An old fashioned English ramble

One of the most popular recreational activities in England is, surprisingly enough, walking. English people are really into walking. Or rambling, as it’s called here. See also: healthy walks. In America, we call it hiking. There is often gear involved-hills or mountains, special shoes (or at least tennis shoes), maybe a backpack and a water bottle, all that stuff. Sometimes you see the extra stuff here too, but there are some differences in walking/rambling in the two nations. And I’ve found that plain old rambling is far more popular with regular, non-athletic types in England, just as much as with the gym-goers. It’s for families, older folk, children, everyone. And that’s just nice. A national past time.

I remember the first time I went for a walk with Jon and his family. We were in Derbyshire on holiday and in preparation I put on my yoga pants and tennis shoes and a workout t-shirt with a hoodie. I looked like I was heading for the gym, and I was ready to rock this ramble! I also looked like a complete idiot next to the rest of the Norris family-I’m pretty sure Jon was wearing chucks, he and his dad were both wearing jeans, and maybe there were some rainproof jackets involved or something. Anyway, I learned my lesson. English rambling is way more laid back than what I’d previously thought. It’s essentially a very refined, very English way of enjoying the beautiful country that exists here.

In England and Wales, walkers have the right of “pass and repass” which means that the public is allowed access to footpaths and routes that cross both public and private land. It makes for interesting walks, that’s for sure-farmland and countryside abounds, complete with free roaming cattle, sheep, and horses. This country is perfect for rambling-hilly and green, dotted with picturesque villages here and there. And there’s nothing better than taking a long walk that ends at a quaint country pub with a roaring fireplace, a lazy dog or two, and good draft beer on tap. I mean that.

Even though Jon and I live in the city, I like to take advantage of any opportunities to get my ramble on. Jon’s parents are good at humo(u)ring me, and inviting us along to go for walks with them on occasion. And while I still haven’t got a good hang of how to dress-in part due to my hesitation to by hiking boots, which, sorry, no one looks cool in-I love a good wander, and now think I know how to do it without looking like a total noob.

In October Jon and I went for a walk with his mom and the dogs on the South Downs. It was a beautiful brisk autumnal day, bright and sunny, and I couldn’t help but take a bunch of pictures. I hope that we’ll be taking some snowy walks this winter (fingers crossed for enough snow to make a winter wonderland!)

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Village Day in Lindfield

Even though we are now official residents of Brighton, on Saturday Jon and I left our busy city lives (ha!) and took the train up to Hayward’s Heath for a visit to Jon’s hometown-well, home village, technically-for the purpose of a birthday lunch with the honorable Papa Norris and a mosey to the village common for LINDFIELD VILLAGE DAY! WEEEEEEE!image

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imageLindfield, if I haven’t written that much about it before (although I;ve mentioned it a little bit, as you can see here) is a very quaint, fancy little village. It’s great, full of old people, and a visit serves a little bit like going back in time. Wikipedia tells me that Lindfield means “open field with lime trees”, but I didn’t know that there were lime trees there, and now I want to go back and check. Apparently every year Lindfield hosts a “Village Day” celebration on the Common (Common being what they call the main grassy park area). But because this year’s Village Day coincided with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, it was an exceptionally large-exceptionally patriotic-crowd. I took lots of stealth pictures of my favorite outfits, like an American ninja.

Lindfield Village Day 2012The Queen, accompanied by her corgis. Great outfit!

Besides well-dressed folks and children dressed as princesses left and right, there were also fun contests that had been held and whose winners were on display: Victoria Sponge (which is similar to pound cake in the States, with jam, yum), cardboard crowns, miniature gardens, and homemade booze. Fun, right?

Another magical part of Village Day-a dog show! And there were plenty of patriotic dogs in attendance, believe me.

So cute…so fat! This was my favorite dog of the day. He/she won the prize for “Dog judges most want to take home”.

Spud wasn’t into it. Nope. He’s on the lazy, judgmental side of things. And ignore those baggy eyes on me-I was ill!

So Village Day in Lindfield was lovely, ignoring the fact that I woke up with a case of sniffles and a sore throat that sadly progressed throughout the day-no doubt from my sniffly, no hand washing students! That meant an early night post-Lindfield and a quiet day of watching the Jubilee River Pageant yesterday with Jon-no gin and tonics for me. Today I’m feeling a little bit better, and I’m hoping for a full recovery by the end of the extra long weekend. No work until Wednesday!

Oh Lindfield. So quaint. The whole village was looking its best!

The only way to end a beautiful day of celebrating a proper English village…with a drink at the pub. Seems everyone else had the same idea!

