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Closing In

Monday 31 March 2014 - Filed under Uncategorized

I have been trying to post a picture a day on my Flickr site but I’ve fallen behind these last few days. I blame my failing health and C’s busy teaching schedule.  Our house has been nonstop traffic so between keeping things going here and trying to rest and recover I haven’t been getting out much hence very little of interest to post. Que Sera.

Unfortunately the weather has been absolutely brilliant these past few days and I’ve missed most of it. I expect I will be out and about again shortly and my posts will resume.

 ::  Share or discuss  ::  2014-03-31  ::  cj

Letters from Home

Tuesday 18 February 2014 - Filed under Random Mental Dishes

[Excerpts]
Things are going well in Hove. Hove, proper, is quite small and easy to navigate. Neighboring Brighton is larger and has much more to offer, but still it is quite small in size and very easily walk-able. On rainy days or times when we are tired, the bus system is quite simple and runs frequently and goes everywhere. We don’t use it often, but it has come in handy. We are also 1/2 mi. from Hove station which has trains into London (55 minutes without delays) or other UK destinations. Yesterday I went into London with C to see her off for teaching gigs in Wales and Scotland. Because of the flooding there were a bunch of delays, cancellations and re-routes, but we still got to London in 1.5 hours. We grabbed a lunch together near Paddington Station and then got our separate trains onward. It only took 1.25 hours home.

So far our days have been filled with walking to get things for the place, getting utilities settled, exploring the neighborhoods, spending time by the water, trying new restaurants or exploring grocery stores.

There are a variety of types of grocers; large corporate chains, small co- ops, street carts (which will become more numerous as the weather improves) and independent ‘green grocers’. They each have different appeal and/or charm. There is a co-op near the house that we use for staples (eggs, some dairy, snacks), we go to the local Tesco, Waitrose or Morrisons less often, but get more things (vegetables, stock, coffee, tea, meats) and then there are the specialty shops usually with specific ethnic tendencies, Taj – Indian/Asian, Four Seasons – Middle Eastern/Eastern European, Canham and Sons – a proper Scottish bakery/deli and of course the seafood hut called FISH. There are many more but those seem to be our current faves.

Additional delis/bakeries we like are Le Grand Cochon, La Cave a Formage, Treacle & Co. and Sugardough. Additionally, the restaurants are too numerous to describe, but you can find most anything here. Most of it has been very good. Some has been hit and miss, but we are learning. I’ve become a big fan of one price eating; price, tip and VAT are all included in the price you see on the menu.

Internet and mobile phones plans are much cheaper here. They have a thing called “competition” that seems to drive prices down. USA should look into it. I can get an unlimited everything 4G plan for £15/mo and fiber optic broadband for £25.

Our flat is in an old single family dwelling that has been converted into 4 units: the basement/garden flat, the ground floor flat, the 1st floor flat (second floor in the states) and the top flat. Our building was constructed in 1850-1900ish. There are decent sized window in every room so there is a lot of light and we have 10′ ceilings which is really nice. We are almost perfectly East/West situated with the water to the South of our home and the train station to the north (each 1/2 mile) so the sun rises in the kitchen and living room windows and it sets in the bedroom window and Orion walks over our roof every night. The seagulls roost in roof tops and a fox hunts in our neighbors back gardens. Starlings from Europe migrate here and play off of Brighton Pier and it’s lovely to watch them dance. Typically Brighton/Hove has a long pebble beach but recent winter storms have heaved most of the pebbles onto the promenade and we’ve watched as the waters breach the seawall. A 40-year local admitted to me he had never seen anything like it. But the city works very quickly to restore some walk-ability to the promenade. In MT they have a snow plow, here they have a pebble plow. Overall I am impressed with how well kept things are, especially considering the population density and age of the city.

1 comment  ::  Share or discuss  ::  2014-02-18  ::  cj

Foxy

Wednesday 12 February 2014 - Filed under That's Living + Uncategorized

Woke this morning to find a very playful fox frolicking in the yards behind our flat. The winds were wild and it was just chasing and cavorting with the leaves and the grass.

Too cute!

 ::  Share or discuss  ::  2014-02-12  ::  cj

Time Slips

Friday 7 February 2014 - Filed under Random Mental Dishes

Randomly selected thoughts:

It occurs to me I missed my 10 year blogiversary back in January.

