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Showing posts with label UK. Show all postsShowing posts with label UK. Show all posts

Sunday, May 05, 2013


my love affair with England

Did I mention yet that I think I’ll try writing every day this month? Next month I’ll be taking a vacation from regular life, and it will likely be from the blog as well, so I thought I’d send off with a month of daily posts. Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

When we lived in England, I didn’t write nearly enough on the blog about what daily life was like. I chalk it up to typical me in my twenties. “Life will always be this interesting and therefore why bother talking about what I’m doing?” or something along those lines.

Now of course I see my lack of writing as a bunch of wasted material. From time to time, I think about sharing that journey with you, but it seems awkward to bring it up randomly. Hey guys, remember when I used to live overseas that time five years ago? Let’s talk about it!

But now I have my nose in another Jane Austen novel, at the same time as I’m reading a biography about the great William Morris and watching a Masterpiece version of Emma that I rented from the library (did I mention I’m obsessed with Victorian England?), so my travels have been rattling around in my mind. It seems like as good a time as any to bring it up with y’all.

Oh, first I want to mention the Masterpiece Emma. Have you seen it yet? I’m enjoying it so far. It has the naturally slow pace of a Masterpiece series, and it’s fun to see all the usual British suspects playing the beloved Austen characters. Who doesn’t want to see more of Johnny Lee Miller? So far, the most interesting distinction from the Gwyneth Paltrow film (an absolute favorite of mine, likely in the top 10) is the spotlight on Miss Bates. She was a bubbly caricature in the film, providing little more than comic relief–“PORK, Mother!” and such. But in this series, you get an in-depth look at how miserable her life must have been to have only her senile mother as a companion. You truly feel what Austen must have wanted us to see. A woman without fortune was certainly pitiable in that day.

In contrast, I don’t think it’s possible for an actor to improve the job Juliet Stevenson did with Mrs. Elton in the film version. I’ll share some pictures with you to honor my favorite of her lines, “People with extensive grounds are always so pleased to meet other people with extensive grounds.” Here here!

I miss living somewhere that there were other tiny towns a half kilometer away.


This one makes me tear up thinking of how perfect and calm my life was in England, nesting for my new life as a mom and taking in all the sights and smells of spring.

One part of the Masterpiece Emma I loved is seeing the fields of rapeseed again (the stuff that makes canola oil, with the worst name imaginable). They are so lovely you can’t look upon them without smiling. Add this to the list of things you want to see before your time is up.

The year we were in England, it seemed the fields burst into life the very same day as Genevieve, so I also always think of her when I see them.

Here are some from far away. Cool, huh?

What do you think, should I write more about England some time? I have many more pics I can share.at7:30 AM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Books,Movies,Photos,Travel,UK

Saturday, November 19, 2011


a journey to another time

We saw Midnight in Paris a week ago. Have you seen it? I love the romantic notion of being able to travel back in time and interact with great authors and artists, especially those with great passion like Ernest Hemingway.

The film got me thinking of what period I would like to experience, if only for a few nights, and in whose company I would choose to be. I have always loved the idea of visiting the Georgian and Victorian eras; the Gothic Revival architecture, the World’s Fair, the music, the theater, the dancing. The DANCING. Oh, I would adore the dancing.

I would love to know what Jane Austen was like. Emma, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice are three of my favorite, oft-read novels. And how about William Blake, John Keats, Lewis Carroll, and of course Mark Twain would have been there on a trip to London. How heavenly!

Have you ever noticed all the childhood nursery rhymes seem to have been created in that era? Every time I read them to the girls I am whisked away in time, and I enjoy the temporary mental travel.

The book I picked up last week at my favorite resale shop has some great old rhymes in it, and the illustrations add depth to the short tales.

After enjoying Midnight in Paris, I finally got Vicky Cristina Barcelona from the library, and I also liked it very much. I might have liked it even better because of the fabulous acting and music. I can’t say I agree with Woody Allen’s transient view of love, but I can appreciate his artistry.

What’s your take? Yea or nay on Woody Allen movies?

Meet you back here tomorrow for some more randomness.
~Jat10:35 AM5 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Books,Movies,Travel,UK

Thursday, November 03, 2011


ploughman’s lunch

If I had to rank the meals I ate “whilst” living in the UK that I miss the most, the list would be relatively short. The British are not, in fact, known for their cuisine. Quite the opposite, actually. However, there are a few meals Nate and I remember fondly and would love to have again.

Many of these meals are not feasible to make at home, like bangers and mash or fish and chips. It just wouldn’t be the same, you know? Top of the list for me is “cream tea,” which is clotted cream (consistency of whipped cream cheese, tastes like cream) with biscuits or scones and jam, and a pot of tea. Yummmmmm.

One meal I can make at home is a ploughman’s lunch. I ate many a ploughman’s with a glass of Strongbow or Magners cider in pubs around the UK. It’s a simple meal, basically consisting of a cold appetizer platter, which is traditionally served as crusty bread and butter, cheddar cheese, apple slices, pickles, ham, and salad greens with no dressing. Since we almost never buy ham, and crusty bread doesn’t last long in our house, I typically substitute crackers and either salami or a boiled egg. [Apologies for the state of the apple pictured; I was planning to slice it but a starving little chipmunk got to it before I could].

Most days we eat lunch in the kitchen, but on the rare occasion Charlie goes down for a nap before Vivi and I eat, we like to move our party to the living room rug for a carpet picnic (or to the back yard on days when it’s not so…Bostony…outside).

Sometimes I’ll even–the joy!–check my email or flip through a magazine. Eating in peace and quiet in this way makes me realize how sweetly simple, but at the same time utterly incomplete, my life would be with just one child. Do people with three children feel this way about me?at2:01 PM6 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Food,UK,Where I Live Older PostsHomeSubscribe to:Posts (Atom)


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