Out of Isolation!

Under the UK’s travel requirements, Jessica and I were to remain in isolation for ten days after our arrival. We had to schedule two COVID tests (one for day 2 and one for day 8) to take to make sure we would not develop COVID after traveling (and if we did they could track who we had been in contact with). In addition to the previous tests, there was an optional test that could be scheduled for day 5. If that test came back negative, our quarantine could end early.

(It is worth mentioning that if you did not keep the quarantine, you could be fined up to £10,000. And we were visited twice to make sure we were maintaining our isolation. We were not to drive anywhere, walk anywhere, or leave the our accommodations in the absence of an emergency.)

Finally, last Monday, our day 5 tests came back negative. After all that waiting, we had lots to explore. We took pictures of most of it, so this is going to be a long one.

First we took a walk. Up the canal about a mile from our new home is a series of locks. We walked up there and watched the boats descending down the the two locks (called Bratch Locks). Then, we braved the streets in our new car to run a number of errands. From Ikea to Sainsbury’s to the UK’s version of Home Depot, we have been driving around much of the surrounding area as we continue to settle in.

The first lock on our way up the canal. This cottage appears to be lived in, but when the boats come through, no one comes out to operate the locks. The boaters have these special socket wrenches to operate the locks on their own.
The Bratch Locks (looking north)
A boat descending the Bratch Locks (looking south)

This is the second lock at Bratch. There is a first up by the short tower.

Furthermore, after we arrived, we found out our pallet is delayed. While we sent it the beginning of June, we just received notification that it will be put on a ship across the Atlantic at the end of July. From there, it will make its one month voyage to an English port. After it docks, it will pass through customs (which may take up to ten days). Then it will have to travel from port to Lynbrook (our home). It may be the beginning of September before we have all the things we sent to ourselves.

The first week out

After our first day, here are a few highlights of the remainder of last week.

  • We got to tour the school!
The front door of the school.
  • We took a nice walk past the Bratch Locks and further into the country.
If you know me, you know how exciting this picture is.
  • We purchased some more plants for our yard (the grass is growing well but we will also probably need to seed it again).
  • The King Alfred School had its “settling in session” for the new families and students. We got to meet all the students who will be joining us this year. A number of their parents were able to join us as well, and I got to host a short seminar on Shelley’s Ozymandias to give them a taste of classical education. Meanwhile, Jessica did a demo lesson for the kids on The Quiltmaker’s Gift.
  • On Saturday, Hayley drove Jessica and I up to the Shropshire Hills AONB. Tom and Henry camped there the night before, and we visited their campsite and then spent most of the day with the Bowens. We drove into a nearby town called Church Stretton and then walked a short walk up into the Shropshire Hills.
Tom, Jessica, and Hayley (holding their daughter Rose) at their campsite.
Right before we turned around on our walk through the Shropshire Hills.
We walked up here to swim, but it was too packed. The weather has been very warm recently, so everyone seemed to have the same idea. Note the boys on the left trying to get up the courage to jump off the tower that was fenced off and had several “stay off” signs.
On our way back.
The walk back to the car.
  • On Sunday, we attended church at St. Benedict’s in the village, and then spent the afternoon and evening at Himley Hall.

St. Benedict’s Biscop

(Probably not our new church home)

Ice Cream outside the Hall. It was closed by the time we got there, but the 100+ acre estate was open to explore.
Himley Hall
The grounds behind the estate.
The far side of the large lake in front of the Hall.
Jessica eyeing her new domain.

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