Okay, this is the last of my posts on our 2 weeks of adventure introducing Hannah to all of England. After we left Stonehenge it was time for a wedding! I’m not going to post a lot of photos from the wedding since it was Morgan and Katie’s own wonderful, beautiful day to share. But we do need to take a moment for Hannah’s wedding outfit.
So the last day of our time with Cora and Ian was spent at the Bakewell Show. I don’t think Cora liked it very much, but I thought it was pretty awesome. I even bought a Union Jack umbrella for five quid that I had a great time getting into the luggage home. It’s now slightly bent, but it works!
We were greeted by local schoolgirls selling programmes (practicing my English spellings).
Other posts on this trip: Manchester and Blackburn, Derbyshire.
While we were staying with Cora and Ian we took a day on our own to head into Sheffield. It was a pretty late day, this family doesn’t get rolling until well after lunch. But we were meeting Adam’s friends Conrad, Richard, and Amanda for dinner. Cora had a (poetry I think?) class that night, so the three of us struck out on our own for the day and went in to meander around a little.
It was a short meander because I quickly became obsessed with John Lewis, and we didn’t realize everything would close at 5:30. But how could I be dragged away when there was this? Or this, something I’ve always fantasized about having after growing up with my mom’s dark stained version on a stand? Or these things here?:
I mean, did you know that they just have Orla Kiely pens and goodies in England? Lying around, not part of a special edition at Target or pilgrimage to the NYC store? Okay, that notebook was some other brand, but I was going with an obvious theme there. AND I had to get those Liberty of London-inspired Keds, even though I did discover after purchasing that they make the same print here at home. But that print only makes sense when you’ve bought it in the UK, I’ve told myself. In John Lewis, 5 minutes before closing. Yes, that’s right.
What about the Olympic stuff? That’s what led me to this store in the first place. I’d wanted to bring back goodies from the London 2012 games for my niece and nephews, and when I researched I found that this chain was carrying a huge selection of the merchandise. I did buy the kids some souvenirs, but I couldn’t resist some stuff for us, too. I don’t know when or how I will be knitting miniature gymnasts and shot putters, but I could not in good conscience leave the store without that book.
We stopped for tea and cake at this cafe Adam’s parents recommended. It was next to John Lewis.
This was the first time I realized how family friendly everyone is despite the accessibility issues of having a family. We’d changed Hannah in John Lewis, which had an entire suite complete with a breastfeeding area for moms. I went in to change the baby at this cafe and was immediately, kindly, directed to their “baby change”, a room separate from the bathroom in most places. Here at home people are friendly, but no one really sees you with a baby and thinks to direct you to the right stall or room or spot without you asking first. So you do spend a minute getting your bearings, and I realized it’s a simple and much appreciated gesture when someone sees you holding an infant with a diaper bag strapped across your chest and saves you the extra steps it takes to figure out where you’re going. I love that, and it goes a long way towards the fact that strollers can be tough a lot of the time. Everyone uses them, obviously, but the accessibility requirements here in the States that also benefit young parents don’t exist in England (lots of old buildings with too much history for elevators). But we managed just fine, and so did Hannah.
I do really like this city. I like walking around it in drizzly weather. And it was very cool rooting for Jessica Ennis during the Olympics, she’s amazing.
And obviously I failed to take one single photo of our dinner with friends. Or remember the name of the restaurant. But we were having too good a time for that nonsense, so I’m just going with it. More on the trip tomorrow!
Other posts on this trip: Manchester and Blackburn.
I’ve had another meal prep marathon this week to get us ready for the start of the school year and my inevitable stress about that. So I haven’t posted any more about the trip yet, but the few days we spent in Derbyshire were full of awesome. And sheep grazing on quaint hillsides.
We headed to Cora and Ian’s house after our Sunday roast with Freda and took it easy. But the next day we headed to nearby Haddon Hall, a stately home that’s been the filming location of 3 Jane Eyre adaptations and several other great films like Pride and Prejudice. I actually just found out when we got home and I went to the website that this is Humperdinck’s Castle from The Princess Bride! Obviously, this is my kind of place.
I mentioned the other day that we all just got back last week from a 2 week trip around England. We covered 900 miles taking Hannah to visit grandparents, meet cousins and aunts and uncles for the first time, and just start showing her around her other native land. It’s really important to Adam and me that Hannah grow up knowing both the US and the UK, and this was the first of many trips overseas for her. It was kind of awesome seeing her first passport, with her little baby picture, get stamped for the first time. It made me feel so content, knowing all the amazing things this little girl will grow up seeing and doing.
And the best part was we survived air travel with her! We had some rough patches; leaving Newark we sat on the tarmac for 2 hours because of weather, and leaving London we sat for 1 hour because of traffic. Hannah did NOT enjoy waiting on the plane, and I don’t blame her. None of us did. The seat belt sign was on the whole time because we’d left the gate, which meant she was strapped to me the whole time we waited. No diaper changes, no grabbing her bottle if she got hungry, and no putting her down anywhere. So, yeah, she cried and fussed. Coming home she actually howled (we were all pretty exhausted from travel by then). We flew British Airways and had a great flight attendant coming home who COULD move around the cabin, so she held Hannah and rocked her, showed her all the people on the plane, and tried to help us keep her happy. She even held Hannah at the end of the flight so we could get all our carry-on gear organized. Allie was great.
And once the plane was moving, Hannah could not have been a better flier. She slept in her bassinet the whole time, flirted with all the other passengers, and was just an amazing little trooper.
We landed in London the morning of Friday, July 27th–the day of the Olympics Opening Ceremony. It was such a great atmosphere. Greeters and volunteers everywhere in the airport, and just everything feeling really excited and charged. We stopped at my father-in-law’s for lunch and then spent the rest of the day making our way in traffic from London to Manchester, the first official stop on our whirlwind tour. We got into our apartment 10 minutes into the ceremony, so we watched most of it while we got Hannah and ourselves settled.
Morgan’s bachelor party was in Manchester, so while Adam went out with the brothers on Saturday Hannah and I explored central Manchester and the Northern Quarter.