Saturday, November 27, 2010


     I'm combining these two days because I don't think much happened and I can fit them into one post.  Wednesday Sean took the train into France.  When we were coming over in November the lady at customs didn't stamp his visa so he needed to leave the country then come back through customs.  He went on a train, through the Chunnel, through immigration then right back to London.  I was quite nervous about this.  What if they didn't let him back in?? What if we have to move to France because that's where he's stuck? Sean made it back with passport and visa stamped and hopefully no future problems!
    Our first three boxes came in the mail.  I wasn't home when they were delivered so apparently the UPS man thought it was ok to drop it off to the neighbors.  Kind of odd, but at least we met the neighbors!  Two of the boxes were filled with pure clothing and shoes which meant I now had warmer boots and Sean had something other than boat shoes to wear.  The third box had my computer! It arrived safe and sound covered in layers and layers of bubble wrap.  Without the internet it's just a giant ipod though.  I wanted to unpack everything but we have no where to put it all.  We are still waiting for the second dresser and to hear back from the landlord.  We did eventually unpacked the boxes and refold our clothes to put in piles on the floor in the bedroom.  At least they're out of boxes and safely in our flat.
    I made soup for dinner.  I could only buy a small pot so I had to cut the recipe in half.  But it was GREAT cutting up vegetables, pouring, cooking and stirring.  Our kitchen table is currently being used as a computer desk so I set up a little table using two dining room chairs and our "couches" and we ate our first home cooked meal.  The rest of the night we tried to get internet in the apartment and do some research on where to shop for cheap furniture and homey type stuff.  This research continued into Thursday where we found ourselves at Starbucks early in the morning.  We took a look at Ikea but weren't too impressed.  Sean did a lot of shopping around on Amazon and I drank some tea.  This whole time we had been trying to get a hold of the landlord to find out what exactly was up with this silly little furniture and the massive furniture that was promised to us but still mmissing.  It was quite a bit of Sean going back and forth with voicemails, texts and trying to figure out exactly which guy to get a hold of.  We had two different names and several wrong email addresses.  Finally though, an Irish man named Fergal agreed to come over and talk with us about a few of the issues we were having with the place.  Apparently the place is owned by several guys and this Fergal dude is the one we need to talk to.
     Later on Thursday we tried out a new cafe, Ogue had suggested it for cheap internet, but I think he got in good with the owners because the lady behind the counter was ready to charge us 3 pounds an hour for internet. Holy Moly! No thank you.  Unfortunatley we ordered our cappuchino and tea before we asked about internet so we had to sit and drink and come up with another game plan.  Fergal was scheduled to come over at 3 ish and I had to find yarn and knitting needles for the knitting group which meets every Thursday.  I rushed off into central London to a place called iknit London to see if I could grab some supplies.  Sean headed back home to wait for Fergal.
    I found a couple skeins of yarn and some large needles.  It will do for the evening.  In the meantime, Sean was back home talking things over with Fergal.  We made a list of issues we wanted to bring up, ready to defend our contract but Fergal turned out to be a very nice man and we needed to get on his good side.  He laughed when he saw the furniture and told us that that was the wrong bed.  Had he not seen the finished place? Wasn't he the landlord? Why is this the wrong furniture?  He showed Sean how to use the alarm system and little hints to the hot water heater and other odd things in the flat that we were confused about.  I was delighted to hear that Fergal told us that he'd get rid of the mini furniture and allow us to pick out our own stuff.  He gave us a budget and we made plans to go shopping.
    While I was out shopping for wool (not yarn, but wool) Sean also had his chance to meet the neighbors.  He ran over to talk to Ogue about the internet situation but Snowflake came to the door.  They were supposed to be out of town for the week but she fell and hurt her ankle so they ended up staying in London for Thanksgiving.  Snow's mum was also there.  I haven't meet the misses yet, just Ogue.  But anyways.  Ogue stopped over to talk to Sean about the internety type stuff and I guess they chit-chatted for a while.  He showed off the world's smallest couch and Ogie gave us the tip that they did not get their place furnished.  Instead they went to Ikea and just bought everything.'s sounding better and better.  Ogue had a lot to say about how he was trying to get internet and some of his simple temporary solutions.  I think they were having a little mini Thanksgiving next door because their chit chat session was cute short when Snowflake's mom came over to call him to dinner.  We didn't cook anything special or go out anywhere.  We had left over soup and I got ready to go to the knitting group.
    The knitting group was really cute.  There were 8 of us and everyone was working on something different.  I sat next to two women, Avril and Marjory.  Avril lived in Toronto for two years so knew about Buffalo and the Great Lakes.  She was a lot of fun to talk to.  She reminded me of Sean's Auntie Kim, her personality, her haircut, even her glasses.  This was the British version of Auntie Kim.  Marjory was an older woman from Scotland.  She knitted with one needle tucked up in her armpit.  Her accent made it quite hard to understand her but what I did understand made me laugh.  She was knitting from some pattern that was in Norwegien so she was trying her best to translate it or make it up as she went.   She also talked about how she volunteers and her eyes lit up when I told her I wasn't working here.  We traded emails so she could send me the link to the volunteer group that helps kids with their literacy skills and also invited me to another knitting group she goes to.   I didn't have a knitting project in mind so I was just going to do a scarf while I was there.  Easy. Check out the group, get a feel for the pub.  Everyone else was confused why I was making a scarf... "it's so boring!!!!" It was a little embarassing, but I'm glad I had something easy to do.  I loved just sitting there listening to all these ladies talk and chatter.  I think I will try to frequent this group and when I go home I'll have to dig some of my needles out of the POD and pick out some good patterns. I'll do a REAL project!
   It wasn't quite the Thanksgiving we were used to but it was still nice to hear from our friends and family back home.  We miss everyone so much and hopefully it will be easier to keep in touch once we get internet and a reliable phone line. Things are surely settling down or at least we've come to terms with the fact that nothing is going to come easy here, especially internet.  Thursday was our Thanksgiving, even though we didn't have the food, or the family, but we did meet the neighbors, we met the landlord and he seemed very reasonable and gave us a glimmer of hope.  Things were looking up. Thankfully!

