‘Home’ again

To follow up on my post on Leaving ‘Home‘, we are Home again!

We did it!  We did something different and had an adventure.  Many memories made and treasured and very lucky to have 2 homes…

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We cant really complain about being home, we do live in a beautiful part of the world – Maine.  Freeport to be exact.

Re-entry has been pretty smooth.  The actual day of travel ran like clockwork (I’d like to think that was due to my amazing organizational kills :-P)….travel to airports, pet check-in, people check in arrival in US and so on.   As we had rented our home in the US for the last year, friends had kindly been in to manage any needs at the house before we arrived….also, some friends were under instruction to make beds, stock fridge and get pet food in for our return late that evening.  Thankful for this as we rolled in late and could tumble straight into bed.   Also thankful for the numerous friends willing to stay up late to collect us with our baggage.  As mentioned previously, Icelandair has a generous baggage allowance.  2 x 23kg bags per person….so in all, we had 460KG of luggage (excluding ‘packed to the gills’ hand luggage x5!).

Despite my sadness of leaving England, its always good to be home.  Nice to have your things around you and that settled feeling.  The kids were excited to begin pulling their things out of storage.  It wasn’t long before toys and books were unpacked.

I was anxious to get the kitchen unpacked.  I had missed these items the most.  Managing with just essential kitchen items in the UK had become frustrating at times.  In addition to these, having appliances back!  Dishwasher!!  We’d been without one for 14 months. Obviously, a material luxury but the kids were thrilled to throw away that washing up roster 🙂   Fridge!!  We struggled with a miniscule British fridge for about the first 5 months.  I ended up buying another fridge in the UK as for a family of 5, the coolbox we had just wasn’t cutting it.  Also having to get onto my knees to peek inside was getting old (just like my knees!)   The UK is awash with charity shops so picking up a used fridge (Bosch no less) was easy and resale was even easier!  Last, but not least, a tumble dryer!  We didn’t invest in one on the UK (mostly as there was no place to put one in the house) and with it being one of the wettest years on record (2015), we missed the ease of drying the laundry.  The days became a battle with the weather.  Getting any laundry outside in the dry moments and dragging it all back inside for the wet moments.   I could never get anything completely dry and I couldn’t stand laundry on all the radiators!

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Ahhh….how I missed you 🙂

A non kitchen item I was pleased to see was my closet (wardrobe!).  In fact, all our closets.  The UK house had NO storage space whatsoever.   What pieces of furniture we had, we packed full. In fact, we little storage in our bedroom, opting for some plastic totes to hold our items.   Not ideal, but again, wasn’t worth investing a lot of money.  Coming back to a huge walk-in closet was bliss.  But now, we debated do we even need it?  As you see in the photos below, the clothes shown is all we took to the UK.  And then, we only wore half of them.  So do we really need any more clothes? Or storage for any more?.  As I write this piece, clothes we left in storage have been unpacked….and most have gone to charity.   We have learned to live with so much less and its refreshing and liberating.  Which makes us wonder…do we need all this stuff – clothes, things, anything?   Life takes over and you accumulate and settle.  We were happy and enriched with less and on the move.   Time will tell if we ever fill these closets again!

Our home withstood renters well.  We were lucky…..but the garden not so much.   I didn’t take any ‘before’ photos but here’s a shot of one of the twins holding a weed she pulled up.   Thankfully now we have it restored back to its former glory allowing us to enjoy the final days of summer and into the Fall.

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For everyone in the household, they’ve slipped back to their old lives easily.  Kids back in schools with all their old friends.  Husband back in the office, pets back to their favorite resting spots in the sunny garden.   What we do know is that despite being away, nothing really changed….except for us.   Everything and everyone around us has remained constant.   Reassuring and easy in some respects but I wonder if we will long for more change in our own lives.   In this journey, we taught the kids that change is good and not to be feared.  I hope they hold onto that as they grow into adulthood.   For now, I need to live by my own words and be comfortable with the fact that  I have not returned to the life I had prior. For me, the adjustment back home is greater.  I no longer have an office to go to, colleagues to socialise with.  Nor do we have the big trip to plan for.   So what next?  I’m not sure but happy to be home and so is Chester…

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Leaving ‘Home’

So its been awhile…and a lot has changed in our world.

