28 Feb 2013

Photosynthesis

Oh, it's already the end of February!! Can you believe it? Not very long ago, we celebrated the New Year! The days are absolutely getting longer. I survived the dark and gloomy British winter, and it is hard not to feel happiness at the arrival of spring. Like plants with photosynthesis, I feel my body converting the light energy captured from the sun into mental energy that can be used to fuel the motivation.  I've searched for my best way of living in the UK in many ways, but winter is not a good time to search, because it's likely to mark the approach of negative energy and change in mood depending on the weather. Hello Sun, I need to perform photosynthesis!!!

25 Feb 2013

Sutton Hoo

We went to Sutton Hoo near Woodbridge, Suffolk. Sutton Hoo is an archaearium of Anglo-Saxson which is operated by the National Trust. It was the first destination after we became members of the National Trust. The Hoo at Sutton is the haugh of Old English meaning a high place, the bluff of a hill. The sutton Hoo estate belonged to Mrs Edith May Pretty. She developed a feeling of curiosity about the mounds in her estate, and sponsored the excavation. If she was not interested in the mounds, perhaps this great discovery would not have happened. 

The most famous excavation in Sutton Hoo is the helmet, which is currently at the British Museum. Only four Anglo-Saxon helmets like this have been found so far from the land of  England. I'm interested in this helmet, because I saw this in books and on TV programmes before. Also the textbook of 'The Life in the UK' showed a picture of Sutton Hoo helmet... but wait! I realised... that the helmet I saw at Sutton Hoo is different from the picture of helmet in the textbook of "Life in the UK"! The text said "An Anglo-Saxon helmet found at Sutton Hoo - currently at the British Museum". I searched within the website of the British Museum, I could only find the helmet I saw at Sutton Hoo! So what is this helmet in the textbook? I googled it and found that it is the Vendel helmet at the same era that has been found in Vendel, Sweden, and on display at a museum in Stockholm! I was excited as if I am an archaeologist who excavated the error from the bitter enemy UKBA.

Reproduction- Sutton Hoo Helmet
Anyway, the unearthed articles were really great. I learnt that Anglo-Saxon's craft works at that time were amazing!




We walked around the burial ground. The burial ground was gently undulating mounds except one mound. When we passed there, it felt like the temperature was really low, because it was unobstructed around there.



We also walked the path named Valley Walk, which enclose the site. It was nice walk enfolded in natural surroundings. We found snowdrops, which is a messenger announcing the arrival of spring in England.




We walked back along the road to the nearest station, Melton. It took only about 30 minutes. Interestingly, there is a butcher shop in the station building. It looked like a popular shop and busy, cars came in and went out for all the time. Sutton Hoo, it was a nice destination to visit.





Cloud Atlas

We saw the film "Cloud Atlas". I rarely see Scifi film, it was my husband's choice. But when I saw this commercial on TV, I thought it might be interesting.

To be honest, it was a bit difficult to understand the story for me, because the film consists of six stories of six different eras. After watching the film, I read the plot and now understood all connections of stories.

Also it was interesting that actors played multiple character from different eras, I couldn't notice some of them...

22 Feb 2013

Quote

Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.
  - Winston Churchill, Former Prime Minister

19 Feb 2013

Spring Comes Along

I like winter and snow, but don't like British gloomy winter. I survived it though... It has been a nice weather today like glorious spring day. I am happy that the days are getting longer:)

18 Feb 2013

Harwich

We went to Harwich by train on Sunday. Harwich is a town in Essex which has a port. At first, we got off at the Harwich International station for a change of trains. This station is directly connected to the ferry terminal, which the ferries stops and from here you can catch a ferry to the Netherlands or Denmark. The Netherlands is 7 hours away by ferry. The Terminal was really like a airport, but very quiet. I was excited as if I was departing for another country. The ferry to the Netherlands was waiting for passengers due to the train being delayed. A family, apparently Dutch carried a big luggage hurried along the way.



Big ferries anchored at the port. I imagined myself sitting on a sundeck and travelling to the Netherlands or Denmark. Not from Heathrow Airport, but from the port which is not far from Witham, you can go to other countries. It was a strange sensation that there is the border.

We got the next train to Harwich Town. The town's name means "military settlement" or "army camp", from Old English here-wic. It is likely to be associated with the Vikings, because Harwick faces the North Sea. It was a beautiful day with a clear blue sky, but soon after the train moved, it was encompassed with a thick fog.


View Larger Map

We strolled around the town but the dense fog made it impossible for us to see ahead. It was a mysterious atmosphere with mist and quietness as if we'd slipped back in time or into a mysterious world. We could hear steam whistles from somewhere, probably from a ship, but couldn't see it. We sometimes could hear birds' singing or people talking in the fog.

Also it was cold. We walked along the mouth of a river and towards Dovercourt, which is located between Harwich international port and Harwich Town. It's only about 1/2 mile from Harwich Town. We found some maritime legacies on the way.




Electric Palace Cinema
Lifeboat Museum

Treadweel Crane
 







We got on a train from Dovercourt and off at Mistley to have a lunch. There is our favourite restaurant "Thorn". It was third time to visit there. The restaurant is always busy even though the outside is quiet and unfrequented.

Again, I think this area, along the railway to Harwich, including Mistley, Manningtree and Harwich has a mysterious atmosphere.

Mistley Thorn; http://iadnes.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/mysterious-misty-mistley.html
Harwich International Port; http://www.harwich.co.uk/

15 Feb 2013

Realisation

Eventually, I had stayed at home all day yesterday except for a job at night. Because my husband said I had better to stay at home in the morning on the chance that something might be arriving. That rings a bell. He must have ordered flowers on the Valentine's Day! He always does it for me on a special day! But nothing arrived in the morning. I had waited in the afternoon, but nobody knocked the door. So I missed the chance to go shopping. Around 6pm, while I was preparing for work, finally it arrived! Beautiful pink and red roses, a card, chocolate box and a white teddy bear in the box!!! Am I childish? Maybe but I like teddy bears. I am not a teddy-bear-collector, but I have some.

The thing I gave him was... only a card.. (oh, sorry...) I was supposed to cook puddings for a dessert, and I bought small dessert bowls on the other day for the Valentine's Day and other occasions, but I couldn't buy a bottle of milk yesterday... I really blew it!

We've been hard to spend more time on our relationship in 2 weeks due to our jobs. And also I've had a bit difficult time. But my husband has provided emotional support. My Valentine's day, it was the day I realised that I'm glad I married him:)


Simple

I found a nice facial toner and moisturiser for sensitive skin. I sometimes have a trouble skin, especially as seasons change. Once I have a sensitive skin that reddens and irritated, I need a alcohol free toner. Simple is a nice brand. Toner doesn't irritate skin at all. It's not an expensive and easy to get, so I can put on a plenty of the lotion. It's much effective way for my sensitive skin.

14 Feb 2013

Forms of Love

My husband gave me the chocolate. We are fan of of "Charbonnel et Walker". It's a British luxury chocolate. Box is heart-shaped, and look! There are lovely heart-shaped chocolates too!

Valentine's Day is the traditional day on which people express their love for each other by sending cards, presenting flowers, or offering confectionery. To be honest, I don't stick to the Valentine's Day, but I always want to nurture loving relationships. I have no particular plan today but will make a dessert and send a card to my husband:)



Oh, the other day, I created a simple heart-shaped ornament by use of red felts. The shape is a bit distorted, but never mind. I am satisfied with this:) Looks cozy, doesn't it?

Happy Valentine's Day.
 

13 Feb 2013

A Free-Kicker

When I was young, we had a measure of physical fitness at school. I've had a weak grip, weak abdominal muscles and weak leg muscles. It was one of the factors why I drop an average of physical fitness among students. I've been a terrible athlete.

Last evening, I was cooking in the kitchen where was the coldest place in our house because of radiator problem. I complained about it on the phone, to my husband who had worked in a warm office. I got annoyed with stupid radiator and kicked the pipe. I don't think it was the reason, but the radiator gradually started to get warm! It happened 10 minutes before my husband came back home...

Central heating has worked well from this morning! I may be a super free kicker :)

12 Feb 2013

My Dilemma

After the great earthquake in Japan, I realised that all you need for living is the minimum; you can live without luxury items. I said good bye to many of my possessions due to the earthquake and overseas removal. From the standpoint of the problem of environmental destruction, I think the ancient lifestyle was ideal and modern people need to make fundamental changes in our lives to protect the environment.