  Oh oh oh, the other night, we were spying out our kitchen window (like we usually do, spying is fun and without tv it gives us something to do)  and Sean said "CARLA, OMG CARLA" he was super serious. I've never heard Sean that serious before. It kind of startled me and scared me.  "OMG CARLA, CARLA, THERE....IS...A .....FOX ....IN THE ALLEY"    Sure enough, quite a large red fox looking confused and lost, trotted through the alley.  This is the second fox I've seen here.  I saw one in the back of the hotel in the little courtyard.  Maybe foxes are like raccoons to us back home.  You may see one but they should be in the woods and not in the city, but you may see one.  So now, every time I come around the corner I expect to see a fox, or a bear.  We are having a fun time spying out our windows and watching people pass the alley.    Directly across from us there seems to be an office.  An older man works at his desk during the later hours in the afternoon.  He has horrible posture and needs to sit up straight. His desk alignment needs to be adjusted. His poor spine! The woman seems nice, and sits up straighter, she's on the phone a lot.  There also appears to be a younger girl working there.  She comes and goes a lot with mail, coffee and packages. Sometimes she brings her cat to work, he balances on her shoulder while she unlocks the door. Then we see the cat sitting in the window watching the birds.  Sean meows at it and tries to get it's attention.
Sean took this nice photo.  This is what we see when we look
out of our kitchen window/doors.  That's the cat in the window
in the office across from us.  Down below is the alley out to the
High Road.  The High Road has all the shops and retsaurants
so it's very convenient for us to just pop out and get to where
we need to be.  To the left is some building that we discovered
is completely empty.  Kind of sketchy but no one else seems
to be concerned.  You can see how we can get caught up in
spying on our neighborhood. 
MEOW Hello neighbor! Those are our bed
room windows in the reflection and that's where
the lady at work sits.  

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