Today wasn't a super eventful day, but there were some particularly U.K. bits, so here goes.
This morning started last night. As most of you know, today was Thanksgiving back in the States. I went to work today (more on that later), and those of us going in decided to have a little Thanksgiving lunch of our own. I talked up my pies to some of the English workers, and I was committed: two homemade pumpkin pies- a rarity in the U.K- and two homemade apple pies. The apples are from our farm delivery, as was my dinner- chicken and vegetable soup with added carrots and celery.
|It's a crappy image, and the pumpkin pies weren't collapsed|
like they look in this picture, but hopefully you're still drooling :)
I got to work and *skip all the boring stuff* lunchtime came. We had a wide variety of foods and my pies. They both went over quite well- I came home with two pieces of apple pie and I only ate two small pieces of pumpkin there! One Englishman who has had pumpkin pie in the past said that mine "set a different standard" and when I asked if that was good (he's known for tricks!) he moved his hand to head level in an "up to here" motion- success! For those less brave, the apple pies still got raves. Despite working on Thanksgiving, I'd say I still got a pretty memorable one!
Paul slept most of the morning and woke up shortly before I arrived home at 1:30. Our Element is due for its M.O.T. and tax disc this month, so I had the M.O.T. scheduled for this afternoon. The M.O.T. gets its name from the initials of the Ministry of Transport and is an annual test required in order to use a vehicle in the U.K. In order to be a legal driver you must have a current tax disc and in order to get a tax disc you must have a passing M.O.T. certificate. The test covers the vehicle body, fuel systems, exhaust emissions, safety features, etc. We took Watson (yeah, I name my cars) to a garage in Hampsthwaite, the village next to our old village, Birstwith. Since Sloan still needed her walk and it gets dark around 4:30 we decided to multi-task and popped her in the car. As Watson got his test we walked through Hampsthwaite with her.
Watson passed, so the next item on the errand checklist was milk. Because of our travels I decided to cancel our farm delivery this week (it normally comes on Fridays) and that's how I normally get my milk, so I needed to stop and buy some. My favorite place to get milk/fresh veg other than our delivery?
So, we drove over to our old stomping grounds. True to small village charm, as soon as we walked in the door one of the women said "Oh, we get to see both of you back!", followed by a cheerful "Happy Thanksgiving!" As we picked up some fresh veg, milk, Abbot's Black Wensleydale cheese, and beetroot chutney we chatted about how much we miss Birstwith. Don't get me wrong, we're still happy we moved- we like our new house much better than the old one (I promise I'll post on that soon!), but we both really miss our small village and the hamlet we've moved to just doesn't offer the same warmth.
Next we stopped at the farm shop we get eggs at- Paxtons. The farmer, Ian, is a wonderfully personable Yorkshireman who is thrilled to give bumbling Americans advice and tips on fun places to go and even dishes to cook. Paul likes to buy pork there and I keep bugging him that he needs to take Ian some of the pulled pork he makes to share the joys of Southern barbecue. Ian raises the animals whose meat he sells as well as the chickens whose eggs we buy. He knows I prefer extra-large eggs because I don't eat the yolks and often picks out the biggest for me from that morning's gathering.
We were driving home when Paul said he wanted tacos tonight. When I replied that we had no mozzarella, that added another stop to the list- the supermarket. You may wonder why we make all of these stops rather than just go to the grocery store. Really, it's one of the things I love most about our life here. We do make several stops and drive around a bit more, but we buy our food as fresh as possible and often straight from the people who've grown it or slaughtered it, it's often organic and preservative-free, and we both swear it tastes better.
One food note- several years ago I made a conscious effort to only buy dairy that was rBGH and antibiotic-free. In the States (especially in the small town we lived in) this meant a bit of hunting and a much greater expense for my milk and cheese dependency. While I was researching living in the U.K. I discovered that E.U. regulations do not allow added hormones and antibiotics in dairy- YAY! This means I can pick up any cheese (and I have discovered A LOT of cheeses I love here!) or milk I want- except I still try to get "happy dairy"- grass fed, field-romping cows who aren't overbred. Our farm delivery dairy has definitely happy cows- there's even a video of them!
Now we're home, making tacos and watching some American tv through the wonder that is the internet. Tomorrow we're headed to Lincoln to meet up with some friends of ours and see the city!!