Wednesday, November 26, 2008


For the record... this is a picture and not a pitcher as the label seems to suggest. I read it aloud when the mover handed it to me and he replied "That is one way to spell it." Do you think it was Clare/Clara, George or the mumbling lady with an unknown name? I am rooting for Clare/Clara aka The Bomb Dropper!

Our bed after the movers unpacked everything... while attempting to clear it off last night I had a small mishap. We obviously have to make use of every inch of storage space. So I was standing on a bench trying to fill the top of the closet with all kinds of 'bits and bobs' when I cause the bench to turn over. According to Chris, I collapsed like a folding chair. On the way down I managed to hit by elbow and lower back before smacking the back of my head on the edge of the box spring. Chris came over and I asked if I was bleeding and he replied with a chuckle "yes." I started to panic and then Chris said he thought I asked if I was breathing! I sat on the couch for most of the night with a bag of ice on my throbbing noggin! I woke up this morning (thank goodness!!!) with a very tender head and some serious bruises. I also have a killer head ache... I guess that is to be expected!

This picture does not do the living room justice... It is literally covered in stuff even now as I sit in the cafe drinking my skinny latte and typing this blog... it is a mess! Oh well... it can wait!
Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!!!
Until next time!
~Hugs and Kisses

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

English Vocabulary Lesson

Elasticizedor Elasticated: Having elastic. i.e This belt has been elasticized.

Proper: Correct or Appropriate. i.e I heated water for tea in the microwave because I do not have a proper kettle.

Fitted: Refurbished or renovated. i.e Our flat has been recently fitted.

Brilliant: Great, excellent or outstanding. i.e Brilliant!

Morning Run

Prior to the delivery of our...stuff, I was able to get in a morning run through Hyde Park. I poked my head outside to determine what to wear and seriously under estimated the temperature. About a half mile into the run I decided that shorts were not the best option. About a quarter mile later, my legs were completely numb and I have no clue how I was managing to stay on my feet. I ran further from home than usual. I figured that this was a good time to expand my distance since there was no way on earth I would walk for even a second on this little outing!

By the time I made it home my legs were like bright red icicles sticking out of my shorts. I must have been a sight to see running in thirty degree weather in shorts! Hopefully, everyone thought I was a Canadian!

What were we thinking?!?

So our "stuff" arrived this morning. I think the title of this particular entry says it all... We have sh*t everywhere. Sorry for the foul language but there is really no other way to describe it. I don't know what we were thinking when we were packing. Notice I say we, even though I did the majority of the packing... I think it is only fair to share the blame! Our closets are bursting at the hinges with clothes and shoes... I am starting to wonder what we actually took to Goodwill! Seriously! With everything we brought we must have accidentally packed the donations. Okay so that is not true but I need something to make sense out of all the stuff we brought... I am doing my best not to curse : 0

On a better note, I served the lovely delivery men hot tea! It was not a proper cup of tea as I don't have a kettle and I was out of milk and sugar but it was tea. I told them if they found and unpacked the dishes I would make them a cup... It was a sight to see 3 grown men jump in to action at the prospects of a cup of tea! Within minutes the box was located, opened and emptied of contents. As I made the tea, they continued to unpack and take away the empty boxes and packing paper. By the time I left the kitchen they had managed to cover every available surface with... stuff! They drank their tea and chatted with me about the move.

As I looked around I started to laugh at all our things. I was thrilled to see some framed photos, my Gator gnome, a few new books to read, and my new coats! There was also some very humorous packing but no worries I took pictures and will post them as soon as I have a chance.

Until then... xoxo

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A lovely Sunday...

Chris and I had planned an early morning run in the park but awoke at 8 am to pouring rain. We both rolled over and returned to our slumber with Moe snuggled between us. Chris was the 1st to get up and then Moe... I followed feeling guilty that even the cat was awake and I was not! When we got around to looking at the clock it was noon! So much for the early morning run... luckily by now the rain was over and the sky was blue!

