Saturday, 30 May 2009

Heat Wave

I'm serious. It's 24 degrees (75 F) today. It was 23 yesterday. It is supposed to be warmer than that tomorrow and Monday.

It's making BIG NEWS over here. For me, the bigger news is that the sun is shining for longer than 2 hours. We have a big blue sky and the sunshine feels SO good!

Yesterday, a friend had a ladies lunch so we fought over the lawn chairs, striped off as many clothes as was decent and enjoyed our lunch and chat in the garden! And I am sunburned. I don't think I've ever been excited to be sunburned in my life!

This morning Ethan has a cricket match on the coast and Scott left looking like he was headed to the beach. Shorts (which haven't been worn more than twice since we moved here), sun cream, sunglasses, hat, and flip flops. When we were here 2 summers ago looking for schools and a place to live, the weather was actually pretty good. And while we drove through the coastal towns, we both noticed the large amount of skimpy clad women and topless men. It seemed funny to us as the temperature could not have been over 70 and it still felt breezy and cool to us. Now we understand. It's a heat wave. Even though it's breezy and cool, it may not last. So you gotta get out there. As Scott drove away this morning, all I could think was that he would be one of those shirtless men enjoying the Scottish Summer!

Our days are longer and we are all hopeful for better weather this summer. Last night the sun went down after 10pm and it was bright as can be at 5:30 this morning. Scotland has experienced unusually wet summers the last few years. (I am not buying that!) And the forecasters are predicting a scorcher this year. Bring it on! Fingers crossed people. Fingers crossed.

Carpe Diem!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Guten Tag from Cologne, Germany

We've just returned from a wonderful weekend in sunny Cologne, Germany. We met Scott there on Friday (he was working in Dubai and Thailand last week) for a long weekend away. The boys had Friday and Monday off from school.

We chose Cologne because Scott is there this week for a trade show and we've decided that we need to take every opportunity to explore this side of the world while we can.

So Cologne it was!

Cologne is located in the NW part of Germany along the Rhine River. It is a fairly modern city in terms of architecture because it received extensive bomb damage during WWII. Today, it is a hub for German Media production as well as a hub for regional tourism. Cologne is famous for it's Gothic Cathedral (purposely not bombed) and we were lucky enough to stay right across the river from this beautiful sight.

Cologne is also one of the oldest cities in Europe. The Romans founded the city in 38 BC. Christopher studied Roman history this year in school so we were all looking forward to checking out the old stuff at the Roman Museum.

I'd researched a few things to do and see but mainly we wanted to just hang out and explore the city at our pace. And so we did. Our hotel was right next to a pedestrian and train bridge heading straight into the old part of town. So anytime we wanted to explore, we could walk across the bridge and end up right in the middle of everything. We walked and walked the streets watching people and enjoying the warm weather. There were always street performers out and about, rollerbladers practicing their sport (moving their legs in ways that didn't seem possible- Scott and I could have watched them for hours), tons of people on bikes, tons of people in the outdoor beer gardens singing and having a jolly good time, and tons of families in the parks.

We explored the Dom Cathedral, the Roman Museum, the Lego Store!, the Chocolate Factory and museum (Hershey, this one put you to shame!), the zoo, and the gondola over the river. We sampled the pretzels, sausage and beer. And our hotel had a great pool, so we ended up there every afternoon.

It was a great trip. Just enough tourist stuff, just enough local stuff and just enough relaxing! And more sunshine than my family could soak up! Boy do we miss the SUN!
One funny story and then I'll give you the pics. While on the gondola, we crossed through a park which also had a Thermal (spa/pool club). We were all admiring the lazy river pool and Christopher said, "Oh I wish we could go there." Then Ethan quickly responded, "Oh no, no you don't. Look down!" We'd crossed from the lazy river family friendly pool to the nudist section/pool. Oh my, that'll wake you up! Giggles all around from my three boys! and their parents too!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Mini Fencers

We have 2 new fencers in our family. Christopher and Charlie have taken up the sport too! Lord, help me. One of Ethan's Fencing Clubs has recently started a Mini-Fencing Club. They received a grant for the equipment and now have plastic masks and weapons for the 7 and under group.

Christopher was a little hesitant at first but rather than sit around and just watch his brother, he finally decided to get in on the action. And Charlie, well, there was no hesitation! That rascal was right in the mix!
I may regret this in the near future! 3 weapon welding testosterone beings running around my house is not such a good thing. Lord help me, please!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Mardi Gras Scotland Style

Our friend Luisa turned 40 last week and she decided to have a Mardi Gras themed party. It was so much fun and we feel blessed to have this wonderful group of friends in Scotland.

Here are some of the party pics!

This is the birthday girl in the pink dress with a few friends in fancy dress and her husband Stephen in the crazy hat in the previous pic.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

2X Beer

So my Cinco De Mayo post is a little late but we were celebrating here! We had another beautiful weekend and an extra day off school on Monday for a bank holiday. Friends were coming over Saturday night and I was cooking Mexican, of course. So I popped down to Lupe Pinto's Deli

and low and behold, guess what they had. Dos Equis! Lager! In the green bottle! I thought I was going to jump across the counter and hug poor Ian!

When we first moved here, we could get Dos Equis Lager at Lupe's Deli. Then about 6 weeks later, they stopped carrying it. We tried to be equal opportunity Mexican Beer drinkers. But we failed. Corona. Just didn't cut the mustard for us. Modelo Especial, good, but still not great! Dos Equis Amber, just too heavy after enchiladas and tacos.

So when I popped in there on Saturday and Ian and his co-worker had Dos Equis Lager in their hands, I just about screamed. They were having a Cinco De Mayo celebration tasting and they were trying new products including the beer. Which meant that he did not have it for sale yet! ARGH! It's a good thing I'm a regular customer though, because he sold me 2 of the 6 he had! One for me and one for Scott! Oh, it tasted so good! The sun was shining and we sat on the patio, savoring our beer! Yummy! Need to go back down there this week to see if the shipment has arrived!