Seahman and the Great Exhibition of the North 2018

Seaham Marina

Getting back to things we’ve done lately and failing to keep up — we travelled to Seaham, Durham about a month ago. Actually, Daisy had been here before we ever were because she attends doggy day care and they sometimes take her on little adventures when it’s warm out.

That dog has an awesome life.

At Seaham, there is a nice little town to walk around, plus big named shops like Asda and a Costa. We went to the marina (picture above) and went on a rocky section of beach before finding a nice, soft sand beach. Daisy was overjoyed because there were lots of little kids for her to try and play with, so we had to try and entertain her otherwise. Plenty of places to get an ice cream and plenty of places to relax on a warm, sunny day.

Aside from the beach trip, we went to the Hancock museum a couple of times for the Great Exhibition of the North event that they have on all through summer. We didn’t see the fireworks at the Quayside or anything on the first opening day, but what we did see was quite cool.

First the museum has all sorts of new exhibits, one of which was the first edition of a book that I read as a student at University of Central Florida way before I ever imagined being a British citizen. The Blazing World is one of the first sci-fi books and it was written by a woman so, take that old, dead white guys!

The other night, we went to a talk that Steve’s old company did about their work on the Marvel movies. I was a proud gal that night when I saw so many kids and students asking the guys their advice on how to get into concept art.

Then in town we came across an art project where people could rename streets on the map of Gateshead and Newcastle. Of course, I named on street after my parents, and Steve named one of the streets after the allotment that we finally got.

Now, as of today, I have not been as active in the allotment as I was when we first got it. It’s an absolute mess, which I’ve been told by a few people, is totally normal. We’ve spent a good month or so, pulling up weeds. Some of it is mare’s tail which our allotment manager told us is a right pain to get rid of. Still, we have some vegetable plants from the library (they do all sorts at my work!) so we’ll have some summer vegetation around the weeds. Yuck.

Also, we saw Elvis Costello at Newcastle City Hall on the 25th of June. That was very cool and since Steve loves his music so much, I was glad to give him the tickets as a late birthday present. Elvis had to cut his tour short due to health reasons and we wish him the very best of health. The librarians I work with are eager to go along next time to see him again in Newcastle.

Right now, Steve and Daisy are on a stroll while I have the flat to myself for a bit. Our house purchase is going at a slow pace, but as far as we know now, things are just carrying on as normal. I figure they’ll give us a date to move, and we’ll panic because we’ve been laying low for a while and just waiting for the official green light on everything.

Other than that, I’m trying to use my bullet journal for keeping up with my blog posts and my writing progress, so both of those things are scheduled for today. I have one post down, now I need some work on my book to keep me up to date.

Until next time!

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Warkworth Castle and Hermitage

Warkworth Castle, Northumberland

I was going to write an update for June because the last post I made was when we visited the Picks in Liverpool in March. However, life being as it is, and my trying to spend more time with my brain turned to de-stress, so I haven’t spent loads of time updating here. I started plenty of posts, but never got around to finishing them. But, alas, it’s Sunday, and Steve is getting lunch ready, and Daisy is hanging out with me in the computer room, listening to 6 Music, so it’s as good of a time as any.

We’ve travelled plenty since March, and I always post something on my Instagram which posts to my Twitter and my Tumblr. (I just realized that my book posts go to my Missus P Tumblr and the personal photos go to my bookblogarama Tumblr. Why did I do that?!)

Anyway, so for this post, I figured I’d work backwards a bit about what’s been going on. Yesterday we went to Warkworth Castle (seen above) and Hermitage. It was a glorious day and we took Daisy along who has now been on her first boat ride. (She was more interested in the ducks in the river than the actual boat.) The castle was really well-preserved and it was very cool to be able to take the stairs to the wine cellar and walk upstairs to see the awesome view of the coast at Amble. Unfortunately with the heat, we didn’t travel to the beach on the way home, but we did have a picnic on the castle grounds, and after the boat trip and a relaxing sit down by the River Coquet, we went for some ice cream at Morwick Dairy. There Daisy met some cows of all age ranges, which she wasn’t so sure about. Of course I fell in love with all of the calves and decided that I do want a farm when I retire.

A nice renovated farm house in Northumberland. Turn it into a B&B but still keep my chickens and occasional farm animals. Ahh. Bliss.

Anyway, if you’re heading to the dairy after the castle visit, make sure to check your Google Map because we entered in the post code that was given and ended up down the street at someone else’s farm. Oh well, we made it eventually.

Last week I started my bullet journal which I’ve been going on about via Twitter. I am so not artistic in any way, so trying to make graph paper with notes pretty is just not something that naturally comes to me. I started watching videos on how to set up a bullet journal, and this channel from Seventeen has been great. I have highlighters, stickers, fine line pens, and a ruler now with all the Rulers of England that I bought at the castle gift shop.

