Tuesday, April 06, 2010

First Week In England

Ju's first response was obviously disbelief - "What are you doing here?" was soon followed by "I can't believe you're here!" And plenty of hugs throughout the rest of the evening. It certainly was an ego boost! The actual feelings and sensations aren't really possible to describe, but there was plenty of joy, and an underlying foundation of happiness which makes you remember that Home really is where the heart is.
(As an aside, did you know there is no differentiation in the French language between 'house' and 'home?' I read that in Bill Bryson's Mother Tongue.)

Strange as it may seem that although I am here in England for five to six weeks, I am not actually here for my big OE, and I am not here with sightseeing and touristing as my main objectives. I am here to stay with my sister and her family while Ju tries to finish her dissertation, and to be here for my niece's Christening. For my first week I have only been on short journey's as far as Devizes (literally 5 mins by car) and Trowbridge. Neither of these short trips were for their attractions - they were Quick Trips Into Town To Carry Out Various Jobs, such as groceries and interviews with planners and the like.

Now, given that my time here is spent entertaining the baby (and scrubbing her pooey nappies, and wiping up bits of sick, and giggling at the faces she pulls, and trying to get her to giggle at the faces I pull...) you can imagine that the only pictures I have are of said miniature person.

Here are some now:

Ju's Little Sister & Ju's Little Sister's Niece (aka Ju's Little Daughter) outside on the patio.
It was cold and I was worried about her ears freezing off.

Ju's Husband bathing his daughter (she loves bath-time).

As well as Ju, Ju's Husband and their daughter there are other members of the family living here. One who is allowed inside the house is Solo, their beautiful tabby cat. Solo is a little disgusted that the baby is taking away the majority of her cuddles, but she has a history of scorning cuddles anyway. On the other hand, she seems to see the baby as someone special (despite being an attention hog) and will race up to the door to her room if she hears Baby crying. When Ju went into town for about an hour and left me to babysit, I didn't hear my niece crying for quite a time. I simply wondered why Solo was suddenly so interested in getting out the door. Solo wasn't impressed with my behaviour, and let me know I wasn't a good babysitter at all!


Solo and the London Bridge
(It wasn't falling down, which leads me to suspect that nursery rhyme is not completely accurate.)

The other family members (and to be honest, it's a bit of a stretch to call them that) are a couple of naughty chooks who don't like to stay in the chicken run:


For Easter, Mum sent us over some Cadbury Creme Eggs. It has been a tradition since Ju left New Zealand for Mum and me to send her Creme Eggs from New Zealand. They make them here in England, but they're not the same. When the eggs arrived, I reminded Ju that with Cadbury now being owned by Kraft (did I get that right?) the rumour has been that Creme Eggs are no longer to be manufactured in NZ, they will be shipped in from England. It was with despair and a desire to disbelieve that we bit into the specially posted eggs to find they were of the English variety. Closer inspection of the packet confirmed they were made in the UK, packed in Australia and shipped to NZ. It's the end of an era.


To make us feel better about being scammed I decided (with much reminding by Ju's Husband) to bake homemade Hot Cross Buns for Easter. Luckily Ju's copy of the Edmond's Cookbook (55th Deluxe Edition) had the recipe. I whipped everything together, plumping out the fruit section with cranberries and using mandarin peel which Ju's Husband kindly cut into tiny squares for me, and put the dough in the linen cupboard over night.
Morning dawned, and with a little extra kneading, more time to rise and some heavenly baking, the delicious smell of Hot Cross Buns made Easter Sunday special.

Ju's Brother, Ju's Other Sister & I bought Ju a camera for her birthday.
That's why I have photos of my hot cross buns.

"Nah, this is just for the photo. Honestly Ju - YOU take the first bite!"
(Seriously, you first.)


Though it's been grim and rainy here for most of the week there have been some exceptions. One morning while Ju, Ju's Husband and the Baby were in Devizes Doing Jobs and Making Their Appointments On Time, I became somewhat excited and enthusiastic about a small rogue shot of sunshine terrorising the clouds and put on an extra load of washing. Quite a large extra load actually. The house already had two clothes horses full of whites (read: nappies) but it was okay - these could dry on the line outside!!!

Or not.
They weren't dry when the family came home. The sun wasn't even bothering anymore. We all of us left for the afternoon to go into Trowbridge, and while we were there it rained twice and hailed once on the clothes.
They went on the clothes horses over night.

On another fine day we went for a walk.

For some reason, Ju's Husband started obsessing about collecting wood.

They didn't warn me it would be muddy, so I am wearing the wrong kind of footwear.
In hindsight, it had been raining solidly for the last three days, so they shouldn't have had to have warned me, should they?

At the end of the lane was this fantastic Hazel Grove.
I am definitely using this in one of my stories.

As you may be able to tell, Ju discovered her new camera can take pictures in black & white. Also, Ju's husband didn't know how to take the new camera OFF black & white.
Ju was in the process of posing as a super hero.
She can be as zany as me sometimes.

And that is really just about that. There hasn't been a lot else going on. I'm looking forward to my trip to Turkey which I haven't booked yet, and I'm looking forward to the Christening which Ju's Mum will be over for. We have a list of things which we'd like to get done while I'm here. A bike ride across Salisbury Plain, a trip to Bath, hopefully I will also get up to visit Lorenzo the Llama for a weekend. That would be awesome!!
But I think this post is long enough already, so more on all of that later.


kiwi mother said...

I love it! I love it all! So pleased you are having such a nice time. Lovely to see Georgie too. I see the flannel is modestly placed! xxxMxxx

Ju's little sister's aunt said...

Phew!!! So good to be not dangling in suspense any longer! Very glad to hear the next part of the "First week in England". Sounds like you are adapting well to pooey nappies, sick, babysitting, muddy lanes . . . thank heavens for Solo. Nothing like a good English copse, esp in black & white. xoxoxoxo

Pat Tillett said...

Thanks for the slice of everyday life where you're at now. Nice pictures also. Especially the cat!