Friday, 11 March 2011

Happy Birthday to my sweetheart March 11, 2011

Today my hubby Joe is 52. We have been married almost 31 years and I know I am lucky to have him.  I sent him off to work with a bunch of homemade cookies.  Here when you are the birthday person at work YOU bring in the dessert, not the other way around.  I made cookies because it is something different for these folks.  They call cookies biscuits here.  But they are more like crackers than cookies.  The most popular kind are called "Digestives".  What an appetizing name.  They were named that because when they were invented they were thought to help antacid problems.  There are all different brands and a few kinds of Digestives, milk or dark chocolate, chocolate caramel, chocolate chip or plain.  The closest thing I can compare it to is a thick graham cracker.  The chocolate ones are chocolate on one side.  I buy them to snack on.  They aren't sweet enough to tempt me to eat a lot of them, but nice once in a while.  They do sell Oreos and a few other cookies that we have in the US but not many.  Certainly nothing like our shelves and shelves of cookies in the grocery stores at home.  I don't think many people bake cookies here so I thought it would be different.  I made big sugar cookies with frosting, peanut butter chocolate bars and oatmeal raisin (Joe's favorite). 

I do my grocery shopping online here since I don't have a car. I could take Joe's car on the weekend but I'd rather spend my weekend with him and the stores are so crowded then.  It only costs £3.00 ($5.00) for delivery and in my book it is worth every penny (oops, pence!).  The only problem is when trying to locate a particular food.  It would be easier to look up and down the grocery aisles for an item than trying to come up with their name that I have no clue of.  I finally found oatmeal under "porridge oats", raisins were listed under "sultanas", powdered sugar was called "icing sugar" and saran wrap was "cling film".

Tonight I will make Joe a special dinner.  I am going to try a new recipe, Kung Pao Chicken, his favorite Chinese dish.  I really hope it turns out good.  I have had good luck and some really bad luck in cooking over here.  You never know when something is going to turn out or not.  At least to our taste.

I don't know if I mentioned in my last blog that Joe was going to a large business function in Atlantic City, NJ for a week.  He was gone the same time I was in Ohio.  Anyway, the company he works for, United Refrigeration, brings their managers from ALL the companies they own together for a week every year.  They have a whole week of classes, training, dinners and fun lined up.  So the managers from the UK, France, Canada and the US all congregate in a large hotel.  Not just United managers, but all the managers from all of their sister companies, and there are quite a few companies under the United banner. The company that Joe worked for in the states, Aireco, is included.  So Joe got to see a bunch of people that he used to work with, including our son Brian and Joe's brother who also was there.  It was a lot of fun for him to introduce his UK mates to his former US co-workers. He told me he was very proud of his Aireco family that they were so nice and welcoming to the U.K. group.   There were probably well over 400 people there.  My point to all this was that Joe laughed and told me that several of the UK guys had upset stomachs while there because the food was so rich and they weren't used to it!  I told you the food is VERY different here!

Since Joe was still in NJ when I got home from Ohio I had t hire a cab to bring me home.  I prearranged this (thank goodness).  It is a 45 minute ride which cost me £35 ($56) but would have cost £80 ($128) had I just walked out and hailed a cab.  The young man who picked me up was very friendly and chatty.
He had his radio on though so I had to keep asking him to repeat what he said.  It wasn't his radio as much as his accent.  Some of the brits really have strong accents and I struggle to understand them, especially if I can't see their faces.  We kept up a fairly constant conversation though.  He loved our neighborhood and after he drove down our long lane to the house he was exclaiming on the nice, quiet area "with no kids messing about".  I love the way they say that.

When I got home I soon realized that I had NO book to read.  I had finished both mine (one in Ohio and one on the plane).  You don't know what kind of catastrophe this is for me.  If I were in my real home I would have books.  But my large stack of books here have all been recently read.  Thank goodness I had a few history magazines that I brought from the US for emergencies like this.  I used to read 3 or 4 books at a time.  Now days it is only one or two.
But ALWAYS one.  I read 2 - 3 hours after I go to bed every single night.  No matter what time I go to bed.  I got myself to the library as soon as possible and came home with a nice stack of books.  The little library in the village is very small and not a whole lot of American authors.  But I can go online and have books transferred to the little library for a cost of £1.20 a book. (Nothing here is free.)  So I do have access to the other libraries in the county. To me there is nothing that feels as good as leaving the library with a big armful of books.  I can remember feeling that way as a little kid too.

