What better way to spend it than a Birthday BBQ?! Our compliments to the chef!
(And as a reward, Tony, you make it into 'the blog.')
Tony & Emma's youngest turned one today, so Matt and I, along with Em & Daz, joined everyone to celebrate with burgers, brats, and kebabs while the kids all perfected their flips on the new trampoline.
Matt and I might have had a go as well, but since we're grown-ups now, we're too mature...
No, really...it is. 72 degrees today and not a cloud in the sky. That may not seem that warm to many of you, but to England, days like this come few and far between. Plus, not many homes have a need for air-conditioning as there aren't many sweltering days that require it on a regular basis.
Clearly, with Myst's heavy fur coat, his solution is to sleep belly-side-up on the gliding foot-stool.
All he needs now is a fruity, cold drink with a fancy umbrella.
And yes, I tried to censor his dignity...although he doesn't have a problem being open.
When I saw the sun wasn't about to go away any time soon today, I decided to high-tail it to Himley Hall & Park for a little walk around. It has been closed the past couple of days for some unknown reason and each time I drive by the main gates, I want to go in. So, today I did just that.
There's a small, yet gorgeous lake where people have sailboats and there are ducks all around. People were all comfortably lounging on blankets while kids played fetch with their dogs and dads did airplanes with their toddlers. It was really relaxing.
Himley Hall itself is a stately home that dates back to the 18th century and the grounds surrounding are beautiful.
I took a little gander back into the woods a bit and discovered this...
Not on the grandest of scales in terms of waterfalls, but it had a soothing little trickle. Plus, I discovered a family of ducks with some ducklings...so I stalked them for a while until my camera battery died.
Sadly, the weekend is already upon us and that can only mean one thing. Just two more days of peace and quiet before I'm back in a classroom of well-rested 10-year-olds.
Today I threw caution to the wind and decided to go for a drive to Kinver. Matt took me to Kinver Edge on my first trip to England in 2006 and I fell in love with the little town. It's so quaint and definitely a place we wouldn't mind living.
Since Kinver is less than 10 miles away, I felt confident in my navigation skills to find my way there. What I didn't count on was gorgeous scenery and a fantastic playlist on the radio to distract me from my turnoff. By the time I realised I had gone too far, I saw signs welcoming me to Bridgnorth -- a further 12 miles from Kinver!
Mileage may not seem so much to those in the US, but it is here when it's nothing but winding, narrow, country roads.
I didn't drive into the town centre, but took the first opportunity to turn around and head back home. After all, I didn't want Matt to worry when he returned home from work since the last he knew, I was popping to the store for bread and soda.
I stopped at a dinky petrol station on the way back to try and capture the beauty of the countryside, but I fear my camera is on its last leg. All my photos seems to have a blur about them anymore. Also, I'm still trying to figure out the range of the hilly/mountain persuasion in the background. I don't think I was that close to Wales. Ludlow maybe? Oh well.
Anyway, here's to hoping the sun continues to grace Britain for the remainder of the week and weekend.
This is the more picturesque of my photo choices this evening. Matt got a call last night to drive to Bradford, near Leeds, for a delivery today and he invited me to join him (since I'm on break all week and need to be entertained.) We also had to stop near Nottingham on the way back and despite my best efforts...there were no sightings of any men in tights through Sherwood Forest.
On a funnier note, hubby took a chance to point this out to me when we were leaving Bradford...
I think I actually used to CALL people Dilbags at one point...circa 1994 (or now even still...but who's keeping track?). Just funny to see what people name things.
Overall it was a pretty pleasant day. The weather held up and the drive was nice. Also, did you know these things DON'T have seat belts?! I kept trying to reach for mine and put it on every time I'd get back in the cab.
I'm so happy I got to spend the day with hubby and also really glad to have gotten more of an appreciation of how challenging it can be to drive a 7.5 tonne vehicle. People in cars should really be mindful next time you see one signaling to get out or when you think it's no big deal to cut one off on the motorway.
I certainly won't be picking fights any time soon.
You may have to click on the photo to see it clearly, full-size, but this is just silly. If you're going to print a sign, make sure you PROOF-READ before you post it outside. Really grinds my gears, this does...and I have to look at it EVERY DAY coming home from work as I drive through Dudley Port. Morons!
Shortly after snapping that one, however, I saw something pretty neat-O. Look!
Let me just say THANK YOU to the Parcel Force angel! xx
This has been an absolute nightmare trying to get things sorted. They originally dispatched the first router on the 7th, which was ordered the 3rd and when we phoned they claimed it had been delivered. The problem with this is that it wasn't delivered to US as we were still without it. So, they dispatched this one on the 17th and we JUST got it today.
In America, I would keep what I called a "June Box." This is where confiscated toys and other distracting items went that were taken off children who were given a warning to put it away or not bring it to school. The idea behind the "June Box" was that the item was placed inside and not to resurface into their possession until June, when school was out for summer. The only exception to this was if the child's parent came in personally to collect it, which was almost never because who wanted to have to admit to their parent that they had something taken off them in class?
Schools in the UK do not have such a long summer break and they don't even finish until towards the end of July...so "July Box" doesn't have that same ring to it. Instead, I keep confiscated items in my top desk drawer...a sacred TEACHER ONLY place.
I was in my classroom today because we have Her Majesty's Inspectors (HMI) coming to our school next week (and yes, I'm certain she sends them herself). I thought I would use this time to get some things tidied in my classroom and bring home anything that I might need for the weekend that I was too lazy to get on Friday.
I opened my top desk drawer to get some blue-tac and was reminded of my growing plethora of WWEparaphernalia.
Some packets of info were delivered from the office today about next week being "Walk to School Week." Children are encouraged to have people sponsor them to walk to school with their parents instead of driving in order to raise money for the blind to aid in the training of their seeing-eye dogs. One of the prizes is a trip to the puppy training facility in Leamington Spa or a chance to actually name one of the puppies themselves.
Being that I am big on philanthropy and getting kids involved, I decided to share this right away with my class. I explained how all our school needed to do as a whole was raise £250 and that it wasn't even that difficult for our class alone to raise that amount as we would just need 10 people to collect £25 each by getting 5 people to sponsor them a fiver.
The class seemed to be quite enthusiastic about this and they began guessing who could have their money in first. One little girl in particular said that she could just have her dad GIVE her £250. At this, I'm thinking perhaps daddy is quite well-off, as doubtful as it seemed, so to be certain, I asked her how she was so sure he could just GIVE her this much money.
Without cracking even the smallest grin and with the most serious look, she replied, "I know he can give me £250 because he writes cheques."
Matt's car is in for its MOT this week and as I was sat waiting just inside the gates for him to finish up, this cutie kitty came by. I tried to coax him into the car to come home with us, but I suppose I wasn't convincing enough. In fact, judging by his stance on the OTHER side of the gate, he may have sensed I was in fact THE crazy cat lady.
They may be a bit difficult to see, but there were a couple magpie birdies out front this afternoon. There is a little rhyme Matt told me about that goes...
One for sorrow, Two for joy. Three for a girl, Four for a boy. Five for silver, Six for gold, Seven for a secret never to be told. Eight for a wish, Nine for a kiss, Ten for a letter, Eleven for worse, and Twelve for better.
This one is a bit of a cheat, I suppose, since I don't remember exactly when this was installed in our kitchen and I'm now updating weeks of posts from our time without internet.
Suffice it to say, the in-laws are life-savers and generously passed on their cooker to us. The old place had gas and this flat is electric only, so we needed an electric cooker. Now we have one, and it is FANTASTIC!!
This was discovered in the boys' poster corner. They're very territorial despite the obvious majority of boys vs. girls in my class. I think this is a sign that they're feeling quite threatened.
The funny part (to me) is that although they have been warned recently to make their area tidy before they leave, they have failed to do so. This means they got a visit from "The Cleaning Fairy" (I have proof...she left a note) and all of their posters were confiscated on the condition that they will earn back one poster a day as long as they clean up after themselves in their corner.
After two and a half years in a long-distance relationship, I packed my life of 29 years into 21 boxes and moved to England to marry and be with my husband, Matt. Now I'm reveling in the youth of my 30s in Great Britain, supply-teaching in primary schools near Birmingham and enjoying newlywed life, being a mommy, and all the surprises they bring!