Sunday, April 30, 2006

Eleven Days!

I can't believe it's been eleven days since I last posted. Life sure does get busy sometimes, doesn't it? It doesn't even seem like half that much time has gone by. Plus, it doesn't really seem like anything has happened in that week and 1/2.

I guess stuff has. Our bank, HSBC, has done the valuation of the Fleetgate house and they've OK'd the amount of money they're lending us for it. Our solicitors have started the local search, so we should have a moving in date soom (even if it's just a tentative one). Martin's interviewed for the assistant manager position at work. I've cooked a lot of meals and cleaned the house a few times. Life just gets swallowed up by all the mundane things you have to do!

England continues to amaze and inspire. The weather is getting warmer all the time (highs of about 65, but it's humid so it feels warmer), and with the thaw in the weather, the people seem a little bit friendlier as well. Plus, I have never seen such a glorious spring. It seems like everything is blossoming right now. The flowering cherries have shed their petals, but now we have the crab apples, and this other tree that I've never seen before but it has huge pink blooms that look similar to carnations. Even the hedge rows are full of beautiful flowering white hawthorne, and the farmers are all growing bright yellow rapeseed. All this country needs is a little sunlight to make it beautiful!

So yeah, you may have noticed that I am completely enamored of spring inEngland. I hope that when we DO eventually have a baby, it's in May. Then my parents will come to visit, and they will understand why I love England so much. Even though it has its quirks and annoyances, this is a truly beautiful place.

Martin and I are really starting to look forward to moving into 48 Fleetgate (though the address isn't nearly as fun as our current one)! The freaked-out feeling of going into that much debt has started to fade, and we are both starting to look at it as an adventure, and as something a little more grown up and stable. And we are really looking forward to central heating! We have been wandering around home improvement stores like single women wander around bridal shops and married men around shopping malls--looking and lusting! We've chosen the colours for our living room and know the general look we're going to go for (feng shuy-ish but modern) and have startind making flooring choices. We were looking at kitchen appliances the other day, for crying out loud. We are going to start making decisions about the bedroom soon. I can't wait to get in to the house and start doing the work. Not that I particularly like painting and stuff, but I wan't to live in a nice place. I want to have a beautiful house that I can be proud to have friends and family come to stay in. And, let's be honest, I'm all about the central heating!

Non-house news: We went to another Scunthorpe United football match yesterday. Martin got free tickets from work again, and it was a good time. More people went this time, and it was a really exciting game. They were playing Blackpool (say it like the Southerners and call it "Bleck-poo") and it was a goal-less game until the 90th minute. Scunthorpe scored a goal in injury time, and the Blackpool fans were really angry about the ref's decision. About 20 of them stormed the pitch, and they got chased off by security guards and police. I actually saw a man being beaten with a night stick. English bobbies don't need guns--just big flashlights! It was brutal. Good game!

Tomorrow is another bank holiday. Normally you don't have so many this close together, but Easter was very late this year. This means another short work week, and we are going to Lincoln tomorrow. We're going to do some window shopping, go up steep hill, browse in bookshops, and have lunch with Martin's cute and oh-so-eligible cousin Gareth (that's right, he's single, ladies. I'll get a picture of him--you'll see what I mean). We're both looking forward to it as we haven't been to Lincoln since the Christmas Fair. Since I'll have the camera with me, I'll take a few pictures of England in bloom. Who knows, we may even get pictures of the two of us on the blog.

The work week is looking busy even though it's a short one. Work has been very busy and annoying for me (Yvonne is getting worse all the time. I hope she finds a new job soon!). Martin's boss is going to Orlando for the annual Enterprise managers' retreat, and leaving Martin in charge. Well, Martin and his collegue Fran. They are acting manager and assistant manager, respectively. He's definitely up to the challenge, and is hoping that it will look good for him when the decision is made about the job. We're just hoping he passes the drug test. : )

That's all the news from the Gilbert family. More updates to come!

Love and miss you all terribly!!!


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

How to post to my blog in 10 easy steps (for all you people who are dying to try it but don't know how):

1) go to

2) read the new postings

3) see one that you would like to respond to (like, wow, Martin looks good in those fish pants, or, the scenery in Portland is so much nicer than that, or, Jamie, you are looking stunning lately).

4) scroll down to the bottom of the posting where it says: posted by Gilberts' Fridge at 9:21 PM 0 comments links to this post

5) click on the spot that says "comments"

6) type your comment in the text box provided

7) if you don't have your own blog, click on the box that says "anonymous" (make sure you tell me who you are if you want me to know)

8) in the box that says "word verification," type the letters that appear just above the box (this stops people posting spam to my blog)

9) Click on "log in and publish"

10) make me very happy

Comments are always welcome--the more the better. I have signed up to receive e-mail notification of comments on my blog, so it's a great way to make short comments if you don't have time to send a full e-mail.
Bank Holidays...

Easter was nice--especially because I got a 4 day weekend. Good Friday and Easter Monday are both bank holidays, and virtually nobody works on those days. In fact, the whole country comes to a grinding halt! You know how everything except the bank and the post office is open on, say, Memorial day? In fact, most retailers have big sales and do tons of business on holidays? Not here. Most of the time, even the grocery stores are closed. The only thing that is open is usually your local off-license, or "offie." That's the corner store that sells the essentials, like bread, milk, toilet paper, chocolate, and more booze than two supermarkets put together!