Over the last 2 months, we’ve packed up one home and returned to another.   Its been busy and despite the lack of posts, we managed to squeeze in a little more travel before we changed worlds.  Those updates to follow.

Since we made the decision to return to the US (here), we kicked into moving mode.   We halted all purchases unless it was critical (such as food!), we began to pack up our belongings and anything not coming with us was to be sold/ donated.  We arrived in the UK with 10 pieces of luggage.  It was our aim to leave the UK with the same 10 pieces….and we did!  Contents differed slightly and brought back lots of momentos, but essentially, we traveled with just our bags.   Icelandair has a great baggage allowance which we used to its maximum!

I single handedly packed up our home over the last few weeks.  It was good to keep busy and have a focus and the prospect of leaving was depressing.  Thank heavens for Facebook groups for selling items.  Between 3 separate groups – I sold EVERYTHING!  Down to the cutlery in the drawers.   I honestly think we broke even in our home furnishings.   I priced to sell, built up a reputation of good quality and people were clambering to get a deal.  At the same time though, it was heartbreaking.

We got to the point where we had nothing left….what you see here was it!   The TV was sold at this point but not yet delivered…

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Packing to return to the US was much more difficult than packing to go to the UK.  Difficult in terms of needing to find a home for everything (no default of ‘put it into storage’), but mostly difficult as it marked the end of our adventure.   We knew a year (14 months in total) was probably not long enough, but it went by too fast.   Our year was up.   We did so much and including our planning, we had so much to look forward to for such a long period of time.  Now it was over.   We all held a certain level of excitement to come back to the US, the kids especially, but to be leaving family again was hard…so difficult.

We spent as much time with family as we could in the final few weeks.  With special time planned to make the fondest of memories.  If nothing else, the kids built strong bonds with family members allowing them to feel they belonged to a large family.

In addition to people, we had pets.  Sadly only 2 to make the return journey (the third was carefully boxed up in hand luggage).  No-one wants to put their pets through any stress, and knowing it would be a stressful moving day for them, I knew that it was important to keep them with us (vs re-homing).   Sure enough, they bounced back pretty quickly and have settled in well again back at home.

The process is much more simplified on a journey into the USA than into The UK.   A process I could manage myself but nonetheless, I worried about their travel. We booked the pets on Virgin Atlantic.  The outbound journey was smooth and hoped for the same on the return.  They were beyond excellent!  They eliminated the stress on my side with friendly and efficient service.  Also super flexible with us as we decided to hang out with the dog a little while longer before he was crated.   Additionally, they arranged for the Heathrow Vet to stop in and issue a passport for the dog.  It wasn’t needed but just in case we came back anytime soon :-).   Bizarrely, this service was HALF the price as if i had done it at our local vet.   For what should have been a highly stressful time, it proved to be a straightforward and laid back process.   For anyone considering pet travel, Virgin Atlantic comes highly recommended!

Even the cat got packed up (she had a temporary home for a couple of weeks)…..its was exhausting work for her too..:-)

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As we left the cottage, we took a few photos for the memory book.  We were very happy here and already miss the cosy nature of the home.   We even miss our friendly ghost (or so we thought there is there).  Its hard to tell but every time we went away, the new net curtains in a  front downstairs room were pulled down!  It was once a main room of the cottage that looks directly into the street.  I am sure our friendly spirit didn’t like the view obscured!  Aside from those times and her gentle hand on my shoulder one night, she was never really a nuisance!

