Andy used to have a good laugh at all of the things that you can 'drive thru' in the US. Banks, Post Offices, Pharmacy's and there are even some drive thru liquor stores.
However... I have never been to a drive thru gas (petrol) station. You just get your petrol and then drive up to the little guy and pay. This is the station at Asda and we have been here a couple of times. Each time this same man is working, coincidence?
Oh and for those of you in the US you will notice that Unleaded is only 94.9 pence. But, if you look a little closer that is 94.9 a litre... and there are just under 4 litres in a gallon. That is about £3.80 a gallon which converts to $5.66 a gallon.
I could have stayed here forever.
If you click on the photo to look at the enlarged version you can tell how many pink petals were flying about in the air. You can even see them all over the ground. It was a beautiful site.
To be honest I have no idea what type of trees they are... does anybody know?
I am on lates this week so instead of taking the bus I put my driving practice into operation. I drove Andy into work this morning and then... I was off back home by myself. This was the first time I have driven alone in a car in about seven months.
I do have to say that I did not have to chant 'Left, Left, Left' as much as I thought I would. I did however find myself worrying about the speed limit the most. There are speed cameras everywhere and having one of them take my picture speeding was not how I wanted to start my UK driving experience.
I took this picture with my phone just after I turned off the car when I had arrived back home... safe and sound!
I had a headache late last night before I went to sleep and when I woke up it was not much better. So I stayed in bed all day.
This is a view from our bedroom window and as you can see Rooney loves sitting up on the window sill to watch the cars and people go by. I eventually had to close the curtains though because the sun came out and the the light was not helping my headache.
Ended up taking a sleeping pill and just slept off the headache. Glad to say though that I woke up later in the evening and felt much better.
Andy and I had some groceries delivered today from Tesco. When I was ordering them last night online I noticed these bananas called 'Eat Me Save Me'. Well this is genius!
You get two small bunches of bananas in one bag... obviously you eat the yellow ones and then you have a bunch of green ones that will be perfectly ripe by the time you are done with the yellow ones. Genius!
Oh and did I mention how much I love having groceries delivered to me... how great is that?!
What can I say about today? It has been pretty crappy. This picture was taken on our drive back home from Liverpool. I was half hanging out of the car as the cloud was behind us so I am sorry that it is a little off balance. Again the sun was out and there were huge white puffy clouds all day and then we see this large black cloud with rain in the middle of all of it. But that about sums up my day.
We were at the Everton v. Man City match today and lets just say it did not go very well. I truly believe that fatigue got the best of team today. In the last 7 days this was the third match that was played! First the FA Cup Semi Final that went to 120 minutes then to penalties on Sunday the 19th. Then on Wednesday the 22nd we were away to Chelsea and that ended in a 0-0 draw. Then today... you could just tell that they were knackered and who could blame them? We ended up losing 1-2 but the result is not the worst thing that happened today.
With about 30 minutes left to play in the match Moyes made all three of our substitutions at one go. Then not too shortly there after he went down. Phil Jagielka who has been a rock for Everton this season in defence fell to the ground grabbing at his knee.
It is a horrible feeling when somebody goes down like that as you can tell when there is a little 'diving' involved and when they are really hurt and he was hurt. They ended up having to stretcher him off and it was sad to watch.
Turns out the scans have already been completed and it has been confirmed that he has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and will be out until at least December. After the swelling goes down in about a week he will have surgery.
I know Everton can bounce back as this is the third or fourth huge injury for us this season and they always seem to pull together! I just wish Jagielka a speedy recovery and hopefully the team can come together to win the FA Cup for him and the other injured players that will not have the chance to play in the Final.
Today after work we had to take some trash (rubbish) to the tip for Andy's mom. She had cleared out her back garden and had some cut limbs, weeds, etc.
Not an exciting photo but probably the most exciting thing to happen today. Thank goodness it is Friday!
Yes folks this is as good as it gets today. Sorry.
So... tomorrow is dress down day at work (last Friday of every month) and what could two Everton supports possibly wear after just getting back from an FA Cup Semi Final win?
Yep you guessed it.. our Everton kits which means that they had to be washed to get ready so here they are drying.
I am unsure however if I want to wear my royal blue Cahill 17 (above right) or my green Howard 24 (keeper) kit. I guess I will see which mood stikes me when I wake up tomorrow.
