Sunday, 7 November 2010


Well I promised some 'Fall' photos and here they are. These were taken in Branson, Missouri where we spent a few days with our dear friends K & E who were visiting from the UK. Branson is just north of the AR state line. We hit the optimum time for the trees turning and it was a breath-taking drive up through the mountains.

We are definitely in Arkansas. Repeat after me, 'There's no place like home, there's no place like home.......remind you of anything? Yes, tornado's. We had our first tornado warning, oh my! Our poor visitors were trembling in their red glitter shoes, especially K. It was a bit disconcerting, this weird noise comes through the TV telling you to turn to channel 18 for a severe weather warning. Initially it said a severe thunder storm was on its way. No big deal, more wine and nachos please ;-) Within minutes the warning had turned to an approaching tornado. When this happens you have to go to the most internal part of the house and wait. The warning was in place for 30 minutes so off we went into the centre of the house. Next, the tornado alarm which is somewhere outside starts going and it sounds like a WW2 siren. My poor dog starting whining along with alarm. She was so traumatised, poor pup. It turned out to be pretty tame where we were with no damage but a roof came off a building down town. Then to top it all we had another tornado warning in Branson but that one didn't materialise. We are considering banning K&E from visiting!

So I've busted my back again - this is rubbish as I was enjoying my new active lifestyle. I can't run, Zumba or belly dance any more and even walking can be painful. I was hoping it would sort itself out but that doesn't appear to be the case. I had an ambition to be here for 3 years without seeing a Doctor, that one is going up the Swanney without a paddle. I have resigned myself to the fact that I need to seek medical attention to sort me out, blah! However, this does not affect my role as A Lady Who Lunches. An activity that is becoming an essential part of life. Every Monday, a different restaurant, same friends, a glass of wine and maybe a pedicure's a hard life but someone has to do it.

I'm getting more involved with my dog charity. C and I helped out at a charity event last night to raise funds. It was quite a large affair that consisted of a silent and open auction held in one of the premier hotels. C thoroughly enjoyed it and we met some new people. I am also about to become an official Dog Walking 101 trainer. I will instruct new volunteers how to handle the dogs and ensure they know all the rules and regs that apply. I have met a new friend who also volunteers, she's nice and we are planning on having dinner together and introduce the other half's (halves??).

Thankfully I can still cycle and we met this little chap whilst out one day. Apparently they are six a penny here but this is the first time C and I have come across one in the wild. The locals say they are dumb and you usually find them flattened at the road side. This makes sense as this little guy walked right in front of our bikes and didn't flinch at us watching him. They don't have great eye sight and their hearing isn't too good either. My brother said it is a rat wearing a crash helmet. I like him, the Armadillo I mean not my brother, although I quite like my bro too.

We are taking a road trip next week. The Americans drive for ever and don't think anything of driving for days to get to their destination. We are going to San Antonio, Texas for a very long weekend. It is about a 10 hour drive which we will split over 2 days. We would have considered flying but we are taking our pooches with us and driving is a good way to see the land. It should be a good weekend. Thanksgiving is on the 25th and we have been invited to spend it with friends and experience it the way it is intended to be spent. Lots and lots of food and drink - what is a gal to do? Do as the locals do. Hangover the next day I expect. I have volunteered to provide home cooked apple pie. I'm nervous now as the pie is a staple for Thanksgiving, I hope mine's is up to standard.

Less than 7 weeks until we are back in the UK; we are both really looking forward to spending time with our friends and family. I hope you are ready for us!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The Fall aka Autumn

It is officially Fall here and the weather knows it. It is positively cool in the morning and in the evening but clear blue skies and warm(ish) sunshine in the day - perfect. I had to reach into the back of the closet for my cardie and C has burrowed in the drawer for some socks. I believe there is a cold front hanging around us at the moment and this is making it a little bit cooler than normal. The forecast predicts it to be a little bit warmer next week. The trees are definitely turning but not enough to warrant showing you......yet!

