Thursday, August 19, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We are home sweet home. Well, actually we have been home for over a week now but it was tough getting back into the swing of things. First off, three of the five of us had to go back to work the very next day and we didn't get in until 7pm the evening before. Second, your sleep schedule is all messed up with the 5 hour time change. Third, it is hotter than you know what right now in Florida and England was so gloriously cool. WE LOVED IT!!! In fact aside from seeing family that was probably our most favorite part. Ok, so I am kidding, England is awesome regardless of the weather but the temperature sure was a bonus. It would take forever to write down all about the trip and I don't want to bore you so I am just going to share some of the highlights.

1. Renting our own car was really the way to go and sure made for a lot of laughs.

In the past we have always been picked up from the airport and shared the Englishman's parents car which because their car only seats five, (minivans are a rarity over there) it always meant two cars had to come get us. ) We rented a seven seater small version of a mini van and it worked out great. Of course when we first got there and had the three hour drive home from the airport I made the Englishman crazy. English people drive super fast and follow way to close to each other. Factor in the wrong side of the road thing and I was going nuts. I must have said at least 500 times on the way home "Dave, your hugging the left" and "Dave, I need some distance between us and the car in front." I will admit at the end of the trip I complimented his driving and thanked him for not making me drive at all. ( We had insured me on the car as well in case he wanted to have a few "pints" when we were out. I am so glad that never happened)

2. My nephew and his fiancee flew over from Australia to surprise everyone.

He immigrated to Australia with his fiancee (then girlfriend) 8 years ago. It was wonderful to see them. I had never met his fiancee, I haven't seen him since he was 17. They also announced that they are expecting a baby in March. Very exciting news as this will be the first great grand baby and will make me a GREAT Aunt.

3. We had a big barbecue and invited all the Englishman's friends and family.

We did this last time we were there five years ago it was so much fun to see everyone and marvel at how much all the kids have grown. (picture of the girls was taken the night of the BBQ)

4. We traveled to Blackpool a seaside town for a couple days.

It was really neat to see the English beach. Of course, it is nothing like our gorgeous beaches with our powdery white sand but it was awesome just the same. What I loved about Blackpool is to me it is very vintage. It really looks no different than it did in the 20's, well from what I could see in the pictures anyway. They have this tower there and inside it is like an indoor amusement area with a circus and an aquarium and all over are these pictures of Blackpool in the 20's, 30's and 40's. There are two piers that are set up with carnival rides and then there is an old fashioned trolley car that you can ride up and down the beach. (The picture of the Englishman and I is taken in front of the North pier) It was freezing there I don't think it ever got warmer than 65 degrees and I marvelled at the little English children who were on "holiday" splashing down at the shore line in swimsuits or "costumes" as the English call them. While my girls are in jeans and sweatshirts freezing their tails off, these pale skinned adorable children with their buckets and spades are playing like its a sunny 95 degree day on Clearwater Beach. We stayed at a quaint little Bed and Breakfast and because it is almost impossible to find accommodations for a family of five in one room my daughters got their own room and loved it. Soccer Girl said she felt like she was in a college dorm. Of course, Mighty Mouth was just excited to get to sleep in the top bunk of a set of bunk beds.

5. My in laws house. I LOVE my in laws house and always have.

While the inside is cozy (as most English homes are) and even cosier when inhabited by five extra people their back yard is large and gorgeous. The English love their gardens and my in laws are no exceptions. Flowers are in bloom everywhere in the Garden. Every color of the rainbow and if I were not such a brown thumb I could tell you what they were. My FIL even has a vegetable garden and I loved making salads with produce picked right out of the back yard. They live on a canal that flows into the river Severn so boats go by from time to time and just like anywhere on the water in the world as I am told by my favorite sailor (yes, Aunt Sharon that's you) everyone waves as they go by. On the other side of the canal is a large pasture which this time was inhabited by Piebald Ponies that my girl's fell in love with. They loved going and feeding them. They even named them. They also loved feeding the ducks every morning that would come up the lawn from the canal and wait for breakfast. We hung all our clothes on a clothes line something we just don't do here (or I don't anyway) but everyone there does and the clothes smell so fresh and clean when you bring them in off the line.

6. We went and played Bingo

Something my in laws do every Sunday night and sometimes Friday nights. Mighty Mouth loved it and Soccer Girl even won ten pound.

7. We walked everywhere.

Everyone walks everywhere there. I think it is because parking is hard to come by and also can be expensive. I was glad we walked so much because I have an addiction to English chocolate. Cadbury makes all these fantastic chocolates that you cannot buy over here, so when I go there I go crazy. Of course you don't mind walking when it is not 98 degrees with 100 percent humidity.

8. I loved seeing my girls spend time with their cousins.

It always broke my heart that my girls did not have cousins their age. Growing up I remember always playing with my cousins, we were always so close. Even after we moved to Florida I can still remember when we would visit we would all get together and hang out and just have a blast. With my husbands family living so far away and also the huge age difference my nieces are in their twenties and my nephew early thirties they didn't really play together but now that my girls are getting older they LOVE going places (especially shopping) with my nieces and horsing around with my nephew playing practical jokes. After dinner one night we had a crazy water balloon fight that even got me involved. Then we played softball together as a family in the field adjacent to my in laws house. It was hysterical and so much fun. (Right here I must give a shout out to my Mother in Law who in her seventies ran the bases like a pro GO HELEN!!!)

9. Hearing about my in laws early days.

I love hearing about how they met. Where they grew up, how things were different back then. I Love hearing about my husband and when he was young. One day we were in their old neighborhood for a "Farm Show" it had a fancy name but I can't remember it. Anyway, they showed me the very first house they ever lived in as a married couple and it was still there and they said it looked pretty much the same as it said when they live there. I took a picture of it but I haven't loaded it to the computer yet or I would share it. I love that everything in England looks pretty much the same as it did 200 years ago. Now don't get me wrong there is new construction everywhere but right beside it is a building that was there 200 years ago that still looks exactly the same on the outside.

10. Sharing meals with family.

Laughing at each other (some more than others). teasing each other about this or that. Sitting in the big yellow tent (that my in laws put up when we come over to extend the living space) with each other just enjoying the moment!!!!!

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