28 Jun 2012

The Big Day

Tomorrow is my big day. Thank you all for lovely cards, emails and your congratulations. 
I will update my blog at some early date. Thanks.

25 Jun 2012

Estate Agent

The Estate Agent visited us the other day. We are not going to sell or rent the house, but my bf was interested in the property value. She checked each room size, storage space and the garden.

Estimating the value of property is based on the prices of similar properties that have been sold in the local area. And also property size, market conditions, conditions of the property, location etc... I don't know much about the English real estate market, but it was a nice experience to know this information from her. I think the condition of the property is important data when it is estimated. I want to improve the value of the property, not for sale but for our comfortable life. I think daily efforts for cleaning may help it. To clean and enhance are the present goals for us, aren't they?

24 Jun 2012

Spirited Away

Associated with and in connection with Hayao Miyazaki's film, but not about the film today. Have you ever been spirited away? I mean have you ever lost something forever irrespective of your intention? Yes, I have twice.

When I was a young there was a small Micky Mouse's basketball hoop in our room. My sister and I used to throw a soft ball to it lying on beds, when acting up. One day a ball hit the hoop and rolled toward a difficulty place to pick up. So we gave up getting it at that time. Next day we tried to search for it, but it was never discovered. It probably dropped into the rubbish bin directly and my parents cleared out without noticing. But the ball disappeared and was never found.

Second, when I was 20's, I bought a instant o-den (Japanese Pot-au-feu) at a supermarket. I remember I put it on the shelf in the kitchen, but it disappeared before I ate it. Nobody ate it. It was my imagination that I put it on the shelf and I might have left it at the supermarket, but it was never found.

These two events are mysteries in my life. I think I was spirited away.

23 Jun 2012

Blackwater Rail Trail 2

We tried to walk the Blackwater Rail Trail again! (see; Blackwater Rail Trail )
It was a lovely day and we believed that we could do it, because we had a map this time. We started off on a good note. Walked along a road and crossed a golf course. The sign said that be aware of the ball from the eighth hole!



We might be feeling too secure about the route, because map shows walk inside the golf course! But we already walked on the wrong public footpath. 



We reached a road and we got lost again! Anyway, there were some huge houses, and they let our imagination run about people who live there and their lives. We found where we were based on the map and my bf's iPhone. While you walk through public footpaths in the UK, you will find many holes of rabbits' houses. This country must be a heaven for them! No wonder the story of Peter Rabbit and Alice in Wonderland were born in this country. There must be the world of rabbits under the ground, and the number of rabbits may exceed the human population of Britain! 




We passed through Wickham Bishops and back to the Blackwater Rail Trail in a wide circle. This straight path used to be a railway track. There was no longer any trace, but it was easy to imagine there was a railway. It's a shame the railway service no longer exists today. The view was really nice. There were some muddy parts, and I found a horseshoe shape on the path.



We already walked 2/3 of the whole way. We pushed our way through a field of grass. Grasses were high, almost the same as my height. I needed to concentrate on my steps.




Passed a lake and again walked through a bean field. There were some small and beautiful turquoise blue or green dragonflies in the field. We were already tired. Crossed a road and we finally found the evidence of the Railway Embankment.



We did it! We completed all the way of Bralckwater Rail Trail this time! Well, we got lost and walked a slightly different way, but that was no problem. We were at the riverside, almost seaside town Maldon. On a map, Elms Farm Park is a goal. But we continued walking to have a lunch at a pub. Queens Head is a nice pub. Last year we went to Maldon by bus, and we visited the same pub. Cold drink and nice meal allayed our fatigue.



We went back to Maldon town centre to get a bus. The building with a big clock is the old Town Hall in Maldon, which is known for hundreds of years. I like Maldon. It's a compact and attractive town. We are pretty happy with what we done. We walked 4 hours non-stop!!


