“A bit fresh” & a few house pics

“A bit fresh.”  That’s how the weather might be described today.  I’ve never heard anyone actually admit that it’s cold here.

But c’mon.  We’re creatures who evolved from warm climes, aren’t we?    Wet cold will kill you.  Which is definitely how it feels today.

It’s mid-June and barely 50 degrees.  Wet.  So cold that I’ve been back from “the shops” as they say, for an hour, and am sitting here in my North Face hat, trying to get warm again.

Mid-June afternoon. Please send multiple parkas.

I think I might finally be getting something about British culture and weather, though.   In the US, wearing skimpy clothes in freezing cold weather is considered silly and unwise.  The precedent to getting sick, which is a waste.  But here, enduring the cold is a badge.  I’ve heard many boast about how little they need to wear in warmer places, while others are donning coats and hats.  C. firmly believes, too, that one should keep the house as cold as possible to avoid any sort of unhealthy familiarity with temperatures above about sixty.

I’ve also heard the phrase “feel the benefit.”  I.e. don’t wear your coat on the train, where it’s warmer.  If you do, you won’t “feel the benefit” when you get into the cold.

Call me a wimp.  Call me decadent, etc., but I don’t want to be cold, shivery, or sneezy.  I enjoy warmth and the sun, and am not afraid of admitting it.  I do, however, enjoy a non-wet cold.  Icy cold, and snow.  It’s sobering.  It wakes you up.  Of course snow is gorgeous too.  I can appreciate a nice, polar ten below day.  But not wet cold.  There’s something about it that instantly makes me feel like I’m going to die, which is perhaps a life-enhancing feature of the human brain, but might be best switched off in England.

What I have heard locals admit is that the weather can be “a bit fresh.”   This, to me, feels like saying that the Sahara is “a bit sandy.”   But this is the closest I’ve ever come to witnessing a weather complaint.

I’m trying to remember what it’s like in Virginia right now, 100 degrees and climbing, when one simply cannot do anything out of doors.  That’s a killer too.  I remember trying to take a walk on one of my last evenings there, and it was like trying to swim in a Jacuzzi wearing four wool sweaters.  Just awful.

I thought I’d also share a few pictures of my neighborhood.   Even the houses look like they could use some chicken soup today.

There’s often a wide variety in how people keep up with exteriors around here.  There are piles of empty glass beer bottles in the windows of the unpainted house.  Very ghosty.

Sometimes I struggle to keep my spirits up when it’s so dreary.  I miss trees, flowers, green.  On the other hand, we did get our carpet in, and it looks quite nice:

The lounge. We put new curtains up--pics coming....

So lounge=living room.  This space is considered quite large, even though it feels a bit small to me.  More pics to come.  Estate agent was supposed to take pics tomorrow for their website, but he had to reschedule, so our deadline for getting things tidy and clearing out massive piles of clutter has been moved up.  A blessing in that there’s no pressure now, but a curse in that I probably won’t get very much done with it today without the pressure.

Murphy is very excited about the carpet.  The ping-pong balls he loves glide across the floor now in the most enticing way, and usually by nighttime he’s ready to curl up with us on the duvet.  He always goes out when C. leaves before 6 in the morning, even when it’s cold and rainy.   He scratches at the door at very odd times, like the crack of dawn and 10:30 p.m., as if he has a scheduled appointment in the alley.  I don’t know how he stays warm, he’s so small, and always comes in wet.   Do British cats have oily fur, like ducks?

Murphy’s favorite spot is right on top of C.’s feet.  C. had originally banned Murphy from the bedroom, and then just from the bed, and then from his side, so of course that’s the one place he always targets.  How do they know these things?

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The Goods Shed, Canterbury

The other weekend, after a long and frustrating morning changing our Sunday plans eight billion times before noon, C. and I decided to go to the Dockyards Art Show in Chatham.

Even though it’s 15 pounds for a year, we’re on a bit of a spending moratorium right now.  So, we bailed on that, and decided to go to Tunbridge Wells, which is supposed to be pretty.

But it was a really cold, crappy day, so I wasn’t that thrilled about walking around outside.

I’m a sun-worshipping American, OK?   C. would call almost every day either “quite mild” or “quite pleasant.”  The closest I’ve ever heard him come to a weather complaint was that it was…wait, I can’t think of anything.  Even on the most bitter days, or once when he had to walk five miles back in the snow when the train stopped, there was no complaint.

Warning, warning Will Robinson–you have married a charming android.

So, we get on the highway, or, as they say here, the motorway, and about 3/4 of the way there we changed our minds again and decided to go to The Goods Shed, a food market and restaurant I’d seen online.

We’d make it about an hour before they closed.  I was psyched.  A few pretty views along the way, sheep, etc. and we arrived.

So nice.

Yes.

We got some local honey to help with springtime allergies, some nettle tea, and had a few bites of a spicy falafel patty.

The solution to all life’s problems?

I love you, beautiful Goods Shed peeps.

We then walked towards the town center

and met C.’s friend, on a whim, at Café Boho. That was nice.  I had some Thai sweet potato soup with cilantro, which I am definitely going to try and make at home.  (Sorry–camera battery ran out–no more pics!)

And then we talked to C.’s pal about living in Canterbury, still not sure where we’re going to live, and added it to our list of places to research.  The tourists in summer would be bad, but so many great little restaurants and cafés.

(Note–looked it up later and it’s off list due to $$$.)

The trip really did cheer me up.   I’ll definitely head back to The Goods Shed.  Even though it wouldn’t pay that well, I kind of wish I could work there just to be in such a beautiful place for a while.  Maybe a few summer hours…?

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