Monday, September 12, 2011

First Day of School 2011

Better Late Than Never

This year school is a little different. Alex and Spencer are going to school at Ryde School with Upper Chine. It is on the Isle of Wight just off the coast of Portsmouth. They wear uniforms and ride a hovercraft and walk almost two miles literally up a hill. After school it is down hill. Sarah and Nathan don't have a school. They will be being home schooled once we get a home. The day before school started we had welcome and meet and greet type activity. The weather was a little harsh with high winds and drizzle. The hovercraft was closed and we had to take a foot ferry over to the school. Now we know the procedure for bad weather.

Luckily the first day of school weather was much more delightful. We left the hotel, took a taxi to the hovercraft terminal and as a family took the boys to school. The hovercraft had about 10 students going Ryde. From a not so discreet distance we followed Alex and Spencer up the hill till they arrived at the back gate of the school. They were lucky enough to be friended by another boy Spencer's age who showed them the way.

While the boys were at school Sarah, Nathan, Jay and I toured a part of the Isle of Wight by history telling double decker bus. We also did some shopping and had hot chocolate at the Chocolate Apothecary. After school the boys came down the hill and met us for ice cream. Not your typical 1st day of school, but highly memorable.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Southsea Kite Festival

One more quick fun blog before school begins. The first weekend we were in England, and more specifically in Portsmouth, Southsea, which is the part of Portsmouth we will be living in, had a Kite Festival. We had nothing else to do so we went to the Kite Festival. There were expensive food stands with food that isn't good for you. There were great jewelry, clothing and knickknack stands with things that we can't really afford to spend money on. There was also the carnival section with rides to make children very excited. Unlike Busch Gardens the rides cost money every time you ride one and so we had to limit the children to one ride each.
The Kite Festival was our first real experience with the weather here. It was beautiful, but very windy with occasional showers. When we arrived we were taking our coats off, but about 30 minutes into it the clouds blew in and it rained on us. Then it stayed cloudy and windy for about 30 minutes. Finally the sun came back out. I spent almost as much time looking at the kites as I did studying what people wear. From shoes to coats it is almost an obsession with me to figure out what we are going to buy for this ever changing, yet fairly moderate climate.

The last part of our day, and I really wish I had a picture of this, we had lunch at a deli. Lunch was good, but the Lemon donut pastry was the best, it ruined me for all other pastries. It was AMAZING.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Striping Up on the HMS Victory

Today Jay and I were happy to be invited to attend the Striping Up Ceremony for Jay's sponsor, Joe Bainer. Joe has been a terrific sponsor before we arrived in the UK and since we've been here. The favorite saying our first week here was "Joe Says". The kids even talked about playing Simon Says and changing it to Joe Says.
Joe was promoted from Lieutenant to Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy and chose the HMS (Her Majesty's Ship) Victory as the location for the event. (HMS Victory is perhaps the greatest successful war vessel of all times. It was Admiral Nelson's flag ship for two very decisive Naval battles.) There were officers from the US Navy, Her Majesty's Royal Navy and other NATO militaries all joined together on a beautiful old wooden hull war ship.
During the ceremony they read the Warrant (US Government's official statement of promotion), recited the Oath of Office and then the newly promoted officer changed into his new uniform with the assistance of the Admiral.
We loved being a part of it. Congratulations Joe and thank you for including us.