Saturday, July 30, 2011

Last Saturday in Plymouth

I have to admit, this looks really fun! This is what British kids do on the weekends.

Isn't that great?! They are in these plastic bubbles in a pool, floating on the water. ?!

I walked along the Hoe today, and was going to climb the lighthouse but they wanted to charge me for it. Pay money to climb stairs? Um, no thanks. :)

It was cloudy today, but there were still a LOT of sailboats out and about.

I followed a steep trail of stairs up the side of a cliff, and this is the lovely view I was rewarded with.

I might try and paint this sometime. I had a nice little walk on this hill.

A very, very beautiful walk on this hill.

Plymouth definitely has a culture of ice cream trucks. They are everywhere, and I loved this one because it has a Scooby Doo theme.

Check out the guys on top of the bridge!

Just wanted to share some of my weekend with you. :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Brolly Parade!

This is an umbrella from Ghana, that really big red one. It was HUGE. But I'll get back to that.

On Saturday, I went to the Saltram Jazz Festival! It was at the house where they filmed part of Pride and Prejudice. I know, awesome!

Sorry I didn't get a very good shot of it, I was trying not to look like such a tourist and was holding stuff besides.
Isn't that pretty? It really could not have been more Englishy... a picnic on the grass, listening to music. Perfect.

Here is some of our spread, my coworker James invited a bunch of his mates to come so I could meet them. They had lots of questions for me, and especially about frats and sororities and super size meals at McDonalds. And I had to explain our system of government to the girl I sat next to.

Here is a candid shot of some of them.

All right, so you're probably wondering what a brolly parade is? Because it was a jazz festival, they also did the New Orleans tradition of an umbrella parade! It was a lot of fun. And no, I didn't have my brolly with me. Sad story.

So this is underneath that really big one from Ghana that led the procession. It was very fancy, and all tassled out. :)

Here is a picture of the house and stage, even though it didn't turn out too well.

Well, that was my Saturday evening. I'll write more later. :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Week 2! Weird Sand Worms and Looe

This is called a pasty. No, not pay-stee like we say but pah-stee. I have decided that I am going to return to the states and start my own franchise, make my money early and retire so I can write. Sound good? :) I discovered these flaky bits of heaven, filled with steak and potatoes, this week while wandering on my lunch break. So. So. Good.

I also discovered raspberries growing next to my flat!! On a path I walk almost every day, there are these little beauties!! And you're allowed to pick them and eat them. So of course I did. YUM.

This beauty I stumbled upon as well, and I just wanted to share. You know you're an Arizona kid when you really appreciate the flowers.

I went on a quest to find this mysterious Elizabethan house and garden, and this was part of my walk on my little excursion. Isn't it pretty?

This was also on my walk. Sorry, the lighting was really too bright but I love that the marina is framed by buildings as you come swooping down this great hill. It's really gorgeous.

This is another view, further down. I was still on my quest.

Wow. Just, wow.

After wandering around little shops and streets, I finally found it! But it was all locked up. So, I will have to go back, I am desperate to see that garden! And the house... but mostly the garden.

I got to assist a graduation ceremony today at St. Andrew's Church, turns out it was the church I had photographed earlier on. Inside is even more beautiful, it feels like you're in a castle. I got to watch all of the academics robing and getting all spiffied up, and I even got to escort the man receiving an honorary degree from the robing room to where he was supposed to line up! Well, it turns out that he is a world- class violinist, and he even played a little during the ceremony. That was real treat, because the acoustics in the church were great. I also talked to the Vice Chancellor briefly and also talked to the mace bearer some. Yes, they are cool and have a mace. Here they are coming out of the church.

The mace is what he's carrying, and he leads the procession in with it and then out when it's all finished. Neat!

This evening, my supervisor and her family took me to a little town called Looe. Here is part of our drive, I can't seem to get enough of the English countryside.

And this is Looe when we first drove up.

Isn't that just picturesque?

And they had tons of little shops and things, like this one here...

It really had that small- town feel to it. I loved it.

And then we got to the ocean. There is an estuary running through the middle of town, and here it is on our walk down to the sea. It's like a story book.

And the sea! Gorgeous!

Here's me, not the greatest picture but proof that I really was there.

And there were lots of climbing rocks.

They were just perfect for exploring and climbing on.

I mean come on, what more could you ask for?

There were, however, these disgusting things I was quite fascinated with.

No, that is just sand but if you thought "worm" you are correct. They burrow in the sand and to burrow they eat it, and naturally it comes out the other end. Eww. But these weren't all over the beach, just by the rocks. Thank goodness.

