One Good Turn Deserves Another?

Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Monday, Lindsay (Luke's mum) was up from Southam to help me work on the bathroom, what had previously been christened by myself as 'the cave' or 'the hole'. Seriously, it was one of the most depressingly dingy bathrooms I have seen. Between scraping the pealing paint off perfectly good white tiles we were having a good chin-wag (gossip session) which had me laughing in hysterics.

Apparently Lindsay has been using a website called Freecycle, in which you post up things that are cluttering your garage and you just want to get rid of (it all must be free). You know the whole "one man's trash is another man's treasure" philosophy. Lindsay had put up Luke's wind-surfs (basically surfboards with a sail attached to them), which he has had since his mid-teens and used  maybe three times. She got a bite almost immediately in the form of a early to mid-twenties young man. He came over took one look at the wind surfs and had Ian help him put them in the car. End of story.

... Or at least it was supposed to be. About a week later Lindsay receives a text from him asking if she knows how to put the wind surfs together. Of course she didn't know so she decided to wait a day until she saw Luke to ask him. Before 24 hours had passed she received another text: "Are you ignoring me? :-(" While she thought it was odd, she still didn't expect anything amiss with it. Luke told her he didn't know how to explain the windsurfs via text but he thought there was a manual somewhere about the house she could try and find. So Lindsay sent windsurf man a text telling him she would try to find the manual.

Another 24 hours go by, another text from him once again: "Are you ignoring me now? :-( xx" For those not in the know, kisses (x's) at the end of texts, emails, etc. in England are very popular but are ONLY done between friends. To do so to an acquaintance here, is in some ways seen as a complete disregard for a person's privacy or respect. Now Lindsay is a little creeped out by windsurf man but she finds the manual and asks for his address so she may post it. His reply: "So you don't want to ever see me again? xx ;-(" To which Lindsay promptly posts the manual, doesn't respond to his text, and is now hoping and praying that she will be left well alone.

What's worse is this man knows where she lives and knows she has a husband because when he met Lindsay it was with Ian! Lindsay says she is also grossed out by the fact that a man her own son's age is trying to "see her again". The icing on the cake is a week previous, while getting a key copied for our house she was propositioned by the locksmith.

The sad fact of the matter is, Lindsay was just trying to do a good deed by giving the windsurfs away. She could have sold them on eBay or a garage sale and made some money, but she wanted to give them away to someone who wanted them but maybe couldn't afford to buy them. She felt so good after the initial fact of giving them away and wanted to try and give more away. But now after seeing what kind of people Freecycle brings her in contact with she will think twice before using it ever again. Damn and I was going to use it to try a find a free washing machine, not now!

Pocketful of Sunshine

Saturday, 25 September 2010
Signs of Autumn are beginning to show here in England - the cricket season has ended and the rugby season is just beginning (in fact Luke is off playing rugby at this very moment). Jumpers are making a comeback to my wardrobe. The leaves of some of the trees are now adorning splashes of red and orange. And further proof, last night when Luke and I were cooking dinner the entire first floor's windows fogged up. Yes, it's beginning to get a bit chilly here.

The arrival of Autumn always brings lots of things to look forward to. For example: my birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving (in America that is) and it's the precursor to Christmastime. My favourite time of year has always been October to December! This year Autumn introduced me to a new treat, figs. I was reading one of Luke's mum's magazines and it said that September is when figs are at their perfect ripeness. People seem to truly enjoy figs here, where as back home the closest I got to a fig was a Fig Newton, and even then that was just the name as I usually ate the raspberry ones. Not anymore! I absolutely love figs, every time we go grocery shopping we pick up about 5 or 6 of them. They are amazing just plain but even better when thinly sliced and put on top of Greek yoghurt with honey (my own little concoction).

As I said earlier, Luke is playing his first game of the rugby season, which is also the first with his new team - Pershore Rugby Club, located about 10 minutes away from us. Normally I will go and watch him play, but since it was his first match I thought it best to let him get his bearings. Besides, I am supposed to be getting the house ready for my mom's visit (she'll be here this time next week). Instead I got sucked into my blog, so now I better go make a start on the house!

Erin x

Wild Horses

Friday, 24 September 2010
It has been a while since my last post, blame the pressures of trying to get a new house up and running that has been vacant for a year. I keep a list in my diary of things to do and buy for the house; and it seems with every thing I tick off the list I add two more things to it. Oh well, that's moving out for you. I have learned to enjoy the little hassles, for the most part. For the past 3 weeks barely a day has gone by without the feeling of paint on my hands, but enough DIY talk.

In between all the work on the house, I have managed to enjoy myself in Worcester. There have been several visitors to the house on a number of occasions, allowing Luke and myself to play hosts which we have both greatly enjoyed. A week on Saturday we will have a very special visitor, or at the very least our furthest traveled visitor, my mother! I'm very excited to see her for her to see what we've accomplished so far. Lots to show her, not just around Worcester but all over England. Her visit will coincide with my birthday (October 9th - also the birthday of John Lennon and my Auntie Donna) for which she's treating us to a night in London and a play on the West End...

That's right the show is 'Wicked' in case you couldn't guess, one of my mom's favourite plays. I am looking forward to it, especially since I read the book it's based on a number of years ago. (No, not Wizard of Oz, although I read that too.) I am really looking forward to seeing my mom! I just can't wait!