Marmite 2

When I ate Marmite, I got a sort of electric shock through my whole body. I don't like it... I can live without Marmite. In contrast, my bf is a Marmite lover. We bought Marmite. I am going to try to taste it again, but I have postponed it...

This is the Union flag version for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, created by design agency Hornall Anderson. I think the naming Ma'amite is very British, and I like their witty designs including this original one.

22 Jun 2012

Death and the Maiden

We went to see the play "Death and the Maiden" at the Public Hall in Witham. When was the last time I went to see a play? I've seen some musicals and films but haven't seen a play for a long time. It was "King Lear" by William Shakespeare in Japanese, maybe several years ago. Also it was the first time to go to the Public Hall, where is located about a 15-minute walk away from our house. The hall is not so big but there was a bar as well and full occupancy last night.

"Death and the Maiden" is a 1990 play by Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman. It's a famous play. In 1994, it was adapted into film that starred Sigourney Weaver, but I hadn't known about it until I saw the play. It's a thriller story about a woman who believes that a stranger who comes to her home with her husband is the doctor who tortured and raped her many years ago, under a military dictatorship. And she gets revenge against the doctor. The characters in this play are three; a woman, her husband and the doctor.

I really enjoyed watching the play. I could concentrate on seeing and listening. It made me realise once more that it's nice to see a play sometimes.

20 Jun 2012

A Letter

We got a letter from the Essex Register Office, which means we can get married on schedule!

A Broom is a Broom!

Have you ever seen the Japanese animation film "Kiki's Delivery Service", which is produced by Hayao Miyazaki. It's a story about a witch-in-training girl, Kiki. In the story, it's traditional to witches to live for a year along when they reach the age of 13. She leaves a village for the big city with a broom and her black cat Jiji.

I wanted to buy a broom like she has, for the garden. We don't have a car and there is a limit to access shops and carry shopping things. It's a lovely day for gardening, so we went to a local ironmonger to get a broom. Unfortunately there were only scrubbing brushes, which is like Kiki flied on when she saved her friend Tombo who lifted into the air and was hanging from a dirigible. My bf asked a shop owner whether if they have a long brush, but his answer was "No, a broom is a broom". Our garden is not a lawn but bricks, so we got it. But I complained about it, because I only used scrubbing brushes in a toilet room at school! How can I imagine it's for a garden? I turned my anger against my bf. We had a petty bickering about it, just because of a broom. How ridiculous! I walked from town holding a broom and went back home. I felt as if I was Kiki!


17 Jun 2012

Blackwater Rail Trail

We tried to walk on Blackwater Rail Trail today. It's the former Witham to Maldon railway, which operated from 1848 and closed 1966, and is now a cycle/walkway. Without having a map, we thought we would complete this walk because we found the sign of Blackwater Rail Trail, and you just follow the River Brain and the River Blackwater.

It was a lovely day. There was no muddy part like before when we walked on John Ray Path. The beautiful sunshine and cool breaze made us feel refreshed. We passed by a bridge and kept going.



We came across the junction of two rivers; the River Brain (right) and the River Blackwater (left), but there wasn't a bridge to cross the river. We went back the same way until the bridge.


This way maybe one of the paths that leads to the right way, but we kept going along the river.


Something is strange... We walked through brushes... Is this right way? We got lost??



Direction was right, but eventually we failed this time... we decided to go back to the town centre of Witham to have a coffee...  Anyway, it was a nice walking. We walked about 2 hours and half. When you go walking, I recommend you to have a map...

16 Jun 2012

Arrangement

We are making arrangements for our wedding surely and steadily. Last time when photographers came to show us their sample, I realised some people take a long time to prepare for wedding - about one year. But we don't have such time and also we prefer to have a simple wedding. I read in a magazine that a woman spent about £25,000 for their wedding, it exceeded their budget more than twice. Women want the wedding to be perfect. And women are likely to be crazy and lose a sense of money, when it comes to the wedding! (It's called 'bridezilla').