I am now an official volunteer of the Humane Society of Pulaski County. My main job is walking the dogs on Mondays and Fridays as this is the only days I have free. I helped out at a dog washing event a couple of weeks ago and it was a real giggle. People brought their smelly pooches along and we bathed and cuddled them and gave them a massage all for $15, people were really generous and gave us way more than that. We raised over $1500 and all of this goes to the charity. Last Saturday 4 of us each took a dog to a department store to raise more funds and hopefully find parents for the dogs. It was a great success and 2 of the dogs have pending adoptions...result...back of the net.....way to go...happy days :-) I have managed to curtail the urge to bring them all home with me but it has been hard. There is one little girl called Shannon, she is probably a couple of years old and was so mistreated she had lost all her hair and has cauliflower ears through beating. In spite of this she is the friendliest most sedate dog who just wants to be talked to and petted. I hope she gets a good home, her hair has come in but she still has bald patches but her little tail wags whenever she is spoken to and she melts my heart.

I am on a keep fit regime at the moment. I have been doing my Couch to 5k running programme and am almost running 3 miles non stop. I've signed up for the Race for the Cure (Race for Life) on the 16th October). I have joined a Zumba class (thanks J for mentioning this in you blog), it is an aerobic class which combines various dance moves, rumba, hip hop, salsa and some other moves that my body hasn't quite managed to execute yet but it is a hoot! Belly dancing, yes that's right belly dancing. My first class will be on Thursday, my friend S did it at her last posting and has convinced me that I am missing out on life if I do not try this - details to follow.....I also climbed Pinnacle Mountain, it isn't a big mountain by any standards and can be climbed in 45 minuted to 1 hour. The ascent was tiered so wasn't difficult at all but we decided to take the descent on the opposite side and it was so steep Millie's little legs couldn't quite manage it so I had to carry her whilst trying to get foot holds in the rocks. I paid the price the next day with an aching back.

Chris is off on his first jolly on Thursday. He is flying to Colorado and will be away for 7 nights. I'm not looking forward to being on my own but I guess I have to be a big girl and get on with it. However, our dear friends K&E arrive on the 23rd and I can't wait. They are with us for a week and we are planning a trip to Missouri which should be fun.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Must be settling in ...... it has been over a month since I last posted. I suppose I have adopted a more structured routine as the weeks go by and my blogging has taken a back seat.

Not a lot has happened though; Chris has finally finished his training leg. He officially joins 41st squadron today and he can now look forward to being just another Pilot instead of the guy whose training. Although I doubt he will ever become inconspicuous as the Scottish thing does tend to make us stand out from the crowd. We do get asked to 'say something just so I can listen to you talk' quite often. What do you say when you are asked to do this! It always strikes up a conversation either way.

I am on a get fit regime. I think I mentioned this in my last post. Well I am now on week 4 of Podcast runner. Phew! I'm sure I'm not programmed for this kind of activity, it's so blooming knackering. However, I did manage to run 1.5 miles yesterday, albeit with a couple of walks in between. The humidity has returned, not as bad as it has been but enough to make my running doubly difficult. Roll on the cooler weather.

Speaking of the weather; don't we always :) It has got cooler, we tip into the 90's in the afternoon but the mornings are cooler, around the 80's but the humidity pumps that temp up a bit. The trees are also starting to turn colour. There are little clusters of autumn gold patchwork which is so pretty. It is going to be an awesome sight when true autumn arrives. Think Westonbirt Arboretum and apply a scale of 1" to the mile and then some. I will take some photos for you soon.

We are managing to explore more now. We took the dogs to Pinnacle State Park one night last week for a walk and it is simply beautiful and serene. There were some rock climbers on the quarry and apart from that we met one other woman out for a walk. There is a panoramic view point that overlooks Lake Maumelle and to the North of Arkansas - stunning.

We also took a trip to Burns Park, about 10 minutes in the car. This park is huge and has everything you can think of. Tennis, Golf, Cricket, cycling tracks and much more. The dogs had a good walk and C and I just enjoyed the stroll. We haven't played golf for months so we need to get that back on track or should that be back on the fairway. Hopefully Chris will get some days off now that he is on a proper squadron.

I have been to a couple of social evenings recently. The first one was a Bunko night; a dice playing game which took a while to understand. It was fun and I came away with $20 for having the most Bunko's. This is a monthly event so I will go along again. The other social was at someones house. Cupcakes and cocktails. I wasn't drinking as I had to drive so I did feel a little bit out of it. I spent most of the evening talking to the Base Commander's wife who was really lovely. The Base Commander is the head honcho of the entire base! I did meet a couple of other girls but as Chris wasn't on the squadron at that time no-one knew who he was. Perhaps as time goes on we will get to know more people from the squadron.

