Saturday, 22 September 2012

Photographic Guilt Part II

I feel about 18% bad for only putting fake pictures up of my Mum's & Chris's visit. This is what being the youngest of the family does to a girl: I make these hi-larious photos, and feel bad about them. So here are some of the real photos of the family while they were in England. I hope this makes everyone (ah-Chris-em) happy. This guilt is also manifested in a total inability to pare down the photo choices, which means this post is inundated with pictures & videos.

Here is what Chris really looked like in Cambridge - except for that bottom left photo of him & our cousin Ross - that is in Abbey Wood. That's right: I took exactly 3 publish-able pictures of him, and one of them is not actually of  him, and is really, really blurry. I hope he feels happy though - I took exactly zero pictures of my Mum!! :( What a bad kid I am. 

We all went to Bognor Regis for a few days to visit Grandma/Great Grandma, and it was nice for the 4 girls to be together. Elizabeth was properly introduced to Bouncy Castles, and it has been true love ever since. So much so that we managed to lose her in one once - she's just so small, it's hard to keep track of her!

Then we went to Laura & Ollie Thompson's wedding - the reason everyone came over in the first place. I like to pretend it's because we live here now, but I know better than that.

It turned into a totally fantastic and fun evening - with much dancing and awesomeness. Elizabeth was soooo much happier once we took off her dress and put her hair up. Sometimes a girl's just gotta let go!

Luckily, we had the 'real' photos taken beforehand, including this one of my Nanny with all the grandchildren & great-grandchildren that could come:

After the wedding, the Babowals went home, and Suzie & Adam were in Amsterdam, I think - who can keep track of those two?? So Chris & I spent a day together (with my sidekick Elizabeth, of course) in London. It was the day after the Olympics ended, and Chris wanted to get in on the Olympic vibe too. He was upset that the Olympic rings were taken down from Tower Bridge for the interim between the games & the Paralympic games. But . . . I don't know what he's talking about?? bahaha, I'm so funny!! My love affair with Paint continues!!

There were several Olympic-y things throughout London, including a really neat one by Euston station. They painted Usain Bolt's footsteps from his 100m race in Beijing. It. Was. Unbelievable. The footsteps are at least 6 feet apart at points in the run.

I reallllly wanted Chris to try and jump from one to the other, but this video was all he would do. In fact, you can hear him say it: "That's all I wanna do." He's a man of his word.

So there, that is the entirety of my photos of their holiday here. I feel really bad about the lack of good photos, and especially the lack of photos of my Mum. How did that happen? Too busy having fun, I guess. 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Photographic Guilt

We had a steady stream of visitors for about 6 weeks over the summer. We took a lot of pictures. A lot. But now, after sorting through them, I came to a terrible realization:
  • Suzie & Adam came to Cambridge to visit: lots of pictures
  • The Babowal family came to Cambridge to visit: lots of pictures
  • Mum & Chris came to Cambridge to visit: almost NO pictures!!!
What the what!! I had this great post planned about how we take visitors to do the same things when they're here - picnics on the greens, tea and scones at Grantchester, punting, pubbing and playing with Elizabeth - and I was going to show photos of the three different visits doing those things . . . but I have almost none of Chris & Janet while they were here, and the ones I do have are all just sitting around my house, and most of them are too dark to use.  All my pics with them are from our times in London and at Laura & Ollie's wedding! And it's no good asking either of them for photos, because neither of them brought a camera!

But fear not. Thanks to my ah-may-zing computer skills, here's what the post should  be. Enjoy.

When people come to visit us, we take them for picnics on the many green spaces in town, and eat outside a lot (or eat a lot outside):

Then we have tea and scones (and sometimes Harry Potter reading or backgammon playing) at the Orchard Tea Garden in Grantchester:

Then we do a lot of punting, pubbing and playing with Elizabeth:

I can't even think of a witty last-liner because I am laughing too hard!! Be warned: bring a camera to Cambridge, and make us use ours!!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Am I Crazy, or is it England?

Okay, it's fall. I accept it. It's officially autumnal outside. The weather for the past 5 days or so has been maximum 15-16°C and lows of 5-11°C.