I don't need the wedding to be gorgeous, but I started worrying about my style on our big day, after we booked a photographer. I ordered a bouquet and a buttonhole at a local flower shop. And also my bf booked tables at a nice restaurant. Now I wish to finish the wedding with no problems and no disgraceful affairs.

13 Jun 2012

Polish Up

I am spurred into cleaning up the house completely. We bought floor polish and I have scrubbed all floors - every nook and cranny in the house. My plan is to reform a cosy and comfortable living space from a bachelor's ticky-tacky space. And I am going to involve my bf with gardening as well.

Objection!

The Home Office seems to be desperate to reduce immigration.

It's good to seek a more effective way to control immigration but it imposes a heavy burden on applicants as well. I think they put restrictions on applying for a visa at the first stage to prevent immigration, but viewed from the perspective of people who want to get married, it's not good for people's future.

I want to ask them how you got married (if you are married person)?

Some people have a sudden marriage, and some get married with someone after getting to know them for years and years. That's ok, everyone is different.

But without any reference to married couples of different nationalities or the same nationality, generally people think about their future life seriously when you get married. Apart from people who intend to stay illegally, it's not an easy decision to live in another country forever, in addition it's not easy to go and come all the distance between the UK and Asian countries, especially when you are older.

Some people worry about their future and life in another county. I think, in general everybody has apprehensive feelings like that for big decisions in your life. But for international couples of British and non-EU nationalities, it's very much a situation in which you can't have a chance to live together casually to decide marriage, even if you want to know more about each other. Seems like they make couples leap to judgement without as much information as possible for making a decision or deny international marriage itself. But the situation will become more serious under the new rule.

Seems like they make things as difficult as possible!

'United by love divided by Theresa May' -
http://www.jcwi.org.uk/policy/united-love-divided-theresa-may

'Is EU love really worth more than Asian love?' -
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2157740/Is-EU-love-really-worth-Asian-love.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

'Stark choice under new immigration rules: exile or family breakup' -
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/08/immigration-rules-couples-stark-choice?newsfeed=true

(Note from i-ADNES' bf - the Home Office is desperate to reduce 'net' immigration. This means that if a British person has to leave the country because it is so difficult to get the right visa, immigration is reduced by 2 and not 1 - I'm sure the Home Office sees this is a win!).

10 Jun 2012

High Walls

Well..., seems like the Home Office proposes to introduce a new minimum income requirement for a British sponsor without children of up to £25,700 a year. People who are willing to live in Britain are required to spend much time, energy and money to applying a visa, as well as to pass an English language test. The situation is getting tighter, and potential appliers will be decreased if this proposal would be adapted. Though I can understand the rules, the EU countries are important for the UK and there are complicated situations, as a non-EU Asian woman who lives in the UK, honestly I feel as if they try to shut us out of a the UK and I am not pleased to hear it.

Inscrutable

When we went to Chelmsford today, a ticket office was closed and I needed to buy a ticket at ticket machine in front of a station. It sometimes happens, especially during a weekend. When we went back home and passed through the station, the ticket office was closed again. There was a note on the window that said "back in 5 minutes". Thank you for a kind note but from when? When did you put the note??

9 Jun 2012

The CUT

Many Union flags were hanging over roads, they were still up after the Diamond Jubilee in London. When I got off a taxi, a doorman held an umbrella over my head so that I could keep dry. It was a terrible weather evening. We went to a hotel at Mayfair to have a dinner with my bf's business partners at the steak restaurant "The CUT". We went to a "Bar 45" in the Hotel to meet them. We arrived before anyone else, so we enjoyed having a cup of tea and coffee. It was awesome! Even though some men were using crude language in front of the bartender, he paid no notice to it!