A Torquay Wedding

Even though Jon and I are engaged ourselves, in the two years that we’ve been together we’ve never gone to a wedding together. Weird, right? I thought so. That was finally remedied this past Saturday when we road tripped down to Torquay for the wedding of Gill and Nick, Nick being one of Jon’s old university roommates. They are a really amusing, super hilarious couple if ever there was one. The whole thing was really fun-everyone was in such a good mood! Although the weather wasn’t exactly pleasant down by the sea, it wasn’t terrible, and the rain held off long enough for outdoorsy pictures before everyone piled in the chartered bus for our trip to the reception venue. The ceremony itself was in a small room in Torre Abbey, which was absolutely beautiful. Strong point of living in England-you can get married in a castle/manor house/abbey that is hundreds of years old, and  unabashedly awesome. Afterwards, there was much receptional dancing and rowdiness, believe you-me. And it was really nice having the chance to spend so much quality time with my man, driving to the Southwest and just hanging out! Not to mention finally meeting so many of the dudes that color his very interesting uni stories:)

 (Last two pictures c/o the lovely Dave Parry!)

Now I’m back to lazing about. The combined change of crazy temperatures from near 90s in Ohio to low 60s and rainy in England, plus all the traveling stress has combined to give me some sort of horrendous cold. I’m hacking and wheezing over here-it ain’t pretty. Keep your fingers crossed that I survive.

British English v. American English

I feel somewhat like I’m in a little time warp. England is beautiful, with gorgeous scenery and quaint houses everywhere.  The pubs have names like The Druid’s Head, The Pump House, Witch Inn…it’s like Sleepy Hollow around here! Lindfield, the village where Jon lives, is picturesque and lovely. Old people putter around. We walk to the bakery for fresh baguettes and rhubarb-strawberry treats. Did you know that graham crackers don’t exist in England? Yeah, neither did I. But I do appreciate a place where I can eat crispy, fresh baked bread with butter and camembert for lunch. Which I guess I could do in Ohio, but the ambiance just isn’t the same, you know? And here’s a little vocab lesson on things I’ve learned in my first week UK-side:

pram=stroller

car park = parking lot

trolley= shopping cart

handbag=purse and purse=wallet (found out this one at the airport/during my immigration debacle, was asked to take my “purse out of my handbag”. um…what?)

toilet roll=toilet paper

washing up liquid=dish soap

canned veg=pretty obvious, but it’s a bit funny to see “canned veg”  as an aisle at the grocery store. To me at least.

Ah well, that’s all I can think of for now, crazy-new-Brit words wise. This blog isn’t going so well, I’m feeling a bit scattered! I can’t put any of my photos up yet-my little laptop has no battery, so I’m using one of Jon’s. Yes, he has multiples, that nerdy nerd that he is. But I shall be putting some of the fun ones that I’ve taken of Brighton Pier and our weekend endeavors up soon, after my new power cord comes in the mail. We took the train from Hayward’s Heath to Brighton on both Saturday and Sunday this past weekend. I’ve never been to such a cold, rocky beach, yet still full of people. It was still fun though, albeit very windy. We played on the pier, taking silly pictures and thinking about riding one of the terrifying carnival rides on show. A spinny wheel thing that straps you in, then goes out over the English Channel? No no no, a thousand times no! We, along with Penny and Seb, two fellow Korea veterans, attempted to find a Korean restaurant on West Street which, turns out, doesn’t exist. Bummer. Instead, we had an exceptional meal at a Thai restaurant. At least it was Asian, right? Finally Penny, Jon and I watched another World Cup game from a pub while drinking a few before Penny’s aunt came to pick her up. Speaking of-it was very fun being the only American in a pub watching the US vs. England match this past Saturday. Hooray for lucky goals! Hooray I say!

I think there will be more World Cup, more exploring, and more books in my very near future. Now that I’m a bit more settled, I need to get my mind together.  The next update will be better, I promise!

England here I come!

Reunited, and it feels so gooooood…..

I should  maybe probably save that little ditty for when we’re ACTUALLY reunited. Which is the day after tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day I get on a plane and fly that-a-way. Columbus-JFK-Reykjavik-Heathrow. I must say, I’ve never flown to or through Iceland (woohoo Reykjavik!) and I hope I get a looksie out the window at the airport during my little layover, at least. The whole trip will take around 12 hours or so, and I am going to try my darndest to get some sleep so I’m bright eyed and busy tailed when my love comes to get me at the airport Wednesday morning. I’m also hoping he doesn’t forget me, or get lost, or something in that vein. Yay for summer!