I have decided to investigate becoming a volunteer for the Humane Society. I miss working so much and need something to fill the gap. I've contacted them and there is a volunteer's orientation day on the 13th September so I am going along to find out a bit more. My only concern is that I will be easily upset by some of the sights. This is an organisation that rescues and cares for abused or abandoned animals. I must try and put my emotions to one side and focus on the end result which is to rehabilitate and re home. I will happily do whatever I can to help; walking, cleaning, admin - whatever it takes. I will update you next month on the outcome.

Our dear friends K&E are coming to visit soon, whoop whoop. Can't wait to see some familiar faces and have some fun. Roll on October.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Where has the time gone?

It seems ages since my last blog. We've had visitors, S, J & M came all the way from Scotland and stayed with us for 2 weeks. It was the quickest two weeks of our time in LR so far.

We had a lot of fun, not least of all on the lake. It is an hours drive away but so worth a visit. We rented a party barge and a huge rubber doughnut (without the hole) to tow behind us. It transported us back to being kids. One or two 'kids' lie on the ring and are pulled along the river. Unfortunately C & M were the guinnea pigs and the first launch didn't quite go as planned. I blame it on the pilot (sorry J). A little too much thrust torpedoed C under water and M flying backwards into the water. M floated as she was on her back but C nose dived and when he tried to surface the doughnut was on his head. Luckily they both had life vests on but they got a bit of a fright. Sadly this put M off having another go. I eventually had a go after much deliberation. I'm so glad I did, it was hilarious. I even drove the boat but I think M was the best pilot of all, she's a natural. The best bit was when C & J went on the ring together, I piloted and tried my damndest to overturn them but they hung on for dear life. I did manage to lift them and the ring clean out of the water though and came so close to capsizing them. Will try harder next time. S doesn't like water so she sunbathed while the rest of us got wet.We also went to Memphis to see Elvis' pad. Very modest considering his wealth. It is one of those things that you need to do, especially if you are only a couple of hours drive away. And of course we went to the legendary Beale St. This, in my opinion is a bit seedy. Good music and atmosphere but I was glad to leave. After about 9.30 pm barriers are put up, people are searched before entering the street and there are a lot of cops around as I think they get a fair amount of trouble.

We have joined the pool and it is lovely to have a swim anytime it takes our fancy. M practically lived there, I think she enjoyed it most. I am going down there this afternoon with Londyn. She has no fear of water and I need to watch her like a hawk. She sinks, pops up again and snorts. No tears or trepidation, she just wants to be thrown in the air and land in the water.

It has got even more unbearably hot here. In fact it is getting on my wick now! I want cool air and a breeze. I long to be able to go for a long leisurely walk with the dogs. Another 4 weeks and my wish should be granted.

Here are some pics from our posh meal out for C's birthday.

And one last pic of me & M having a swim.Sorry about the layout, still finding my way round placing pics!

Friday, 9 July 2010

A brush with the law

We've only been here 5 minutes and the cops are already after 'im indoors. Well actually it was 'er indoors Mr Sheriff law man extraordinaire was looking for. Thankfully it wasn't Mrs K he was after, I'm a good girl. He blocked the driveway so there was no escape in a fast car from the garage.

He arrived 7.30am on Thursday morning waving a subpoena, but thankfully it wasn't us who had upset Uncle Sam it was the previous lady tenant. We have no idea what she's subpoenaed for. Chris had a nice friendly chat with Mr Sheriff right there on our drive. There was a lot of curtain twitching, me being one of them. What fun I could have with this photo. The neighbours probably think we are a bad lot now. Keeps them interested!

We had a fabulous 4th of July. It was chris' birthday and the Americans put on a fantastic firework display on the 3rd just for him - wasn't that kind. Then our lovely landlord/lady invited us to join them on their barge up on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs on the 4th. It was so relaxing putting along on the lake. The dogs and Chris enjoyed a swim while I sat back and got roasted. How I wish I had used stronger sun screen. The plan was to go downtown in the evening for another firework do but we didn't get home until almost 8pm and we were both worn out with relaxing in the sun so we gave that one a miss.

The bug man came and sprayed all around the house, hopefully this will keep the critters at bay. Apparently the water bugs like to live in tress and being that we have half a forest behind us I would rather they stayed there. I've found that they Yellow Pages is a handy weapon to have nearby.

