Friday, 28 January 2011
Tuesday, 25 January 2011
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Still, it won't be long til we'll be living in the land of the combine harvester...
Thursday, 13 January 2011
I know it's not exactly seasonal, but I thought if I knit one figure a month then by Christmas I'll have a lovely little nativity scene. Then I can set about teaching DC how to play the part of Joseph in preparation for all those years when, with his angelic looks, he's bound to be chosen as the leading man. Alternatively, there's always the back end of the 'ass'.
A mother can dream.
Wednesday, 12 January 2011
So, that's the news on the Somerset house. As to the Reading house, well that went on the market officially last Tuesday. The estate agent had been very quietly marketing it before Christmas and we had three viewings in December. This week has been really full-on though - second viewing on Saturday, two viewings on Monday, one yesterday and another today - hence the need for the revolving doors! The great news is that the man who had the second viewing on Saturday made an offer! The bad news is that it's £5k below the asking price (which isn't that bad really), but he has yet to sell his own house so can't actually do anything until he does. But it's a start!
So, if you know anyone in the market for a lovely house in Reading, here's the link!
Wednesday, 5 January 2011
Clearly, all the running round led to exhaustion when we got home.
The following day, Friday 17th, we had two Christmas events to attend - the Rhymetime Christmas sing-a-long at the Hexagon - look at that face! Clearly not impressed.and nursery's Christmas party in the afternoon. Cocktail sausage anyone?
I was getting very excited by this point as hubby was due to fly home from San Francisco overnight and was expected home about 11.30am on the Saturday. Unfortunately the weather has other plans for hubby and his flights. Firstly, he got to San Fran airport on Friday afternoon (US time) to find the airport mired in fog and his flight to LA cancelled. As a result there was no chance of him getting his LA-London flight later than afternoon/evening and, therefore, no chance of him getting home on Saturday morning :( With it being the run-up to Christmas lots of other flights were full so the best the airline could offer him was a flight to Houston the following day, with an onward connection to London. So hubby trundled back to his hotel and small boy and I settled in for another night and day without daddy.
Saturday 18th dawned and small boy and I got up at about 8am with plans to drive over to Henley or perhaps walk into Reading and have a look round the shops for any last-minute Christmas items we may have missed from the extensive list. But just as the weather had other plans for hubby and his flights, so it also had other plans for us. When I looked out of the kitchen window, this is what I saw
and our front path looked like this:
Eeek! Snow. Dastardly white stuff. Switching on the TV, the BBC news channel confirmed my worst fears - the entire country had ground to a halt, airports were closed, people were panic-buying, roads were gridlocked, children were happily building snowmen. There was probably close to 2 or 3 inches of the stuff in Reading, but it had stopped falling and the gritting lorries came out very promptly and cleared the roads, so actually very little of the town ground to a halt. That wasn't to be the case elsewhere though. I logged on to the Heathrow website to see that the airport was closed and thus nothing was taking off or landing. They kept promising it would open within 6 hours, but then that changed to 'Sunday' and I had a sinking feeling about hubby's chances of getting home.
To cut this long story a little shorter, this is a summary of what poor hubby ended up doing in his quest to get home:
Saturday 18th: flew from San Fran to Houston. Discovered onward flight from Houston-London Heathrow cancelled. Booked on same flight following day, spent night in Houston airport hotel.
Sunday 19th: headed early to Houston airport to find out situation. Flight to Heathrow cancelled again. I was frantically tapping away on the internet trying to find a flight from anywhere in the USA to anywhere in the UK that had an airport that was open (ie anywhere but Heathrow!) We came up with these options: fly to New York and try to get onward flight to somewhere in UK - possibly Manchester; or, fly to Orlando and get flight from there to Gatwick. Hubby went with second option and managed to secure one of the last seats on a flight from Houston to Orlando (in first class!) for that afternoon and then an onward overnight flight from Orlando to Gatwick. The only problem was he had just 30mins between his internal flight landing and the Gatwick one departing. Cutting it fine was an understatement. And then the flight to Orlando got delayed due to some issue with the air con on the plane. And the minutes ticked by and we thought all was lost for him getting the onward flight until I logged on to see that the onward flight was also delayed - praise be! In the end hubby got to Orlando with many hours to spare as his flight ended up being delayed til about 5am the following day (Monday) when it should have left at about 7pm on the Sunday evening. Poor hubby was absolutely shattered when he finally got on the plane but was chuffed to find he was sharing it with just 40 other people, including the crew! Plenty of room to stretch out and sleep. And so, finally about 90 hours after he first started trying to get home, hubby landed at Gatwick airport about 6.30pm on Monday evening just before the snow shut the airport for the night, and he got home at about 9pm. I was VERY pleased to see him, as was his little boy when he woke up the next morning.
