Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bloody raptors

Today Donna and I went into Folkestone.
I needed to get my nails done again and as, unfortunately, the lovely vietnamese place in Ashford had used stuff last time that made my fingers burn and itch, it was back to the place I used to frequent in Folkestone.
This does cost much more but I couldn't face the discomfort I went through last time so I had to shell out the cash.
I have spent way too much money this visit.
I am not sure what on. My supplies for home didn't cost any more than they usually do but money seems to have sprinted out of my purse at an alarming rate this trip.
I still have a special visit tomorrow and a trip to Leeds Castle on Friday ( I am told this isn't cheap) ........oh well.
I also have to get Lauren a "going away" pressie from me.
I do this to take the sting out of leaving her. We do get on very well and we both have great difficulty saying goodbye.
The pressie helps.

Tonight I had hoped to go to archeology club.
I went to astronomy club and it was brill. I had planned to go to archeology club too..........but ...Donna doesn't get the chance to go out much in the evening so I didn't think I could deny her a night out with her mates.
She has to make the most of me being here......a permanent babysitter.....and who can blame her.
I hope she has had a good time.
I stupidly watched Jurassic Park.
Why do I do this?
This movie always gives me nightmares but it fascinates me.
Philip will be so cross when he finds out I watched it again.
Only the first movie...........the rest were my opinion.
But, the first one.....oh those poxy raptors.
I will have nightmares about being chased by raptors and a T. Rex for weeks now, but I have to watch it.
I remember Steve Abbott gave me the book to read once, years ago.
I only got a few pages in....nightmares for weeks.

I did fill a gap in Lauren's education yesterday.
I bought her the DVD..........Labyrinth.
I couldn't believe she had never seen it. I love it. The effects are not the computer generated junk you get now that all looks exactly the same. They were done by Henson and I think they are fab.
Of course Donna and I also had a bit of a perv over David Bowie.......woof.
Special effects, in my opinion, were more impressive then. I do find them a bit "same old, same old" now.
I was right..........she loved it.

Tomorrow I have a bit of an adventure.
I am slightly stressed about is just the fear of the unknown.
Then in the evening I am going to visit another old friend.
Trying to cram a lot into the last few days over will be worth it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Monday.........Lauren and I took a trip to the zoo.
Port Lymme (not sure of the spelling) to be precise.
This is quite a nice zoo but is very expensive.....well I think so anyway.
We went a couple of years ago and got talked into doing the African Experience in which you get driven around part of the zoo on an old army truck.
It expensive and wasn't worth it. Blooming cold and very uncomfortable.

So, we took off on foot. Donna was meant to come too but she is not a fan of zoos and dibbed out.
Lauren and I had fun though.
I got rather concerned when as we were walking around I noticed that we were doing a lot of "down" slopes and "down" steps.
This, of course, means that at some point you will need to be walking "ups". Lots of "ups".

There always seems to be more "ups" than "downs" and today my legs are complaining.
Maybe not as much as we were complaining yesterday.

No day out with Lauren is complete without a visit to the gift shop.
This generally takes longer than the journey through the zoo itself.
But, after spending much time and more money we were able to make our way home.
Totally natchered.

Today we went to Asda and Tesco so that I could stock up on supplies to take home.
Oh joy...........pot noodles..........Bombay Mix.........Cadbury chocs........instant custard........twiglets....and many more delicacies.
I decided against the jar of red cabbage. I did manage this last year but it was a worry.
If it breaks in my case with all that red vinegar, my clothes would be ruined.
I shall be kicking myself at Christmas though with no red cabbage to put in sandwiches.
I am just hoping now that I can get it all in my cases and it doesn't go over the weight allowance.
I would hate to leave anything out.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Star gazing

Andy kindly took Glenn and myself to Woodchurch to the Astronomy Club.

It was brill.
The people were very friendly and welcoming. They didn't seem a bit concerned that I know very little about the galaxy ( well I know quite a bit about the choccy bar).
Big, Big Steve was there.
I haven't seen him in a couple of years and he hasn't changed a bit.....well except that he has shorter hair.
I presented him with the Hershey chocolate he had requested ( yukkky but that is just my opinion...I suppose someone has to like the stuff), and he seemed very happy with it.
Lovely to have a chat with him after all this time...........good ole Stevie.