Chris went running and I walked through the park. It was a brilliant walk, the air was very cool and crisp but the sun was bright and the sky was clear. I walked past the same field where Chris and I had enjoyed an afternoon in the sun during our July scouting trip. This morning it was still drenched in sun. It was also covered in sparkling rain drops and a flock of geese were grazing and enjoying their own afternoon in the sun! Despite the 30 degree weather, I had a sudden feeling of warmth.

Speaking of weather and temperature... it is freezing in this city! They were forecasting snow last night and it is possible that outlying areas got just that... we just got the a fore mentioned rain. Sun would be nice to see for a few minutes but I think it would get old very quickly seeing as how we walk everywhere! I have been in 3 cars since arriving in October, the van from the airport, a black cab on the evening of the election party and the van we used to move to the flat. Other than that it has been the tube and the feet! It is rather nice most of the time. After a big meal it feels good to walk a few blocks home or in the morning when the sun is bright and the kids are walking to school in their uniforms... I will have to take some pictures of this! However, when it is cold and raining sideways...I wish I had a car! On these days, I heed Nana's advice and pop open my new umbrella and repeat over and over in my head: " I love freeze cold sideways ran!"

The plan for the week: continue my job search, take delivery of the stuff we shipped, go see The Graham Norton Show, and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with some friends at the Chesterfield Hotel in Mayfair.

Until next time!

~Hugs and Kisses

Getting "Set-Up"

Until now we have been lucky with setting up our utilities in the new flat. The gas and electricity took one phone call of about 20 minutes with no problem and no deposit had to the paid. The water was set up by the landlord so I just had to wait for the letter in the mail with our account number... which we have received. The bank account was set up by Uncle Ernie (aka Ernst & Young) and my dear hubby before we even arrived in London. Now... let's talk about the Internet and cable... or the lack of it!

We were told by the landlords helper, Jacques (pronounced Jacks by the English), that the former tenant in our flat had Sky which is similar to Direct TV or Dish. So Chris called Sky and scheduled an appointment to come and hook it up. We paid the fee and waited... over a week for them to come on Saturday. We were told the service man would be there between 11 and 3. He showed up at about 5! Once there he took one look at the cables, plugs and various wires in the vicinity of the TV and said he did not know "what the bloody hell any of it is!" I am quoting Chris's version as I was outside in the freezing cold guarding the van from potential meter maids as we were informed that WE would be responsible for any tickets and the man refused to use the meter parking and walk the block to our flat! In the end, we still only have 4 tv stations and no Internet!

So the internet mooching and cafe hopping continues!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Time flies when your... living in London!

Wow... it is really hard to believe that we have been in London for over 3 weeks! I am slowly adjusting to the changes in life style... like carrying my groceries 5 blocks from the store to the flat. It is very clear to me why true city people shop daily instead of weekly or monthly! The good news, I am getting a work out without having to pay for a gym membership : ) I am also slowly learning the lingo or rather I am learning to speak "proper English." I have learned to say "hello" instead of "hi" and I am finding that my terrible spelling is even worse here! Oh, well... with time I will fit in like a giant red, white and blue American flag!!! No worries, it is nice to be different.

The main task at hand not that we have a flat is... a job! It is harder than I anticipated and I feel guilty not contributing to the bank account. I have perfected my CV (aka resume) and have started contacting the few people I know for help. Any advice would be appreciated!

I have to run now... I am using valuable free internet time and I am supposed to be looking for work!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Funny things I have heard and seen...

  • I heard this recording when I called to set up our gas account, "If you are calling regarding a gas escape, please press 1." A gas escape! I picture a very prim and proper English lady silently "making wind" and then announcing "Pardon, I seem to have had a gas escape."

  • In case you are wondering, the English say "wind" as opposed to fart.

  • A sign in the local pharmacy read, "Get you flu jab here!" Jab... shot... whatever!! It is all the same.