I spent Good Friday giving my house a great clean since Martin was at work anyway. Saturday we had an extra choir practice and picked up some donated furniture for the new house, watched a movie, went for a drive, etc. Sunday was spent at church, of course. We had a special choir performance on Sunday evening, which was interesting. We are an unusual group, made up of some who have had quite a lot of training to the majority who can't read music at all, and a few who can't carry a tune in a bucket! But we tried hard, and it went well. Martin's mum came, and she got to meet a lot of the people we go to church with. They were all really lovely to her, which I was glad of.

After the choir performance, we drove down to Mablethorpe to see the grandparents. Both sets are doing well. We went for a walk on the beach and gathered sea shells and driftwood. I'd never been to Mablethorpe in nice weather before, and it was strange to see so many people there. Nice weather or not, I would NEVER swim in the North Sea. It looks bitterly cold, no matter how much the sun is shining. Plus, it's really dirty from all the commercial shipping and fishing that goes on there. There's also that sewage thing, though I think they've stopped dumping that in for the most part!

Monday night we went to a barbecue at Steve's house. All of Martin'sold mates were there except Adam, who is currently in Canada. We stayed for about 3 1/2 hours, and left when they started playing silly drinking games. It was a good time though--always fun to be social!

It was really hard to go back to work on Tuesday, but the time seems to be flying by. It's been really busy, which is nice. Martin had a hard time going back, as well, but he is doing well at work. He has an interview scheduled for Friday for the Assistant Manager position in Scunthorpe. We're both pretty pleased about that--especially now that we've signed our mortgage! I think he stands a better chance of getting this one than the last position he interviewed for, and I am fairly confident that he'll get it. Martin is such a hard worker!

It's amazing how much more I like England when the weather's nice.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sister-in-law Cathy enjoys her yummy dessert at dinner on Mother's Day. Posted by Picasa

The largest single drop water fall in England. Can't remember what it's called, but it sure is gorgeous! Posted by Picasa
Martin and I have a mortgage!

We have finally taken the plunge and climbed onto the first rung of the property ladder. Martin and I signed the mortgage for the Fleetgate house in Barton. Now we are just waiting for the solicitors to finish off the various checks and contracts, and we are hoping to move in by the end of this month or the first week of May. This means we will soon have a guest room for anyone who wants to come and visit. I want my first visitors from home!

We are going to have so much to do it's almost scary. First thing is tearing out carpets and linoleum and cleaning everything from top to bottom. The people that just moved out of the upstairs flat had two dogs in there, and it reeks of dog pee. Icky! Then we are going to decorate our bedroom, knock out some walls in the front room and decorate that, then start on the other bedrooms. The house is going to occupy almost all of our free time for the next little while.

Anyway, I'm going to post a few more pictures from the lake district, and then I've got to get some dinner. I think it's going to be fish & chips or a chicken doner kebab--I'm a bachelorette tonight. It sounds a little better than "football widow."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

My beautiful husband, enjoying the scenery. Posted by Picasa

This sort of scenery was common throughout the whole day. Every time we came to the crest of a hill we kept seeing more and more beautiful sights. Posted by Picasa
The day was spent mostly driving. The whole drive was only 104 miles, but it took us almost nine hours. We had some rain and some sun, and some serious fun! Even though the towns were packed with people, most of the roads we were on were practically deserted. England never fails to surprise me with its' beauty and variety. Most of it feels so cramped and over crowded, and then you go to places that are wide open and beautiful, and you almost feel like you're the only person on the island.

We got to our B&B in Hawkshead at about 6 PM, and had a lovely time strolling around the village. It's very small and picturesque, with plenty of farms and public footpaths. We watched some adorable lambs playing in a pasture, then had dinner in an old pub. Guess what Martin had to eat? Lamb!
After the hair raising trip up the passes, we had to go down them. If anything, it was MORE terrifying. However, we did get to stop at an old Roman fort. It's only ruins, but it was still an impressive sight. Plus, it made an excellent pit stop. Martin and I both peed on athousand year old archaeological site, but I guess that's no worse than the sheep who shelter there in the summer months.

Once on the level again, we drove to St. Catherines church and got out for a little stroll beside a random river. That's were I saw one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen...

The picture doesn't capture the vibrant green of the moss and the water. This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 03, 2006

Can you see that tiny ribbon of road to the left of the gully? We drove up that! Well, Martin drove up it while I closed my eyes and prayed! Posted by Picasa
We drove to Preston that night and did that whole temple thing--it was nice, and I remembered to bring my recommend this time! We slept in temple accommodation on Friday night and got an early start Saturday morning. Destination: Ambleside.

First, however, we made a quick stop in Kendal for a famous Kendal Mint Cake. Basically, it's sugar, peppermint oil, and more sugar. Good for hiking, says Martin. Good for a sugar high, says Jamie. Very tasty, and Kendal is quite charming as well.

Ambleside was the beginning of our tour, and we only drove through it very quickly to get to the fun stuff--Wrynose and Hardknott passes. These are two of the steepest mountain passes in the country, and they were a little bit tense, to say the least. As you can probably see by the picture above.

Nice wheels! We were only able to put the top on the car down for a little while, but it was fun all the same! Posted by Picasa
The Lake District did not disappoint!

Martin and I just spent a delightful weekend up in Cumbria, and I have fallen even more deeply in love with the area. We drove around and saw some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, and I suddenly remembered why I wanted to move back here (besides the baby thing, I mean).

The weekend started with our car rental--a fire red Renault Megane convertible...