09 January, 2006

I'm so unselfish

Hmmm. I knew that at some point during this process the phrase "what was I thinking" would come in handy; it was too good to be true that we got through the nasty confluence of 1) an international move with three people and four cats, 2) Christmas, and 3) a transit strike in BOTH the city we were leaving and the one we were going to, without something going mildly wrong. We thought it remarkable that we haven't as yet bit each other's heads off, determined that a nice
boarding school would have been a lovely choice for Avery, or visited the local branch of the RSPCA with any or all of the cats.


Why did I pack only two sweaters, three pairs of pants and two pairs of shoes for myself. How unselfish is that? OK, I also forgot to pack more than one suit for John, and Avery I don't have to worry about too much because of that handy uniform. So I admit I was looking forward to the "air shipment" which came today, containing all the things we allegedly could not live without until the "sea shipment" comes, date unknown. Was there ANYTHING in it for me? There were eleven pairs of shoes for Avery, five suits and eight shirts for John, and unaccountably an electric fan. But for me, was there so much as a pair of socks? Of course not. I am stuck with these five items of clothing (luckily also sufficient foundation garments, but still, where's the glamour in that?) for another ten days, two weeks? I seem to have put my clothing needs on a par with, say, our panini maker, in terms of urgency.

Ah well, as of tomorrow John will be happily clad in a glorious fresh suit, Avery can rush home from school and put on any of three dozen outfits, but I will be wearing either my favorite black turtleneck or my second favorite black turtleneck for the foreseeable future. Somewhat dampening. I have to hope I don't run into my major crush, the lovely Matthew Macfadyen of "Pride and Prejudice" fame, until I
have on at least a grey turtleneck, fresh from the packing materials.

During my bout with a 24-hour bug over the weekend, I consoled myself with an English copy of Hazel Holt's "The Silent Killer," a perfect cozy murder mystery for a rainy day, as well as a nice English copy of Dorothy L. Sayers' "Gaudy Night," which made visiting Oxford a high priority for Avery and me. After all, we have a cat named Lord Peter Wimsey. Of course any book by these two authors is wonderful. John contented himself with perusing "Your Guide to Land Rovers, things that look like Land Rovers, and other things that your wife will think look just like Land Rovers." It was a really recent issue, thankfully. Avery, what was she reading? The sequel to "Children of the Lamp," whatever it is called, but it was good enough that she read it while brushing her teeth, and taking out her earrings before they could be confiscated by Headmistress Davies this morning. We feasted on homemade chicken soup a la John, a nice gift for my illness.

Our housing indecision continues. Tonight we will see for the second time the lovely perfect place with the garden but too expensive and far from school, and the sort of compromise place with lovely appointments but no personality, cheaper and closer to school. The troubling third choice is the madly charming in its period details but HORRIBLE kitchen, known as Hampden House, whose main attraction is its extreme proximity to Avery's school, namely a block. How to decide?? Then we'll repair to one of three restaurant choices I've gleaned from the incomparable Egon Ronay London Restaurant Guide, an upscale pub, a fancy Italian,
or a sort of pan-fusion-mixy-uppy place. Will keep you posted.

Two absolutely lovely language stories to tell, if you like that sort of thing. Our hilarious estate agent (realtor, to you Yanks) Jane was regaling us with all sorts of accents, impenetrable Englishisms, and finally upon my request, stories of mispronunciations. Ever since my dad told stories about a client of his who frequented the Indianapolis Sympathy Orchestra I have loved such things. Apparently Jane's real estate office in Wimbledon is graced, during the holidays, with Christmas trees suspended above their awning. Lovely, but after New Year's she really wanted them taken down, and called the local council office to see how she could get that done. The girl who answered the phone seemed totally flummoxed. "They're where, did you say miss? I see, the... the... Above the, what did you say, miss?" Finally Jane realized the girl needed the word spelled but before she could the girl began, "Ok, that's O-R-N-I-N-G, right?"

Then, a story about a lady who went to the ticket booth at Paddington Station asking for a round-trip ticket to Torquay, the seaside resort famous for, among other things, being Agatha Christie's hometown. Well, either she didn't pronounce "Torkee" properly, or the ticket agent thought she needed something a little more exotic, because before she knew it, the lady was in a taxi bound for Heathrow and a plane to... Turkey. In the nick of time the mixup was sorted out. I imagine she just went home at that point and had a cup of tea. Must make sure to speak clearly if I want to go to the World's End tube station in the King's Road, lest I go an awful lot further than just a tube stop.

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