31/365 : High Tide


This morning at around 11:00am we walked down to the shore and found that unlike yesterday when we arrived into Blackpool at around 10:30am the tide was most definitely in now. The water was crashing against the sea wall. Andy made a comment that the Irish Sea always looks like dirty dish water... I have to agree from looking at it today.

We caught the train at the Blackpool Station and unfortunately it was the train that was going all the way into Manchester Airport so it was full of people with huge suitcases and of course after we were in line for 45 minutes waiting for the train to arrive there were people that just walked up and tried to form their own queue instead of getting to the back of the line. The nerve of some people.

We did end up actually getting seats which is good as I did not want to stand for the full hour.. However some were not so lucky. But again it drove me crazy because right in front of where we were sitting were four seats with a table in between them. There was a lady at one of them who was all by herself but she sat on the seat nearest the aisle leaving the seat at the window free. Then she took her suitcase and put it on the table instead of above her in the hold. There were people standing up around the doors and they never asked her to move over or if the other two empty seats on the other side of the table were free. She also had a look on her face as if she was daring somebody to ask. She better be glad that we had seats because I would have had no problem making her move her bag and sitting on the other side of the table.

I do love public transportation and I would much rather be using that option instead of having to drive myself but I think I am just understanding the worst part of using it... the 'public' part! : )

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30/365 : Blackpool


2" of glass stand between me and a 380 Foot drop!

This picture was taken with me standing on the 'Walk of Faith' which is on the lower observation deck of Blackpool Tower. It took me a long time to get this picture taken... not because I was scared to go across the glass but because it is half term and there were tons of kids there that would not stop jumping and dancing on the glass. I just waited around for them to finally leave so that I could take this photo which only had my feet in it and not a bunch of others also. But it was worth the wait. I also got Andy to stand on it also which was a great accomplishment since it was very hard for me to get him to go up to the top in the first place. Once he was past the scary 64 second elevator ride I think he enjoyed it. There are windows in the elevator and I think that without those it would not have been such a hard ride up and down.

We did so much walking in one night! It had to be around 7 Miles once we were done... I was SO tired that I actually fell asleep at around 11:45pm which I do believe is the earliest since we moved here. I'm writing this at 5:00pm and I'm already tired so maybe this trip was exactly what I needed to get my internal clock back in working order.

We have made no plans for this weekend and we hope to keep it that way. I need a break from my two day holiday! : )

I have posted more photos from our trip on Facebook and here is the link if you would like to go view the rest of them.

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29/365 : Let it Snow!


This is looking down on our train stop in Westhoughton. It wasn't a 'white out' but it defiantly snowed some last night.

We again went into Bolton and watched two movies, this time they were Burn After Reading and The House Bunny. Both were pretty funny and made for good day! Brad Pitt was SO funny in Burn After Reading, I suggest this movie to anybody just because of how funny he was.

After the movies were over we went and walked around Bolton and ended up getting something to eat at Weatherspoons. I had fish and chips and Andy had cottage pie and chips, yummy!

After that Andy went on his way by train to the Reebok Stadium and I made my way back to Westhoughton. No there was no fight this time on the train but there was a very rude man next to me. It was a crowded train so I had to stand but this man next to me was using the arm bar to rest up against. This meant that me and the others around him had no where to hold on to. So when the train jumped I made a good effort to fall into him pretty hard. He was like 'It's okay no harm done'. Ha.

Andy and I are going to Blackpool tomorrow, it's only about an hour by train. We made a reservation in a cute little hotel just off the Promenade. We have a lot planned and so far it looks like there is only about a 20% chance of rain but honestly that means nothing... It could mean no rain it could mean rain all day but we'll have fun either way. Blackpool is right on the coast so I know the cold wind is going to be brutal. I plan on wearing plenty of layers, my lesson has been learned (read about my previous lesson here). We plan on going up in the Blackpool Tower, watching the Blackpool Circus, visiting the Louis Tussaud's Waxworks and of course a tour of the Illuminations which is the main reason for our visit. They get turned off this Sunday Nov 02 so we wanted to go before it was too late this year.

Our little hotel has Wi-Fi in the lobby so if we get in at a reasonable hour tomorrow night I will post day 30 but if not then I will catch up when we are back home on Friday night.

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28/365 : As Cold As It Looks


Yes... it is as cold as it looks in this picture! This is the top of my bedroom window at the time that I woke up this morning. Today's high was around 38 and right now it's hovering right at 32 outside and there is a chance of snow flurries tonight!

Tomorrow I think Andy and I are going to go back into Bolton for another double header movie day. Andy is going to the Everton v. Bolton match tomorrow night and since it doesn't start until 8:00pm we figured we could just spend the day in Bolton. Then he can take the train to the stadium and I can just come back home. It will be the first time taking the train home by myself.. maybe there will be another fight and this time I can get a picture of it! : )

I am going to start carrying my shoulder bag when we go out from now on. This way I have a place to keep my scarf and gloves when we are not outside. I so do not like having to carry them around with me once I get inside somewhere so this way I will have a place to put them. Now I'm starting to realize why I see so many canvas bags on the train... it's to keep those very items in!