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On our final stroll through the village, the sun was setting.  A poignant end to our time in this beautiful place.  One could say that life is about the journey, not the destination.  This time, I wish we could have lingered a little longer at this destination..

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Studland Beach – Dorset

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View of Old Harrys Rocks from Middle Beach, Studland

Its been a busy week with family visiting…a lot to write about and STILL behind on prior travel I’ve wanted to write about!

So here’s a quick one as I wanted to share a new place we visited this weekend.

Taking advantage of the lovely weather we’ve had in England this week, we’ve done a number of beach days.  One was spent at Studland Beach on the South Dorset coast.

Studland is a National Trust Property and they maintain the coastline nicely.  As it is a NT site, having a membership is helpful as the car park is then free (usually £6).  There is no additional charge for the beach.

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We visited Middle beach.  There is also a South Beach (with a great coastal walk to Old Harry’s Rocks) and a Knoll Beach….one section of the beach is also for naturists (further on the north side).

Middle Beach offers a nice sandy beach, toilets, cafe and ice creams!

Of course, with the weather being perfect, it was very busy.  Space on the beach was at a premium but we managed to find a spot and settle in.  In fact, we stayed all afternoon and opted not to make the walk to Old Harrys rocks this time.

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As you can see, dogs are allowed on the beach.  They need to stay on leash but we swam our guy far out and took him off leash so he could swim.   The water is shallow for a log way out so its perfect for kids and dogs alike!

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Family Frisbee

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Family swim

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Great game of frisbee with the dog

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One year on…

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We embarked on this move with a one year time frame in mind.    To take a break, connect with family and do something different.

The kids signed up for ‘just a year’ and have seized every moment based on just that.

So now what?  We have had an amazing 12 months.  We’ve done a lot and the kids have grown in so many ways.   Daily we point out their achievements, big or small, and even tomorrow we will attend an awards ceremony where our oldest will be honored by her school…bearing in mind she has only been there for a year she has so much to be proud of.

Its been a gut wrenching decision but we will be leaving the UK and moving back to the USA.  Its complicated so its the easiest path at this time….but every single one of us has a heavy heart….:-(

Seven one way flights are booked (5 people, 2 furbabies), we are beginning to pack up the cottage and have begun to say our goodbyes.

We have a few more weeks left on the island so we will surely be making the most of it.   Look out for final UK posts and then more about our life back in the USA!

What we do know – we are ‘Always Home’ on either continent.

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Maine Botanical Gardens 2014

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Corfu June 2016

The Best year of his life..

This post is dedicated to my boy, Chester ♥

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Chester is our 8 year old Golden Retriever who has breezed through this adventure in England despite change and constant new faces/ places.

While we have only been in the UK for 10 months, and he is 8 years old, how could this possibly be the best year of his life?

We got Chester at 12 weeks old…cute!  Let’s not forget, we had 2 year old twins and a 6 year old at the time.  What was I thinking?  Still not sure.  So a 12 week old puppy and general family chaos ensued.  He has always been loved and well taken care of…we just truly didn’t have a lot of time for him.   Don’t get me wrong, he got walked every day (well most days), he came on trips with us and was part of the family, but we just didn’t have time for him he deserved.

He has always been a very independent and well behaved dog.  A dog we could just throw the door open for and he would trot into the garden to explore.  In the US, we have 8 acres of land…he kept mostly close to the house, and only twice did he wander off.  I’ll never forget the call received at my office telling me Chester was seen walking down the street with a can of Pepsi in his mouth 🙂

In the UK, he has virtually no garden and the front door opens up onto the street.   He has lost his land and space but it’s still definitely his best year ever – because we have more time!

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This year, he has been walked 2+ times a day.  For hours at a time.  He’s explored miles of fields, coastline and farmland.  He’s had 2 people home with him every day…a change from being in the States being left at home while we were all at work each day.   He has traveled to see family and loved by everyone…more attention for a Golden is a dream come true!