  • Keds... yes, the bright white shoes us 30 somethings used to wear with tight rolled. acid washed jeans and multiple pairs of brightly coloured, slouchy socks... as I type, I realize I am seeing this entire outfit all over the city... only it is the men that are wearing it! I promise to get some pics as soon as I find my camera!

  • A man dressed as a woman. He had on a long, curly blond wig and a short black mini skirt. He was wearing fishnets, gloves up to his elbows and about 3 inches of make-up. Having lived in Atlanta for the last 3 years this was not unusual. The funny part was everyone's reactions as they realized the gangley, oddly dressed woman was in fact a man. He/She was walking a few feet ahead of us, so I was able to see and hear every ones reactions. Chris and I broke into hysterical laughter as a young English woman blurted out, " What the bloody hell was that?!" Some people just have a way with words!

Sorry for the delay...

No need to worry... we are still alive! And we are moved in to the new flat! It has been a long few days especially since we are without internet connection at the moment. So this will be a short and simple post...

We got the keys to new our digs on Friday, checked out of the hotel on Saturday, re-located Moe via a mini-cab, realized we needed sheets, towels, plates, utensils etc, shopped, watched Florida beat up on South Carolina (assuming nothing changed in the 4th quarter), met friends for brunch, shopped some more, slept a few hours along the way and ate our first meal in our new place. That just about sums up Friday the 14th through Sunday evening!

Moe is settling in again... however, I think he is turning gray after all the stress of flying and moving and new smells! Poor kitty! Sometimes I feel guilty for bringing him all the way here but I can not imagine not having him with us. He is a constant source of comfort.

We hope to have internet in the flat in about a week... until then!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

90 years

Today is the 90th anniversary of the end of WWI. I was lucky enough to catch live coverage of the ceremonies around the UK. I witnessed a 112 year old veteran try to stand from his wheel chair to place a poppy wreath at the Cenotaph at Whitehall in Central London. 3 people assisted him but in the end it was too much for him to stand so the wreath was placed for him as Big Ben chimed 11 times to mark the hour. I also watched as jets flew over the Queen Elizabeth 2 and dropped millions of poppy flowers into the air.

Watching the coverage really affected me and made me think about all the people who have been touched by war. There were approximately 40 million casualties (military and civilians killed or wounded) in WWI! My heart breaks for each of them, their loved ones, and all that have followed in the wars and fighting prior to and after 1918.

My hope for this world is the we can figure out how to get it right. How to stop killing, stop fighting and how to accept one another despite all our differences. Obviously, this has nothing to do with Florida Girl in London but I wanted to share this to anyone that might hear it!

This city is trying me!

Just when I have had enough of the tri-fecta of weather... that would be rain, wind and cold... I wake up this morning to a bright, shining sun! I was told the sun never shines in November but clearly... it is shining now. Don't get the wrong impression... it is still cloudy and a little gray but wisps of blue sky are peeking through and the sun is out. My instincts are to immediately go outside and stay there until the first sign of rain. Unfortunately, I have dedicated myself to being inside all day!

The plan for today... re-write my resume to match the UK style and apply for some jobs!

I opened the curtains and windows so it is almost like I am outside. Too bad we are on a busy street and I am typing to the sounds of lorries (what we call flat bed or delivery trucks) and black cabs. Maybe I will take an afternoon tea break in the park...

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Things I saw in London this weekend...

This advertisement in the Covent Garden tube station...

(Sorry about the poor picture quality... we were riding down the escalator on the opposite side! The small print says "experience a little southern hospitality.")

And this man in very tight red pants walking through Hyde Park...
I don't know what is worse... the pants or the bright blue shoes!

Rain, Rain, Go Away!!!

We had another umbrella casualty this morning. We were down to 2 very cheap umbrellas... one of which I think we bought while in London on our honeymoon! It was awfully wobbly... now you may be wondering what a wobbly umbrella is like and I can tell you it is not what you want when in London in November. The other was a $6 umbrella I bought Chris after he misplaced is Brookstone, wind resistant, titanium lined, Bond 007 style umbrella... Okay so it was not titanium lined nor did it have any connection with James Bond but it was a nice umbrella!

