Thursday, July 10, 2008

One for the book.....

Arrived safely in England despite yawning gap (impending death) between me and the Atlantic for most of the flight. Spent a few days in London seeing rellies and old mates. Got the biggest soaking of my life on the way to Earlsfield Station from the home of one of my ex au pairs, Nicky. She looked after my older two when they were 2 and 5 (they're now 15 and 12) and it was an out-of-body experience for everyone, but they still managed to talk her into a corner! I love the fact that we have kept in touch with most of our au pairs (4) and now their babies.

Got the train up from Kings Cross to Newcastle and a huge black cloud followed us the whole way. On my progress reports to mum, I was assured the weather was lovely, but within half an hour of us decamping at her house the heavens opened and it poured for 12 hours straight. I am sleeping with 5 year old in a lovely attic bedroom, but the roof is the proverbial tin drum and the rain pee'd all night. I finally had to avail myself of my United Airlines sponge ear plugs to get to sleep. Little one is either still a bit jet-lagged or developing a new habit; for the last three nights he has woken at about 4am, demanding to see Top Gear and unconvinced that it's the middle of the night (pretty much.) 'We' get back to sleep at about 6am. Knackered!

To my point about an addition to my book (see side bar) - my little one has almost killed himself getting out of the bath in England. Although I am there all the time, it didn't dawn on either of us that the bath is not level with the bathroom floor height. In the US, the tub and the floor are pretty much at the same level, so you just cock your leg over and get out. You can even do it without looking down! Not so in England. The bottom of the bath is significantly higher than the bathroom floor and little one was nonchalantly chatting to me while getting out of the bath. It was like watching someone step off a step they didn't know was there. Good job I was sitting right next to him on the loo (seat down) and had just put my wine glass down on the cistern top, so was able to grab his arm as he plunged inches further than he anticipated. He gasped slightly and then said "Thanks mom" before taking off, bare-bottomed into the living room to be lovingly towelled down my grandma!

15 comments:

  1. Just wanted to say hi and good luck with your book.

    I love that you have a list of blogs of Ex-Pats. I am one living in Canada, and will be adding a link to your blog on my blog.

    Gill from Canada

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  2. Have fun in Blighty! I just got my copy of your book so very excited.

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  3. It's the little things like that, and that no one thinks of as cultural differences, that are so disorienting!

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  4. Glad to hear you've arrived safely and are enjoying yourselves.

    I had to laugh about the comment regarding the 'tin drum roof'. I stayed at a friend's home once with the 'same roof'...it was like listening to a woodpecker all night!

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  5. Hey Toni, glad you made it safe and sound if a touch damp! If it's any consolation we have now had a 3rd day of rain, unheard of here in July so I'm blaming mum!

    Uh 'glass of wine on the cistern' - you have serious class my friend!LOL

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  6. I've been AWOL for a bit, so am just catching up. I hope you're enjoying your visit home.

    You've got me longing for fish and chips, and decent cheese.

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  7. Welcome home, Expatmum! I just returned from an extended exile up north (okay, it was Nottingham, but anything above the Watford Gap is 'up north' to us southerners) to find that you are practically in the same neighborhood, geographically speaking, that is.

    Hope you enjoy becoming reacquainted with all things British.

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  8. Hi...yes as I look out my window it is chucking it down! Glad I got my washing in - just in time! Bathrooms are the most disorientating places and I've got a few "loo" stories from our trip to the continent. I was actually quite glad to see a bath again here so the "wee ones" could finally get clean! Enjoy your stay...

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  9. The children keep singing "rain rain go away ..." but it's not working. You have arrived at a particularly wet time. Oh well who cares - HAVE A GREAT TIME!!!

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  10. Aaaah - jet lag. Sooo glad that period of having to lie there with one eye open - but pretending to be asleep - whilst the Boys peer sharply at you for signs of movement signalling that they can legitimately get out of bed is over....

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  11. Your comment about baths has confused me.

    I'm a visual learner... can you draw me a picture?

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  12. I'm with nutty cow, are you talking sunken baths in the US?

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  13. English baths are often deeper than American ones. (Deep baths in the US are sometimes called 'soaking tubs.') Consequently, when you go to step out of an English tub, it is further down from the top of the side of the tub to the floor than it is from the top of an American tub to the top of the floor. If the tub is deeper in the first place, I find it not too disorienting when I step out - I have to raise my leg higher to get out, so I am half expecting it to be a longer way to the ground. However, I have found many places in the UK have somewhat shallower tubs nowadays (to save water perhaps), but they are set higher up than an American tub (so the bottom of the tub is at a level several inches above the level of the bathroom floor.) I think that's what Toni is talking about. You're aware the tub side reaches to a particular height of your legs and you expect it to be a similar distance when you step out onto the floor, only it's not.

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  14. Oh how lovely to hear that you are our side of the Atlantic for a change, and enjoying our Summer weather! Ain't it grand? It must be fab to catch up with everyone and all the news and hugs. It's never quite the same without touch is it? Have a happy time. M xx

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  15. I think Almost American has done my work for me, (thank you!). Basically with every bath I've been in in the States, the bottom of the tub is flush with the floor, so you just chuck your leg over when you get out, a bit like stepping over a taut rope. Over here, most tub bottoms are several inches higher than the bathroom floor so you effectively have to step down when you get out.
    Not something I have ever been bothered by but I'm still having to grab my little one by the arm when he gets out!!!
    First day of real sun today. Woo hoo!

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