Sunday, August 2, 2009

Door lessons

Beautiful weather today: the sun shined throughout. Our initial plan to get out early and try the walk to work was delayed by some problems with the door locks; here's what I wrote just after James left:

As I type this, the pads of my girlie index fingers and thumbs are more sore than I care to admit, thanks to my many failed attempts at locking the back door. Luckily, James was just a phone call away, and by 10:30 a.m. our door lessons were complete. I use the plural because, unbeknownst to us, the front door, while incredibly simple to lock, is tricky to unlock (just the reverse of the back door, in other words). As James pointed out (with a smile), discovering that when we were stuck outside later in the day would've made for a much more entertaining phone call.

Happily, the third door that we were having a problem with -- honestly, it's like we don't have them in Canada -- also stumped James: the wardrobe simply wouldn't open. He kept fiddling with the key as we discussed other things, and then one particular heave worked; he suggested we leave it unlocked, and we heartily agreed.

Then it was out for some breakfast, followed by a walk to work. On the way, we discovered that they do have subways over here: that's their term for the underpasses that pedestrians and cyclists use to cross under roundabouts; they're very handy. We decided to walk back through the neighbourhoods of the St. Mark's area -- I was wrong when I said that our house was in that area; we passed the church of that name (on Church Street; imagine that) on our walk, and we were some distance from our place at that point -- and decided that it might make for a nicer walk or bike ride in the mornings than the main thoroughfare we'd gone out on.

Now, I was walking along, enjoying the tranquil beautiful of the streets -- note the picture to the right where Tea's just blurted out, "It's like Snow White's garden! The dwarves could live here!" -- and their impressive names (e.g., Shelley, Kipling, Tennyson, Shakespeare, etc.), when Tea points out that this could be considered a "dodgy area," given what some have told us. While initially I dismissed this as silliness, and I didn't for one minute feel uneasy, by the time we'd made it back to the train station I had counted half a dozen shirtless lads; many of them were driving around, and one was even being served in the convenience store. We probably won't spend too many evenings wandering those streets, but we both agreed that it'd make for a beautiful morning commute.

Next on our list was picking up some essentials (e.g., laundry detergent) at Waitrose. We walked along the Honeybourne Line again, and, feeling peckish, decided to eat in the store's cafeteria when we arrived. The meal of the day was a combination of a vegetable curry and a chicken jalfrezi with rice that was simply excellent! The bacon sandwiches seemed to be more popular, however, prompting Tea to comment, "Stephen would love it here!" -- We decided to qualify that statement later in the shop, however, noting the perfumed shoppers and utter lack of scent-free products. Be warned, my friend! ;-) -- Oh, and one final note about Waitrose: the cashier guessed we were Canadian -- she said my T-shirt was a give-away :-) -- which Tea was tickled about.

Once we got home -- Tuesday's forecast of heavy rain prompted my purchase to the right -- it was time to start the laundry, which naturally led to abandoning suitcase living. I only point out this minutia because it spurred a bit of a moment as we realized that the rather large house did not have -- well, by North American standards, anyway -- the commensurate closet and wardrobe space. We weathered the storm, however -- stiff upper lip 'n' all that -- and resolved to visit the topic again once our priority shipment arrives.

Note: if you're interested in seeing more of our pictures, I'll be updating my August album throughout the month.

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