Earlier this week was my birthday and I got several lovely well wishes which I thoroughly enjoyed. We had planned to go into London to celebrate, and the weather was glorious that day, but just as we were leaving we got a message from the phone company that we could get hooked up that day, so we didn’t go. Perhaps next week we will try again. The pity of it is that we didn’t get our phones hooked up either, but we did find a nice little chippy (fish and chips place) near the house.

We finally got phones hooked up yesterday. After paying crazy prices in the US ($150/month) it’s a delight to pay £30/month for mobile service for two (unlimited and un-throttled data).

After decades of credit history in the states we are both credit ghosts here. Even when we can pay outright for many things we are trying to set up “payments” so we can start to establish credit, and yet without any “payments” it’s hard to do so. We really are starting over in so many ways.

Every time we set up joint services, we are delighted when we reply “married” and the person on the other side of the desk seems genuinely excited for us.

We have all of the furniture we need and can now start looking for what we want to round things out. Even the kitchen is starting to feel like “home”.

All of our numbers are new and there’s a lot to remember: National Insurance numbers, phones, pins, addresses, bus routes, etc.

 ::  Share or discuss  ::  2014-02-07  ::  cj

Wintersday

Tuesday 28 January 2014 - Filed under Food

Two big “accomplishments” today. We have home broadband and we have a couch. So long England it was nice seeing you. Ha ha!

Seriously, it all came in perfect time. Today was a bit cold and quite rainy so it made for a great day to stay indoors. I did catch up on a fair bit of interneting today and I still have some correspondences to return. We are feeling quite comfortable in our neighborhood and even with so little in it, the place is starting to feel like home.

One little hick-up has been the oven/stove; all the marking are worn off. So I’m working out what knobs work what functions and where things need to point to get certain temperatures. It has been FRUSTRATING at times, especially when you take that sort of thing for granted when you cook. In one week I have successfully created two good meals (I have only attempted four).

Along the same lines, I’ve found it quite difficult to find either distilled white vinegar or baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) for purchase in quantity. So far I’ve only seen them in small amounts. My quest continues.

Sort of a rambling post, but that’s all I’ve got.

2 comments  ::  Share or discuss  ::  2014-01-28  ::  cj

All I Need

Friday 24 January 2014 - Filed under That's Living

In regard to my previous post, we have NO furniture. We do have a loaner futon mattress on the floor right now, but that’s it. So we have been seeking out furnishings. Today we purchased a couch (delivered next week), a table and chairs (delivered in 3 weeks) and a sideboard to put in our foyer (delivered today).

Right now my “office” is a duvet box with a laptop on top, our “table” is the middle of the living room floor and my “sofa” is a rolled up comforter behind my back leaning up against the wall. The kitchen, however, is fairly well equipped.

Sometimes I stop by the loo, just to have a place to sit (sic). [Jokes for nerds.]

1 comment  ::  Share or discuss  ::  2014-01-24  ::  cj

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

Friday 24 January 2014 - Filed under UK prep

Today’s running joke (spoken in an English accent, of course):

Whatever happened to C and C?
Oh, they moved to England and were soon killed by a double decker bus!

(As we continue to look the wrong way when we cross.)

 ::  Share or discuss  ::  2014-01-24  ::  cj

A Brand New Day

Tuesday 21 January 2014 - Filed under Random Mental Dishes

A Few Differences:
Switching on outlets not just plugging in to them
Hearing more varied languages and accents in the streets
Waking up and hearing seagulls
Lots of specific ethnic restaurants nearby
Living with NO furniture
The Sea
No outlets in the bathroom
Absolutely everything nearby
More walking…no driving
Double cream

1 comment  ::  Share or discuss  ::  2014-01-21  ::  cj

Homeward Bound

Friday 20 December 2013 - Filed under UK prep

It’s official: Our departure date is January 19, arriving Paris in the morning on January 20. Luckily for us a couple of C’s friends from England are driving down to pick us up and then the four of us + Tukla will make our way through France on to the Chunnel train and into England.

Comments Off  ::  Share or discuss  ::  2013-12-20  ::  cj

Prelude

Wednesday 4 December 2013 - Filed under UK prep

I just started shopping for one-way tickets to England. Truth be told we will most likely get round trips, because they are cheaper. But, technically we are getting ONE WAY TICKETS TO ENGLAND.

– for now at least –

 ::  Share or discuss  ::  2013-12-04  ::  cj