2009 So Far....
Trip Start Nov 14, 2007
29Trip End May 18, 2011
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I thought I would write a quick note about the happenings here in the Garden of England... that's Kent County's motto. We have traveled a lot so far this year but I thought you might be interested in everyday life across the pond. Before I start though I am happy to say that TravelPod is getting a face lift! Finally! They have cleaned things up on the "inside" and will be updating the "outside" very soon. It is certainly an improvement!
Anyway, 2009 has been pretty good so far. The winter seemed long but not as long as it seemed in Michigan! Hard to complain when we kept hearing about snow, snow, snow. In January a crazy thing happened here... a huge ship lost it load of timber. Ok, well what is so interesting about that? Well, it washed up on Thanet beaches!! Here is a link to a video of the news: Timber Video I have also included some pictures. So tons of wood washing up on the beach is crazy enough but throw in a bunch of crazy people taking the wood and it just becomes comical! The cars here are not big and very few people have trucks and such so people were tying it to the roofs of the car, letting it hang out the back, etc. Many even resorted to cutting it up in the parking lots of the beaches. I'm not sure what the plan was for all this wood but it had been swimming around in the North Sea for weeks... that can't be good to build with. So the authorities warned that this is in fact stealing and advised the 'takers' that they needed to fill out paperwork for the wood.... now how many people do you think really filled out the paperwork?
Our friend Jim came into town in February for a visit. We took a trip to Athens but also spent some time poking around Kent. Canterbury, castles and such. As you can see from the photos Lily missed her Uncle Jim! We are looking forward to meeting Jim in Amsterdam in October to celebrate his birthday.
Spring finally arrived in early March. Spring lasts a LONG TIME here. Starts end of February, early March and by my Michigan blood, it's still spring here (temps in the 60s). We had planted a bunch of daffodils last year so the garden exploded. This year we bought tulips so next year it should be amazing! We are getting a huge wind farm off the coast just north east of us. So we have a frequent visitor to the port of Ramsgate... the huge Sea Jack out of Rotterdam. This thing hammers the bases into the sea bed. There is another massive sea jack that won't fit into our harbor that will actually assemble the wind turbines. It is supposed to be live next summer. Pretty cool. We should have a great view!
April brought our friends Kim & Karl over for a visit. We went over to Brugge for a day. Had a great time of course! Their trip coincided with the Planet Thanet Beer Festival. A must do with a brewer in the house (Kim brews beer for North Peak Brewing in Traverse City). This was also the venue for the launch of Gadd's Bottle Shop. Steve is doing the promotions for the Bottle Shop and running things like tastings. The festival was good. We had a great time.
Activities in Kent picked up in May. Lily and I had to see the bluebells so we went to King's Wood. Great walk. Amazing bluebells. Lily had a blast hunting. Just after I put the camera away a herd (about 15) deer ran right in front of us! I think it scared the hell out of Lily. She was almost run over. Of course once they went past she wanted to follow! NO! Just after the deer incident a mouse ran across the path in front of us. Well, this is more on her level and she has been a bit obsessed since finding the mice in the garage... the hunt was on!! Steve and I headed into London for a DEVO concert. Great show! It is so much fun running into London for a show. There were two beer festivals. And you know we have to attend these... to promote the Bottle Shop of course! One of the festivals was held at an old mill. Took a few pics. We plan to go back for a tour of the mill itself. There has been a mill on that site since 1227! These are dates I still can't comprehend. So the weather people here cannot predict the weather to save their lives... not even 24 hours in advance. We are becoming accustom to this however in May the Met Office (our Weather Channel) decided to predict an entire season and said that we are going to have a warm, dry summer. Well, you can imagine the humor we found in this! We shall see. I must add that as I write it is rainy and cold outside.... that's all I have to say about that. The last Monday in May is a holiday here (our Memorial Day) and there was an air show at Manston (an old RAF airport very near the house). We decided to go. Glad we did! Got to see the Spirit of Kent, a Spitfire from WWII. Very cool. I couldn't help thinking as this ONE noisy plane flew about the sky, what must it have been like living in this area during the war. Reading a couple of books on the subject. Again a history I have a difficult time comprehending. It is hard to imagine war at your doorstep.
June has been good so far. Summer hours (half day Fridays) have started at work... yeah! All the towns are having open gardens. For open gardens the residents open their gardens to the public. Pretty cool way of getting ideas and admiring some pretty amazing English gardens. We are heading to Minster, a small town near us for their open gardens this weekend. I can't wait! Last weekend Steve stepped out into the garden and could hear a band playing. Well, this sparked interested so we lassoed the dog and went for a walk. Down at the prom there was a car show. This was the end of the Bucket & Spade Run. So from my understanding 'bucket & spade' means beach.... for instance, "They went on a bucket and spade holiday." So these Bucket & Spade Runs start somewhere inland and basically convoy to the coast. This year they headed to Ramsgate. There were lots of great cars to see. European cars, American cars and even some custom hybrid cars. The American cars are fun to see with the steering wheel on the correct side and the big loud engines. After walking around looking at the cars we then continued our walk around town. On our way through town we walked by a bakery to find a very classy black and hot pick birthday cake in the window that had a Playboy Bunny on it. Right next to a Hannah Montana cake... so depending on your daughter's maturity level.... What father would not be proud to get his 14 year old this birthday cake on her birthday. Did we mention there is a slight problem of teen pregnancy here?
Life in England is good. Still perturbed by the language though not as often. Steve was watching highlights from NASCAR and neither one of us can remember exactly how they pronounced Pocono but it took us a minute to get it. I do find that we are using some of the terminology. Words like bin (garbage can), nicked (stolen) and rubbish (garbage). I also find myself saying goodbye in a high-pitched tone. All the Brits do it, even men. It's quite funny. Steve's favorite term is 'local'. As in, "I'm heading up to my local for a pint." It means your nearest pub. Everyone should have a local. Ours is pretty good. Nice selection of beers. It is still mind-boggling how expensive things are here. Can't wait to shop when we go back to Michigan for a visit. We need another sea shipment! We just got back from our evening walk and took some pictures of the crazy skies over Ramsgate. We had thunder and lightening (I love this) and hail before we left for the walk.
Hope all is well back in the States. Miss everyone a bunch. Can't wait to see you!
Where I stayed