It all kicked off with a talk about taking photos of the moon etc.

Then we went outside.
It was a very clear night and I was quite amazed at what we could see.
Drew (I think that is his name) pointed out constellations. He was great at making it all seem so simple and I learned a lot.

It did get a bit nippy out there and we came in for a most welcome cup of coffee.
A raffle completed the evening and if I lived over here I would most certainly join this club.
I haven't found anything like it in Milwaukee and doubt that a fun, casual group like this does exist there, but I will look again when I get back.

Saturday Donna, Lauren and I spent the day with friends who have a holiday caravan at a lovely site somewhere near Broadstairs.
They spend most of the summer there and then return to their home in Ashford at the end of October.
I had never been down there before. I was very impressed.
After a lovely day it was back to don the posh frock and off to Andy's party.
I thought I looked pretty good in my frock until I saw Dave in his.
He looked really foxy. I took lots of photos and I will put some of them on Facebook when I get home.
Everyone looked tra la posh.

Today Glenn, Lauren and I went for Sunday lunch at Wetherspoons.
Donna was working.
We had a wonderful Sunday roast in there. For 5.95 you get a choice of roast beef, pork, half a chicken or veggie roast plus a, beer or soft drinks.
It was really excellent.

Tomorrow we are off to the zoo.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Glenn and I went to Dave and Tina's on Tuesday.
The usual suspects were all there, I am pleased to say.

We are going to Astronomy Club for the first time tomorrow.
Dear Andy is going to pick us up and I am very grateful for this.
Neither Glenn nor I have been before and it is held in Woodchurch.
We are not familiar with Woodchurch and I think we would almost certainly get lost even with directions.
So, thanks Andy mate.

I was told what the subject is but I think I have forgotten. It might have been something to do with the moon.
Ahhhhhhhh........whatever it is .....we will enjoy it.
I am looking forward to seeing Big Big Steve too. Been a while since I've seen the old bugger.

Donna is working all night tonight. Glenn came over and I cooked him dinner.
We were talking about how some old films, with their limited special effects, are still more scary than a lot of the more recent movies.
We decided that our most scary film of all time is...........Quatermass and The Pit.
This film still terrifies me. I love to watch it though.
The tension never lets up and effects ,which really should be laughable now..........are still very disturbing.

Talking of special effects...........on Tuesday we watched the programme the SciFi channel made of the 30th anniversary of Star Trek in London in 1997.
The one where I and Frederik ( and assisted by Jose) made lots of our group into Klingons, Cardassians, Ferengi, Bajorans, Bolian and Andorian and of course Morn....whatever he was.
It was brill to see all of us again.
Some looked so young.
Some looked just the same.
Some looked better now than then ( Dave I mean you......I do think you look better now than you did then......I know it seems impossible to improve on perfection but you have).
I looked dodgy. I had had a major accident in my car a couple of days before.
I remember having a bloodshot eye, many bumps and bruises and for that day I left off the neck brace I was supposed to wear.
I had also had to leave home at around 5 am and had been doing make up for around 10 hours but the thing that surprised me most was that I couldn't remember hardly anything of the "do" itself.
I remember doing the make up.
I vaguely remember them filming us.
I vaguely remember being interviewed............but as for the festivities...........hardly anything.

The best part was that the tickets for this event had sold out months before.
When the SciFi channel contacted me and asked me to do it they also offered to supply free tickets to all those I took along to transform into aliens.
It was a brill deal.
A night to remember............only I don't.
Good job it is on film.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Out shopping with Donna today.
Retail therapy at its finest.

Oh there are so many "precious things" I would love to buy but I am no longer "local" so I cannot.
I am so conscious of the weight of everything now.
I wonder what the shop assistants think when they see me drool over something....then pick it up......jiggle it a bit..........sigh ........and put it down again.
But, I have starting buying a few things that I can take back.
They do soon add up I have to be strict with myself.
I am still somewhat disappointed at the lack of Chrimbo things in the stores.
What are they thinking !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mid September and no selection boxes, liquers.......etc..........yet...........come on people I need these things.