In Canada, we have these great things called thermostats and central heating. You'd program your thermostat (or just move the little lever-thing at the bottom) to, let's say, 19­°C. . Then, when our buddy thermostat got cold - ie lower than 19° - he'd say to the furnace, "Hey, furnace! Wake up! The house is cold!" and ta-da!! The furnace would warm the house up appropriately - in this case, to 19°.

This is not the case in England, land of radiators, storage-heaters, and poor insulation. Here, even though the house is chilly and you feel somewhat uncomfortable in regular clothes, it is odd - almost looked down upon - for someone to have the heaters on in September. There's this unspoken sort of expectation that we'll just put on another sweater and slippers and just suffer through cold noses and fingertips. Stiff upper lip, and all that.

What is up with that, England?

People have said to me, "But you're Canadian! Surely you're used to being cold!" Um, no. No, no one ever  gets used to being cold. We are just smart enough to turn on the heat. I had a British neighbour last year, who actually said, "It's winter. It's normal to be colder in winter." No, dude, no it is not. It's normal to turn on your heaters, so you aren't  colder in winter! It's not like you're going to win some weird competition with winter by feeling uncomfortably cool in your own home!

And that, my friends, is why I turned the radiators on today. I am Canadian: hear me turn on the heater, and beat winter back.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Lofty Ideas

This morning, I had this crazy idea to post all about the variety of family visits that have happened in the last six weeks. I have about 8,000 photos to sort through, and then remember the funny things that happened to write down. Then I said to Matthew, "Hey, it's probably going to be the last sunny weekend this year. Why don't we rent a canoe and have a paddle this morning?" So we did that instead.

Best Idea Ever.

It was a beautiful morning, and the water was still and mirror-like. We took way too many pictures of the view, and the trees & their reflections, but here is a taste of what a lovely paddle it was.

I had cleverly been saving all the crusts off the loaves of bread in the freezer, for just such an occasion. Elizabeth spent about half the journey feeding ducks, geese and swans - or just throwing chunks of bread into the water when there were no animals around. Whatever.

We saw lots of 'wildlife' starting with the letter "S":

Okay, so the swimmer was just a lady swimming, but seriously, she must be wild because there was no way that water temperature was anything above "very, very, very chilly".

Elizabeth also discovered the whistle attached to her PFD. It took her awhile to learn that you just have to blow into it, and instead did that hilarious "sing into the whistle and pretend it's what you're supposed to do" thing that little kids do for awhile. Turns out, Elizabeth doesn't love canoeing, but it's pretty fun.
She sure loved singing "Row, Row, Row your Boat" a billion times, and even more so when she was the rower!!

Cheers to a fantastic Saturday in Cambridge!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Returning to Pioneerhood

Remember when I thought I was being pioneer-like??  Well, get this story.

I went to our market on Sunday, because there is a butcher and a grocer - the butcher is cheap & great, and the grocer is cheap & . . . See, here's the thing: if I'm paying 1£ for a big mixing bowl of fruit or vegetables, I don't feel that bad about composting some of them. And the grocer always has different stuff - you just never know what you're going to get. One week I got a huge bowl of cherries - probably 2 or 3 pounds worth, and it was only a dollar and a half!!! So what if about one pound of them were already chuddy, I still came out on top. It was that mentality that convinced me to buy a bowl of greengages on Sunday.  They're these little green plum-like fruits, and they are a little bit tart, and a lot yummy.
Well, we got the fruit home (after a bouncy ride in the bike basket), and pretty much all of them were already squidgey and past the delicious phase. :( Too bad, so sad, right?

Wrong! I pioneer-ed up!!

I totally made a pie with them. Who am I??? And with the leftover pastry, I made a little baby apple tart thing - I don't have a pie plate or any other small dish for a tart, so I used a serving dish and a ramekin, which is why one looks too small for its container and one is overflowing.

Not only did I demonstrate serious baking-prowess, proving my pioneerdom, but I also hung all my laundry out to dry. You know, there's a fine line between optimism and stupidity when it comes to line-drying laundry in England. Today I was on the wrong side, so I pegged it all out, and then unpegged it and busted to the laundry room dryers when it started to rain. So I guess I'm not really a full-blown pioneer after all. Cue Price is Right Losing horn: