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

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Home for the Holidays

The past few weeks have been more than a little hectic in the run-up to coming home for the holidays.  That's right... I'm typing this post from Nova Scotia, cozy in my mom's house while the snow falls softly outside.
I kept myself busy in the weeks leading up to the day of our departure by helping out with Jayden and my niece Daisy (I had really wanted to share photos of the few days spent with these two amazing little people, however time ran away from me); getting all the Christmas shopping sorted for both of our families and of course there were a couple of Christmas parties to attend.  Then on Sunday, the day before we due to travel down to London, Andy was punched in the gut with a nasty bout of D&V.  It hit him hard and sucked every ounce of energy he had.  It not only left him feeling raw and depleted, it left me with a continuous knot in my stomach - I was almost sick with anxiety that Andy wouldn't recover in time or that I would come down with it myself.  However in his usual fashion, my man pulled it together and we managed to get to London as scheduled. He's tough like that my guy.
And here we are!
We had a quiet first day and a half with my Mom, Dad, sister and brother.  Tomorrow my other sister and niece arrive. Something we are all looking forward to.
Today Andy and I set off with Mom and Dad to get a tree (the first real tree for them!).  However we didn't have much luck and gave up. So later in the afternoon Mom and I donned our winter coats and hats and wearing our glowing Christmas badges we set out on our own to find the perfect tree.  Which we did.  It's now drying out in the basement. Tomorrow we will put it up and string the lights ready to be decorated on Friday when Tawny and Clara are here.
Andy snapped a picture of Mom and I as we went on our 2nd hunt for a tree:
I'm looking forward to doing a post following Friday's festivities.
Because I didn't have a chance to post prior to leaving England I'm also go to share a montage of photos from the various celebrations that were held before my departure:
On Friday 6th my team at work went out for Thai and many, many drinks:
We all got dressed for the occasion and had a lot of laughs. 
Myself, Naheed and Emily. 
We share office space with the Core Therapy Team and they invited our team to join their 80's style Christmas party; I was the only taker and don't regret accepting the invitation.
What a crazy, entertaining night.
You would never know that I'm not a lover of 80's fashion eh?
Video killed the radio star...
(I love this quirky photo)
 I was desperately seeking Susan Sandra
Seriously, as much as I abhor 80's fashion, I thoroughly enjoyed that party.
Of course we had to get together with Robert and Dawn the Saturday before we left.  We not only  celebrated Robert's new job with champagne, but the fact we have such amazing friends in these two.  I know Molly is in very good hands while we are away.

I know that my English family and friends will be raising a glass to us in the pub on Christmas Eve, and although we will miss them we are going to thoroughly enjoy our Canadian Christmas.  After all it is the first Christmas Andy has spent with my family and the first one in 8 years for me.
   Although there are a few differences in the way we celebrate, one thing is definitely abundant in each of our worlds... the love that we all share. 

Friday, December 06, 2013

The eerie sound of the flood siren

Yesterday everyone throughout the coastal towns and cities of the UK were being warned of a major storm surge and we were being sent messages like this:

Emergency Declared:

'Communities along the East Coast of the Humber area are warned to brace themselves ahead of what is likely to be the most serious coastal tidal surge for over 30 years in our region.
This has led to a major incident being declared as emergency services and local authorities across the Humber prepare for an ingression of water during high tide periods later this evening from around 1700hrs onwards.

The Environment Agency and Met Office are warning that gale-force winds, large waves and a tidal surge caused by low pressure will combine with high tides today and throughout Friday and to Saturday morning, bringing a risk of significant coastal flooding.

All throughout the day my colleagues and friends were receiving phone calls warning them that their homes were situated in high risk areas.  As the wind steadily increased to more than 70mph we all wondered how hard our local area would be hit.  The sound of the wind was crazy; the building we work in is relatively new but what a racket the wind caused.  Then the flood siren's starting going off to warn of the impending tidal surges.  What an eerie sound.  I've been in the UK ten years and I'm sure I've only heard it go off once. Yesterday it continued on throughout the evening. I've never heard anything that sounds quite like it.  I can only imagine what it must have been like to live in this area when the air raids were going on throughout the war. 

I knew we would be safe from the flooding as we live out in a village a few miles away from the coast, but I had a feeling our property was likely going to take a hit from the wind. 

 And it did: 

This is the fence panel that surrounds our fire pit/hot tub area and faced the front yard.  It wouldn't have been so bad if it was the partition between the firepit area and our back garden.  Now we have no choice but to get this sorted before we go to Canada.  It's an expense we really don't need right now.  

But that's just it.  It's only an inconvenient expense.  Because what we need to remember is that it's only property damage and although its only a few weeks until Christmas and money is tight, no one has been hurt.  A lot worse has happened in other areas of the world and even if homes across the country have been flooded and it sucks, we need to remember that it can all be fixed and that we are fortunate enough to live in a country where the emergency services are brilliant and most homes are insured for such disasters.    

We were lucky, the flooding in our town was minimal compared to other areas.