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27/365 : Double Header


Andy and I went to the cinema today and we decided to go see two movies back to back!

We took the train into Bolton and right outside the train station is a small bus station. I had previously planned out our trip online and knew the bus we needed and that it should be at that interchange about 10 minutes after we get off the train... we waited... and waited... and waited... but it never came. So we decided to just grab a taxi. The cinema is right at 2.3 miles away from the train station. We got in the taxi and it automatically started out at £2.00 and by the time we got to the theatre it was £6.00! Wow that was expensive, we will not be doing that again.

The first movie was Eagle Eye and it started at 12:15pm, well it actually started at around 12:35 after the commercials and previews. I hate that they show commericals before movies now but I have to say I love previews and I hate when I miss them. To be honest I did feel a little 'twinge' like I had to use the bathroom when the previews started, Andy told me to go and I told him no I can hold it I don't want to miss the previews. Boy did that pay off.... They not only showed a short preview for the new Star Trek movie that will be coming out in 2009 I also got to see the Twilight preview!!! When I saw Twilight come on I litterly gasped and threw my hands out in front of me. I am SO glad I did not go to the bathroom. I thought Eagle Eye was very good and when it was over we had about 10 minutes to use the bathroom and stretch our legs.

The second movie was The Rocker and it started at 2:45pm. This movie was on Screen #15 and at first we could not find it so we had to ask the little ticket guy. He pointed us in the right direction and after some weaving in and out of hallways we opened the doors to the Holy Land! Yes folks you read that right... Screen #15 was the best movie experience I have ever had... We walked in and the seats were fancy recliners. You had a full row in front of you clear to put your legs and there was a foot rest in front of every seat to put your legs up on. This was being in the First Class section of movie watching. After every two seats there was a little side table for you to put your purse or drink. I would have taken a picture of this room but was afraid they would try to take my camera if I was caught with it since it can also be used as a video camera. But the next time I see a movie in this wonderful room I will find a way to sneak a photo!

The Rocker was very funny! It ended at around 4:40pm and instead of taking the bus back to the train station we decided to walk. There is a large craft store that I had found out about the other day and it is just about 1/2 way between the cinema and the station. So off we walked..

We found the craft store no problem but it appears I am going to need to find a cheaper place to buy my craft items, probably online! When I need some DMC Floss for cross stitch it is nice to know where I can go over and buy some but for my large purchase items like cross stitch charts and even yarn will need to be purchased somewhere else. The prices were outrageous! So needless to say nothing was purchased and we continued our walk to the train station. It didn't even feel like we walked 2.3 miles once we arrived, although it was pretty cold out.

While we were on the train back to Westhoughton I heard a woman's voice getting louder and I could hear her saying something about money being stolen and I thought she was on her mobile phone because I never heard anyone talking back to her. Well... just before our stop I saw up ahead of us this woman sitting up in her seat. Then all of a sudden she started hitting at this older man behind her. The older man was trying to hold her off and kept saying 'I never took your 70 pounds you never gave it to me'! Then a man sitting on the other side of the train got up and was pulling them off of each other saying 'break it up you two' and then the train came to our stop. The older man kept saying he never took anything and got off at our stop. He ran up to the street before I could see which way he went but the girl stayed on the train. It happened all too fast but trust me if I could have gotten a picture of this event it would have been the photo for the day! Andy just laughed and said that wouldn't have made the situation any better but I think it would have been worth it to get a picture. : )

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26/365 : Slow Cooker Goodness



We tried out our new slow cooker today... Potato Soup! I made sure to get one with a digital timer so that you can specify a cooking time and then it automatically switches over to warm. This is very handy!

We went to help Andy' mom in the pub today so before we left I put all the ingredients in, set the timer for six hours and we were on our way.



Look at all of that creamy, buttery goodness. We add bacon, mushrooms and onions to this soup.... YUMMY!!

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25/365 : All Around Great Night


We had all of this delivered to us from ASDA today for £4.00! Since it cost us £3.60 round trip for Andy and I both to go into Bolton on the train and it saves us having to carry all of this back (which really would be almost impossible) this is the best thing that has ever been offered! Just order online, pick the time you want it delivered and presto... it's there. Wow! And now that all of this has been delivered we have everything we need to put our new slow cooker to work. I think I am going to make either Chilli or Potato Soup tomorrow.. not sure which yet!

The ASDA driver was about 45 minutes late but that's okay it was raining pretty bad today with really heavy winds so I'll cut him some slack. Also I am amazed at how rude people are sometimes... while the poor driver was getting our bags out of the back of the truck two drivers went by honking at him and cursing that his truck was stopped in front of our house. We do live on a pretty busy street but the people that live in England must be used to larger trucks stopping to deliver things on these narrow streets. I mean 99% of things purchased in England can be done online and then delivered to you if not for free for a very small charge. I imagine a lot of people use these services. I am not a saint and I do in fact say the odd curse word (maybe more then a couple...) but to go by and curse at the ASDA driver when he is just out doing his job.

Shame on you.

