So thought I should update my home front side of things here in blogland! And now that I have been here over a month thought it an appropriate time to do so.
One thing has not changed and that is how much I miss family and friends from home! I am keeping up regularly with the girls and grandchildren and that helps a lot, but just not the same seeing photos of them in their Halloween costumes as being there! We are constantly on the lookout for things we think they will enjoy doing when they all come over in May, including restaurants, parks, walks, and child centered exhibits. Today for example we bought fresh bread from a bakery off the High Street (what they call any main street in any city) and saw they make really good box lunches for kids and its right across the street from a lovely park, with loads of play equipment. Check… that will be a must for when they are here!:) Oh and the bread and cake we bought are really good.
Last night we attended a Bonfire night at West Dean celebrating some guy named Guy Fawkes who guarded explosives and protected King James 1 way back when??? I have to admit while I stood there in the wet grass after dark waiting for the fireworks that were promised, I wondered why we were there! The bonfire was anti-climatical due to rain in the day that soaked the pile to burn, thus the bonfire bust, however the fireworks were unbelievable for such a small village celebration. There were only about 150 people in this open field and the show lasted a good 15+ minutes and they literally were fired over our heads! It was truly amazing, so thanks Guy for having a celebration! I will however need to learn to dress warmer. 4 layers, gloves, 2 pairs of socks and scarf and hood were not enough and it was not that cold.
For lunch yesterday I dined with the elite of Chichester at Goodwood Kennels with my landlady. It is a quintessential British members only golf club with stunning views and great food. The kennels are used for the hounds that do the fox hunt, which is why the club has it’s name. We had such a nice visit and I think in another life I wouldn’t mind being of the privileged caste!:)
Tomorrow we have been invited to lunch after church by a lady I met Wednesday at a Women’s Bible study at a church we have attended a couple of times. It turns out that in retirement she and her husband go to India to teach teachers at the school Mostyn went to as a child. What a small world that they have Hebron in common!
On the 18th we have been invited to a very formal event in London with the Clockmasters Guild that Mostyn was installed into just before I came. We had to go and get a formal ‘kit” rented for him at a men’s store here. He will be in tails, white vest and white bow tie, but said no to the top hat! Thankfully I had packed a dress from one of the girls weddings which will work for me. We only hope to not embarrass ourselves by using the improper cutlery or burp or something!:) We will take some photos to enclose in a future blog.
The big news is that I am driving! Albeit very cautiously and getting lost frequently and even abandoning one event because I could not get out of the car park due to steady traffic and having never been out in the dark, I just got way too nervous. I have not used a manual transmission for many many years, but that part is kind of like riding a bike, but using my left hand to shift, now that is just weird! I found myself ‘looking’ for the gear shift with my right and finding only the door latch! I did make it to Sainsbury’s (their Target) by myself this week, but parked in a puddle and had wet feet until I got home. We bought a Puegeot Quicksilver for those who care. A small 2 door little number that will suit our needs just fine for this year and we will likely be able to sell it for about what we paid. So now we wait for a parking space in our neighborhood. We are currently on a waiting list and still have to use the car park about 2 blocks away, which is not a big deal unless you have heavy groceries, which I had with my wet feet!
I have joined a group of women that meet at the library weekly called Knit and Natter! They have accepted that I don’t knit, but I do crochet and was able to make several sets of these coasters I make to contribute to the things they sell to make money for children with cancer. I have only been twice, but these ladies are a wealth of information and so happy to include me and there is indeed plenty of knitting and nattering that happens!
I have also been identified by 2 different store clerks, who had remembered me from past shopping trips. So I am feeling ‘known’! It’s likely the American accent which they seem to think is really cool here! We have also been ‘adopted’ by the sweetest older couple we met at church, they are amazing and have made us feel very welcome. We had them for dinner this week and I made Chicken Tortilla Soup and her comment was she had never had a soup so full of flavor!! Thus English fare is true to the stereo-type of being rather bland! They quite enjoyed it and she even asked for the recipe, so we have made some dear friends.
So my first month impressions are that life here is quite acceptable!!:)