Today was somewhat unambitious, since I was feeling under the weather — and the weather itself seemed to agree. My brother’s sole ambition in coming to England was to punt, which we’d been promising to do with him all week. So despite the threatening storm clouds, the three of us took off for Oxford (about an hour away) while the rest went to see some more tourist sites in the area.

Punting is one of my favorite things to do while in Britain, as it’s associated with many fond memories from the time we spent here growing up. Even though it differed from our childhood excursions in that it was not a lovely sunny day, and we weren’t accompanied by three or four other punts filled with raucous, often drunk relatives, nonetheless it was a lovely excursion.

We even managed to avoid the rain, although we did threaten to get damp when we passed under a bridge from which a local fire engine was doing hose practice, snorkeling water up from the river with a giant hose and expelling it again in an impressive plume of white water. We thought their efforts were rather lost on the river, but the effect was a good one, and we all took a great deal of amusement from each others’ seemingly pointless activities: us punting on a cold and soon to be stormy day; them taking water from the river only to put it straight back in again.

We escaped just before the rain began, and Gabe and I even got in a long walk before it started in earnest, exploring the local golf course and meeting a large and very friendly black Newfoundland dog en route. Unfortunately I have no pictures of either event, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

It’s strange, taking August walks in gear — and weather — that we wouldn’t get until December in Santa Cruz. The rain and wind are currently blowing at the windows, and our daily activities are structured around how quickly we can get out and do things before being curtailed by rain. Then, in opening a new Google window earlier today, I saw that it’s currently 85 degrees and sunny at home.

Even so, I’m not homesick. Yet. I will be, but right now I’m still too relieved to be on vacation, too thrilled at the thought of not having to do anything I don’t want to do after a year of back to back obligations and overwhelming stress. The hardest part right now is to think of other people moving in to our house, which they did yesterday. Strange to think of other furniture in our (much-altered) living room, of other people eating in our kitchen, living their lives in our house. Otherwise, it just feels like a normal vacation, and the fact that we’re not going back hasn’t really sunk in yet. Give me a few weeks…

In the meantime though, more vacation to enjoy. Back to my book… or rather, my Kindle.

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