Having a lovely time in the UK. I am now in a place called Upper Tadmarton, which makes me laugh every time I hear it. It has been a super busy week. Flight went fine, no major delays, and Del was waiting for me at the airport. Drove straight up to Edinburgh and spent Hogmanay there, although we didn't do much since everxyone but me seemed to be suffering from a stomach bug. We went up to Calton Hill to watch the fireworks, but then everyone else had to go home and lie down, so I soldiered on alone and went out to a house party with a friend I knew from living in Edinburgh. Much drama ensued, but made it home all right in the end.
Spent a few days in the city, staying at a furnished apartment type thing (staying on Del's friends' floor was getting to be a bit much after a few nights). Saw Matthew and Jen, went to a lot of gorgeous pubs and generally had a nice time. I cooked Del's friends butter chicken using the recipe Judith put on the Badgers' Grub wiki and it went over extremely well! Then we drove down to Liverpool to visit Del's friends Pauline and Gary and their little girl, Chloe. She is nearly two and took a huge shine to me for some reason. By the end she was howling every time I left the room, which was a bit awkward! I got a big tear-stained farewell when we left.
It was snowing when we left Liverpool, but pushed on to Bangor to visit my former supervisor and my friends Ralph and Thandi. R and T are both doing their PhDs and it was great to catch up. We stayed with Ralph, who was the soul of hospitality and brought cups of tea in bed in the morning! We stopped by to see Thandi's house in the morning, which is miles away in Porthmadog, making it the first time I've ever driven 30 miles for a cup of tea! She has a lovely house with amazing views, but I really can't imagine doing that commute every day.
The tea stop meant we had to drive through Snowdonia to get to Oxford, which was insanely gorgeous but pretty tough on poor Del. All those tiny windy hairpin turn-filled B roads were pretty icy near the top of the pass, so fairly unpleasant driving. I had a great time looking at the scenery, however! Made it safe to Oxford in time to go out dancing and have an amazing night out with my friends Jo, Roxie and Aonghus, and have now collapsed in Upper Tadmarton for a much-needed rest!