Wednesday, May 25, 2011

There and Back Again

ED and I have gone over to the UK for house hunting. We left on May the 7th, returned on the 13th. We got all of the must do things done. 

We arrived at the Albany airport Saturday around 11 am. We were ready for our fist glimpse of Europe. We had a long day and night ahead of us.

We landed Sunday morning at 8am. It took only one hour to clear immigration, customs and get our luggage. We hopped into the rental car and faced the first challenge ---driving in the UK. We turned around several times in the parking lot, quite disoriented; Garmin is not so good with directions in the Car Park or parking lot. “Proceed to the highlighted route” We struggled to get to the highlighted route. After a short set of turns we were on our way.  Ed did great! We proceeded up the Motorway without incident and about an hour later fully exhausted we arrived at our place for the week.  So it is 9:00 AM local time and we settled in and caught a nap.  We later walked a mile or so down the road and back towards the city of Derby, returning to our room with a small bag of groceries for the morning, having scoped out the local pub, The Broadway for our dinner.  We both had fish and chips of course!

After a restless night’s sleep we woke Monday morning and after breakfast and prayers we checked in with the local contacts and decided to make our way north to Nottingham to the IKEA to browse. Knowing that we would have a home to furnish, we spent a while looking about talking over ideas and options. We spent about a dollar there, big investments. We caught lunch and checked in at the local electronics store, again talking over our options for the various things for our new place. Our afternoon appointment was in Darby City center, a wonderful 2 -4 block area that is all foot traffic full of all sorts of shops and such. We had an appointment to set up our banking, after about 90 minutes we were sent away. Our information would be processed and then, assuming that all went well we would be issued an account the next day or so. No deposit made. We popped into Derby and found dinner in the Cathedral district at Friar’s steak house. Ed had a very respectable steak.

Tuesday morning we met with Beverley. Beverley is a wonderful woman who not only drove us about the next 2 days but had gone ahead of us, and arranged multitude of homes to view. She kept us from the worst ends of town and on the right (that is the left) side of the road with no thought at all!  We saw 7 properties on Tuesday. Some were within walking distance of Rolls-Royce, where Ed will be working. We saw an old home with sheep as neighbors, lots of overgrown garden or lawn. It looked as if no one had lived there for some time and it suffered of patching together and neglect. We also saw some very nice homes as well.  That evening we had dinner at the local pub with Lee Carson, his wife Jen and son Drew (4 years old). Lee oversees the US workers on the submarine project at Rolls-Royce. It was good to meet them and they were very generous with information concerning our upcoming time in the UK.

On Tuesday Beverly took us out to see the last of the houses on our agenda. We saw 2 apartments, one fully furnished and very lovely- but very modern. Not at all the country living style we have had for 30 years.  The most notable home was the property at Longford Hall. We were to see - A wing of the manor home there which was being “let”. The grounds of the property were beautiful, 11 acres, a proper English garden with a stream running through, and a drive about a mile long. It was exquisite! It was also very remote. We sadly rejected this as it is our plan to get to know many of our new UK neighbors and to live- like and with the British.
Coming up the long drive to Longford Hall
We would have had the upper floor, got to love the ivy!

Proper English Garden

We did settle on a lovely home in the town of Mickelover.

Our new address is 2 Brambling Crescent. Mickelover, Derby DE3 0UT; UK. It is a pretty typical brick house in a small neighborhood on the outside of the city of Derby.

The Conservatory
As is typical, the center hall has many doors off of it (all rooms can be closed off from the rest of the house). The living room has a “living flame fireplace “think gas flame. The living room is very spacious with a bump out that looks kind of like a bay window. Attached to the living room is a dining room that leads to the “Conservatory” think sun room. 

View of our back Garden!
There is a very bright kitchen with lots of counter space. The refrigerator is under the counter. (We will shop often.) The gas cooker think cook top with burners is over the oven. This is not usual. There are some built in baskets and cubbies. Making it feel very homey to me.  It has space for a very small nook type kitchen table.  There is a laundry room between the kitchen and the garage, 2 cars, and behind the garage is a very bright room that was added on. It had been used as a gym. This will probably be the sewing room. This room has two sky light windows and a sliding glass door that leads to a small deck and the garden, think yard with garden.  The garage has a small chest freezer in it. As you head back down the hall to the stairs you pass the water closet, think half bath. Upstairs is the family bath, the only tub- but it might fit a small family, with a separate shower. There are 4 other rooms upstairs. The master bedroom with large closets, and an en-suite, think master bath. The room is very bright and should fit our bed from home well. The master bedroom looks out over the front garden and the road. The second bedroom also has an en-suit as well. (The only house we saw with 2 en-suite). This room has a lovely look out over the conservatory and back garden. The third room is quite small and will probably have a desk in it.  The fourth room is another bedroom. It is over the sewing room and looks over the back garden.  The front garden, think yard and garden is small, this is typical and very well kept as it the back. There is the typical fence around the back garden about 5 feet tall. The British require their privacy.

Ed and I are feeling very blessed with this home, I feel like we can move in and make it “feel like” our own. We have pictured Ed’s guitar standing in several corners, but haven’t yet decided where the wall quilts will go.

After house hunting we went to the letting agent and filled out papers. Beverley also, along the way had taken us to the Toyota dealer. We looked at lease cars and settled on an Auris hybrid- an automatic transmission. We plan to pick that up around the first of June.

We had a lovely dinner at the pub “The Spotted Cow” with two of Ed’s new co-workers, Ian and Steve. It was a wonderful night. Ian suggested that I try the bus system the next day. (I have lived so long away from such things I needed that encouragement. Thanks Ian!

On Thursday Ed went in to work, his first solo in THE CAR without a co-pilot. He went in for a meet and greet. He got through security, met with Lee Carson again, meeting many nationals and US ex-patriots; he began some of the startup paper work for security, and such. He later met with Ian and other UK nationals that he will be working with. They asked basically who are you and what have you done at KAPL over the years, and what can you do for us here? Ed was able to answer their questions and their response was a warm welcome. Ed feels that he will be of help to the UK engineers and be of assistance to them as they continue to design the propulsion system for their next submarine. This is the answer to his question of over a year ago… Would they even have any use for my skills there? It is good that Ed is not one who needs instant answers to questions. But the answer was very clearly YES. God is gracious to us; in His time- to give us answers.

While Ed was at work I made my way to the bus stop and took the #6 bus to the City Center. I walked over to the bank. Not having an appointment (having only US phones they had trouble making international calls to call me back) it took over an hour to get help. Hurrah we were granted a checking account. And they let me make a deposit. I then proceeded to walk around the City Center. I stopped in to a shop with a sewing machine in the window. Yes I found a fabric store; it is also a Bernina dealer! I spoke to them about bringing my machine to the UK and they were able to advise me on getting it squared and ready to use. I looked at some of their fabrics and then went to have a scone and tea.  I met up with Ed and we had dinner at the White Stag- a pub. I am not sure but most any eating place may be called a pub. We departed early the next morning to return to Vischer Ferry.

We look forward to returning to the UK. We plan to find as well as make time to see many of the lovely sights and places.  Ed and I are excited to see all the things that the Lord has in store for us in our coming travels. I am sure that we will not return unchanged!

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