When we got home today it was really sunny but then when we looked back down the street and it was dark and moody the other way. However that is exactly how I like it... in fact I love this photo the sky looks awesome!
Does anybody think it is time for me to pull up some of the weeds that are growing in the front garden? If you click on the picture to make it bigger you can also see that there are weeds growing thru some of the bricks along the side wall. Too funny. Maybe I will get adventurous and pull up all of the weeds and plant some pretty flowers in the corner space. Or I could just say the weeds are intentional... at least they bring some green into the space.
Who did not want to have to go to work today? (crazily waves arm in the air)
Tonight I was going thru one of our spare clothes drawers and found all of this Everton stuff of Andy's. He has had this stuff from when he was a little kid. Three kits, two scarves, the official 1985 Everton Team Record, an autograph book (which includes an autograph from Neville Southall) and a CD he bought in 1995 of 'All Together Now' which was the FA Cup Final record. Quite fitting I would say since 14 years later Everton are off to the FA Cup Final again. Andy was at that final in 1995 and hopefully he (or should I say we) will be at the one on May 30th also!
Other then going back to work nothing much else happened today.
We made it home safe and sound today at around 4:00pm. It was so funny walking thru London today because we both had on our home Everton kits and people were still giving us the thumbs up and congratulating us. At one point we were crossing the road and a bus kept honking... a man in front of me told me the bus driver wanted me so I turned around and he was smiling and giving two thumbs up! It was great!
Even better was getting into the Manchester train station... not too many kind faces there. Except of course for the few Everton fans that were also there.
The cats were very happy to see us. They missed their cuddles and were all over us for the rest of the night.
I am now wishing we would have taken another day off because I have no idea how I am going to drag my butt out of bed tomorrow for work after having such a lovely time off... *ugh*
I call this picture... The great Red and Blue divide! You can hardly tell that all of the seats are red, our Everton Blue has taken over.
What can I say about today? We left the hotel at around noon, made it to the grounds quite early to soak up the wonderful atmosphere. Made our way inside to find that we may have been in the rafters but when they say there is not a bad seat at the new Wembley Stadium they are not lying!
The match was tied 0-0 after full time so there were an extra two halves of 15 minutes each that also ended scoreless. So it was on to penalty kicks.
We were all a nervous wreck. I have only seen Everton take penalty kicks one other time and that was with a friendly against Club America (from Mexico) at a match we went to in Dallas Texas... and we lost those!
Tim Cahill walked up to take the first one... He missed. I was gutted. It looked as though he was crying. The Everton fans started singing Timmy Cahill... Timmy Cahill... to let him know it was okay.
Dimitar (I need a haircut) Berbatov walked up to take his penalty kick... TIM HOWARD SAVES IT! *yes*
Leighton Baines goes up for Everton... 0 - 1 to Everton!
Rio Ferdinand walked up to take his chance... TIM HOWARD SAVES ANOTHER ONE! *double yes*
... It was at this point that I started to cry. I just love Tim Howard to bits and the fact that he saved two, I was just so happy!
I wont make you sit thru my kick by kick analysis but we won 2 - 4 and I swear the place must be well built because every single Everton fan and player was going crazy. We sang, cheered, jumped up and down and pretty much went wild for about 30+ minutes.
We finally made our way back to the trains. The atmosphere was just buzzing and everywhere we went on our way back to the hotel people would give us a thumbs up or start chanting and singing. It was a great day!
This was taken while on top of The London Eye. That is Nelson's Column right in the middle and that is Trafalgar Square.
Today was a full day of sightseeing. We had a Thames River cruise, The London Eye, walking all over the place and we did a London Bridge Experience. Well I did 1/2 of it anyway...
You go down under the Bridge and they have live actors taking thru the history of The London Bridge and then you are supposed to go into this scary people jumping out at you part and I changed my mind a the last minute. I think it was just a minute after they said you had to wear a hard hat... I put mine on and then told Andy he can go ahead and I told the girl she needed to take me back up to the waiting area. She said it was a good job I changed my mind cause she said it is really scary and if I had any doubts it was best that I didn't do it. Andy said it was pretty bad and that the other two girls on the tour was freaking out. I am SO glad I did not go, I would have died.
