Thursday, June 24, 2010

This past weekend

Ok, So i'm just copying and pasting the email Josh wrote to family, and posting the pix.  sorry if things don't correspond.

[Note: As Saturday's activity involved both bikes and beer, Josh is writing this one...]

Hello everyone,

This past weekend, we finally went out for our first bike ride in the UK.  Our primary goal was to travel on the public bridle path we discovered on a previous hike and ride across the English countryside, hitting up Kedleston Hall (a proper English "estate home") along the way. 

I'm attaching a couple of pictures from the GPS software that shows the route we followed.  After getting through Markeaton Park, we went on the bridle path, which was amazingly beautiful.  It is just a narrow stretch of dirt that cuts right across a private farm, but because it has been used for hundreds of years, the public still has the right-of-way on this path.

a couple of weekends ago

Ok, I've been super lazy about posting pix of our adventures from this past weekend.  Why?  Because I wanted to show a lot more photos than what I had edited to email out to family, and I had editing photo sizes.  But Josh and I just got back from an awesome little pub.  I've got a couple of pints in me...feeling pretty relaxed and ready ready to catch up on my posting.  That, and we've got a big adventure ahead of us this weekend...can't get too far behind,

And actually, I'm just realizing that I'm a couple of weekend's behind.  I'll do a couple of posts.

So back on June 12, we drive a half an our or so to Ashby-de-la-Zouch to tour the castle ruins there.  It was amazing!  We spent quite a bit more time there than we expected, which was totally fine.  but also means that it was the only thing we did that day.

This castle is managed by the English Heritage group..and they put together a really great audio tour (that's what those things are that we're holding up to our ears in many of the photos).  The audio tour was quite cheeky, but gave the whole history of the castle.

They had signs in each room to show how the castle would have looked, etc.  and those are the photos that still need to be edited down.  but you know what, i don't feel like doing it. so i'm just posting pix that we sent out to family.

Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle

Thursday, June 17, 2010

BBC News

For a time, each morning, BBC news has a signer relaying the morning news.  They 'shrink' the main picture, and have a guy standing in front of the screen to the lower right, and he stands there and signs the full news line-up.  It's amazing!  I've ner been able to just watch sign language this long before!  makes me wonder if they don't have Closed-captioning.  I've not seen little notes about that on their tv.  so maybe not.  not sure.  interesting.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Friday, June 11, 2010


People are here are already drunk, in anticipation of the World Cup match between England and USA.  Wow.  lots of loud singing going on outside our apartment...

Summer reading list

Ok, I like to read...gotta read every night before bed.  Just before coming out here, I finished up the book "Salt"...essentially a world history as pertains to salt.  I found it incredibly interesting..a very good read.

ON the way to England, I started in on "The Secret History of the World".  Unfortunately, I'm really not all that thrilled with it.  Too wordy...and it comes off as an infomercial in many places "and what I'm about to tell the next chapter...well you just won't believe the hidden meaning behind it.  It will change your world" and then he skirts the issues, and then when we get to the the "secret"  it's really not all that secret.  Eh.

So I was pretty excited yesterday when i got to go ahead and check out a book from the central library here.  I decided to go with something cute, easy to read, and all about Britain.  It's essentially a book about what it means to be British.  So far, pretty interesting..but the authors crack a lot of jokes.  so that's mildly distracting, but I like the information thus far.  Just a coupla chapters in...but it's a quick read...a nice distraction from the sllloooww pace of the secret history of the world.

Personal tour!

Yesterday was a pretty good day here, despite a drizzly start.  I took off to the art museum and library.  The one large building houses both.  The nice, but modest library occupies the ground floor.  and I was SO happy to be able to be able to go ahead and sign up for a basic library membership (can check out 2 books at a time).  Once I have address verification, then my membership will be upgraded and I can check out more books, cds and dvds.

After that was done, I headed upstairs to their art gallery/museum.  it was an interesting mix of both...started out as a museum, with a great mummy display.  And I ended up getting a personal 30-minute tour from the security guard on duty!  Super cute guy, who goes around to area schools talking about mummies..he's also an aspiring screen writer--so he's a guy who likes to tell stories.  It was really, really cool.

So after the mummies came fossils and minerals.  I skimmed that and when in to the rooms with some art.  A decent collection.  One really neat thing they had was a working orrey model.  One of the main paintings featured an orrey.  And back in the 90's, someone built a model for the museum.  very cool.

