Monday, 30 April 2007

More Notes from Norfolk

A trampoline has been purchased for the children next door. This is an exciting development.

For them.

(I think this is a result of some parental units diagonal across the street having purchased one for their spawn and set it up in their front garden. There now exists a state of universal shrieking on Ramsey Close from about 2.30pm to approximately 8.23pm. Excellent time to be moving house, eh? Poor Sarah and Rob have lost peaceful nature of their standing at the back door for evening ciggys now.)

Have thought of more things about weekend...

It should be noted that whilst I did go on about pebble beaches, there are also completely sandy beaches, which just have grey large-ish pebbles only up next to the boardwalk. The sand washes and shifts and so there are these intermittent preventative sea walls dividing the beach up into these little private beaches. There are also things called wind-breaks, which are little canvas-ey fences that people stick up around them. E says this is because British people are mad enough to go onto the beaches whenever the sun is out regardless of wind and cold. I do not think I have ever seen these before. There is also apparently a beach which has trees going right out from the forest; it was planted I think by the 1st Earl of Leicester of Holkham to combat erosion. (He also invented crop rotation, or a particular type of it maybe.)

Also, there are some really intriguing architectural things to notice in Norfolk, esp. out in rural Norfolk.

There is a technique called flint knapping that is used in combination with bricks for wall surfaces on building. The flint is from (I suppose) the vast quantities of flint stones on the beaches. Some of the knapped fronts are smoother than others. A lot of the walls in Norwich that are knapped are kind of jagged, but if you can see on this picture, the flints are pretty darn smooth. A person who knaps flint is called a flintknapper (tee hee hee -- take your hands off that flint!).

Some of the flint stones are not even split, the entire stones embedded in the mortar, creating a bumpy effect (sorry for the reflection in the window glass. You just kind of see so much of it that you are slightly overwhelmed by what to photgraph. There are entire little villages with this kind of wall on nearly every wind-ey wall and building.). I think that the flat flint kind must have been most expensive of the three, but E is not so sure.

It seems that much of this flint was collected from Grime's Graves as well... somewhere for an exploration, methinks!

Another unique feature of the landscape here is the presence of Round Tower Churches. East Anglia has the most Round Tower Churches in England. Since flint was so plentiful, it was used in church construction as well. Flint is not able to be formed into squares, so many towers (which also could have had double service as defence observation for protection) were round as one cannot really make a very good square tower out of rounded stones and jaggedey-edged rock. Many of these churches are over 1000 years old. You must click on the link above and go to the 'Why round towers?' section. However, just like our society, there had to be some sort of Christian one-up-manship; rounded towers were considered to be terribly gauche and poor. So parishes would fundraise for more expensive flat stones to be shipped in and the tatty round towers were torn down and replaced. A lot of these Round Towers are just out in the middle of fields or tiny little hamlets (that is an official residential area designation -- I want to live in a hamlet just so I can say that I have.) and signify areas that could not afford to replace them.

Another architectural character (although this is not as common as knapping) is wattling, we think. E has seen a documentary on it, but I had never seen it until a very high up section on a wall caught my eye the other day. It is kind of like shards embedded into the mortar length-wise.

Have begun (sort of lazily) packing up room for move, which is inconceivably occurring in less than two weeks. Also have tidied so that Sarah can show my room and hopefully find someone to move in soon.

Tomorrow morning at 4.15 am, taxi arrives to take me to Norwich International. Will be in Newark by 3.00pm and shall probably be pooped, esp. if there are good movies on the flight. Mostly ready to go and am quite impressed with self for v. light packing abilities, although really ought to be sleeping at the moment.

It is 7.10pm and it sounds as though a child is being sacrificed on the trampoline across the street. Maybe I should go and take them a torch for the pagan event.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Weekend Next the Sea

So, E surprised me with having Ciara's car for the weekend and got to Norwich Friday evening after work! Being the beneficiary of the Driving Miss Amrie show was great fun.

