30 Dec 2012

Look Back on 2012

2012 is winding down. How was your 2012? It was my precious year in private and in public as well. Because of Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic Games, and further, my wedding, move to the UK and new life here! Life is not always enjoyable, but it was a pretty fulfilling life with all things considered. At the beginning of this year, I decided my New Year's resolution;
  • find and start a new hobby; I couldn't start a new hobby but developed my hobbies.
  • read English books more; I am not sure if I read more English books but I've kept reading books.
  • do more exercise; Complately I failed... I started it from November, but I can't sustain and find my rhythm. 
  • worry less, do self-management (become independent mentally), and build my confidence; It's a difficult part for me, but I've been doing the best.
  • beat my bf at chess game by inspiration; I beat him once by inspiration.
  • keep being well-groomed; I've been doing the best.
As a result, they were so-so, but not bad I think, because I did the best. How about you?

29 Dec 2012

A Carrot

Yipeee!!! We went to Westfield London Shopping Centre today as a carrot for fixing his closet. It was a cloudy and very windy day, but no big deal for shopping inside:) The sale have already started. My husband used to live near this area, and he said that this area has changed fundamentally in the past few years. I don't know the past but development is clearly visible because of the Olympic Games.

My husband is a shopping-hater, so we split out and enjoyed separately. It's the best way to control our stress. Eventually I didn't get any new outfit, but I enjoyed browsing many shops and strolling new places very much! There were Santa's Grotto (was closed after the Christmas), an outdoor skating rink and of course the Olympic Stadium around the shopping centre. At a cafe, we had a lovely coffee art of reindeer:)
  • Today's good thing was that I got a nice carrot and bad thing was I lost a earring...










Physical Work

Yesterday, I was fixing the closet all day except for shopping at a supermarket. I tightened up screws with stress positions and held up heavy doors. And now it's pretty much fixed. Regained my honour! I feel great!

But..oh, my back hurts... To tell the truth, I was not sure to fix it in the day, but my husband sent me a text that we should go to Westfield London Shopping Centre tomorrow if I fixed it, as a carrot dangled in front of me! So I did well, of course! This was killing two birds with one stone, because he didn't want to do any DIY, and I like doing DIY and shopping as well:)

27 Dec 2012

Do You Like DIY?

On Boxing Day, my husband suddenly told me to rearrange a bed room. What's gotten into him? Normally he doesn't like to move everything, because he forgets where he put things. On the other hand, I love to rearrange a room for a change and I used to do by myself very often. I also like to decorate rooms. For that reason, I can't completely understand his reason and why he doesn't like it. I think he may have said to promote a cheery mood for dour me, and also I'd often suggested him arranging.

We moved every furniture in the bed room and determined the position of them. A major problem occurred. Joint parts of a closet were broken when we moved it... It leaned to one side and lost its role as a closet... Honestly, it had been broken a little bit, but now it's completely broken.

Well, well, well... it was an unpleasant situation... He was obviously annoyed and thought it was my fault, even though he didn't say so... I was irritated too... We struggled to fix it but it got worse so we gave up temporarily.

Today, I went to DIY shop and bought some brackets and screws. Because I have a bit of a guilty feeling. I like DIY but my husband doesn't. I have a confidence that I can do DIY better than him. Some people do DIY to get rid of stress, but seems it cause stress for him..

Eventually we think the room is better. Much more space and efficient flow of people. I just wish we can fix the closet as well.

25 Dec 2012

Day of Rest

How have your holidays been so far? In my home town, Miyagi (Japan) is white Christmas. On the other hand, in Witham, it's a gloomy Christmas morning with heavy rain and thunder, unfortunately... But I like Christmas. I like this season. I like the end of year and also the beginning of the new year. Because of celebratory atmosphere and I can forget about unpleasant things of the year and also turn over a new leaf in the new year and refresh myself.

We spent a lovely Chrisetmas Eve yesterday. We unexpectedly received the Poinsettias from my best friend. It was really nice of her. She is kind, warm at heart and thoughtful. We had a Christmas party at my work. It was wonderful and cozy party with people I work with and their family. The food was amazingly delicious! I also received a card and present unexpectedly. I didn't bring anything, so I had guilty feelings... hahaha.

While I am writing this, the sky began lightening. I can hear church bell from the nearest church. Sometimes I can hear it when I am having a bath. I always feel happy when I hear the church bell. It makes me feel better and and I realise that I am in the UK, not in Japan.

Last night, I watched "Christmas Carol" on TV. As you know, it's a famous story by Charles Dickens. To be honest, I've never read the book nor seen the film, but knew a little bit line. It's a great story to re-examine your life.

On Christmas day, we are going to stay at home with delicious meals and relax. There aren't Christmas presents under the Christmas tree nor the tree itself in this house, but it is clogged with joy and warm atmosphere. Christmas is not special day for everyone, but I just don't want to be like Ebenezer Scrooge of Christmas Carol, before he transformed.



23 Dec 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

We've received variety of beautiful greeting cards from various countries, and it's really nice. I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!


Blocked Pass

The river Brain has flooded due to heavy rain. The usual route; River Walk has been cut off. 



