Monday, 31 July 2006

"The Last One To Leave Seattle" - Waylon Jennings, 2003

(Click on this...and each of the photos... to see a full-sized version.)

Well, we're back from Seattle! Sorry for not writing a Lord Celery item while there. After working a full day and then enjoying the evenings out with John, there just wasn't much free time.

What a fabulous city! It's nice to find a city so liveable. Now admittedly, we were there during terrific weather. But John and I both really enjoyed the scenery, pace of life, and friendliness of the people there.

Highlights? Well, undoubtedly my Dungeness crab dinner was my favorite meal...

Another favorite was our meal on the outdoor patio at Pasta Freska...especially the congenial owner/chef Mike Horri...who greeted us last Friday night with the question: "Are you ready for a beautiful dinner?"...

John had fun playing "tourist" during the daytime Tuesday through Friday. He thoroughly enjoyed the usual Seattle tourist attactions. But I think this was one of his favorite Seattle signs...

Personally, my own favorite sign was one of the neon signs in a window at Buca di Beppo Italian restaurant...

All in all, it was a really terrific week!

To see more of our photos, take a look at our Smugmug galleries. John's is much bigger, of course, since he had more free time than I did!

Seattle Smugmug Galleries:

As Frasier used to say, "Goodnight Seattle...we love you!"


Thursday, 20 July 2006

"Seattle Town" - Flatt and Scruggs, re-released 2004

I need to make this one quick this morning. There's been an unexpected change in my plans; one of our trainers in the States is in the hospital, so I've been asked to run courses next week in...


(You can see the current view of Seattle from the Space Needle from the link I've embedded into this sentence. And it's a very cool, user-controllable webcam.)

And the great news is that thanks to air-miles, John's coming with me!

The nearest I've been to setting foot in Seattle was a plane change there years ago, when I was travelling from Houston to Anchorage, Alaska. John has never been to the Pacific Northwest at all.

So I'm wondering if any of my readers know anything about the Seattle area and can give us any recommendations. We're staying at a hotel right on Lake Union. I won't have free time, except evenings, but John can play tourist during the day while I'm training. Does anybody know any "musts" in terms of restaurants, attractions, etc.? They'd be very much appreciated!

And since the hotel has broadband, I hope to send one or two reports from Seattle via Lord Celery next week!



PS Forgot to mention that the A4260 is still blocked after last week's Harrier jet crash. I'm learning more about the back roads in the area...and learning to use my car's compass more, too!

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

"Keep A Lid On Things" - Crash Test Dummies, 1999

I'm so disappointed. I saw something very peculiar on a sign in Oxford yesterday and didn't take the time to stop and photograph it right there and then. And today, it's gone.

Hoping that my readers will believe me without photographic evidence, though, I'll go ahead and tell you the story.

First, this morning I took a photo of the building involved in the story...

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

This is an Oxford City Council building that isn't too far from my office. I walk by it often.

I've seen signs on the door of that building many times, announcing a meeting or a particular speaker or something else going on in the building. But yesterday, the sign on the door said something completely unexpected. It read:


So I guess yesterday was the official "Bring Your Insects to City Council Day" in Oxford, maybe?


Tuesday, 18 July 2006

"Grease"/"Fire" - Frankie Valli/Ohio Players, 1978/1975

Last night, John and I were sorta watching an American TV program, new to us in the UK, called "Big Love". I use the phrase sorta watching because we were half asleep, with the television's sleep timer turned on.

In my semi-conscious state, I was listening to some of the show's dialogue...but admittedly, I was not watching at all. But what I gather had happened was that a teenaged girl had appeared, with a friend (another teenaged girl), at her family's dinner table. They had obviously never met the friend before, and it sounded as if the two girls were workmates. Father or Mother (can't remember which) asked them something like, "We didn't expect you to be home. Why aren't you at work?"

Daughter answered, "We got out of work early."

Friend continued with the words, "Grease fire."

