So, I’m back from a one week vacation in Virginia. We stayed in a castle on a mountaintop in the Appalachians, near the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a pretty amazing experience. The place was like an English stately home–except that instead of being roped off and littered with “DO NOT SIT ON CHAIR” signs, we actually got to live there for a week.

It was the most relaxed vacation I’ve had in years. Lots of reading, gazing at the scenery, chatting with friends, and some hiking up mountain trails to break up the lazing around. People took it in turns to cook for the group, and we ate well.

While we were away, the budgerigars were looked after by friends. The birds apparently had a good time, as they didn’t seem to want to come home. The journey by car was quite hard for Chester; he’s a nervous bird, and took out his fear on Lola by pecking at her. Meanwhile, she was more interested in watching the outside world go past. They were both quite flighty when we got home, but the next day they were back to their usual selves–in fact, they were both very affectionate. It’s good to have them back, I missed them a lot.

The mountain weather was misty at first, and even when the sun came out the temperature didn’t go much above 20°C. Austin, on the other hand, hit 39.4°C in the shade this afternoon, and it’s humid too. Nice and warm, in other words.

IBM server hardware seems to have a vacation detector circuit, but people were kind enough to keep a few disasters for me to return to.