Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Good Days and Bad Days February 22, 2011

Tomorrow will be a good day.  I am leaving in the morning for Ohio for my nephew's wedding.  I am looking so forward to the wedding and the addition of another niece to our family.  My sisters are coming from Washington state and some aunts and uncles from various midwestern areas.  Also my daughter Melanie will be coming from Oklahoma. Really excited to see everyone.  

We have almost made it through our first winter here.  It did snow a little (very little) and some cold temperatures.  But for all intents and purposes it was very mild compared to what we are used to at home in the Washington, DC area.  

I am continually surprised by the many elderly people that I see out and about on the street.  I don't think our village is any different than any other.  I just think that it's different here in the UK for several reasons.  There aren't the multitude of retirement homes like there are in the states.  My mother happens to live in a very nice one in Olympia, WA.  She gets three meals a day, plenty of residents to visit with, lots of activities, nurse on the premises, rides to doctor's appointments and on and on.  She has been in three of these facilities over the years.  When we started looking for them we were amazed at how many of these places there really are.  

My assumption is that there are probably not many of those type of places in the UK.  The people here tend to live very frugally, whether it be by need or not.  It definitely costs more to live here.  The VAT tax, which is like our state tax, is 20%!  Also, there are taxes you have to pay to drive the highways (called MOT) , TV (yes, we have to pay a TV tax every year, and it's not part of our cable bill), at businesses there are radio taxes if you want to play a radio, congestion charge (a charge of 10£ ($16) per day to drive in central London), just to name a few that I can think of off the top of my head.  Groceries, clothes, gas, etc. all cost more here than in the U.S.

I've mentioned before how the people use public transportation a lot.  When a senior citizen reaches the age of 65 they are allowed to ride all the public buses free of charge.  Many of these people take advantage of that.  I see little old ladies standing at the bus stops with their handbags and umbrellas.  If you walk by them they greet you happily as if they don't have a care in the world.  The fact that the Brits walk everywhere I think keeps them healthy.  They certainly aren't bothered by things like we spoiled Americans are.

The other day while out walking I saw a little old lady walking up our lane.  She had a basket with a handle over her arm.  In the basket was a small potted flower and a dish of food of some kind.  She walked up to a house, probably delivering some cheer to a sick friend.  It was just so cute.  Not that this wouldn't happen in the states.  But I have to say that probably in the states the woman and her basket would have been arriving in a car.

Joe got a new I phone for work.  He has been playing with it getting it all set up and he loves it.  One of the things he did was set up ring tones so that people who call him often can all have their own ring.  That way he can recognize who is calling by the ring the phone makes.  In his innocence he thought it would be a good idea to make my ring tone  a barking dog (unbeknownst to me) since I love dogs.    So the first few times I called Joe on his cell I could tell there were people laughing in the background when he picked up.  I then asked why they were laughing and he said, "they're laughing at the ringtone I set up for you". When he told me it was a barking dog I of course wanted to know why.  He said, "I just picked it because you love dogs".  I said, "So now your whole office thinks that you are calling me a dog!"  "No they don't think that!" he said.  I told him to change it immediately!  Which he did not do because the next couple of times I called I could still hear a couple of his co-workers snickering.  I then DEMANDED that it be changed and now I am happy to be an old fashioned phone ringing. 

I have a lot of time to cook here so I have been trying all kinds of recipes that I get off the internet.  Gosh, there are millions of recipes to choose from.  I got a chuckle out of one from an Irishman for roast pork shoulder.  As I was reading over the recipe, his first directions were to heat up the pan.  Instead of using a temperature he said, "heat up your pan until it is bloody hot".  Cracked me up.  

One thing I love for dessert is home made pie.  I notice that the dessert menus here never list pie as an option.  Imagine my delight when I saw an article in the paper on "How to Bake the Perfect Pie".  I happily read on as the first paragraph described that they were going to explain how to make mouth watering pies, with the secret to come in the following paragraphs.  Imagine my surprise when the next thing I read was, "You can use chicken, ham, steak, mushroom, feta cheese, red onion, chili con carne...the sky is the limit, some people even put spaghetti in pies".  Oh, I was so disappointed.  

That's right.  The only pies sold here are meat pies and I must say they are very popular.  Any food stand at a fair or a market or bakery has meat pies for sale.  They use a lot of sausage in them too.  I haven't had one yet but you see people eating them all the time.  The closest thing you can get to a dessert pie is a tart.  But I haven't seen a lot of them either.  

There are other things that I wanted to talk about in this blog but my computer is on the fritz so I can't download any pictures on it.  I am working on Joe's laptop right now.  Hopefully I can get mine working after I get back from Ohio.

I have saved my sad news for last.  It was decided by the shelter to have Bubba put down yesterday.  It was a very sad day for me and the shelter people.  I had him for five months and there just wasn't any interest in him.  His dog aggressiveness never did subside.  It is very hard to home a dog who has that problem.  Otherwise he was a great dog and I miss him so much.  The shelter needs me to foster dogs whom they CAN home.  There are so many in the shelter that have a hard time adjusting to kennel life.  It just didn't make sense to keep Bubba when his future was so bleak. 

It was so hard to say good-bye.  I shed quite a few tears over it.  Thankfully it wasn't a decision that I had to make.  I just try to remember that he had five really happy months with us (and gave us a lot of joy too) and he didn't know what happened when he was put down, just went to sleep.  When Joe said good-bye to him the night before he was going to be taken he kissed the top of his head and said, "you are a good boy, thank you for coming to stay with us".  I tear up just thinking about it.  I miss you Bubba.


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. God bless Bubba.

  2. Sorry to hear about Bubba.

    I'm surprised to read your comments about pie - I don't have any trouble finding them - I would guess one reason you don't see it on dessert menus much is that it is so simple to make, so perhaps restaurants think people would rather have something 'fancier' if they are eating out. I know most of my local pubs have things like apple pie on the menu. Lots of dessert pie recipies at www.bbcgoodfood.com.
    Have fun trying some out!

  3. Oh I am sorry to hear about Bubba. I am tearing up now too! I enjoy your blog so much and I look forward to hearing more about your rescue adventures.

    In Memory of Bubba

    Rainbow Bridge

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
    There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
    There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
    The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

    Author unknown...

  4. I'm sorry to hear about Bubba. From your blog entries it is clear that you gave him lots of love and tried your best. It is a very sad thing. Thank you for writing about it.

  5. Hi Kathie - sorry to hear about Bubba :(
    I know that wasn't easy for you.
    Pretty funny, Joe, about the "barking" ring tone I did get a chuckle out of that!
    I hope you had fun at your nephews wedding. You are in the states as I write! I didn't know Melanie lived in Oklahoma?!?!