You can rely on two things in England: delayed trains and punctual weather. Both come to a head in the summer as the heat creeps toward 30 (mid-80s for you colonials) and the industrial actions (strikes for you colonials) commence every fortnight. You can rely on a third thing here in the summer, though it’s not English–my American pals trolling me on July 4. Nothing like having your phone blow up in the middle of a meeting with a dozen memes about the king. Love you all! 

After the non-holiday, we had a family trip to The Globe Theatre and saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Globe in London does some amazing work with sets, and when Titania rolled in on a golf cart that looked like a Mardi Gras float, my jaw dropped. It was a heck of a spectacle. The Globe continues to be one of my favorite days out in the city. You may have to book a few months in advance, but it’s sooo worth it. One of my favorite outings in the city.

Titiania on Stage

July also marked The Great Packing. We packed our entire house (all 1050 square feet of it) over a couple weekends just before we flew back to the US on holiday. On the final Sunday of packing, English television was airing both the Wimbledon men’s final and the Cricket World Cup final. I had the cricket on most of the day, but for about an hour I had to abandon the packing and flip back and forth between tennis and cricket. The tennis was compelling (Federer should have won, but Father Time catches up to everyone), but the cricket was phenomenal. Now, you have to understand, I didn’t know *anything* about cricket a week before the final. I barely know much now.

Click through for cricket highlights

England were down 248 runs, and after a few outs, they didn’t have a hope of catching up. Through a sequence of events that would not have been believable in any work of fiction, they managed to get even 248-248, which took the final to a “super over.” At the end of the super over, both sides had scored 15 runs. England won on a tiebreaker because they had scored more boundaries through the match. It’s basically like getting to the end of the World Series with a tie game in the bottom of the 10th, but instead of continuing on, the team with the most home runs wins. I started the match mostly in ignorance, and now I’m looking for a T20 (aka 20 overs, aka 3 hours) match to attend sometime. Carissa can call me a traitor all she wants.

And then there was the trip to America for two weeks. 

Moment: clearing Customs in Dallas, the kids asking for Chik Fil A as their first meal in America, and DFW having a Chik Fil A 50 yards from us. 

Moment: driving a carload of teenage girls to Silver Dollar City while they played BitLife in the back seat and made some extremely dubious life decisions

Moment: Ollie (the family poodle that remained in the US) running to the girls after a year of not seeing them

Moment: The first bit of sugary-sweet General Tsos chicken on a rainy Friday night 

Moment: Sending my first-ever agent query for the completed and revised novel

Sub-moment: Receiving my first-ever agent rejection for said novel

Moment: Walking down a country road with no cars and no people in sight

Many Moments: seeing all the friends and family I hadn’t seen in a year or more

While we certainly missed seeing everyone in America, we were all ready to get back to our home in London. 

Empty Missouri road

Speaking of our home in London, we arrived back on a Friday, accepted keys to our new house that afternoon, and moved the next day. It was intense. But the new place is wonderful. It’s further from work (though paradoxically a shorter commute) and more space. We love it, especially the kitchen with an America-sized refrigerator. The granite countertops with plenty of working space are amazing. I’m thinking about homemade pizza again, which was impossible in the last house due to lack of space and unfinished wood counters. 

Our new garden, complete with escaping cat

After the move, it was right back to work for me, though I did get to spend the weekend at Worldcon. I was able to hang out with some of my classmates from Viable Paradise plus meeting a bunch of other VP alumns and Codex (writing forum) members. 

After what amounted to basically a month of travel, it’s been good to be back home and have some lazy weekends. We’re now mostly-settled into the new house. Still a few boxes that need unpacking, and we probably need another bookshelf in the living room since we don’t have the built-ins the old house had, but it feels like a home.

The weather, punctual as ever, has turned from summer to autumn as the calendar has turned from August to September. The kids are mentally preparing themselves to go back to school later this week, and we’re all looking forward to seeing Nonna and Papa in late October at mid-term break.