So... I head out around 11 am to go meet Chris for lunch. I pop open my cheap umbrella and as the fabric blossoms open the handle pops off in my hand and the auto open button flies through the air, landing in the middle of the street. I assessed the situation and decided I could fix the handle if I retrieved the button. As I check for cars... I see the button meet its ultimate demise as it is squashed by a black cab! No hope for the cheap, honeymoon umbrella! I added it to the umbrella graveyard, aka trash can.

I was left with Chris's cheap umbrella (he forgot to take it when he left for work and I was bringing it to him) so I tried to "pop" it open... only to learn that this was not an auto open umbrella! I guess I got what I paid for after all! The moment the wind blew the umbrella was inverted and I was catching rain in the face! At this exact moment, I decided to buy 2 new umbrellas and not the cheap variety! I also decided it was terribly mean of me to buy this crappy umbrella for Chris! I am not a very nice wife... but I made up for it! I bought two, wind resistant, auto open and close umbrellas. They are not wobbly and they certainly were not cheap.

The moral of this story... You can never spend too much money on a good umbrella when living in London in November!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Today we had all our ducks in a row...

Chris is home!!!

Chris got home around 7 am this morning... and he brought a terrible cold with him! I am finally getting better and now he feels bad... The good news is that he brought the sun with him! Yeah!!! I was able to wear my sunglasses for the 1st time since we arrived. We took the day off from important stuff and relaxed. I took Chris to our new flat and showed him around... he likes it! We walked to Hyde Park and enjoyed the sunshine. We sat by the The Serpentine at Lido Restaurant and enjoyed a cup of hot tea... very English!

Afterwards, we hopped on the tube to Covent Gardens and enjoyed a quite lunch (and pint ; ) at The Punch and Judy Pub. We finished the day by watching the street performers and shopping around the market. It was nice to relax and stroll around the city. Soon it will be back to work for Chris and back to setting up home for me.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One Week in London

Florida Girl has officially been in London for 1 full week! Sometimes I feel like I just stepped off the plane. While in a lot of ways it feels like it has been months! Looking back, I feel like I have accomplished quite a bit. I sent my hubby off to Singapore, put down a deposit on a flat, watched Florida kick Georgia's arse, met friends at The American Bar, did a mini job search and now... I am off for my first solo pint in the pub.

Now, I am not generally a solo drinker. However, I just spent almost 3 hours doing laundry... I guess I should qualify that by saying an hour was spent walking to and from the laundry mat that the desk clerk insisted was only a "short" walk up the street. 30 minutes may be short when your out for a leisurely stroll but when your hauling a weeks worth of laundry in a back back and a duffel bag it gets a little long! Once to the laundry mat, I realized I had no washing powder! So I had to book it up the street to the market (laundry in tow) to buy some... In the end, it was a successful trip as I now have clean pjs and Chris will come home to fresh undershirts and boxers!

With my wifely duties complete... I'm going to have a pint!

Things I saw today...

  • An advertisement in the tube station that read: Crispy beef dripping clad Adonis chips. Essentially, these are beef flavored french fries!
  • A speciality food shop on Westbourne Grove with a sign that read: Now taking orders for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Huh... isn't Thanksgiving an American holiday? I guess I know where to get our turkey!

Pubs and Flowers

Here is a picture of our new corner pub. It is about a 4 minutes walk from the flat and across the street from the tube station. I love that they sell flowers outside the pubs here. Men can grab a pint after work and bring home flowers to keep from getting in trouble for being late...and drunk!
Hopefully, Chris is paying attention ; )

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thanks Nicholas!

