Thursday, 7 April 2011

Happy Spring April 7, 2011

We have been enjoying some nice early spring weather the last couple of weeks.  No rain and many sunny days.  Such a great relief from the cloudy, dreary days of winter.  I know I am going to jinx myself just writing that!  I have gotten out in the yard and started the spring clean-up. So much to do!  But it is nice to be outdoors.

Joe's American boss (Nick) came to visit last month and brought his 15 year old daughter and her friend with him.  The guys went straight to work the first day while I took Mary (daughter) and her friend Maria to see Warwick Castle, not too far from here. The castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1068.  We have been there before so one of my earlier blogs tells all about it and has pictures. It is a fun castle to see with lots of entertainment going on showing how things were done in the olden days. The girls were tired but their excitement of being here gave them the energy to want to see it all.  I dropped them off at their hotel in the afternoon so they could rest up.  They were going to the Taylor Swift concert in Birmingham that night!   

Joe and I then took a couple of days and went down to London with the girls and Nick to show them around.  I was a little nervous about this as we are by far NOT the experts.  As it turned out we made some very rookie mistakes (one of them being getting on the wrong train!) but Nick was very easy going about it and kept saying "it's part of the adventure" so we weren't too bothered by it.

The weather was GREAT, couldn't have been better.  Perfect for walking around London and taking in the sites.  We went on the London Eye, something Joe and I haven't done yet.  It is one of the most popular things to do in London.  It's like a big Ferris wheel except each swing is an enclosed glass bubble (they call it a capsule) that holds about 20 people.  At the tallest point it is 135 meters (148 yards) with a vision of 25 miles across London on a clear day.  It was fun but not something I feel the need to do again.

We also took them to my favorite tourist site, The London Tower. We've been there four times now and I always enjoy it.  This is on a previous blog too.

We are eagerly awaiting our friends upcoming visit on April 16. Joe and my friend Janet from high school and her husband Willie. Actually he goes by Bill now days but we met him as Willie during his college years. He will always be Willie to me. Their daughter is a student at Notre Dame University, but she is studying in Dublin, Ireland this year. Lucky girl!  Anyway, they are going to visit her during her spring break and then pop over to see us too. They will only be here for four days but it will be nice to see them and have some American conversation for a change.  

The last week of April Joe and I have planned a vacation for ourselves.  We are very excited to be going to the Greek island of Crete.  We chose Crete because we of course wanted to go somewhere in Europe to take advantage of our proximity here and the weather will be nice and warm down there. I can't wait to experience the Greek culture.  Some of you may remember that before the Aireco acquisition, the company Joe worked for was owned by a Greek couple, Gus and Sophia Romanias. They were the most wonderful people, it was a true Mom and Pop business. We loved them like family and visa versa. If the Greeks are anything like those two, the hospitality will be extraordinary!

Last year we didn't plan any vacation other than trips home and long weekends or short trips here and there.  Our trips home are very important to us.  But they aren't very relaxing as we are always running around trying to see everyone.  We have yet to take a trip where we can do nothing but relax here.  

Joe needs a break after all the hours and frustrations he puts in working.  The Brits have definite ideas about their work ethics and they are much different than Americans!  The workers in this country are very spoiled.  They are given a minimum of four weeks vacation every year and most companies give five!  They work their set hours and go home, not giving much extra to the company.  At the same time they only do their job that is in their contract and do not like being asked to help out by doing other things. OK, in all fairness I can't say that ALL of the Brits are like this. Also I suppose there is something to be said for NOT being workaholics as we Americans tend to be. The Brits do tend to complain a lot. Those of you who know Joe, know that he always gives his employees his ear. These guys/gals make good use of that ear!  He gets so tired of the constant complaining that goes on.  So suffice it to say, he is ready for some down time.

