British life

Moving In & Ironing Out

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Yesterday was moving day!  We got up bright and early, packed up the car and grabbed breakfast at a British greasy spoon.  We had some time before our appointment with the agent so we stopped off at a shop to load up on the necessities.  After grabbing shampoo, soap, toilet paper, dish washing supplies and clothing detergent we drove to the leasing office, picked up our keys and handed over the moneys for the house.  We then found out that we are required to have a UK bank account in order to pay our monthly rent – oh joy (apparently its not easy opening one).  I guess we’ll figure it out on Tuesday (Monday is a bank holiday here too).  But on the plus side we learned that, not only is the house furnished, our rent includes internet and phone.  Hooray for one less bill to pay!

We drove to the house, quickly dropped the bags off and headed back to the hotel to grab the rest of our things and the dog.  We settled the bill and head off the narrow bumpy road from the hotel one last time.  On arriving at the house I quickly grabbed my camera and started taking pictures of our new abode.  Another happy find?  The landlords left all the bedding, pillows, towels, dishes and the TV!  Less stuff to buy – wahoo! I also tried to unpack clothes but realized I wouldn’t get too far without hangers.  We went to the grocery store and loaded up on some essentials and something to make for dinner last night.

The three of us went on a walk around our little village to explore and enjoy the sunshine.  We found the post office, a small grocery, a convenience store, two pubs and two churches.  We also walked past a vet’s office and a few homes selling free range eggs.

We were so excited for a home cooked dinner but as I started cooking I quickly realized that while the kitchen had the basics it was missing a lot.  It had 3 pots but all fairly small.  Try making spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread without a spatula, colander, slotted spoon, mixing spoon, cutting board, bread knife (had to use a paring knife to cut the loaf of bread).  Thankfully, I made it work and we had a great dinner complimented by a good bottle of red.  Today we’re on a mission to actually stock the kitchen with cooking necessities.

Our first day in the house also meant figuring out all the British appliances and utilities.  Our water heater and radiators are powered by oil which is housed in a huge container outside.  Neither are on constantly (to conserve energy, I suppose) so you set up timers for them.  Well, both were turned off completely and figuring out how to get them on was a little tricky.  Thankfully I got it figured out.  Next was the washing machine & dryer.  The dryer was pretty easy but their washing machines are interesting here.  The leasing company gave us a folder full of appliance manuals which was definitely needed for the washing machine.  I still managed to put the detergent in the wrong drawer and only figured it out my 3rd load in.  The manual folder got pulled out again to figure out the oven when heating up the bread for dinner.  I have a feeling that folder is going to get a lot of use around here!

Overall, we’ll count the first day in the house a success!  We woke up to the sun shining brightly through the bedroom curtains at 5:30 this morning – might have to look into darker curtains.  Spending today going to a farmer’s & craft market, a cathedral and stocking up the rest of the house. I’ll post pictures of the house when I can get the formatting figured out.  Enjoy your Sunday!

Country Living

When I told everyone we were moving to England, most people assumed London. Despite me telling them to the contrary they continued to refer to our move as going to London. Well, folks, I can assure you we are not in London! While its a pretty short train ride or 2 hour car trip away, it feels like a completely different world here. The hotel we are staying in is especially rural. In order to get to it you have to drive down a winding two-lane road then turn off at a pig farm and continue about half a mile down a narrow road barely wide enough to fit two smallish cars. The drive between the hotel and the closest large town means passing fields of wildflowers, horses, chickens and cattle as well as several forested areas. Its absolutely beautiful, but somewhat isolating at the same time.

We also pass a few houses along the road that sell seedlings or farm fresh eggs from small boxes at the end of their driveway. You just put your money into a cash box and take what you paid for. We haven’t bought anything yet because we don’t have a kitchen, but believe me, we’ll be trying it out soon!

Today while driving back from the base I heard the following traffic report. No joke, here’s a synopsis: “The M6 was closed going both directions at Junction 9 due to a cow wandering into the lanes. The farmer has since removed the cow and traffic is moving freely again with only minor delays.” FYI – any road in England with an M is a motorway, which is essentially equivalent to an interstate in the US. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Then I got stuck behind a farm tractor/trailer going 35 mph in a 50 mph zone. Needless to say, I wasn’t laughing anymore.

This is definitely the most rural place we have ever lived, but we plan to take full advantage. Where else can you pull up to the neighborhood inn or pub and feel like a local, go to a farmer’s market every weekend and know exactly where the goods come from or buy eggs on the side of the road? And if we get tired of all this country life? Large cities are only a bus or train ride away!

 

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