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Archive for January, 2013

Saturday and Sunday

January 28th, 2013 at 07:44 am

Although I seem to be eternally battling a cold, I had an interesting weekend. My classes are going well, and I'm staying in most of the day today to get things set for the week.

I find I almost always need to plan my outings around the bus and transportation schedules. Although I woke up feeling sniffly on Saturday, I had a long list of things I wanted to do and which had to be done to prep for this week. So off I went up the hill, taking a different bus than I usually do--this one to London Bridge Station. I loved the route--through Islington to the "city" of London, then across the river to Southwark.

I'd been reading about Borough Market--a real foodie haven, and it was MUCH bigger than I anticipated. It was also jammed with people buying all sorts of produce, honey, fruits and veg, meats of all kind from wild boar to ostrich. There were many stalls selling all sorts of prepared food including exotic sausages, paella, rabbit sandwiches, veggie dishes, wine and champagne by the glass. I bought some jams from Devon for gifts (lovely man), some leeks, golden beets, carrots, and parsnips. I bought some Asian chicken noodle soup for lunch, but though I wanted to taste everything, many of the prepared foods were expensive--though it would be a fun way to spend the day.

Then I took a long Thames side stroll which probably didn't do my cold any good, but there was a fire juggler performing, and it was a beautiful sunny day. Then to the Gloucester Road tube station where I plan on starting tomorrow's class. A short walk from there is Virgina Woolf's childhood home. I ambled through Kensington then on to the National Portrait Gallery to scope out the Woolf stuff there. They have a new exhibit and a great digital archive that really helped plan my class.
Then to Oxford Street heading toward my bus home where I got more meds and kleenex and various items at Superdrug. Then a quick stop into Marks and Spencer Foods for their special dinner offer--a four course prepped dinner for two with a bottle of wine for 10 pounds. Not a particular bargain, but I figured it would stretch me into three days plus.

I came home so tired that I didn't eat anything but had a long hot shower, skyped DD and DH, and went to bed. I'll have the dinner stating tonight.

Sunday I spent with my in-laws on the Isle of Wight. It was my F-I-L's 87th birthday and although I knew it'd be a long trip, I had to go. After scoping more bargains and ignoring DH's advice, I left early to get a bus from Victoria coach station to Portsmouth. DH always took the train, but it was 20 pounds cheaper and as fast on the bus. I took a different bus to get to Victoria, but was inordinately proud of myself for figuring it all out. Then the ferry from Portsmouth. We had a lovely lunch at my favorite waterside pub, birthday cake and gifts later, then back to London. Again, a couple of new buses, but I was pleased it all went well. I am feeling so confident about my ability to work out the buses. I used to love the tube, but it's so wonderful to watch the world on the bus. Home after 10, but managed to stay awake for more skyping and prep for tomorrow.

What an adventure!




Hi From London!

January 24th, 2013 at 02:30 pm

Hi SA Buddies:
I'm six days into my London sojourn and loving it. I miss my family, but it's so fabulous to come out of the classroom and find myself in the heart of London.

On the financial front, my wire transfer finally went through, so I'm as fully funded as I can be. My students are really amazed at the cost of things, but I think this will be an excellent experience of living on a budget much tighter than they're used to. I'm sort of accustomed to British prices, and I have to say, my transport pass has allowed me to explore a lot, visit some great markets, and go places I might hesitate to visit if I had to pay.

The flat is great; it's in a quiet residential area of North London, and despite the bus ride, I really like it. I've got all my grocery loyalty cards, have even discovered some coupons, and got a free two pints of milk today.

Some of my extras will be paid for like last night's curry night, and next week's play tickets. I can see I'll need to pack sandwiches at least two days a week, but I'm really enjoying both exploring a part of London I've never seen much of and coming home to a great flat. It was definitely the right decision.

My New English Castle

January 18th, 2013 at 02:38 pm

After some assorted troubles, students overloaded with luggage, very problematic snow in London, all has actually gone well, My rental flat is cute and nice, the landlady is great, no real problems. I ventured out into the snow and did a bit of grocery shopping--realizing i forgot how to shop for one.

Going to catch up with some needed sleep now.
More tomorrow...

Stuffing, Stuff, and Stuffed Up

January 10th, 2013 at 12:56 pm

That's about the size of it! Lots of stuff to do including scanning class materials for London, organizing and planning those classes. Lots of stuff stuffed in the suitcase. We broke down and bought a new suitcase. Our old ones were showing the signs of lots of traveling. I bought an ultra lightweight hard case. I hope it survives ok. Plus I'm stuffed up, as I've been fighting (really fighting) a cold since Saturday. It doesn't feel like a cold; it feels like the flu, but I had a flu shot? No signs of it in DH or DD thankfully. This morning I got DD off to school, sat in the family room chair and fell asleep for two hours. I felt horrible when I got up, but a cup of coffee, a piece of toast, and three ibuprofen seem to have made a dent in it.

Massive lists and lists of lists everywhere here.

Still Working on Goals Too

January 2nd, 2013 at 10:28 am

Well, maybe not "working" on them, but thinking about them. I would like to think of a new substantive goal now that the house is paid off. Fully funding the retirements plans doesn't have quite the jazzy appeal I'd like, though we'll certainly do that.

I'm also in the early stages of freaking out about leaving in 15 days. But I'm also working on that. DD and DH are back to work and school, so I'm off to do some errands.

First errand of the day? Join the local credit union. I've been itching to dump the big banks for a while, and this seems opportune. Their debit card has no foreign transaction fee, so it seems ideal.

But as usual, my mind is bogged down in minutiae. How many pairs of socks do I bring? What should I buy there? Seriously, you'd think I'd never left the house before.