Friday, February 27, 2009

Cast of Characters, Part 1

Now that we have been in our neighborhood for several months I think it is time to introduce my "neighbors." I am using the term neighbor loosely here because none of these people actually live in my building and yet I see them all the time.

First, a lady that I have named "Ruth". She is a little Asian lady who's age is not easily determined. I would never says this maliciously but "Ruth" is a nutter! I saw her the first time at the post office while I was sending Christmas gifts. She was glaring at me and having a heated conversation with herself in her native language (I assume). She was also frantically writing on a newspaper insert. She was surrounded by bags of what appeared to be files and loose papers. Each bag had been very neatly stuffed to capacity. At first, I thought she was upset with me. I was very uncomfortable with the interchange so I moved. She continued to glare at where I had been standing. It was becoming clearer to me that she might not be completely sane. I returned to the post office the following week and saw "Ruth" again. This time she was standing on the sidewalk surrounded by the same bags. She was dressed in a flowery dress and lace up ankle boots. It was a very cold day and she had bare legs. I was cold just looking at her. She was pacing back and forth but would pause every few steps and glare across the street. There was nothing in her line of sight but the look on her face was clear that she was seeing something! Now I see "Ruth" regularly. Generally she is carrying her bags and walking down the street. However, her bags are too many for her to carry at once so she will carry 2 or 3 off them about 10 yards, set them down and then go back for the next load. It takes her almost an hour to walk a block. I watched her one day from a coffee shop. If she would stop fighting with her imaginary friend she could probably shave a good 20 minutes off her best time. I would love to help "Ruth" out in some way but to be honest; the 5 foot tall, 90 pound, Asian nutter scares the bejesus out of me!

Cafe Espana and the Uninvited Dinner Guest

A few weeks ago while Chris was in NYC I went to dinner with a friend, Tim. I did a quick google search for a tapas restaurant and found a place with decent reviews. Cafe Espana is just a few blocks from Piccadilly Circus and has been around for several years so I figured it would be decent... what I did not account for was having a third mouth to feed!

Tim and I were just about finished with our meal when I spotted something out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head to the left to check it out and didn't see anything. I chalked it up to nothing and continued my meal. Then I noticed the guys at the table a few feet from us looking in the same direction and laughing. I looked again and there it was... a mouse. Now, I will admit that it was a tiny little thing. However, I think we can all agree that no matter the size of the mouse, we don't want it running across our feet while we are eating dinner! And yes, it ran across my feet.

My immediate reaction was to scream and jump up on the table. Some how I managed to suppress this desire and instead I quickly made my way for the exit. I didn't bother to take my coat or purse, I just left. On my way out, I ran into the manager and suggested to him that he check out the tiny rodent that was wrecking my night out. His response was to follow me outside to gather more detail. Apparently, "There is a mouse under my table" along with me pointing directly at my table was not enough detail for him to take action! He brought a Laotian busboy with him to gather intel. Once he was sure he understood the situation he said "Don't worry he will take care of it. Where he is from they eat things like mice." I had a mental image of the smiley little busboy catching the mouse and then cooking him up in the Cafe Espana kitchen!

Once I had gathered my senses and reduced the bright red blush in my cheeks I returned to the table. Tim was kind enough not to laugh at me but we did share a laugh when the manager came back to the table. He brought us a pitcher of sangria to apologize for our dinner guest and then pointed out this was the first time he had seen a mouse so small. Tim and I immediately thought the same thing... they must usually have larger mice or perhaps even rats running around during dinner! Although we were ready to call it a night we felt obligated to finish the free sangria. The mouse continued to run around the restaurant and torment the diners. Every few minutes we hear someone gasp or see someone quickly whipping their feet off the floor in response to the visitor. The busboy diligently chased the mouse around with a cloth napkin. I couldn't help but cringe every timeI saw the napkin grace the floor or the mouse but resigned myself to accepting that Cafe Espana was not exactly concerned about health code.

Needless to say, I won't be returning to Cafe Espana anytime soon!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No worries...

I am still alive! Since my last update we have been to the States and back. It was a nice trip but it went by very quickly. We flew in to Atlanta and stayed a few days with Chris's sister and parents and then made the short drive up to Tennessee to see my family. We were able to squeeze in drinks with Jimmy, dinner with the Paynes and shopping at the outlets as well! It was a bit of a relief to get back to London and relax! At least for me...seeing as how I am still not employed ; )

Michelle, Nana and Chris with Trey. And a slight smile from Trey. He looks so sweet and innocent... who would believe that this kid can seriously drop bombs!