This evening Andy and I went down to the The Red Lion to listen to the covers band 'Shine'. They were really great and we both enjoyed it a lot! They covered all kinds of music but my personal favourite were the two Oasis songs... Andy quite enjoyed it when they did an Ocean Colour Scene song, which was also very good. All around great night. : )

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24/365 : Act 1 Scene 1


Setting: Mother-in-Law’s Living Room, Westhoughton UK

Time: 10:00am (BST)

Characters: Christine and Andy

Props: 1 Laptop, 2 Mobile Phones

Scene: Trying to get Oasis tickets


ACT ONE

We find Christine and Andy in the living room. Christine is sitting on the love seat with her laptop and Andy is on the couch with two mobile phones, one in each hand.


Christine has already brought up two websites, www.ticketmaster.co.uk and www.ticketline.co.uk and has begun to refresh the screen minutes before the tickets go on at 10:00am. And it happens... the screen changes from ‘Ticket Not Yet On Sale’ to ‘Find Available Tickets’.


The race is on.


While Christine is refreshing screens that are already timing out due to such high activity Andy is using each mobile phone to dial...get busy signal...dial...get busy signal...and repeat.


Success appears to be in Christine’s grasp as Ticketmaster has actually found 5 tickets available for the Saturday June 6th concert. She puts in her credit card details and hits submit... waiting... waiting... waiting... then a screen appears saying that tickets were only held for 3 minutes and the transaction was not completed in that time therefore the tickets have been released and to please try again. #&%#!!


Ticketmaster is now saying there are no available tickets for the Saturday performance.


In the meantime the other screen with Ticketline is still in the process of saying it is unable to connect and to please try again. When it finally becomes available it also says there are no tickets available for the Saturday show... a wave of defeat comes over our heroine.


Curtain down.


ACT TWO

This scene starts in the same setting as the first but we find our two actors moving in a much more frantic way. There also seems to be a slew of curse words coming from Christine’s mouth.


Ticketmaster is useless. Finally Christine gets somewhere with Ticketline, the 5 tickets found are not for the Saturday show but for the Sunday show... but still they are tickets. She puts in her credit card information and hits submit. Page Load Error! #&%#!! Instead of starting all over again she just hits refresh... and waits... and waits... and waits...


Success!


Thank you for your order, your payment has been successful.


Christine very happily tells Andy he can stop trying to get thru on the phone as tickets have been confirmed. They both sigh with relief as it is now over.


ANDY’S PREDICTION: SKIP AHEAD EIGHT MONTHS TO JUNE 7TH 2009


Setting: Heaton Park, Manchester UK

Time: 2:00pm (BST)

Characters: Christine, Andy, James, Tracey and Tracey’s Friend

Props: Five Useless Tickets

Scene: Local Pub


We find our characters in the local pub getting plastered because the gig is cancelled because Oasis usually end up cancelling ½ their concerts due to one issue or another. Andy is the only one saying “I told you so!"

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23/365 : Keeping Warm


After waking up this morning I walked down into the living room and Andy had turned on the electric fire place! It was nice and warm.... : )

I love his mom's fireplace, you can't tell it from the picture but the glowing orb rotates and it looks like the 'fire' is flickering. Very nice! The heat actually pushes out from a little fan under the wooden base that the rocks sit on.

Today was a pretty uneventful day. It was very cold and rainy out so we just stayed in and I knitted all day. I'm working on a pretty cool link scarf and once it's done I will post a picture on here. If I have more days like today it will be completed in no time!

We got our slow cooker (crock pot) delivered from Amazon.co.uk yesterday so I went onto Asda's website today and ordered some groceries to be delivered on Saturday. I bought the ingredients for Potato Soup and Chilli. We will be in slow cooker heaven all next week! I love the fact that I can order groceries to be delivered to me... it is such a great convience. The Co-Op here in Westhoughton is really nice for when you need something fast but it's a bit pricey if you want to do your real grocery shopping there. We could go into Bolton to go to Sainbury's or Morrison's but who wants to ride the train back with £70 in groceries? Not me. So the £4.00 that Asda charges for delivery is a steal in my opinion. : )

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22/365 : Blue Sky


I took this picture as we were walking up Church Street in Westhoughton. This cloud looked so strange... it had a perfect hole all the way thru it.

It was raining really bad when we woke up but it cleared up pretty quickly. We had to stay in the house as I had ordered a slow cooker from amazon.co.uk and it was due to be delivered today. Once it arrived we went into Bolton to get insurance on our mobile phones. We had declined it when we bought them but they give you 14 days to come back to get it and we decided to go ahead. Andy is really rough on his phones so it will be worth it in the end. : )

While we were in Bolton we went to Morrison's to get a few bags of groceries. That was the first time I rode the train with groceries but I am sure it will not be the last. We only had like 4 bags but there was a little old lady that had at least 8 or 10 bags to carry all by herself.

Since we now have a slower cooker I am going to make potato soup this weekend, yummy!