The only bad part of the day was that we decided to go into The Tower of London. When we were coming up from the tube station I saw a spot to take a good picture and there was a dip down and I fell. *ugh* I twisteed my ankle just a little and there is a pretty nasty bruise on my left leg but the worst part... is that I had my camera out... around my wrist... It now has a nice little reminder scratch/dent on it. *double ugh* It still works perfectly fine and the scratch/dent is not very big but I am the kind of person that obsesses over things likes this. Evertime I take the camera out I will first see this flaw. Oh well, I guess it will just remind me of our trip to London, maybe one day I will laugh about it.
We got changed and headed out to eat and to see Phantom of the Opera. I have seen Phantom many times before but this was Andy's first time. He ended up giving it a 7 out of 10, which is not bad since he absolutely hates musicals!
We ate at The Texas Embassy and I have to say it was the first time I have been around so many Americans in over six months. It actually felt a little weird to hear more American accents then English ones. After listening to a couple of them I thought to myself "Do I sound like that?" It was bizarre.
There was a couple that sat next to us and I swear they did not say one word to each other the entire time they were there. They each ordered a beer and Andy and I had to control laughter because every time we would look over at them they had the beer bottle up to their face reading the small print of the label!
Then when we walked a couple blocks over to Her Majesty's Theatre they were waiting outside to go into Phantom also. Andy pointed it out and I quickly took a picture. You can see it in the collection from the day (link below).
She took the midnight train going anywhere
Just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit
He took the midnight train going anywhere
Wish I could say it was a more productive day but this was about it... but to be honest it was a very fun day!
hold on to that feeling
Street lights... people
There is something wrong with the shopping carts (or trolleys as they call them) here in the UK. I have never had a hard time in the US pushing a cart around but here in the UK it seriously as if you have to push it sideways for you to have control over the direction in which it goes. A lot of energy is used in pushing this bad boy around.
See... in the US the back two wheels are locked into position and only the front two swivel so that guiding the cart is easy. But here in the UK all four wheels swivel so making a turn is very difficult and to be honest too much work.
If I wasn't such a control freak I would let Andy push the cart... but that probably wont happen.
What a beautiful and wonderful place! This was my first trip to Wales but I can guarantee it will not be my last.
We left our house at around 7:30am and got home at 7:00pm. It was a whirlwind tour of North Wales but we managed to make it to a beautiful church, three castles, have a wonderful lunch and even took a cruise out to Puffin Island.
As we crossed over into Wales there was a hint of rain as the dark clouds were overhead but it never really started. It cleared up quite a bit at times and the sun made a number of appearances... so much that Andy and I both got a little too much sun and had a bit of red showing up on our nose and cheeks.
It only started to lightly rain as we were getting ready to leave the third castle to head home. Andy wanted to walk up one of the high towers so I stayed at the bottom to get a picture of him. It started to sprinkle but not too heavy. Then after about 10 minutes of being on the road it had already stopped.
I have already been doing some research online and am planning our next trip. Since it is only about an hour drive into Wales I can see many more trips being planned to see more and more of this lovely place!
I took a LOT of photos and of course can not post all of them here. If you would like to have a look thru them, here are the links:
This is Everton's 3rd kit. This is the kit that they wear when the other team's colors are similar to their own. This picture does not do it justice. It is fluorescent yellow, I truly believe it may even glow in the dark. However it is necesary for the team to wear it from time to time, like away to Wigan and Blackburn.
Andy has come to believe that this shirt is lucky. He has worn it 22 times and it has the following stats:
13 Wins ... 7 Draws ... 2 Losses and Everton has kept 13 Clean Sheets out of those 22 games!
Here is the breakdown:
|Everton||2||Aston Villa||3||Lost||Not Worn|
|Man Utd||1||Everton||0||Lost||Worn/ |
|Everton||1||Liverpool||0||FA Cup Replay||Won||Worn|
|Everton||3||Aston Villa||1||FA Cup||Won||Worn|
|Everton||2||Middlesbrough ||1||FA Cup||Won||Worn|
The next match we are going to is Sunday April 19th which is the FA Cup Semi Final at Wembley (London).
