Been a morning already . . . starting last night when we discovered that we had no water into the house. I can hear you, Vik, “call Maintenance!” No, what you do in this circumstance, after surveying the complex RO water complex in the shed, is find a couple of buckets, hop in the ATV and head to the pump house down by the barn where there’s a faucet. This allows for manual flushing of toilets, albeit nothing else. It was a lovely, starry night, though. There’s that.

Anyway, we were out getting coffee this early morning (yes, Starbucks was open) when Jake, Pump Guy, returned Larry’s phone call from the evening before. Seems there’s a lever that activates automatic shut-off when pressure level is too low. This sometimes happens when there’s been no water activity in the house for a week, or so . . .

Every single time, when, on returning home from a trip, our plane touches down, I breathe, and claim NEVER AGAIN! Of course, there’s always an Again, as was the case here, when we traveled to London. So, how was it?

Must admit, it was pretty wonderful. Yes, exhausting, nerve wracking, but. The first surprise was the appearance of Jan, our exchange student from back in the day. (Pronounced “yawn” but that noun in no way applies to our Jan.) He’d “hopped over” from Dusseldorf where he lives with his family, to wish Larry a happy birthday. Wow. Really sweet. He’s a lovely man, taking time for us before a quick trip to India on business.

Next morning, we made the trip to Alli’s new student apartment in West Hampstead. The place was busy with student move-in, and we could check out Alli’s new people. She had hauled a year’s living across, which now needed to be settled into her new space. On the eighth floor. And the elevator was out of order. I know. Good to be young, right?

Here’s Alli at home, and also a shot of Jan:

We spent the next days with Jenny and Alli, putting thousands of steps on our Apple watches, and then the girls left for Paris, and Jan’s parents, Ursel and Epi arrived to pick up the slack.

OMG. The Schefflers are urban folk, unlike us, simple country people, and we saw London in all its crazy, people-intense, noise, history, richness. The Germans wanted to travel everywhere by underground, but I was firm in my psycho dislike of that MO. Instead, we got tix on a Hop-on, Hop-of bus, and that was actually great fun. Included in the program was a boat trip up the Thames. I don’t have photos of this part of the trip, but will just tell you that we saw As You Like It, performed at Shakespeare’s Globe theater. Pretty memorable, especially when we needed to get an Uber for a ride home and Ursel discovered that her phone was out of juice, that Larry’s was inoperable, and there was not a single taxi to be seen for us to hail. I didn’t have an app, but somehow my own sweet phone was able to connect us to a ride and we didn’t need to walk the 6 miles back to the hotel.

All things coming to an end, we left for home on Thursday. A nine-plus hour flight and we touched down in Seattle (NEVER AGAIN I said). And looked out at a thousand-plus mass of people trying to thread through 3 or 4 Pass Control stations. BTW, did you know there’s an app for pass control? Larry made a stab at working it, got the error message, but the sympathy of the line control person was somehow engaged and we were shunted over to a station and then through and out into the evening light.

Ah. A five-hour trip down I-5 and we’re there. Except, no. Got stalled in a one-lane construction zone, which took an hour and a half to thread.

Home, fell into bed, and woke up on London time. Stumbled through the day unloading, laundry, surveying the plants which had died from lack of water in the hot spell, and found . . . little tension in the plot line here . . . that one of our remaining chickens was missing. Feathers strewn about, with Gracie wandering about sadly clucking. I’m not sure her clucking was from unhappiness, but still. So, Trouble and Sorrow aptly named.

We’ve checked the web for replacement chickens, but it was Saturday and nothing was open. We’ll have to find some replacements, maybe on Monday. Then to bed again, hoping for a full night’s sleep. Ooops. No water.

As we speak, Larry is out searching for baskets into which to load our crop of lovely apples, now dropping from the trees. We also have a crop of prunes, pears, and plums, so the next few days are mandated for me. Which is okay, because Larry and the boys of the family are off for a golf excursion at Bandon Dunes, leaving me at home in perfect quiet to process not just the fruit, but the last week of London. And travel. Honestly, really, Never Again?

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