Yesterday's drive began (once we got to the coast -- about 30-40 minutes' drive) at Cromer and toodled along coast road to Wells-next-the-Sea, where we headed inland and back and forth until making it back to Norwich. There was no map involved in this weekend's expeditions, as a) my atlas is in Cardiff and b) E wanted to meander. At first I was slightly doubtful of this method of travel, but it was probably a good thing as there was quite enough to see without my being ooh-ey and aah-ey over something seen on the map and directing us hither and thither in a schitzophrenic manner. Just driving by following our noses, we stopped when we saw something interesting and E made several u-turns after loud shrieks from the passenger seat (most notably with signs of mills and unforded roads).

The rape fields are in full bloom and they are so very, very brilliantly dramatic yellow, patchworked amongst the different greens, windmills, sand dunes and sea. However, the payback for this loveliness is a smell something akin to a large number of dirty dogs. Perhaps dogs that have rolled in carcasses (as dogs seem to go in for that sort of activity). Rapeseed oil is used to produce animal food and vegetable cooking oil and also biodiesel; it is also known as Canola. To (r) in distance of picture is windmill; brilliant yellow is not as clear here as was cloudy.

A sudden (r) turn in, I think, Weybourn, took us to a pebble beach where people were surf fishing. From the main road, as one is driving, there is suddenly a sign that says 'FLOOD' inside a big red triangle and the road just goes off into a massive pool of water; however another road turns to the right and leads to the car park :) There was not a speck of sand to be seen on this beach. When the tide goes out on a pebble beach and another wave is coming in, it makes the eeriest sound of screeching like the world is ending. Pebbles are terrifically silky smooth and are the flint from which buildings are constructed.
Another slightly alarming thing was this little hillside of dirt on the crest of the hill of the beach. On the back side (away from the water) are hundreds of little holes. There are black buzzing things going in and out of these holes. E says they are solitary bees, but I cannot find anything about them online. They certainly look like bees. It was v. bizarre.

We drove past the Cley Marshes, which is a nature preserve. There are road warning signs with a picture of a duck. (Signs are so amusing to me! There are ones with a cow, a stag, and even one in Norwich with a frog! tee hee hee.). The numbers of twitchers are legion -- all these people walking around with large viewing or camera devices of various sorts attached to poles and wearing (UK) bum bags/(US) fanny packs -- amusing thing about both of these terms is that they sound rude to the opposite culture, although the second is slightly ruder, I suppose.... hahahaha.

Off the main road, there is one green field with a huge swan sitting in the middle of it. It has been there three times now as we passed yesterday and today and I assume it is nesting. It certainly did not select a subtle place for its nest, although perhaps this was good as it can watch for predators. Cley-next-the-Sea is a quaint village, with yet another windmill. There is a pottery studio there called, 'Made in Cley' -- smile. (sorry about the stupid power lines)

I have also learnt the difference between a Free House and Public House (pub). A Public House is an establishment that is able to serve beer and other alcoholic beverages on its premises (as opposed to an Off-License, or Offie, which is basically a shop where consumption is not allowed). A Free House means that it is an establishment solely owned by an individual, instead of a chain or a certain brewery, and therefore is able to make its own decisions about ales to serve, etc. If a free house is purchased by a chain, it can no longer call itself Free.

A sign-spotting shriek induced a u-turn and drive down a lane to Skulthorpe Mill, which is now a pub converted from an 18th century mill. As you may see if you visit the link above, this would not qualify as a Free House, as it is owned by the Green King chain. It was closed after lunch, so we just stopped and looked around a bit. The road there goes over an unforded stream, which means one would need a Rover or something. I wanted to wade in the water, but it looked rather like bovine urine had contaminated it, and it was cold.

Here, you may see my reason for suspicion of contaminated water. Fuzzy Wuzzy Was (apparently) a Cow.

As well, it might be noted that spring has sprung. My mama has inquired about this and indeed, it is just absol. gorgeous and has been steadily getting gorgeouser (hee hee) for more than a month. All the trees are blossoming, there are showers of some sort of pink petals, which look like pink snow; there are white-flowered plants with waxy leaves -- two kinds -- that smell like confederate jasmine; the daffodils are all gone, but the tulips are just insane; and I have seen a few poppies as well -- no fields of them yet, although tourist shops have poppy postcards, so I have my suspicions.

