Well, my plan worked. Mark and I got to bed early Monday night and got a few hours of sleep in before the alarm went off at 1:30 am. I hauled myself out of bed and called my mom on Skype to watch the Saints game. She turns the computer to face her TV (or should I say tele, like the Brits) and we can see the game. Mark eventually joined me. It wasn't a problem to stay awake because the game was a nail biter. At 5 am we crawled back into bed for another few hours. All that trouble was worth it to see Ronnie Lamarque sing "When the Saints Go Marching In" not once, but twice!
Our "Freedom Pass" for the bus has been fun but in a way it is actually a slavery pass. If you spend the money, you feel the need to go somewhere every day. This morning, Mark was headed to London for a meeting until it got postponed. Energized by talk of the Saints victory and the change of plans, we quickly got dressed and headed out the door. Was it a particularly nice day? No. Was it in fact a pretty nasty weather day? Yes. When we arrived in Newport and were waiting to change buses in a light rain, Sam asked, "Exactly why are we out in this weather?". That's when I coined the term "Slavery Pass" in my mind.
We were headed to the west side of the island to see The Needles. Don't ask me what they are beyond some interesting rocks and one of those "must-sees" on the island. I hadn't seen them before taking the 45 minute bus ride there and still haven't seen them. It was such a windy day, they couldn't allow people on the road to view them. In the end, it didn't matter. The blustery weather made for an interesting ride perched high atop a hill in a double-decker bus. I thought we would topple right off. The English Channel was churning with waves and it was a dramatic sight the way they pounded the steep cliffs that make up that side of the island.
Although we couldn't see the Needles, there were a few things to amuse the kids including a glass blowing studio and candy shop. I was all ready to watch the candy making and turn it into a great lesson for the kids. Oh joy! We arrived at the point in the process when he was cleaning the equipment. Oh well, we moved on to the sweets shop for a math lesson of how many candies can we shove in this bag before Dad runs out of money. It was such a fun place with bin after bin of candies of all shapes and colors- fizzy cherry cola bottles, candy straws, miniature toasted tea cakes, sugar coated toffee balls- to name a few. Glad the weather was bad. Now we have an excuse to go back.
It is such a treat to ride around the island. Just minutes out of town there are rolling hills and acres of green farmland dotted with horses, cows and sheep. Every few miles you come to another quaint village with thatched roofed cottages, tiny churches and shops. Towns with names like Brighstone, Totland and Hulverstone have a fairy tale look about them. The kids enjoy the ride and Elise ends up catching a quick nap along the way.
Guess that is all for now. It is getting late and that Saints game is catching up with me. Besides , I am enjoying Emma by Jane Austen and have committed to reading some every night because I have a very ambitious list to complete by January. After Emma, I already have a quick, fun book picked out then I want to read a novel by Charles Dickens. My mom suggested David Copperfield. After that, I am determined to tackle a Shakespeare play. I loved reading his work in high school and college and hope I am up to the task without a teacher to guide the way. Wish me luck!