I may be a British citizen, but as an American, I feel it is my duty to appreciate my love of the English Heritage by purchasing souvenirs. Whenever I go somewhere I buy a magnet for our fridge at home, and the magnetic shelf in the office where we keep all of our ones from holidays. Since my “holidays” are weekend getaways and little adventures, I like spreading the British pride to my co-workers.

Aside from the bullet journal, I wrote one day for Camp NaNoWriMo, which is shameful because I always have the best intentions. Maybe the journal will keep me more on target.

I’m also going to use the journal for my blogging and today I can mark down that I actually wrote a post. Hooray for me!

As of today we have 63 days, 23 hours, and 39 minutes left until my Florida trip. This year we’re going on a cruise again but this time we’re going to Nassau instead of Freeport, so I’m glad we’re seeing something different. Also, my parents are coming with me, which I’m also super happy about. They aren’t convinced that they’ll like it, but since it’s a three day excursion, I think they can dip their toe into cruising with us and see how much fun it can really be.

We’ve been watching videos on YouTube about Toy Story Land, and ogling new merchandise to buy in the parks. Apparently there’s a new Disney Play app that I’ll be getting once I’m home. Plus, they have new MagicBands and I think I want the Mickey ice cream one, but I can’t find it online again, so I may have to go with All About the Bow Minnie.

Our flat sale is going well as far as we can tell. We finally got our sold sign out front, and the mortgage offer from the bank has gone to the solicitor, so hopefully we’ll be in our new place before we go on holiday.

I know I have way more travelling updates to post here because we’ve hit some great National Trust and English Heritage sites, including our trip to Whitby at the beginning of June for Steve’s birthday. However, it is now lunchtime and my fish and chips await me!

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Easter weekend in The Wirral

So I’m writing this from The Pick House in Hoylake. Daisy has met her cousin dog and she’s been looked after by my sister-in-law and her kids while we took Steve’s mother out for some Easter grocery shopping.

Steve drove us down from Newcastle and he took us to New Brighton this afternoon as well. I really like not having to drive and being able to see the world go by as a passenger.

Daisy did all right in the hotel room last night, although she barked at the people chatting in the hallway at midnight. (I didn’t blame her.)

Tomorrow we’ll head home and enjoy Easter at home and see what the cat’s gotten up to while he’s had the flat to himself.

I am a British citizen with a passport and a polling card to vote. I am a fine, English lady who travels on bank holidays with her family and her dog. {royal wave}

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It’s citizenship day!

Hip and caffeinated ☕️

I don’t think anyone loves this photo as much as I do. I thought it was cool that I had all the things hip going on at once — hip people, a guy with a hip hat, and even a coffee, all while at a hip movie theatre.

Anyway, I wanted to post something of an update today just because it’s sort of a special day. Right now, I am an American citizen. By 4PM I will be an American citizen as well as a British citizen. How exciting?

Unfortunately, though, I’m ill. Like not a normal cold, ill. Been in bed for days, can’t mentally function kind of ill. This is the price we pay to work in customer service, I suppose. All the germs travel to us, then we end up feeling guilty about being off sick and pass it on to all of our co-workers. Last time I was off, however, I had the stomach flu, so having a stuffy cold may be some sort of consolation prize. Not sure.

Aside from that, things at Pick Manor have been iffy. I had the brilliant idea of buying a house a while ago and now that we’re finally in the process, we found that it’s just a huge pain. First of all, you have to sell your property first before anyone will “take you seriously” about purchasing another. This means no matter how much your bank has approved you for in financing or how much you have saved, you can’t make any kind of move unless it’s sold. (Granted, yes, if you want to, you can have two properties and rent one out, but you end up paying a penalty for this and yay taxes!)

We came close to buying a new house near Steve’s work, but that was just too expensive. We would have poured all of that savings he worked so hard for, just to have something that wasn’t in the location we wanted and wasn’t even big enough for a washer and a dryer. (It’s not common to find these things in a British house, but if I’m going to move, I’d like the option, you know?)

So we’re sitting here waiting. Poor Steve has had a hard time of it, because this is just so bloody stressful. When the surveyors came around to check our property in lieu of the new house purchase, an electrician told us that our flat needed a whole rewire because it was dangerous. We’d not done anything to the electrics since Steve moved in here in 2008 so that was freaking frustrating. The electrician told us what a nightmare it would be and how we couldn’t even consider having it done ourselves because the electricians would turn it into a bomb site and it would be unliveable afterwards. He suggested we have the builders handle that, take the cut in the offer the builders gave us for our flat as part-exchange, and get on with it. The builders weren’t having that, so we took Daisy to doggy day-care, and toted Jake to a hotel with us for three days while an electrician did the work. Mind you, this was the third electrician we had come around to do a quote because the first two were like, “What a mess! This is awful! How could you live here with this?! Why did you purchase it?” and on and on.