Today was much sunnier than yesterday and we headed, via Cromer so's we could find it, to the steam trains. The Poppy Line runs between Sheringham and Holt. We stopped at Sheringham yesterday, but that was only our first reconnaisance mission, you see. After breakfast at The Unthank Kitchen this morning, we made it to the station at S'ham in time for some tea and a rest before the 1200 train arrived.

Once the train arrived, there was much toot-whooing and commotion. And a lot of steam! It was all very exciting and males with cameras were walking madly up and down the platform to get the best pictures. There were quite a lot of good pictures to be taken, as they remove the engines from one end of the train and toodle them down the track and around to be at the front when the train goes the other way.

Don't know if you can tell how the brasses are gleaming on the top of the 6619. That was impressive. As well, the 6619 was a Welsh train, which would have originally run on the GWR (Great Western Railway) between London and Cardiff or Swansea. It has the town Abercynon stencilled on the front in the red part.

Walsingham was the next stop. This is a pilgrimage spot and has been one since 1061, I think (will provide more accurate and detailed information when visit it properly as a destination rather than information gathering for future journeys). It is a lovely little village full of guest quarters for visiting pilgrims. The Shrine itself has an amazing garden, which also seems to serve as a place for church celebration since there is an altar in the middle of it and Stations of the Cross along the winding garden path(Station and flowers to L). When you walk through the gate into the garden, the sounds of the world outside the walls immediately disappears and you sense it is a place of contemplation. People are just sitting or walking quietly (except for two GasBags, who incensed Eamonn by their inobservance of the request for silence and apparently ruined his peacefulness). The village itself is incredibly intact for being so old.

By this point, feeling peckish as had not eaten since breakfast, so headed back to Wells-next-the-Sea. Had roll mops from the fish vendor on the harbour front (this is still an amazing concept to me -- you buy fish like you buy ice creams... but it is soooo cool! This picture was actually taken at Sheringham market yesterday. Eamonn walked on, so as not to be obviously with strange person taking photo of fish vendor's counter. You can see the little styrofoam pots of various fishy things at the other end and maybe even the menu if you look hard enough.)
Anyhoo, a rollmop is an utterly divine fresh food product and I could gorge myself on them. Although that would have ruined my dinner of fish and chips cooked properly by a sea-side fryer -- mmmmm! Rollmops are apparently of Scottish origin, and are pickled herring rolled around shredded onion and closed with a toothpick.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Is it only Wednesday?

For some stupid reason, internet at home is being massively inane and uncooperative.

This prevents my being able to inflict my brilliant thoughts and observations at the moment they strike me. And it just loses some of its spark and charm if one must put things down to post at a later time. Vexation.

Last night, got to watch Girl With a Pearl Earring in its entirety (just too pooped on Sunday and Monday nights) and get in some knitting. Overall, must say that liked visual texture of film and experience of it, BUT I really do wish Scarlett Johannson would not look interminably slack-jawed all the time. As I am not a huge fan of S.J., am not aware if this is her usual look, but it is really annoying and I should like to advise her against it. She is beautiful and certainly fits the image as Vermeer’s subject, but SHUT your mouth! Sets and costumes were wonderful and the character of Vermeer’s wife is absol. detestable, as she should be, but you do kind of pity her. And what horrible discrimination between Protestants and Catholics there was at that time! For two socially constructed groups to so vehemently hate each other in the name of the same faith baffles me. But then, humans are judgemental and would probably find something else to hate each other for, such as not making ice cream properly.

Last night also began new book, Cats and Kings, that I found in the kitchen at work in the ‘Take a Book’ holder where we make tea. It claims to be ‘Bill Bryson with whiskers’, although I find it, so far, to be kind of like Bill Bryson crossed with Bridget Jones. It is a true account of a girl who goes on a quest to Siam and Burma to find one Siamese and one Burmese to replace her cat of 20 years who had died the year before. She dumps her boyfriend at the beginning, since a) he is just not working out and there is no need to stay with someone out of boredom or desperation and b) he kind of makes fun of her quest and you instantly dislike him as a pompously successful someone who is going to make another unwitting girl’s life miserable for the next few years until he is bored. (pending rant here, not about self , so don't worry -- shall refrain for time being) It seems the book is going to describe a very oppressed part of the world that a lot of us (incl. myself) are completely clueless about if discussion should happen to progress any further than The King and I. Therefore, am looking forward to reading, despite this being, I believe, the third book going at the mo.