I was exchanging emails with my good friend, Nicholas, yesterday and I tried to explain my lack of knowledge as it relates to the English language. Now, I can speak "American" English and I think I occasionally have a knack for grammar... although my spelling is atrocious! However, when it comes to proper English (as the Brits call it) I am at a complete loss. I spend most of my day asking people to repeat themselves. Unfortunately, no one ever says the same thing when they repeat it which just leaves me even more lost! I try to read lips but since I have not mastered this technique I usually look like I am staring at their bad teeth! I have a rule about asking people to repeat themselves 2 times in a row. As a result of this asinine rule, I spend about 60% of my day grinning and nodding. Because "Grin and Nod" is my second rule! Who knows what I have agreed to or smiled about over the last week.
I receive some funny looks which I respond to by laughing. I find that when I start laughing other people laugh, too. I tell myself we are laughing together but reality is that they are likely laughing at me. I can't even imagine what must be going through peoples heads when I am bobbing my head like a hula dancer on the dashboard and breaking into fits of spontaneous laughter! I am really helping the American image!
Now the second part of this is the number of people in London who have a mixture of accent. I worked with a Letting Agent who was Korean and had a British/Korean accent. Seriously, this is just wrong. I think that the hour I spent with her was being taped for candid camera or punk'd or whatever practical joke show is popular in London! She was asking me questions.. I could tell by the way she looked at me when I did not respond with an actual answer. I exaggerated my nod, just in case she had missed it, and flashed my pearly whites but she kept looking at me like I was supposed to say something. So I just started talking... I told her about Chris and how he was in Singapore. I talked about Moe and how he had woken me up the the middle of the night by stepping on my chest and then staring at me. Essentially, I started talking and did not stop until we got back to her office! All of you who know me well, know that I am perfectly capable of talking non-stop for at least an hour... maybe longer. This poor agent probably thinks I am an idiot... However, I did tell her that I had a degree from the University of Florida! She essentially knows my life story.
To top it all off, I met a potential work contact at The American Bar. She was very talkative but she was British and drunk! All the lip reading, repeating and grinning/nodding in the world couldn't help me! I am banking on the fact that she was drunk enough to not realize that I had no idea what she was saying but sober enough to think that I was a lovely person deserving a break!

Election Fever!!!

Tonight I joined a friend and some of her friends at The American Bar at the Stafford Hotel in London for an Election Party. I was expecting American ex-patriots, tourist and maybe some curious Brits to be there following the results of the election as they slowly came in to CNN. Wrong! The place was literally packed. The hotel and bar staff had to close off the entrances and prevent people from entering. The bar was 6 people deep and I could barely move an inch. The truly surprising part was the number of non-Americans. I met people from Germany, France, Canada (ok so Canada is not a big surprise), Ireland, South America and then a few Americans.

So picture this, The America Bar stuffed to the gills with people from every where in the world and everyone discussing American politics like they have some sort of degree or 1st hand knowledge of it! I heard one Brit say that John McCain admitted to beating his wife in a speech! Someone else was trying to explain the hanging chad debacle in 2000 and said that now 100% of the US is voting electronically! It was very entertaining but also a little disappointing. You would think with information so readily available with the Internet, newspapers, magazines, etc, that people would not be so ignorant!

I was in the lobby of the hotel waiting for my coat and taxi (I missed the last train to Barbican... opps.) This man... I think he was an American but he was without a doubt drunk! He had a Spanish man with him named Pedro. He asked me if I was winning. I said that I was not in the race... he did not find any humor in this and asked if my "man" was winning. I said that it was too early to tell who was winning and this drunken, possible American proceeded to lecture me and the desk clerk on American politics. He was saying that all politicians are crooks and that he was an Anarchist. He said he never believes anything anyone says and then he encouraged me to keep my head up because I had a pretty face! He actually said that... He ended the chat by saying "I hope that what you wish for or want, you get... unless you want Obama and in that case I hope you lose." He then asked the desk clerk "what the flavor of the month" was and when he didn't get a response he yelled for Pedro to get on the lift and up they went! I kind of feel sorry for Pedro... he just dropped his chin and followed orders.