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21/365 : Beer + Bungee = Crazy



My Mother-in-Law's Pub, The Red Lion, hosted a Bungee Jumping event tonight! Even in the very cold weather (currently 40f) there were quite a lot of people that showed up. It wasn't scheduled to begin until 6:00pm however the first jumper didn't even jump until closer to 6:30.

The above picture was of the first jumper, after him it was too dark to even attempt a picture. My fingers were numb from waiting for him to jump! And as you can see even though they tell you over and over to keep your hands crossed in front of you... he obviously could not resist throwing them out.

From the photo you can not really tell how high they actually take you up but WOW it was high and I would never in a million years attempt to do that. For £50.00 you could jump or for £3.00 they would let you ride up with a jumper so that you can look around at that height. No thank you very much to both options. : )

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20/365 : My First Real Walk


Today was my first 'real' walk since moving to England. Of course I have already done much more walking then I did in the states since I walk back and forth to the stores, the train station, the bus stop, etc.... Andy has been walking everyday usually around the park a few times but this is our first long walk together.

If you look closely in the above picture, off to the left you can see Reebok Stadium which is where the Bolton Wanderers play football (soccer for the Americans reading).

Per Google Earth our walk was just about 1.7 miles one way so that is not too bad for my first time. Below is a picture of the route we took (again courtesy of Google Earth). Now I just have to keep it up! : )

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19/365 : My Obsession



I love reading, I have always loved reading and I do believe I always will. Once in a while a book comes along that makes you feel like no other book (or sets of books) will ever be as good.

I have to admit that I deeply love the Harry Potter books. Andy and I started reading them shortly after Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) came out. So for Books 4 - 7 we would go to our local bookstore at midnight and wait with everybody else for the new book to go on sale. We would buy two books one for him and one for me as we would both want to read them right away. I was truly sad when I had completed The Deathly Hollows (Book 7) and it came to the realization that there would not be another Harry Potter book to look forward to or get excited about.

No offence to those that do read these types of books, but I have never been one to read artsy fartsy books (for the lack of a better term). I tend to stick to books that either make me laugh or have a story that can truly draw me in.

Since Harry Potter came to an end I have found other books to enjoy... I absolutely love The Inheritance Trilogy, which consists of Eragon, Eldest and the recently released Brisingr. Also the His Dark Materials Trilogy which has The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Beyond those series of books I also fell in love with Philippa Gregory and her novel The Other Boleyn Girl. I have purchased her other books however they are in my shipment of belongings coming over in November.

However... again... since the Harry Potter books came to an end there have been some great others I have read but none that had me as deeply drawn in... that I cared as much for the characters.. that I couldn't wait until I could start the next book... until now.

Right before Andy and I moved I bought the book Twilight. One of my friends, Josy, had told me how much she enjoyed it and I had been seeing tons of other references to the books Online so I figured I would go ahead and read the first one to see if I liked it.

For me these 4 books have gone above and beyond anything I have ever read. I am sorry Harry Potter but it is time to step aside. The only thing that I am VERY grateful for is that since I started late I was able to read (one after another) Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I do not honestly know what I would have done if I started this series when it first came out in 2006 which would have meant me having to wait patiently for the next books to be published. Let's just say that it would have been a long wait and probably not an enjoyable one for those around me. : )

I am not ashamed to say how much I love these books! Stephenie Meyer may have written them with a young adult reader in mind and you may find them in the Teen Lit section of the bookstore but that should not stop anybody who loves to curl up with a good book from reading them.


I am dying to go back and start at the beginning and reread them all however I am using my powers of self control as the movie version of Twilight will be released in the UK on December 19th so I am choosing to wait until closer that that time to read them again. I am holding no delusions.. I know that movie tie-ins never live up to their book counterpart but I will watch it with an open mind and a hope that they do not mess it up too much.

Okay.. this is my Twilight obsessed moment over with (for now at least.. I can make no promises that it will not be mentioned again at some point). : )

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18/365 : No More Pictures Mom

This is Gallagher, or as Andy would say The Trouble Maker. To be honest it is not that he is a trouble maker it's just that he is very needy when it comes to me. When it is time sleep and we turn off the TV and lights it takes him all of about two minutes to hop up into the bed to take his spot by my side. This is where he remains for pretty much the entire night. If I need to turn over I just scoop him up and turn him over with me at which point he will just readjust and go back to sleep.

If Gallagher is wanting some attention and I am busy and have to move him off to the side he responds by going into a corner, standing on his back two legs, reaches up toward the ceiling and starts meowing. He does this until I pat the space beside me to let him know it's okay for him to over to me. Now if I am really busy and do not call him over he moves on to knocking things off of our night stands, dresser and or bookshelves. Really whatever he can get to first.

I do not see this as being a 'Trouble Maker' I just see it as a cat that really loves his mom. : ) At least that is what I like to tell myself, it is easier then thinking that I have raised the most selfish and needy cat in the history of all cats.

Gallagher was a very funny kitten as we thought at the time he was a narcoleptic kitty. We have picture after picture of him playing like crazy and then in the next shot it would appear that he had fallen asleep, the other kittens around him would still be playing but he would be asleep. He seems to have outgrown it now but it was quite funny back then. Below are two pictures of him as a kitten and I swear taken within a couple of minutes of each other. See what I mean? Playful .. and then .. sound asleep.


