S: England 2009
FC: England 2009 Vol. 1
1: I started my packing approximately 4 hrs. before Kristel came to get me. The first step was just making sure I had everything. I did put it all in my bag eventually. | September 22
2: So, I spent several more hours in Helena than I was anticipating. Kristel was going to bring me to the airport from the Salussos'. The alarm clock didn't go off. We left about half an hour late. We got pulled over 9 miles out of Helena. We took a wrong exit and a couple wrong turns. And we arrived at the airport in time to watch my plane take off...without me. | September 23
3: The lady at the ticket counter was kind enough to find me | another flight and give me some food vouchers for breakfast
4: The first familiar thing I saw when I got off the plane in Minneapolis was Caleb with his Monster hat. They had found me. We had about a half hour before our flight. So we distributed granola bars and Snickers. I had to go get my passport checked out. It only took 3 ladies to figure out my name.
5: I was in the very center of the plane. On this screen it says we're flying at an altitude of 33,022 ft, a speed of 583mph, and the outside temperature is -54* F. It was a very long flight. I managed to spill the little 3 oz. container of water we got with dinner. Other than that, it was pretty boring. | September 24
6: We made it to England! Then we had to make it through customs. The first item on the agenda after customs was a potty stop. Some members of our party had not taken advantage of the
7: facilities on the plane. This made the customs line seem much longer. Our greeting party had not arrived yet so we created a little island of luggage in the middle of | the airport. When Caia & Seth arrived I was left alone on luggage island. But I was left with a camera so it was all good. Of course everyone was very happy to see each other.
8: The trip from London to Lakenheath took about an hour and a half. That was an hour and a half of driving on English roads. Therefore it was an interesting trip. After the hours and hours of being indoors breathing sterile air, movement and fresh air were wonderful!
9: The little ones also enjoyed the freedom from their car seats. Titus displayed this joy by running me over with the toy lawnmower and chasing me with the plastic handsaws. He also named me Bear.
10: Chloe or Sister-Bug- said fast it sounds like scissor bug- thinking about taking food from Grandma. She wasn't too sure about all the people at her house.
11: Uncle Matt and Titus were busy playing cars in the playhouse. It was a very spacious playhouse.
12: The Wii was a great hit. It was funny to watch people play. The Wii fit was the funniest. | Here Grandad Steve is learning the art of Wii boxing.
13: Some pictures of food related events. A time of great joy for several reasons.
14: Kristel & Caia were exhausted after the work of the morning. Sara & Seth have a bonding moment in the kitchen. | September 25 | The hours spent agonizing over how to feed everyone! Each female was assigned 2 days of meals. And each female was in charge of getting the groceries she would need when we went to the commissary. We had a guessing game of how much the grocery bill would be. I was the closest with a guess of $400.
15: Kristel, caught on camera trying to take a picture of the grocery pile. Munchpot and Matt Man sporting the oh-so-stylish hats from Afghanistan that Seth gave them.
16: I definitely could have stolen the hat.
18: Crazy hats, crazy outfits... | what more could you want at a market? | September 26
19: We spent about an hour wandering through the market at Bury St. Edmunds. | Caia was obviously quite happy to pose for the camera.
20: A lot of the stands at the market were flowers or food. The part that was the most fun was just listening to the accents strolling by. | A family portrait in two parts
21: Some heather for sale at the market. Kristel and I comforted ourselves about not being able to go to Scotland with the thought that we at least saw some heather. Caia bought some flowers at the market and I got to arrange them. Aren't they pretty?
22: Seth took us to the flight line where he works. We got to go in 2 different hangers and see the planes they were working on. | We even got to climb into the cockpit of an F-15 fighter plane! Matthew was drooling over all the buttons and mechanical stuff. We also got to ride in the official use van.
23: This house, plus the garage, was the abode of 11 people for almost 2 weeks. And when Taylor came there were 12 of us! Titus had to announce our homecoming.
24: This was a cute little car in the parking lot by the flight line. Sara & Kristel can use this as part of their professional portfolio if they decide to take up modeling. | Sara spoiled us all with super delicious and slightly fancy food. Here is the process of making something similar to baklava.
25: Matthew better watch out because that little guy is pretty cute and he was giving me an awful lot of kisses.. | September 27
26: On Monday we went gokarting. I was a bit nervous about the venture but it was a lot fun. Seth got the first place trophy and Matthew got second. I was 10th out of 11. | September 28
27: This was official dress. Quite snazzy, no?
28: Titus was getting into the gokart mood- even before he had pants on! Tante Sara was nice enough to help him out.
29: A bunch of Salusso boys together is a scary thing. They all go crazy- wrestling and tickling and crazy ideas on the Wii. Titus looks like he'll fit in just fine.
30: Some views as we were driving from somewhere to a different somewhere.
31: Staying on a military base meant security checkpoints every time we came back on base. | This wasn't really a problem- until your security pass was in the other car and the other car was an hour behind. Thankfully that wasn't me.
