Life in the UK: A(n) (quarterly) Update
|No, this is not my garden, and no, MsCaroline has not become a Peeping Tom, but it's difficult not to at least glance when this is the sort of thing you walk by all the time.|
Spring has sprung here in England, and I've been rejoicing in blue skies, warm days full of brilliant sunshine, and pretty much every single flowering thing in creation exploding into bloom. This has been a lovely contrast to the near-daily rain we experienced between January and March, and I'm hoping it will last for at least a while (although, if the Tesco deliveryman is to be believed, this will all end in a week or so and we'll spend the next 4-5 months slogging around in waterproofs and wellies, because this is what happens every summer now because of the
Since we last met here in the blogiverse (if that is, in fact, a place,) things have been moving steadily forward in that way things have of doing (you'll note that I have not categorized this post under 'moving chronicles' because we've been here 5 weeks already and, in my book, once you've been somewhere for a month, you're pretty much done moving whether you feel like it or not) specifically:
|The Sitting Room: clearly, there was not going to be room for a 2nd sofa, even if it was a loveseat.|
- We moved into our rental house Although we had downsized assiduously before moving to Korea, we still found ourselves bursting out of the seams of the new place. This was compounded by the fact that our house - like many older homes in Europe - had no closets. The answer to this, of course, was to buy some freestanding wardrobes, which required us to move everything out of the room in question(and let me just say that every room was packed to the gills) in order to assemble the wardrobes (they were too big to carry up the stairs assembled, and, yes, we'll have to disassemble them in order to move them out when we go and we are not even thinking about that right now lalalala) and then carry everything back in to put it away or hang it up. We also have one sofa too many and a dining room table that is far too large, which means doing a sort of shimmy to slide between it and the sideboard and the sofa is in the garage until we figure out what to do with it, which makes MrL crazy because he can't do garage-y things until there is space to move in there (sidenote: in the UK, your garage is pronounced 'GEHR-ahj', not 'guh-RAHJ'. In case you were wondering.) Not that it matters anyway, since we're eating in the kitchen these days. The ever-eloquent MrL has succinctly described our moving-in process as "Stuffing 10 pounds of rubbish in a five-pound bag." Except he did not use the word 'rubbish.'
- Our dog arrived from Korea Long-time readers will recall that we left Merlot (our French Bulldog/Boston Terrier or some combination thereof) in Korea with our petsitter when we moved to the UK, with a reunion being dependent on us finding a rental that permitted dogs - which we (thankfully) were able to do. After almost 2 1/2 months, reams of documentation, and (groan) some hefty financial investment, we collected her at the Animal Reception Centre at Heathrow, to our mutual delight. She spent most of the ride home demonstrating her pleasure at seeing us again.
|Let's just say she was very excited and continued to demonstrate this for most of the 90-minute ride home from the airport|
- Since then, she has been learning about Living in a House With A Garden in a Country With Tons of Grass and Trees and Many Other Dogs. This is a significant departure from life in an apartment, walks through the concrete jungle, and only very occasional other dog sightings. She has also experienced squirrels for the first time, never having seen any in the extremely urban landscape that we lived in in Seoul. We suspect that she may have thought that the first one was a small grey dog, because she did a lot of head-tilting and wagging - initially. She was thunderstruck when it ran up a tree, and spent quite a lot of time trying to follow it, crying, and circling the tree. Once it was clear that a friendship wasn't going to develop, the squirrel became her Arch Nemesis, and - in accord with all other dogs in the British Isles - she has come to see it as her responsibility to chase each and every squirrel that crosses her path.
|It's a mathematics problem - see the plus signs?|
- Son#2 Turned 18 It seems absolutely impossible that my youngest child could: a) be 18, and b) be heading off to Uni in the fall, but somehow, it really did happen. We celebrated with dinner and drinks (legal drinking age is 18 in the UK, an extra bonus) at a local steak house, and had a visit from one of his high school classmates from Seoul who is now attending Uni in London. While I think I did pretty well in managing to make a cake from scratch less than a week after moving into the new house, I didn't plan so well for the candles and had to improvise at the last minute.
- We've been doing a lot of sightseeing. We joined the National Trust and English Heritage (sort of like joining the National Parks in the US, only these two grant you admission to hundreds of castles, stately homes, and other historic buildings in England, Scotland, and Wales.) We've hiked up cliffs and wandered through crumbling ruins of castles and mines, marveled at cathedrals and abbeys, tramped through damp fields full of sheep and ancient stone circles (there are more than just Stonehenge, really, and the sheep don't seem to mind) and goggled at incredibly sophisticated Roman ruins. And all of that has just been in a few hours' drive from home. And, yes, we did a lot of it in the rain, because if you wait for a nice day before you do things, you may never get anything accomplished. I really do have every intention of posting about these trips, but they seem to be piling up faster than I can post about them.
|At Wells Cathedral|
- I've been enjoying my new city. Actually, to be more precise, I've been enjoying walking around the outskirts of my new city. I really do appreciate that Bath is lovely and historic, its architecture is graceful and classic, and the Roman baths are incredible, but after almost 4 years in an Asian megalopolis of concrete, metal, glass, and Jumbotrons, I am less interested in the City Centre (and its shops and tourists) and more interested in what really does my soul good: sights like this:
|Cherry blossoms blooming on my street|
|View from the bridge over the Avon|
|Merlot appreciates the rolling hills of Somerset.|
|Sunset over the park.|