Sunday, July 26, 2009

Settling In

Not much has been happening here. I’m adjusting to a new job with the same company and we are all settling in to the new house. It’s unanimous, we love it. Last Sunday A and I left the house early to go to our favourite pick your own farm. We picked some tayberries and raspberries. I was planning to make some homemade sorbet to take to our old neighbors. It started sprinkling as we were picking and then it really started coming down. I was standing there in the freezing rain in disbelief that this was July!

As you can see I did make sorbet and I did try to take it to the old neighbours but they weren’t in. I was kind of glad because it was a little on the tangy side. H said I needed to warn them before they tried it!

We are in the process of planning our trip to Scotland next week. Can't wait!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Everyone Should Have a Knight in the Office

One of my colleagues brought in these brass rubbings from a church no longer open to the public. They are from the 14th century.

Raspberry Tart

I would like to take the credit for this but all I did was top it with raspberries that we picked last Saturday. H did the rest.

You Never Know

A came running down the stairs when we were moving in to say, "In my bathroom I have one of those mirrors on an arm!" You never know what's going to make her happy.

The New Place

The house we moved into has a finished attic that the owner used as an office. It has a ½ bath attached. It reminds me a bit of our house in St. Louise because H and I had a room in the very upstairs that was away from the rest of the house. We gave A this room thinking maybe all of her bathroom stuff would move out of our way! She loves it. When we started moving in she came down the stairs and jokingly said, “This time I’m the queen of the castle”. Was that ever in question?

At dinner Monday night A was asking us if someone was going to pick her up from school Tuesday. H played serious and said to A that no, we wouldn’t be picking her up. She got all anxious as she tends to do and said that she didn’t know how to walk to the new place from school. H just smiled and said, “Yeah, we know”. It took her a moment to get the joke.

The only difficult part of the move is that the refrigerator stopped working the day we moved in. The new fridge arrives today.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Moving House - Again

My buddy K in the U.S. moved last weekend. It’s funny that we find ourselves moving at the same time because she and I left St. Louis around the same time two years ago for greener pastures. For her, the move is significant. It’s definitely the next chapter, owning her first home and having her first child. I’ve been thinking about her as we have planned for our move, which had a different feel. H asked me why I was so annoyed with having to move. It was inevitable, we had no choice, but I was digging in my heels. I started a new job last week with the same company so this move was that extra bit of change that was about to push me over the edge. I took Monday through Wednesday off to help with the move, and I just didn’t feel like I should be taking the time at that moment either.

Funny though, as soon as we arrived to pick up the keys from the owner on Monday and I walked into the house, I felt completely different about it. The space is brighter and more open. I could see us having people over for brunch in this house. As I sit here in the new living room drinking my morning coffee, it feels like home.

P.S. I was asking folks at work for a moving company recommendation to help with the big stuff. When they talk about moving things from house to house they call that a removal which kept throwing me. Yes, remove the stuff from one house but I do want it at the new!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I Don't Know Why I Find This So Funny

So H has been cutting the grass with the lawn mower that was left by the owners for the past year. I knew it was an electric mower but never walked outside to see it. I came home for lunch one afternoon and he was out back. When I saw the mower I could not stop laughing because it looks like a toy. H didn’t find the humor in it, in fact he got pretty annoyed when I wanted to take this pic with the soccer ball. Keep in mind that our yard is so small that I could take a pair of scissors to it and finish cutting it that way in probably an hour. Every time I look at that mower now I laugh. It’s probably a good thing we’re moving...

Music Recommendation

Scotland seems to be the theme in our lives lately. I’ve been watching coverage of T in the Park Festival this weekend from Scotland. Last week I had a long conversation with a customer who relocated from Scotland to Kent. She told me how liberating it is being from Scotland compared to England because your class is not as obvious in your accent as it is in England. We’re planning to drive up to Scotland in a few weeks for a vacation when A is finally out of school and I can’t wait. So it only seems appropriate to talk about Franz Ferdinand. Scottish band Franz Ferdinand got a lot of press in 2004 with their debut record. In 2009 they released their third record proving they have some longevity. Here are some links to Franz Ferdinand-related items:

Interview on Sound Opinions – I still regularly listen to this podcast of Chicago Public Radio’s rock and roll talk show.

Sound Bites – Lead singer Alex Kapranos wrote a series of articles for The Guardian newspaper in the UK when they were touring. He used to work in kitchens so he has an interesting take on food around the world. It’s a quick read and good for short attention spans like my own.

