Sunday, October 28, 2012

Old Oxted, Surrey

Master Park in Oxted. You can just make out the village
church at the opposite end of the green.
Several weeks ago I moved from Edenbridge to Oxted. I was staying with the grandmother of the family I work for, but it seemed much more convenient for me to be living in the same town as the kids' school, the church, the shops, etc. I love it! I am not staying with the first reader, and she and I have a lovely time. We talk a lot and drink tea and watch "Strictly Come Dancing" every Saturday and "Downton Abbey" every Sunday. Here are some pictures of where I'm living. The leaves have started to change and it's simply beautiful! Old Oxted is technically where I live. It's just the one high street with a few poshish pubs, but Oxted Oxted, where all the shops and restaurants and the station and the church and Costa and the school and the library, is just about a ten minute walk. I get to walk past the park, and sometimes the bells from the Church of England church are ringing.

My new digs. My bedroom is upstairs in the front.
The high street of Old Oxted

A very Englishy bit of Old Oxted

Monday, September 24, 2012

What I Love About England

I've been living in England for two months now, and it's hard not to recognise the various ways English and American cultures differ. To be sure, there are some freak moments when I just wish I were walking through an air-conditioned Walmart in 100-degree weather, but it's not that often! This is a list of things I love most about England.

1.) Ribena: it's blackcurrent squash (drink concentrate) that puts our obsession with cranberry juice to shame.
2.) Indian take-away

3.) Cadbury Flake bars - invented by the Gods.

4.) Cadbury fruit and nut bars - ditto.

5.) Names of places

6.) Rain: I like rain.

7.) Twinings Tea

8.) Cottages

9.) Flower gardens

10.) London - all of it

11.) Pizza Express

12.) Costa Coffee

13.) Wagamama Japanese food

14.) Nando's Chiken

15.) The English sea-side

16.) Chish and Fips

17.) Public transportation system

18.) Dogs

19.) Village churches

20.) Schoolchildren in uniforms

Friday, September 7, 2012

Paralympics 2012: Sitting Volleyball

Margaret, Imogen, Louis, Hanah at Paralympicscrowd after gameSitting volleyballGB vs. Iran men's gameWomen's sitting volleyballwomen's team huddle
Netherlands vs. China women's gameImogen, Louis, Hannah, Audrey at ParalympicsEntrance to ExCel stadiumHannah, Louis, Imogen at ParalympicsImogen, Hannah, Louis at ParalympicsExCel stadium and Orbit ride
Docklands, East LondonExCel Paralympics stadiumHigh fives from volunteers

Paralympics, a set on Flickr.
When I wrote a previous post about the general atmosphere in England during the Summer 2012 Olympic Games, I had no idea that I would actually be able to experience a part of the games for myself! A few weeks ago, we had the privilege to attend a Christian Science lecture at the Reading Room setup outside the Olympic Park in London. Then a few nights ago, we got to go to the ExCel arena to watch some of the Paralympics!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

France Day 7 (Thursday): Chinon and Ussé

Chinon FortressChinon from across the riverChinon ceilingLouis in the dungeons at Chinonview atop ChinonChinon
Louis at ChinonJoan of Arc American WWI poster at Chinonview from Chinonview from ChinonChinonthe clocktower at Chinon
France Day 7, a set on Flickr.
Chinon was my absolute favourite castle because it is all about Katharine Hepburn (and you thought I wouldn’t mention The Great KH on this blog!). Well, it’s not about her, but it does mention a great deal about the great Eleanor of Aquitaine, played by Miss Hepburn in 1968’s THE LION IN WINTER, starring Peter O’Toole as England’s King Henry II. Chinon was the location of the royal family’s last Christmas together before Eleanor was returned to imprisonment and Henry died and their sons started vying for the crown. Joan of Arc also visited Chinon several years after that to meet the future king of France. It also served as the prison for members of the Knights Templar – how cool is that!?