The Scottish population has more than doubled today. J, S & M arrived last night at 10pm and we are so happy to have them here. Luckily it will be a little cooler for the next couple of days and not quite so sunny. This is good as it offers a little bit of acclimatising for them. We all had a good nights sleep, that will soon end when the temperature soars again. M is desperate to get into the pool so once breakfast is done we will head down so she can have a swim.

We are going out for a nice meal tonight. They asked if it was a special occasion so I told them it was Chris' birthday - I know it was last week but we are celebrating with our family tonight. I think he will get his name written in chocolate on his pudding!

Off to enjoy our visitors now.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

At least I enjoyed the drive

As you get older, do you find yourself doing weird things? Not concentrating on the task in hand? Not knowing what day it is, or what month for that matter? I'm sure it is an age thing.

I went to a knitting group tonight, a long way away - 60 miles round trip, when I got there the coffee shop was all locked up. Being my first visit my immediate thought was that I was in the wrong place but Amber's directions were so accurate. So I called Amber and got through to TGI Fridays - what is going on? Hm, must have entered the number incorrectly. So I called Collette and got her voice mail, left a message. Then BANG! Brain cells locked into gear - knitting club is Wednesday and not Tuesday!!!!! I just laughed, at myself by myself, passers by stared and then walked on - what an absolute twit.

Apart from that the day has been good. It was raining this morning and oh so welcome. The humidity was lower and the day had a fresher feel to it. The forecast says it will feel fresher this week, I am so looking forward to that. Perhaps sleep will not be interrupted as often if the nights are less hot.

I took London to the library for Story time and activities and it was really good, she enjoyed it. Lots of other ladies there too but I don't want to appear like a stalker so I will give it a couple of visits before I start muscling in on potential friends.

Chris has installed a garden flap for the dogs so we no longer have to remember to let them out for frequent potty visits. This is an Americanism, they all refer to their dogs pooping as going to the potty.

Just over 1 week until my visitors arrive, whoop whoop.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Hallelujah for Good Neighbours

No I have not been converted to the Bible side. I left behind fantastic neighbours and that was hard but I just had to post tonight to say how great my new neighbours are. Tom on one side brought round some newly picked husks of sweetcorn and Barb the other side sent round some watermelon..............isn't that nice.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

In at the deep end.

Meet Londyn, my new charge. 20 months old and no trouble at all. We are getting on like a house on fire, there was no settling in period as she decided that she liked me from the offset. Good thing too as she was with me for almost 11 hours today! Her mum had to travel afar for an appointment and was held up. I did have the option of sending her to a nursery but I thought that wouldn't be fair on the little soul. So far so good.

Chris and I managed a game of golf yesterday. Only at one of the municipal courses which wasn't in the best of nick but good enough for us as we hadn't played for 2 months. No bunkers, that made me happy. We were both a bit rusty to start but got better as we went on. We had to stop half way round for refreshments as we were so hot and sweaty, even though we had a buggy. We are looking at options to join a club.

I went to a knitting group last night with my new best friends, Amber & Collette. I really like Amber, she is a social butterfly networking us newbies. I met Collette through Amber, she is really nice too and like me has only just arrived in LR. Unfortunately Amber is moving away in October so our time together is limited but Collete will be her for the same 3 years as me. We are planning on getting together on Saturday, husbands too and her 2 children aged 2 & 5. It will be nice if we can all strike up a friendship.

It is getting hotter here, 96 degrees today, this is the hottest it has been. I hear that the autumn is the best part of the year with all the trees changing colour. I am looking forward to that.

It was bizarre at Amber's BBQ last Saturday. We grilled outside, ate inside then when the sun went down sat outside round a fire pit in 85 degrees of heat and humidity! The circle of chairs got ever wider but at least it kept some of bugs away.

Washington pics here

If the link doesn't work cut and past and hopefully that will work.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Who would have believed it?

Least of all me! I am a child minder, yes me. I would never had thought in a million years that I would be looking after a child and getting paid for it.

It happened in a kinda round about way, turns out our landlord dropped a very heavy hint to Chris that they were struggling to find someone to look after their 2o month old daughter Londyn. He was really fishing to see if I would be interested. My initial though was absolutely not but when I got thinking about it it sounded like quite a good idea. You see, this may be a way of meeting other people, I have already taken her to the book store for story time. There weren't any prospective friends there but I will go again. It gives me structure to my day. 3 days per week, 2-3 weeks per month from 8am - 5pm.

