Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Time to relax

I know I’m taking a long time in getting these out.  When we got back I had a lot going on that I had to get straightened out before I could think about writing this.  Thanks for your patience.

Sept. 5             Free Day, Chilled Out

Today we just needed to relax and try to get our inner time clocks coordinated with where we were.  It is a beautiful sunny day and we are enjoying the garden.  Our friend’s house is called a semi-detached, or what we would call a townhouse or duplex.  It is two story and they have added a conservatory on to the back (a glass enclosure or sunroom).  The house is about 14 feet wide and 28 feet long (not counting conservatory) 2.5 baths, 2 bedrooms and a small office upstairs.  It is a very nice house with a detached garage and is quite comfortable for two adults and very cozy with four. 

The front of the house

The Garden

The Conservatory

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day One - England

Wednesday—September 4

After boarding the plane  45 minutes late and with a full passenger list, we settled down for a long flight.   It wasn’t too long  after our dinner (nothing to write home about) that a lot of passengers went to sleep.  I watched 4 movies and read a little bit.  There was a large family in the two rows in front of us, including a baby, and they kept moving around most of the night. During one of my movies I looked up and there were two eyes glaring at me from between the seats….. rather unnerving.  At first I couldn’t figure out what I had done to deserve such a glare but after 2 or 3 more glares I determined it was a young girl (8-10) and she was just bored.  The next time I caught the look I smiled at her and the glare disappeared and I got a smile instead.

When morning arrived it was nice to see sunshine and I hoped it would be the same on the ground.  We landed at 11:25 a.m. at Gatwick Airport , it was a beautiful clear day and the sun was glorious.  We worked our way through the airport, through immigration, got out luggage and went through customs and through the doors into  England and into the waiting arms of our friends/hosts, Dick and Sandra Johnson.  We decided to go to lunch first before heading to their home in Hockliffe, about 2 hours from London.

When we got on the way I have to admit it was disconcerting to say the least to be driving on the opposite side of the road.  I won’t say wrong side because over there it is the correct side.  Everything was GREEN, GREEN, GREEN and beautiful.  One thing I discovered was the only straight roads in that country are the main highways called M Highways  which were the  Motorways (kind of like our freeways).  The “A” highways were the main roads and if there were two lanes going the same direction they were called Dual Carriageways.  “B” roads were a step down—usually two lane narrow roads   -  some so narrow that to me they looked line a one lane road which I would have classified as one-way…. Not so, that was a two-way road and you just squeezed over to the side to pass another car.  Needless to say, I held my breath a lot (as if that would help). These roads twisted and turned so many times you were never sure which direction you were traveling.  And then you have the roundabouts instead of signals.  Wow.  They could be very confusing.    They had one they call the Magic Roundabout. I’ll have to draw you a diagram of. It was so confusing I wouldn’t dare get on it…. I’d never be able to get off.

We drove to Aldbury for lunch ,a typical English village which has been used in many film and TV shows.  There was a Green with a pond in the center of the village and we went to the Greyhound Pub/Inn for lunch.  I had a wonderful sandwich made with Warm Brie, ham and Red Onion Marmalade  on a very nice coarse bread.  It was delicious.  When it came time for the bill I was surprised by Dick telling me they don’t tip  over there or at least not like they do here in the U.S.  I think we made a few servers very happy…. Old habits are hard to break.

After lunch we proceeded to our friends house in  Hockliffe, Bedfordshire.  I fell in love with the countryside.  Everything is SO green.  My only complaint was about the hedgerows on both sides of the road.  The were so tall you couldn’t see what was on the other side unless you were on a hill and could look out over the country (more photos later).  Another thing I found interesting was how close to the street the majority of the houses sat, especially in the villages.  When you go to someone’s house  you might not find a house number, instead they name their houses.  The name on this house, to the left of the door is “Tahoma”.  This is the front door of  our friends’ house.  When we arrived here in the later afternoon we were in for the day.  I had been up almost  20 hours and I was winding down fast.

This is the Greyhound Inn/Pub

                  Inside the Pub                       

The Aldsbury Village Green 

The Johnson's Front Door   

Monday, September 2, 2013

Good morning...... It's the day before our flight and here I am at 5:00 a.m. wide awake.  This is rare.

I got up this morning singing "Our house, In the middle of the street, Our house.........." can't get it out of my head.

I have a list of things to get done today.  Will need to go to town to get a few last things at the store for our house guest/sitter, finish packing, show Jennifer around the house and make sure she knows where everything is and how it all works, print our e-tickets tonight, etc. etc.

OH, remember the missing Kindle??? Steve found it packed in his carry-on suitcase.  I haven't a clue how it got there.  That is a brand new case and I know I didn't put it in there.  Anyway, I spent last night trying to figure out how to use it since I hadn't seen it since I bought it.

I'd best get busy.  Next time I write we'll be in England.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Why is it that when you are embarking on some important journey, new job..... whatever.... things start to go wrong?  We were in town the other day and all of a sudden the locks on the car don't work.  The key fob switch doesn't work, the switch on the inside that unlocks/locks all the doors doesn't work.  You have to manually open each and every door and only the driver's door has a place to unlock it with a key!

While Steve was in town trying to get that fixed, I opened the curtains in the bedroom and the front window is cracked from corner to corner! When did that happen ?? (Oh, and they can't fix the car until we get back from our trip.)

Now, I was organizing things in the bedroom to pack, went to get my NEW Kindle and I can't find it.  I have searched the entire house and it's gone.  I could have sworn it was sitting on my table by my chair...... NOT.

Heading into town this morning to get a manicure and pedicure.  I wonder what will happen next.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's one week today until we're on our way.  Today, I started making lists, clothes to pack, one list for Steve and one list for me; things we are taking to our hosts; ordering a CPAP machine to be delivered to host's house (easier than carrying my own); things to do tomorrow while in town; list for bills to pay before we go; a list for our house/cat sitter so she'll know where everything is and what to do for the cats.  When I get through packing I'll put the list for the clothes in the suitcases so I'll remember what to bring home.

Planning to be away for a month is a little unsettling........ I know I will forget something, hopefully not something important.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Last year my husband was contacted by a company he used to work for about a Pension Fund he had invested in while he was employed with them.  It seems that he had become fully vested in this fund and they wanted to know if he wanted to receive this money.  He had quit working for them in 1993 and this was 2012 and the fund became available as of 2008.  They told him he would receive a lump sum check at the first of the year and a small monthly check for several years after.  The first week in July Steve got a check from the company and he said,

"We're going to England!"

You might ask, "Why England?" so here's the rest of the story.

When we lived in Seattle we met a couple from England who became very good friends.  They have since returned to England and they have visited with us several times over the years.... always asking us to come visit them over there.  Also, Steve's family is from England and his Uncle and Aunt had been over there and found the ancestral home and so he wanted to visit and go see for himself.  Me..... I just wanted to travel.
When we made the decision to go we contacted our friends, the Johnson's, about visiting with them and they were as enthusiastic as we were.  We decided to go for a whole month and really see everything we could.

The Johnson's