Then this afternoon I visited with another very old friend.
I first met this guy when we worked together in 1986.
In fact he was in the interview panel for the job I had applied for in social services.......I got the job and we worked together for quite a few years before I left and went into education.
A great bloke.
We have remained friends ever since.
Donna, Lauren and I went round to visit with him and his wife ( who is a lovely person too).
They live in Ashford but have an apartment in Florida, a canal boat and a house in France.
How fab is that!!!!
They always ask when we (Philip and I) will visit them in Florida. They spend 12 weeks a year there.
Of course we would love to but Philip doesn't get much vacation time and what he does get is precious to him...........but, we really must go sometime.
They are great people and we would have a lovely time.

Again I am blessed with friends that go back years.
Maybe I am selfish.............I don't like to part with people once I become friends with them.
I actually think it is more than that.
It takes me a while to really trust people but once I do, I am extremely loyal and I do treasure the true friends I have made over many years. Real mates you can share memories with.

I have another friend, who, sadly, I will not be seeing on this trip, who goes back even further.........I hate to admit how long I have known this one, but a wonderful friend.

It was quite strange talking today about old times in the social work field with Donna who has recently started in the same line of work..........and of course Glenn, who is also doing the same thing. My old chum knew the agencies they work for and their bosses.
Funny things turn full circle.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Number 6

Yesterday we invaded Essex.
To visit my brother and his family in fact.
We had a lot of fun.
His oldest son has been building a kit car. A sort of vintage sports jobbie.
I can't remember what he said it is called but it looked remarkably like the one that Patrick McGoohan drives in the opening sequences of The Prisoner episodes.

It provided many photo opportunities the results of which I shall post on Facebook when I return to Milwaukee........I can't do it from here.
Donna was brave enough to go out for a spin in it...........which, she tells us, produced much cursing and swearing, from her to him as he zoomed up the dual carriage way.

Glenn then had to also have a go or risk being labelled a wimp.
He came back a vivid shade of green but his hands, which clutched the top of the door, were complete with white knuckles.
He said he was glad he did it but would never, ever do it again.
I declined.
The nearest I came was to sit behind the wheel posing.
Quite adventurous enough for me ta very much.

We caught up with all the family news and gossip.

Today we took a trip to Bybrook Barn to view their Christmas decorations but alas they are still being assembled.
We shall make another trip or two during the next couple of weeks and hopefully I shall be able to buy some new things to take home. As if I really need any more Christmas decs.........but I just love them.
We went into The Harvester for some lunch. We had to wait around 40 minutes but it was rather delish........particularly the salad bar.
Tonight I am watching Death on The Nile by my favourite, Agatha Christie............a fab end to a lovely weekend.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fabby fab fab

Yesterday was fab.
My friend Sue and her hubby picked me up and took me to Garyth's for coffee.
He and his wife have moved into a house in Lymne.
It is a wonderful house. They have done a lot to it and it looks great.
I was so impressed by the bathroom.
In case you don't know, I am an Art Deco freak. I adore the style of the era.
When he showed me the bathroom........oh it was brill. Hot pink walls with black and pink Art Deco tiles and mirrors.
I took photos.
Next year we have to choose which project to do ....choice is between upstairs bathroom (known as my bathroom), downstairs bathroom and kitchen.
I am hoping it will be the upstairs bathroom (mine) and I shall copy Garyth's decor.
It sounds pants but looks amazing.

After we had had coffee and cake with them I thought Sue would drop me back home...but no....she took me back to her house for lunch.
The coffee morning turned into a whole day and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
God I miss my friends.

Today I took the train to Canterbury.
Donna has a dodgy foot. Not sure what the problem is but she has suffered with it on and off for years.
I was happy to go alone. I love to window shop and to bimble around the shops.
She isn't too keen on shopping.
So, off on my own.
I had a great day. I bought some things for Christmas prezzies.
My friend June in Milwaukee is probably the best Christian I have ever met. If all Christians were like her the world would be a better place.
She is kind and caring and tries to follow her faith without pushing it onto other people.
So, into the Cathedral shop to get some things for her. She will love them. Last year I got her Christmas Carols sung by the Canterbury Cathedral choir.
I wish I could bring her over..........she would be amazed by Canterbury Cathedral. The things they call cathedrals over there are no bigger than our churches.

