Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tally ho!

Flowers from Jo & Jake!
Flowers from Pete's sister Jo and her son Jake

Today we journeyed across the English countryside to visit Pete's family. I took some pix on the way there.

Sheep dotting the countryside:
sheep dot the landscape

A dandylion explosion (that's mainly for Uncle Jim. I still laugh about how he said my mom "must be ecstatic" after she defended her chemical-free yet dandylion-filled lawn.)

A cow-crossing sign:
cow crossing in England

The countryside:

It was really great to see Pete's family again. We talked about wedding plans and I checked out the wedding albums of his parents and his sister. I loved his mom's 60's style turquoise wedding dress and jacket--and she looks very much the same as she did then! I can see Pete's face in his Dad's. And wow, Pete looks so different now compared to what he looked like when his sister got married--he looks like a totally different person! His mom prepared a lovely dinner buffet, and we took the dogs out for a walk. I learned that Pete's parents read my blog every day (hello, and thank you, Roger and Jackie!). His sister and nephew gave me flowers as pictured above. We arrived home safely and covered in dog hair. :)

Tomorrow we plan to go mini-golfing, then it's off to Maeri's house for dinner with several of Pete's friends and former colleagues, almost all of whom I've previously met and dined with at the many conferences we attended in our old jobs. I'm really excited that I will get to see them all again!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Day in Warrington

Today was our day off!

I actually woke up before Pete this morning!

We went out for some shopping this afternoon.

We walked past the Groom store:

and we went for a walk:

cherry blossoms:


the river with soap from the soap factory:

And this is an interesting parking designation:

I liked these cars:

We met a cat:

And we saw these great billboards:



and here's a fun road sign:

and TJ Maxx is called TK Maxx here.

We watched the Daily Show on TV--they have less commercials here than in the US. And now we're watching the UK version of the Apprentice--where they work for Sir Alan Sugar. No commercials on BBC1.

Tomorrow we're visiting Pete's family.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cross stitch kits, Model Railways and Lawnmower Museums, oh my!

Today was Southport day 3 (I keep calling it Stockport--I don't know why).
Luckily we woke up around 9am even though the wakeup call never came through.

We had breakfast in the hotel cafe, which featured these neat lights:
neat teapot lights at the V cafe at the Vincent Hotel, Southport

We also enjoyed the "next stop" indicator in the swanky elevator:
Love how it tells you the "next stop"

And we drove by the public toilets:
public toilets southport

Then it was on to the Model Railway Village, which had LGB trains and lots of little buildings. They had a quiz about the various scenes, which appealed to the Amazing Race fans inside us both and kept our interest:
Model Railway is open!

Then we walked and took pix with tulips:
tulips in southport

We found a vet for cats only! No dogs allowed!
No pesky dogs allowed!

Free gifts are always great:
Free gifts are always great!

We stopped by a store called "Knitting Sootie" (I have no idea what a "sootie" is, though I'm sure Google would tell me if I bothered to look it up) where they sold cross stitch kits. Even though I said I'd never buy an 18 count cross stitch kit again (the squares are so small!), I bought three today because they were too good to pass up:

What I've purchased so far...

Then we had another Amazing Race moment trying to find the British Lawnmower Museum. How I failed to take a picture of the sign for the museum, I don't know (there were several). But I took pix of lawnmowers!
And today I learned that there is something called Lawnmower Racing:

And I swear my dad either owns or did own that blue book on Lawnmower Repair:
I swear my dad has that "lawn mower repair' book (the blue one), unless he donated it.

Plus they had chainsaws too:
chainsaws were there too!

I'm starting to fade a bit:

Picture of a grooms cake with a lawnmower on top:

The museum was on the second story of a shop that sells, well, keys, safes, and lawnmowers. They had an audio tour of the museum, which was in three rooms and a hallway. I've never been surrounded by so many lawnmowers at one time. And what I remember most was the smell--it smelled like a garage. But then I started to feel ready to eat lunch. We left and it was starting to rain.