If it is not raining tomorrow, I may take the train to Covent Gardens and watch the street performers. If it is raining I may just go back to the Stafford Hotel and watch Pedro and the drunk possible American! I will be sure to keep you informed ; )

Until then...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I think we have a new home! I am just posting one picture for the moment as it is not yet a done deal. Once I know for sure I will post more pics!

This may soon be our front door...

Monday, November 3, 2008


I have been paying close attention to everything around me since arriving in London. I have taken mental notes as well as writing in my journal as I see or hear things that make me laugh or cringe... enjoy!

The British are absolutely obsessed with the American election. It is all over the papers and news. We were at the Churchill Arms (Chris's favorite pub) and Chris went to the bar to order our beers. The Brit next to him commented on Chris choice in beer, Chris spoke to him and the gent asked Chris what part of America he was from and... get this... he asked him who he voted for in the election! A perfect stranger at the pub! Chris was stuck at the bar with the man for almost 10 minutes with the guy telling him all about how Obama would likely be assassinated by a well organised group of elderly gentlemen! WOW... I must say that this was a first! Chris came back to the table and was at an utter loss for words. They say that the British are stand-offish and reserved but clearly this particular Brit did not get the memo! PS... I hope no one gets assassinated by anyone... what a terrible thing to think, I feel bad just writing about it!

We went for lunch yesterday at a restaurant around the corner... pretty much the only place we found that was open and serving more than felafel! While Chris was placing our order, I over heard an older British lady's mobile (aka cell) phone call from the table next to ours. It was Sunday around 2:30 pm and the sun had been out most of the day. I was in heaven... my neighbor was not. She said in to the phone, "All this sun has got me tuckered out." I felt energized by the faint rays of sun on my cheeks and was enjoying wearing my sun glasses for the 1st time in days. There was no rain and I could have even gone out without my jacket... and my British neighbor was tuckered out!

We have been on the tube about 3 hours out of each day and hardly anyone speaks English! I have heard French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian (or something similar), and German as well as several other languages that I could not immediately identify. London appears to be inhabited by foreigners! Us included.

I don't know who speaks English. However, I am certain that the British and Americans do NOT speak the same language! Some words that I don't think I will ever become accustom to are as follows: scheme used to mean plan, ie A long distance calling scheme; loo in lue of bathroom, toilet or restroom; ring used in place of call, ie I will ring on the mobile later; mobile (with a long i) instead for cell or cell phone; space... this may not make sense to anyone but I will try... when I order coffee I ask for "room for cream," I don't like the coffee to be filled to the rim because I need to add cream... well, in London they say space... I don't like it; and finally, sorry. Now I think sorry means the same thing but Brits say it constantly. They bump you, sorry, they cut you off, sorry, you bump them, sorry, you ask them to repeat themselves, sorry, you curse them and tell them to go to hell, sorry... they say sorry after everything!

London style leaves a bit to be desired. I have seen everything in Notting Hill and Bayswater but mostly the women my age and a little younger seem to dress like homeless, heroine addicts. Picture the Olsen sisters circa last year and that is what everyone wears, super over-sized sweaters, tights, cut-off jean shorts, furry boots and floppy, knit hats. Hair is generally a mess and looks unwashed, unbrushed... unthought about.
I went to see Chris at his office on Friday and all the women were wearing black! No color. Black skirt, black coat, black tights and black shoes... I don't know which is worse: homeless, heroine addict or mourning, boring business women! I think I will just stick to my own personal style!

Flat Hunting

In November of 2005, I honestly thought it would be ages before I had to go looking for a place to live. Wow, I was wrong! 3 short years later and I am at it again... although the potential homes have shrunk considerably and the price has risen drastically! I think I looked at 12 flats today. Around number 5, they all started to melt into the exact same image in my head. With Chris in Singapore, I feel a ton of pressure to find and secure the perfect place. I think I found a few great options and will be heading back out tomorrow for round 3! Wish me luck... XOXO