We are getting on famously, she is a sweet little thing and sleeps for 3 hours of the day. This gives me time to recharge my batteries. I take my hat off to child minders, it is hard work. She doesn't cry much and follows me around like a shadow. She loves the dogs, they are small compared to her Labrador.

I need to get my membership to the pool sorted and we can spend some time down there. She doesn't stop me doing anything I want to do either, she is young enough not to grumble about shopping. If I want to do some gardening she wants to help out too. In fact what ever I do she wants to help. Bonus factor is pocket money for me me me :-)

Our new furniture is starting to arrive. We now have our PC on a proper desk and no longer on the kitchen table, in the meantime the kitchen table will become our patio furniture.

We are off to a BBQ in Cabot on Saturday, this is the dry state but fear not Amber does like to have a tipple or two, so there will be alcohol. We might even meet some new friends. I have to be patient, we have only been here 5 minutes but I need some friends like my friends back home.

Chris has been working weird hours again this week and he has been busy with paperwork. We haven't quite got ourselves sorted with a social life yet, we must work on this as I believe this will be my life line.

I have some pics from our weekend in Washington which I am hoping to post soon.

Really looking forward to Sib, Jasey and Morgy coming over (translated Sally Anne, Jack & Morgan !) We are having a night in Memphis which will be nice as it will be new to us too. Only 4 weeks away now - the time is flying.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Millie's New Friend - or Foe?

She barked and barked so I had to go outside to see what the fuss was. Here's what I found, a rather annoyed terrapin. I think it must have nipped her, she was pawing at it and barking incessantly. I brought her indoors to give the little thing a chance to escape.

Ciara is also having a great time now that we have found a lake that she can swim in. She's got a new friend too, Sugar, the Labrador. She is our Landlord's and we were looking after her for a couple of nights. She does get a bit boisterous when she is playing and Ciara is not too keen on this behaviour. However, she will fight her to the death to get the ball first and she is a better swimmer than Sugar - that's my girl.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Boxed In

Our UK stuff arrived yesterday morning and it is good to have familiar things around. I have unpacked most of them, but the contents are all over the place waiting for a new home.

Our floors are now all laid and they look lovely. We can now get the dinning room and the spare bedroom set up. The stuff is in the garage at the moment. It will be good to get some art on the walls and curtains up, then it will look like a home and feel all cosy.

Andy is sending in the cleaners to give it a good old scrub. Some of the tiled flooring has got paint on where the decorators have been a bit slap dash, they will clean all this off - I hope it is up to my standard!

I gave a geography lesson yesterday. I was never very good at this at school but Andy really was struggling to differentiate the UK and Great Britain and where this fitted into Europe. I drew him a map of Europe in Edwina style but it did the job. He said he learned more from me than he did at school.

We think we may abandon housey things today and take the dogs up to Pinnacle Mountain It is apparently beautiful up there and Ciara will be able to have a swim, she has missed her swims. As you can see she likes her new bed.

Chris is enjoying his job, that's a relief. He was a bit nervous about his simulator exercise last night as it was something new. He had to drop a load onto a spot on the ground within a 30 second period. He managed to get it spot on and within 3 seconds. I'm glad that he likes it. I like his squadron badge, don't you think it looks like Felix

Our neighbour likes Margaritas! He has been round last night and the previous night, he wants to cook us a meal and I guess we will sample his margaritas!

The community pool opens today, I guess it will be full of kids. Luckily we are right next to it so are able to monitor when the quiet times are - that will be our cue for a dip.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

There's no place like home

Hurrah, we are official residents of Little Rock. The move went without incident and the removal men were great fun, they had a sense of humour even though it was over 90 degrees and were lugging big heavy pieces of furniture about.

This is our new home. The garden needs a little sprucing up which our landlord is going to do. Right now I have 4 men in the dining room. Chris is at work and I am home alone with them! Two are sanding and painting and the other two are laying our new flooring.

I have just introduced them to good old British tea - two types actually. Bog standard Tetley and Twinings Lady Gray. They both preferred the latter. This is their first tasting of hot British tea and they like it so I will make some more later.

We are still waiting for our UK consignment which has all the kitchen utensils. I had to pilfer two knives and forks from our hotel until we get our own cutlery. Cutting a red pepper with a table knife is interesting, it produces some odd shapes.

