The most charming pub in the world, probably

On our drive back to London from the Lake District, we decided to take the tiniest tour of the Cotswolds, which was well worth it, even if we were only there for a few hours. Guion found a 17th-century pub called the Ebrington Arms and it, and its general village, did not fail to enchant.

The Ebrington ArmsThe Ebrington ArmsThe CotswoldsWe ate out here, in the gardens:

The Ebrington ArmsThe Ebrington ArmsAfter dinner, we strolled around the village for a bit.

The CotswoldsThe CotswoldsThe CotswoldsThe CotswoldsThe Cotswolds

I left with a very powerful urge to get back to my garden (and to acquire some of those climbing English roses) and with the thought of how much my mom would love this place (Mom, let’s go!). The CotswoldsSam, looking forward to getting back into our (temporary) Mercedes:

The CotswoldsThe perfect ending to a perfect holiday with the Bushes.

The Ebrington ArmsThe Cotswolds

Catch the heart off guard and blow it open

Dear Maddy and Sam came to London for the week, and then we took off for the Lake District for an absolutely stunning weekend. Turns out the northern part of the UK is not kidding around when it comes to outrageous beauty. We were tremendously lucky with the weather, too, because everyone had warned us that it would rain the entire time. Instead, we got this all weekend:

Catbells summit(We met several locals who told us, “This is the first sunshine we’ve seen in nine months.”)

We stayed in this charming (if mildewy) cottage in Kirkby-in-Furness, in a quiet and secluded hamlet at the southern edge of the Lake District:

Kirkby-in-Furness

Kirkby-in-FurnessOn our first night, Sam (very expertly, considering that this was his first time driving in the UK) drove us all up the gorgeous/treacherous little roads to Kirkstone Pass, where we had a hearty supper at the Kirkstone Pass Inn, which is the second-highest pub (in terms of elevation) in the United Kingdom.

Kirkstone PassKirkstone Pass(Sparking so many geographical flashbacks to Iceland…)

First night in the Lake DistrictWindermereAs we descended, we stopped in Windermere to enjoy the sunset.

WindermereWindermereWindermereOn Saturday, bright and hot, we took on the Catbells hike, which did not disappoint, with its 360-degree views of the mountains, lake, and surrounding loveliness.

Catbells summitCatbells summitLake District day twoCatbells summitCatbells summitCatbells summitCatbells summitCatbells summitAfter hiking down, we timed the ferry around the lake poorly and spent £8 on a five-minute ride, but then we got to walk around the lake, so it was not entirely a loss.

Lake District day twoKeswickOn the drive home, we hit the golden hour in this stunning valley and felt so delighted to be there, together. We rolled around in the grass, Maddy (mildly) terrorized some sheep, and we marveled at our good fortune.

Lake District golden hourLake District golden hourLake District golden hourLake District golden hourMaddy terrorizes some sheepQuite possibly my favorite photo from the entire weekend:

Favorite pic from the Lake District

We said goodbye to Kirkby-in-Furness on Sunday morning by walking to the coast. Guion and Sam were nearly washed out to sea when the tide came in (and covered all of that strange, spongy grass you see below).

Kirkby-in-FurnessKirkby-in-FurnessKirkby-in-FurnessGuion read us this Heaney poem on the first night of our stay and it served as the perfect sketch of our general feeling about being in the Lake District (even if it is about Ireland).

Postscript
Seamus Heaney

And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.

Lake District day two

Sam and the truck

When Sam was 3, he crushed his little hands in the door handle of the truck. Somehow, he’d gotten his baby fingers jammed up inside the exterior handle itself, so that Dad had to push his bruised, tiny hand even further into the metal handle to get it out. He screamed for such a long time, and it was miserable; us three girls were afraid for him, watching his chubby face contort with pain, sneaking glances at his purple fingers. Mom was in Atlanta on a business trip, which added greatly to our concern. Dad put all four of us on their big bed and turned on The Lion King, presumably hoping that the novelty of getting to watch a movie in the middle of the day would distract him from the pain. Naturally, it didn’t. We all ended up going to the ER together and waiting for hours, just for the doctors to tell us that his fingers weren’t broken and that he’d be fine.

Visiting Gran in Ohio

We were all so unprepared for the bitterness of Ohio in mid-February, but our hearts were warmed by the time we got to spend with Gran and with our family in the Midwest.

To be able to see her face, hear her classic laugh, and enjoy her characteristic expressions of disdain — it lifted the spirits.

Photos galore!

Sadie comforts Guion during his morning headache. #ohio #familytrip
Sadie, my aunt and uncle’s “corgeranian,” comforts Guion.
#olympics watching. #familytrip #ohio
Watching the Olympics.
Birthday child. #familytrip
Grace turns 22!
Fuzzy bullet. Sadie! #familytrip #corgeranian
Fuzzy bullet.
Cousins! #familytrip #ohio
Cousin Sheridan and Kels.
Work tuff. #father #familytrip
Jak.
Ohio. #familytrip
Ohio. The unmarred snow.
Gran and the girl cousins! Love her. #familytrip
Girl cousins with Gran!
Young bros. #familytrip #ohio
The young bros.
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The family dog lovers.

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Reading birthday cards.
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Brothers don’t shake hands; brothers hug!
Snowy road trip fun. #ohio #familytrip
Long drive home through a snowstorm.
Guess who loves her Aunt Kelsey now? #thisdog #homesweethome
When we got home, we discovered that Pyrrha is kind of weirdly obsessed with Kelsey.

