Monday, August 24, 2015

"Real" Retirement and a Summery Summary

Today is the day that all the district teachers start back to work.  And I'm not there!  Although I officially retired as of June 30, it didn't feel any different since I'm accustomed to the 8 weeks of a more leisurely pace.  So I'm considering today, the first day of retirement!  I got up at 5:30 am to head to a water aerobics class with my husband.  We've been going to a 7 am class, 3 days a week.  While I don't like getting up early, I AM awake after 23 years of an early start.  Plus he usually leaves for work about 5:30, so it is hard to sleep.  And I get back home about 8:15, and then have the whole day to do whatever.

It's been a busy summer.  We've had a few final touches put on the house --- things like shelving, extra towel racks, finishing the painting of the interior garage walls.  We've also been sprucing up the old house in an attempt to get it sold as soon as possible.  It took me a couple of weeks to find homes for the stuff I brought home for school too.

We also went to Great Britain for 10 days the first part of August.  We've gone before, but this time we took some friends with us who had never been to Europe.  Although we traveled pretty much the same route we took the first time we went, we went in the opposite direction and got to explore some new sights.  We also had tickets to the Military Tattoo in Edinborough which was amazing.  Some of the new sights we visited were Kensington Gardens, Hampton Court, Stonehenge, and Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott.    We also went to Bath, the Lake District (best gingerbread ever in Grasmere), Gretna Green, York, Cambridge, and London of course.

Kensington Palace:












Hampton Court pictures:











The day we went to Stonehenge was perfect --- blustery with threatening clouds which set a great ambience.








We did go to Bath again. Another place where there's plenty to see!











  Another highlight was a narrowboat cruise in Wales.









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Another new stop for us was Chester, one of the oldest standing walled medieval cities.







Its cathedral has terrifically intricate wood carvings in the choir stall, and gorgeous tiled floors.  I took a ton of wood carving pics, but it was too dark for most of them to come out well.  





Edinborough was packed with people for the tattoo and for the Fringe Festival.  They close off a portion of the Royal Mile, the main road in Old Town that goes from Holyrood Castle to the Castle where the Tattoo is held nightly for 3 weeks.  At times it was hard to walk with all the people.  And of course, it's all uphill!









The tattoo is an amazing spectacle.  It lasts about 2 hours.  There are bands, mostly military,  from all over the UK and the world, as well as dancers, other musicians, and singers.  The word tattoo derives from the Dutch, and originally was a musical signal from an army barracks that the barkeepers in town could hear.  It signaled that the bars had to close and all the military men had to return to their barracks.   Aside from the bagpipes and drums, we also were gifted with performances from the US Air Force Drill Team, the US Citadel band, a military band from China, dancers from India, fiddlers from the Shetland Islands, and some incredible Chinese dancers.














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And from Abbottsford, home of Sir Walter Scott:









A few shots from York Minster, in York.  This was a repeat visit, but there's so much to see here.





Stamford






And a few shots around London:










These are only a fraction of the pictures I took!  


So my"Summer Vacation" was grand.  Now for an enjoyable retirement!!  (So far on day 1, I did my water aerobics class, went grocery shopping,  had lunch, and  am now headed out for my annual  physical.  Then to a local farm to pick up my CSA share.  Phew!)

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