Can anybody guess where he got his name from? I had the pleasure of naming him and he is named after ... The Gallagher brothers from the band Oasis. Which to be honest is very fitting as they are also pretty selfish and are trouble makers! And most of the time I am saying "No Gallagher" which sounds pretty much like Noel Gallagher anyway!

Oh and as a follow up to yesterday's blog... The decaf tea is disgusting and I will not be drinking it! I have come up with a new plan. I will just drink tons and tons of tea and my body will just get used to the caffeine to the point of having no effect on me. That is a much better plan.

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17/365 : Goodbye Liam


It's a sad day on Coronation Street... Poor Liam... Hit and run... Dead on impact... Will Corrie ever be the same? Who am I going to look at now?

And look at Tony on top of him trying to act as though he is not the one that paid the driver to run Liam over! Come on buddy.. you don't have me fooled with your cute little Scottish accent. Pah - lease! Hopefully everybody will figure out his game very soon... and I don't think I would want to cross Carla when she's in a bad mood!

They have been building up to this moment for quite a while now it's just honestly sad to see him go, Liam was always there for his cute looks and funny comments. Okay enough of Corrie...

Today started out pretty cold and rainy and then the sun did come out just long enough for Andy to go on his walk around the park and then down to the shops for things we needed. I had him pick me up some Decaf PG Tips tea as I am starting to get a feeling that is part of the reason I am having trouble sleeping at night. We will see if this helps.

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16/365 : Need Any Change?


I need to get a handle on the above situation.

There is just too much coinage in this country, lets count it out together:
1 pence, 2 pence, 5 pence, 10 pence, 20 pence, 50 pence, 1 pound & 2 pound

Seriously.

It's not that it is going to be terribly hard to get used to the new money but when I am in line and there are people behind me.. I feel all eyes are on me as I try to count out the change so I end up just grabbing a 5 or 10 pound note to pay where of course in turn I get change back. *ugh*

All of the above change is currently in my wallet and this was after I used four pound coins and four 10 pence coins!

We did go to the movies/pictures/cinema (your pick) tonight and it was a lot of fun if not an adventure. : ) We got bus #1 from Westhoughton to the main Bolton bus station and then bus #2 from the main Bolton bus station to the movie theatre. When we were on bus #2 we stood up when we wanted to get off and the bus driver asked where we were going. We told him Cineworld and he told us to have a seat that there was a closer stop he could drop us... so... we sat and he drove and drove and drove... finally Andy stood back up and here is what was said:

Bus Driver: Oh Shit yeah the stop was back there, sit down and I'll take you back.

Andy: That's okay we can get off here and walk.

Bus Driver: No seriously, sit down mate. What time is your movie?

Andy: 4:00pm

Bus Driver: No worries I'll get you there in plenty of time.

So we rode the bus around the entire route and back on ourselves but this time the bus driver did let us know when to get off and we made it to the movie just in time. We sat down in our seats at exactly 4:00pm. Then we sat thru 35 minutes of commercials and previews and the movie itself started promptly at 4:35pm. I will have to remember this for future outings to the theatre.

It was raining when the movie ended but I had thought ahead and had one of my wonderful umbrellas. However I did learn a very important lesson tonight, something that I will not forget...

LAYERS

In England one must use layers when going outside. When we left earlier in the day it was sprinkling a little but it was not very cold yet. When we left the cinema it was raining pretty heavy and freezing. I only had on my jeans and a long sleeved t-shirt. Andy on the other hand had on jeans, a t-shirt, a sweatshirt and a jacket. On the last bus home I told him he could have been chivalrous and given me his jacket while we were waiting on the bus in the rain and he replied "Yes I could have but now you have learnt your lesson and next time you will bring layers". So I guess that is lesson learned!

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15/365 : Another Day Inside


This is Rooney.. It's another rainy night here and he loves looking out of the window at all of the cars and people going by.

I did not leave the house again today. I have not been feeling very well... but tomorrow I am forcing myself out if it kills me!

Andy and I each got an Unlimited Cineworld Card which means that for £11.99/month we can go see any movie, any day, any time, as many times as we want. So I think we are going to use it for the first time tomorrow to go see the new movie "How to Lose Friends & Alienate People" which is the new Simon Pegg movie. We were going to go the other day with Tracey and James but I was not feeling well so we had to back out. The theatre is in Bolton and I think we will use the Bus system to get there, it will be the first time we have used the buses since we have been here so wish us luck that we don't get lost! If I don't post tomorrow you know we are still out there wondering around Bolton trying to find our way home.... : )

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14/365 : Bring On The Rain




Finally... they have been set free! Not without me having to pay an arm & a leg for them of course! These umbrellas were my birthday gift from Andy. I am not really into 'fashion' and I do not buy expensive purses or shoes... But I do *love* umbrellas and scarves! Everybody has to have obsession right.. and mine just seem to be a little different from most others! : ) Since umbrellas and scarves have no place in Texas these were a perfect gift for my new home!