Then came there was a war exhibit.  Then artifacts from the Roman era found in and around Derbyshire.  then a HUGE display of Derby china.  The Crown Royal china company is located here...can't want to take a tour of that facility!

The I met Josh for a fantastic lunch at a place called the "Fat Cat Cafe and Bar".  it's one of those places that rarely closes, as they're open for breakfast all the way through the wee hours of the night for their bar area.  We had a fantastic flat-bread sandwiches, served with a lovely and tasty salad and chips (fries)....for 5 pounds (About $7.50)!  We thought that was a pretty good bargain, seeing as you can't get a full meal most places for less than 10 or 12 pounds a person.

And then yesterday evening, we drove about a half-hour out to Licfield to pick up a bike for me.  We won it off of ebay.  So now both joshy boy and I have bikes, and we're ready to tour!!

Oh, and yesterday, I found the post office and got a letter mailed off to Grammers....and it so happened that i received a letter for her the day before.  nice timing!

This morning, one of the other American wives and i went on a nice long run.  It helps she and i are about the same height, so we had a similar stride.  so it was an enjoyable time...not too competitive! 

On that for the rest of the day:  walking into town to get Father's Day Cards.  and the when Joshy boy gets home, we've got to get to the bike shop before it closes to pick a up a full size pump (our travel one ain't gonna cut it), a water bottle cage for my bike, and a couple of bottles.  and the sun is out today, too!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New format

Ok, I think I've got things set up so that the you tube videos aren't getting cut off, and that way i can post the larger panoramic shots, too.


I don't like that the embedded you-tube videos are getting cut-off...I'm going to play around with the layout...


For our first real weekend in the UK, we decided to tourist it up and hit nearly every touristy spot in Central London in a single walking trip on Saturday.  We ordered first class train tickets from Derby into London for dirt cheap by buying online on Friday, and then spent some time that night laying out all of the spots we wanted to hit.  and the good news is, we didn't get lost once!

Here are the pertinent stats from Saturday's trip:

  • 7:00 AM departure from Derby Station
  • ~10 hours touring Central London
  • 12.5 miles covered on foot (plus 3 mile round-trip walk to/from the Derby station)
  • 9:30 PM return to Derby Station
  • 4 incredibly tired feet

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    a little over a week in...

    we've been in England 1.5 weeks now.  It's required a bit more adjusting than I was anticipating...and not that that is a bad thing, just not quite what I was expecting.  I am also trying to figure out a schedule for myself while Josh is off at work.  (and his work is going really i'm glad we're out here for this opportunity for him). 

    But I'm getting a bit frustrated at not being home, in control of my business.  So if anything, this is a really good lesson in letting go of control.  Frustrating, but good I'm sure.  As burnt out as I was with making crowns day in and day out, I really kind of miss it and am not real sure of what to do with myself.

    I've been going on lovely long walks during the day, walking to the market, and just popping into cute shops.  With the conversion rate hovering at about 1 : 1.4-1.5, everything is inherently 1.5X more expensive than at home.  So stuff is expensive, and we're trying to save our pennies for weekend excursions.

    I had been toying with the idea of getting a little sewing machine while I'm out here...found a few shops that carry them.  but I'm not sure if that's too extravagant to go and do, because I'd also have to buy all new scissors, thread, patterns, pins..etc...

    There are a couple of local colleges, and I looked into taking summer classes...but since they're small colleges, they don't have much during the summer (what they do have is tractor driving and falconry.  They had some really neat gardening classes...i could have gotten my certificate in organic gardening!!  But those classes are only offered in the fall (Sept)...for 15-32 weeks....and we're leaving in Nov.

    I did purchase Rosetta Stone-Greek to learn Greek better for work...I purchased that a few months ago in anticipation of doing that while I was here.  I haven't had the motivation to use it yet, though.

    We did take the train in to London this past Saturday, though.  that was a lot of fun..I'll post those pix and videos in a separate post (working on uploading videos to you tube now)

    It's a really rainy day out here maybe i will pull out rosetta stone.

    In the meantime, here are a few fun photos from the past week.

    Around Derby:

    This is an old Theater, named Zanziabar!  I loved the name so much that I named a stuffed kitty I found (to help fill the void without my 2 kitties here) Zanzibar.

    Cheese dinner...having fun trying locally produced foods
    Lots of fun London pix coming up.....