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Friday, July 15, 2005

It's been just about a month since I last wrote here.

In some ways it seems like just a couple of days ago we were packing up in Orlando; in other ways it seems like a hundred years ago.

Best things from our trip :

Climbing at Red Rock Canyon.
Going horseback riding along the rim of Bryce Canyon.
Camping near the Grand Canyon, at a site owned by the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians. I've never seen so many stars before.
Walking along Angel's Landing at Zion National Park. Scary but spectacular.
Watching the kids climbing at the competition in Boston. Steve and Soph didn't place, but Ems came in 8th, so she feels good.
Seeing how much fun the kids had with their climbing friends in the couple of days after the competition.
Visiting Orchard House in Concord.
Meeting Andrea, Margot and Rachel ... they were all lovely, and all exactly as I'd thought they would be. Which means that one actually does really know the people one "meets" online.

We landed in London on the 11th of this month, after an uneventful flight. We were a bit taken aback when the immigration people told us that we needed to go for a health screening before we could leave the airport. They didn't want to check me (British passport) or the kids (all under sixteen) but Bobby had to have a chest x-ray to prove that he didn't have TB. So that took a little while. As did getting hold of our rental car. And then driving from London to Bradford on Avon was a little stressful. Bobby drove the first little way, but was too tired to keep his eyes open (women definitely have more stamina than men) so I had to take over. I am very proud that I managed : driving a stick-shift again felt very strange, as did driving on the left-hand-side of the road, and having to navigate those damn roundabouts every couple of miles didn't help. I was very happy when I finally arrived at my parents' house. Later that afternoon they showed us the way to our current location, in English Bicknor, a good hour-and-a-half's drive from them. It doesn't look too far on the map, but the roads are so small and windy that it takes much longer than one imagines to get from point A to point B.

In the last few days, we have organised coverage for our cell phones(have to get used to calling them mobiles here), set up bank accounts (not easy, can't imagine why not as it's not as though we want the bank to give us money, all we are trying to do is let them look after ours) and bought a car, which we'll be able to collect this time next week. I remember this stage from when we first came to the States - it is the most exhausting time, when you're getting everything set up. Next week we are going to figure out where we would like to live, and hopefully within about three weeks should have a home and jobs. Hopefully.

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous these past few days : hot and sunny, blue skies and long, clear evenings. We've been going for long walks through the countryside after supper, meandering along little paths between fields and tiny old stone churches. There was a magical moment last night : we looked up across the fields and a hot air balloon drifted across the sky just as the sun was setting. I'll post some pictures at some stage; not now though as our current internet access is both slow and expensive.

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