Bar 45
"The CUT" is very exclusive, gorgeous and elegant restaurant. It's Wolfgang Puck, an Austrian celebrity chef's upmarket steak franchise which opened in London as his first venture in Europe. I was walking on air. Dinner and service were professional. The dress code is smart casual, but I wanted to dress up more, if packages of my clothes had arrived. The people I had dinner with are very friendly and I had really nice time with them. And also having a fancy dinner at the restaurant was a totally precious opportunity that is hard to come by. Well..., I would willingly recommend it to you, but please consult your wallet first.

6 Jun 2012

The Arrival

Last Christmas, I gave my bf the book "The Arrival" by Shaun Tan as a present. It's a wordless images of the mysterious unknown world but gives you story something important. Actually Shaun Tan's world view is remarkable. If you haven't seen yet, I recommend that you read this book.

4 Jun 2012

Mature in Life

My bf became 40 years old, a little earlier than me. We celebrate his birthday together. As I get older, I feel I'm losing balance of physical and mental age. I feel myself getting out of shape, meanwhile I still have  the heart of the child. This gap in me makes my internal struggle bigger. In a sense, this gap is my character and personality as an adult. This struggle makes me myself. Different elements such as living environment, surroundings and so on are intertwined as well. Are you satisfied with who you are? Someone who accomplished something is really great, but I think taking life one day at a time, even if it's simple and ordinary, is the greatest thing. If you want to be happy, make a balance of physical and mental, and make each day your masterpiece.

3 Jun 2012

Patriotism

We went to Chelmsford this morning. The train for London was very busy with people who went to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. According to the news, passengers at some stations were left behind to wait for later trains. I wonder if they have enjoyed the Jubilee. There has been big events in London including the Queen palade and the Thames River Pageant, involving over 1,000 boats! Unfortunately it has been raining.

The Queen isn't the only British Monarch to celebrate a Jubilee.  Queen Victoria celebrated a Diamond Jubilee, and George III celebrated a Golden Jubilee, during their reigns. "Who is Britain's greatest ever monarch?" I found the interesting article in the Sunday Telegraph (ICM survey) today. Elizabeth II comes out on top 35%, Victoria 24%, Elizabeth I 15%, Henry VIII 3% and HenryV 1%. I can't vote for this without studying more British Monarchs though.

Many Union Jacks are present everywhere. I also felt the celebratory atmosphere at the station today! I heard patriotic music and excited staff's announcement voice from speaker! If only the weather was fine, it would be much nicer.

2 Jun 2012

John Ray Walk

We tried to walk the "John Ray Walk" which links the towns of Braintree and Witham, passes through the countryside of the River Brain Valley, the birthplace and home of John Ray. John Ray (1627-1705) was an English naturalist who laid the foundations for the classification of all living things, so he is also known as the father of British Natural History. The John Ray Walk is one of the environmental projects devised to celebrate his life and achievements, which is 9 miles long and the start/end point in both towns is the railway station.

It was a slightly cool and cloudy morning. How changable the temperature it is! I can't predict the change! At first we passed "the cut throat lane" which we found last time. The name of  "cut throat" conjures up an image of some awful event which might had happened long, long ago.



Men wearing short running wear overtook us in the middle of the meadow and ran on quickly! It was quite funny. Later, on another lane, we came across them again, this time running back!


Grasses were moist with the morning dew or shower. Our trainers and trousers were soaked. It was uncomfortable, but we kept going.


We saw many holes of rabbits or foxes as well. We passed the muddy part and overtook a walking group of young students.

Which way?
The signs of John Ray Walk were a bit complicated. We didn't have a map, so we depended on the sign, his experiences and our guesses. He found a big yellow fungus on a tree! It looks small in the following picture but it was the size of two hands!

fungus



We didn't walk all of the John Ray Walk this time, but walked about 2 hours and half. Instead of going to White Notley according the sign, we went to Silver End to have a rest. Silver End is a small village. Unfortunately we couldn't find a pub in the village centre, but a bus stop to Witham. So we got on a bus and went back home.

It was really a nice walk. We will walk the whole way next time, on a sunny day, with proper shoes. Don't forget to bring a bottle of water!