Relative to multiple books, last week, finished La Prisonniere – autobiographical account of Malika Oufkir. She and her family were imprisoned for twenty years by the government of Morrocco. They simply 'disappeared' after her father’s death, which was related to an attempted coup. It is a truly horrific story, and amazing tale of human strength and the will to survive. The fact that such a ‘mankind’s-inhumanity-to-man’ saga caused her to miss her life for the period of the sum of my life up to the time I started college in 1991 is quite sobering. Kneece recommended it to me, and I recommend it in turn. Writing style is not superb, there are gaps and incomplete strings of logic in the telling, but significance of story overrides this.

To complete my evening, watched a little bit of a show about the Mesolithic inhabitants of Britain. There is evidence on the sea floor, in an area called Doggerland, all around the island of Britain of human habitation on landmass that flooded after the Ice Age. It is quite fascinating! They would have been able to walk from Denmark… Wow.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Blog at Work

At the moment, I am actually working.

Sally and I are on a conference-call webinar about the conference we are going to end of May. It is mostly very simplistic and boring, but at least it did give me the idea to post two jobs that are being advertised from our office… Plus, presenters are talking at the thoughtfully slower pace that one uses with non-native English speakers, so my eyelids are droopy.

Generally, I find that a glass or five of wine (small glasses, of course, mama) helps one be able to tolerate this speed of speech. This comment comes from personal experience over the past two days with a group of, mostly Asian, educational agents who have been visiting UEA. Sunday evening was a boat trip on the Broads; it was lovely and must be experienced again as it is bafflingly considered rude to interrupt chit-chatty pseudo-intellectual conversation in order to fiddle with camera light settings and such.

Last night was a gala dinner, where I was sat next to a poor girl with painfully low level English. It is rather difficult to explain what a bunny rabbit is; I tried to describe using words like ‘small’, ‘brown fur’, ‘big ears’ to no avail. My imitation of ears (both with first two fingers in Little Bunny Foo-Foo manner and by demonstrating ears behind my head) failed. She still has no idea what a rabbit is and probably thinks me and Mark slightly insane. Another language barrier was reached at dessert time – words such as ‘sugar’, ‘sweet’, ‘candy’, ‘after dinner’ meant nothing. My brain hurt.

Sally looks about as thrilled at the moment (we are sitting, headphoned, at our desks facing each other as we normally do across a carpeted barrier) as if she were watching a documentary on what happens to toenail clippings. Tee hee hee.

Suppose could take this opportunity to describe E’s weekend in Norwich (as he appears to have forgotten the beneficial nature of his own blog for nosy persons and only blogs when he is irate. On a positive note, his personal ability to control his emotions is commendable, but it does tend to non-existent reading of his thoughts).

Friday night was Sasha’s going-away party at The Belgian Monk. Everyone was shocked that a) I had been before, b) I had visited more than once, and c) I knew they served mussels -- this being since my residence in region has been so short. Since, we were large party, got to enter through the rope into the upstairs part (oooo!). Although a rope seems slightly doubtful in its ability to keep people out of places they are not supposed to go, it does work. The British follow rules so well.

Saturday, did not force attendance at Yarn Day as soon as it opened, choosing instead to get a little local colour and exposure to Normal For Norfolk. The Puppet Man was out dancing with himself and E was appalled that he wasn’t even trying to sell anything for money, but just acting a loon. Ate bunch at Baguette Express and then got some cockles from The Drunken Crayfish (or maybe it is The Drunken Clam) stall in the Market – yummy! It is like getting an ice cream cup, except it is fishy. Walked over to new flat and timed walk to be less than 10 minutes from central square.

