09 November 2006


What a happy, happy day!

The election results in the States are back (well most of them anyway) and the Democrats are winning! Currently they control the House and the Senate. When I say currently, I mean right this second, as I am writing this. Let's hope it sticks.

The weather turned yesterday - it started to rain, as I knew it would because today is bin day. Save for a couple of times this summer, it has rained every damn time that I've had to take out either the trash or the recycling. Every damn time. All the rest of the week: sunshine, breezy, glorious brisk Autumn weather; bin day: bloody rain.

I spent most of the day cleaning. I cleaned out the drawers of a French bombe dresser so that I could finally move the last of my clothes out of the plastic drawers that have been serving as my dresser for the better part of the last six months. It was time to move my things into a big girl dresser and today I did just that. I was very pleased with myself. Pleased that I got one more thing checked off the list, pleased that I got the last of the things I needed to get out of my side of The World's Ugliest Built-In Wardrobes, so that I could have someone come in and rip those ugly mothers out, so that I can start sleeping in peace without them looking at me. They creep me out, those wardrobes, they are vile and I don't know how they got there. Someone has bad taste. Not me, they were there when I got here.

One more thing checked off the list. Bush kicked into touch.

Happy day.

06 November 2006

Long Days Journey Into Putney

London is a very long way from where I live. The most direct train leaves the city of Preston, which is 25 minutes away from the village where I live, and arrives in London 2 hours and 45 minutes later.

And that's the train that doesn't stop before London Euston.

I know, I know, it isn't really all that far away - it's closer than Sacramento is to San Jose by train - it's all psychological; it just emphasizes how far away this very little village is from all things modern and metropolitan. I live in Blue Rinse Central, or in my own WB-esque sense of humor, Oldville.

Oldville is nothing like Smallville - no meteor shower has ever bestowed special powers on the people of this town, there are no hunky supermen, no weirdo billionaires, but there are dozens of overly-made up, crackpot wannabe-vixens.

I hadn't fully realized the implication of living in such a small village, with such an elderly population until I started going about my day-to-day activities. You see, the upside to not working is that you can get your shopping done during the day - Scottish raspberries, mackerel fillets, fruit, veg and pikelets and you're on the way back home before 11 a.m. The downside to shopping during the day when you live in Old Wrinklyville is that it takes from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. to get those things because you spend 65 percent more time trying to navigate aisles that are clogged with tottering old betties desperately trying not to clean their own clocks with jars of pickled onions or potted beef. Their shopping trolleys are cocked at odd angles and the aisles look strangely reminiscent of the parking lot. Very old men are attempting to take direction from equally old women who are trying to determine the actual number of canned peaches you get per pence and whether they should splurge on the market brand or a more generic (if possible, and it is!) brand. Neither can hear the other, she can't walk over to the other side of the aisle and he can't read the can, they are too far apart to hand things to one another and all I want is my damn Carob Crunch made by a carbon-neutral, environmentally-friendly company so that I can get to the meat aisle and get wafer-thin organic ham before they run out (not bloody likely!). Hrrrrumph!

So, despite the fact that it takes nigh three hours to get there by train - made longer by the fact that if I don't rush onto the train and nab one of the few unreserved seats I'll have to stand the entire way - I headed off to London to have a hair consultation, visit a yarn shop that I'd found on the net and get the hell out of Oldville for a while.

The hair consultation was fine. I made an appointment for two days later an am looking forward to having something other than braids for a while. My own hair is a little too long to braid it into the style that I like, so it's time to make a change.

The real treat was Stash. Man, have I missed good yarns shops. The Yanks reading this will be pleased and amused to know that the one shop I've found that I really like is owned by an American (America, Fuck Yeah!). They actually carry Malabrigo and Misti Alpaca. They have Koigu and yarns by Tilli Thomas that are unreal - silk with Swarovski crystal beads or semi-precious stones. Here's hoping they make it to Stitches West! I must warn you though; it's spendy yarn - £75/skein for some of the yarns. Yowza. The women who worked there were quite nice, stayed open late for myself and one other customer, let me walk in off the street and wind my own yarn, troll through their books and even gave me guidance for a pattern when I came in and said that I was looking for a pattern for a specific yarn instead of the other way around. It was well worth the trip.

The shop is in Putney, South London and I have to say that I enjoyed South London a great deal more than I did Central London. My earlier excursion sent me to the Oxford Circus station and it was ridiculous. Not the good ridiculous as Karen Tanner usually means it, but ridiculous in the usual OED sense. It was like a caricature of what people who have never been to the Big City expect it to be.

While I was in Putney, I decided to take a later train and have dinner by myself at Pizza Express, which I'd spied on the way down to Stash. I thumbed through a copy of Selvedge and enjoyed the Padana pizza, which was excellent. It's something I am looking forward to on my next visit to Stash.

Back on the tube, I got to London Euston just in time to miss the train to Preston (and to learn that I had an hour to wait), but in time to find that there is a Krispy Kreme stand at the station - crazy. I had a latte and the last Belgian Chocolate brownie at Starbucks, sat in the cool night air listening to people I couldn't quite see laugh and talk and waited for my train. As I said, well worth the trip.

05 November 2006

My Apologies

I told friends and family that I would blog my adventures in England. What with a new house and being in a new place and being an expat and all, I expected that there would be tons to blog about. Tons. I expected that there would be great trips to the English countryside, wonderful picnic lunches on the banks of the Lancaster Canal and Monkee-esque, super fast-motion trips to the London Eye, the Tower of London and the Notting Hill Portabella Road market with much mugging and smiling and general silliness. This is what I thought living in England would be like.

How naive.

If I'd known that it was going to be fish and chips on a Saturday night, endless trips to the local B&Q Hardware and American sitcoms in rerun. If I'd only known that there was only one movie theater for a 15-mile radius with stale-ass popcorn that comes in sweet or salty or a diabolical mix of the two... Did I mention it's stale?

If I'd had any idea of how boring my life as a housefrau would be, I would never have promised to blog about it all. Or at least I would have made up better stories.

Ah, but a promise is a promise, so, in all of its lackluster glory, here goes...