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Our last morning in London, as we were standing in line at the breakfast buffet, Maggie was talking about how I exaggerate the problems people have with toasters. While she was talking I could see a woman behind her frantically trying to get a piece of toast out of the toaster, since black smoke was coming out of it. A few seconds later the smoke made the fire alarm go off.

I just stand by my testimony... toast in Britain... not as easy as it looks.


We arrived 4 hours early because we were afraid with the bombing that we might have trouble. This was a mistake. Heathrow won't let you check your luggage that early, so we had to lug it around for an hour before we could get rid of it.

However, Maggie and I did some pretty serious last minute gift buying. It was kind of a surgical strike on the gift shops at Heathrow. We had originally meant to get up early and take the tube back into central London to buy gifts, but none of us wanted to risk missing our plane since we didn't know which lines would be running and which ones shut down.

A lot of sitting about and waiting. The plane ride was long and I didn't realize we'd have to handle our luggage again at Chicago. Where ever you enter the U.S., there shall ye go through customs. And the U.S. is much fussier about the whole thing than England. Since Maggie and I had our luggage on the same cart we went through together. And while they just picked up Ox's luggage and told him he could go, they made Maggie and I lift our own luggage and then they opened all our suitcases and searched for bombs in them. I told Maggie it was because we fit a certain profile. Women with no makeup wearing natural fabrics. Obviously we are a lesbian couple who are eco-terrorists. Perhaps even Green Peace members.


Rabbit picked us up at the airport at 11:30PM. He had kindly let Ox and Maggie leave my car at his house. After a bit of conversation, which I don't remember, we left to drive home. We'd been up almost 24 hours straight at that point. On the drive home, since I was driving and he got to ride, Ox kept dramatically pointing out all the exits and saying, "Remember to stay on the right side of the road." Which was pretty darn amusing at midnight with no sleep. The whole time he was driving in England, I kept doing that to him. (Although, we all agree that though it was irritating, it was also necessary.)


I don't know what reception their cats gave them, but Tegan was ecstatic that I was home. She waddled down the hall sleepily when she heard the door. Then jumped into my lap and proceeded to dance and lick for the next 20 minutes. To make sure that Jenny, the dog-sitter, did not feel left out, she would periodically go jump in Jenny's lap and then come back to mine.


  • That I didn't buy a cell phone to use while I was in England.
  • That I didn't memorize their coins before I went. (Would have saved a couple of days of annoying merchants when I got there.)
  • That I didn't look up the driving laws before I got there. There's a couple of road signs that we just never did figure out. (Blue circle with a red X?)
  • That I didn't bring a second long sleeved shirt.
  • That we didn't stay two nights in one spot so we could have done laundry.
  • That there wasn't a second day in Wales.
  • That we got to Hay on Wye so late.
  • That I couldn't think of a way to get all my London Paleography books back home without carrying them in my suitcase.
  • That I didn't make it to 4 or 5 places in London that I wanted to go to. (Back to British Museum gift shop for Isle of Man Chessmen, Calligraphy shop for a burnisher, Early music shop to try an Ardival harp, Francis Sharp center to hear music and dance, Museum of London, Tower of London. Ah well, London is so big, it's almost worth a trip all of its own.)
  • That I didn't know that things would open at 9 or 10 and close at 5. (Worse on Sunday, where most things aren't open at all.)
  • That I relied on email to make reservations. (It only worked completely at Gwydir. All of Maggie's other arrangements and all of mine were varying levels of not quite right.)

Things I'm glad I did

  • Packing as lightly as I could.
  • Taking light weight and heavier clothing.
  • Bringing a rain poncho that folded up very small, but could be put on with my backpack under it.
  • Bringing the laptop and a digital camera.
  • Writing a blog.
  • Asking somebody to show us how to read the road map on the first day.
  • Staying in the dorms in London.
  • Doing the Paleography course before trying to work with a medieval manuscript on my own.
  • Bringing several pairs of shoes.
  • Going to Wales.
  • Singing in the Castle Conwy Chapel.
  • Hearing evensong and masses.
  • Kneeling in cathedrals across the length and breadth of England.
  • Chanting the psalms at Southwark Cathedral.
  • Walking in Sherwood forest in the morning.
  • Seeing the baby hedgehog.
  • Taking time to lay under the Yew trees in Glastonbury.
  • Getting to explore three castles built by the same master-mason.
  • Seeing a Shakespeare play at the Globe.
  • Listening to the choir practicing in the Lady Chapel at Ely.
  • Buying the guidebook at most of the places we went.
  • Deciding to do the trip with Ox & Maggie.

Last of the Photos

This morning, I'm doing laundry at home, and looked through the library of photos. There were some that I hadn't put in the blogs that I wanted to share. Most of them I've pulled because I think they sum up something of the feeling of the places we have been.

One of the odd things is that there is not a single photo of all three of us together. In some ways that feels like how the trip went. As we went along, two of us seemed to always be relying on the third one for something. And we just alternated who had to be that third person-- the one who was making a thing work.

Ox drove the whole time, and is definitely the King of the Roundabouts. I navigated most of the time, and became so attached to the giant road atlas, that I made room for it in my suitcase to bring it home. Maggie had the "Book of Power" which contained print outs for all the places we might want to go, opening times, closing times, and directions on how to get there. We would have been up a creek had she not been so thorough with her planning.

Also, we have such different interests in the Middle Ages, that we all knew different things about the places that we went. Ox knows about the mechanics and details of artwork and crafts in the Middle Ages. Maggie knows a lot of history and specific details about textiles & foods. And me? Well, I tell a lot of stories. But then you knew that already.

Today's Photos