Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Torch, Chores and More

The Olympic Torch event on Wednesday night was very exciting, lots of build up, and it was over in 45 seconds. Our torch bearer was a young lady name Lydia, who was a ballet dancer. She danced a large portion of her route. I have a short video,that needs some work before posting.

We went to the base (RAF Croughton about an 11/2 hours away) to get our military IDs and shop at the base PX, class 6, and commissary, open bank accounts etc. Having been in Wiesbaden where there is a huge base exchange, this could only be described as tiny. Commissary was tiny, BX tinier (is that a word?). Can't imagine what we would need to go there for in the future, but we had to make this trip, it was a chore that had to be done. It WAS really great to get out of the city. Thanks to our sponsors Adele and Justin for taking us, so we could check that box. 

 Views of the countryside.

Sheep in the Cotswolds

Church in Stanway

We enjoyed the ride so much, we decided to rent a car for the weekend and really spend some quality time in the countryside. More on that in a later post. 

Friday, we got to finally got to go house hunting with Jo, the housing officer. She had 5 properties for us to see. 

Most were small townhouses, in new estates, not what we were looking for. The 4th property was detached house (not a town house) and was really nice, with a very big kitchen, pretty little garden, great views, and a huge master suite.  It is not exactly what we were looking for, but it is immaculately clean and bright with lots of windows. It is located in a very nice part of town across the street from a green, very quiet, yet an easy bike ride to shops. I think we can be happy there and the best part is, there is PLENTY of room for guests.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Out and About

 I spent Monday out walking around trying get familiar with my surroundings. I wanted to find some walking trails, and visit the library.
I started off, just walking from the flat, The Mews House,  in new direction. I know enough about the town to find my way back if lost and it is pretty well sign posted. I walked for about 15 minutes and was going over a bridge when I saw below me a trail with runners, walkers and cylclist!! I found what I was looking for! I easily found the trail and started off! If felt really good to walk without stopping for lights and trying to figure out from which direction the traffic was coming. 
So, I am going along at a pretty good clip when I notice that there are no other people around. I see off in the woods on the edge of construction site, a couple of blokes, who noticed me too. Probably harmless, but it made me a tad uncomfortable, so I immediately exited the path and found a busy street and back to Mews House.  

Not sure whether to return to the path at a later point, busier time, or what. What I really need is a walking partner. So, stay tuned. 

Later in the day, I took a walk down the prom to Tourist Information (very helpful), and the library.  The library is a big old building close to the center of town. Inside on the first floor there is an internet cafe, you must register at the desk and leave a library card, with coffee and snack machines, just like home.  What do ya know. Collection seemed small, ficition, nonfiction in one small room. But staff was very friendly, and I found a book on the sale shelf that I have been wanting to read, AS Byatt, The Children's Book. 
Dinner at the Brasserie Blanc was yummy and a great location in the Queens Hotel at the top of the promenade.

Tuesday was another long walk, this time in another direction around the Univ of Glos campus and a little area called Suffolk Square. Lots of cool shops to investigate later. 


Dinner at an Italian spot called Zizzis located in an old church. I must admit it felt a little weird. 

Olympic Torch Relay come to Cheltenham today, look for photos tomorrow.



Monday, 21 May 2012

Settling In

Saturday was a busy day, with grocery shopping at Waitross in the morning, lunch at the Montepellier Wine Bar, walking the High Street, and visiting our favorite shops. Home to rest up, party at Jeff and Ken's, and a late dinner at Giannis.

Waitross is a full service grocery much like the Walmart and Targets are at home. Household items are offered, kitchen and bath things and a large grocery store and liquor store. We had a blast browsing and picking out a few things to have at the apt for breakfast and lunch. The selection is so different, but we noticed a lot of American brands mixed in with the usual British fare. It is walking distance, a mile or so, but a nice walk on the River Chelt. There is also a smaller food co-op close if we need anything and don't want to hike to the Waitross.

After unpacking groceries, we went to lunch at the Montpellier Wine Bar,  had a nice cider with a sandwich. Cloudy still, but not too cool, perfect for a walk. The parks are beautiful, I'll take my camera with me next time take some photos. Andrew got this photo of a store window, it was evening so it is kind of dark.

The Queen's Jubilee is being celebrated in the beginning of June, and there are displays everywhere. Its so fun to see all the buntings and flags and memorabilia for sale, but very tempting too. It is a huge deal and there are festivals and fetes in every village.

The Olympic Torch is coming through on Wednesday and will be very exciting to see. It comes very close to where we are staying, so we plan to walk out to the main road to see it. Expect to see some photos!

Jeff, a coworker of Andrew's is  getting ready to come home and he had a party Saturday night. His house is amazing, just enormous. It is a regency town house with 12 ft ceilings, chandeliers, molding, etc. We will ask the housing officer for a home just like his :). That will go over well I am sure. After a tour of the house we met some to the folks who are here now. Very nice! We heard that someone coming over this summer is going to be on House Hunters International! I'll let you know when I find out the details.

We left the party at 8:45pm to go to dinner, and it was still daylight! I forgot about that, those long summer days. It is still light until well after 9pm.

Sunday was nice quiet day, breakfast at home, skyped with friends and family and Sunday lunch at the Beehive Pub.  Roast beef and Yorkshire pub never tasted so good.

An early shipment just arrived so I must go unpack, but first I think I'll have a cup of tea!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Welcome to Cheltenham


We arrived yesterday Friday May 18 around lunchtime. Cheltenham is as beautiful as ever! Our terrific sponsor Adele and her husband Justin, met us at our flat and after freshening up we went out for a delicious lunch at the Tavern, right near the Royal Well bus station a short walk from our flat. At lunch we chatted about where to eat and shop , what kind of phone service to get, and other helpful hints for newcomers. We then went down the High Street to get a mobile phone to use locally. Feeling totally wiped out by this point, Andrew and I headed back to the flat had a cup to tea, emailed and skyped with my parental until,and rested up until dinner.
Adele had made reservations for dinner at an Indian restauran. We were joined by Ken and Ros Fraiser, friends from our previous tours in both England and Germany. It was fun catching up with them after more then 10 yrs! 
Our flat in Lansdwon Terrace Lane is very nice, with a kitchen, living room and spacious bedroom and bath. My favorite thing is the enormous chandelier in the hallway, tres chic!