I see so many things I would love to buy but the weight is a problem.
They are so strict now on the weight of the cases that I am severely limited. Shame. There was some wonderful china I would have liked to take back.
But, I have to save room for all the Christmas goodies I have to buy. Icing, marzipan etc....these things all add up.
I think I shall buy selection boxes for my friends back there too as these are unheard of in Milwaukee.

Whilst in Canterbury I completed a questionaire for a charming Dutch student. His English was Dutch is not so.
The train journey is enjoyable as it isn't rush hour and I get a bus right outside Ashford station that drops me a few yards from Donna's house.
Tomorrow I shall go into Ashford town and then on Saturday we will be invading Essex to visit my brother and family.
The time is zipping by.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bimbling along

I am having a lovely time.
I am still amazed at how much I miss my friends.

I have a few very old friends ( they are not old ....I have just known them for a long time) and I am so priviledged to have them.

Yesterday I met up with people who I knew when my kids were little.
We were very close then but, as so often happens, life makes you drift apart.
Facebook has enabled me to meet up with them again.
Their son, who was a little bugger as a child, has grown into a lovely man who came to Donna's to pick me and Lauren up, then take us to his parents house.
They hadn't changed a bit........well, maybe put on a little weight, but looked all the better for it.
We talked like we had seen each other just last week, when in fact it has been many years.
We shared memories....some I didn't even remember, and it was wonderful the way the interval of time disappeared and we were mates again.
They don't they will never visit me.
I wish they would.
I have higher hopes of the son as he seemed rather keen to visit Milwaukee.
I do hope he does. He is a lovely guy, who brought us home after we had gabbled on and on.
He has also got his mum on Facebook now so ,hopefully, we can keep in touch.
I think this is an amazing tool. It has linked me up to people I would never have met again.
Good friends...........true friends.
I think true friends are the ones you can pick up with as if you have never been apart.

I have just come back from meeting some other true friends.
We used to get together every Tuesday and they still do. So, it was easy to join in again.......and yet again, it was like time had not intervened.
Great mates....mates who you can just be yourself with...........brilliant.
I miss this greatly.

Tomorrow a dear friend whom I worked with for many years at a school in Ashford is taking me to meet up with another one of our former colleagues.
More people I miss dearly.
I think that when you move away it isn't the place that you miss, so much as the people.
Well, that is how it is for me anyway.
We went through some up and downs at this place.
We shared many laughs and some tears..........but the important word here is "shared".
I am looking forward to spending the day with them tomorrow.

On Thursday I think I may take the train to Canterbury and have a bimble around there.
Canterbury is always a joy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nationwide Building Society Bunglers

I am so mad I am spitting feathers.....well almost.

On Friday whilst visiting Folkestone, I stopped to draw out 50 quid from a cash machine only to stand there like a lemon while it fizzed, buzzed etc but what it did not do was give me any money.
It gave me a receipt to say I had the money (but I didn't) and eventually spat out another one saying there was a machine error.
The bank sent me along to the Nationwide with assurances that it would have been already put back into my account.
It hadn't.
Also, the best they could do was get me to fill in an investigation form so it could be investigated.
This would take approx 3 weeks.
I was fuming.
This bloody organisation buggers me about every time I am over here.
Last year was a nightmare and their incompetence cost me a lot of money.
Whilst there I closed an account I had that had got just 60 quid left in it and put it in my current account.
The guy did mess around a bit doing it but I had no reason to believe he could bugger this simple transaction up.
Silly me.
He did.
I would not have known but this evening I decided to check online to see if, by some miracle, my original 50 quid had gone back into my account.
It hadn't.
What is more....the 60 quid I had transferred to my account had been put in .....then taken out....then put in ....then taken out.
So now....I am 110 pounds down.
I am livid.
So, tomorrow I have to go back to the Nationwide in Folkestone to sort this out.
I will insist on seeing the manager......but I had to do this last year.
What do they think they are playing at?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Back in the UK

My flight over was just as I like it..............uneventful.
It stayed up when it was meant to and came down gently when it was meant to and was on time.
Can't ask for more than that.

Ashford has changed out of all recognition.
I think it is fab.
The shopping centre is way more up market than it ever was.

