SMUGGLING PEANUTS

Today we leave on our big adventure. The whole family gets to go to Europe for three months. England, Wales, Scotland, France and maybe Spain as well. We’ll cover several thousand miles in trains and automobiles, stay with friends in many places, and eat a wonderful variety of food. And we’ll also do a lot of work, visiting with colleagues, encouraging, praying and sharing with them!

We traveled for seven weeks in 2009 when Sarah Grace was just learning to walk. This time it should be easier, with greater mobility and everyone able to help with the bags and the chores. We’ve done well with the luggage, restricting ourselves to just five bags to check. That includes quite a lot of undesired or unexpected items. The former includes the mandatory booster seat we need for Sarah, packed away in the bottom of one of the cases with socks stuffed into all the crevices. Daniel needs one on the other side of the pond as well, even though he was glad to say goodbye to his in Richmond last birthday. Fortunately my sister has borrowed one for us.

The latter category includes the wedding clothes we all need for the wedding of Tim Miller to Clare Carter. Tim is the kids’ oldest cousin and the wedding takes place in a fourteenth century tithe barn inBerkshire. All the clothes are packed in the same case, so if that one does not arrive, we’ll either be wishing we had insurance or turning up at the celebration looking like a bunch of … well… unkempt American relatives!

No one likes all the bag searches and security checks at airports, even thought we appreciate them as a necessary inconvenience. I am sure that those with the job of checking the bags and leaving that tell-tale little TSA card in your suitcase, are used to the surprises. But a question does arise on this occasion. “Is it okay to smuggle peanuts across the Atlantic?”

We like to take hospitality gifts to people, and Virginia peanuts travel exceptionally well. One pound vacuum packed bags stack well, and fit neatly between layers of clothes, but is there an upper limit on the number we can take? After all we have at least sixteen packs and then there are the little jars of Virginia honey and bottles of special barbecue sauce. Of course the latter are wrapped multiple times in plastic, because we wouldn’t want them to spoil the peanuts. I guess we wouldn’t want them to stain the wedding clothes either!

Ah well …. I better go pack the bags into the van!  More of our travels to follow ….

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