A trip to the supermarket is an interesting expedition as is filling the car with fuel. I did both today. First up I went to get fuel, I thought I would be smart and do the self service pay at the pump number. Things are very different here, so many options it's scary. The guy who drove up behind me decided it was quicker to back up and go to another pump as I was taking so long. Finally after working out all the options I picked up the pump then realised the petrol cap is on the other side of the car!!!!! I had to reverse the car and go to the other side as the pump aas the hose wouldn't reach, I'll know what to do next time though.

Supermarket next. Having not been deterred from my previous experience I decided I would do self service again as I was more savvy now. I understood all the options but the sticking point was naming some of the fruit and vegetables. You can chose to look up the fruit & veg by name or by picture, I chose name. Of course they have different names for some of the stuff so I had to revert back to pictures. I had some loose lettuce leaves in my basket, it is a pre-mix that you buy by weight. Could I find what it was called - no. So I stole them, this was much easier and less embarrassing as there was a queue forming behind me. I think I got away with it as I couldn't hear any police sirens tearing after me.

Ther thunderstorms here are amazing. I got caught in one yesterday. It was actually quite scary as I was driving. The rain was pouring down the roads like a stream and there were huge bolts of fork lighting. The rain drops were big fat splodges that really soaked you. When I got back to the house the dogs were petrified so I gave them lots of cuddles to calm them.

I'm going to put some pizza in the oven for my men, they are working hard and are going to be here for a few hours yet so this is the end of my blogging for today. Hope you are all enjoying my little tales. If it gets boring tell me - please!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Feeling a wee bit shabby

The old body doesn't stand up too well to late nights and alcohol any more. It was Al & Lana's leaving bash last night and Chris and I are not in the best shape today.

We did have a great time though and met lots of new friends, one of whom is a knitter so that's handy. We ended up in a night club - not any old night club, this one has a drag queen act, lol. I really enjoyed it but Chris wasn't in to it at all. Him and Al were hammered much to mine and Lana's amusement.

We got home around 3.30am so feeling tired and hungover. Haven't done very much today but need to take some of our suitcases over to the house, it will be less to move tomorrow.

Soooooooooooooo excited about moving in to the house tomorrow. Will need to go over to Lana's first to get some stuff from them then over to the house to receive the furniture. Chris will be at work so I am going to oversee it on my own. Hopefully it should go smoothly.

Once we are in I will upload some pics of our time in the USA thus far. Better move my sorry a** and get those suitcases over to the house.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Thunderbolts & fireflies

We had an enormous thunder storm last night, it is very satisfying and comforting lying in bed listening to the elements fight with each other. It is still going on this morning and is pouring from the heavens so I am a bit hotel bound today.

I am waiting for the gas man to call me, then I will drive over to the house and meet him. He is doing a safety check and switching the supply on. Speaking of the house, we went over for a nosey last night. It is coming along nicely and I have started taking some of my purchases there as the hotel room is becoming a little cramped.

There is a garage sale on Saturday. Well actually a pool side sale as it isn't actually in a garage, in my street so very handy. I am going along as there may be stuff like garden chairs and plants. I will have to be there around 6am, they start early here. I might meet more of the neighbours too.

Fireflies are amazing little insects, they are a type of flying beetle and their tail end lights up at night. They are in abundance here, probably because there are a lot of trees. It looks like miniature torches hovering in the air.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Cars and fire alarms

I'll start with the fire alarm.....1.30am on Friday morning we were rudely awakened by what can only be described as a demented dog with a whining voice over. Being in the depths of slumber, both of us had no idea what was happening then it dawned that it was the fire alarm. Then it dawned that we were on the 8th floor - bugger! I had been very vigilant and sussed out the escape route when we arrived but the lights were on and there were a troop of bed wear clad bods dutifully heading for the exit stairs so in good old British fashion we followed. It was all very controlled and jovial and leisurely.

Needless to say it was a false alarm and we were back in our room within 20 minutes. I did get dressed before leaving my room otherwise I may have been arrested for indecent exposure! I thought it might be cold so put a little jacket of Chris' on - nah, it is still hot degrees even at 1.30am.

Now onto cars. Have I mentioned Andy, our new landlord? Well, he is the sweetest person and just wants to help us with whatever he can. We have been very lucky to meet such a nice man. He is one of those people who has a finger in lots of pies and therefore has lots of contacts. He deals in second hand cars amongst many other things and has access to trade only car auctions. He invited Chris to go along with him and see if there were any cars that would suit his needs and there was. He bid on a VW Jetta, leather interior with two exhausts. I don't know engine size or any other detail that guys would want to know. I only know this info because they are there to see. It is a nice car and I guess it has a bit of poke about it.

