Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Around Town

I took a walk around Horsham and snapped a few pictures so you can see our town.

The main pedestrianized shopping area. It has a big variety of stores and cafe's, plus a shopping mall.
The bandstand

The sweets shop

A pretty cottage

Town center. Each Saturday there is a market of fresh, local foods, meats, flowers, and crafts. I love living in a place with such a strong sense of community. The people mingle in the town square and shop in their local shops, they meet friends in the cafe and can walk to almost anything they need. I think this is how a town is meant to be. I love it here.

Horsham Park. It has a massive community center, pool, playground, duck pond, hedge maze, and tennis courts. We walk here a few times a week.

The bandstand and park cafe. Sometimes they have free performances for kids here. We like to stop here after playing for an ice cream or piece of cake.

A pretty tree I like to walk past

Friday, August 24, 2012

Our First Guests

A couple weeks ago, we received our first guests, Drew and Sarah, at the Phillips' B&B. They happened to be spending the summer in Northern Ireland for Sarah's job, so they popped over (as the British say) for a visit. It was nice to hear some American accents again!

As far as guests go, they set a pretty high standard. Subsequent guests will have some pretty big shoes to fill. This is why:

On Tuesday, they let Penny, Esmé, and me tag along as 3rd, 4th, and 5th wheels out to Pooh Corner, a cute little boutique in Hartfield, 30 minutes away. This is the area that inspired A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh stories.  I bought Esmé an Eeyore balloon to distract her from destroying everything in the store. It worked for a few minutes, then we left.

Then we went for a walk through the Hundred Acre Woods to Pooh Bridge. Lots of jokes about poop were made, as is to be expected. Esmé loved running down the trail and across the bridge. It was a lovely walk.
The trail to Pooh Bridge
Pooh Bridge--where more than one game of Pooh Sticks has taken place

The next day, Drew and Sarah took the train to London, and Roo spent the day at work, leaving the three of us girls feeling surprisingly lonely and bored. We were glad they could have fun in London, but we were even more glad when they came back to watch (and occasionally heckle) the Olympics with us.

On Thursday, we decided to go check out an old house and garden, which the English just can't get enough of. We chose Polesden Lacey (don't ask me what that means. I've tried to make sense of it, but it's one of those British names that sounds like English but actually makes no sense whatsoever. Like Pease Pottage--that's a town. What's a 'pease'?) Anyway, it was a really warm and pretty day. The views were so lovely, as were the gardens. Esmé was a handful, but thanks to our friends' help, I did manage to see the place and not just chase after E the whole time. And they didn't seem to mind that our GPS had led us onto literally the tiniest, windiest, most dangerous road ever to get there. We survived the drive and had a nice time.

That day I also killed a pigeon. I don't want to talk about it.

That evening, Sarah made the best roast chicken I've ever eaten. Ever. Then she babysat so we could go see The Dark Knight Rises. We hadn't been to a theater for months (which is a long time for us), so that was really fun!
Lovely views at Polesden Lacey

Meanwhile, in Houston, our house finally sold! This meant, however, that we had to sign the closing papers with an American notary at the US Embassy in the heart of London. We didn't know what to do with our kids and weren't comfortable finding a babysitter for half a day, so Drew and Sarah came with us into London to watch the kids while we did our business in the Embassy. It was such a blessing to have their help! Morning rush hour train to London, a few tube stops in the crowded underground during the Olympics with other stations closed down, two babies, two strollers, innumerable trips up and down stairs, and four adults--we were a sight, but we did it!

Sarah and Esmé on the train

While we did our stuff at the Embassy for an hour and a half, D&S took the girls to Hyde Park. Such a massive help!

Sarah, Penny, and Esmé
Drew, king of the kids

On Saturday, we went to Windsor. Despite not seeing even one Royal and eating the most vile hamburgers ever to come out of a microwave, we still had a fun time.

Sarah and Drew had to go back to Ireland that day. We had a great time with them! They pushed strollers and got woken up in the morning by loud little girls and babysat and cooked for us. It was awesome!

Like I said, they set a pretty high standard.

To Drew and Sarah, I say "thank you, come again!"

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Phillips B&B

Welcome to our home! Here's the grand tour!

A view of the front

The entryway
The family room
The Library / Playroom. No, the room is not huge, it's just that the chair is really small...

The Kitchen

Hallway toilet. Watch out for the huge spider we found in there today!

The Guest Room / Penny's Room. There's a bathroom through the glass door.

The view out the guest room window. It was such a lovely day today.
Esmé's room
Family bathroom
Master bedroom
Master bathroom...or toilet room...or WC...or lavatory...or whatever it is they call it here.
A view down the hall from the master bedroom

What I call the 'Harry Potter cupboard' and the stairs to the attic room

The attic office

Skylight in the attic room
The Laundry Room in the basement - maybe the best room in the house! We have a dryer--a novelty here. And another fridge, plus plenty more storage in another room you can't see.
The back patio
Another view of the patio. Our apple tree is in the corner. Next Spring we'll plant some flowers to brighten the place up a bit.

We love it here! And we can't wait for our family and friends to come visit us! I'll even include breakfast with your stay.