Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I've been conducting a scientific study (sample size = 1), and it turns out that no matter how much you ignore it, your blog will not blog itself.

You, however, will generate a lot of content. Kevin and I went to the UK--the first time I've been there, outside of a layover at Heathrow (which predisposed me to like the entire country--there was air conditioning, potable tap water, and chocolate. What more does a country need?).

Kevin had a meeting at the University of Hull, so we flew to London, spent about 2 days there, then went to Hull for 3.5 days, then went to West Yorkshire (or possibly just western Yorkshire... given what a time we had navigating I don't want to make any firm statements about what might or might not be West Yorkshire) for 2 days, then drove up to Glasgow to fly home.

We did squeeze a lot in though. In London, we went on a running tour along the Thames (alarmingly, I nearly just typed Seine), ending up in time to watch the start of the Bupa 10K race, which is the UK championship at that distance.

We also marveled at the view from our hotel window:

(It turned out that with some roads closed for the race, buses were diverted past our hotel.)

I managed not to take any pictures in Hull, but I visited some interesting museums while we were there (even though people kept saying "oh... Hull..." in much the same tone they say "oh... New Haven..."). Hull was a big center for fishing, so there was a retired trawler with tours by former fishermen (who told the story about identifying bodies that washed ashore based on the cable design in their sweaters). And there was an endearing city museum with a cool display of historic sketches of the city paired with new photos taken from the same spot. Since I work in a museum-adjacent field, and spend a fair amount of time working with staff and volunteers of local history collections, I'm easily amused by slightly threadbare local museums (sadly, this does not extend to art museums, because I'm an uncultured barbarian). Plus they were free.

I took a bus out into the countryside one day to visit Burton Constable Hall, an country estate that's now partially open to the public (the family still live in one wing).

The name Burton Constable had seemed vaguely familiar, and when I got there the guidebook reminded me why: there used to be a whale skeleton there which Herman Melville visited when he was researching Moby Dick. I was briefly excited to see the skeleton, but it's been moved. Indoors, I hope, as it was outside when Melville saw it.

Then we had a series of mishaps--beginning with needing to buy a GPS/sat nav because the rental car we'd reserved turned out not to have one, including a visit to the right street address in the wrong city in a failed attempt to visit a yarn and fiber store, and ending with managing to find our guesthouse, despite not being 100% sure what town it was in... but we knew it was near a school!--which took us to Grassington (or possibly Threshfield) for the Wharfedale Half Marathon. (The important thing to see there is the elevation map, especially that gentle uphill slope between miles 5 and 7. And remember how much I hate hills.)

I lived through the race and I bought some celebratory yarn (from unusual breeds of local sheep!), we had some dinner, then drove further north in the direction of Glasgow.

On the last morning, we stopped at Hadrian's Wall for an embarrassingly short time, and made it to the Glasgow Airport (with only one unplanned visit to the wrong airport, Glasgow-Prestwick International Airport... handy tip, if you're trying to figure out which airport to go to with no information: if the airport says "International" right in the name, do not overlook the possibility that the airport PR people are trying to make it sound more impressive than it is).

We flew on Iceland Air, and stopped in Reykjavik (ok, Keflavik) in both directions. On the way back I realized why getting married in Iceland was such a great idea:

Knitting magazines in the airport.

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