Daddy and I approached Christmas each year with cheerfulness and a bit of sorrow, mainly because my mother had died near Christmas when I was quite young. So each year Daddy tries to make the holiday season one of fun, adventure, and memories for both of us. I remember the year right before we moved to Maryland and I met Greg as an especially exciting Christmas season. We lived in Texas, but Daddy had business meetings in England that would take him away from home for the last part of the year. So I got to go along. We flew to London in early November and stayed in a rented furnished flat—that’s what Londoners call an apartment—right on the Thames. As the British would say, our view was lovely! From our window, we could just get a glimpse of the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the London Eye. In case you don’t know, the London Eye is a huge Ferris wheel in the Jubilee Gardens. Daddy and I took a ride in it not long after we arrived in London. You sit in these egg-shaped capsules that hold about twenty-five people each. They’re air conditioned, and have interactive screens that tell you all about the sites you see at each level. The Eye is amazing! Really, I mean really, throughout the 30-minute ride, I could not believe the views, and I learned a lot about London and its history.
Anyway, back to my story. Daddy and I settled in. I had my school work to do during the mornings; I’m homeschooled. Three afternoons a week and each weekend, we toured the sights of London, and even took a few overnight trips to places like Stonehenge and Oakley Court. But Daddy made our Christmas trip the best of all. He kept the whole thing a surprise until right before the big day. I, of course, had noticed the packages arriving at our flat, but I figured Daddy was just using the Internet to order all my Christmas gifts. As the days passed, I began to wonder about all those boxes as he slipped each one into his bedroom. But he didn’t wrap anything and put it under our very small Christmas tree.
Then, five days before Christmas, Daddy told me to pack a bag for a one-week trip.
“Great! Where are we off to?” I asked.
“Never you mind about that, but it might be windy and cold at times, so pack warm clothing and hiking boots,” he answered before returning to his work project.
That evening he wouldn’t even give me one clue! Instead, he handed me a map with a route highlighted. The route would take us west to the town of Glastonbury, about a 2.5-hour drive.
The next morning, I dressed warmly, and found Daddy waiting for me at the door. For breakfast, we had hot tea in a thermos and warm scones with clotted cream wrapped in waxed paper as we headed west across Britain. Since we had arrived in jolly ol’ England, we had taken up our old habits of enjoying British hot tea with everything. I remembered scones and clotted cream or lemon curd from our first stay in England. We even had fish and chips or bubble and squeak at least once a week. If you don’t know what that is, just Google it! By the way, chips are French fries, not potato chips.
“I see the highlighted route on our map, but is Glastonbury our final destination?” I asked.
“No, but before we get to that stop, what have you learned about Glastonbury?”
“How did you know I’d been reading about King Arthur? Did you leave those books on the coffee table for me? I thought the flat’s owner had been reading them,” I exclaimed.
“Sneaky me,” Daddy laughed, “now answer my question.”
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