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Departing from the text

Many years ago, when our kids were little, they had an aunt (Ok, they still have that aunt, but they are no longer little) who loved to send them Berkeley Breathed Bloom County children's books. I will never forget a repetitive phrase used in one of them: “depart from the text.” In the book – I believe it's Goodnight Opus – Grandma falls asleep reading to little Opus, who then imagines a very different story than the one he was previously hearing – he “departs from the text.”

Travel can sometimes be like that. You think one thing will happen, but another does. You are prepared for something, then something else happens. You have a schedule and things happen that throw that plan out the window.

So far, such is our trip to England this August.

Since this is the first day, there's plenty of time to redeem our vacation, and, truthfully, it likely will shortly come back into focus the way it “should” be. But there really is some value and fun in “departing from the text,” at least for a short while.

Pete got bit of set back by eating something that did not agree with him, and I had a bit of an issue with my foot. By the time we hit 10,000 steps, I was limping. We came back to our hotel – fortunately the lovely people here had prioritized our room so we got into it about two hours early – and were down for the count. Pete took a long nap and I wrote blogs!

I had planned to go to the British Library (we did) to see the Shakespeare First Folio, the Magna Carta, the Beatles handwritten songs, and so on (such a fascinating place for a bibliophile like myself). Then I planned to hit the British Museum again. I never tire of the wonderful exhibits they have – even though I know it's true that many of them should by rights be displayed in the countries from which they came. Nevertheless, seeing the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon in Athens, the Rosetta Stone and the lovely mummies all in one place is a great treat.

We didn't make it.

I intended to walk in Regent's Park, which is about four blocks from where we're staying. I wanted at least to get a taste of this large green space in the middle of London.

We didn't make it.

I thought we might take tea somewhere on our first day here. Later on we'll have tea in a few spectacular spots, but for today, I would have been happy with a cuppa and scone in a local


We didn't make it.

We did, however, have some amazing yogurt from the local Marks and Spencer. Extremely fruity black cherry. Yum.

And a great cappuccino from Costa Coffee.

And got to see the Royal College of Surgeons here, as well as the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and the University College of London. And the beautiful St. Pancras station.

And I bought some licorice allsorts.

I LOVE allsorts. Especially the ones in Europe.

So the moral of this story is – sometimes you depart from the text when you're traveling. Nearly every time that happens, though you may not do/see/eat what you thought, there's always something good coming around the corner that is unexpected and fun.

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