Donna's new house is lovely.
She is still putting all the finishing touches to it. I really like the area too.
Lauren's school is just around the corner about 50 yards away.
I can get a bus which takes me downtown or to the railway station.
So, it should be a doddle to get to Folkestone or Canterbury etc.

I have two teeny weeny little new friends.
Tom and Elsie the new kittens.
As expected, they have both decided that the best place to sleep at night is on my bed.
I really don't mind as they are little sweeties.

Glenn is starting his new job on Monday. He has just got a car......rather nice too.
A Ford Fiesta...silvery colour.
I think he is both excited and nervous.....which is exactly how I would feel.

I am just blown away with the TV here. It is far, far superior to anything we get in the states.
I am loving watching the telly which is something I rarely do at home.

On Tuesday I went to see some old friends and had a wonderful evening just reminiscing about past times, people and places we went to as a group.
This is exactly what I miss when I am in the US. I have no friends like this, people I am so comfortable with and want to do things with.
People who know each other well enough to poke fun at each other. I am happy when they poke fun at me ( the gloves :) ) as it means I am still a member of the gang.
I am looking forward to going to as many Tuesday get togethers as possible and a couple of other outings too.

Tomorrow I am getting a train to Folkestone and meeting up with an old pal of Glenn's. He was meant to be coming too but he has to deal with car insurance, tax etc.
I will have fun bimbling around Folkestone.
Saturday I am going to another friend's birthday party and on Sunday morning, Donna, Lauren and myself are going to a boot fair.
Oh there have never been such times since Old Leather Bum died.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Soon be off

I will be heading off to the airport at around 6pm (British time) tomorrow.
The flight doesn't leave until 11pm (British time).
I wish I could just beam over.

I really must concentrate on packing my cases this afternoon.
I am always so worried about forgetting something that if I pack too soon I start wondering if I put something in .........which results in me dragging it all out again.

I just spoke to Glenn. He asked if I was going to Tuesday night group this first week. I will have to play it by ear.
If I am not too spacey I would love to go.
I do have a problem with jet lag though, which seems to get worse every year.
I will completely lose a night's sleep as my flight leaves here at 5pm (our time) and by the time I am really getting tired and might try to catch a little sleep sitting up (something I am pants at) it will be around midnight - 1am.
This is the time they will be dishing out the brekkies and telling us we will soon start preparing to land.
So, no sleep for me.
I won't sleep on the way back from the airport because Donna and I will be yakking too much.
Then when I get to her house, Glenn and Lauren and the kittens will be there no chance of a nap.
Sometimes I get hyper after a missed night's sleep but then I am totally pants the next day or two.
I don't know how people go over for just a week.

I hope to be able to access my blog from Donna's.
Not sure how to do it as at the moment I just click on the link and I am there.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Getting closer

I am starting to organise myself now for my trip.
This means I am awake in the early hours working stuff out that come the cold light of day isn't important anyway.
I had this major panic about my driving licence.
The British one.
I never got round to updating it, so it is still in my previous name.
Plus, it still has my old address in England.
On top of which, it is one of the old paper licences.
I woke up during the night in a snit over it. I had decided that it runs out in January and that I had better renew it during my trip this time.
I then spent the next couple of hours working out how to do this.
Will I have to send my passport away?
How long will it take?
Will it be back in time for my return journey?
Should I put Donna's address on it?
Would I need to take my marriage licence with me as they might need that to verify my change of name?
I would have to get photos taken.
As I never drive when I am over, I really don't know why this had taken on such gargantuan importance.

I agonised over all this for what seemed like hours and finally dropped off to sleep just before I needed to get up.

In the morning it was off to the basement, to the fire safe thingy where important documents reside.
Phew...........found the old licence.
It doesn't run out in January at all..........where did that come from?
Did I dream it before I woke up to start worrying?
It doesn't run out for years.

Now, should I just forget about it or should I get it updated anyway?
I have found online that if you have one of the new fangled passports (which I have) then you don't need to send it away. You just need to quote the number.
I might look into it as I suppose it is something that I should have done......well would have done if I had been living in England all this time.
I will probably get the form while I am there and see how much hassle it will be.
I hope you don't get into trouble for not keeping the information up to date on your driving licence.