22 Dec 2012

Tatting Lace

My sister sent me a tatting lace which she made with a Christmas card. She is a crafts lover and I am as well, but tatting, knitting whichever I am not very good with them... When I was around 14 years old, I learnt how to knit a muffler out of wool at school. I bought a lovely pink knitting wool and was absorbed in my knitting at first. But I realised that the width of muffler was not equal, rather it was in a trapezoidal shape. I unwound most of the worsted, I got tired of it and gave up..... For a long time, it was sleeping in the back of a built-in shelf, and then transformed into my niece's cap and muffler by my mother. We are sisters who love crafts but our specialities seem a bit different.

21 Dec 2012

Expensive Woman

I proclaimed myself a inexpensive woman for men in Japan, because I don't eat raw fish (incl. Sushi) consequently men didn't need to ask me for a date at expensive sushi bars. But this is no longer the case in the UK. I am one of the expensive women now. It doesn't mean I prefer slap-up restaurants or designer dresses, but just live in the UK, just because of non-EU, the government charge mes for extras fee not only for the visa but also for English lessons. Of course it's not only me.

Anyway, I started taking English lesson. I feel like I'm a real student for the first time in decades. This six months will be my challenge months. I'll get real. My goal is to be a British native speaker. Do you think I've been mad? I know it's ridiculous and impossible, but it's the highest goal. It's beyond my reach, but I can get close to them as much as I can if I get real. It's my eternal goal. If I am an expensive woman, I will be desirable and worthful woman!

17 Dec 2012

Assessment

I took an assessment for joining in one of English classes at the local Adult Community Learning Centre. Once I booked an appointment for an assessment before, but I wasn't ready for everything required for it and it was held up. The assessment was easy for me, reading, writing, speaking and listening. But I am sure I need this class for my future. A morning class is already full, but I was accepted in the morning class. How lucky I was! I look forward to have the first lesson.

15 Dec 2012

Donkey

Three donkeys were visiting Witham. It looked a little cramped though...

Life Plan

I have lived with a natural flow and my instincts, and have done to what I think right. I am a down-to-earth person. Some people say I take too much time to make a decision, but regardless of the opinions of others, it's my way. How can I make a decision without I can feel satisfied with it? I am responsible for my decision and have never regret.

It is true that I simply dreamed of living in abroad when I was teens, interest dropped off in my 20's for pleasure in the real life, I tried for my dream again in my 30's after a divorce, but I wasn't enthusiastic about living abroad anymore and it was unrealistic until we became a couple. If we havn't met, I would have been utterly immersed in the Japanese life.

I made up my mind to have international marriage and live abroad. I have no regrets (at least at the moment). But that means I stand again at the starting line with a bit linguistic handicap. In a high unemployment situation, how can I survive with the handicap? On the other hand, I don't want to  immerse in Japanese society first, because I want to master English. To be honest, I feel rushed everything, but I focus on the future and what I should do now. I know life doesn't always turn out the way you want and plan, but let's look forward and do step by step.

13 Dec 2012

Muffin

I baked triple chocolate muffins. It was easy because I bought a muffin mix. This muffin mix kit is really good, because it contains 6 muffin cups, and it's perfect portion for my muffin tin! Last time I bought this muffin tin at the Lakeland; my favourite kitchen shop. Not bad for the first try:)
 
 


12 Dec 2012

TV

Finally, an aerial supplier came to our house on Saturday morning. He provided a courteous service. He made a contact to my husband on Friday to make sure of the schedule, and came 8:00am on time! Also he put the cover on his shoes every time he entered the house and did a perfect job and left.

TV is ubiquitous, nowadays. I'd had a quiet life without the TV in my room in Japan after the transition to digital terrestrial transmission, because I already had been planning to move to the UK. Also he had neglected transition to digital. I had gotten used to a quiet life, but I'd kept pleading with him to have a TV. Ah... what a luxury life with TV:)

Tuxedo

My husband was formally dressed in a tuxedo the other day for a Christmas party at a hotel in London. He hummed a tune of James Bond as if he is, but was Bond like this physical frame? Well... I think a bulge of his stomach was definitely different!
 
*I use this picture with permission of him:)

9 Dec 2012

Nothing Else Matters

There is very famous and popular chick-shaped sweet; "Hiyoko" in Japan. It is originally invented in Fukuoka in 1912, but expanded their business to Tokyo when Tokyo Olympics was held. Since then, it has been familiar to everyone as a souvenir from Tokyo as well. This sweets use white kidney beans, which are boiled, mashed, sweetened with sugar and diluted into sweet beans pastes, and are wrapped with a thin, soft pastry.

HIYOKO

We also have a fish-shaped pancake which is commonly filled sweet red beans pastes inside. Nothing else matters, but sometimes we talk about what part you start to eat, because of their lovely figures. From a head, or bottom?


When my elder niece was little, I visited them, bringing "Hiyoko". While my sister was making some tea, the little girl took a large bite into a head of Hiyoko! And she finished it as quick as a flash before her mother sit down with cups of tea. And she started eating another Hiyoko with us. We laughed at her pretty healthy appetite.

For those reasons, I always think what part I start to eat.

