Sunday, September 28, 2008

New favorite picture of Ryan


Here is my new desktop picture. I can't say how much his little expressions mean to me. He is playing under a sign and peeking out at us and laughing. Click the picture to expand it to its original size and right click and select "Set as Background" or "Set as Desktop" if you want it for your computer too.

Is the UK really so different?

Are things really so different here? Heck they even have a Hooters!

Westminster Abbey



This weekend we finally toured Westminster Abbey. Jessi literally walks by this amazing church every single day and we have taken tons of pictures of the outside and Ryan and I have even eaten Fish and Chips on the lawn of the Abbey. But we had never seen the inside until this Friday.


It was absolutely amazing. Unfortunately all i can show you is outside pictures because they won't let you use cameras inside. The abbey was built in 1050ad and has a long history. The Abbey has been the coronation site of every King and Queen for hundreds and hundreds of years.


The cool thing about these old churches is that they are full of tombs and vaults and gravestones of some of the most famous people of their times and Westminster is no exception. Big names you ask? How about Sir Isaac Newton, Geoffrey Chaucer, Emily Bronte, Rudyard Kipling, Handel, Charles Dickens, King Henry V, and many more. Princess Diana even had her funeral here.


They buried Oliver Cromwell here but dug him up and Hung him posthumously, then they displayed his head on a spike outside the abbey for 24 years. I guess they knew how to make an example of people back in those days.





Afterwards we swung by Hamley's which is an awesome 7 story toy store on Oxford street. We ate a nice dinner and did a little bit of shopping though an item we bought in the US for $25 dollars was 45 pounds here (roughly $85 dollars). Soooo we didn't shop too much but Ryan had a blast looking around and playing with the train set.

Moving Day!

This Tuesday we will have spent a month here in London. We have learned so much about this town and met so many wonderful people it will always be a part of us. In the midst of all the wonderful things we have seen and done in this town we have only had a couple of small complaints. The one thing that has been a thorn in our side has been our apartment. We knew we were going to have to make some changes when we came here and we were able to compensate for the tiny apartment, the washer/dryer (its one unit that does both) that only fits 2 shirts and 2 pants at a time, and the lack of airconditioning. What we didn't count on was the fact that the number 88 bus which runs 24 hours a day stops under our window (which is open because of the lack of ac) every 4 minutes. We also didn't expect the oven that gets hotter on the outside than on the inside with no kitchen door to shut out our inquisitive youngster. And we laughed maniacally at the bathroom that had a motion detector light instead of a light switch so every time you take a shower halfway through you had to get out soaking wet and dance around to get the light to turn back on.

All that is behind us now! Our friends Sara and Jeromy who have committed 2 years to working for BATS in London have recently purchased a house and have moved out of their apartment near ours. Several emails and some magic performed by Mary who works for BATS Europe have gotten us into their old apartment.

Basically we have moved from motel 6 to the Ritz Carlton! We are so happy! Our good friend Ken who is the Senior VP of Business Development for BATS came over and helped us do a late night move into our new place last night. We are in and enjoying Satellite TV, fast internet, Ice cold airconditioning, bigger rooms, more closets and storage space, bigger play area for ryan, a balcony, and a kitchen with a door so I can keep Ryan away from the oven!

Best of all no buses anywhere near this building. It is sooo quiet. I wonder if I'll miss all of the inebriated pubgoers at 1:30 in the morning breaking bottles and singing under my window at the busstop. Probably not ;)


Here is our new living room with 2 loveseats! Our old on only had one so I watched TV on the floor yay.

Here is our new kitchen table which is twice as big as our old little round one that barely fit my monster laptop.

Here is our new kitchen

A nice long hallway with plenty of room to kick balls, race cars, and ride toys around.

A picture from our new balcony.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My first UK Spam mail

Not sure how they found me on my american email address but I got this spam mail today.

"Lab-tested female sensual leverage!!!

Patients can access our chemists on the a variety of health topics including skin care, osteoporosis, and smoking, user support and free consultations with licensed physicians!!! Top-quality stuff is here!!! "

I admit I have no idea what femal sensual leverage is

Funny Terms

Yes it is a different language here in the GB.

To Shoot someone = To fire them.

Fred wasn't working out so we had to shoot him.

A Cowboy = Someone who does a job poorly

Sue was worried about hiring that construction company, they looked like a bunch of cowboys

oh I watched a commercial that cracked me up. They pronounced Zebra like Deborah. Zebborah.

You know those English Muffins we are so fond of in the states? Turns out we added the English part to the word. Here in England they are just Muffins.

Body parts are called - Bits. They have a little show called "Can you name your body bits"

Speaking of bits. Fanny which means butt here in the states is slang for the female reproductive organ area (Fanny Packs crack people up here)

The act of building or putting up something - Erection

You will see signs saying "Erection in progress" or "Erection by so and so company"

Oh and it turns out that the chickens in Sussex lay eggs and are proud of it!

Peanuts

Ok here is one of the pictures I wanted to share with you that would be considered slightly naughty in the U.S. but is hilarious.




If you went to the grocery store and went looking for shelled peanuts this is what you get. Unlike shelled peanuts in the states these aren't roasted or salted. They actually don't make a mess when you crack them open because the shell isn't dried out from the roasting process. The peanuts themselves don't crunch like the peanuts we are used to, they are hard but they mush more than crunch.. They are pretty good, you actually taste the peanut instead of all the salt.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Will she ever learn!