Remember when Thanksgiving happened?

Just getting around to uploading these photos now, because, you know, moving.

We are a provocative and weird family.

Thanksgiving in Davidson

Thanksgiving in Davidson

Thanksgiving in Davidson
Whose idea was this? Why are we all on my parents’ bed? What demigod are Grace and Sam worshipping?

Thanksgiving in Davidson

Thanksgiving in Davidson

Thanksgiving in Davidson
Awkward Family Photos to the MAX!
Everyone stands around while Guion demonstrates the technicalities of the sorority squat.
Everyone stands around while Guion demonstrates the technicalities of the sorority squat.
Thanksgiving in Davidson
At least someone had a great manicure.

(Many thanks to beautiful Cousin Emily for many of these spectacular photos.)

Pyrrha wanted no part of any of it and was instead content to patrol my parents’ neighborhood from their bay of windows.

Thanksgiving in Davidson

We did have a lovely meal. It was so good to be with everyone. I really like these people that I happen to be related to.

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Around this time, years ago

263/366

20 September 2008: Prehistoric Nettles! Guion performs for one of the first times in Chapel Hill, in the basement of the Student Union.

27/365

20 September 2009: A rare moment of quiet in the kitchen at McCauley Street, the house I lived in during my senior year at UNC. I don’t think this kitchen ever looked this clean again.

The group

18 September 2010: Hiking Crabtree Falls with our new friends, Sam, Sean, and Julie. Sam’s apple rolled down a rock face right before this photo was taken, but he decided to eat it anyway.

Balboa Towers

24 September 2011: Jonathan and I visit Catherine and Ava in Virginia Beach. Here we are looking out from Balboa Towers.

Lounging around the house
17 September 2012: Pyrrha, lazing around the house. Kind of feeling like I might do a third 365 Project (first done in 2008, second done from 2009-2010), maybe starting in January 2013? I miss being able to look back through the years and remember every single day. I am reminded that I have the most boring, well-documented life. But it makes me happy and I think my memory gets an artificial jolt from all of those photos.

Boy time

Before dinner calm
Pre-dinner calm.

We went to Davidson this weekend, for Chris and Lauren’s wedding. It was one of those rare weekends back home in which most of the time was spent with BOYS. (With Kelsey and Grace gone, there is little incentive to fill up the harem.)

Boys, boys, boys:

Lil Bro Peep is all grown up
Sam, all grown up.
Pyrrha and Jak
Jak and Pyrrha.
Husband!
Husband.
Caleb!
Caleb.
Mom and her daddy
Da-Dan and his youngest daughter.

Gotta love boys. Patrick also showed up, but he is not featured here, as I was in the throes of post-wedding food poisoning when he arrived. So happy to get to see him, too.

Food poisoning aside, we had a lovely, calm weekend. Pyrrha acted like she owned the place. She’s become very comfortable with Davidson living and I daresay she was rather disappointed to come back to our shack after three days at the family estate. Dublin has become her constant companion and has been showing her the Ways of the Normal Dog.

You may have noticed an improvement in photo quality (although not necessarily photo skill). This is because I picked up my new camera, Louis, which I bought from Grace. I feel very honored to have him in my care. I am sure I won’t use him half as well as his first owner, but I am going to do my best to learn everything I can. There is so much to learn! It is a formidable piece of equipment.

How nice to be away, how nice to be home.

The Midwest and our second anniversary

We spent the Memorial Day weekend trekking to the great Midwest for my grandfather’s memorial service. While the circumstances were sad, we had a wonderful time with Dad’s side of the family, remembering Papa John.

Rest in peace, Papa John.

On our last day in Indianapolis, we stood around his new headstone and talked about what we remembered. Remember that time he landed a helicopter in a tiny patch of grass in front of a Hilton, or in Aunt Shelly and Uncle Sean’s backyard, to the amazement of all the neighbors? Remember how he used to evaluate a car, running his hands along the sides, as if it were a racehorse? Remember how calm he was, how he never yelled at us?

Guion, excluded.

The weekend was blazing hot, but we managed to distract ourselves with multiple games of deck tennis and lots of unhealthy food.

Wrangling the family.

We don’t get to see this side of the family very much, so this was a cherished weekend. How nice it was to be reminded of where you came from, the qualities and predispositions that you bear, silently and mysteriously inherited.

The Farson siblings with their mother.

We came home the morning before our second anniversary. To celebrate, we went to Ten for dinner. I’ve been waiting for two years now to go to Ten, and it did not disappoint (even though it made me miss Japan and my host mom’s cooking more than ever). We sat across from each other and smiled, marveling at how quickly time has passed. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were dragging luggage into a hotel, still decked out in our wedding garb?

This sushi is not messing around. Anniversary dinner at Ten.

And now we are happy to be back to our new home, reunited with Pyrrha and our sprawling garden and out-of-control lawn. I am looking forward to doing nothing in particular all summer.

Moving and things

Our new, lush backyard.

This won’t count as an official update, but we are in the thick of moving craziness right now. We are realizing, however, how totally blessed we are to have found this little house, our mini-homestead. Meanwhile, everything continues to happen at a dizzying, thrilling pace: Chris and Sallie got engaged last night; my little brother graduates from high school this weekend; Mike and Windy are coming in on Friday to help us with the final moving things; and our home visit with Southeast German Shepherd Rescue is tonight! All of these moments that I have been waiting for, happening all at once…