Steven in deep concentration as he paints. And sharing his bike with a stray kitty cat. Hard to believe that this kid used to be Trey's size... seems like it was just yesterday but in reality it has been 7 YEARS!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

He's back...

Gnoah has been resting lately... kickin' back and takin' it easy. To hear him tell it, I forgot to take him along to Oxford and Holland Park but that simply isn't the case. He has been looking pale and I just thought he needed to rest. Regardless, when he saw our pictures from Hyde Park Gnoah insisted on playing in the snow all morning...

Despite the sun being out and the temperature rising, Hyde Park still has a pretty good covering of snow. However, I had to wear my hood as the snow in the trees is melting and I got nailed in the head with some giant wet globs of cold water... not fun. Gnoah laughed... not nice or gnomely.

Gnoah insisted that he could make a better snow angel that me. Ha! I scoffed at him and laughed the whole time he was wiggling about in the snow... Seriously, I am the snow angel master!

And then I saw this... not sure how he did it but Gnoah rocked the snow angel!

After the snow angels, we made a snow man... Gnoah made me do most of the work. Something about not being able to get his arms around the giant balls of snow? I think he is just lazy.

I suggested a snowball fight but Gnoah refused to put down his flowers. I swear, this silly Gnome should have been born in the 60s! He is such a flower child...

All in all we had a nice morning in the park.
We are looking forward to the next 18 years!

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Tri-Fecta Part 2

Freezing temperatures, wind and sideways snow!


Every tree in Hyde Park was covered in snow... but only on the East facing sides!

Just a few more thoughts on the Great Britain Blizzard of 2009...

  • I have never seen this much snow in my life.
  • London has not had this much snow in 18 years.
  • Seriously, 18 years!!!
  • Were the Weather Gods just waiting for us to move to London to unleash this blizzard???
  • Okay, so it is not really a blizzard... However, I am a Florida Girl so the moment rain drops makes the transition to snow flakes it is a full on blizzard!
  • Here are some more pictures...
Southern end of Italian Fountains
There are snowmen all over the park but this was one of my favorites. I especially love the twig as a belt!

Best Western Hotel around the corner from our flat. I think there are some pansies under all that snow...

Gardens near our flat

Cold Birdy

Blinded by the snow...

Hyde Park

Hyde Park
Hyde Park

The Swan on Bayswater.

It NEVER snows in London...

I beg to differ! As a matter of fact, as I sit on my couch in warm pajamas writing this... it is snowing! We went in to the BBQ restaurant to watch the super bowl around 10 pm last night and when I left around 1:30 am... there were 5+ inches of snow on the ground. As I walked home I was laughing and giggling like a school girl. It was snowing so hard that I had to shield my eyes! Even though it was 1:30 in the morning, there were people out everywhere playing in the snow. There was a group of about 10 people have a snowball fight across Queensway! I past 4 cars (on a normally busy road) and they were all struggling. I suddenly became very grateful that I don't own a car or have a need to drive anywhere!

When Chris woke up this morning to go to work, he took one look out the window and got back in bed! We have about a foot of snow... maybe more... and it isn't done yet! All the buses are suspended, half the tube lines are closed, over ground rail services are suspended, several roads are closed due to accidents, all flights into London are closed... what I am trying to say is that the city has come to stand still! I haven't checked yet but if London is anything like Atlanta, there will be not bottled water, bread or milk at any of the markets!

Chris and I took the slippery walk to Hyde Park and played in the snow. Enjoy the pictures...

Queens Gardens

Bikes at the end of our street... don't think anyone is going out for a ride today!

Our first glimpse of Hyde Park... now this is what I call a Winter Wonderland!

I think most of London had the same idea we had about playing in the snow in Hyde Park. Lucky for us we found some fresh powder...
and I fulfilled a long standing dream!


The best snow angel, EVER. However, I may be slightly biased ; )

Chris was charting unknown territory... making his own tracks. Too bad you can't see his face because he was grinning from ear to ear at this point in our adventure!

Remember the Italian Fountains?
Looked a little different this morning... I think I may have pictures of the fountains in all 4 seasons at this point!

Woo Hoo!!! Snow!!!
We are standing at the south end of the Italian Fountains with the Serpentine behind us.