They were all nicely boxed up and were going to be my second bag on the plane but then the day we were flying out we decided to go buy another suitcase as we thought our three were too heavy. So on our way to drop the cats off in the cargo area we stopped by a Post Office in Chicago and mailed them off.

On Saturday (Oct 11) we got a letter delivered from Parcel Force more or less saying that my beautiful umbrellas were being held hostage for a ransom of £53.08 (at least that is how I read it). They were charging us Import Duty, VAT and a Parcel Force Handling Fee. *triple ugh* So I went to their website and reluctantly paid the £53.08 / $92.97 so that they would deliver my package.

And so they did, this morning!



Even with having to pay this price.. I am SO glad they are finally here and it was a bit of poetic justice as the Parcel Force guy had to deliver them in the rain this morning! : )

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13/365 : Everton


Andy is very excited! We went into Bolton today so that he could purchase these tickets! Everton are going to be playing at Bolton on October 29th so he and James are going to go watch it.

When we came to visit last year (September '07) Andy, his dad and myself went to go watch Everton (at home) in a EUFA Cup Match. But this will be the first Premiership match he has gone to in quite a long time!

I did have to laugh when I was taking this picture... "Please remain seated at all times". Are they being serious? I mean I know football matches can get a bit rough and I am a bit nervous about Andy having to sit around Bolton fans (I have told him it may be best not to wear his Everton kit to the match).. and I am sure they 'want' them to sit down at all times to avoid issues but there is no way a true football fan can stay seated during an entire match.

Side note: What the heck is with the lack of public restrooms in this country? When I tell Andy I must find a bathroom he says two things to me 1) They are called toilets and 2) good luck finding one. Then we walk around forever to finally find one public toilet in a shopping mall. I almost didn't make it.

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12/365 : St. Bartholomew's


This is St. Bartholomew's Church, which is in the town of Westhoughton. In fact this church is only about a block away from Andy's Mom's house which is where we are currently living. The cemetery that is there wraps around the back of the church and back into some land that is covered with trees. There is a path that goes through it and one day I'm going to have a walk around. It looks very beautiful.

Didn't do much during the day today but James, Tracey, Andy and I went to go see a movie in the evening. We were going to go see the new Simon Pegg movie but were a little late so we ended up seeing Tropic Thunder. James and Tracey had seen it before but they didn't mind seeing it again. I seriously laughed SO hard I was crying at several points. It was very entertaining and I'm glad we ended up going to that one. I think we are going to try to catch the Simon Pegg one on Tuesday this week. : )

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11/365 : Crazy Toe


It's a rainy day out today, what better to do then curl up on the bed?

This is one of my three cats and her name is Pazzesca (well her full name is Punta Pazzesca but she just goes by Pazzesca). Yes, yes I agree that is a very odd name but here is the story of how she got it.

All of our cats are from litters that Andy and I haven takne inside at very young ages.. in fact we bottle-fed all of them! It's a nice bonding time with the kittens but man is it hard to wake up every two hours to feed them all.

We always called this little girl 'Crazy Toe' and the reason is very clear from the above picture. She has all white toes except for that one on her right paw, so Crazy Toe fit!

When we decided to keep her there was no way that I was going to call her Crazy Toe for the rest of her life.. I don't think she would have been able to forgive me. : ) So I went online to Babel Fish and put in Crazy Toe to see how it looks in different languages.

In Italian Crazy Toe is Punta Pazzesca. Pretty sure that Punta = Toe and Pazzesca = Crazy but when doing the translation it flips it to put Punta first. So honestly she goes by Crazy but that pretty much fits!

Eventually I'll introduce all of my cats as they are a BIG part of our lives and I honestly do not believe I would have been able to move to England if they would not have been able to come with me. : )

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10/365 : Exchange Of What?


This is Andy .. in a phone box .. in Bolton .. on the phone with Bank of America customer service .. after I had just been on the phone with them for over an hour!

While we were in Manchester yesterday we tried to withdraw some money at Barclays and it declined the transaction. After we got home I checked my E-Mail and there was one from B of A saying that my debit card has been blocked due to some suspicious activity. *ugh*

I E-Mailed them back and they told me that I needed to call their 800 customer service line that they can not clear anything up via E-Mail.

So I stopped at this phone box thinking I would be on and off in no time, oh how wrong I was. First I got hung up on during a transfer.. then finally I get somebody. I fully explain to her that before we left the States I made a point to phone customer services and card services to explain that we are moving to England and since Barclays is a 'sister' bank we will be using their ATM's to withdraw pounds without getting any fees attached. Notes were made, my new address was updated to the UK for future bank statements and I was told there would be no issue. She listens to me explain everything and then says "We are so sorry this has happened let me get it corrected."

Then after some typing she comes back to says that this is more than just the UK transactions that B of A has had a security breach and my card has in fact been cancelled and they will mail me a new one in around two weeks. However since Andy's card has a different number on it she says his is fine as it was not part of the numbers that were compromised so we can continue to use his. The reason Andy is on the phone is because he had to authorize the information we were putting on his debit card number so that they don't stop it once we start using it now.

