solitude is a state of mind

I almost didn’t post today. As an act of resignation. Giving up on the post-a-day challenge without even lasting the month. But then my son asked me to help him with a heraldry assignment for Social Studies. I ended up digging through my old England shots again and found a few that I need to revisit, including the one above. Now I’m glad I took the time because the original never did justice to the moment. A moment of transition. My daughter’s transition to a new time zone in a new country. My transition from planning to executing the dream vacation. The day’s transition to night. Rain to fog. Still air to driving wind.

We’d stood on both shores of the Atlantic that year—both shores nearly deserted, though the crowds were 500 feet away. We grabbed our moments of solitude when we found them and tucked them in our pockets, taking them out later on overcrowded trains and long queues. Remembered waves can drown out many an annoying sight or sound.

But how about you? If you have a favorite transition ritual or link to a poem/story about transition, please share:-)

Battles & Cliff Tops

Well, we made it! We breezed through luggage check-in, security, a couple pages of homework at the gate, our transatlantic flight, & customs before hitting our first snag. We had found an internet special for commission-free money exchange at AMEX. Only problem was it was in Heathrow’s terminal 2 and we were in terminal 4. We walked all the way, exchanged our money (it was a good thing we had the promotion printed…) and then realized we had to walk back where we came from to get to the Heathrow Express to start our train journeys. OOOPS! As we tried to wind our way back 2 terminals, we found ourselves stuck going in a circle. We asked directions and finally got on our way.

The train connections were flawless. The attendant in the Paddington station restroom even let Megan in for free (saving 20 pence). We made an earlier train to Hastings than we planned, the only hitch being that the train stopped briefly to clear sheep off the line…

Pat and Chris, the owners of the Hastings guest house, picked us up at the station and showed us around our home for the next three days. Lovely blue and white rooms with a kitchen, living area, and private bath. Ian loves the Mr. Bean videos that were included in the room rental. I think Kurt and I may check out the Black Adder videos tonight.

We toured Battle Abbey and the Battle of Hastings battleground today. Fascinating. Ian loved scrambling up every staircase available. Megan thought the garderobes were sick (confused? wikipedia). We almost made it out of the gift shop without incident, until Ian found a toy crossbow complete with suction cup arrows. He wouldn’t go for a working mini-catapult/pencil sharpener so we had to compromise on a wooden dagger. Megan got a pewter ring with green stone.

In trying to find the railway up to the Hastings Castle ruins, we managed to climb the entire hill and ended up right at the gate…which was locked shut. We missed it by 50 minutes. The silver lining was finding a hidden staircase which led up to an open grassy cliff top from which we took in the misty landscape of coastal Hastings Old Town & Docks. We went down a paved way which wound around narrow back alleys and dumped us onto George Street – where Ian found an arcade (his highlight of the day for sure).

We finished the day at The Italian Way Pizzeria, run by Italians that were much more relaxed than the Italian restaurant in London that Kurt and I previously visited. And now we are at Web Frenzy, and Ian says I must finish soon so he can play computer games with the 43 minutes left on my £2 internet hour.

More with pictures on Sunday,

Quotes of the Day:

Megan, after hearing the train announcement “Next stop – London Bridge”:
“But it isn’t falling down!”

Ian, after finishing off a fine piece of garlic bread with mozzarella:
“A small town = a great vacation spot!”