Saturday, 31 July 2010

Saturday to Saturday

Last weekend we headed an hour and a half north to the Wash. A stretch of seaside near Hunstanton which is primarily mudflats with scattered areas of sandy cliffs. It was our 1st beach day since coming to this island and we were graced with sunshine. There was a beauty of it's own, but it couldn't compare (for me) to the PNW beaches we left behind. Olive did get a kick out of digging in the muck, collecting shells of scallops, splashing in the shallow water, and finishing the day with ice cream from a tube.

During the week, it was weekday fair. Olive and I did have our first swimming experience at the Leisure Center. Did you know you have to que for swimming too? We arrived for open swim at 1500 for the start time of 1530, and literally we were told that it was already "full up" and that we needed to take a number. Which, in retrospect, is awesome since it wasn't too crowded in the pool. But at the time a real pain to rile in Olive for an hour who came dressed in her suit ready to jump on in. Once in, well, the pool was .8m deep. Which equates to water just below Olive's chin when she stood flat footed along the bottom. She thought it was fabulous. Me, hanging out in water on my knees was not so much fun. Did I mention we'll be back next week?

Meeting people here has been going a little slow. There's a different Mommy etiquette that I haven't quite deciphered. And some of the people I have talked to are just plain crazy. I spent a long 8 minutes in the Post Office que talking to an older woman who's daughter ran away to FL with her only grandchild (sex and name unknown) who's father's a drug addict, but a kid will always want to know their father, right? and well, her daughter is just ungrateful of her love, the 3rd child is okay, but her 1st she lost to a brain hemorrhage, but that doesn't matter since God has graced her with a grandchild, but that loose legged daughter of hers, how dare she not even send a picture, the other grandmother gets pictures, and that boy's mother doesn't even deserve it since look how HE turned out after all... all that for 2 second rate stamps.
Friday night The Old Pumphouse was able to hold four adults and an extra babe without seeming crowded at all. My dear friend, the legendary Beth, was on a visit to the UK with her friend Erin, her 10 month old daughter, Addie, and her other friend Beth. It was then added to by Jasmine traveling by train with her 6month pregnant belly and her own bed in tow. It was great to hash through old stories of Bath University, people we met, places we traveled, and then shake our heads at the foolishness of youth. We were able to grab lunch before everyone headed their separate ways and Olive ordered herself the Kid's English breakfast- runny egg, ketchupy beans, sausage, bacon, and a fried potato wedge. She loved it.
Tomorrow we're off to explore some of the local foot paths that run around our village- I bet we see a few horses

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

First name basis

No longer are we Mama and Papa. We are Alicia and Josh, or sometime Joshua. Where this instant transformation came from. We do not know.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Settling In

Obviously, there has already been a laps in my weekly report for the families happenings. I put it on not having access to the internet last week. The next time it happens, I'll have to find another excuse...

We now are residence of Cheveley, a small village 3 miles outside of Newmarket. It has been a bit sureal having a "home" once again after so long in hotels, temperary quarters, family homes, and airports. We moved into our Rainbow House (named by Olive) Monday the 12th with our sleeping bags, a few dishes, and clothes. A set of bunk beds was left behind and Olive has now graduated to a BIG kid bed without a rail ever since we moved in.

During the day, Josh would taking the Subaru with him to work. Olive and I spent our days running around our big empty house and yard to amuse ourselves. After not having space, space itself was an amusement. Our many walks into Cheveley came to show us that we live in a posh little village. There are several horse stud farms associated with the racing industry of Newmarket. Along with those farms, come monster homes, gated properties, and one even a private helicopter. I'm most excited by the large yard which we have spent most of time. The cherries came due and I've been spending a great deal of time de-stoning using a paperclip! (thanks friend of Erin, FB does provide useful bits of knowledge)

On Friday the 16th, the movers arrived with our household good. It was an exciting day for all. Olive had to unwrap and quickly play with each one of her toys in her "loud" room aka playroom. It took nearly a week, but we're all moved in.