This was very much like a postcard. Just really pretty, the whole thing was. I know I sound like a broken record, but really it was beautiful.

Walking back through the village, we were looking for some food and came across this!

It used to be on a really old war galley. Cool!

Well, I tried the good old fish n' chips. Because I had to, it was England. I don't even like fish, but I still got it. Actually, it wasn't that bad! It was very fresh, and while I don't think I'll order it again it was much better than fish in Arizona. Much, much better.

And then, there was a choir going on of fisherman! A fisherman's choir.

It was so neat to hear them sing old fisherman's songs and songs of the English countryside. Very nice.

And this is the inside of a little boat I took, along our way back out. There is a dock that runs the length of the town down to the sea, and lots of people had little buckets and were catching little crabs. It was neat.

Then on the way back to Plymouth, we took a ferry!! The car just drove right on, and I was excited.

This is another view from the ferry of the other boats.

And this is where the Royal Navy builds their ships! It is really enormous. It might not look like it in the picture, but it's HUGE.

And that is about it for now, I need to catch some sleep. Tomorrow I am going to a big jazz festival if the weather is nice! I can't wait!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

First Weekend in England!

A view of the marina, so close to where I'm staying:

My "exciting" weekend plans changed, but it was still a good weekend.

IT RAINED!!!! I was very excited. The ladies in the office rolled their eyes and laughed, and asked me: "why don't you go out and dance in the garden deary" with a chuckle and merry eyes. Honestly, I was tempted.

After work got out on Friday, I decided that it was too rainy to go anywhere.

Saturday, it rained in the morning but in the afternoon the sun did make an appearance! I grabbed my chance and headed down to the sea. I had hot chocolate at this place on the water called "The Terrace," and it was gorgeous.
This is the view from where I sat, sipping warm chocolaty goodness.

The tree was sort of in the way. Sorry.

Ok, here are those famous Mayflower steps! Granted, I don't think those are the original ones... Plymouth has been built on since the colonial era, but still. Cool.

Here's an only slightly better view.

So that was Saturday, and I also looked for a church to attend on Sunday. I found this:

Isn't it so old- fashioned?!

And this:

I love how tall these clock towers are in the churches. They are really, really, really tall. And here's the door just below it:

It's sooo pretty! At least I think so.

But, not as pretty as this:

Yep, life is just rosy over here. :)

I found a little baptist church to go to, so I headed there in the pouring rain Sunday morning.

Oh. My. Goodness.

It was a very small congregation in which I was the only young person present, and the rest were sweet, austere elderly couples. They welcomed me, and I enjoyed the service very much.

After the service, all the little old church ladies with clutch purses, dainty white gloves, hats, and pearls, were all a- twitter to hear I was from the desert!

*In a very British accent, unnaturally high-pitched voice like Meryl Streep did in Julie and Julia: "Ooooh my, you simply must join us for tea! Oh, and look at those pretty brown eyes, sorry we have no young gentleman here deary, but do, just do come have tea with us!"

Well, like I could turn that down?! They gave me tea with milk in a little English tea cup, with a saucer, and there were little cookies and things. It was just "lovely," in every sense of the word.

They were scandalized that we had snakes and scorpions, and little Ethyl said, while clapping her hand over her mouth, "ooh dear, I don't think I shall be visiting Arizona any time soon" and they all gave each other those "church lady" looks, you know the ones I'm talking about?

So, I had to explain that we were really a popular tourist place for elderly people in the winter, and had these things called retirement villages that kept all the young people out, and they were very interested in those. "Ooh, you mean you have to be older to live there? Well that sounds a bit smart!" and they chuckled.

Veronica, the friendliest of them all, asked me if we still had cowboys. Ha! I guess many still think of Arizona as being cowboy country. I said well not like in the movies we didn't, but that we did have cattle farmers still. They wanted to hear all about those. Their husbands wanted to hear too, about them; and wondered where we got our water from and how the economy was. It made me think of my great uncle dave, he would have liked talking to them I think.

And so much more. Oh, it was a good time! I haven't enjoyed myself that much in a long time, and I will be back this Sunday I think.

Even though my original plans didn't pan out, I can check this off my bucket list: I had proper tea with little old English church ladies, and after church even!!!! How fun is that?!

I will treasure that forever.

After I got back to my flat, my supervisor picked me up to have dinner with her family.

They took me to this fancy restaurant on the water called "The Waterfront," and I had this yummy pasta dish. It was very, very good. But the view was even better! Right outside our window was the ocean, and I saw tugboats and the ferry to France going by. Such fun!

Next weekend I'm supposed to go exploring, and see a bit of Exeter. We'll see!