To think, we almost didn’t bring Chester with us.  We thought perhaps it wouldn’t be fair to make him travel, or coop him up in a smaller house.  I’m glad I halted the re-homing process and committed to him for the long haul.   He’s part of our memories here in England – his first cow encounter, being terrified of the post/ mail shooting through the front door letterbox, learning not to bark at the milkman and learning to sit and watch the horses pass by the front door.

We wouldn’t have done it any other way….love you buddy x

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Wales – Anglesey Day 2

We had a great day with a spectacular 7 mile hike along the coast.  The hike started from the house, following the road round to a coastal path just beyond the campground at Treardurr Bay.

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Mix of moorland terrain and rocky terrain

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Stormy skies and windy weather made for great waves

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The route took us along the coast….terrain was a mix of rocky, beaches and moorland.   Most of it pretty flat and easy to navigate.   At each turn, the views were breathtaking and as we had the remnants of Storm Katie, waves were whipping up making it much more exciting to watch.   We were lucky enough not to have any rain which was great.  At one turn we happened upon this rocky cliff.  What do you see??

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What do you see?

The walk took us about 4 miles up the coast, passing what we believe was Prince WIlliam’s and Kate’s home after they first wed.  If you recall, he got a job as as a sea rescue pilot on the island for a couple of years.   The house is large but completely isolated.  Far from anywhere or anything.  Probably good security tactics as there is no approaching without being seen.  I can only  imagine its beautiful inside and he views amazing!

Further on round, we come across an ancient Monks bathing house.   My sister in law has visited the island before so she knew a little of the history etc.  This bathing spot was used centuries ago by monks that settled nearby.  Little/ nothing really remains of the monastery but its interesting to think of the solitude they had on the island back then.  Even now, there is little in these remote corners.

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Monks bath house

We hiked up onto the Coastal lookout point.  It wasn’t manned this day so no-one to chat too but it was good resting point.  However, we couldn’t get all the way around due to the fierce winds whipping around the point!

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Headed over the stile and down to the White Hart

Not far from here, following the path away from the lookout, you will eventually reach the White Eagle in Rhoscolyn.  A pub/ restaurant owned by the Timpson (yes, the cobblers) family.  They own a number of pubs on the island.   The White Eagle is  large establishment which can get very busy at times and was even busy on this blustery day in the off season!.  They allow dogs in certain parts of the restaurant and they were very kind to find a table for the 9 of us, allowing Chester a warm resting spot while we grabbed a light snack…they were also very understanding that, after making Chester comfortable, he then threw up all over the rug!   Absolutely horrifying but after a quick clean up and lots of apologizing as we left, we soon moved on 🙂

We took a similar route back to the house but cut out a few corners of the coastline to shorten the walk.  Luckily for us, the shepherds were out tending to sheep and as we approached a stone wall to cross, there lay a sheep giving birth to a lamb….WOW!  What an incredible experience.  The farmer was on hand for the birth and the kids got to witness this in as natural a setting as possible.  An absolute highlight of our day.

 

On the island of Angelsey, there is also a Royal Air Force base.  This RAF base specializes in the most elite of aircraft and pilots so through out our day, we had the pleasure of watching jets fly about and make all sorts of aerial maneuvers….tricks you’d pay to see at an air show, happening for us and sometimes, felt like just us.  Formations, loop the loops and more.  We like to think that as we waved with each pass by, they did an extra trick just for us 🙂

With 7 miles of walking, sunshine and brisks whipping around us, we were thankful for the coal fire and hot food for when we returned….The young’uns among the group, cleaned up all the fishing tackle at the house and headed out for some fishing off the rocks.  No luck this time but they had fun trying!

Mother nature was kind enough to grant us this spectacular sunset from the house to finish out our day!

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Sunset from Hafn

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Sunset

Wales – Angelsey Day 1

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Watching the sun go down Treardurr bay

This Easter break we certainly kept busy and got around.   Our big trip away was heading up north and spending time with family in Manchester and Anglesey.

