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Updated: Sep 10, 2023

I'd only been in England a few days, but it was time to depart for Edinburgh, Scotland. The mission: to meet up with my friend Cheryl, who very impressively is about to embark on a 10-day hiking trip all over northern Scotland. I grabbed the chance to fly to Edinburgh to sightsee and spend time with her before the hiking commenced.

I flew from one of London's airports I'd never heard of: Luton. It's closest to our house in Oxfordshire and smaller than Heathrow and Gatwick, yet still a major international airport and very busy. It was an hours-long project to drive to the airport, pass through security, walk to gates, etc. despite being only a 50-minute flight. To our surprise Luton also charges £5 to pick up or drop off a passenger at the curb! The cost of flights isn't too bad, but the time involved has me re-thinking how many destinations we want to fly to during our sabbatical. Maybe we'll get more out of each day sticking closer to home?

But I'm glad I had the opportunity to visit Edinburgh with Cheryl. We had warm sunny weather and everyone we met was very friendly. That makes a big difference to the experience of a visitor. The tourist areas were crowded, but I enjoyed seeing the sights, sampling the cuisine, and learning a bit more about Scotland and its history. Robin and I are excited about an upcoming road trip we have planned to Scotland's Isle of Skye in October.

Next up: we turn in our rental car and pick up our one-year lease car in Sheffield. It's been weirdly difficult to find a car for just a year, and we have to drive a few hours' round trip to Sheffield to obtain it, but we'll make a day of it with Gin and Bentley riding along.

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Updated: Sep 27, 2023

Welcome Dear Readers! I'm going to try to chronicle some of our travels (and everyday experiences too) during our sabbatical in the UK. My husband Robin and I have arrived at our home-for-a-year in Somerton, Oxfordshire, England. We love it! Hover your cursor over each photo to see captions. Right now the weather is beautiful and the scenery awesome where we are. Here's a quick recap of our first few days:

We flew Newark - Paris with our dogs, as the UK doesn't allow dogs in the cabin of the plane and we didn't want to put Gingersnap and Bentley in cargo. It would have been expensive and hard to plan in advance, besides being worrisome. But I found a ton of very useful information about preparing for this move through Facebook groups, including the suggestion to fly your small dogs to France and then travel to England via Chunnel.

So that's what we did, with the help of a "pet taxi," and spent our first night in the UK in the seaside town of Deal, where we ate fish & chips and recovered from the journey. We may also have been a little tired from the previous few days (weeks, months?) of intensive house-tidying to get it ready for our tenants. We lucked out finding the perfect renters and when we return next year, well, the closets will be that much cleaner.

On Saturday we had a nice visit with our sister-in-law Leni in Margate, then Robin drove the rental car (left side of the road of course!) to Somerton. We love the house we've leased and are looking forward to getting to know the village and the area. We have a beautiful fenced-in yard the dogs already love.

We live within walking distance of the 77-mile Oxford Canal. We've started to explore alongside it via the "tow path" from days when boats were towed up and down to travel. And we're watching a great Inspector Morse episode about a 19th-century murder on the canal!

I will try to keep my posts succinct. Tomorrow I'll be meeting a friend in Edinburgh for a few days, so the next installment will be the week of Sept. 10. Cheerio!

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