Brighton

This weekend we decided to do a day trip to Brighton. A town along the english channel with some really neat history, a carnival on a pier, and some of the coolest shopping areas we've ever seen.
No great trip was ever begun without a hearty breakfast to start the day. Jessi bought a sausage and egg sandwich from the old faithful Burger King in Victoria Station only to be suprised by a british twist on a familiar sandwich.
Note the thin coiled sausage link. Needless to say I ate it for her.
We boarded the train to Brighton at Victoria station and enjoyed a nice 50 minute trip.
Hey we made it!
Here is one of our first views upon arrival looking down towards the English Channel
We stopped and I managed to get a quick haircut (yay!). We then headed down to the beach which it turned out was not made of sand!
The day was beautiful but the water was super cold so no swimming for our little fishie. We headed to a nice outdoor cafe right on the beach and had a tasty lunch. The fish and chips was amazing as always.
We walked along the beach and found a nifty little cart selling fresh seafood. Including Jellied Eel. Jessi refused to take a picture of me eating this stuff but I had to do it for the blog.
Yum! Cold eel chunks (watch out for the backbone pieces) cooked in it's own fat and then cooled until the fatty broth turns into a delicious salty jello. Get a fork and eat this treat at room temperature.
Ok it was incredibly disgusting and I can barely think about it without feeling ill!
We then headed to the carnival where mom and Ryan rode some rides.
And whats a carnival without you guessed it. ICE CREAM!
We stopped by and did a tour at the royal palace. Built by King George IV it is a crazy palace completely designed and decorated in chinese style. It's funny though because George and all the designers had never actually been to China.
After we were done we ate at a nice italian place and window shopped a bit. There is an area of town called "The Lanes" that is a collection of really tight windy streets with shops that just pop up when you manuver around the twisty turny avenues. It was very fun and cool and the shops were trendy and all shut down at 5:30 dang it.
It was a great trip and I totally recommend visiting if you ever come to the UK

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Don't feed the Swans!

Turns out pigeons aren't the only thing you shouldn't feed!
video
Oh please don't forget to vote!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Please help me out and vote

I don't want to offend any of my faithful bloggers so I thought I'd put up a vote. As you probably know, here in Europe they have different words for things than we do, they also don't have our quaker-like bashfulness about certain words and bodyparts. Now I don't want to make an X-rated blog or anything crazy but I do have a few hilarious pictures of actual shops, items, advertisements, and buildings that would never see the light of day in the states. For an example, they have a pub here called "The Spreadeagle", nothing too bad I promise.

If you think this would be funny and would like to see it just comment and say

YES! Bring it on!

and if for whatever reason you don't think this would be a good addition to the site then comment and say

No Way!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

From the Diaries of "The Secret Uncle Cam"

A little blast from the past. Dusted off and resurrected for your viewing pleasure!


video

So long you will be missed!

Brian, Marie, and their two girls Sienna and Sydney King are heading back to the states. They've done their time and they are glad to be getting home. I'm sure as we speak they are probably parked in front of a QT somewhere drinking 44 oz Diet Cokes and thinking about me.

Here are 2 videos I took on our last day, we went to Hyde Park to play in the Princess Diana Memorial Playground. And the other video is from our Tube ride. The girls were so awesome and Ryan loved them to death. I'll miss you guys!


video video

Whats in your wallet?

Here is a handful of London essentials. The only cash missing
is the 20 pence coin and the 2 pound coin. Basically you always carry a
huge bulging pocketful of coins here. They have no 1 pound notes
and it seems like they don't print a ton of 5 pound notes either.
The blue Oyster card is the most important thing to keep
with you when you travel around London. It is our bus pass
and tube pass. Basically you pay a fee and you can use any
bus or tube to anywhere around here. I'd be lost without it! Literally!

Monday, September 15, 2008

When Pigeons Attack!

Oh they warned us. They tried to tell us in so many ways. Signs that say "Don't feed the pigeons" and even the Original Tour Bus guide told us they carried 8 diseases each more horrible than the last. We just didn't listen. Why oh God why didn't we listen?
It all started so innocently, a few Cheerios from Ryan's snack baggie. They look so hungry lets just give them a few...
Oh look they eat right out of our hands
Hey that tickles!
Oh dear God no! We have run out of Cheerios! Run! Run! Every man woman and child for themselves!
Aaaagghhhh....
Oh no they caught up with Jessi...
Save yourself!
Another victim in the park
Please whatever you do..... Do not feed the pigeons!

Highlights of some of the beautiful parks here

Just a collection of some of the really neat flowers and landscaping here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Battersea Park

Today - Sunday - it is another BEAUTIFUL day here in London. It has been sunny and mid 60's all day. No rain even whoa! We decided we better take advantage and head to a park we've been hearing about with a children's zoo in it.

We walked about a half mile to a bus stop on the other side of the Thames river and took a 15 minute bus ride to Battersea Park.

The park was huge and had a lake in the middle where you could rent paddle boats. A little further in and we saw a neat place to rent bicycles with pull behind carts for the kids. We walked about a quarter of a mile into the park and found the children's zoo area.

We were a bit suprised to find that it wasn't a petting zoo. They had places where you could reach through a fence and pet a goat or donkey and they had a few chickens around and such but nothing like we were used to in Kansas City. It was still a really neat place with lots to do and see.
They had fun tunnels that led down to a viewing area to see Meerkats

They had wild, smelly, half-crazed, un-tamed beasts.

They had even wilder, smellier, completely-crazed, un-tamed beasts.

They had the Easter Bunny laying eggs for all the children of the world!

They even had flying Monkey Ninjas!

After a long day of playing and looking at tons of pigs, monkeys, goats, ducks, mice, lizards, and more we finally made the long trek home. Ryan had so much fun he decided to start his nap about 10 minutes early.