Andy is very serious about his shirt... but here is where the confliction comes in. Yes it has some great stats but it's first loss came from Manchester United and that is who we are playing in the Semi Final.
Does the great stats out weigh that it doesn't appear to have any control over playing Man United? Or was this just a fluke?
What do you guys think... should he wear it, or shouldn't he?
(Note: Yes you are reading it correctly, the shirt has only been washed twice. After each of the losses but I promise you it does not smell!)
Andy and I were in Birmingham today for the Aston Villa v. Everton match. This is the third away match I have been to and I have to say that it was really enjoyable. We ended up drawing 3-3... so of course a win would have made it all the sweeter but it was still a great match to be at.
I took the above photo while the team was doing their pre-match warm ups. Yes I did take other photos that did not focus in on Tim Cahill... I promise. I even took ones that were not of Tim Howard! Proud of me? I can even prove it, here are the others photos from the day:
We have received more of them but these are the ones that have not yet been eaten! The Dairy Milk Caramel and Smarties is from Andy's mom and the Chunky KitKat is from work. Andy got two from work but they are already gone...
Today is day 2 of the 11 that I have off and I am really enjoying myself so far. The weather has been just perfect. It has been in the high 50's/low 60's and sunny. I know, I know most of you that know me will be thinking 'why is she happy about the sun.. she likes overcast and rain?' But honestly I do not hate the sun now because it is completely different here.
After living in Texas for the last 3 1/2 years it was sunny and hot almost every day. Here when the sun comes out it is still nice and cool... lovely! So I am growing much fonder of the sun when it makes it's appearance because I know by it being out it is still not going to be 95 - 105 degrees.
A bit of a cheat today (Andy took the picture) but I could hardly take it myself... I was too busy DRIVING!
Check me out! Sitting on the right side of the car and driving on the left. Woo Hoo!
We started out the day by going to see two movies. First The Damned United and then the new Fast and Furious movie. Today is a Bank Holiday and lets just say that I think every single person in the Bolton area decided to go to the cinema.
After the second movie Andy drove us to a nearby Industrial Park because we knew everybody would be gone and it would give me a lot of side roads and parking lots to practice in.
We did the switch and I do have to say it felt really weird being on that side of the car. Since I have been a passenger for six months it felt a bit weird being behind the wheel. Also, it has been something like 10 years since I have driven a stick. Andy reminded me what to do... and... off we went.
I didn't stall once! Look at me go...
After about 10 minutes of driving back and forth, parking and reversing I asked if he thought I was ready to go on a main road and he said if I felt comfortable to go for it.
So off we went.
I was driving along and then remembered we were coming up to a pretty major roundabout and it was too late to turn around. I ended up making it thru unscathed but I am not going to lie... I thought it would be a while until I had to go thru one of those but I guess it is like a band-aid (plaster), just rip it off.
The only sad moment came when I was driving around 35 in a 40 and a car passed me... then a second one. It was in that second car that we noticed that when it passed, there was a little kid in the back seat holding up his hand to his forehead making the 'L' for loser sign.
I wasn't going that slow!
Since I already have my US License and can use it here for 12 months without getting a UK one I don't even have to drive with an L plate so I know the L had to be for loser and not learner.
Oh well... loser or not this was a big success for me today! YAY!
I love this woman.
I do not know her name and have never said more than hello to her but she has brought much fun to my bus rides to work when I work my week of lates.
We get on at the same stop in Westhoughton and she gets off about two-thirds into my trip.
From what I can tell she does not speak a lot of English and appears to work at an Italian restaurant in Horwich because when she gets off the bus she always walks toward it.
When the Data Controller was on the bus a few weeks ago he tried to ask her where she was going and for what reason and she could not really answer back.
She makes me laugh because in the 20 minutes we are on the bus together she probably moves seats around 5 times. She loves being toward the front and slowly makes her way up when people leave the bus.
I have also noticed that when she leaves the bus she takes around 20 of the free newspapers that they have up front.
I didn't want to freak her out by taking out my camera so I took this with my mobile phone. But I really wanted to get a picture of her because I think this will be my last bus ride into work. I am going to start practising my UK driving skills tomorrow and for the next time I am on a late I think I am going to start taking Andy into work in the morning and then driving myself in later.
Wish me luck with the driving!