I don't know exactly why, but this dialogue just tickled me. I started laughing. I kept laughing. John asked me what I was laughing about. I told him. He didn't chuckle. He didn't get it. "Grease fire?", he asked. "What does that mean, then?" I explained that I would imagine the girls worked in a KFC, or McDonald's, or some other fast-food joint, and the frying oil had caught fire.

He responded with something like, "Oh...."

I continued to laugh. I don't know why it struck me as funny. I guess I never thought of the phrase "grease fire" as being an excuse for not being at work. And it was uttered so matter-of-factly.

John says that from now on, when I need cheering up, he'll just mention "grease fire" to get me to laugh. It will probably work, too!

Sorry, everybody. I suspect this is one of those "you had to be there" Lord Celery. entries. But that's the kind of stuff my brain often does!



Monday, 17 July 2006

"On the Road Again" - Canned Heat, 1968

(Perhaps you were expecting me to use the Willie Nelson version instead?)

There are a couple of local "road stories" I thought I'd mention today, for Lord Celery's readers.

One is from last week, but John and I didn't know anything about it until the weekend. An RAF Harrier jet crashed near the village of Tackley, in Oxfordshire. This happened at around 5pm local time, last Thursday, on the A4260. That's the road between the village where we live and Oxford. And had I been driving back home from work that day, that's about the time I could have been in the vicinity of Tackley. But I was at Canary Wharf, in London. And thank goodness for that.

Here are two links to the from the BBC's site and the other from "The Times" online site.

It's remarkable that the pilot was able to avoid crashing the jet into either the village of Tackley or into the nearby Sturdy's Castle pub/hotel. And it's also incredible that no one was seriously injured...including the pilot, who reportedly ejected just before the crash.

But the A4260 has been closed since the accident for crash investigation and for repairs, and I doubt it will open until at least Wednesday afternoon. That's causing a lot of difficulties for those of us in the northern part of Oxfordshire who use it to commute into Oxford for work, appointments, shopping, etc. Thanks to our friends Cindy and Andre, who know small local area roads, I got in without any problems this morning. I wouldn't have had a clue what some of the alternatives might have been, without spending loads of time pouring over local maps. I really appreciated the lift they gave me into Kidlington, where Cindy and I then caught one of the Oxford buses.

My other "road" story has a much lighter tone.

This morning, a film crew were in Oxford filming a re-creation of Lady Godiva's famous ride! Here's the BBC website's story. I wasn't in Oxford early enough to see the activity. But can't you just imagine the bleary-eyed commuters that were in the area of Magdalen Bridge here in Oxford, early on a Monday morning?


Sunday, 16 July 2006

"According To Miss Nikki" - Deyampert, 2003

I can't believe how much I miss Nikki on "Big Brother", since she was voted out on Friday night. It's a crazy thing to say, I know, but I really do. I miss her! And I don't think I'm the only person in Britain who feels this way, either.


Nikki Grahame has to be one of the craziest, most entertaining people I've ever seen on television...anywhere, any time! But she would also be the world's most exasperating colleague, I'll bet, if you had to work with the young woman.

Anyway, I have the distinct feeling we'll all be seeing her again. Surely somebody will hire her to be on TV to entertain the nation. I know she's certainly entertained John and me over the past 8 weeks!

Thanks, Nikki!


Friday, 14 July 2006

"My Heart Has Found a New Home" - Dean Martin, (year released ?)

After feeling a bit homesick this week, I thought I'd end the week on a brighter note. I have found a new home here in Britain, with John. And I just love it here!

Last weekend, John got the opportunity to go for a flight in a private plane over Oxfordshire. Here's the village we now call home, as seen from the air...with thanks to our friend Andre for his photo:

(Click on the image for a larger version.)

I am one lucky woman, don't you think?


Tuesday, 11 July 2006

"I Miss Home" - Grover Washington Jr, 1992

I've read in the American news that the All-Star baseball game is being played tonight.

That's making me feel homesick...