Manchester was filled with family time and Easter Sunday dinner.  Good quality time with everyone.

We headed over to Anglesey on Easter Monday for a few days.   Some folks have said ‘why Anglesey?’…mostly with a sound of mocking at such a choice.  In return, I would state, why on earth not??!   It was beautiful and since the trip, my youngest (albeit by one minute :-)) has declared Anglesey her best vacation so far on this adventure…  Citing the location, house, family and activities as her top picks so far.

We had booked a most wonderful house (Hafn) through Travelocity,  right on Treardurr Bay.  It sleeps 10 and there were 9 of us in total.  Despite us being almost at capacity, the house was so large it never felt like we were crowded.   The house and location were spectacular and took our breath away as soon as we arrived.  They accept dogs, so Chester had the excitement of joining us and straight away, he made himself right at home…either taking his place over looking the ocean or quietly curled up on the front doorstep watching the world go by.

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Hafn house and garden

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What a great spot!

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Happy Dog!

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Amazing bay window in the house

 

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View from house terrace

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Taking in the view on arrival

The House had everything we needed.  Well stocked for all your needs.  A lovely large sitting room with coal fireplace which with the cool evenings we were able to use. A family room with TV, DVDs and a cupboard chock full of games.  An amazing conservatory with ocean views and almost every bedroom had ocean views.   Given the bonus of great weather, this was a great find and great deal.

Upon arriving we took a walk down to the bay and beach.  The weather was sunny, dry but a little breezy but we didn’t care.  This place was gorgeous!

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coastal path down to the Bay

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rock climbing!

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Cove along the walk to the beach

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View across the bay. The Grey house is also for rent and is used in many films as a haunted house

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On the way to the bay

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Walking to the beach

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swimming!

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Watching the sun go down

After the obligatory holiday 99 ice creams, we headed to the pub.  Walking distance from the house, The Seacroft was welcoming and accommodated large parties easily.  One later date, we ate dinner here and all enjoyed our meal.  Be warned though, Kids menu closes at 8pm and they prefer not to have kids in there after 9pm.  No problem for us as our kids are older but something to keep in mind.   Dogs also not allowed inside but again, no problem as being a stones throw form the house, we just dropped him home for a post walk nap!

Being our first night and planning ahead, we opted to use the BBQ at the house and do burgers etc for dinner.  A good call, as we were to find, the next couple of days walking, we would become too exhausted to BBQ after expeditions out.   Being right on the ocean, it was a little exposed but we managed to get it lit and dinner cooked.  The kitchen at Hafn is also newly fitted so all appliances were new, clean and working!

First day was a success and looking forward to exploring the island more….

 

 

Exmoor National Park – Lynmouth/ Lynton

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View of Castle Rock, Exmoor from the roadway

We had the opportunity to visit Exmoor National Park last weekend (North Devon).  A house had been booked to stay in and off we went for 2 nights.  We were staying in the village of Lynmouth.

I have never been to this part of the country before so it was all new to me.  I was impressed with the Park and villages we were in and it is a beautiful place to visit.

First off, if you own a dog, Lynmouth is a dog lovers paradise!  We took Chester, our large Golden Retriever and he was welcomed everywhere!  Even in the pasty shop when we stopped for lunch.  Needless to say, the dog had a great time – lots of walks/ hikes and pub dining!

We were based in the village of Lynmouth.  A picturesque little village right on the water. They say its where Exmoor meets the sea. There is also a fast moving river moving through the village, flowing out into the ocean.   Back in 1952, the village was pretty much lost during a great flood/ mudslides.  Nine inches of rain had fallen in 24 hours and the moors were too wet to take any more.  Resulting in devastating the village.   One village store shows the mud line from that event….above eye level for me!

