Monday, June 22, 2009

They had fun storming the castle

All that torturing and beheading was hard work!

That was hard work

We took the girls and Mermaid to the Tower of London this weekend, and much fun was had by all. There was pigeon chasing,


escape attempts,

Boo and arrow slit
Thankfully she couldn't fit through

ice cream eating, and Crown Jewel admiring. We saw the spot where a number of the nobility were beheaded, including Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey.

The tower does not, unfortunately, have a white peacock, but it does have ravens. Really big ravens. Who are fed 6 oz of raw meat a day. Plus biscuits soaked in blood. Yuck!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Boy are we spoiled

I had to get gas for the car this morning. Thankfully after 6+ weeks, the whole driving on the left side of the road thing seems to have been largely worked out, but this was the first time I'd been to a gas station. Two things I noticed:

1) For a country that spends an amazing (to us Americans that is) amount of time and energy thinking about carbon footprints and recycling and global warming, they are missing an important thing on their gas pumps. Namely vapor collars. You know, those accordion pleated thingiemajigs that make it really hard to get the gas pump nozzle far enough in to the gas tank to work? Yeah, don't have 'em here. Or at least, not that we've been able to find. Since we've only had to fill up the car twice, our experience may be too narrow to make gross generalizations, but still.

2) The signs at the gas stations are similar to what you would see in the states, namely two grades of gas (usually diesel and regular) with prices somewhere in the range of 1 pound (I have got to figure out how to do the pound symbol on this keyboard. Soon). So I pulled up and started filling the tank. Imagine my surprise when I looked up after the tank was finally full to find that the total cost was just over 50 pounds.

After I picked my eyeballs and jaw off the ground, I realized that I had been thinking that it was 1 pound a gallon. No, no, no, no...those prices are for litres of gas petrol. 1 pound per litre means $3.80 a gallon. So I just spent $82 to buy 13.2 gallons of gas. Holy crap.

Thank god we only have to buy gas once a month! I think I need to start walking more.

Friday, June 12, 2009

An English Garden I haz one

I certainly had a preconceived notion of what an English garden should look like. And it turns out the one we have is pretty darn close to my theoretical stereotype. No, it's not the Secret Garden of FHB's imagination, but it does have some of the important characteristics. Which is to say, a cubic buttload of roses.


There are at least 30 rose bushes in the front and back gardens. Incredible!

There are also apple trees, pear trees, a huge sour cherry tree, grape vines and figs.


There are gorgeous clematis, which the girls and I happily picked today to bring inside. According to my mother-in-law, they make great cutting flowers.


There are also some unidentified gorgeous flowers,

Yes, I know that's an iris, but what's the pink thing in front?

This looks like butterfly bush to me.


And the wool-fiend in me was extremely gratified to discover these in the front garden.


Ahhhh...the ultimate moth deterrent

We are certainly enjoying the back garden, which has plenty of space for the kids to run around in, plus incredible plantings to enjoy. And, thankfully for the landlords, we also have a gardener, who hopefully will keep my black thumb from having too much influence.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

It's 14:40, do you know where your children are?

I do, and I'm damn glad they're not with me.

This has been the toughest part of this moving thing: not the transition from the US to the UK, but the transition from working full time to parenting full time. Both of my kids have gone to daycare since they were three or four months old. There was a fabulous daycare at Himself's office and the girls absolutely loved it. They would run gleefully down the hall when we dropped them off in the morning, and come home in the evening with stories of the fun things they'd done all day.

But here? We are a full-on stay-at-home Mama and kids these days. Devil will start school (!) in September, and Boo will start in a day nursery (the equivalent of full time daycare) at the same time, but until then its the three of us. Trying not to kill each other. Or rather, them bouncing off the walls with energy that used to be directed into stuff at daycare, and me trying to keep my shit together enough to keep them entertained and out of trouble. It's been really hard. Really, really hard. Hard enough for me to think "You know? I'm really not cut out for this." on more then one occasion.

However, it has gotten better. We've discovered the local playgrounds, both indoors and out. We have become veteran Tube riders - we're right on the District line which takes us to lots of good kid stuff very easily. We've found the local swimming pool, and we live a 10 min walk from a very large park with lots of trails to explore. We spend a lot of our time out and about. The upside of this is that I've lost 6 pounds since we moved simply from pushing close to 100 lbs of kids + stroller all over West London. The down side is that they aren't getting enough interaction with other kids and I'm getting hardly any down time for myself. Not a good combo.

So this morning Himself took them off in the rain to the museum. He just texted me to say they wouldn't be back for another hour at least. I've cleaned up my desk, done a couple loads of laundry, made the guest bed for my MIL who comes next week while he goes back to the States for a business trip, and I'm about to have lunch with my book. In peace and quiet.

Thank goodness.