With the recent Beast from the East snowageddon, I learned that it’s illegal to not clear the snow off the hood and roof of your car. It’s too dangerous. However, a flat that has dodgy electrics that could potential kill everyone in the building — that’s okay? Makes no earthly sense whatsoever.

But no matter. Here I am in England, trying to hang out with a severe cold with my cat on the coffee table, my dog in “her” room which is the computer room that Steve’s in currently working from home. I still have my lovely view from my big picture window in the living room and we still have money in the bank. All in all, it could be worse. It’s just freaking frustrating.

Nonetheless, I will become a royal subject this afternoon and celebrate at a pub in the best British fashion this evening. Cheers!

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Things that won’t happen in 2018

My new iPhone has an awesome camera!

New Year’s Resolutions. I usually do them, but this year, I’m not so sure I should bother.

Last year I put something like I was going to do well at my job, eat better, exercise more, write my books, read my books, and be a genuinely 100% perfect individual. It didn’t happen, or actually it happened in moments, so maybe I did okay in the end, but if I were to write the same tired goals down, I’d just be wasting time and kidding myself.

So here’s what’s not going to happen in 2018:

I’m not going to finish a book. I know that because as has been for the last two years, I do not have time. My job is an on-the-go kind of job so I don’t sit and ponder my next scene as much as I used to. I’m also around people all the time, so I can’t focus on anything creative. I only really feel myself and focused on creative tasks when I’m home for a few days (like Christmas and New Year’s Day). Sure, I can write a few paragraphs here and there, but it doesn’t amount to anything. I could write short stories, but I gave that up a long time ago. I could piece the stories together, sure, but that would take planning and organization which, again, takes time that I don’t have.

I won’t read more. This is from the same exact reasons as the writing, although I do have time set aside for reading, I usually spend it staring off into space on the bus, or looking at my phone. I still buy books and I still like to promote them on my blog but I only recently updated my Currently Reading list on Goodreads, and it’s sort of a lie. I’m reading It, got two from Santa. I bought a couple on the £.99 Kindle sale before Christmas too.

The eating more healthy is a tricky one because that’s a big priority for me, so tell you what, I’ll really try to accomplish this one. As much as the non-writing makes me so disconnected from myself, not taking care of myself is rotten. I can’t dress up. I can’t feel good. I haven’t been able to go to Weight Watchers in ages because inevitably something happens after work on Wednesdays and I never get there. Now we have the dog, so I can’t go straight to a meeting on my half day because I have to go home and check on her. Every other Wednesday maybe or just bite the bullet and go to the super packed evening meetings (even though there is limited parking at our gym even in the afternoon on weekdays). But, whatever, if I don’t let the work schedule drain me of all motivation to do anything other than eat Greggs for lunch, then fine, I’ll do it.

Exercise. Okay, this is maybe do-able. Again, with the dog, I’ll have to be outside more and walking with her. I get up early with her anyway, so I have time to get outside and maybe make a breakfast that isn’t instant. Also, Steve and I have decided to do the Great North Run this year because everyone else loses weight from running, so this may be the only way I’m going to get motivated to do the same. We jogged a bit in October but once the dog came around and the cold set in, we stopped and adjusted our schedules around her. As she gets older, hopefully the time needed to take a run will be available.

Live in the same flat. We put ours up on the market yesterday. Now, since England has funny rules about house purchases, you won’t be “taken seriously” by a seller of a house until you have “money in the bank” with your property already sold. Doesn’t matter if you have been guaranteed a mortgage based on your income and amount your current mortgage is. Even if you’re going to sell, you have to do it first, end up without a place to live, so we may have to live in rented accommodation for a while, until we can find a new place to live. Apparently this is their “property chain” that’s totally common and no one questions it. Also, if you make an offer on a house, you’re not legally obligated to go through with the sale. You can put in offers for all sorts of houses and decide on one. Most places we’ve looked at so far (although they tell you not to bother since no one thinks anyone actually has money to buy anything) told us that their house was sold, but two months down the line the buys pulled out of the sale. This is normal, I take it, and no doubt will be stuff we’ll have to deal with with the sale of our place. But hopefully this year, we will get it sold and move into a house in the same area. (Or America??)

Just be a foreign resident of England. I applied for my UK citizenship last October. I’ve had my fingerprints done and all the fines paid, so I’m just waiting for a letter to say I can go to a swearing in ceremony in town. Exciting!

Now, I’d say I’d expect a family to turn up and to get a certificate in Computer Science, but those are things I’d really like to have happen and I don’t know if I’m going to get there by December. Hopefully though, I can have all those little hopes and dreams reached so I can have new ones for next year. (Or at least go back to the tried and true ones for 2019).

Anyway, hope everyone has a Happy New Year and hope 2018 treats you well.

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