Journey to the bluebells

Okay, so I’ve lived in England for almost 10 years and believe it or not there are still things I’d like to see and do that I haven’t gotten around to doing.  One of these things was going to see the bluebells when they were in bloom.  This year I was determined to find some!  It worked out well when Chris’ holiday fell through that he had time to be my bluebell searching companion.

Firstly, we stopped at a place called Stonea Camp.  It is another place I’ve wanted to visit and had seen signs for so we drove down a long dirt road and got to the Camp.  There was a couple there and I think they decided they didn’t want to share the experience (?!?!?) so they got back in their car and wait for us to explore.  They didn’t have to wait too long.  Stonea Camp is an old site of a Roman settlement as far back as 500BC.  I don’t know what I was expecting but there were some rolling mounds, swampy grass, sheep (and the best part, lambs), and LOADS of sheep poo.  So after walking around for about 5 minutes we decided to head out to see the bluebells. 

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I found that the closest place to see the bluebells was a place called Brampton Wood.  I had never been there before, or even heard of it, neither apparently had the Sat Nav.  After a lot of turning around and missing roads we made it.  There was a simple map to take near the gate to enter the woods and we thought it was pretty straightforward.  We only happened upon people everyone once in a while but it felt like we were completely alone.  Luckily we had lovely sunny weather and I was happy to just take a leisurely stroll. 

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We didn’t know where the bluebells were exactly so every one we saw we wondered if this was the spot for them.  After walking quite a bit and still not finding the bluebells Chris was ready to call it a day.  I told him I’d continue on and he could either follow me or meet me at the car.  Once I started on my own I noticed it was getting to be a bit, what the English call, “squelchy”.  The dry ground was quickly turning to mud – and lots of it.  I finally made it to the fork in the path I was searching for and I called Chris to let him know he should probably just meet me at the car.  He told me he was already on his way up and before long I could see him (and a gigantic walking stick) headed up the hill.  I decided to walk up the path to the woods.  As I was walking I started to see more and more bluebells.  And finally the woods opened up and ground was carpeted by bluebells.  It was breath-taking.  I just too a minute to go to the middle of the opening and take it all in.  It was just like the pictures but 1000% better.

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Starting to see the bluebells… finally.

 

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I could have probably stayed all day, but we decided to head out.  That’s when the adventure started.  As we continued on the path to get out, we ran into some more mud.  I immediately envied Chris and his ginormous walking stick that he had pulled up the previous hill.  At first I thought I’d try to go through the puddles, but they became too deep, so I tried to walk around the edges trying not to slip into the puddle because of the mud along the edge.  This all came to an abrupt halt, and in a fit of strength that even I surprised myself with – I was trying to go around an especially deep puddle and I grabbed onto a rare fence post.  As I got over the puddle my foot slipped and with one arm, in what felt like very slow motion, I swung back to the other side, saving myself from falling into the puddle with the grip of that one hand on the fence post.  I was pretty impressed with myself but, after laughing so hard I nearly fell in anyway, decided to just walk through them from now on.  Behind me was quite the sight!  Chris with his walking stick and his jeans rolled up to his knees, cursing under his breath at the mud.  As we saw people walking up we said, “Be careful its muddy!” but they just smiled and kept walking.  I am willing to bet more than a few of them saved themselves with that same fence post.  By the time we got back to the car, my trousers and shoes were caked with mud and Chris’ once white trainers looked like mud slippers.  But, it was all such good fun!  The mud washes off but the memory of those bluebells (and Chris’ mud distress) definitely made up for it!

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We took the long way home and travelled the back roads – a thing we both really enjoy (when petrol prices cooperates with us!).  We stopped at a church in Alconbury and walked around looking for the oldest graves.  It still boggles this American’s mind to find headstones and churches older than America!

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While we were looking at the headstones I found one that especially touched me it said, “Worthy of Remembering”.  I thought that was beautiful and something that I aspire to, I don’t quite know how yet, but I’m searching.