As I mentioned in my article "Cheese", the big mouse and small mouse appeared in our kitchen. The big mouse picked a cheese with the reindeer packaging with knife, and started to cut it. But small mouse said "No, no, no!" with astonishment. She just didn't want him to chop reindeer's red nose off... Is this nonsense? That's why I told you this is nothing else matters:)

6 Dec 2012

Scones

I baked scones the other day. Sweets, gateau chocolate, cheese cake, upside-down cake and scone are my specialty, but it was the first time to bake scones in the UK. I made my recipe before; the best allocation of ingredients, but seems like I lost that recipe... Anyway, the reason scones came to my head was that I found clotted cream at a supermarket!


Cheese

I bought lovely Christmas cheeses. Well, I just bought these based on packaging but I bet the big mouse (my husband) and small mouse (me) will appear in our kitchen and love them!

Milk Tray

We have enjoyed tasting Milk Tray chocolates of Cadbury. We are chocolate lovers, me at least. This chocolate had been advertised by James Bond for long years. It's a bit crazy advertising that James Bond delivers a box of Milk Tray to a woman from unlikely circumstances... but it's funny.

What about my fake James Bond (my husband)?? He will bring back rented tuxedos tonight due to having a Christmas party at a hotel. He has been excited about wearing tuxedos and the party as well. He believes that tuxedos make him like James Bond. It's a joke though:)


All because the lady loves Milk Tray.

5 Dec 2012

Snow

We had our first snow this morning! I am glad to see it like children:)

The River Brain

When I crossed the bridge yesterday, I realised the River Brain has been swelling by the rains.

3 Dec 2012

Aldeburgh

We travelled to Aldeburgh from Saxmundham with a talkative taxi driver. Aldeburgh is a coastal town in Suffolk. Alde Burgh means "old or disused stronghold", but it has been subject to a series of floods throughout its history, the fort has now vanished into the sea.

The kind taxi driver dropped us off at the Aldeburgh Moot Hall. It's a timber-framed building which  was built in about 1520 and originally contained six small shops on the ground floor and has been used for council meetings on the first floor for over 400 years.


In front of Moot Hall, there is the Mill Inn, which was built in 16th Century.



Hello, doggy! This is a bronze memorial of doctor's dog Snooks in the seafront, which is a sort of English version of Hachiko (remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner). According to the news, the statue was stolen in February 2003, but the original was returned home by antiques dealer, who bought it at a fair in Lincoln!


Along the seaside, the street is lined with very colourful and unique buildings.





This is my favourite small house. This picture doesn't present whole image of size due to taking too frontal shot, but thin surface.


And also this another pink house has lovely wooden doors with the shape of three-leaf clovers.



Go through to the High Street, there are many attractive local shops and houses. A fence was also marine design! Lovely!




We popped in this book and stationery shop. There were many Christmas cards and things that takes me fancy...



We didn't see Tesco, Costa and Nero coffee shops that are everywhere. That is why Aldeburgh is so attractive. I found a lovely Tea Room and casually suggested to have a lunch there to my husband, but he always say to prefer a pub, I don't know why... Eventually we chose..., not a tea room nor a pub, but fish and chips. Fish and chips for me and scampi for him. It was a regular size but huge volume! Fish and chips is one of the iconic British dish, but also in Aldeburgh, there is the finest fish and chip shop on the East Coast.




I saw some sundials on outer walls. I wonder if they have any meaning?


I like to look out at the sea. It's a nice town overlooking the North Sea. A Christmas tree near the Moot Hall was leaning maybe because of strong seaside winds. At the edge, seagull was looking at the horizon, of what might it be thinking?




Saxmundham

We made train connections at Ipswich, we went to Saxmundham in Suffolk. It's a lovely small market town.The origin of the name 'Saxmundham' is said to be Seismund's-ham, being the settlement of an otherwise unrecorded Saxon thegn or war lord (by reference to website Saxmundham) but seems like a lack of evidence.

The Cafe in Ipswich Station
 On our way to Saxmundham, we passed the another town Woodbridge. Seemed like another nice town with the River Deben. We thought it's another destination. Anyway, I took many pictures, so I'll bring you some images of the town centre of Saxmundham.
 

View from train window
It was clear weather and cloudless, but very cold. Town was so quiet in the morning. The shops were closed but I enjoyed watching shop window displays which get into a woman's psyche:)




There is a nice inn in Saxmundham; the Bell Hotel on the corner, which rebuilt in 1842 on a site which had been occupied by an inn for centuries. After visiting Saxmundham, we went to Aldeburgh by taxi, but on our went back home, we had coffee in the Bell Hotel until next train comes. It was really cosy room with a fireplace. And I liked this window display with candles in the white cages. It's a nice accompaniment to purple outer wall!





Next the Bell hotel, there is the Market Hall, built in 1846 as a Corn Exchange. There was a big Christmas tree.


And also along the High Street, shops were hung with small Christmas trees. I thought it's unique.



When I looked up, I found an interesting shaped chimney pipe.


I liked Saxmundham. It has really cosy atmosphere. But we are greedy, we headed over to Aldeburgh by taxi in the same day! To be continued later...