Besides visitors, Luke and I have made some time to go back to Southam. Our most recent visit was last Sunday, when Luke's Auntie and cousins came down. We all went down to the RLS Polo Club (where various members of the royal family have played) for 'Polo in the Park', my first polo match in England - indeed my first polo match ever. I really enjoyed watching it, although I didn't understand the game all too well I did appreciate observing the polo ponies. Besides polo, 'Polo in the Park' had a mini fun fair set up on the grounds. Luke, his two cousins (Becki and Katie), and myself rode the "dodge 'ems" (the English term for bumper cars). I don't think I've laughed that hard in a very long time. After which Luke, Becki, and I took turns riding the mechanical bull which the English call the "buck-a-roo". I did myself proud, but spending the most time on the bull. Luke's cousin, Katie, was able to get videos of us riding which I'm going to try and put up.

Well, I suppose I leave it here for now - until next time.



Moving Out

Thursday, 9 September 2010
Where do I even begin? Since my last blog post so many things have happened and changed, namely Luke and I moved from the quite streets of Southam to the “city” of Worcester, home of Worcester Sauce (it’s true passed the Lea & Perrins factory just the other day) When Luke and I first planned to move here that was all I knew about Worcester, well that and that it was in Worcestershire but I suppose that’s pretty self explanatory. Now I can inform you that it is also the birthplace of a famous composer who I admit I didn’t know named Sir Edward Elgar and was the location of the last battle of the English Civil War. As well as being home to the world’s oldest newspaper the Berrow’s Worcester Journal which first began publication in 1690, I’m determined to get an internship there.
The reasons behind my long absence are two-fold, one being I have been so busy I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off and the other being we do not have Internet set up yet at the new house. It has been ordered and a man is coming to install it on September 16th it’s still a week away and it feels like ages. To be honest besides feeling cut off from the world I have not even had time to notice not having Internet we’ve been so busy. The place we found is a three-storey townhouse although at one time it was one large property. The age of our home has been under some debate. Lindsay was looking at an old map of Worcester from 1806 and swears our house was on it, which would make it Georgian. Luke’s Granddad says the style of brickwork is too modern to be Georgian. Luke says the brickwork and style is too old to be Victorian (he lived in a Victorian property in Manchester). Someone else has mentioned a possibility of it being Edwardian (which would place it somewhere between 1901 and 1910). So where does that leave us? I’m living in a house that was built sometime between 1800 and 1910, although general consensus puts it at about 1830s/40s – in other words old. Although I guess when you look at some properties around England that are from the 1500s it puts it into perspective.
I learned one thing very quickly about living in an older property; they are a lot of work. Especially if let’s say the property was vacant for nearly a year allowing it to gather dust and giving spiders a chance to fill the ceilings with cobwebs. I never thought I had much of a problem with spiders until I moved to England and was informed that what I felt was a large spider is indeed ‘only a tiny thing’. The previous tenant seemed to not take much pride in a house the paint was just slopped on the walls. Clearly someone had never heard of this handy dandy painting tool known as masking tape.
The ground floor comprises of a living room, small hallway with a closet under the stairs, and a backdoor leading to our little garden. The living room was painted a bright aqua, not at all warm and welcoming, but it is now ‘malt chocolate’ and the hearth is painted ‘intense truffle’.
The kitchen is on the second floor and while the walls were fairly clean I doubt the oven had ever been cleaned in its life. It was absolutely disgusting. I had the happy chore of cleaning that, it has been cleaned twice and still isn’t perfect. The other disappointment of the kitchen was what Luke and I believed to be a washing machine is in fact a tumble dryer. Rented properties in the UK are not required to supply fridges, washing machines, dishwashers, or anything like that. In fact perhaps properties in the US aren’t either but when Luke and I looked at it we just assumed it was and didn’t bother to double check. That means now we have to go out and buy a washing machine unless we feel like doing all our laundry at a laundromat (which for the record I don’t) or send it back to Lindsay to do it all for us (which for the record she doesn’t). The kitchen was a plum colour, which Luke liked but I wanted to brighten it up besides it was done very badly. Luke and I argued about the kitchen colours, everything I liked he didn’t and vice versa. In the end I just gave up and went with the colour he liked ‘dusted damson’ which is a pretty purple but not what I would have chosen for the kitchen. As Luke said “Not many boyfriends would let you paint the kitchen purple” to which I replied “No, no not many boyfriends would choose to paint the kitchen purple.”
The bathroom is on the same floor as the kitchen and is by far my least favourite. It’s small and dingy and for the first week of us being here it had no light bulb in it. But Lindsay has promised to make it her pet project, says we won’t even recognize it. This was before we’d properly moved in, all we had were some thin mats to sleep on from out of Lindsay’s conservatory and not much else. We’d scheduled the moving van for a week after we first got the keys. In that time we figured we’d have the whole place spotlessly clean and completely painted. Clearly we were under delusions of how much we were going to be able to accomplish. While the rooms are all painted, none are fully done. We have trim to finish in the living room and second coats and trim to finish in the kitchen and bedroom.
So much to do and so little time to do it in – we’d like to have the place all finished (well at least painted nicely) by the time my mom comes to visit in October. I acknowledge that it will be some time before we have all our d├ęcor settled. It’s a slow process but it is fun. While I have more to say, I had better get back to the house (currently I’m at a pub) and get back to work. Photos and a video tour coming soon.
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