Monday, September 9, 2013

A good day

Sometimes it is just the little things.  Or maybe it's the strange sort of magic that comes from getting away from it all.  But for whatever reason, yesterday was really an excellent day.

Nothing lead me to believe it would be.  I was in cloud purgatory trying to update Martha's GPS over a very thin straw called the wifi network here in the North of the Lakes Region of England (aka Cumbria).  I couldn't surf the net as I needed all bandwidth for this stupid 4gig update so that I wouldn't lose Martha next time we're on the road (or at least not for as long).  Tensions were running high with the rest of the crew as they had used up their computer time on this rainy with periods of sunshine Sunday.  And the washing machine didn't appear to be working (admittedly, this was our second use of it).  The thunder and lightning struck unexpectedly with Martha appearing in the very loud kids center (best internet in the park, offset seriously by the blaring TV working its way down the top 100 power ballads of all time (I went from somewhere in the 60's (something by Lady Gaga) to 27 ("Don't Stop Belivin'" by Journey and co-opted by the SF Giants))) where I was trying the download.

"Washer is shooting water all over the place and we need to do something with this 'lovely' day, or I'm going to lose it."
"OK.  Give me a second."
"I am sick and tired of all this, and here you are wasting your day..."
"Excuse me, but you just appeared here after dead silence for 3 hours and start yelling at me..."
"I have no one else to vent to."  Short pause, "I'm out of here."  And she marches off.

Crap.  I turn off everything immediately, load up my 30lb electronics backpack and head back with the 3 kids for the rig.  Everyone was at a loss for the explosion.  Paul suggested that it something had happened in the last 12 minutes, he said Mom was fine back at the rig when he left.  Whatever.  Time to go.

We pile in the car with no particular plan in mind.  At the nearest pub, we stop for a carving lunch.  A carving lunch is a really wonderful UK Sunday tradition.  A lunchroom has 2-4 roasts available under heat lamps and a person ready to carve off some meat.  There are several sides (Carrots and peas!  Again!) that one gets at a warm buffet.  Let's just say it was the perfect antidote to the "variable" weather outside.  This particular one had a wood fire going in the fireplace and a few guests had brought their dogs. There was some bickering, but buffets are good at making kids happy -- no need to wait for food, and they get what they want -- so it was a little half-hearted.

After lunch we crossed to look at Arthur's Round Table -- aka a pre-historic circle of bermed earth around a moat likely used as a meeting and trading place in the 1-2k BCE times, now currently used for sheep and cows (based on the bountiful leaving).  The kids immediately started running across and up & down this very large field.  The pastured cows nearby ran to greet them.  After less than 5 minutes, Paul comes running by and declares, "This is the best thing we've seen yet in England."  Wow.  A grassy, recently rained upon field with a big round circle featuring cows and rocks piled into a wall.

But it was.

Full, happy tummies.  A chance to blow off some steam.  A chance to breathe and live away from the computers.  Beautiful contryside in every direction.  Good times.

We followed up by continuing to drive somewhat randomly (no GPS).  We found a circle of stones ("And this is #2" from Paul -- though he confidentially admits later that these were #2 and #3, because the #1 thing he did was the "Running of the Alpacas" which I will leave him to describe later a) because I wasn't there and b) because he is still so excited about it) complete with an ice cream truck.  We went to a town and bought proper rain gear (First time I have gotten Paul to shop with me, ever.  Despite many requests usually turned down with a "buy stuff James likes, and I'll take what I like from him." -- twins, what a job!), repeatedly fed the parking meter, walked along a gorgeous lake, threw some rocks in, got periodically rained upon and had a light tea.

Yeah, best day in a long time.

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