We had to wait at crossing tracks for this to go by:

We had lunch and then played games at an arcade. We were both disappointed that the Lost World game controllers both didn't work (we always play that game in two player mode at any arcade that has it!) We enjoyed the driving games. We played the best 3 out of 5, and I won!

Around 4pm we decided to head home. I navigated and Pete drove. I find the signs to be infuriating. Roadways are not labelled as North or South, East or West. They are labelled by towns instead. The signs are generally not close to the intersections like they are in the US. So if you're jetlagged like me, it's hard to remember if the sign said to go right or straight or off to the left sort-of. I say that because I have never been around so many roundabouts (which are called circles in NJ and rotaries in MA) in my life in such a short span of time. Circles in NJ generally have 4 points but here in the UK they can have as many as 6 or maybe more, I'm not sure...I would find myself telling Pete things like, "you want to take the one that's at 2 o'clock."

But I have learned new town names, such as Widnes (can I get a Widnes? ha ha!)

I took a big nap after returning, then we went to the supermarket to buy salad and pizza for dinner. We worked on our wedding spreadsheet. whee!

Tomorrow is our day off!

Good night!! (I stay up til 2 or later because of the jet lag. I'm not helping that out at all because I wake up late and then take big naps in the afternoon or early evening...)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Southport Day 2

Well, I didn't wake up til 11am, so it was a pretty relaxed day and not to jinx myself, but my back feels much better. We drove back to Southport and checked into our very swanky hotel.
The Vincent hotel.  Funky screen  thing

We tried to go to the Model Railway Museum today but it was already shut. we got there at 3:57. Last admission is supposed to be 4pm for a 5pm closing. hmmm....
Railway Model Village in Southport

Here's the view from our room tonight:
View from our room at the Vincent

Hopefully tmw will be the Lawnmower Museum and the Railway Museum and the arcade! :)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Craft Fair and Southport Sunday

Pete and I attended the craft fair today. It turned out to be more of a supply-type fair than a crafters-selling-things kind of fair, but there were plenty o' things to buy and displays of various craft items. I bought some buttons and some jewelry.

We enjoyed the recycled items on display. I thought of Antoinette when I saw this dress made out of cuffs from men's jackets:
For Antoinette: a dress made out of men's cuffs
And thought these dresses made out of plastic carrier bags were neat (though I don't really understand this kind of recycling--will anyone ever wear these dresses? Or is it more just to make a statement?):
Made from plastic carrier bags

And these were made from wires inside tv sets:
Made from wires inside tvs

And this British "PiKnit" was very cool too:
British "Piknit"

At the end of the fair, Pete enjoyed some tea and I enjoyed some Nestles Aero hot chocolate (and isn't that red cat pin I bought just adorable?)

And we took some pix outside (it was held at a race course):
At the races, er, craft fair

The race track

Then we drove to Southport for dinner at Nando's and for a bit of a walk around. We decided to park at the beach, which wound up meaning ON the beach. It was really surprising to me. I mean, I have a very deep respect for water and what it can do, and here we are paying 3 pounds 50 to park the rental car on the beach where the tide clearly was...
If everyone else is paying to park on the beach it must be ok, right?

This was the view from where we parked the rental car:
the view from where we parked the car in Southport, UK

As it turns out, the tide had just gone out and was set to come back, well, at about 1:30am. Talk about making use of space while you have it.

We walked out on the pier but still couldn't see the sea, but we could see a neat shadow (us!):
That's us.  and a trash can.

And on the drive home, we saw not one but two rainbows.



There are even more pictures (if you can stand it!) in my England 2009 Album on flicker.

Tomorrow we will go back to Southport and stay overnight there. Looks like there are lots of fun things to do there. Yeah! The hotel we're going to stay at is supposed to have wireless, so if it's true I will blog from there tomorrow night.