So the deal at work is that when you work the 1:30 - 9:30 shift the phones are actually turned off at 9:00. So if you are not on a call you can leave then which technically means you are getting paid for 7.5 hours and only having to work 7 hours.
Tonight... I got stuck on a call.
Andy was of course there at 9:00 to pick me up but I did not finish until around 9:25. *ugh*
On our way home Andy said that he had tried making Enchiladas but that they had not turned out very well. I opted to hit up the McDonalds in Westhoughton as I could not be bothered in even trying them because if he did not like them there is no way I was going even try them.
I think I have gotten the hang of being on the left hand side of the road when we are driving but going thru this drive thru still feels wrong. As you entire it just feels like you are going in the wrong way. Very odd to have everything on the right hand side of the car.
I took this while waiting for my bus today. When I walked out of the house (which is only about a block from the bus stop) it looked like a really bright sunny day.
As I sat down waiting this dark cloud seemed to appear out of nowhere. You can still see the bright blue sky toward the bottom just in front. It was very odd.
When the bus came we all headed on our way and then it started hailing for about 3 minutes and then stopped and appeared all sunny again.
I am starting to get really excited about my upcoming time off from work. Our last day is this Thursday the 9th of April and we do not have to be back until Tuesday the 21st of April. That is 11 days off in a row... exciting times! 11 days off for the price of 4 vacation days! Since this is Easter weekend that is 4 days off, then next week would have been my Saturday week which means I have a day off in lieu and then a friend at work is working my Saturday because I worked his last week. Can't beat it!
We have managed to plan some cool things to do during part of the time and then there are also going to be some just lay back and relax days which are much needed!
Where do I start...
The first two hours were not so bad. It did not even feel that cold... and then it hit.
It never rained (thank goodness) but boy was it cold. The above picture was taken at around 1:30am. In fact it was taken with my mobile phone because I was too cold to dig my camera out of my purse. Andy had gone to the car to try to warm up a little bit and to try to get a little sleep. He did warm up a little but did not manage to fall asleep.
I ended up going to the car at around 2:00am. I did not want to just keep running the car so I did not even turn it on but it was way warmer then what it was outside already. I set the alarm on my phone for 4:00am in hopes that I would fall asleep. Well... I did fall asleep but it was only for about an hour. I woke up with my body shaking because of the cold. Have you ever had that uncontrollable shaking when you were so cold? Well I had it and it was bad.
I ended up staying in the car until around 4:00am and then I went back out to the line so that Andy could go back in car, which he did.
Then at around 5:30 or so he came back out so we could switch again. At this point I had to use the bathroom SO bad! But unlike a man I could not just run to the back of the car park to take care of it. I sat in the car until 6:30 and decided to go walk up County Road to see if there was a cafe open. I ended up finding a McDonalds that was open so I took care of business and then waited in the rather long line so that I could get something for us to eat for breakfast. Turned out that quite a few people from the line had the same idea as what I had. On a positive note I have never been a fan of English sausage... but the sausage patties at McDonalds taste exactly the same as in the US which was a very nice surprise!
When I made it back to the line Andy was already packing up the chairs because it was around 7:15. He took everything back to the car and we ate breakfast standing up.
They ended up opening up the doors to Goodison Park so that the very long line that was now behind us could wind in and out the walkway area inside to get them off the sidewalks outside. As we sat there watching them all walk past we realized that the cold and waiting was well worth it! There had to be at least a 2,000 people if not more behind us... they will be there for hours in line. Granted they will be a lot warmer then what we were but we had to be at work at 1:30pm so waiting in line that long would not have been an option.
The windows opened up at 8:00am sharp, we made our way up when it was our turn, we handed over £49.00 for our two tickets (£24.50/each) and we were on our way at around 8:25am. Easy peasy.
Do I want to ever have to do this again? NO Is this why we signed up for the Auto Cup Scheme when we got our season tickets for next season? YES Was 10.5 hours in a freezing cold line worth it? YES YES YES!
We planned our trip to London around getting these tickets to the Semi-Final FA Cup at Wembley... if we did not get them we were going to still go down to Wembley that day so that we could watch the match from a pub outside but that was always going to be second best. Now we are going to be there in the stands watching! YAY!