And take another deeeep breath!
Monday, 3 January 2011
Then it was onwards and downwards block by block from 83rd Street along Broadway to 71st Street, across a block to Amsterdam and back to the apartment to deposit our goodies. Then we walked down Columbus Ave to Alice's Tea Cup for a spot of afternoon tea to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. Feeling slightly sluggish, we stumbled into a taxi it over to Bloomingdales for even more shopping (from the Clinique counter mostly, and the lady there was very generous with the freebies!), then it was a taxi back to the Upper West Side and 'dinner' (ie bar snacks) in the local Irish bar before crashing out about 10pm.
Saturday 11th December was spent shopping again, but this time in Greenwich Village and SoHo.We managed to visit the Apple Store without buying anything, although we did look longingly at the iPads... Old Navy was a different matter - I came out laden with goodies for myself and DC; same in Lucky Brand. We fortified ourselves with some lovely sweet tartlettes and a drink in Pain Quotidien before pushing on through the crowds. We got the subway back up to the Upper West and went for dinner in Sarabeth's - yummy meatloaf, then on to the cinema to see the latest Harry Potter installment. I must admit I fell asleep, but didn't think much of the bits I managed to keep my eyes open for, it feels like it's lost the "magic" if you'll pardon the pun.
Our plans to meander through Central Park on Sunday 12th went out the window when we awoke to pouring rain, so we started the day with a very leisurely brunch in Cafe Lalo. (Apparently it features in You've Got Mail, but I've only just found that out when I googled the link to put on here!) Their brunch menu is somewhat amusing - I had the 'Irish Breakfast' which I'm pretty sure if I was in Ireland would have consisted of a good old fry up, but here was a bowl of porridge (or oatmeal) with honey and fruits. The 'English Breakfast' consists of steamed eggs with herbs plus a scone with jam and cream - which is, of course, exactly the sort of thing us Brits like to start the day with.
Afterwards hubby went to get a shave while I had a manicure and we reconvened in my favourite bookshop in NYC - Barnes & Noble @ 82nd and Broadway. Then it was a quick subway ride down to Lincoln Center so we could do some more shopping... Is there a theme developing here?! Hubby got a few things in Banana Republic then it was on to Gap where I got a few (more) tops for DC; then we called in at Duane Reade so I could stock up on Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and other sweet delights, before we walked back up to the apartment so hubby could pack his bags ready to head to the airport for his flight to San Francisco.
I walked with hubby to the subway stop and then made my way, lonely and alone, to the nearest Starbucks to seek solace in a White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha and a good book, while gazing out the window at passers-by struggling against the wind and rain - nice weather for a weekend break... Then I went back to the apartment to get ready for a night on the town. Well, a meal with a blog-land friend who I'd never before met in person - how adventurous! Caught the subway down to 14th Street and finally found The Standard Grill, in the oh-so-trendy Meatpacking District. My friend, Catherine, said the last time she'd been there, Bono was there too and this time I'm pretty sure Bob Hoskins was on the table next to us - it's a celebrity hotspot, clearly! We had a great time, chatting away as if we'd met hundreds of times before and going home time came far too quickly.
Monday 13th December, all alone in NYC. Just a credit card for company. Dangerous. Very dangerous. My first stop was Rockefeller Plaza where I picked up some gifts in a great card store - Christmas-opoly anyone? Before heading to Anthropolgie for more goodies and on to Saks for a make-over (!) at the Clinique counter and came away with a few items and some freebies (the photo below shows the result of the Bloomies + Saks + airport duty free counters, plus the freebies...)Then it was up 5th Ave, with a small detour to Gap, and along 57th St to my favourite stationery store, Kate's Paperie. Funnily enough, I didn't actually buy anything. Then it was over a few blocks to Columbus Circle and the Time Warner Center where I plundered the shelves of Williams-Sonoma (I got hold of some fantastic Star Wars shape pancake cutters for hubby) before settling in for a coffee and cookie in the Dean & Deluca cafe inside Borders; I needed to refuel before perusing the 'cozy crime' shelves. Then, laden down with bags, I caught the subway back up to the apartment. It was time to start packing. Took a while to cram everything in but when I realised there was still a bit more room I decided to take a trip to Barnes & Noble for more cozy crime. This was the result.
And then there really was no more room in my bag and it was time to leave the city that never sleeps and head to the airport. The End.
Sunday, 2 January 2011
Anyway, this is simply by way of saying - I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and here's to a healthy and happy 2011.
I promise to do some retro-blogging very soon to catch up on what happened in December, if only to get it straight in my own head.