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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Glastonbury Tor 2

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Glastonbury Tor

I have written about our Tor walk before (here) but wanted to add a follow up st as we went back last week.

This visit was different. It was early evening and would recommend this as a time to visit.  It was free from crowds and at times, we were the only people atop the Tor.   This allowed for peace and quiet to take in the view and also afforded some lovely photos….enjoy!

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The path up

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Solitude and views at the top

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Enjoying the ruins

 

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Used a landscape filter on the camera to pop the color…long path ahead

 

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Uninterrupted views

 

Glastonbury Tor

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View of 15th century tower atop the Tor

We are fortunate to live close by to many historical sites in the UK.  One of which is Glastonbury and the Tor.   So one grey afternoon, we headed out to walk up to the landmark we frequently drive by as we are headed to the motor way.

Many of you will be familiar with Glastonbury as being the home of one of the worlds largest music festivals each year.  This is in the the same area so given the Pagan links of this site, it does attract a fair few of the new age festival goers year round!

Glastonbury Tor is a National Trust property but it is open to all.  There is no NT parking so a membership doesn’t support you in that respect either.  Parking can be found in town or close by at a local slipper factory.

According to National Trust, Glastonbury Tor is a ‘prominent hill overlooking the Isle of Avalon, Glastonbury and Somerset’.  It is an ancient and spiritual site where Pagan beliefs are still very much celebrated.  The Tor dates back 5000 years and is steeped in history.  The Tower is remains from a structure (St Michaels) erected in the 15th century.

The walk is fairly short but steep! We were fine but some may find it a little more strenuous than others.   Despite the weather not being great, it was pretty busy.  I can only imagine that in warmer months, this place is quite crowded.  The walk is mostly on a pathway so easy to navigate.  Its best to stick to the pathway towards the top to avoid eroding the steep sides of the Tor.   Part way up there is a bench for anyone needing to take a break.  Of course, my crew sat as soon as they could!   Dogs are welcome but as sheep are frequently grazing around the Tor, its best to keep them on lead.

The walk up to the top of the Tor are spectacular and are worth the climb.  There are 360 views of the surrounding areas and into Wales.

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St Michaels Tower – the top!

 

The trip to the top and back didn’t take long.  Maybe 45 minutes.  I could imagine on a nice warm day, bringing a little picnic and sitting atop and breathing in the view.  But as I said, probably with a lot of others doing the same thing.   That said this is a great stop off if you are passing, or even destination and spend the rest of the day in the surrounding area.

When we were done, we chose not to go to Glastonbury town but to Street.  A stark contrast to the history we just explored but a welcome change for the kids 🙂

Street is just 2 miles from Glastonbury and home of the Clarks Outlet Village.  It was my first time here and I was pleasantly surprised.  A good selection of shops for all ages and nicely laid out.  Good options for a cup of coffee and more if desired.

So if you’re looking a day out in the Southwest to please everyone, this combo works well.

Now, if only we could get the sheep off the road to get home!

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