Even though, at least when you carry on your normal life, you try to improve the level of your quality of life. You may spend money on clothes, food, house, car or some other things, which makes you feel happy and satisfied, which may be an essence of your motivation. It's a common practice in modern societies. In fact, it is very difficult to control your desire to get something with all of the temptations in this world.

I want to have a simple life, but also want to live surrounded by my favourite things... Gee... it's my dilemma. The simple life sounds really simple, but in fact, you take true grit to have a simple life. You need to have your own policy and also need courage not to buy unnecessary things even though they are lovely and attractive.

Central Heating

Our house has a central heating system, in which water is heated at a tank and sent through the whole house via pipes to provide warmth in every rooms. It's a fantastic system for me.

Because many Japanese houses don't have central heating, but space heating even in winter in Japan is very cold. But it's very common. I wonder why central heating didn't develop or become common in Japan, but traditional Japanese houses and people have survived many centuries in this climate condition. Because of this, getting out of bed is tough task in the morning, as it always has been in an unheated house.

In the UK, I'd been very happy with this central heating until it had a  problem. The heating downstairs stopped working on the snowiest day of the year... Water circulation seemed bad and it's warm upstairs and cold downstairs... My husband called a plumber and he came to check it last night. He said we need to change a pump for sending water, and also need to turn off the boiler at night for his work next morning.

For that reason, we spent a cold night. The plumber came to fix it this morning, but seems like there is another problem. Pumping works very well, but it's not completely fixed yet.

9 Feb 2013

Life in the UK

Poeple who intend to settle in the UK or acquire British citizenship have to face this problem. As I mentioned earlier on, the Life in the UK Test will change from 25 March 2013. I got the new handbook (3rd Edition) yesterday. It's intensely focused on British history, and the copy is completely changed. I mean some may be the same. I haven't read it yet, but design of the book and format are really different. I understand the government's intention, but it's short notice and late to sell at bookstores! Please be careful, if you are going to take the test after 25 March! Oh, I feel heavy when I think about this.....


8 Feb 2013

As a Result

I was serious about running yesterday, that's why I have muscular pain today... Don't laugh at me, you may no different.

7 Feb 2013

Running

When I saw this beautiful sky,


I wanted to run:)  The bare idea of running had never entered my head! "Hey, what has changed in my life?", "Maybe I wanted to do something new."

I've had no athletic ability since I was young. I run much slower than other people. To be honest, I usually got 3s in PE on my report cards. What's wrong with it? Some are good at sports and some are not. When I started snowboarding, my inability and timidity influenced on mastering the basics of snowboarding, I never gave up though... :)

Ta-dah! I've already bought a running wear at Primark last month. Maybe people are thinking what I'm thinking, because spring is coming and a good season to start exercising. This was on display in a window, and they were selling well. It was a reasonable price! I should hold down an initial investment in an uncertain idea, shouldn't I?


So I ran this morning. The air was fresh and nice. But I realised soon that I was short on physical strength and felt heavy myself. I got short of breath. It reminded me of the days in Tokyo Disney Resort. My sister and nieces were running so fast that it was all I could do to keep up with them...

As a beginner at running, I ran and walked but it was good. Now I have a weak feeling in my knees due to unfamiliar exercise, but I could feel refreshed.

4 Feb 2013

Felt

When we went to Chelmsford last weekend, I bought red felts in a market. I can't believe that I can't get it in Witham... It's beautiful red, more deeper than this picture's. I just want to make heart-shaped ornament for Valentine's Day:) I used to create small objects out of felt with my grandmother, when I was young. She had stocked many coloured felts like a shop! It was a very magical moment for me.

Incidentally, I've used this scissors since an elementary school. It cut really well:)

2 Feb 2013

Popcorn

I rarely buy snacks, but I get intense cravings for snacks sometimes. At times like that, I cook popcorn. I like popcorn and I always stock popping corn:) Popcorn tends to see as a junk food, but it is rich in vitamin E, iron, magnesium, zinc dietary fiber and phosphorus. I don't add butter, just reduce oil and salt, it's a healthy snack.


Ingredients
  • canola, peanut or grapeseed oil
  • popcorn kernels; 30g
  • Salt to taste
Method
  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan on medium high heat.
  2. Put popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan.
  3. When the kernels pop, remove from heat and shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. Once the popping slows, turn the heat off, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.
  4. Salt to taste.