Sunday we headed back to Cambridge to take part in our friend from Greenkill's 30th celebration. Olive was a bit overwhelmed by the number of strangers. Ron and Maria were lovely and wanted to include Olive in the festivities since her birthday was upcoming on Monday. They got her a little chocolate cupcake and brought it out singing after Maria's cake and song. As the song is cresting "Happy Birthday Dear Olive" she busts out in histarical sobs. Everyone sputters out the last "happy birthday to you" and she's crying loudly with her head in her hands. After some long moments out in the garden, she settles down just enough for us to make out that she thought this was her only birthday- she wanted her birthday in the Rainbow house with the elephant cake. Bad on us on not letting her in on the surprise. Once we convince her that it is a "practice" cake, she warms up enough to lick the frosting off the top and laugh a little. Then, it's presents time. She was wanting to open up the gifts that Maria and Ron had waiting for her. She even wanted them to be near by when she did. Alas, she opens this package with a darling little homemade cow plush, looks at it, and starts sobbing all over again. It was a big day for a non-birthday girl.

So, when the big 3 came on Monday, she knew what she wanted. Open the other present from Ron and Maria with big grins and hours later Olive and I were still playing post office selling road tax stickers and addressing mini greeting cards. It was her day. She chose to go to the Newmarket park to bury herself in the sand pit and eat an egg sandwich. Gifts that day included many kind cards from friends (thank you!) and an easel from Mama and Papa. A good day. Not a single sob.

The rest of the week was more moving in, errands, and general living. Josh did manage to buy another car. A 1996 BMW 316I series, Cobalt Blue. Swanky. Now, we're both able to get about during the day. I finally wrangled up a vacume cleaner, iron, and toaster. I believe Josh had an easier time buying the car. He just had to give the US credit card and sign a few papers. Me, I had to transfer funds, write a check, walk to the bank to deposite said check, wait a few days, check online that check cleared, walk to the store, insert chip-in-pin debit card, get declined, walk back up to bank ATM, unlock card, try to access money, nope-online banking doesn't clearly state check clearing, need 3 more days, walk back to store, write different bank check, call the States to reference different bank's card crediblity, recite new full address and telephone number, sign papers, then walk back up hill back to the car with vacuum and a tired Olive. Half a day to get a flippin vacuum. I miss Target.

I'm sure there are a few more stories from the weeks past that I missed, but I'll be more diligent as they come. Tomorrow we're off to the shore. Will post pictures of the house and village soon. Until then, some new photos are up on flickr.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

World Cup, and Other News

World Cup: I now understand, and am a fan of soccer. Too bad NL lost.

And Other News: The past week has been another one kept in a holding pattern. Tomorrow we move on out to our new home sans furnishings, internet, and second car. Olive and I will be walking a mile into the village for playground time. I'm sure this will be a difficult adjustment among other things for Olive. But, we'll finally be in the home we'll be living in (hopefully) for the remainder of our stay in England.

Our adventures to note occurred this weekend. On Saturday we went to Church Farm in Stow Bardolph for Wolly Weekend. The family learned much about rare breeds of the UK and the handling and rearing of sheep. Local craftsmen were about weaving, felting, and selling their wears. A very kind Nan taught Olive how to wet felt a ball. I'm unsure if it was her manor, or her accent that kept Olive enthralled in rolling her little handful of roving. We also spent some quality time petting the pigs, horse, and sheep. Olive was particularly fond of one of them. We had to remind her kissing sheep is not appropriate behavior. There was also a sheep dog demonstration with a shepherd from up north and his 5 workings dogs. Each took a turn rounding the sheep by whistles and calls- very impressive. See flicker for more photos.