Toodled in roundabout way to castle… not to be tricksy or anything. Yarn Day was not so much in-your-face, and so we were able to wander and I could be slow and go to different demonstrations. Think E had perfectly okay time, developed no nervous rashes, and he now understands the physics of a spinning wheel, whereas my expression remained about identical to the Chinese girl relative to bunny rabbits. However, am QUITE excited about learning to spin wool with a drop spindle and also to have contact info from lady who will teach me to spin on a wheel! She explained how evolution of spinning wheels in America differed from Europe and why my great-grandmother’s wheel was bigger than her demos. V. interesting! Also, the term ‘dyed-in-the-wool’ refers to if one dyes wool before it is carded and spun. Dying wool in the fleece before it is spun is fine, it just makes it more difficult to separate the fibres…

Visited Natural History galleries, history, Norwich School of painting gallery and then went through to the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum in an underground tunnel, that was used to transfer prisoners when the castle was a prison. Walked, and walked, and walked. Found several v. interesting pubs and just enjoyed being outside as it was absol. gorgeous day! For dinner, had Japanese hibachi food at Ah-So! Tee hee hee. It was pretty good, but their sushi was a bit lacking in character.

Sunday, we had lovely brunch at 33 CafĂ©. Definitely a place to go back – excellent food, clean facilities and v. reasonable prices. V. happy as this is close to my new flat. On way to E’s bus, had ample opportunity to see some more sights: The Sally Army (Salvation Army) marching band going through main square, jazz band playing ‘The Star Spangled Banner).

A claim just made on this Webinar was: ‘Americans love to join groups and that is how they make friends...’ This makes me laugh.

To console self for having to wander and laugh at people by myself, found 2 movies for £8 at Sainsbury’s: Girl With the Pearl Earring and The King and I. Then had time to toodle home on cram-packed bus after buying week’s worth of vegetables and milk and nearly tilted at high rate of speed on top of seated person when bus driver slammed on brake because some bright spark had parked car in the middle of the bloody residential road. Learned lesson to not take safety for granted and maintain death-grip on railing if standing on bus. And why do stupid people drop their groceries in the main aisle on the bus if the storage section is full? Your bananas are just going to get smooshed, you big idiot… and this makes me happy.

Friday, 20 April 2007


Why is it that a morning alarm serves as one of the strongest impetuses to deep sleep? This occurs even if said alarm sounds off to a person who has been awake and vexedly alert for 45 minutes already. And then said person does not make it to work early as they intended so that they could blog early.

This is annoying.

Today is anniversary of Columbine and newscasters are quite thrilled to have more opportunity to harp on about guns in America, esp. as the US news media has seen fit to comply with this Korean kid’s twisted wishes for fame and vocal posturing by broadcasting his credo repeatedly. It is always a good idea to give airing time to nutters. Merlin’s Beard! We are such a repulsively voyeuristic society.

Not time to fully develop rant at this time. Perhaps one of my lucky readers will be fortunate enough to sit over a lengthy bottle of wine at some point – this probably ought to be Co-Dictator, Flouncy Pouncy Rauschy. Yes, I think that is quite a good plan…

Must do some work now.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Logistics and Lepers

We shall go in reverse order, shall we?

It seems that LoosyAnna has had a detrimental effect on the epidermis of a certain E. Tracey. It seems that two weeks post-extreme-sun-exposure, he is flaking like a shower of snow from a winter tree branch (well, only if that tree branch is in a location tending to have a measurable annual snowfall, of course). Enquiries have been made into his moisturising treatment of said dermatological problem, but since he is apparently male, no preventative aging precautions have been taken. And we will not feel excessive sympathy for him, but maybe just a little, as he was under a sufficient illusion of climatic expectation to think he might need a coat in LoosyAnna at the end of March. Bless him.

(Yes, I know recount of events in La is still needed. Am working brain up to it... really.)

There is swivet going on at the office. And I am no part of it. Am quite calm about the whole thing really, esp. as am quite happy in my little corner next the window. Reason for swivet seems to be that they have hired (or are hiring) a person for whom there is no desk, due to increase in budget for more staff members (which is a good thing since this has benefitted me personally -- hoorah). Lack of desk needs to be solved before person begins work, no?

Well, logically, there is one place in the office where it should go and this is against a wall with an Absurdly Artistic Architectural Angle (5 'a' words in a row!). But in order to fit there, a desk will have to be custom-made. This is silly, of couse, so an attempt was made at a pre-fab desk and this just looks idiotic. Now there are arguments flying hither and thither re: sun exposure for the person who might be sat there; reasons other people's desks can't be shifted slightly (as if anyone can peer onto another computer screen 5 feet away at an angle less than 45* -- reaaaaally); and reasons that people cannot make their own space in a corner more efficient to allow a desk to face them even though their area is twice as large as other people's and the largest open area in the office is right in front of their desk even as it is now. Yammering gives me a headache.

