It’s Halloween, my absolute FAVORITE holiday! Hooray for all those people celebrating. Sadly, I feel I have missed the cursed boat.

Halloween is not a big deal here. How sad and boring.

HOW, how could I possibly have missed the most important holiday of the year?

Point One: I’m Lazy

Point Two: Remember that whole part about dumping all my stuff so I can move to another country? Well, that means my small but effective collection of spooky decor and costume pieces have *almost* all been dumped. And, while there are some options at the local ASDA (read: Wal-Mart), it’s mostly just child-size masks and polyester shrouds.


My sad little Halloween display


The rest of the street – aka NADA


However, I did get more trick-or-treaters here than I have in rented apartments, which is good. I’m also impressed that none of the pint-sized ghoulettes have been Elsa so far.

ALSO – BONUS POINTS TO BRITAIN – They don’t have these B.S. rules here about the precise and acceptable times for trick-or-treating. So, the first spooky child showed up at 6:30 – not 3:30 like around the Chicago suburbs. I still don’t understand what problem the time/ date restriction attempts to solve. I also categorically reject any attempt to understand it, so really, don’t bother – I enjoy that part of my childhood too much to accept any modification to it.

There are Haunted Houses here, but fewer and far between.

Anyway, now that I fully understand the dirth of delightfully dreadful decor and distractions, my planning for 2015 starts NOW.

Step 1: I’ll be cleaning out anything useful on clearance at the store tomorrow.

Step 2: Start my own Haunted House – maybe I can pair up with some charity to run it.

Step 3: If I don’t have enough space to throw a party at our place, I’ll have to rent out whatever the equivalent is of a VFW hall here.

Next year, if any of these fail to happen, please refer to Point 1 above.


Spring in Fairyland

The climate is gentler in the northwest of Britain than it is in the Midwest of the US. Since it’s Spring, which is a mythical season where I’m from, it seems like I’m living in a fairyland.

In fairyland, the blades of grass are thin and delicate. It’s as if nature had golf courses in mind when she created grass in the UK.

The grass used in many lawns is Fescue. It’s cultivated by fairies.

It is soft – not like the thick blades of grass I’m used to. As my husband put it,

“If you sit down for a picnic, that grass will stab you, steal your kidney and nic your wallet.”

Kiss your watch goodbye if you sit on kentucky bluegrass; watch your kidneys if you sit on crabgrass.

In fairyland, a daffodil can be in bloom for 8 weeks. They grow in yards, ditches, sidewalks, and in the medians. It’s ridiculous.





random everywheres!

random everywheres!

In fairyland, the Eency Weensy spider (presumably Isty Bitsy’s British cousin) actually gets a chance to climb up the waterspout a second time, because it’s actually possible for the sun to come dry up rain that fell that very morning. Incredible! More proof that this is a fairytale land where the impossible happens daily!



Spring – The Myth, the Legend – Part Meh

I always sensed that “suddenly” and “out of nowhere” were in the true nature of the word “spring”. Allow me to illustrate, with words.

Spring (on): v. to surprise someone suddenly, such as “We’re enjoying dinner, then she sprung it on me that she was pregnant.”

Spring (up): v. to suddenly appear, as in “When it rains, worms just spring up onto the sidewalk out of nowhere.”

Springtime in the Midwest:

Some Sunday in March or April or sometimes May: After 5+ months of being indoors due to cold weather, Adults want to murder their children, and vice versa.

Monday: FLASH FLOODS! It’s above freezing and the sun is out. The snow melts into puddles on the frozen ground.

Tuesday: Where the water receded, there is only MUD in its place. Every child under 12 looks like the Swamp Thing.

Wednesday: The whole town looks like a monster truck arena. Mudballs 5 feet high on the sides of buildings and splashed on every car.  The town crawls with swamp monsters.  

Thursday: Plants attack! Weeds get a jump on reclaiming their turf. Evidence of sudden allergy attacks can be found among the weedy mud piles.

Friday: Gentler plants, such as daffodils and tulips, begin to sprout, having noticed that it’s been above freezing for a whole 4 days. People dig lighter clothes out of bags and boxes for weekend wear.

Saturday & Sunday: Freezing rain, more mud. Adults sadly put their lighter clothes back in the closet. Teen girls insist on going out dressed like summer tourist clowns.

Monday: Craigslist is inundated with ads of snowblowers for sale. Every child “forgets” their gloves, hat, coat and shoes at school.

Tuesday: Sun and warmth! The daffodils and tulips have bloomed! Anyone with sense skips school and/or work. Those who attempt to fill their obligations get nothing done because everyone spends the day looking out the window.

Wednsday: Craigslist is inundated with people looking for lawnmowers on the cheap. Kids go out to play and trample anything resembling landscaping.

Thursday: Freezing temperatures. Almost all children have picked up some germs as a result of the temperature swings, but no one will realize this for another two days.

Friday: Freezing rain collects into rainwater lakes on top of frozen mud. A ridiculous number of cars make their way into ditches for seemingly no reason other than – it rained?

Saturday & Sunday: Warm and Sunny! Most the children are sick – the rest go to play in the springtime mudworld. Adults realize the lawnmower they got was a piece of junk.


Thus goes a typical Spring. The March-April-May pictures in the botanical garden’s wall calendar is obviously from some foreign fairyland – it has nothing to do with the cruel joke that Mother Nature makes of this season in the Midwest.

Tomorrow, we’ll explore the fairyland notion of Spring.

it is not always this sunny

So…Where are you?

I’m in my in-laws’ attic.  I know, it doesn’t sound glamourous*, but actually, they’ve done a very nice job of making me feel comfortable and at home.

I’m in England. No, not in London.

One of these places which exist outside of London is Southport, where I am.

it is not always this sunny

marshes and sandy beaches – Welcome to sunny Southport!

Allow me to explain where that is by referencing Chicagoland, my home:

Pretend that the Beatles are from Chicago instead of Liverpool.



If that were the case, I’d be in Waukegan, and the London suburbs would start somewhere around Peoria. Picture that road trip on a map – Waukegan, down the lake to Chicago, then southwest out to Peoria.

Now, try to visualize that mental map, turn it into a mirror image, and slap it on the map of the UK, along the West coast of the country, instead of the East coast of Lake Michigan. There you go! There I am, in Waukegan, err, Southport.

Why Southport? Refer to the opening line – living at the in-laws. While temporary, yes, this is part of the plan.

*I added an extra ‘U’. I think that’s the custom around here; I’m trying to get used to it.