so-short-lived meal preparations.

 

Christmas dinner was amazing, as expected, with traditional fare that we decided is quite similar to but NOT the same as American Thanksgiving. Ended with English Christmas pudding, a trifle, and gluten-free shortbread just for Joel (no images below).

Happy Christmas!

(Please note, the frequent weather changes in the images above are real and they are indeed all from today.)

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26 December 2013: Day 5

Boxing Day. Woke up to clear blue sky and took advantage by going on another walk.  Followed a route found on the website for the local pub, enjoying a 3.5 mile venture south of Tolpuddle (map below).

Joel came with, intrigued by the opportunity to continue building on his collection of “cool rocks.” His coat weighed an extra pound or two by the time he got back to the cottage.

Today I chose to “develop” some of my pictures in black and white. Some of the images turned out all right.

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27 December 2013, Day 6

Today we left Cob Cottage and Tolpuddle. We made a stop at Stonehenge, made a brief tour around the site, took some pictures, and headed to Leatherhead outside London to visit with great-aunt Poppet. It’s been too quick of a stay here, as it always is…

 

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28 December, 2013: Day 7

Spent the night at Jury Inn just outside Heathrow. Made it to the airport this morning in one piece but found very long lines.

Off we go…