Monday, April 25, 2011

What I did over my Spring Break

Today is the last day of Spring Break here in London. I don't exactly have a job to return to tomorrow, but I'm going back to doing daily supply/substitute teaching and am hoping something longer-term comes along soon. But, if not, I'll plod on til the summer break. Which, it should be noted, is lame and short - 6 weeks only! - and doesn't start til late July. I think I will never get used to this aspect of British education. School from September - mid/late-July with tons of weeks off here and there is not as nice as school September to May/early June with a proper summer vacation! Family time! Trip time! Enjoying the beautiful weather and not having to worry about heat stroke in an overpacked classroom time!

But I digress.

The past 2 weeks have been spent in fun ways. The first week, I mostly enjoyed some "me" time. Resting, working on things for my Etsy shop (which I plan to update before next weekend), and scrapbooking (the successes of which will be shared in a later-today or later-this-week post). But the 2nd week was all about a staycation. The Scot and I aren't rolling in the cash these days, so our original thought of 3 days in Paris was out. But the beauty of living in London is that you're never too far from some place interesting.

lovely quote

Monday was spent wandering from Waterloo to Tower Bridge, after a smashing lunch of Central/South American food. We popped into the Tate Modern (briefly, as the boy detests the place as much as I love it) and mostly enjoyed the sunshine.

Tuesday found us hopping on a train towards into leafiest, greeniest, sunniest Kent. Just past Maidstone, we ventured to the lovely Leeds Castle. It's a castle that became more of a manor house in later days set in a big moat. So many moats these days are drained and turned into gardens. Not this one. The place looks a bit like it's floating. Which is pretty great.

leeds castle

woohoo! we made it!

We even had a go at the hedge maze and, after many wrong turns, made it to the center and the stony lookout therein!

Wednesday's adventures weren't by train, but rather by bus. Departing closer from our side of the city and cheaper in cost, we took the Oxford Tube which, of course, isn't a tube at all. But it was a coach that offered me new views of the countryside (albeit largely from motorways) en route to Oxford! Neither The Scot nor I had ever been apart from our trip for BlytheCon UK 2010. So we wanted to go putz around for a day and just have a nice wander. And we did! Most of the colleges were closed or cost more than we wanted to spend for a little walk across a lawn. So we stuck to peeking into churchyards through locked gates, wandering through lovely parklands, and popping into cute shops and markets. My favorite part of the day was living it up in high tourist style and hiring a chauffered punting boat ride along the River Cherwell.

bridge on the river cherwell
The views were really beautiful.


On Thursday, my best pal in the world, Megan, arrived. She's currently living in Dublin, so was just over for the weekend. (You may recall my writing about visiting her/Dublin last Autumn). We forwent a day out for a day of cleaning the flat! Lots of paper scraps from a week of scrapbooking whenever I was home. Oops! But a day out of the sun was a good rest up for Friday's adventures.

Good Friday and a good day out again. This time a little train to suburban London(ish) to visit Hampton Court Palace. I'd visited once before. But it was winter and not a particularly joyous day or with particularly joyous company. And it was a few years back.

hampton court

This visit was great! They'd made a lot of improvements to the exhibit-type-things the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII's accession to the throne. Costumed actors wandered around here and there and there were informative cooks in the kitchens making real food. I found that bit pretty great.

tudor kitchens

The last time I visited, I was still in the infancy of my Blythe collecting/early days of Flickr-sharing. I'd just gotten Clem, my Goldie, and she joined me. I took what has been a favorite dolly photo of mine that day. So, on this visit, I re-created it with my Kenner, Diana. I like this version even more!

fountain girl redux. (110/365)

Saturday was spent relaxing in London. We visited the Tate Britain, as Megan is a Turner fan. It was St. George's Day. And there were Morris Dancers outside. MORRIS DANCERS!!!! I love them. They're folk-tastic gems, if you ask me.

i liked his hair

We might have been very excited.

us + morris-y fun!

It was a great end to a great Spring Break.



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