A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Our Weekend Getaway

Last weekend we decided to get ourselves away for the weekend. We decided upon Stratford Upon Avon, a beautiful town with so much history and also happens to be where Shakespeare hails from. Although I am not an advid enthusiast of WS, it was pretty cool to visit this place that has so much history, and involves an actual person I know something about.

The Bedroom On the Left is Where Shakespeare was born... That's me looking out the other window...

Although the weather forecasters got it wrong (as usual) and it wasn't the predicted sunny and 20 degrees, it was nonetheless a fairly warm day, if overcast. That evening after walking the streets of SUA, visiting local shops and the WS attractions, we retired to our lovely 4 star old English Inn to have a swim. Although the sun was just beginning to shine, our weary bones needed the relaxing atmosphere of pool and sauna!

Anne Hathaway's Cottage (WS's Wife)

The next morning we were up early in anticipation of the walk I had mapped out that would take us to Anne Hathaway's Cottage. It could easily have been accessed by car, however I thought the stroll through the villages of Stratford would be much more rewarding, and I was right. It was an invigorating start to the day and the cottage was well worth the walk.

Upon arrival back at the hotel (we were already checked out), we jumped in the car in eager anticipation of the journey to Warwick Castle.

River Surrounding Warwick Castle...

The Castle and grounds were absolutely amazing and gigantic in size. Our legs were well worn out from climbing countless narrow stairwells to get to the top of every single tower! We took a full 3 hours to investigate nearly every inch of the castle. Although I had been pretty gung-ho to check out the dungeon, I was pretty spooked out while investigating it and the torture chambers - a few of the 'implements' used in the dark ages were quite creepy looking and I could only cringe at the types of torture people could actually inflict on another human being! The feelings of unease didn't evaporate until I'd been outside for at least 10 minutes. I was only too happy to leave the 'depths of despair'.

Only a small portion (the living quarters) of the castle...

We definitely enjoyed walking throughout the living quarters of the castle as the decor was absolutely fantastic and was replicated to look much the way it did in the 1800's. Such grandeur! Alex of course wasn't as thrilled as much as Andy and I and was eager to get back outside and move on to the next tower!

My 'Knights' in not so shining armour!

It was a great weekend and I look forward to having more like it in future, especially when Stacy comes and I get to experience even more of the wonders the UK has to offer with her!

Friday, March 18, 2005

I Believe I've Finally Got It!

When I moved away from home in 2003 I was given some very special 'gifts'. One was a beautiful journal style book with lovely handwritten notes and drawings, plus pictures of special times placed sporadically throughout the pages. She thoughtful left many pages free for me to fill in myself, or have others write something for me... It was from my dear friend Dawn. She'd also placed in it a few recipes, one the Chipolte Sauce Reipe from Subway (an inside joke) and another a gorgeous salad with dressing. I have made the salad a few times and am grateful for the recipe as its lovely in the spring/summer.

My mother also included a recipe - a full page and a half's worth, for 'Jody's favourite chocolate chip/oatmeal cookies'. These were the cookies my mom often made at about 10 at night when the mood took her and Stacy and I would ultimately end up eating four or five while watching Survivor. Of course she'd made them for me when I moved away, and always makes them for me when I go home. Early last year, when I'd only been here about 2 months I decided that I would try and attempt to make them myself, however daunting the recipe seemed. Naturally, they did not turn out to be anything like mom's. I tried about 2 more times after that and again met with failure. I figured that it must just be that ingredients differ a bit over here (but really it must be that I'm no baker) and gave up.

Recently I have been trying to make these cookies again. I went out and bought a different kind of margarine (specifically for baking) and carefully measured out the ingredients. By my second attempt I'd finally gotten it right! I've just baked some this morning and helped myself to two. The boys really enjoy them and I figured it would be a nice treat for them this weekend (and well, I was craving them myself to be perfectly honest).

