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Posts Tagged ‘Uk’

Its Christmas eve here in the UK. Time, once again, to remind me just how bloody small the fridges are here. The fridge in the UK is about a quarter of the size of the fridges in the states. This is because A) people used to just shop daily for what they needed and B) They don’t have room in the kitchen for anything larger then a dishwasher for a fridge.

Our fridge/freezer combo is so small. The freezer has 3 tiny drawers that you heave, shoving and pushing as much stuff as you can. The fridge, well think of your dishwasher. Thats the size. Wait, scratch that. If anything is at the back of our fridge it freezes so subtract some space for that.

So here it is, Christmas eve. I have bought stuff to make salads, stuffing, meat. Christmas meals. But we don’t have room. So I am left feeling frustrated. Again.

They have come out with “American style” fridges. Most are still smaller then what I had in my condo in the states, and it wasn’t the biggest fridge going.  One day, we will have a huge fridge. Either here or in the states, we will have a big ass fridge with so much room that I never, ever have to worry about the mayo freezing because it got pushed to the back again.

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Today we had a drive out to Little Morton Hall. Its a National Trust site and its not really all that far away. This hall is from 1510. Its all higgly piggly. Very cute and definitely what you think about when you are an American coming to the UK.  We climbed the stairs up to the top floors. They are the typical stairs for old mansions and castles. They just go round in a circle and are very narrow. How on earth the women made it up those stairs in the old days dressed in those huge skirts is beyond me. The stairs are so narrow that my feet didn’t fit on them. It was also the typical rope for a hand rail.

When you get to the top its an open hall. I think at one point it was the largest room in England, but by today’s standards its not very big. But its was so out of plumb that I was dizzy. None of the wall where straight. I actually felt like I was on a boat and I got seasick.

I think I might want to go back by myself and hang out a bit. I never get a feel for anything with kids in tow. I also have a feeling that its probably a haunted site. Really cool though.

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We had a really lovely day out yesterday. We are both in the mindset that we need to see as much of Britain as we can before we move away. Although S sees it everyday. He likes to try and get me to the nice bits. Yesterday we needed to take Kitty to her new owner. She lives in Cambridge so we met down towards that area. It took us about 2 1/2 hrs to get there, but we where stuck in traffic a bit due to a few accidents. I am sure we would of made it in under 2 hrs. Once again, I am struck at how close everything is in this country. We where only about 70 miles away from London at that point. I still, after all these years, can not get my head around the fact that I am about 3 hrs from London. Even more, I have only been twice.

After that we headed up to Stratford upon Avon. If you remember from history class, its the birth place of William Shakespeare.  It wasn’t exactly what we where expecting. I actually don’t know what we where expecting, but I think it was a small town with some pretty sights to photograph and a nice quiet wander around. At least that is the impression the websites gave. But nope. This is a pretty big town but UK standards. It has a large high street with all the shops that goes along with it. Nice though. And the area was chalker block full of tourist. People from every corner of the world. I will admit, we don’t do that great in mass crowds. For some reason, the city girl in me is long gone. I just feel so claustrophobic when so many people are packed together.

Shakespeares home

Shakespeares home

We had a wander up to the house the Shakespeare was born in. Its a really old, higgly piggly building. But when we looked at the prices to get in, forget it. £9 per adult. £4.50 for T who is too small to know what was going on. (that is $45 for the three of us in US dollars) As ever in the UK, things are over prices for what they are.  It is the biggest disappointment for me. Things I would love to see, but I just know its not worth the money. You hear all about how the museums are free, but I have not seen one yet, unless its a tiny museum in a tiny town that is usually naff. We got our magnet, which we do every place we go, and left.

Shakespears  birthplace

Shakespears birthplace

This is where the day got better. We headed up the back roads through Warwickshire. All the while me thinking how I have never properly pronounced my childhood friends last name ever in my life. The surrounding areas where lovely. The day had gone from rainy to sunny. We drove by, then turned around to go into, Warwickshires oldest church. This was actually the ideal place for my son to have a run around. He needed that energy release.  All the churches, especially the old churches, are also the cemetery. I love these places. They are usually quiet, as in no one around, not in spooks making noise. 😉 When the weather is right its a great place to just be. That was what it was like. We found a little bench on a small knoll and T just ran up and down enjoying himself. I got some great photos. The church was lovely. They even had toilets to use that where really nice. That helped as T decided to dig a hole and his hands where covered in dirt.

Oldest church in Warwichshire

Oldest church in Warwickshire

On our way back we went up through Shropshire. The town of Shrewsbury is really lovely. We have decided that we will have to head back and check it out soon.

We ended up having our tea (dinner for you Americans) in a pub not far from our house. One that I have been to a few times with friends, but hadn’t been able to get S to go to as he isn’t a big fan of pubs, pub grub, or ordering at the bar.  He really enjoyed it. He even said that he would like to go back. I was gobsmacked.

All in all a very lovely day indeed.

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Out of shear boredom I took my son to the farm again. The one with the big play area for the kids. He loves it. He has really come along in the last 6 months. 6 months ago he would of clung to me screaming. Now he runs and jumps and only screams if I put him on a playground toy. He is a typical boy, into everything dirty. He is a typical 2 yr old. He never wants to leave. Thank goodness for reverse psychology. I just start to go and he follows. What is the point of trying to reason with a 2 yr old. It just doesn’t happen.

