A Fat Purple Fig

Driving Miss Lucy

I feel sorrowful as we strip the Scottish-scarf hooks in our Longtown home, farewell the post-box wearing his jaunty tam-o-shanter (almost!), and set off for Broadway, in the Cotswolds.

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The Comedy of Tragedy

What to do on our last day fuelled much discussion. Kirkcudbright for seafood? Exploring Kenmure Castle? The Glasgow Mural Trail? Unfortunately, our plumber had different ideas, with his time frame to replace Jimmy’s leaking pipe encompassing most of the sunlit hours of the day. In retrospect, we should have declared our need to explore more of Scotland an emergency.

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A Stalwart of Castles

‘Ye’ll be wantin’ tae see castles then?’ Jimmy asks, as he polishes his shoes and reaches for his shoe horn, ‘Aye, right.’ And we are off for our drive, the sun peeking momentarily through patches of cloud to tease us with the promise of light and warmth.

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Reaching Across Borders

There comes a point in a new environment when you begin to truly inhabit it. We have achieved a rhythm of living in Dodge City; waking and writing, drinking coffee and eating biscuits, and watching Britain’s Best Home Cook on Netflix, in the brief moments between changing into pyjamas and falling, exhausted, into bed.

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Chasing Clouds

The anticipation of a day without rain set our imaginations ablaze. Lucy and I are similar, in that we believe it’s possible to see most of the United Kingdom (including Wales and Ireland) in a week, if only we can craft a sufficiently-efficient itinerary. After developing a dozen routes on Google Maps, and feeling as exhausted as if we had completed them, we awarded the sun to a single, worthy recipient…the Lake District.

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Dodge City

We arrived late in Longtown, and the entrance to our Airbnb was surrounded by a group of youngsters, on bikes and on foot, that made us laugh, with their hearty ‘fook off’s, and the fags that looked like they had been stolen from the packets of Mam and Da. The next morning, the footpath was dotted with broken eggs, leading us to conclude that there likely isn’t much to do in this town.

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Being Eliza Bennet

Of all the English heroines, my all-time favourite is Elizabeth Bennet, from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. If you haven’t read it, a catch-up requires little effort. Think headstrong daughter of limited means who refuses to acquiesce to a marriage devoid of love, and a brooding gentleman of 10K a year, whose arrogance keeps others at a distance…and there you have it.

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She Loved This Place

Stratford-upon-Avon is such a delight, I am lamenting its category as a one-day restoration point. It is different to what I expected, although I’m not sure what I expected, so I make this statement with only my surprise in mind.

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Priorities in a Pandemic

So, after purchasing several flights, receiving a couple of refunds and accepting an endless stream of timetabled flight changes, here we are in Stratford-upon-Avon, at long last.

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Land of Ice and Snow

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Heilongjiang Province, if you aren’t a bird-watcher or a fisherman, is known for its frozen tourism, with annual attractions that have titles like ‘Ice and Snow World’, ‘Ice Lantern Fair’ and ‘Polarland’ (technically all part of the Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, but you get the idea). This morning, we were treated to an attraction all of our own, when we awoke to find a Jiamusi turned white.

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