Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Our cat

Bosley, the much loved Rutherford cat. He likes to sleep in comfort, preferably in Adam's bed, where there is a sometimes a trail of footprints, fur and the odd leaf. The conservatory is another favourite spot. He loves attention and is very friendly, but has an independent side. He hunts at night and carouses with other cats in the neighbourhood.

Raining cats and dogs

The girls' grandmother is here from Japan. Day one was warm and sunny, but since then she has had a real taste of wet British weather. We went to the Surrey County Show one of the annual rural shows, complete with stalls, rides, show jumping, cattle, goats, dogs showing their skills, produce and agricultural machinery. We 'rugged up' but obviously haven't perfected the knack of keeping the wet out. The locals were there in wellington boots, long water proof coats, hats and rarely an umbrella, (not many people use them here). We bravely trudged through thick mud and darted between tents to keep dry. Lots of lingering over pygmy goats and birds in as to avoid the wet! These shows are big and take up a lot of space, and while we could hear the commentary for the show-jumping, hadn't the energy to find it. To watch would have meant more standing in the rain. We lasted only a few hours, but were all happy to have least gone and seen it.
I am now going to keep my wellies in the boot of the car, along with a warm rug and a towel. The wellies will get lots of use as I am about to start as a volunteer at a local National Trust home called Standen. See the picture above. I am going to work in the garden there. Gardening is a real passion and there are opportunities to learn as well as do something good for our heritage.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Red Fox

The girls and I went for a walk after dinner the other night. It stays light until around 9:30 now, so it was very bright. We took the bridle path that is near the house, which is as the name suggests, a pathway for horse-riders. England is laced with bridle paths and public footpaths, some of which actually cut through private land, but are accessible to the public. They make for fantastic walks, as they are often through fields and forests. I always look out for birds, and in the evenings, rabbits and other mammals...(I want to see a hedgehog). We saw nothing of interest until we were on the main road near the house when Emily spotted a large red fox. (A bit like the one in this image). He stood in the driveway of a house across the road and we eyed each other off for about five minutes. He then made his way into the garden of the house. Foxes have become common in urban areas and are even found in large cities, where they forage for food in garbage. Often they are thin and mangy, but this one was large with a lovely coat. We will keep watch for him again.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

I am who I am

Hello and thanks to everyone who e-mailed and commented on the blog. It was great to hear from so many people..... all the messages and emails were good to read.
The lovely sunny weather has gone and we have had showers on and off all week. The truth is that the rain helps. England, like much of the rest of the world faces water shortages, although this year it looks better than last year, so far. Life in Australia taught us to respect our water, but it is hard. Of late, anything used for washing vegetables and rice is put into a container for the pot plants and the drier patches on the lawn.
We compost madly too. All vegetable scraps and peel, no seeds and no citrus, the occasional egg carton (they are cardboard here) and egg shells. It is looking good, but won't be on the garden for months and who knows where we will be then? I am wondering if we can take our compost bin with us when we move...
This last week I have been working on two translations and have discovered how disciplined one really has to be to work at home. The humble oven timer did it for me. 60 minute cycles of head down, no checking e-mails, cooking, reading and NO flurries of housework, (that bit was easy). The girls were invaluable, they read some of text aloud to me. J was saintly in his patience and over the long weekend we shared the computer as his is down.
Tomorrow I have to travel to Brighton, about an hour south of here on the coast, for an interview. Because I left the UK so long ago.....decades in fact...I do not have national insurance number, which is necessary for jobs, tax and the pension. The interview aims to prove that I am who I say I am and that I really do live in England and plan to be here for a while. Much paper work has to be presented, but it should go smoothly.
Hope to get some more photos up soon. We had a grey squirrel in the garden yesterday, officially pests, but quite pretty from a distance.
Till next time.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

May 1st - First Blog Day

Here am I now guilty of adding to all that cyber pollution with yet another blog. But it seems to be a good way of letting people know how we are, when there is so little time to write to you all individually.
May Day. Sunny and warm. The weather has been fantastic with the exception of two rainy days last week and our first week in March, when it snowed. Even then there were daffodils and cherry blossoms in bloom. Now we are seeing golden rape fields, apple blossom, lavender, lillies, rhodedendrons and early hydraenga buds. This is a great place to garden.
The girls are now settled well at school and are in the gardening club; mainly as the netball club season has ended and there is little else; but it is a chance to get wet and dirty after school one day a week.
The school is Crawley Down Church of England Village School in the small village of Crawley Down. Crawley means ' a place where cows gather on a hill....' as far as I remember. Very poetic. We drive through country lanes to get there and often see people on horse-back, squirells, pheasants, rabbits and ducks.
John commutes a long way each day to work, sometimes it takes 90 minutes to get there. So, we are selling this house and moving to a better location for all of us. The house has been on the market for four weeks and there is not a great deal of activity. The good side of that is that the longer we are here, the longer the girls can enjoy this school. They have been to school in four countries in the last year.....Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and now England, so another move so soon would be hard for them.
I am getting used to being a homemaker, domestic diva, etc. It is hard work! But I do like the cooking. I have had a small amount of translation work and would love to do more, but still feel unsettled, so will have to hope that after the next move, more comes my way. Eventually I will go back to work again.
I do miss friends though and have not met anyone here yet. Today I am going to a yoga class, that is a start.
Hope you like the photo attached of the girls and me at Alnwick (Annick is how you say it) Castle, north of Newcastle where we spent Easter with John, his son Adam and his parents. The castle was used as inspiration for Hogwarths school in the Harry Potter books.

If you read this blog, do send me a comment. Hope to hear from you all soon.