So we ran over to a Barclays ATM and it worked! Woo Hoo! We will not be penniless for two weeks. : )

SPECIAL : Two Pictures For The Price Of One!


I took this picture while I was inside the phone booth waiting on hold. When we came to Bolton last year I saw this shop that said "All - American" and I thought it sold American food, magazines, etc.. hhhmmm... I was wrong. Read the white sign above it!

"Adult Mag Exchange Centre" What?!?!? I mean really.. not to be gross or anything but having somebodies 'used' Adult Magazine is not something I think many people would want! eeewwww

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9/365 : The Wheel Of Fortune.. I Mean Manchester


We went into Manchester today, on the train it takes about 30 minutes from Westhoughton. We did not stay very long... just enough time for us to walk around the Arndale Shopping Centre and down some of the streets around it. The O2 store that is inside the mall was being refurbished so we had to go to one that was down the street. It is truly amazing how many mobile phone providers there are here in the UK!

Just walking down the street it seems there is an O2, Orange, T Mobile, Carephone Warehouse, Phones 4 U, Vondaphone or Virgin store on every block. I am not exaggerating either.. it ended up being a bit of a game. We would walk a way down the street and Andy would be like there is another Carphone Warehouse, there is another Phones 4 U.

Needless to say we still could not find a store that had our two phones in stock so we will be off into Bolton again tomorrow. I had asked the lady at the O2 store to keep our details down and which two phones we wanted. That way when they come in hopefully they will put them to the side for us. She said they get their shipment in around 1:30 - 2:30pm so I guess it will be an afternoon trip.

The picture above was taken while standing on the steps to go into the Arndale, it is called The Wheel of Manchester. I guess they couldn't get away with calling it 'The Manchester Eye'. Andy of course refused to ride it with me. He does not care for heights and I didn't push him on it because he has agreed that when we eventually make it down to London that he will ride The London Eye with me and if I forced this now... I doubt I would be able to get him on the 'real' one in London. He said it wouldn't be worth riding this one anyway.. it is not nearly as big and at least the one in London has a scenery to look at while you are up there! : )

My jetlag has taken an odd turn. I still don't feel tired until around 1:00 - 2:00am. However today while we were in Manchester I got really tired! In fact on the train ride back I fell asleep! So when we got back home I was exhausted but did not want to take a nap as I knew I would sleep for a few hours, eat and then not be able to go to sleep tonight. However it is now 11:07pm and I am yet again wide awake.. and am not tired at all. I read online today that jetlag usually lasts 1 day for each hour that you have changed. Well I was in Texas and we went 6 hours East. We landed October 1st so this should have been over on Monday or Tuesday! I'm starting to think my body will never adjust. *ugh*

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8/365 : The Train Into Bolton


Andy and I went back into Bolton today. I took this picture while we were on the train. Since Westhoughton and Bolton are stops next to each other it is not a long journey but it is a rather pretty one. There is also a very nice spot that you pass which opens up to far out hills and sky. I was going to try to get that shot but I was a bit too late. So you have this picture of the horses. : )

We went into Bolton for two reasons.. we wanted to start a new Current Account (Checking Account for those in the States) and we were scouting out the different mobile phone options.

Pretty sure we are going to go with O2 because that is what Andy's mum and sister have so we can use the free mobile to mobile minutes. We are also going to do a Pay as you Go for now, not sure how much we'll be using them so figured if we needed a contract we can get one later.

The phone at his mum's house is not working at the moment so really this is so that we can be contacted as we are about to really start sending out our CV's (resumes). This way at least they will have a way to contact us.

Oh and while we were in Bolton we ate at the Cafe that has the HP sauce on the table.. for FREE! However, Andy ended up ordering a steak pie w/ gravy and he did not even use any! lol I got a BLT on toast with no tomato.. just the bacon & lettuce. The first time I got a sandwich like this Andy went to a shop near our house and when he came back he said the lady had to ask him several times.. "So just bacon and lettuce?" Well today when I told him what I wanted he said he wasn't going to order that for me because they will not understand. So when the lady came around I ordered it and she did the same thing as the girl that Andy dealt with the other day. I had to say a few times.. "Yes a BLT with no tomato, just the bacon and lettuce please". I mean is this weird or something? I just don't like raw tomato people! : )

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7/365 : Parcel Force


My first of two boxes finally made it today! The Parcel Force brought it at 8:30am. We mailed it from Fort Worth Texas on Friday September 26th and it arrived in Westhoughton UK on Tuesday October 7th. Not too bad I guess...

Not sure if you can zoom in enough on the price but this 24" x 24" x 18" box cost us a whopping $215.65 / £123.18 to send!! Andy and I thought it weighed around 34-40 pounds but when we took it into the Post Office it was 61 pounds. At first the man said he didn't know if he could mail it because of the weight... but then he ended up saying it was okay.