Am going to see Hot Fuzz tonight (if am allowed into a student showing for £2.75 -- woo hoo!) and so am still at officina. Have rearranged surface of own desk in protest of illogical arguing in office -- AND to provide self with more logical method of organising information about two continents, comprising five countries (Aus, NZ, Canada, US, Mexico). Feel much better and have managed to place a filing box at an angle (oh, hoorah! i just love angles!).

My remote mouse appears to have gone on strike. Now I will look for something else to arrange whilst waiting for my movie.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007


One day, it would be amusing to live on the Islands of Scilly, so that you could say, 'Oh, didn't you know? I moved to the Isles of Scilly... you must come for a laugh some time!' (the forecast predicts quite a bit of sun today in the Isles)

In other news, Scotland has been determined to be the best place in Britain to bring up children. Oh, aye!

For separate information, let us turn to pictures of new cosy abode (computer seems slightly rested from its crack binge this morning and one must make hay whilst the sun shines).

To (R) is pic of front of house. Next the door is a little inset square into the wall at the pavement. Not sure if have mentioned this on blog before, but E saw some of these Easter weekend and interprets them as built-in boot scrapers. Obviously, in ye olde dayes, there would not have been pavement everywhere, so lots of mud would be around to be tracked in (and local rain levels would lead to quite a bit of mud). My entry to house will not be from front, but visitors may, naturally, visit me through such :)

Here is my kitchen (which also contains back door, immediately to R of end of cabinet on R side of pic). This is a SUPER kitchen, esp. compared to previous kitchens since 2409 Fairfield in Shreveport! Gas hob (stove), loads of cabinet space, and two windows for growing herbs. There is washer, fridge and then something else appliancy in the middle that escapes my memory. There is a space at end of (L) cabinet where can put dryer, and then room for a small table immediately out of picture to (L), about where photographer is standing. Shower room is out of picture, up a small step on (R) side of picture and sort of behind photographer. There is really no need to show a shower room -- people know what those look like, I suppose. Have I mentioned that it is clean? This makes me, oh, so happy!

To (R) is a slightly crooked view of the main room. My plan is to have a futon so as to not have to have guests sit on my blankets and such if a bed is immovable. Furnishings included are at this point slightly uncertain, but I am fairly sure that my furniture in Cardiff will fit. Only questionable object being the desk, but shall keep fingers crossed. To (R) of fireplace is an olde built-in cabinet which has a lovely bead-board door. Section of exposed brick is on wall behind camera.

So, come on over and see me some time... (well, after the 11th)

Tuesday, 17 April 2007


(written not in Blogger first, since internet at home is on crack for second day running)

Oh hoorah!

I shall be transient no longer & shall have own cosy flat!

It is in the city centre, in a quiet, clean area just a stone’s throw from the River Wensum. It will be about a 5 minute walk from the Central Market (which has been the location for the market since Anglo-Saxon times!) and v. easy for me to get to work either by bike (if it is sunny and someone is not being dozy in the morning) or bus (if it is icky and freezing). My move-in will be on 11 May, and discussion has begun at work regarding a flat-warming party. However, this will probably have to take place in shifts as it is really quite teensy :)

It is the ground floor flat of a 16th or 17th century building; the neighbourhood has crookedey doors and bendy-out beam and stucco buildings – perhaps I ought to go outside and read Shakespeare occasionally. A green (and former cemetery) of a churchyard is outside my front door, but the church is now some sort of children’s discovery centre or something. Inside are exposed ceiling beams, tile floors and one part of the main room wall is exposed brick. There is a fireplace (unsure if it is decorative or utilitarian), built-in book shelves, central heating and a large cupboard/closet. My own kitchen is a fantabulous excitement and v. nicely appointed shower room. This is quite possibly the cleanest rental property I have ever seen.