32: The remainder of this day was a time of nothingness. We did plan out a round country trip but that wasn't until after drinks. | Sister had the craziest hair! Her little spout was a permanent fixture even without the hair tie.
33: As horrible as this looks, it's only an engineering student trying to fix his nephew's remote control truck with his homemade soldering tool.
34: U | Titus apparently does not share his mother's views on drinking. And Tia Kristel looks like maybe she's had too much already. It was somewhat strange to be in a country where I was of legal drinking age. I tried some wine, beer, and hard cider. But the best beverage was crum or grum (cranberry or grape juice with rum).
35: September 29 | We set off on our cross country tour. Not terribly early- only about 3 hours later than planned. But we had our little two car caravan going so it was OK. We stopped somewhere along the way for food and a potty break.
39: This is the view across the road from Stonehenge. The English countryside reminded me a lot of Michigan.
42: Stonehenge- a marvel of ancient engineering; it was not as impressive as I was expecting. Oh, it was big and when you think about it it's amazing but it just didn't have the wow factor I thought it would.
43: Of course we had to have a picture with The Cheat. Don't ask me; I don't know. There we are at Stonehenge. Ta-da!
44: I did not know this was one of the main features but you can also find disabled toilets at Stonehenge. I don't think that's something I would be advertising.
45: English roads are insane!! This particular road was on the way to Glastonbury and it had signs, "Yield to oncoming traffic." Right, if you could see the oncoming traffic and had room to move more to the side.
46: Glastonbury Abbey: place of legend and a place that was on the top of my sightseeing list for this trip. Here are the Tor and the entry garden.
49: I'm not very good at self portraits with the camera but I was very excited to be here. I probably had the same look Matthew did when he was in the cockpit of the F-15.
53: Glastonbury Abbey is supposedly one of the earliest sites of Christian worship in all of Britain. Some legends say that Christ came here, while others claim it was founded by Joseph of Arimathea.
54: Regardless it has been a place of Christian worship for many centuries. Today it is this unexpected slip of green and peace in the middle of a regular town. As I wandered the lawns and ancient buildings I wondered if I would do anything in my life that would endure as long as those buildings?
55: Here is the legendary burial place of King Arthur and his queen Guinevere.
56: If I ever have the opportunity, I want to come back here.
59: What did I tell you about those Salusso boys? Look, 2 big brothers tickling poor defenseless little Caleb. That was just the beginning of the fun. The next morning the same brothers show another side by doing something interesting with Titus' fingers. | September 30
60: RAF Fairford was our place of abode last night. This was the morning view of Stirling House and the trees across the parking lot.
61: Monmouth, Wales
62: We drove to Monmouth, Wales just so we could say we went to Wales. We can also say we bought parking tickets in Wales.
64: This was where we ate lunch. It was quite delicious. I had a Brie, Pear, and Walnut sandwich. Someone had a something leek pie. That was very good!
65: Apparently Welsh sidewalks are like English roads- somewhat on the narrow side.
66: The Monmouth Museum was mostly about Lord Horatio Nelson, the admiral who defeated Napoleon at the sea battle of Trafalgar.
67: The Monnow River
68: And the Monnow Bridge, the oldest remaining bridge of its type in the United Kingdom.
71: Oh, this trip was crazy because I was with some very crazy people.
72: Monmouth was our last stop on our round country trip. We headed back to Lakenheath. Along the way the two vehicles got separated. I was with the van. we had a gPS unit so the separation was not too bad- until we got to Cambridge and the motorway was closed and all the detour signs pointed in the opposite direction of where we wanted to go. That took about 45 minutes to figure out. The car arrived about an hour before us. The good thing was they had the cook of the day so dinner was basically ready when we arrived.
73: October 1 | Oh, the adventure you can have. Like helping make biscuits & gravy. Without any flour in the house. And without enough Bisquix. For those times when you need an emergency substitute, crushed Cheerios are OKish. | That was how this day began. In the afternoon Caia, Kristel, Mama Joan and I went to a town called Thetford to walk and shop.
74: There were a lot of birds- geese, ducks, and swan.
77: Thetford was a beautiful little town | Kristel is the next Thomas Paine.
79: This evening was like most of the others. Randomness, laughter, teasing, crum, games, happiness.
80: So, while we were in England Kristel taught Caleb the art of making Maple Twists. This is a skill that requires an apron. | Caleb was definitely styling in his pink striped cow print apron. Those twists just wouldn't have tasted as good if he had ditched the apron.
81: Look at that skill! (And laughter!)
82: In between drumming, crum making, and teaching Caleb the art of Maple Twists, Kristel had time to trim Matthew hair. Hopefully she wasn't too stressed out from those other things?
83: Well, this is not the end of my journey but it is the end of this book. Apparently there is a size constraint. The second volume will contain my trip to London, a castle, the shore, and the trip home.