|Gloucester Cathedral - familiar to Harry Potter fans?|
|Mother Shipton's Hanging Well|
famous since the Middle Ages, this magic dripping well turns things to stone. For real.
My viva was on the final day of our trip, so everything was sort of leading up to that pivotal moment. I wondered if that would turn out to be a bad plan, and that I'd just simmer in nervousness the whole time. But it was good. I felt serene. Probably because we were wandering around places like this:
|Chatsworth House Garden (it's the house in Pride and Prejudice and The Duchess)|
One of the places on our list was Whitby Abbey, a ruined abbey perched dramatically on cliffs overlooking the sea. It's quite far up north, but we made the pilgrimage, and oh man am I glad we did. Because as fate would have it, there was a peculiar convention going on that very day.
|Whitby from the cemetery near the abbey|
|um.....what's...happening? more and more people arrive|
My favorite part was that people in elaborate outfits would just set up shop somewhere and start posing... for nobody. It was fantastic. But then photographers would somehow materialize out of nowhere and snap photo after photo as the crowd grew and grew. I wish I'd joined in the fray and taken more pictures. But I was too busy continuously retrieving my jaw from the ground and staring all around me in awe.
Here's a typical scene:
I also love that the above photo has an orb in the left corner. Because during this amazing event, I overheard one awesomely costumed couple passionately discussing the capturing of ghost orbs on camera. yesssss.
I have no words.
But, I would like to take this opportunity to say that on this particular day I happened to wear almost all white/khaki. So that was great.
I am kicking myself that I didn't get more, better pictures. But you can use your imagination. When we left, the event was still going strong, and it was hard to tear ourselves away. The whole church yard was crawling with incredibly costumed Goths of all ages, from kids to seniors. I'll be forever delighted to have witnessed it.
|tearing ourselves away, as the crowds of Goths kept streaming in|
The next morning was my viva. To ensure I didn't get too comfortable on the way there, we were this close to being in a car accident, and then barely escaped running over a big old bird. So my heart was pumping. Marc was snapping photos as we approached the very moment. Here's one from the elevator up to the meeting room, where I was making sure my fly wasn't open and my shirt wasn't tucked into my underwear -- and that I had, indeed, remembered to wear pants.
|I think he captured my "nervited" state|
And afterwards, one more walk on our beloved footpaths around the castle. With some celebratory leaping here and there...
Bidding farewell to our dear Kenilworth was sad and surreal, and complicated by the fact that we felt like we'd never left, and that America didn't really exist.
A sign at the airport on our way home seemed to capture something about the past four years. It was a rich and wonderful time for us, being stretched in so many new directions.
A chapter has closed, a new one has somehow already begun, and my stunned disbelief persists.