Banking - now this has proved to be a bugbear. We have been waiting for our money to go in for over a week now and are surviving on credit cards. So this means we had no money to pay for said car - Andy to our rescue again. He arranged for the car to stay at the auction until our cash came through. Then when we had the money he went with us and sorted out the deal.

Yesterday was all about cars. It took us a half day to sort out the VX then we had to go and sort mine out which took up the other half. Now mine is a brand new Mazda CX7 SUV, white, automatic (this is what they mainly drive out here), it has satellite radio so I can get Radio1 and 4 - but I want Radio 2! Mustn't grumble too much.

I managed to stall it driving home, I'm not used to an automatic and was doing a hill start and panicked a wee bit. Must practice hill starts - I thought that it wouldn't roll back but it does so getting your foot from the brake onto the accelerator without any clutch control got me. I think I was worried that I would roll into the person behind me so gave it some welly and it stalled.

More practice needed.............

Sunday, 9 May 2010

House hunting and other necessary stuff

We have viewed some really awful houses. I mean really awful, I wouldn't let the dog live in them. They were huge, actually way too huge for our needs. We shifted our preferences to condominiums which are compact but clean and bright.

We are going to see a condo tomorrow but there is also a 3 bed house that has come up. The house sounds good, it is currently being refurbished and we may even be able to chose the colour scheme. It is quite a common trend for communities to share a pool. This house is just two away from the pool. We had a sneak preview this afternoon of the outside of the house and it looks in good nick. This brings me hope as my philosophy is that if they take care of the outside then the inside should be good too. We have talked to the guy and he seems nice so keep your fingers crossed that it works out for us.

We have a fall back plan. If the house falls through then we may move into the condo that our predecessors are currently in. This is a condo with a small yard and also has access to a pool. It is a 3 bed, 2 floor condo so quite a good size.

I also test drove a car today, a Mazda CX7 which in USA standards is Small but in the UK it is a good sized SUV.

We took the dogs a walk in one of the parks and that was really nice, the dogs enjoyed it. Millie did her usual disappearing act and ran after a squirrel but she came back so I am not too concerned about letting her off the lead in the parks.

It rained this morning and was positively cool, although it was still short sleeve weather. I did put my jeans on though, the first time since we have arrived.

Looks like we will be living in this hotel for the next 3 weeks which will be tough but doable.

Can't wait to get a place to call home.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The aliens have landed

At last we have touch down. What a day!

We should have arrived yesterday but missed our connecting flight out of Charlotte, North Caroline due to the plane leaving late from Washington. Spent a night at the Sheraton hotel which was quite nice, got a plane this morning at 9.30 and arrived here at 10.30. The flight is actually 2 hours but there is a 1 hour time difference.

Al, the guy who Chris is taking over from was at the airport to meet and greet us and we hit the road running. First up, A trip to the air base to get some ID. Apparently you don't exist if you don't have ID and can do nothing without it. 3 friggin' hours it took. My mug shot is dreadful, bearing in mind that I had no make up, hair straighteners, moisturisers, zilch, nada, nothing! As we were in transit between 2 airports we weren't allowed to reclaim our bags so all we had was some toothpaste and brushes. I looked like Shaun of the dead, hair sticking up, the remnants of yesterday's mascara. I was saving as much as I could so very carefully washed around my eyes!

After that medical registration, another hour, then Chris had to some stuff, another hour. It seemed to take forever.

Then we collected the hire car and are now in our hotel. We are both knackered. A bite to eat then off to bed as we have a long road journey to collect the dogs. It should take around 4.5 hours to get there, we will spend the night and come back on Thursday.

Friday will be the start of house hunting - I'm looking forward to that bit.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Washington DC - Saturday 05/01/10

Notice the date, I need to write this way now as this is how the American's do it. It's hot, hot, hot. We arrived around 7pm on Friday evening and it was a lovely warm night. We went out for a meal and found the most fabulous fish restaurant. The only downside was the extremely loud American woman sitting next to me, it felt like she was sitting on my lap as all I could tune into was her grating American drawl!!!!!! What have I done?!