Where I had been going wrong? Well I do believe the margarine was a big part of it, however on my first attempt this year I realized that I was using my fancy 'Pampered Chef' measuring cup incorrectly. It was designed to measure both dry and liquid material and you have to do remove the inner tube to the right direction depending on what you are making... me not being an advid cook, I stupidly measured wrong prior to now. It took me long enough to recognize my mistake but at least I've sorted that out :)

However, let me say this: As scrumptious as these cookies taste, they aren't quite the same as the one's my mother lovingly makes!!!


1. Do you believe in love at first sight? I suppose I do but its very rare. More often than not I believe its probably more of a 'lust' at first sight.

2. Do you believe in soulmates? I think that sounds a bit tacky at times, but I suppose I do. However I don't think the term 'soulmates' should only be used in reference to lovers. I feel that your soulmate could be your best friend, or someone that you have a very special connection to.

3. Do you believe in second chances? I believe that someone should always be given a second chance, but that is it.

4. What are your non-negotiables in a relationship? Dishonesty, deceit, cruelty.

5. Would you rather be single or be married to the wrong person for the rest of your life? Single - I'm not one of those people who attach a 'stigma' to the singles in this world. Most people who remain single have a pretty good reason for doing so. I've sometimes said, when chatting with friends who are sad and lonely about not having a boyfriend/girlfriend (particularly when not all people in relationships are happy) 'I'd rather be alone and lonely, than with someone and alone...'

Thursday, March 17, 2005

It IS a Diet Coke Thing...

On Monday morning at work while I was enjoying my first diet coke of the day one of my colleagues from another department stopped in to say hello. To my amazement, she was drinking a tin of diet coke. I was a bit envious to see she was drinking the real thing, while I myself was drinking the caffeine-free version (I recently discovered caffeine can cause cellulitis !), but I digress... the point is, I've finally found someone with as strong an addiction to this fizzy and refreshing, but gut-destroying drink! After a lengthy conversation about the merits of can versus bottle, (of course we both agreed cans are the best as they pop the most fizz), I was much relieved to realize that my addiction isn't quite as strong as hers. As most of you know, the only drinks I consume are water and diet coke. Occasionally I will have a glass of skim milk, but for the most part I don't stray to liquids such as juices or other flavored drinks as they take up too many points on the WW chart. I try to keep my maximum intake of DC to three tins a day, and sometimes (but rarely) can manage to only have one. On stressful days I can consume up to 4 or five, but this is rare. This colleague of mine drinks about five or six tins a day and nothing else. I thought going thru a case a week was bad, nevermind a case every two days. Either way, I'm sure both of us will meet up in hospital in 10/20 years with severe stomach problems, but then again, maybe not. At the moment neither one of us experiences stomach pain or have dark, stained teeth. Our addiction is hurting nobody but ourvelves and until the day I'm told by a GP to stop consuming DC, I will happily continue to enjoy it.

It's Catching

I have taken to playing my cd 'Memories of the Maritimes' one that I burned myself just before leaving home last year. On it are tracks from Jimmy Rankin, Stan Rogers, Great Big Sea, The Fables, + many more. Songs such as Heave Away, The Jolly Butcher, etc. What's funny is that I played this CD once before and both Andy and the kids weren't too crazy about it (although Andy liked Jimmy Rankin ever since the night we saw him in concert at Apple Blossom). However things have changed over time and they have grown to actually like most of the tunes. Alex now is going so far as to request Followed Her Around and The Orange & The Green. Its a nice feeling to hear him singing along to these songs when we are in the car. My mother would be pleased to know that my old newfie/nova scotia roots are beginning to rub off on the boys and that's not too bad is it? A little bit of Canadian maritime culture never hurt anyone!

It is coming on to that time of year though when I begin to miss home the most. Apple Blossom time is drawing near, and of course shortly after that comes Stan Rogers Festival. Then of course I know that come July/August its going to be the hottest time of the year and I will be missing out on the beautiful sunny days out at Queensland or up at the lake. However if I was at home I would be missing out on a family wedding held at a Scottish Castle in August where we will get to spend the night (or two if we choose). I can't say I've ever spent the night, nor had the opportunity to, in a centuries old castle in Nova Scotia. So I have to look at it this way: At least I've been given the opportunity to have the best of both worlds.

