Monday, June 27, 2011

The Year of Paper

Sunday officially made one year of being married peoples for me and Seb. It seriously feels like it couldn't possibly have been a whole year. And yet, at the same time, I find myself thinking, "Just a year? For reals?" I mean, it's still weird for me to remember that this time last year, I looked like this:

My, how things change. Not only am I married, but I'm a Master of Arts, and a Momma-to-be. You sure can do a lot in one year.

But, in celebration of our one year anniversary, we decided to keep it simple. A trip somewhere at least one of us hadn't been and a nice dinner out. After much deliberation, the decided trip destination became Blenheim Palace up in Oxfordshire. This gianormous palace and grounds have - for a couple hundred years - been the family home of the Churchills.You know; like "we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds...we shall never surrender." Those Churchills.

Despite the pictures, it actually was a nice day. Really warm by the end and pretty sunny, too. Which is nice, because the past few weeks have been filled with torrential rain at some point pretty much every day. Did you know England had a monsoon season? Because I didn't.

Anyway: on to the day's highlights...

The world's stupidest pheasant. This thing came up while we picnicked by the lake and kept begging for food. It would have hopped in my purse and come home with me if I'd actually fed it some barbecue chips! (How does "big enough to smuggle a pheasant" sound as a measurement of purse size? No; I didn't think it would catch on either.)

Yay! (More baby bump photos to come. I promise.) A few shots of us outside of the palace itself. This is when the day was still pretending to be evil-tempered as if it wanted to rain again. Luckily, for once, the weather did just what the forecast said it would. How cooperative. We would have dressed nicer, since we were going out for dinner and all, but since the day involved lots of walking in the humid June air, we decided that jeans and nice-ish tops were a much safer route to go.

Heading into the palace. Like the rebels we are, we decided to sneak away before the start of the guided tour (everyone else was doing it!) and go through the house on our own. Good thing we did, too! One tour we passed was being given by a guy I swear was the Crypt Keeper! After just 30 seconds of listening in, we were surprised that some of the little old people hadn't keeled over yet. I bet you didn't think you needed a stiff constitution to withstand a guided tour in a historic house. Well, you do. There is a severe risk, at the hands of the wrong tour guide, of being bored to death. Literally. 

in the gazebo using the panorama setting on our snazzy camera

Some of the really pretty gardens and the world's second largest hedge maze. They tell you that the maze takes about 25 minutes to solve. That's a lie. If you're slow and pregnant (rather than a hyperactive 7-year-old who pushes past adults in your way) it takes 25 minutes to walk...if you married a super smart mechanical engineer who solves the maze before you go in (and only takes 2 wrong turns).

Baby bump with an added bonus: check out the dude in the back! We passed this couple in the house when we were sneaking past some of the more stultifying tour guides. If we weren't in Europe, I'd wonder who this guy thought he was fooling. As it was, I'm not going to judge whatever your sexual orientation is, but at least give your girlfriend her clothes back! And under no circumstances whatsoever is the European variant of the Texas Tuxedo look okay. (Or any variant, for that matter.) I mean, the squared-jawed stubbly man with the lovely necklace and red toenail polish wasn't fooling anybody either, but at least his outfit wasn't a crime against fashion. And he even had on sensible shoes!

(Also, what's with this trend? Both of the last times we've had a nice trip out together we happen to run across at least one really unconvincing transvestite. Why is that?)

So, oddly-dressed men aside, we had a really good day. The weather held up, we got to enjoy not only Blenheim, but a lovely Italian dinner in Oxford, and a gorgeous drive through the Oxfordshire countryside. As anniversaries go, I think this one has set a good precedent. It was a lovely end to what has been an awesome first year of marriage, and a good start to the second year. And that second year promises to be pretty darn interesting itself, seeing as how we're working on that whole pretending-we're-gown-up-enough-to-be-parents thing. So cheers to the first of many years with my fantabulous husband!

PS: I've decided to add more footage of the world's stupidest (or best-trained?) pheasant. More accurately, Seb baiting the pheasant while I tell him off.

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