Today, Saturday, we walked the length and breadth of the city. We took in the usual sights
  • White House
  • Washington Monument
  • Smithsonian Institute
  • Air & Space Museum
  • Library of Congress
  • US Capitol Building
  • Union Station
I joined the Library of Congress! You can take the girl out of the library but you can't take the library out of the girl! The building is simply amazing and immaculate, puts Bristol to shame really but I guess I shouldn't compare the two.

Back at the hotel now nursing aching feet and trying to rehydrate, my face looks like I am a hardened drinker it's that red - no comments please.

Our plan tomorrow is to visit Arlington Cemetery which will take most of the day, then a visit to the Embassy for our pre Little Rock briefing.

Our last days in Ol' Blighty

We have now arrived in Washington DC. What bliss to have time to update my blog. The last week at home (?) is it still home or do I now refer to the USA as home? Either way the last week in the UK was stressful, tiring, emotional and fun. We had a fantastic night with our neighbours, about 17 plus kids, and close friends on Saturday 24th. Preparation was all in hand and when we got out of our bed on Saturday morning and opened the lounge blinds, there on the lawn were 3 barrels of beer! Turned out that one of the neighbours had been to the Promise Auction in our village hall on Friday night and won the bid for the left over beer. Lovely man decided to donate to the Kelly's for the party - I'll miss my neighbours, they are a lovely bunch.

We sat round our fire pit until the wee small hours drinking barrels of beer and enjoying good banter, the weather was on our side thankfully. There were a few sore heads the next day but we certainly made a memorable exit.

I thought I was being all strong and stoic and not going to get emotional. Pah, that was a farce. First, saying goodbye to my nephews got the back of my throat but I managed not to wobble. Then the time to say goodbye to my sister-in-law, well that was the start of the tears, then Kay and Nic both made me cry. What a waste of time putting mascara on!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Saturday 17th April 2010

I will remember this night with much affection. It was my grand send off from my lovely Library colleagues. We went to the Pump House in Bristol, had a fabulous meal with lots of wine and laughter - except for the bit where I blubbed, ah well it was predicted.

I was so pleased with my gifts especially the print of the M32, now that might sound a bit weird but considering I have spent quite a bit of my life on the M32 it was very apt and a keen reminder of my time in Bristol. We were eventually slung out of the Pump House just gone midnight and Kate had the brilliant idea that we should take our little party elsewhere. 9 of us ended up in King St until after 2 in the morning - where did the time go? Wasn't too special the next day but I think I was more tired than hungover - yeah that old cherry!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Geez a Job

Well, as from today I am officially unemployed, first time in 32 years so not bad at all. Of course this was entirely voluntary so no complaints.

How does it feel? No idea, far too busy deciding what to take, what to put into storage? should I clean some of the rooms instead? Should I do a bit of clothes packing? Or should I hope that the magic fairy may wave her wand and it will all be done for me?

No magic fairy on the horizon so I am, by the way, doing this all by myself today as Chris is, in his own words, 'broken'. Translated this means that he is suffering the after affects from alcohol. He had his works cheerio bash last night. Unusually he didn't seem to bad when he came to bed but perhaps the booze hadn't finished doing its magic. So he is in bed looking very pale so I have decided to leave him there to recover.

I said goodbye to many colleagues yesterday, I didn't feel morose as I have my night out with the ones who mean a lot to me on Saturday. I am looking forward to it but feeling that I might feel a lot sad at the end of the night.

Maybe I will be 'broken' on Sunday and Chris will have to do the chores all by himself.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

I've just realised that I am in AS time as I have set my address for America, it's only 11am and I already feel like I have put in a full days work :-)

29 days to go

I have finished my last full week of work, off to Scotland next week, then 1.5 days of work and then I am unemployed. I have NEVER been unemployed but am actually looking forward to it. I can do whatever I want in AS, within reason of course.

Does anyone want to buy a Bora?

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

1 month to go

Hello to those who are interested! I had lunch with my very dear friend Helen today who suggested that I should enter the mysterious world of Blog Land to record my hopefully exciting move over the pond. For those of you who haven't heard yet, Chris and I will be jetting off on the 30th April to Little Rock in Arkansas for 3 years.

I have no idea what it is going to be like and I would like to share my experiences with my friends - there probably isn't a lot to say until I actually get there but I am hoping that I will have plenty to tell you from May onwards.

Watch this space......................Edwina x