Cowardly Behaviour (Edited As What I Meant to Say Originally Came out WrOnG

I find it funny that someone chose to make an unpleasant comment on my last post... I wasn't going to respond, as it hardly warrants a response, however I did feel compelled to say this: Most people who have something unpleasant to say usually choose to omit who they are, so naturally aren't worth getting worked up over as they are probably nobody of significance in my life and/or are just out to get a rise out of me. Perhaps it might seem as this has worked due to my mentioning it on this post, but really and truly, what unpleasant anonymous lurkers have to say is of little relevance, especially if they are just meant to be disruptive. But alas, this is an online journal and I must be open to any kinds of comments at any time. Personally, I find it very rewarding when someone has chosen to comment on my words, be they known or not.

Its Not A Tradition Most Englishfolk Seem To Celebrate...

Although I've not seen anyone happily walking around dressed in green giving out greetings such as 'top o' the mornin to ya', I myself will be fondly remembering those at home who throw themselves into the spirt of St. Paddy's Day. I may just raise a pint myself tonite to toast all the party-goers back home who will be drinking green beer in the local pubs (and of course those in Ireland too)!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

If I have ever received one compliment that was worth something, it is this one: 'You are a lot like your mother'. Today is my mother's birthday and I want the world to know how much she means to me. She is the woman I admire most above all others. I miss her every single day, but I carry her with me in my heart everywhere I go. I am so truly lucky to have been blessed with this precious woman as my mom. I believe there just might be four others out there who feel the same way too.


My Beautiful Mama Posted by Hello

30 Years Later

Yesterday was my parents 30th Wedding Anniversary. I'm so proud that they have made it this far. There were many times when I was very uncertain that they would persevere, but they did. They stuck to it, and they have made it work. Although at times life was more rocky than smooth, they have managed to come through it as friends. Although my dad couldn't make it home from the road yesterday due to the weather conditions, he is at the moment burning the blacktop to get home to her by dinner tonight...

Monday, March 07, 2005

This is the first book that Katie Long has written and it was a fantastic read. For those of you who enjoyed such books as the Shopaholic Series, I think you'd really enjoy this novel. Its a light read that touches on serious issues, but more importantly, its a touchingly funny read.

Kathy Kelly is a new author that I have discovered since moving to the UK and I haven't read a book of hers that I have not become completely immensed in. She usually touches on the lives of three to four woman, either sisters or friends and the trials and tribulations of their lives. And better yet, they are not romantic sagas.

No Entiendo

Spanish Classes. Hrmmmm. The problem is, I entered the program at Level One, Section Two and as a result I feel a little thrown into the deep end. We have had a substitute teacher last week and will have her again this Thursday. She is really good and works at a speed much more managable to Wendy and myself, plus the fact that her accent is a little bit easier to understand than our Anna's. Melana informed Wendy and I that she will be taking the beginners class, but also teaches private Spanish classes in her home and offered to teach Wendy and I for the price of one. Naturally we are very interested. I have wanted to learn Spanish my whole life and just because this first class isn't as successful as I'd hoped, I want to persevere. Besides I think Melana is someone I could become friends with...

Isn't It Ironic?

Andy took me out for a romantic dinner on Saturday night and I have to say, it was something we both needed desperately. The food was fantastic, the wine was cool and refreshing and our conversation flowed. We stoped into our 'local' on the way home for a drink and ran into our neighbour, Simon. Simon is single and happened to be with a friend of his, Marc, who is single too. Ultimately, the conversation moved to my friends and if any of them might be single. Being me in my usual, chatty way, I naturally informed them of the 30 something single, female friends I had back home, but of course that was totally useless to them. Figures. Back home its the single girls I know looking for a man, over here there's the single men. Of course Julie next door is hopeful of meeting someone, so I believe a BBQ mixer with the neighbours might be in order this spring - I know she's not overly interessted in Simon but maybe his friend???? hmmmm...