Gilesgate, Durham, UK
Our first morning of our first full day in the house in England. It is quiet in the house. I am the only one up. My coffee has been prepared in the french press. (I’ll post a later blog about a coffee lover’s move to the UK). I hear an occasional car hum by the front window.
It has been a long couple of days. The flight from Houston was good. However, when we got to London we couldn’t find our bags. Turns out they had put them on a palate and held them for a later departure since we had a 19 hour layover in London. No biggie. What that meant was nothing to fool with.
So off to some sight-seeing; we are in London after all! We caught a bus to the hotel, dropped our stuff and regrouped. Then on to the City. It was a hot day in London: in the mid-80’s. We were dressed like Southerns as we caught a bus to the transportation center at the airport then took the Tube to the City. Mind the Gap! We went to Picadilly circus, then to the Thames by bus. We walked along the Thames, saw the Eye (we will ride it later), heard Big Ben, and took in some of the sights of the City. Then we caught a bus by the Tower of London and across the Tower Bridge. We caught the tube up to King’s Cross and looked for Platform 9 3/4. Joshua and Meg found a way to go rushing through the wall a la Harry Potter! Pics to follow. We took the Tube back to Heathrow, then the bus back to the hotel. We were pretty worn out when we got back to the room around 10pm.
We had an early flight, so we caught the bus at 5am to Heathrow. Our flight was a short 45 minutes. I have to say that I am a British Airways fan. A big BA fan. Very smooth. Very nice. Very comfortable. I plan on traveling with them over these next few years of travel to England.
When we got to Newcastle, all eight checked bags arrived without incident. We grabbed a taxi and then headed to Durham. Easy as pie. We had a little time so the driver took us through Durham to see some of the sights. It was a rainy and windy day so we saw them through the windshield. We beat the letting agency representative to the house by 20-30 minutes. We hauled all the bags into the little one-car garage to get out of the rain. So picture the four of us, 12 bags (that includes the carry-on’s), and four decades of assorted garage stuff seeking shelter together from the wind and rain.
After the representative from the agency arrived, we did the walkthrough and worked on unpacking. There isn’t much room to put things. There are no closets. Not one. We have a couple of wardrobes, but those are going to need some creative organizing. We will get it figured out shortly.
Beth and I have a larger room with a bay window. Joshua has a pretty good-sized room and, ironically, the most storage space. Meg has a tee-ninny little room. You can’t open the door and walk into it at the same time. By US standards, she has a large closet with a bed in it. She loves it. It is cute and cozy, she says. I don’t even know how you’d take a picture of it. She will be ready for dorm life, I can say that. 🙂
By now it was lunch time. I traipsed out in the rain across the way to Pizza Hut for a “take-away” lunch. I returned to find the children asleep. They crashed in their new rooms right away. Maybe that helped their affinity for the new place: a warm and dry place, on a chilly and rainy day, that they could find some relief from their exhaustion. So Beth and I worked on the unpacking. We are getting things settled slowly but surely.
We were glad to find out that our internet is on and active. The router (the pronounce it to rhyme with “tooter”) arrived soon after we did and in a few minutes we were online and ready to go! We got the Ooma hooked up and we were calling the USA on our Fairhope number in just a matter of minutes. It could not have been easier. We brought a corded phone from the States with us and now we are all set. We talked to several folks yesterday.
Of course we also love Skype and FaceTime. We gave family and friends a virtual tour of the house. I am glad that we get to make this sort of move in this era. Staying connected is easy. (Maybe I should do a post on International Telecom. What do you think, reader?)
We discovered a leak in the downstairs bay window. That brought the LandLady out to have a look. Her name is Ann and grew up in this house. Her family bought it new when it was built in the 1950s and now she and her brother rent it out. She told us that the previous tenant was a student from China. Before that it was a couple from Sweden(?). Seems as though we are in good company.
Now it is time to set up some housekeeping. So we headed off to Argo’s and Curry’s. Beth bought some bedding and things. We finally found Joshua some waterproof boots at a sporting goods store. We are thankful that we secured rain jackets and boots for most of us before we left. We needed them in our first few hours in England.
THEN we discovered the Super Tesco. (Insert chorus of singers here). That’s where we procured everything else. We made our third trip to the shopping center. Have I mentioned that we don’t have a car and all of this is walking? Right. Off to the big Tesco. Tesco is Super WalMart and more-a very large grocery store, photo lab, pharmacy, cellphones, home goods, electronics, clothes, cafe, etc. They seem to have just about everything one could want, right? Well, at least for Meg, who finally found her Wellies (rain boots). She is one happy little girl.
We only bought as much as we could carry home (that’s the new rule). The walk was about a half of a mile. It was dark now and raining steady. We were a sight, I am sure. But, you know, everyone was good. Real good. We got home, dropped, our stuff made supper. We had a delicious pasta and salad dinner. Beth made her delicious from-scratch sauce. We found out that our dishwasher works: um, that would be Joshua and Meg and a sink.
In 48 hours we had traveled from Houston, “seen” London, Traveled to Durham, and started settling into the new place. All of this on about 8 or 9 hours sleep (max, and not for all of us) in two days. It was late by the time we all got to bed.
That’s why it is now 9am and everyone else is deep asleep upstairs. I don’t think it is JetLag any more. I’ll call it exhaustion. They have gone hard the last few days. I am proud of my crew. Today we will work on getting the house settled. There are quite a few things to do. Their attitudes are positive and everyone is already commenting on how it is feeling like home. What an answer to prayer. Thank you, Lord, for your provision.
This is going to be a good day. The sun is out and the outlook is bright. Welcome to our first full day in England!