All in all it was a really nice day and the bluebells were WELL worth it.  One more thing to tick of my England Bucket List. 

I Got Glue In My Eye… Again…

Let me take you back in time…

The night before I was going to start High School, I was busy getting prepared.  High School was a big deal and every last detail had to be perfect.  I was chubby already and couldn’t fix that, so I worked on the things I could change that night.  I picked out my “first day” outfit (I am sure it included something pink or something suitability elderly looking).  I decided that the last improvement I could make was to apply some fake nails.  I had never gotten my nails done professionally but had graduated myself from applying the sticker nails (you know the ones – with adhesive on the back that lasted until you bumped your finger and it flew off) to applying nails with “nail glue” – super glue really, for you few boys reading. 

I was excited about how it was turning out, I had one hand done and got to work on the other – then tragedy struck.  Lurking in one of the blobs of glue was an air bubble.  As I pressed my nail down – very close to my eyes for accuracy – the air bubble popped and the nail glue shot into my eye.  Well… after that things where a bit of a blur (ha ha ha literally and figuratively).  I remember my mom calling poison control, me crying, me being quickly ushered into a shower (clothes and all), me crying, my mom trying to get me to put my eye under the running water (very firmly – I was being a bit of a baby about putting my eye under), me not putting my eye under the running water, more crying, riding to the ER hoping that I wouldn’t be blind, crying, and trying to get my eye to open.

Once at the ER we were rushed in and seen quite quickly.  The doctor put all sorts of different drops in my eyes and said I wouldn’t be blind.  I was sufficiently calmed down when he said I could go to school tomorrow and then proceeded to fit me with an eye patch.

As if I wasn’t awkward enough, add on top of that one hand of fake nails done, chubby, elderly clothes, first day of school, first day of HIGH SCHOOL and now an eye patch?!?!  No way – there was absolutely no way I was going to school the next day.  As an ironic side note:  Our mascot was a Pirate.

So I missed my first day of High School.  I sat at home feeling sorry for myself and making myself more nervous since I missed the all-important first day – all the while wearing my eye patch.

I only needed to wear it that one day so I went to school the next day and survived High School.  But we (meaning everyone close to me) who knows always makes jokes about it, I mean what kind of a freak accident is that?!!? 

Fast forward to Monday…

I am nannying.  We are doing an art project and M asks me to open the glue for her.  It is a small bottle (single use only) and I think – I wonder if it has a hole in it already?  So I squeeze it – nothing.  Squeeze it harder – nothing.  One more time, squeeze and POP the lid comes off and I get an eyeful of glue (same eye even!).

I jump up from the chair and go to the sink and try to wash it out of my eye (I am a bit more mature now and can handle some water in my eye).  My eye is stuck shut and I keep splashing and splashing.  Meanwhile in the back ground M is quite literally gasping for breath through laughter.  She stumbles over to me and through laughs said, “Why did you do that??  The glue went in your eye!!!!!”  I turned to her very calmly and told her to go finish her project and ran to the bathroom.

By now I could open my eye but it was stinging pretty bad.  I didn’t want to have to go to the hospital so I kept putting it in water.  Finally the stinging went away and it just ached (along with my head).  I wiped all the mascara that was running down my face off and walked back into the kitchen.

M said, “That was sooooooo funny!” and I had to laugh too because once, I can understand but twice??

I couldn’t wait to call and tell my mom!!

The Show Must Go On

This summer Naomi and I were  looking for free activities to take the girls to around our boring little town.  I saw in the newspaper that at one of the surrounding towns there were going to be free kids shows put on every Friday morning. 

The first one we went to was Old McDonalds Farm, and because of a panic attack that Madie had, I missed most of that show (not that I cared too much).  But, while waiting for the show to start, was surprised at the rudeness of the  parents – especially the mother who was standing up in the midst of the sitting children – blocking everyone’s view without a care in the world.

