Monday, August 24, 2009

Leicester Freecycle.

I've been looking at the Leicester Freecycle for a while now. But things go really fast, and without a car, I can't easily pick things up. Most things, people want gone ASAP, so they'll give it to the person that can come first, not necessarily to the first person to respond. Anyway, last week I saw two items that had not been claimed. It had been a few days since they'd been posted, and other things she had posted had been collected already. So I emailed her. And she had them and was willing to hold them until next Thursday (this all transpired last Friday). I was in the process of negotiating a ride with Nid's friend, when he offered to go on Monday (today). I emailed her back and she was available. We went a little while ago and now I have a desk and a (very nearly) matching bedside table to Nid. Both items are from Ikea (LOVE IKEA), and in excellent condition! This is really exciting for me, because I have had my computer on the dining table since March, and when the kids are here, I have to move it every night for dinner, then set it up again. It's not hard to do, just a pain.
So, this is my current layout. I've also staked claim on the left corner of Nid's desk :) And on the left of my desk is a cabinet that has all my files and office supplies. I think I'll use the keyboard shelf for my papers, my to do list, etc. It's quite cozy over here. May need to look into some blinds or different curtain. Have to wait to see how bright it is when the sun comes through the window, which it won't likely be doing today. Nid says he likes it because can see what I'm doing without straining his neck. Good thing I don't ever do anything bad! ;)

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I am testing out several new things on my blog. Please bear with me as I go through this process. More than likely, it will all go back to the way we are use to it being. But I may win. Who knows?! No one at this point, but I'll let you know as soon as I do know.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bike Hunt. Take One.

We went to town today looking for bikes. We had a plan. Two refurbished shops and one other. Well, I was given the impression that all three were. But it doesn't matter. Cyclemagic is a refurbish shop that specializes in customizing bikes for special needs riders, but they do a fair number of regular bikes as well. Unfortunately, they only had a few bikes in. They were in our price range, but Roger said they'd probably have double if not more next week, and he didn't want to sell us bikes we weren't sure we wanted. It was a good place. We'll go back next week and try some out. Hopefully we'll find ones that work for us. I'm excited about being able to cycle to the shops, and we'll be able to go to town more, since we won't be spending bus money. The bikes really will pay for themselves in no time. We'll be able to go on more and longer journeys, like our trip to Watermead Country Park last week.

Of course, since we were in town, we went to Burger King and Nid got his triple whopper with cheese. It's always fun to sit in the window and watch the people walk by with their crazy fashion and ugly shoes. I went in a stationary shop and looked over the day planners. Right now they've pretty much just got back to school ones, but 2010 ones can't be far away. I just love getting a new day planner. Writing in all the birthdays and events and highlighting and color coordinating. It's just so exciting. Then, of course, I have to put it away for the months leading up to the new year, but when the 1st of January comes along, I'm already organized and ready for the new year. The new year I'll be starting with my new family. It's been a crazy year for me so far. We've started a list of all the places we want to see and things we want to do together before we move to the US.

I'll end with this. The route we took today led us past a lot of night clubs, and I learned a new factoid about England. It is legal to serve alcohol 24 hours per day. I learned this as a result of seeing this sign. STRICTLY no admission after... 4am?! Crazy. I must really be an old foggey, because, really, 4am? I need to be in bed! Oh well, this has gotten me off on a whole nother tangent. I Googled some stuff. And of course I now have 10+ tabs open while I compare data and sources so I don't misrepresent something... The legal drinking age in the UK is variable. According to Wikipedia you must be 18 to purchase alcohol (16 to purchase chocolates with liqueur). People aged 16 and 17 may consume wine, beer or cider on licensed premises ie.pubs, bars, and restaurants with a table meal. But this is the kicker... Children aged 5-18 can drink in their own homes, or someone elses, as long as they are supervised by an adult (over 18). Children under the age of five must not be given alcohol unless under medical supervision or in an emergency (Children and Young Persons Act 1933, Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 1937). I have not yet looked up what type of emergency qualifies for giving alcohol to an under five year old. And really, is it good parenting to allow your five, six, any year old CHILD to drink? I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around that one.

While I'm on this tangent, I'll move on to ages of consent in Europe. I'll leave this to you to look at if you wish, but what got my attention is that in Spain, the legal age of consent is 13. Do you remember what you were like when you were 13? I wonder what the teenage pregnancy rates are there?

If you are curious, a breakdown of all sorts of minimum ages are provided here courtesy of the Essex Police Department.

Wow, so this post went off in a direction I could NOT have anticipated when I started!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Watermead Country Park

Today we went to the Watermead Country Park. It was a short bus ride and walk from home. I'd seen part of it as we'd ridden this bus to Asda in the past. I was most excited because I wanted to see the The Watermead Park Millennium Mammoth, which I had seen in pictures Nid had taken. This is the second mammoth to stand at this location, as the first one was destroyed by arsonists. It is meant to commemorate the fact that mammoth remains were discovered on this property.

Another feature of the park is King Lear Lake, named after the legend of King Lear, who ruled Britain in the 8th century. Upon his death he was buried in a chamber under the River Soar. There are four statues, built on a platform in the lake, showing the final scene from Shakespeare's play of King Lear.
You can read more here.

