Friday, August 30, 2013

The Cotswolds

I apologize for the hiatus, but I have a good excuse--really! My aunt Jen has been to visit, and she took me on a whirlwind tour of the Cotswolds. Well, maybe whirlwind isn't the right term....

The Cotswolds are a lovely region in Englands eastern border. They are a group of small villages and towns that span about 50 miles. Though each has its own unique appeal, the quaint serenity of the region is what attracts visitors from around the world. Jen and I traveled through the northern part of the Cotswolds, walking over 20 miles in the 3 days we were there. We visited Moreton-in-Marsh, Bourton-on-the-Hill, Bourton-on-the-Water, Upper and Lower Slaughter, Stow-on-the-Wold, and Chipping Campden. The weather, scenery, food along the way, and of course, the company, was excellent!

For more pics, check out my Facebook page!

The churchyards were so lovely and full of stories. My dad always loved to walk around old churchyards, and I guess its a family thing, as my aunt and I both made it a regular stop.

This field was harvested within the afternoon. Our trip back found the field half-reaped already.

 The mill at Lower Slaughter was perfectly picturesque!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gild ALL the Things!

So, yesterday I bought a can of gold spray paint. Yeah, I may have a problem!

The peacock/floral prints were the inspiration, and I just had to keep going with it!

... and yes, that is a birch stick in the corner by the lamp. Apparently, I also have a thing for sticks. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Our "Right Now" Home

What a lovely night.... sitting in my living room with my husband, book in hand (well, he has a book in hand. I have the laptop in hand right now.), listening to Bach while the open window blows a cool breeze through the flat. Not a bad life if you ask me.

I've been asked several times how the rough London weather is treating me, and actually, I've been very lucky. The last two and a half weeks have been lovely. I think today is the first day we had cloud cover all day long. Otherwise, it's been sunny for at least the afternoon every day. Even today was right at 70˚F- though tonight's forecast gets us down to 50˚ (not sure I'm ready for that). My English friends say not to get used to it- that winter won't disappoint. I'll have weeks without sun at some point in the next year; but for now, I'm basking in the sun while I can. Maybe I'll blog more when I don't want to go outside (So that's why England produced such great writers--they had nothing better to do! In the words of the great Gru... 'Lightbulb'.)

I've also been asked for some pictures of the flat we're staying in, and with this post, I oblige. However, a bit of explanation. We are blessed to live in a flat adjacent to the church. The flats themselves are quite old, but ours was renovated in the last couple months to prepare for our arrival. There is a flat on the 2nd floor (the 3rd floor to Americans- English have the ground floor, and start counting with the 2nd level. Yeah- still confusing for me) that just began renovations. When that finishes, we'll move up there (it has a bit more room), and our current flat will be occupied by the youth paster who arrives on scene in a few weeks. It's all very exciting, and we are so grateful for all the work people have put in to make us feel at home here. It's been a blessing.

So we're here, for now. It'll probably be only two months, but we want to be as at home as we're able, while still leaving flexibility for the future. The following is where we are right now.

The front door comes into the living room, where my hubby has borrowed a mid-century chair we found in the church basement. I plan to hack those Ikea Lack tables soon! We look out on the street, and though its residential, it still takes some getting used to the fact that people's heads float by all day, eighteen inches from your living room.

We love our kitchen! So grateful to have a gas stove, though the oven is similar to a convection oven, which is taking some adjusting, as is the fact that the dial (like our house thermostat) is in Centigrade. And yes, that is a washing machine in our kitchen. Space is tight, so washers go in the kitchen or bathroom (which you can see in the back), and most flats don't have a dryer. So I block the pedestrians view with our laundry twice a week! :-) 

And last is our bedroom, which is currently what needs the most work. Its the smallest room in the house, and with the bed on one wall, and the other taken up by wardrobes (no closets in Europe), I'm still trying to figure out what to do in here. Plaster walls mean I oughtn't fill the walls with nails as I did in my old apartments (I think there were 28 holes in the hall alone when I moved out of Bloomington!). Suggestions are appreciated.

So, yeah that's my home. My favorite blogger, The Nester, talks about how weird it was putting up pictures of her home for the world to see, and I understand that a bit now. But she's brilliant, and her house is awesome, so maybe posting pictures will light a fire to do something awesome and creative for the next post. One can hope.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Granary Square

The first week is a success! Not only have we avoided oncoming traffic from the 'wrong' direction, but we've actually managed to get a few things accomplished. Our church, St. Giles Christian Mission, hosted their Holiday Bible Club (VBS to my American friends), and we loved helping out with that. Thanks to Ikea and Gumtree (the UK's more-popular form of Craigslist), we've managed to furnish much of our apartment. We've done some grocery shopping, and I already have the first batch of bread rising as we speak. Not too bad for just over a week, if I do say so myself! There have definitely been a few sanctifying conversations (read: conflicts) through the week, but God is blessing, and overall the week has been a joy!

One of the highlights was a walk to Granary Square at Kings Cross with some of our church family.  The City took an old grain processing factory, repurposed it for the part of the College of Art and Design, and used the open space between it and the canal for a public fountain/play area. The kids had so much fun- and I think the adults did too!

The caravan by Regents Canal

Not sure who was terrorizing who!

By the way- did you notice the art building in the background? With a aluminum leaf over part of the brick, it reflects the sky and looks like a slash through part of the building. So cool!

Love this little cutie!

Not everyone had such a great time.... but the rest of us did!