Saturday, July 28, 2007

Our (Slightly Soggy) English Holiday

What is with the weather? Seriously. This time last year, England was boiling. This year our summer came in April and left in May. Yesterday people were walking around in long-sleeved, turtleneck sweaters. And as you’ve probably seen on the news, this week’s flooding in Gloustershire has left 130,000 people still without clean water in their homes. It's horrible, but thankfully the UK has the infrastructure to repair and rebuild.

I’m happy to say we had a lovely time in Shropshire. We even enjoyed a few glimpses of sunshine! The place we stayed was gorgeous -- built around 1595 (incidentally, that was the year Pocahontas was born, if you're wondering about an American parallel) and restored in the 1980s; surrounded by open sky, an apple orchard and four horses in a nearby field. Stunning! A few of the places we wanted to see were flooded, but we visited nearby Stokesay Castle, walked across the first iron bridge in the world and wandered along the medieval streets of Shrewsbury.

A surprising highlight was discovering the RAF museum and a one-of-its-kind, permanent exhibit on the Cold War. Matt and Jack were fascinated by the extensive collection of airplanes. I was amazed at how little I knew about world events that happened in my lifetime! If you’re ever in the Birmingham area, I highly recommend setting aside a day in Cosford.

Now we’re home, preparing to welcome an English friend we knew in Cyprus who’s currently living in Afghanistan. I finally read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini while we were away, so my mind has a fresh imprint ready for her stories and pictures.

Gosh, with the multiple cultural/historical lessons of the past week, it feels like we were gone a lot longer than seven days. And it definitely feels like we went further than just a few hours up the M40.

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