Here are a few of the items that were inside:
1) Large cat litter box w/ covered top (they sale them here but they are VERY expensive)
2) Our Media / DVD Player
3) Cross Stitch thread and and a couple patterns that I had started
4) Yarn and scarves that I had started before we moved
5) A couple books
6) A few sweatshirts
7) Three boxes of Zezty Italian salad dressing mix
8) Two bottles of dry Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix
9) Few cat toys

... and a few other bits and bobs that were shoved in to take up open space. So honestly it was well worth the cost to send it over. These were things that we would never have had room for in our suitcases and we did not want to wait for these things until we got the rest of our belongings which are expected to make their way to us sometime in November (coming via boat). Now I can start working on my scarf again... since I have a need for it here!

The other box I am waiting on should be here sometime the end of this week or the start of next. It has my six beautiful umbrellas in it! We thought this was going to be our fourth 'bag' for the plane but we ended up needing another suitcase so we mailed the umbrellas the day we caught the plane. So they were sent on Tuesday September 30th.. I hope they get here soon.. I love my umbrellas! : )

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6/365 : Love The New View Mom!


When Andy and I walked down to the Co-Op today Gallagher (left) and Pazzesca (right) were up in the window watching us as we walked away. They have been without a window for sometime now and I think this is their favourite part of the move!

Oh.. and if you noticed the 'u' in favorite.. We changed the Firefox browser dictionary to English UK and now if I don't add the 'u' to words.. it underlines it in red to tell me it has been misspelt! I'll get used to the abundance of u's one of these days.... : )

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5/365 : I'm Sorry Donald...


We went into Atherton tonight for a Chinese meal. It was great! For £10 you get the following:

Your choice of soup
The table gets the choice of 4 starters out of about 10 to pick from
Duck w/ Pancakes
Your pick of Main Dishes... and there were tons to pick from. Then when you are done with your main dish if you want more it is all you can eat so you just pick another!

It is much better than a buffet style as they cook your food to order. They will just keep bringing more out as long as you eat what you have already asked for. It's a great way to try new things as you can share with others. I have never had duck before and I have to say it was rather tasty. : ) I hope it wasn't a close relation to Donald....

Here is all who went:
Myself & Andy
Tracey - Andy's Sister
James - Tracey's Husband
Neil - A friend of James' who we had met when we went to Greece in Sept '07 for James and Tracey's wedding
Martin - A friend of James' who we met for the first time tonight

Oh... and it's great for James as he is a vegetarian and they have a full menu for him to pick from! It was a great night out and I can see ourselves spending quite a bit of time in The Red Chilli!

*yummy*

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4/365 : Oh... The Greasy Goodness!


My first Fish & Chips dinner (tea) since we arrived! I am sure it will not be my last. I love the way they just wrap everything up in the paper.

Since Andy is not a huge fan of fish he opted to get a Cheese Pie & Chips. He of course put vinegar all over his chips.. that is one thing I will not start doing! Vinegar does not belong on my chips... thank you very much. : )

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3/365 : No HP Sauce?


Andy and I took the train into Bolton today to have a walk around. This picture is of Bolton Town Hall, we were standing in Victoria Square.

Andy would not stand next to me as I took it... he says in doing this blog I am going to look like a year long tourist. Oh well... I told him he will just have to stand off to the side then! : )

Don't let the clear blue sky fool you.. yes the sun was out but it was still only about 48f/9c! It was a beautiful day and since my lovely six umbrellas had to be shipped to me via USPS (we ended up needing another suitcase as we had more stuff then we thought) I was glad that it did not rain. Although my umbrellas should be here sometime next week and I am sure it will rain before they get here. I'll have to make do...

We also ate lunch in a little cafe (what I would call a 'greasy spoon'). They had jacket potatoes (just large baked potatoes) although they had some weird stuff on top of them! Things like tuna.... sweet corn.... I ended up going with a bacon barm (bacon sandwich on a large white bun) and chips (french fries). Andy had a sausage and egg barm and chips.. although he said it would have been better with some HP Sauce but they wanted you to buy a little packet of it for like 10p. I told him we could afford that but he said it was the principal of it.. Then we passed a few more cafes during the walk and he pointed out that they all had ketchup and HP sauce out on their tables. : )

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2/365 : Time For Tea


Somehow hot tea just tastes better when you are over here... PG tips *Yummy*

Andy and I went to the Co-Op for some things so I figured I would buy some tea, my Mother-in-Law is never without her cup of coffee so the kettle is always ready to go. I looked for some sweetener that would be comparable to Sweet 'N Low but could not find anything. I went with this which is more like Splenda, it is actually very good.

Of my Mother-in-Law's coffee mugs I always go for the Coronation Street one!

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1/365 : Finally!


The first picture that I took on UK soil after entering as a resident rather than a visitor!

This is where it all began..

BMI Flight 706 from Chicago O'Hare nonstop to Manchester England.
We had a window and aisle seat, 26a & 26c.
Departing at 6:30pm (CST) and landing at 8:05am (BST).

We could see our breath as we walked off the plane and we knew we were home... Grey skies and rain!

After getting our rental van (or 'people mover' as they call it here) we made our way over to Pets on Jets where our three cats Gallagher, Rooney & Pazzesca were already cleared and ready to to be taken home!

This was a great day.

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