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River into Lynmouth. Chester taking a quick drink

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River leading into Lynmouth

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Mud level plaque

The village is picturesque and off season, its still quite busy.  Summer months, I am sure it has a completely different feel.  We are enjoying visiting these gems out of season, especially if the weather is dry and sunny.  At this time of year, there are just a few shops open and restaurants haven’t fully opened yet.  If you are looking for an evening meal, plan ahead and try to book somewhere open.  There is an Egon Ronay restaurant in the village but alas was fully booked.  We dined at a local hotel in the end.  It was adequate but I’m sure there is better to be found in the area.

We also ventured up to Lynton village.  This is high above Lynmouth, perched on the cliffs.  A larger ‘town’ and again very picturesque.  Due to its location, there are a couple of ways to get there.    The first trip we took the Funicular railway up.  Its powered by water and a very sweet ‘railway’ line to the top.  Even dogs can ride for a £1!  Chester was excited to join in the fun.  Again, off season, no queuing was needed and we hopped straight on.   The other way up is to walk.  A number of different paths will take you there.  A ‘switchback’ footpath will take you up or one day, we took a coastal path up and around to the town.  Either way, it is high and steep…take on at your own risk!

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Boarding the funicular at the bottom

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View from the top of the funicular

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View of Lynton from paths leading from Castle Rock

We did 2 great walks over the weekend.  One walk was coastal path up into the moors and fields.  We climbed around 200 feet in all which allowed for some pretty views. We got a little off path at one point but made it back to Lynmouth finishing along the river walkway.

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Taking the path out of Lynmouth

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Coastal Path leaving Lynmouth

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Moor like terrain

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Climbing up on ‘coastal’ path

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View of Lynton from afar

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Woodland walk back down to the River

Our second walk was taking the coastal path in the opposite direction towards Castle Rock, a popular hiking destination. This path was difficult at times and the true coastal part is on narrow paths with cliff faces.  However, the path is paved so its easy underfoot.  I am not great with vertigo so I took my time and made it through just fine.  There are plenty of little resting spots on the way up and along to Castle Rock.  Scenery and vistas are spectacular so taking a break is worth it for the view.

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On the coastal Path

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Spectacular views from the path

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Approach to Castle Rock

We made it round to Castle Rock.  Again, another spectacular view.  The contrast between ocean, moors and rock faces is what lends this area to magnificent beauty.   Without sounding like a bore – visit OFF season.  This place was quiet and peaceful but just a little further on, signs for bus parking etc indicates this is a mob scene come summer.  It would be a whole different experience.

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At base of Castle Rock

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At Castle Rock

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Valley of Rocks

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Enjoying the view

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Happiest dog in the world?

We climbed Castle Rock.  Kids went to the top…I was almost there but my fear of heights got the better of me on the final stretch!   I still got to enjoy the splendid views though including those of the Valley of Rocks…another popular destination.

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View of Castle Rock from the roadway

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Views from Castle Rock. Roundabout suggests traffic could be heavy in season

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Almost at the top of Castle Rock

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View through the rocks near the top

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Taking a break on the way down

 

We opted to follow the road and further trails back into Lynton before the decent back down into Lynmouth.  These final trails took us through fields of wild goats…with many kid goats about to play with the kids…one in particular stole our hearts and chased and bleated along the path.  We found it tough to say goodbye….we named her Willomena 🙂

 

Grief …

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Our hearts are broken as we said goodbye to our furbaby Charlie last night. He traveled well to stay with us but we knew he was old and recent months had seen a decline in his health (but thankfully not his happiness).

While we mourn for our loss, I am considering how the loss of a pet may impact our happiness on this journey.   The obvious immediate grief is apparent.  Many tears as we said good bye last night and into today.

Charlie was a large personality and already it feels too quiet without him.  I think worse for me as I am at home now (vs. working).  The kids headed to school this morning…this evening will be difficult to not have him around.

