Tuesday, September 27, 2005

We've got Broadband!

Hurray! We've finally set up our broadband connections and found enough adapters to plug in our normal computers. At last, we're back on line at less than a snail's pace and it's heavenly. We've been very frustrated by the slowness of our phone/laptop connection. Those of you who have been holding back on the e-mails can feel free to write to us now. We'll do our best to respond in the next couple of weeks.

Our container arrived last Thursday. Well, it got to the top of the driveway, but the driver refused to come down 'cos he didn't think he'd be able to get back up! Then the movers arrived and they too felt their lorry was too big to come down. Meanwhile a major traffice jam (one lorry - this is major for C.S.) developed as they were blocking the road. They called for a smaller van, which had to come from Hereford, and while they waited for that they transferred the stuff from the container to the big lorry so the container driver could get back to Manchester.

These little snafus have occurred at every step of this move, starting more than a year ago when I first got breast cancer, and continuing today when John's driving license was returned because he sent in his old passport number for identity purposes and by the time they processed his license application it was no longer valid because he'd renewed his passport in the meantime!

In the end, our goods from the U.S. were all unloaded by about 3 pm, leaving us with an almighty mess. There were boxes and curiously shaped packages throughout the house. We've been unpacking ever since and there's still an awful lot of stuff left to unwrap. In spite of buying what seemed to be a huge house, we have way too much stuff and no-where to store it. English houses rarely have enough closet space.

John's 63 book boxes are unopened in the breakfast room (which has now been re-named the library) and we've also used that room to store all the packing paper. We've been tossing it in there and rapidly built a paper mountain. Every now and then one of us goes in and smooths some of it out and folds it. I want to keep it as I have plans for some papier mache sculpture. However, as soon as the mountain is eroded by folding we build it up again by tackling more boxes!

On the wildlife front, we've seen another badger. This is a smaller one and it came onto the patio to eat some cat food we had put out to attract hedgehogs. We haven't actually seen any of the latter, but there must be some about and we're hoping to get them out where we can feed them. Unfortunately, the cat food also attracted a big black cat (duh!), a carrion crow and lots of flies!

On the food front, we've found that the C.S. butcher makes wonderful sausages and is a supplier of other good meats and we've been enjoying some good, simple but hearty meals at home. We've both lost a couple of pounds from all the manual work we've been doing, but it's hard to resist all the goodies especially when we see things we haven't had since we were teenagers.

And on that note .... it's time to go pour a glass of ginger beer and settle down in front of the telly ......

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Sunshine in Church Stretton!

Many thanks to all of you who have sent cards, e-mails and notes of welcome to our new house. I haven't replied to any of them yet because we're still busy unpacking and organizing. We have a VERY slow phone connection and this combined with my old VERY slow laptop makes it very difficult for us to do much on-line stuff at present.
Never mind, we've heard that our container will arrive in Thamesport on Friday, so we will soon have better computers (if they work once we get them set up!). We're still debating about what broadband service to hook up with - there seem to be lots of providers and each does something or has some different perk. It doesn't help that I've never used broadband over the phone; I don't understand the equipment or the process - need to do a bit of learning and it's difficult without rapid web access.
To those of you demanding photos - please be patient. I haven't even found my camera yet! And when I do, I can't upload anything 'cos it's too slow and I don't have the software to get the photos up to the blog. George suggested that our e-mail and blog silences meant we were playing golf. Ha Ha! This afternoon was so lovely that we decided to go for a walk and climb up the hill you can see in the photo of the house. To do that we walked up through the golf course and there is NO WAY we will ever be able to play on that course. You tee off on one hill and the green is on the next mountain!!!!! It's the highest golf course in England and it looks to be a killer. If your ball doesn't go down a badger sett it will get lost in all the bracken. There are sheep sheltering in the bunkers and ravens flying over head. We saw bunnies, kestrels, stonechats, and crows while we were out. It was a strenuous climb but worth it for the views from the top.
We were really tired when we got home, inspite of a stop in the National Trust Tea Shop at the base of the hill. I took a nap. Yesterday we worked all day trying to get stuff sorted out. I'm trying to make some room to take all the U.S. stuff when it comes. John has his study up and running so we can both use the laptop in there, and the kitchen, living and dining rooms are tidy enought to keep us going till the rest of our stuff arrives, but my room is a complete shambles as I've been dumping everything in it prior to sorting it and moving it into the attic. Unfortunately, that's the room where a lot of the furniture coming from the U.S. will end up!!!!!
With all the work in the house we've been neglecting the garden. John did mow the lawn because that won't wait, but there's a lot of dead-heading and weeding to do. I'm beginning to identify some of the plants, and I've started to get a few ideas of what shrubs should be cut back or cleared out. Everything here grows like wildfire and if you're not careful the good stuff gets engulfed by the things that self seed and run riot. The place is full of beech, holly and laurel seedlings which I'll have to get out before they're too big.
We've put out our first feeder and have attracted coal tits, great tits and blue tits. We're already fighting the grey squirrels, too! We seem to have three regulars. We put out some bread on the lawn the other day and had magpies, crows and jackdaws all over the place. Blackbirds feed on the lawns at dawn and dusk, and we can see lots of chaffinches, but they haven't come in close yet and in the evening the sky is full of house martins. The most common birds are the wood pigeons. These are the B2 bombers of the neighbourhood, swooping and powering around from tree to tree. A couple of immature pheasant wandered through last week, don't know where they came from or where they went, but we also saw a fox about the same time so I hope they were cautious and wary!
I guess I'd better stop now. Keep those e-mail coming and I'll write back as soon as I have some energy and time!