The second show was The Circus School (the show Naomi was most excited about).  We went in and sat down and as we did so, this woman walked past with the strangest looking shirt I had ever seen.  She looked to be about 15 months pregnant (in reality only probably 8).  Upon further inspection we saw that it wasn’t a strange top after all – but she was wearing a polo shirt tucked into her maternity jeans.  And the blue that we thought was a part of the shirt turned out to be the extra stretching material for the pants.  It was hard to focus on much else during the show until we got to the plate spinning part.  And the main guy?  The teacher at the circus school?  Couldn’t spin the plates!!!  So his wife (pregnant lady) would spin them for him and then pass them to him.  It was all downhill from there – for their last trick they were going to do the Diablo.  It is hard to explain, but it is like a little rubber shape (think the shape of a sand timer) and you have to spin that on a string.  If you get it right it could be quite impressive – not that I’d know – because they couldn’t do the trick at all – try after try after try.  Naomi and I got the giggles – and with tears of laughter in my eyes I had to distract myself (not only because it was rude to laugh, but because they were recording the show for their website).  After the show was done, Georgia turned to Naomi and said, “This show is boring.” we quickly left – missing the “try it yourself” part of the show. 

After that train wreck of a show, we thought nothing could top it.

Yesterday we went to the show that was Mr. Fuzzy and his mind reading teddy bear.  He was by far the best  show yet, but something unfortunate happened during his show.  Let me just explain that the shows take place in the Sunday School room of the local church.  It is annexed to the back of the church – yesterday there was a funeral in the church.   Mr. Fuzzy was in the middle of his quite funny magic finger bit and the vicar from the church came storming in – asking who was in charge.  After searching for the man in charge and have a quick conference – I over heard that the microphone was on the same frequency as the funeral – to make things worse the music was up very loud.  Looking like things were settled, the vicar walked out and Mr. Fuzzy immediately turned on the music  (Ooo Ahh, just a little bit, ooo ahhh a little bit more).  At this Naomi and I lost it – and the giggles started again.  Imagining the poor family at the funeral with that music playing in the background.   The giggles wouldn’t stop (and if they were bad at the circus this was worse, I even snorted – good thing the music was up so loud!)  Then the music died down (no pun intended) – the rest of the show went off without a hitch – until the end when he had the children stand up and sing (shout) “If You’re Happy and you Know It”.  Then I started laughing again (avoiding eye contact with Naomi) – and the closing song?? (played loudly) – Celebration!!!  Naomi and I quickly got the girls and walked out of the room – laughing.  We got to the front of the church (along with the other 75+ people who were at the show) just in time to have the hearse drive away.  All the adults hushed the kids, and we stood there in silence paying our respects (and apologizing) to this person who unintentionally had a soundtrack to his funeral.

Next week is:  The Frog Prince – Lets see if they can top this last one (I hope they can!).

In Conclusion…

We finally reached his car and again we went through the whole, almost losing a limb portion of the date. By now there were crowds of people around his car because we got there so early, and they were just talking and laughing and standing in the way of my sanity! He got in. Sat down and didn’t turn on the car.

“Do you want to say it or do you want me to say it?”

Oh my gosh! This wasn’t happening! We said one prayer already! Did we really need two!?!? Where the comics sooooooooo “off color” that we needed this prayer. He wasn’t going to say it again, I knew it, it was my turn. My turn to pray in front of the crowds of people. My turn to pray for something! What? That I could get home SOON? That Ed might loose my number? That I might wake up from this nightmare?

“Ehhh, alright, okay.’

And then I prayed. It was the shortest, fastest, and sadly enough, most insincere prayer I have ever offered. Ever. He looked at me when I was done and patted my leg. He started the car and backed up nearly hitting several people in the process.

We got onto the freeway and I said to him,

“So got any big plans for the weekend?”

Big mistake!

“Well, tomorrow I am going to get arrested. I am going to go to a few schools and take some pictures of some kids for a friend. It is illegal so I’ll have to sneak about it and if I get caught I’ll get arrested.”