We ended up making it back into Westhoughton at 9:10am. We fell asleep alsmost immediatly and did not wake up until 11:30am. We worked until 9:30pm and then went right back to sleep!
Today was a wonderful day!
We made our way to Liverpool this morning and had a wonderful tour of Andy's Dad's ship the RFA Fort Victoria. I have never been on a proper ship and it was a lot of fun to have a look around. In the above picture Andy was trying on one of the Breathing Apparatus'. He sounded like Darth Vader when he was breathing... too funny! Here is a link to the rest of the photos.
Andy's dad and mom then dropped us off near Goodison so that we could go to the Wigan match. We ended up winning 4-0. YAY!
They then picked us back up and we went for a wonderful Indian meal. It was one of the best since I have been to England.
Then we dropped Andy's dad back off at the ship and we were off back home. Before we left the area we went by Goodison Park to see if there were already people in line for the FA Cup Semi-Final tickets and we found there to be about 30 or so already there. I thought about getting out then and waiting while Andy took his mom back to Westhoughton but we decided it would be okay and we both headed off home.
We made it back and got prepared.
I put on 3 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of pants, 3 shirts (1 w/ a hood), a hat, gloves and a scarf. I then packed up 2 fleece blankets, a thermos full of hot soup, water and 2 folding chairs.
Off we went back to Goodison.
Do you see that giant yellow box on the pole? That means SLOW DOWN! It is amazing to me how many people just zoom thru it with no regard.
It is not like the speed camera moves it is not mobile. It is there all day every day. And not only are there signs posted prior to coming up to it alerting you that there is a speed camera... the box itself is huge... then there are lines painted down on the road itself. What more do you need to slow down?
People are crazy.
When we are driving home from Middlebrook (shopping area) we go down this back road that has a little lake. There are always these beautiful swans in or around the water. Well today I had my camera out and ready... but it turns out I am still not fast enough.
There always seems to be a car behind us so Andy can not slow down and today the trees came up fast. But... if you look you can see a part of one of them.
We have found out that the last date/time that current season ticket holders can buy tickets is this Sunday at 1:00pm. So here is our plan for Sunday:
Andy, his Mom and I are going to drive over and take a tour around Andy's Dad's ship that is docked in Liverpool.
Andy's dad is going to drive us to the grounds for the Everton v. Wigan match.
We are then going to go out for an Indian meal.
Then... Andy, his Mom and I are going to drive back by Goodison Park. If there are already people waiting in line then I am going to stay there and he is going to bring his mom back to Westhoughton and then come back to wait with me. If there is not a large line then we will both take her back and then go wait together.
Whichever it is... we will be in for a long night! The tickets that are left go on sale at 8:00am Monday morning. I work 1:30-9:30 and Andy's boss let him work those hours also so that we could go together. Hopefully if we are toward the front of the line we can get done pretty early and come home for a couple hours of sleep before work. If not we will probably die at work but it will have been worth it! Very worth it!
The only thing that might save us hours after hours of waiting outside in the cold is that they did not just put them on general sale. In order to get a ticket on Monday at 8:00am you need to have at least 4 home match tickets that have been purchased under your customer number. Andy and I each have 7 home match tickets and 2 away so that is why we qualify to have a first go on Monday instead of waiting until later in the week... which is good because I do not think there will be tickets left after Monday!
Based on some of the chatter on the Everton message boards a lot of people either buy their tickets thru other channels and or friends buy them on their own customer number, etc... And it appears that the fan centre is making no exceptions to this rule which is good. We have a much better shot.
The only problem is that there are probably only around 2,000 tickets left. Still worth waiting all night if needed!
I changed Pooh out of his March St. Patrick's outfit and into his lovely April outfit today. But I wanted to show you guys what he has been wearing for March first. Love the bow-tie!
We will be finding out sometime this week when the FA Cup Semi-Final tickets will be going on sale for those that are not current season ticket holders. I do not think there will be that many left so I can imagine that some long term queuing (standing in line) will be required. The waiting for allocation news is killing me.
On another note. What is up with the girls in this picture? I mean first of all if I was the girl in the middle I would tell the girl on the left to get the heck away from me, why would she want this chick's pizza to end up in her hair? I would also tell the girl on the right to get her own piece of pizza and to step off mine... although there is plenty to share, check out the size of that slice!