Sarah and Rob say they are disappointed to see me go, and they have been really lovely to live with the first few months here. They will be some of the first to have an invite for a glass. But it will be good for me to settle and actually succeed in unpacking all of my belongings at one time (or at least the more manageable amount of STUFF that is on this side of the pond – no sniggering or sidelong smirks). Those of you who have been in previous incarnations of the Amrie Domicile of Dead-or-Alive will appreciate how difficult being at such loose ends for nearly three years now (remember the move in 2004 to the parental abode, which separated me from lots of my items of frippery). Perhaps a cat will adopt me…

In other news, this Saturday is Yarn Day at the Castle!!!! (This exciting tidbit is a result of mine and Kneece’s cultural venture last weekend). It promises to include: Vikings braids, beer mat weaving, friendship bands, fancy knitting, crochet, spinning and dyeing! E is absol. thrilled that this event coincides with his visit. (If, for some strange reason he is bored, he should go and see the hand, which was cut off in a duel in 1600 and which resides in a cigar box in a personal collection donated to the museum by a dentist in the 1800s. Kneece and I were quite enthralled by this horrific thing. You can see the clean cut of the outside arm bone. Ewwwww. And ouch.) Really, though, I shall repay him by a nice boat tour of the city and out into the Broads (it probably won’t be me driving the boat…). He is also arriving in time on the Friday for Sasha's leaving-do, to be held at The Belgian Monk, so that will be another fun activity.

Sunday evening, the office has been asked to participate in a welcoming boat trip for some recruiting agents from Asia; excursion will be on The Broads, from Horning. The boat is named Southern Comfort, and everyone thinks this is quite funny. It is a Mississippi river boat and there is to be a jazz band. Mark is concerned that the visitors may forget which country they are in. We have been instructed not to overdo the free bar :) Hee hee.

Work is going well and today I have been working on my first expense report in this job. And we all know how good I am at those (ha).

My next trip for work will be the week before my move and will have me toodling to New Jersey (and to NYC). It is rather amusing and also slightly frustrating to me (who has never been to The Big Apple) for British people to be so horrified by my neglect of NYC (No, I have never been. It costs as much to fly from Shreveport to NYC as it does to drive 3 hours to Dallas and fly to London. Hmmm – such a difficult choice to make, Eliza Doolittle. And I would bet that I have seen a significantly higher percentage of my country's land mass than you have of yours.).

However, as soon as they finish their demonstration of shock and horror, they will insist upon asking me innumerable questions about said city. Why? What sense is there in that? My bank of knowledge does not include travel advice for NY. I do not know which are reasonably-priced-yet-chic places to hold receptions. My acquaintance with the public transport system is pretty much limited to spy novels, Friends, and the same movies involving Mafia and theatre-types that you have seen. I admit some amusing skill at imitation of a Bronx accent and Janice’s laugh (‘Oh. My. Gawad. Chandler Bing!’), but really, truly, honestly… that is IT. However, perhaps after my 6 hour foray into the city I shall write a book of advice on all these things, cementing my aura of expertise on Everything American! I am additionally chuffed about this trip as will be able to pay La Cousine Lindsey une visite :)

Speaking of being foreign (yes, it is a leap, but it’s not that far), we have learnt something new today! Wayne is my Line Manager (= boss) at work and is quite happy to have me there as he has been the sole American for about 7 years, maybe. Now, being the only American does lend itself to a bit of isolation in mockery, whether one is in France (poor Kneece – she is much stronger than myself), England or Australia – or probably anywhere else. Except maybe Mexico; Mexican people are lovely and kind and too laid back for direct mockery in mine and K’s experiences. But I digress…

Today’s lesson involved the word ‘bap’. Now, the word ‘bap’ is just a stupid word in the first place, unless it is sensibly being used in a comic book sense as in: ‘BAP!’, ‘BIFF!’, ‘ZOW!’, etc. In Britain, they have decided that ‘bap’ is a good word for a bread product similar to a hamburger bun (and I don’t need any commentary on the word hamburger, either. Thank you.). Really the only difference I find between a ‘bap’ and a bun is that it is lacking the handy-dandy pre-separated base and lid parts; this separation is created with a knife by the person making one’s sandwich for one. So, being the good Brit proselyte, Wayne does an outstanding job of using local terminology and sometimes I am confused even. At lunch today, Craig had a very large sandwich, and Wayne commented, ‘My! What an extremely large bap you have there, Craig!’. I returned from a meeting to find the entire office in hysterics and Wayne looking slightly confused. So they had to ask me what I thought a ‘bap’ is… and then it was all explained that bap is indeed a slang term as well and in the plural, as in ‘baps’ refers to a significant duality characteristic of the female figure. It was, therefore, amusing to the Brits, and it was a good thing Wayne said this to Craig instead of to one of the majority of ladies in the office.