What kind of a freaky answer is that??? I don’t think any amount of praying before, after, or during that little escapade was going to help him. Not wanting to know more I sat quietly in the car.

“I’ll have to take my gun.”

Great. I was driving down the freeway at 55 MPH with a man who the very next day was going to go take pictures of children, hidden from anyone, with a gun. Great.

“You know I was engaged two times?”

Did I want to hear this? Was this a confession? When people were telling me about Ed someone had mentioned in passing that he had killed the two people he was engaged to. I thought they were making a joke. I’m going to die tonight.

“Yeah the first one, we just didn’t know each other well enough. The second one wrote me for a while on the internet. We decided to meet up and she kept putting me off. Finally, I knew something was wrong and did some detective work and found out she was 60.”

5 more miles. 5 more miles. Say something…..

“Oh Ed, I’m sorry.”

There. I am nice, I care now let me out. We were now in front of my apartment complex but he didn’t stop. Nope he drove right past to the rail road tracks. About 2 houses away from my apartment. He stopped. Locked the doors, turned off the car and looked at me.

“Have you ever been in love before?”

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Let me out! Let me out! Let me out! Where is my cell phone 911 911 911 911. I answer,

“No, I haven’t, I mean I don’t think so.”

His hopeful eyes suddenly looked defeated.

“Oh, okay. Well I had a good time Jamie. I’ll call you again. Lets go out this weekend.”

NO! I was on the verge of being killed by my date, on the railroad tracks. I would have to say my words carefully.

“Awww Ed. Thanks. I am busy for a while with work and stuff you understand right? Hey, though thanks for the evening.”

By now the doors were unlocked, and the creepiness was out of his eyes, mostly. I just wanted to go home but what happened to dropping a girl off at her place. I know it would be best for a Ed to walk me to my door but at this point I think I felt safer knowing he wasn’t. The least he could have done was reverse his car to my place. I could tell he wasn’t going to. I would have to walk down the hill, in the mud down the sidewalk, to my apartment door. He turned back on the car. I took that as my cue to get out. I got out.

“Thanks again.”

“Hey, Jamie?”

I thought that maybe he was going to walk me to my door. I guess that wouldn’t be so bad. I mean after what just happened, that was cake. At least there would be more witnesses by the apartment if he was going to try anything.

“Jamie, can I borrow your cell phone?”

What?!!? Here I am out of the car ready to shut the door on this night of my life and now he wants to use my minutes?? My cell phone?? My time??

“Sure!”

I handed him the phone. He had to call his sister to go over to her house. He handed me back my phone. I start to put it back in my purse and search for my keys. Just as I got to shut the door, it barely closes and he speeds off like his in a race. I watch as his taillights go down the street and then I head back towards my house.

I get inside and immediately call my friend in New York and then my friend in West Valley and then my mom. I shouldn’t have told the people at work I had a date. The next morning I would have to go back and tell them the story. But I guess that is what I get for, what did I say at first?

…I had decided with my horrible, awful luck with men that maybe – just maybe it was the “type” of man I was dating. So I had decided against all of my better judgment and all of my friends judgment to go out with him.

