Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Adventures in England, Part 03

Thursday, October 01, 2009
Birthday and Moving-in Day

Today is Ryan’s and Connor’s fifth birthday, and I can’t even telephone them. Rats! Five years old! It seems impossible that the wonderful day of their birth was so long ago. Ryan only weighed 3 pounds and a few ounces. Connor was five pounds something.

It’s also moving day for us. We checked out of the Premier Inn and took the bus to Ormskirk with our remaining two suitcases. This time, we got off at the stop very near our flat. It was a short walk to the front door.

We left the unloading of the rest of our stuff for later because today is market day in Ormskirk. There have been markets here Thursdays ever since the year 1286. That’s when the town received a royal charter to have a market. (Talk about government interference!) So, as it was a pretty, sunny day, we hurried downtown.

There, along the cobbled streets to the south and the east of the Clock Tower, scores of vendors had set up their white tent-awnings. Before visiting them, we paused to admire the compass built into the brickwork near the Clock Tower. It shows North, East, South, and West, but also the names of the nearest sizeable town or city in each direction.

The first vendor we came to was selling typical English lunch stuff, shepherd’s pie and cottage pie and the like. We bought two Cornish pasties and sat down on a bench to eat them.  I think they are meant to be eaten warm, but they were still good.

The next vendor was from Azerbijan, and he was selling a lot of things Greeks eat, such as feta cheese, kalamata olives, Turkish Delight (those jellied cubes, coated with confectioners’ sugar, of which Demetrios is so fond), and baklava. We bought some of each. I’m going to freeze the baklava for tea with Jacqui on Tuesday. That won’t make it a typical English tea, will it?

You can get all sorts of things at the market, principally food and clothes, but many other things as well, just as in a Greek market. We just bought some strawberries and tangerines and small tomatoes. We have no bowl to put them in, no knife to cut them with, no plate to serve them on (except paper plates we brought with us). But we shall manage! We bought a loaf of bread, too, and a pound of butter. The bread is unsliced, and we have no knife for slicing it. Oh, well. Demetrios also bought some instant coffee. Coffee mugs we have, thanks to Mrs. Williams.

We didn’t find any shops in Ormskirk that sell dishes or pretty drinking glasses or knives or kitchen gadgets or dustbins (wastebaskets).

We are accumulating quite a bit of trash – a whole large kitchen bag full – and don’t yet know what to do with it. There are dumpsters in a corner of the property, and there are numbered bins. We just do not know what to put where. Paper here, plastics there?? Must figure out the system.

We went to the Hayfield Inn, a pub near here, for supper. Demetrios remembered it from his stay here all those long years ago, so it was nostalgic for him. It has a cozy atmosphere, with timbered ceiling and a lot of reds in the décor, and that warmth is very welcome in this cold, dark, drizzly weather.

Back home, I tried out my new USB modem. Highly frustrating! Couldn ‘t get any Internet connection with it; the flat is a very weak zone for Internet, just as it is for cell phones. At least the instructions were entertaining to read:

“All the clever little bits and bobs (drivers if we are to be technical) have already been added to your dongle.” Dongle is what they call this USB thing.

“You will then need to wait for a little while, about as long as it takes a kettle to boil.”

“This may take some time, about as long as it takes to drink a cup of tea.”

I finally got online for a precious few minutes, but then the connection blinked out again.

Demetrios took it upon himself tonight to figure out how to procure hot water. Read the instructions. The hot water heater uses electricity all day long, but stores it during the night, when the electricity rates are lower, and you have to set the mechanism to do that. Tomorrow we shall have hot water.

We still haven’t deciphered the heating systems. Read the instructions. Yes, but we are mostly too tired to do that or to care; it’s very warm under the duvets (comforters) and that’s all that has mattered so far.

Hint from Jane: It’s true. When in the UK, always, always, always carry an umbrella. Not just one, either, but one per person. Do this no matter how pretty a day it appears to be.


elizabeth said...

I always find reading your 'travelouges' to be refreshing.

Something that struck me this time was how one can plan things (like the actual move etc) but the details will all be unknown and that one has to go with the flow as it were... a good lesson...

margaret said...

Welcome to the UK!