Listening to: The Wailin' Jennys, "Firecracker"

Monday, 10 July 2006

"Meaning of the Word" - Laura Branigan, 1987

I don't often spotlight the blogs of others. But today I'm going to.

As regular Lord Celery readers have noticed, I have various links down the right-hand side of the main blog page. I like to introduce others to websites and blogs that I find interesting and/or entertaining and/or useful.

I decided this weekend to put together a new list of the blogs of other American expats. And while in the process of searching the directory at Expat-Blog for any new American listings, I found Separated By A Common Language. This is a blog written by an American woman who is Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at a university in England, and her entries deal with the differences between British and American "English".

What an interesting topic -- one with which John and I have been fascinated nearly every single day since we met in 1995 -- and I thought I would share this "find" with Lord Celery readers!

Take look, when you get the chance!


Sunday, 9 July 2006

"It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" - R.E.M., 1990

The 2006 World Cup is over. Congratulations to Italy on their victory against France tonight...and to Germany for being such exceptional hosts. And shame on you, Zidane...

I miss the matches already!

"Murray" has lost his Brazilian disguise, once again looking like his usual self...


Listening again to: Karine Polwart, "Scribbled in Chalk"

Friday, 7 July 2006

"A Time To Grieve" - Karen England, 2000

One year ago today, London's transport system was rocked by four terrorist bombs. John and I had each used commuter trains and the Underground system on the 7th of July 2005 (I was teaching in London that day), but thank God both of us were spared any more than just inconvenience.

Today, Londoners -- and others all over Britain -- took time to remember the 52 who died on this date last year.
Here's a link to coverage on the BBC's website.

My teaching stint in London this week ended yesterday, and John is no longer working in Central London. I must admit I was happy that neither of us were there today. It felt a bit safer here in the English countryside.

I took a phone photo yesterday at London's Farringdon train station, as I waited to change trains. I'll post it here, to honor those who work day in and day out to transport individuals into, out of, and all around the London metropolitan area...and to honor the memories of 52 innocent people who died one year ago today only because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

(Click on the image for a larger version.)


Thursday, 6 July 2006

"(Here They Come) From All Over the World" - Jan & Dean, 1965

I taught a very interesting group of people in London yesterday and today. As the venue for this class was in London, I would have expected most of the 15 delegates to be British. But actually, only one was.

Just take a look at this list of the countries of birth of the students:

Germany (2)
Italy (2)

And, of course, I'm American!

It was like the United Nations in the training room!

But they got along beautifully...even considering that the two Germans and the two Italians were sitting on either side of the Frenchman, during the semi-finals of the World Cup!

I learn a lot about other cultures from my students, and you can imagine how many interesting conversations I have had the past two days. But one really stood out.

The Kuwaiti student was a young woman. She was wearing Western dress and especially lovely jewelry. I complimented the bead necklace she was wearing today. Rather than thanking me for the comment, as I might expect from an American or British woman, she responded by saying, " like it....well, I can give it to you!"

Of course I declined, saying that no...I was just admiring it but really wanted her to keep it herself...and that I already had enough jewelry anyway!

Do any of Lord Celery's readers know if this is a typically Arab reaction, or was my student just an especially generous soul?


Still Listening To: "On An Island" - Dave Gilmour

Tuesday, 4 July 2006

"(Hey Baby, It's the) Fourth of July" - Robert Earl Keen, 1997

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY to my American readers!

Did I get to celebrate today? Nope...I spent a long day running a training course in London. But John's helping me celebrate tonight.

"Hotter Than July" -- wasn't that a Stevie Wonder album title? That's a good description of the weather in southeast England this week. We're under heat-wave warnings here until the weekend.

We're enjoying Germany v Italy on TV today is our 6th-month wedding anniversary as well.

Enjoy the American fireworks for me, too, please!


Saturday, 1 July 2006

"The End" - Beatles, 1969

After England's World Cup quarter-final match this afternoon, I think this image says it all...