There Was This One Time When I Nearly Burned the Apartment Down…

Alright, so I tend to do pretty stupid stuff a lot of the time. I think I used to do it more often when I was single – but lately I have been making up for it. Take the other night for instance….
I was getting ready to make a really nice dinner of lasagne. I had turned on the burner to boil some water and left it. I went into the other room to watch my riveting “Civil War” documentary (and no, that riveting wasn’t sarcastic – it really is). Sometimes when there is water on the bottom of the pan it pops a bit as the burner gets hot. I started to hear some “pops” and thought nothing of it and continued to watch TV.
Several minutes later I was still hearing those “pops” and I thought that it was strange, but then thought to myself, I don’t want to miss the show and I’ll check on it at the next commercial. I finally went into the kitchen to see what the problem was…..
As I walked into the kitchen it was filled with smoke. It took me a minute to figure out what was going on. I realized that when I turned on the stove…. wait, let me explain a bit – in England you turn on the power to the appliance through a switch AND the actual appliance once that switch is on. This is great for saving electricity – anyway, I noticed that I must have had BOTH burners on the last time I used the stove and then just turned the power off at the switch, forgetting to actually turn off the power on the stove. So when I turned it on BOTH of them started to heat up, which would be fine… if, I didn’t put the mince (hamburger) on the other burner.
The rancid smell of plastic and mince, oh and SMOKE, filled the whole kitchen – the whole apartment for that matter – and I just yelled for Chris. As he came in we just laughed – you’d think after living here for 3+ years I would get how things work.
You’d think that was the end of the story and that I would be very careful about the stove, wouldn’t you? Well the same thing happened the other day – and continues to happen – needless to say Chris has to follow me around “just to make sure”.

Bits and Pieces

I guess I keep this blog going because, one day I will want to look back (fondly) at all of the unfortunate things that happen to me and when I am 80 I will probably not remember the following things:

At the first of January, Chris and I got another car – Bella was getting too problematic to fix for the emissions and inspections (read: M.O.T. in England). Chris’ dad, John, helped find us one that I was quite hesitant about but, we got anyway.  WHAT A JOKE!  Three weeks later, and we have already found out that it needs its alignment done, new front tires (tyres), new fan belt, leaky trunk (boot), its overheated three times, etc. etc. etc.  So we went back to the car dealership today and Chris pretty much said, “Fix it or give us our money back!” (It is so nice to have a husband to do stuff like that).  And the dealer said, and I quote, “Yeah, we’ll give you another car for it or a refund – I HONESTLY SHOULDNT HAVE SOLD YOU THE CAR IN THE FIRST PLACE.” (my jaw still drops!)  Can you believe it!?!?  I guess maybe some of you can.. but I think I still might have a “rainbow and butterfly” idea of the world… why would he do that?  At any rate, he wants to “trade” a more expensive car, for this one (Chris named the car Shirley).  What do I do?  I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him, and we do still have Bella, should we spend the money to fix her up?  She has been PERFECT for 18 months (oohhhh I better bite my tongue)!

Just as side notes:
I just lit a small bonfire in the trash can in my bedroom – who would have thought even after the incense in burned out it could still create flames and burn unwanted receipts — I now do, and so do you – LEARN FROM ME!
The other day on the way home from work I drove for about 8 blocks on the wrong side of the road in the dark.  I didn’t even NOTICE until I got up to the junction and had to turn left and realized that the car in front of me, that was turning left, was on the opposite side.
I got acupuncture last week, it hurt a little when she was sticking needles into my hands and FEET (yuck yuck yuck) but the ones on my calves, neck and shoulders didn’t hurt at all – even when she twisted them to stimulate them.  It was strange, tiring, relaxing, and helpful all in one – who would have thought – needles. 
Oh how I miss my disposal and dishwasher….

Other Updates?  None – Chris is still looking for a job and interviewing – but is keeping quite busy with his church calling?  Have I told you?  I’m married to the Elders Quorum President.  With that calling and mine (Councillor in the Relief Society) all we need is a home in Provo and 2.5 children.  We love it though – last weekend we got to go to a wedding, reception and baptism — all for the same lady all on the same day (and a branch activity after that) – being in a branch is eye opening, that’s for sure!  I am doing fine too…. working and sitting around (HEY! it takes a lot out of you!)

Thanks, Mr. Man…

Old Man.
Bald Man..
Late 60’s…
Big Beer Belly….
Waddling Along the Shop…..
Food crumbs hanging onto his mustache……
Blowing his nose with a dirty handkerchief…….
Short Shorts and Sandals with socks……..
Hot pink – tight, shirt that reads:
                                          “Love Machine, Satisfaction Guaranteed!”