I talk about my sister, Rosa, a lot; my usual joke is that telling the stories of what she gets up to halfway around the world makes me seem way cooler. But for a couple of weeks in the middle of summer, I finally got to share a bit of her life in Berkeley, California, and come away with some fun stories of my own. We spent days wandering the hills of San Francisco; crossed the Bay to check out Marin County; made our way to Land’s End to paddle in the Pacific; spent a day in Davis where Rosa first lived in CA; and even navigated to Muir Woods via public transport.

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I’m thinking a lot about boats at the moment. For my 19th century American Literature module next term I have to read Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, and although I’m a little daunted I’m looking forward to the journey it promises when I finally pick it up. But, I wondered, perhaps the sea and I should just get a little more acquainted first. “If it’s nice tomorrow, shall we go to the coast?” I asked on Saturday evening. So the next day, a lazy Sunday morning behind us, we take the car north to Blakeney.

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G headed up to York to visit me on the weekend before Halloween. Having the car allows us to explore more of the Yorkshire countryside, so we decided to spend our weekend out and about rather than in town. After a bit of research, we decided to spend the Saturday at Beningbrough Hall, a National Trust property about ten miles out of the city.

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