No You Girls – Single off of their latest record, a good mixture of dance and guitar music.

If you’re interested in seeing some T in the Park Festival coverage, check out the BBC website as well as YouTube. It’s the biggest music festival in Scotland with a stellar lineup this year (including Franz Ferdinand).

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Save Some Face, You Know You've Only Got One

After a very stressful shopping incident, I wasn’t in the mood to get back out and about last Sunday, but I’d been looking forward to taking A with me to see The Killers at Royal Albert Hall. I saw them at this same venue back in November when I covered them for a website. This time it was strictly for pleasure. The band is filming a DVD so they performed two nights at this venue. It was a perfect evening at a beautiful venue, complete with fireworks during the encore. We were completely soaked in sweat by the end of the show. It was so hot in there! i got myself a tour toothbrush! You don't see those very often. As we travelled back to our village, we ran into fans coming from the Kanye West concert in Hyde Park and the Take That concert at Wembley so it was a busy night for concertgoers.

Little did I know the most exciting moment of the evening for A was yet to come. We took a different train into London than usual and as we stood at the platform at Marylebone station to go home, A spotted an actor from her favourite British show, Britannia High. Brittania High is like the American show Fame, but set in a London Performing Arts school, and this version is very G-rated. I don’t think it got renewed for a new season, but it was a big hit with her and some of her friends. She had the perfect opportunity to sit by him when we got on the train, but she chickened out. She asked me if I would go up and ask him if she could take a picture with him. I did talk to him for a minute and got confirmation that he was who she thought he was but because of the look on his face and the amount of people on the train, I didn’t ask for a photograph. So for the rest of the train journey she kept turning around and watching him and reporting back that he was still on the train. I asked her, where is he going to go? He’s on a moving train. Is he going to jump out the window to escape you, the super fan?

After we got home she excitedly told H that she saw a celebrity and in his very skeptical tone he replied, "Sure you did". He never believes a celebrity sighting story! The worst part for us was that A decided to have a Brittania High marathon on Monday evening. It's just not good. Hahaha.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Break In

Our house, like all good European houses have no screens in the windows. We have them open through the day but try to remember to close the ones on the first floor before we go to bed. We must have forgotten one day because A had six friends over Friday afternoon and I was on the phone with H writing down a shopping list when all of the girls started screaming in disgust. There was cat fecal matter in the middle of the floor under the kitchen table, which means we had a break in. Here we are, friends with all the neighborhood cats we see and this is how they repay us! And here without pets of our own we were thinking we were avoiding any potentially embarrassing situations like that.

Part of me wonders as we pack up to move this week, will we find a cat or a cat carcass hiding somewhere in our house?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fourth of July Weekend

We had a non-traditional but great Fourth of July. A had three friends spend the night Friday night and eventually they got moving Saturday afternoon to go off shopping. H and I went out to run errands. We ended up at the local farm picking strawberries and raspberries. Standing in the strawberry fields with a breeze blowing, the strawberry smell was heavenly. We finished off the day with an All-American meal of steak and corn on the cob.

Sunday we continued another American tradition that isn’t so fun, shoe shopping for A’s American feet. Couple a picky teenager’s taste with a lack of selection in the upper sizes and I felt myself trying to remain composed but screaming inside. By the end of the afternoon I was done and she was still without a new pair of shoes.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Manchester Town Hall

We had a function at the Manchester Town Hall and it is a beautiful building. The function that was taking place in the great hall ended while we were there so we got to take a walk through while it was being cleaned.

Manchester Pics

Because I was there for work, the most I saw of Manchester was walking to and from the train station and then walking to the evening events. The most notable thing because it is different than London is the number of red brick buildings. I had lots of interesting conversations with customers, and most of them revolved around the North/South divide, accents, and the heat. Everyone looked more than a little bit wilted. One of our customers from Newcastle was telling me about moving not far up the road to Scotland and how the word “canny” has a different meaning in both places. I had to ask him to spell it and explain that word has no meaning at all to me! I found this Geordie dictionary which has a definition of canny. Geordie is the dialect spoken in the Newcastle area.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

We're Having a Heatwave

It is supposed to get up to 80 degrees today and I'm staying in a third floor hotel room that has no air conditioning and just one window that opens out about five inches. I got a bonus surprise last night when climbing into bed and finding no top sheet on the bed, just a quilt. This is common in the UK and it drives me mad. As someone said at breakfast this morning, they went to bed early thinking they would get a jump start on a sleepless night. The humidity is stifling.