King Lear Statue on King Lear Lake:

Nid and I and the Woolly Mammoth!
And as we were leaving, two women got out of their vehicle with a gaggle of children. Now, in my limited experience in this country, they have a lot of interesting shoes. Not a lot of shoes that I would actually wear... but these really topped the cake!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

TV License.

This may (or may not) be an interesting bit of trivia for those of you not in the UK. TV Licensing. What is it? It is a fee that you have to pay the GOVERNMENT so that you can watch TV. A colour TV Licence costs £142.50 per year. A black and white TV Licence costs £48.00 per year. What do you get for that? Well, the answer is simple... you get the RIGHT to watch TV. For which you must subscribe via a cable or satellite operator, same as you do in the US. Those fees are similar I think to what you get in the US, starting at £11/month for basic with 45 channels, £22 for 100 channels, £32.50 for 160 channels. Of course, on top of that price is taxes and fees. Then you have to pay the TV license, in order to legally watch the shows you are paying to recieve. You also have to get the "box" from the cable company, currently on sale for £49, saving you over £100. Virgin Media supplies over 95% of cable in the UK, so I suppose you're going to pay whatever they want you to pay... You do get Virgin telephone service with the cable, but here pay a package/line fee/etc, and then you pay for phone calls. It's all terribly confusing to me. There are line connection charges, charges per minute, it depends on when you are calling, what kind of phone you are calling, where in the UK you are calling. Our bank statements have a phone number on them if you have problems or what have you... there's a set fee just to dial them. I just don't get it! The country is not so big that you should have 50 different fees for calling 50 different places! Oh well, that's not even something I'm interested in talking about.

So, back to this TV Licensing thing. I've been afraid to answer the door since I got here. They come door to door to people who don't pay the fee. I guess it's too much for them to fathom that people don't watch TV. I was told that if I answer the door and they identify themselves as such, to shut the door and not say a word. They do not have a legal right to enter the home, or force us to speak to them. They'll just leave. Well, me personally, that scared me so bad that I just decided if Nid wasn't home and I didn't know who was knocking, I just wouldn't answer. But then today there was an article in the paper that clearly says we are not breaking any TV Licensing laws. Of course, I could've found this online anyway, but I just never got around to looking it up. From TV Licensing Web Page:

You must be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV. It makes no difference what equipment you use - whether it’s a laptop, PC, mobile phone, digital box, DVD recorder or a TV set - you still need a licence.

You do not need a TV Licence to view video clips on the internet, as long as what you are viewing is not being shown on TV at the same time as you are viewing it.

If you use a digital box with a hi-fi system, or another device that can only be used to produce sounds and can't display TV programmes, and you don't install or use any other TV receiving equipment, you don't need a TV Licence.

It's good to see it in writing that because we do not watch live TV, we are safe. Okay, well that was my bit of trivia sharing for today. Hope you all learned something, because I sure did!


I miss buying shoes from Kohls and Levis from JCPenney and everything else from Walmart. I miss Archer Farms Monster Trail Mix from Target and of course their Dollar Section. I miss sandwiches from McAllister's Deli and burgers from Five Guys. I miss margaritas with the girls at Natcho Mamas and the children's grilled cheese with Tammy at Shoneys. I miss Bacon Turkey Bravos and Sierra Turkey sandwiches from Panera.

I'm just in a missing mood. Will add more as I think of them.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If you think you have Swine Flu... Stay Away!

So, today Nid and I had to run by the doctor's office to pick up a prescription that I had to get filled. While I was in line, he was taking some photographs. He got the front door sign, listing the hours, which is good because we never can remember when they are closed for lunch...

He got the details on what the NHS is recommending regarding Swine Flu...

And then he saw this one...

If you think you may be sick... STAY AWAY! Ironically, of course, to get to that sign, you had to go through two sets of double doors into the facility. Minor technicality of logic there?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Five Months In England.

Yesterday was my five month anniversary of arriving in England. It is hard for me to explain how the time feels. There were definitely days that dragged by, where I thought I just couldn't sit here and not DO anything for another day. But then when I think back, I can't help but wondering... where did the time go? What have I been doing? What should I be doing? The job hunt continues, and while there will be (hopefully) financial benefits to finding gainful employment, it is important for me to remember to just enjoy the days. There will never be another time in my life like this one. Newlywed. Newly arrived immigrant in a strange land. Unemployed but still able to get by. I'll never be these things again, will never have this time back. There will likely never be a time that I won't have to work in order to get by. I need to remember that some days, but mostly I do and I just enjoy myself and my husband and my family. I am a very lucky woman.

Last night we had our last baked potato of Baked Potato Week. We watched a movie. We had TWO magnums each(!). We enjoyed a drink. We listened to a play list I created by combining our Mix Tapes with some of my favorite other songs. At some point during the evening it occurred to me that our celebratory drink for my five month anniversary in the UK was innately American :)

It was a wonderful anniversary. A wonderful night spent with my wonderful husband. And we get to do it all over next week when we celebrate our six month wedding anniversary!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Baked Potato Week Concludes.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Baked Potato Week Continues.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Baked Potato Week Continues.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Baked Potato Week Continues.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Baked Potato Week Continues.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Baked Potato Week Continues.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Baked Potato Week Begins.