Today we took a small jaunt over to Medieval Lavenham before packing to see the slanted homes. The buildings date back to the 15th century. We went into the local toy shop with it's huge tutor frame and 30degree pitch to the second floor. A collection of toys ranging from classic porcelain dolls to questionably swarte dolls. Other buildings had a bit more of a tilt, but if they've been standing for 600+ years, well, guess they're sound enough.

Other randomness to mention:
-Olive now calls Josh "PoP"
-I have a phone, if you want the #, let me know

Here's to another big week of newness.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Old Pump House

One month complete. Check. Settling in is occurring at a snails pace, but we're getting there. Today we signed our lease after agreeing to let 2 weeks ago... small things like legal paperwork and money being turned in makes me feel more committed than a verbal agreement with the landlords.

So, we will be living in 2000+ square feet of colorfully painted &
carpeted English home with an established garden (with fruit trees!) and hot tub on the back deck. We will be available for guests anytime after July 12th. Unfurnished, of course, until our household goods arrive. Their location is unknown at this time. I try not to let that worry me. So bring your sleeping bag if you plan on visiting before the arrival of our 10 pieces of furniture. We do intend on buying a bed for those who wish a little more comfort than a couch to sleep on. Due to the amount of space, multiple guests can be entertained at once, but do check for availability.

Josh is still on his quest to find the "right" car - my Subaru is going in for the 3rd time on Wed to "fix" the engine light that keeps popping on... I plan on using our year warranty over and over and over again until it turns off. AND not by them unplugging that irritating light. Due to this weekly occurrence, Olive and I have learned more about the lovely town of Bury St. Edmunds and can do our fruit and veg shopping for the week. Nothing beats two pounds of plums for a pound/$1.50... who said it was going to be more expensive here? Between the use of the BXtra & Commissary and shopping on the economy for local produce, it's cheaper than shopping in Olympia. Josh is continually tickled by the low price of beer. We each even have a ration car (yes, they didn't go out of style after WWII) for tax free liquor, tobacco, and coffee! ha! Gas is even 6cents less on base than it was in WA when we left... off base, well, it works out to be something like $9 gal. Suffice to say, we fill up only on base. And you wonder where tax dollars really go.

In events this past week, we traveled again to Cambridge for the "Buskers & Street Performers Festival". We took the park and ride into city center and Olive got to experience her 1st double decked bus. Front, center, and 2nd story she got to ride downtown with wide eyed excitement and plenty of questions. Once downtown, it was a bit of a flop for performers. Mainly singer with guitar smuggled against some wall with a busy flow of shoppers streaming past without interest. According to one of the shop keepers, the "festival" was a way of permitting such "artists" to perform once a year and keep them away from pan handling the rest of the year. Sorry to not have known that ahead of time. But we did get to go see the punters down on the river and have a lovely walk about town with snip-its of good music floating by while eating raspberries curbside.

Sunday was the 4th and I was treated to such delectable foods, I care not to ever revisit them. My birthday breakfast was held at the only venue open on Sunday morning, and the picture menu on the window really should have told us "no, do not come here" but we did. We're still alive, but oh, not a highlight of dining. That afternoon we headed to RAF Feltwell for our God Bless America time with plenty of Carney rides & military whoha. We ran into our TLF friends and Olive got to enjoy her 1st fair ride on the Tea Cups. She loved it while she was riding, once off, well, that was a different experience she wasn't ready for. We skipped out on fireworks this year due to late blast time and uncertainty in Olive's acceptance of them. We just have to wait until Guy Fawks Day with darkness at 4pm to give it a try.

This week we get our unaccompanied baggage (New clothes and toys for Olive!!) and continue to navigate banking abroad in two currencies and three banks, decode mobile phone plans, and hopefully attain a second car. Slowly, we're getting there to Broomstick Corner...

Friday, 2 July 2010

Goodnight Moon

Last night Olive asked me "why does England not have that?" while pointing at window in the picture. "Hoadly house had that."

I told her, we will have night time in winter. Until then, the sun will continue to set well after 10pm.