Monday, 30 July 2007

Dumpster diving

Today my husband and I felt like dumpster divers, but we got some good stuff and had a laugh at ourselves.

When hubby took out the trash, he saw some really good (like new) Ikea furniture in the trash shed of our apartment complex (none of it actually in a dumpster). It was a wardrobe that's taller than me and this long unit that we're using for clothes (four drawers in the middle and a couple of shelve units on the sides). Of course I can't lift anything heavy due to my knee problems, so we got my wheelchair out (that I rarely use anymore) and put one end on that while hubby carried the other end, and I pushed. I was amazed I could do it, but I was able to lean on the wheelchair and hubby bore the actual weight and work of it. And of course we had to do this in two trips.

I wonder what kind of a scene we seemed to the neighbors?! There my hubby was with his gimpy wife taking furniture out of the trash room on a wheelchair! And I don't even know if it's common to take "good" trash here; in the States, I think anyone who lived in an apartment knew the code: If you have something good and still useful to throw out, set it beside the dumpster so someone else can take it. I sure hope they do that here, or else we looked really low-class to our neighbors. We're like the Reading Hillbillies now, lol.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Raindrops keep falling on my head...

Dreary England. It's been nothing but rain for weeks, and mostly chilly, usually in the 60s. A newspaper said there was to be one day of sunny, summer weather this summer -- and on that day, it began pouring rain just moments before we were to walk out the door for a free concert in the park!

There has been much flooding in England this summer, including in Reading and local areas. Fortunately none has hit us and probably won't -- we're up high even if we do live by the canal. I've been chomping at the bit to go check out Oxford, but as there's been much flooding there and many canceled trains, I'll just have to wait a few weeks.

On the bright side, it is nice snuggling down with a good book and your sweetie on a rainy day.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Pubs and Parks

We took advantage of a rare sunny day Sunday to explore in Reading. We made a stop at the Forbury Gardens, which is a beautiful park next to the Abbey ruins. The landscaping and flowers are wonderful at this park, and the town symbol, a roaring lion, overlooks it all. A duo was even playing an accordion and acoustic guitar in a gazebo -- my grandparents would've loved that (but I'm not much into accordion music, so I moved on).

What was most interesting to me, however, was what I found in the Town Hall. It's more than just a place for meetings or paying your water bill, like it is in many U.S. cities. There was a museum, a gift shop, a concert hall, a cafe and a BAR! That's right, a BAR (the 3Bs Cafe Bar, to be exact)! I thought this was great, and a real sign of the differences between U.S. and English culture. In the U.S., it would be scandalous to have a bar at a city or town government building. A few vocal, annoying people would start shouting about how the bar was somehow setting a bad example for children and somehow fueling alcoholism in general. It just wouldn't be done. Here, it's no biggie. Below is a picture of the sign for the bar in the window near the sign for Town Hall.