This ‘home’ is one he has only known for 5 months.  Or is it the people that make home? If so, home was constant and never changed…

We only have 5 months of memories of this sweet boy in this new environment, 14+ years of memories in the USA.   We will, and do, feel the void already.  As time will heal some of the loss, I am beginning to wonder if we will grieve this boy twice.

In 7 months time, we will prepare to return ‘home’.  This time, with one less family member.  To a place filled with memories of his life and where he brought us the most joy and happiness.  Will the grief be as intense as we feel now?  Will we re-visit the heartache?

We wont know for some time, but last night, for the first time on this incredible adventure, I wished we were home….

RIP Charlie – Sept 2000 – Dec 2 2015 x

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And we’re off….

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We embarked on the travel, well organized but with much trepidation (well, on my part anyway).

We split into 2 groups..  I knew I wasn’t up for moving 3 kids, 3 animals and 2 adults, across the Atlantic on the same day and leave the house spotlessly clean.

Animals (2 cats and 1 large dog) left a couple of days prior along with an adult and a child.

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Charlie opting for a suitcase vs. a crate

The process of moving animals to the UK was a laborious task but manageable (and expensive) in the end.  The first move day was filled with anxiety but we chose Virgin Atlantic for animal travel.  Mostly due to the fact they have a phenomenal track record with moving animals and they offer a pre-flight document check to offer peace of mind and also expedite clearance in the UK.

I did, at first, consider using an Agency to help with the all the paper work and process.  After an initial quote of around $4000, i decided i was smart enough to figure this out alone.   With a couple of phone calls/ emails to airlines and the DEFRA contacts, i knew exactly what needed to be done and how.  While I did a good job with all the paper work and process, the UK government did want one additional piece of clarity for clearance of which i was able to provide before we even got to Boston.  Better to deal with it during working hours vs when they land, in the middle of the night.

The pre-flight document check was worth it.  It allowed 100% peace of mind and was confident handing over the animals at Boston.  Note – Virgin technically only offers the pre-flight check if you are on the same flight as your animals.  We weren’t.  I emailed all docs anyway and followed up with a call.  No-one questioned it and we moved through the process anyway. Always worth trying if you are booked on Virgin and they were incredibly helpful and friendly.

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Loaded up and ready to go….

For anyone that has never shipped animals before, the process and handling wasn’t as traumatic as i thought.  I admittedly got upset loading them into the crates at the house.  By the time we got to Boston, I was more confident with the hand off.

Animals are not allowed to be sedated for the journey.  I forgot to give the cats additional Rescue Remedy but was able to get the dog to chug another dose before I handed him over.  Not sure if it works but was prepared to give it a shot.  In my haste i also forgot to spray the kennels with lavender spray.  I asked the big burly cargo guy to do the honors….he obliged and it was amusing to watch him spritzing the crates.  Again, no idea if it was calming but I gave it a go 🙂

The animals flew direct.  A swift 6 hours so not too bad.  I did wonder what they thought of the flight experience…..a sensation they’ve never had before.  It broke my heart when I flew a couple of days later, knowing the noises and motions they would have gone through.

The good news is, by the time my husband and eldest arrived at Heathrow, all 3 animals were relaxing in the Animal Reception center.…fed and watered and ready to travel to their new home.

Just 3 days later, i think we can safely say, they are settling in nicely….

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I followed on with the twins, 2 days later.  Allowing for final packing and cleaning of the house.

The ‘people’ of the family all traveled with Icelandair.  A decision driven by cost.   Less than half the price of a Virgin ticket but it does require a change in Reykjavik.  A good decision.  The kids are all old enough to cope with the change and adds only an addition couple of hours to travel time.   My biggest challenge was handling 6 large suitcases…almost solo….as the twins didn’t have the strength to haul them around.  They became pretty savvy with a luggage cart by the time we passed through customs at Heathrow!

So we have arrived in England.  We are now settling into life as an English family.  Currently we are in Yeovil, Somerset while we look for a rental in our desired town of Sherborne, Dorset!