This week has been a good week weather wise.  Temperatures in the 40's and 50's but mostly sunny days.  You don't know how rare it is to get a whole week without rain.  Makes you feel like dancing in the street!  Haha.  I've walked down to the village twice and both days left with it bright and sunny.  I go out in short sleeves and a light vest.  Both times on my way back the sun has gone in and it is suddenly much colder.  I had two older men stop me to ask if I was warm blooded.  One had a winter jacket on and his hood up!  The other one was cutting grass and actually stopped and turned his motor down to ask me that!  I love people, they are funny.

As far as the foster dog situation, I don't have one at this time.  When I got home from Ohio I informed Linda that I was home and ready.  I also told her that I would be gone a couple of days in the middle of March because Joe's U.S. boss is coming to visit with his teenage daughter.  We are going to London to sightsee with them for few days.  So Linda decided to wait until after I get back.  She doesn't like to place a dog and then have to interrupt his stay with going back and forth from me to the kennels.  I don't like waiting, and was really looking forward to another dog!  We are going on vacation the end of April.  I sure hope she isn't going to make me wait until after that.  I am going to have to talk to her about it.  I'm so lonely for a dog, I feel like adopting one of my own.  If only we didn't travel so much I would!

Last weekend we went out and bought an Elliptical Trainer.  It was delivered today.  Joe is a person who loves to exercise and has missed it very much.  He joined a gym when we first moved here but they don't open until 6:30 am. and it was just getting him to work too late.  We needed to get a good one as in the past Joe has worn out three treadmills (and this was before he joined a gym in the US, which he used for many years).  The store had many different models and price ranges.  We went on the sales person's advice and bought a Vision Fitness model that he said was pretty durable.  It was £600.00 ($963.00) so we intend to use it here and also bring it back to the states.  We will have to get a plug adapter for that though.  I know there are tons of people who exercise regularly for their fitness and health.  But Joe and my one girlfriend (Sarah) are the only two people that I have ever met that truly LOVE to work out.  Joe isn't gaining weight (he's had a whole year off working out now), he just misses exercise.  And also the stress relief.  Why after all these years can't this wear off on me?  Oh well, I suppose since this machine is going to be here staring me in the face now I will have to try it out...

I'll let you know how THAT is going in the next blog.


  1. I know I am lucky to have Kathy. Not many would be able to put up with me after all these years together. She spoils me.


  2. Love your blog! I'm a student currently studying in Edinburgh for the spring semester.

    Thanks for the wisdom on Digestives - I've always wondered where that name came from, haha. One question: what chocolate did you use for baking??

    Have you read Water for Elephants? I just started it and am flying through - it's written from the perspective of an old man; very interesting!

    Also, I miss dogs, too! Considered being a foster dog parent, but I don't think it's allowed here, as we're temporary student renters.

  3. I feel honored to be mentioned in your blog - again! Use the elyptical Kathie - it's fun, easy and great exercise!
    Sarah :)

  4. stephen horton6 April 2011 at 17:30

    I think Joe and Kathy are lucky to have each other. 31 years of marriage-what a testament to each of you!

    And Kathy- I am the same as you when it comes to books. If I don't have 3 or 4 going I am at loose ends. If you are looking for good reads, try the Philippa Gregory Ann Boleyn series. Also recommended Tana French and that awesome book about Henry VIII- Wolf Hall.

    Tell Joe hello and that we miss the best regional manager Aireco has ever had!

  5. I would strongly suggest you buy an ebook reader. It doesn't have to replace 'real' books, but it would avoid you ever running out of books again. And many libraries allow you to check out ebooks which would mean you could reserve books and never have to go pick them up - just download them.