Those of you in America (and maybe some other places in the Northern Hemisphere) have been enjoying the snow this winter, but since it just came to the south of England, I’m right in that sweet spot of being ultra-pleased that I look out my window and see a winter wonderland! And not a slushy gross gray one, either. Just white. Lovely.
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!
Lindfield, 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.
The 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!
Today I :
-couldn’t stop feeling jittery with excitement about our big move in TWO DAYS.
-didn’t really pack like I should have/meant to do.
-was so pleased with the amazingly warm, sunshiney weather (65! What the crap!)! It brought two things to my attention-my normally very white skin has gone completely transparent since I moved here and began my life as a hermit, and my mood is way more affected by sunshine than I was previously aware. Seriously, I was ecstatic for most of the (gorgeous) day. Hmph.
Things I have learned recently:
-Bedding in the UK is like a whole different world. I nearly had an aneurysm shopping with Jon and his fam last weekend out of frustration with the total gap in communication-duvets (??) instead of comforters, and they are just a giant pillowcase with buttons that you shove a duvet into, and no word for flat sheets and fitted sheets and any number of other things that I thought were complete non-issues. Lesson learned. Sort of. I mean, we have bedding now, so that’s that. My blood pressure has returned to normal. It’s the little things.
-There are lots of providers for gas and electric around here! Instead of just Columbia gas and AEP, there are soooo many to choose from. I guess it’s up to us to find someone we like. Or ask our landlord who to go through. I don’t really know. Needless to say, it’s very different from what I’m used to, but I imagine the competition is for the best, rather than the monopoly that’s being run up in Ohio. Alright!
I also took the dogs for a walk this afternoon to soak up some more Vitamin D and take out the ol’ DSLR for a bit, which sadly I haven’t been using as much as I should. I’ve fallen for the siren song of cell phone pictures. So easy! So convenient! So crap, generally speaking.
Oh Lindfield, Hayward’s Heath…I’m going to miss your quaint little self a little bit.
Two days! Eeeee!
I should be packing my things to head back to Ohio on a plane tomorrow (sighs, mixed with happy?) but I’ve been thrown into a bit of a depression with this whole leaving-my-dude-behind-for-the-next-year-and-a-half thing, so I decided to spend my whole morning watching videos on Youtube of The Smiths/Morrissey, then some Nylon TV. And now I’ll do some blogging about the rest of Marisa’s visit. That’ll be good, and keep me from starting to cry again, like a big whiny baby.
Marisa was here for only 5 days, and it was a whirlwind 5 days, let me tell ya. We wandered around Lindfield, which is so lovely and picturesque, and Marisa loved it, just like I do. We did some jumping on the Common, some walking around, ate some curry. It was nice.
We took the train down to Brighton to hang out by the pier and enjoy a night out. Upon getting off the train we came across a free wine tasting, so we (of course) hit that up. All the wine-selling people were so nice and informative!
Then on to the water!
Our day (and night) in Brighton was super fun and surprisingly enough, we woke up nice and early on Sunday morning with plenty of time to get the train home, wash up and get back on another train, this time bound for London.
Someone was sleeeeeepy.
Unfortunately, my camera battery died after day one, so part two of Marisa and Ashley’s London adventure (and the day which we navigated all by our lonesome, as Jon went back to HH on Sunday night to work the next day) has no photo documentation. But day one was fun! We took M for her first pub lunch, visited the Queen at Buckingham palace, did more jumping in some London parks, went to Harrod’s, sat for a bit in Trafalgar Square watching a crazy little boy squirt water at pigeons….
Then Jon tried to throw me in the fountain. That’s love.
We stayed in the worst hotel ever, on the planet. More like a hostel, where people get murdered and dark goings-on happen on the regular. Thanks a lot for scheduling that one Juan. “It’s so cheap!” he says. Well, it’s cheap for a reason dude, and Marisa and I had to get a little bit drunk just to feel comfortable enough to fall asleep in that creepy, filthy room directly across from King’s Cross Station. Moving on, the next day Marisa and I managed not to get too lost. We visited the London Dungeons, which was scary and awesome, but mostly scary. We went to the Tower of London, got caught in a rain storm, and spent far too little time in the Natural History Museum (BEST MUSEUM EVER). We were exhausted by the time we got home Monday night. And Tuesday evening, after a full day of laying around and re-packing M’s things, she was off once again, this time to Deutschland for a month. We are attempting to schedule another reunion-this time in Ohio, with football, in November-so fingers crossed that’s it not too long before I see my favorite Canadian again!
Favorite picture from the weekend :
Brighton Beach. Now, Brighton isn’t where I’m staying, but it is a 15 minute train ride south to the very popular beach town. “Beach” meaning purely next to water-in this case the English Channel. It’s a rocky, unforgiving sort of beach, but perfectly suited for beer drinking, and for some brave souls, swimming (more like frolicking in a crazy manner to keep the blood flowing after the initial shock of freezing temperatures). People have been there in droves all the times I’ve been so far, and it’s a really pleasant place to be when the sun is shining and you’re walking on the boardwalk, hot or not. The Pier has all manner of carnival-esque attractions, none of which we rode because we value our lives. However, when I was in Brighton just Wednesday the weather was downright gorgeous. The sun was shining, I dare say I was sweating. But no camera then-damn! That was the day that I had my first British “pie”. It was filled with all sorts of deliciousness. Goat cheese, spinach, sweet potato, cheddar. Yum! I’m really coming around on this savory pie thing that the Brits do. Just like chicken pot pie, which I loved when I was a kid, but much more wide-spread and found in virtually every pub/restaurant you walk into. Served with chips (delicious thick-cut fries, which I can’t get enough of) and green beans. I could eat pie for every meal.
After our pie lunch at a very cool place called The Mash Tun (where we found ourselves two days in a row), Jon and I made our way to an Asian market that Jon knew of a few blocks away. We were on a mission to find some Korean things to cook up, and we succeeded. Gochujang, glass noodles, mandu, and my favorite ramen were all for sale! The only thing missing, ironically enough, was kimchi.
I have to say it-I love Brighton. I love the vibe, I love the street style of its inhabitants, I love the architecture. It’s got everything I look for in a place to spend my time. And since it’s so close to Jon’s parent’s place, it’s the natural place for everyone to go.It’s like the Miami or South Beach of England-everyone goes there to enjoy the sea views and the sunshine (even if there isn’t very much of the latter).
Like a lovely little postcard!
I know I may be just having some sort of traveler’s thing, loving this place, but I feel like the general attitude of the British people is really jiving well with me at this time. So many things that keep happening in America give me the chills-Arizona’s immigration laws, Texas’ Board of Education changing their textbooks, BP filling the Gulf with oil day after day, health care reform getting such terrible backlash..I could go on. And I don’t want to come across as whiny or holier than thou at all, because I love America. Adore it, really! (Ask anyone who has ever traveled with me and endured my shouts of USA!USA! at the drop of a hat) And I’m proud to represent my country, on a very modest level, when I travel. But I’m tired of being disappointed so often, and sometimes on such a large scale. It’s nice to go to a country that’s mostly gone through it’s growing pains, and is generally comfortable with who it is-multiple party system, crazy people, and all. And I KNOW that the UK, and England specifically, has it’s own-very large, very respectable-problems. But they’re just so damn CIVIL about it all! I’m just saying that this is how I feel now. I feel comfortable. And hopeful for America, eventually. Fingers crossed.
And now, time to get off the soap box for the evening. Vodka, red bull and World Cup await.