Such pitfalls await us at every turn.

Sunday, 15 April 2007


Blogger has just thoughtfully informed me that I can now have the option of blogging in Hindi. This is quite exciting. And, although one would wish that I might be able to blog in Hindi, alas and alack, this is not to be. If it were possible, though, it might lend more credence to my claim to be a Linguist when people ask me how many languages are in my repertoire from my Masters. Attempts to explain what was actually studied frequently result in furrowed brows on the part of the inquirers, a suspicious narrowing of the eyes and a dubious turn of the head slantwise in apparent disappointment at my abilities.

Oh well. (Although, met a cool girl this afternoon whilst looking at a room to rent who did not look dubiously at me, so that was encouraging)

Today, a new £20 note appeared magically in the pile of notes from the ATM. This makes me happy as a) it has lovely dark blue print and b) I was completely unaware that these existed. It shall be saved and hoarded as long as possible.

There were two hot air balloons over the crests of the houses across the street earlier. However, they were moving slowly and as my plan of the moment was to bathe, I proceeded with this Cleanly and Godly Plan. And it was very good.

E has had a bit of excitement this afternoon as an assaulted lesbian being chased by coppers appeared over the garden walls into his back garden whilst he was watching Top Gear. B is in Spain and so missed the drama. E has had to go to his neighbors across the street (who were all out in front by the time the bloodied girl was escorted through his house to the street) and inform them that he was nothing to do with the situation. This made me laugh :)

Kneece left this morning after spending a Norfolk weekend with me! We had such a good time and it was fun to explore the city after having lived here for a while and not had a chance to do much exploration yet. We went to the Castle Museum (and it is really good! Although not as good as The Tower, of course).

Now that have finished my din-dins of pate and hummus, shall re-adorn my bed with new duvet cover. Have cleaned room today and actually mopped floor, too!

Yes, am quite aware that still need to complete info re: End of Oz trip and re: The Eamonn and Amrie Ark-La-Tex Variety Show, but cannot deal now. Tomorrow a.m., going to see studio flat at 10am and am totally stressing about whether it will be my home and what if someone else gets it before me (although this is impossible, as I am the first scheduled appointment, but we know how one's mind swirls about inanely making one paranoid). If one cannot tell, I really want this flat.

It is now cookie (biscuit) time. Comfort. Comfort. Chocolate... comfort.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Dear Lord.

What is wrong with me? It has been a ridiculous amount of time since my last blog. And I had such a funny closing to the Oz trip, which has gone from my mental notebook. There is no excuse.

Except of course the following excellent items I have come up with:
* half-way jetlag (Oz to La)
* non-stop schedule at in La and Tx
* approx. 6 hours sleep per night
* flight via Toronto on the way to London (those Canadians always are so tiring)
* coach-induced coma between LHR and Norwich
* 2nd half jetlag (La to England)
* bubbles in head since return
* inability to focus either eyes or brain on much at all

This is all personally quite disappointing as my brain tends to compose blog constantly, usually this is terribly insightful and brilliant at the time, but composition evaporates as soon as am seated in front of keyboard.

Today, have begun serious investigation into future permanent housing in Norwich. This is stressful. Not necessarily because of looking for a place, but due to brief times I have to toodle and read ads and my unawareness of 'areas' here -- in Shreveport, I could just look at a street name and think, 'Excellent!' or 'Eee-errrrr; uh-uhhhh; ain't gonna work'. Here it requires that I scope out; and this means that I see lovely places that will never be able to afford. Hope work won't be too vexed with me going for viewings over next few days... but at this moment am too weary and full of Vegetable Bhuna and Saag Paneer takeaway to care :)

Back to work tomorrow... hoorah!