Speaking of reasoning with a 2 yr old, how can a mother explain to her loving child that not every child he comes across want to be grabbed and hugged to the ground. He will make a B line across the field to grab any small child he sees and hugs the stuffing out of them. As sweet as it sounds, imagine some strange guy grabbing you and doing that. Not the most comfortable place for the one being hugged by the stranger. He grabs hold and holds on tight. It takes a lot to get him to unlock. We had to leave it was happening that much.

So he was hugging this little girl, and I was pulling him off, apologizing to the mother of this unsuspecting child when I notice her face. She hadn’t heard me, only my accent. I hate it when that happens. The glazed look a person gets when I speak to them. They don’t hear me or what I am saying. All they hear is American accent. Then that is it. I am the unheard American. If I had a pound coin for each time it happens I could buy us a new car when we move home. Maybe I should start charging. 🙂 It is a surprising downside to being a foreigner. I mean, I understand it. I stop too when I hear an accent. I used to stop over British accents but now I stop over American ones.  After so many years it does become tiresome being different. I will probably find it boring to be the same after awhile when we move back. Its the worse when its important like a doctor

So the farm was the same again. It rained. The sun came out. It was freezing. Then it was hot. Typical of British Summer. It is nice to have a place to go that isn’t torn up or be covered in broken bottles like most of the playgrounds around me. The teenagers use them to party and they are no go areas. So we drive to the farm and play in the playground and go see the animals. We usually even shop for the best veg at the farm store. Not a bad way to kill an hour. Its just a shame that it will stop in a week or so. When all the schools let out and the older kids come and take over the play area, my son will be to small to keep up. So for 6 weeks I will have to figure out some other things to do until schools start again in Sept. It’s a bummer that.

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One of the things I think is fantastic here in the UK is parent/child parking spots in car parks. Its something I had only seen once in the states in a brand newly built mall. These spots do not have to be in front of the store as parents are not handicapped, but they are wider spots so we can get the door of the car open and safely get the baby out. It also gives a parent enough room to put the push chair along side of the car, out of the way of moving traffic, and get the baby strapped in.  The fact that you can get the car door open all the way and maneuver into the car enough to get to the baby seat helps beyond belief. The spots are all about safety.

Before I became a parent I had no idea how hard it was to get a child in and out of a car. I had no idea how vulnerable it feels to have your head stuffed into the car and your ass hanging out with no idea who is walking up behind you, all the while fighting a toddler who is not letting you strap him in without a struggle. I remember one time when I had no parent spot to park in, they where all taken, mostly by people without a child, and hand to climb into the backseat of the car with my newborn infant. This was a squeeze between my car and a car that was so close that I could barely fit in. I hurt myself to get in by making sure that I didn’t hurt my child. There was 10 parent spots in this car park, only 2 had child seats in them.

I know how tempting it is to see a spot that looks so convenient, one that is wide enough to get the door open. Please, I am really asking you to stop and think. Do you really need to put yourself so far in front of others who need these spots to keep their children safe?  Just like disabled spots, they are clearly marked. So next time you see one and are tempted, please stop and think about the parents who really need them to keep their children safe.   Thank you.

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Wow, two days of sun in a row. Today was super sunny, yesterday it was off and on.  We had a lovely day together again. K and T had fun playing together. S got the toilet fixed. We just relaxed a bit and watched Malcome in the Middle repeats on tv. Even got to let T play outside with the neighbour kids. So lovely to feel the sun.

I was standing outside watching T play and one of the neighbor ladies was telling me she was so hot. It was all of 70f today. I had to laugh. Even the humidity was low. How they would cope in Sacramento when it is 114f? I have to chuckle thinking of it.

Its so nice having sun in England. When the weather is perfect, England is lovely.  I am really hoping that we get more of this sun. Sadly, the weather reports say that rain is coming. Heavy rain and all. So back to more depressing dreary Summer days. I will keep hoping that its only a few days before Summer actually sets in.

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Today was a good day. I love good days. For one, the sun came out. We have not seen the sun in a while. Its been on holiday in the Costa del Sol, Spain. We have had about 10 days of rain. Before that it was 2 days of sun and before that… you guessed, rain. Its been cold too. This is not how Summer should feel. The grey gets depressing when you know it should be sunny.

Good thing number two… good haircut. My last haircut, just before our holiday, was horrid. The stylist I have been seeing had quit. She was fantastic and I was really bummed. So I started seeing a gal who was pregnant. She managed to not do anything I asked. I only saw her a couple times. On the last appointment with her I was the last client before she left on maternity leave. Lucky me. She just destroyed my hair. Cut a bit into my fringe (bangs) that shouldn’t of been cut. So it was a mess. Today, I started with another stylist who is fantastic. She fixed all but the fringe. My bob cut is back to a bob. Yippee.

Third good thing today… we went to B&Q. Our toilet has had a leak going into the tank. My wonderful husband got all the parts we needed. Even got the grout to re-grout the tile. Fantastic. This will be done tomorrow.

Fourth good thing. Gardening. My wonderful step daughter hung out with my wonderful son long enough that we got to get the front into some form of shape. We even did a bunch in the back. Its starting to feel like its all coming together.

Number five in the good thing department… we found a home for Kitty. As we are moving back to the US we needed a new home for Kitty. I have belonged to a forum for the past 5 years and one of the lovely ladies will take Kitty. This made my step daughter very happy that we can keep track of Kitty and her life. She had tried to find her a new home for nearly 2 months and no one wanted the cat. When all is said and done, Kitty will be a Northern cat in Cambridge. I just hope no one takes the mick about her Cheshire accent.

So it was a good day all around. No one had a tantrum (namely our toddler) No one got the hump (teens are good at that) and everyone spent the day happy together. You gotta love days like today. 🙂

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