I mentioned in a previous blog about coming across the old church and graveyard that surrounded it on one of my walks.  It was raining that day but I took my camera back another time and took some snapshots.  The church is St. Bartholomew Church of England. It has a seating capacity of 120.  The oldest part of the small medieval church was built around 1300.  The church was added onto over the years and by 1622 had eight coats of arms of local families (none of which survive).  The coats of arms included the Hastings family, Lords of the Manor from 1455-1630. If you remember I've written about the ruins of Kirby Castle which sits a few hundred yards away from the church.  The church was begun by Lord Hastings and left unfinished upon his execution in 1483.

I loved meandering through the graveyard and reading the old tombstones.  The oldest one I found was 1725, so obviously the graveyard wasn't there when the church began.  Some of the tombstones were so sad.  So many children and babies lost in those days.  Instead of reading "died" this such and such date many said, "went to sleep". 

Joanna & Anne, Children of Tho. ???  Bennet, Joanna died Feb 6th 1769 Anne the
24th Apr 1770.  In their Infancy.

Husband and wife:  On left, "Here lyeth ey body of Samiel Forman who departed this life November 14th, 1735, aged 72 years.  ????? thou dost hope to go to Heaven.  Give and forgive and look to be forgiven"??  On right:  "Here lyeth ey body of Elizabeth Forman, the wife of Sam Foreman who departed this life the 12th day of May 1741.  Aged 75 years.  I was with pain so sore Opprest it wore my strength away.  But hope for that Eternal rest, which never will decay."

The oldest grave marker:  "Here lyeth the body of Thomas Hood who departed this life
March 31, 1725, Aged 61 years.

There is a guy who Joe works closely with in the office here.  His name is Greg.  He is a young guy and such a nut.  Joe is always coming home telling me things he does during the day that make me laugh.  He has observed some of Joe's little idiosyncrasies and can imitate Joe perfectly.  The first time in the office that he imitated Joe's telephone greeting Joe said, "I don't do that"!  To which ALL the people in the office replied, "YES YOU DO"!  The next time I saw Greg he did his imitations for me and they were just perfect.  So funny to hear a Brit imitating an American! They tease Joe all the time about stuff.

I just want to acknowledge the comments that I receive throughout my blogs.  I really appreciate the insight of you all and thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and comment!  

To Emily: - I have read Water for Elephants and also loved it. - The chocolate I use for baking is chocolate chips melted in the microwave.  Also I had a friend who sent me a care package with some baking chocolate. - Thanks for reading and good luck with your studies.

To Steve:  - Thanks for the kind words on our marriage.  We are very happy. - Philippa Gregory is one of my favorite authors. - Never heard of Tana French, I will look her up. - I had a hard time with Wolf Hall a while back.  Will try again. - Such a nice compliment for Joe!  I will pass it on.

To Sarah:  - I am doing the elliptical.  I would not call it fun though! - I called it a "dumb elliptical" to Joe the other day and he said that I should not call it dumb because it helps me and that I should stick with it. I told him that I would stick with it but I didn't have to LIKE it!! 


  1. Just want to say its very funny, seeing Brits from an American view point. I think Brits would say that it isn't we don't care about our jobs, but that we get a decent work/life balance. And (and I guess this proves your point) why should we work more hours than we are paid, or do more than is on our contract? Lol. Guess that's from our perspective.

    Oh, and you should know, the London Tower would always be called 'The Tower of London'. Figured you should know, I hate it when I am embarrassed in front of people!

    Love your blog though. It's great.

  2. I think you'll enjoy Greece. I'm hoping to go back soon :-)

    The graveyard probably was in use before 1725, it was just less common for poorer parishioners to have gravestones or permanent markers in earlier periods ( and the richer may have paid to be buried in more prestigeous chapels)
    newer graves would have gone in on top of older ones, too.

  3. Hi K & J-
    I am looking forward to your update after Crete. I hear some of those Greek isles get pretty crazy, so watch out!

    I had the chance to meet Greg at the United meeting, although I did not get to hear his imitation of Joe. (I would have loved to.) His group of guys are great...they really seem to be responding to Joe's management style. (Of course, he is the best manager in two countries!)

    Take care, and keep posting!
    Steve Horton