Sunday, 6 November 2011

Halloween and more

I've got a few minor updates to catch everyone up on.  First up:  Halloween.  Given the fact that we had a couple of hectic weeks leading up (including Rome) and our general lameness, we scrambled to find Alex a Halloween costume.  To be fair, we (Kuk) didn't wait until the very last minute.  So, our little devil was playing it straight, so to speak.

Quite a different experience this year.  First of all, Nicole stayed home for the first year (getting older and all).   Second, it's not quite up to speed here.  Alex and I walked around with our neighbors and knocked off a few houses nearby and then into the village.  Evidently the "I'm in" sign for the houses is to have decorations (or a pumpkin) out, not just a porch light.  [Hmm no wonder we didn't get any visitors.  Living on a hidden cul de sac doesn't help either.]  The participation level was definitely less than back home, but that's okay.  Alex had fun even though his haul was down from previous years.

We came off daylight savings time a week earlier (10/30) than in the US.  That really wreaks havoc on all those US/UK meetings we have set up at work.  Glad to see you join us this week. 

Remember back in the summer when I was talking about 17 hours of sunlight?  That's long gone.  With the clock roll back it's starting to get dark at 4:30 and quite dark when I leave to get the kids at 5.  For now, it's light in the morning on the way to work but who knows how much longer that will last.

This weekend was Bonfire Night or more specifically Guy Fawkes Night (Nov 5). Guy Fawkes was a member of the group who planned the failed Gunpower Plot to blow up the Parliament and King James I in 1605.  It was snuffed out and bonfires have been set every since.  The plot was essentially a religious power play Catholics over Protestants but that bit is glossed over these days from what I can tell.  It's the biggest fireworks night of the year (like our July 4th) and in fact there have been fireworks going off most of the week.

Well, I blew it.  I had a great idea to go to Tutbury Castle to see a re-enactment and watch the bonfire/fireworks there.  It was such a good idea that I invited our friends, newly arrived ex-pats, the Seppanens along.  I was slow playing the ticket purchase to get a read on the weather and by the time I got off the fence, it was sold out.  At least the Seppanens got to go!  Lesson learned.  There was also a big fireworks display in town at nearby Markeaton Park, but it started too early for our schedule (Nicole was at a birthday party).  Oh well.

We ended up going to our favorite Chinese restaurant, New Water Margin.  While there, in walks Craig Davis, Kuk's former boss (from 2 jobs ago) from Indy.  Small world!

Thinking it's time to start doing some indoor activities, we decided to head to Cadbury World.  (Ironically it was an absolutely gorgeous day -- you simply cannot plan on the weather here).  Cadbury is the UK national chocolate more or less.  Like Hershey's but better (way better according to the Brits).  It's certainly milkier.  We all went on the little tour through the place seeing how the chocolate is made (more through videos than any live action -- trade secrets and all).  Plenty of "free" samples.

Pictures of the factory weren't allowed.  I decided to keep the animal theme going with this cow shot though it's not quite the same as on our hikes.  Cadburys is known for MILK chocolate, hence the cows.

This sample caught our eye.  It's not often you see a chocolate shoe.  Plus, I like the word bespoke [unique] which you don't hear much in the US.

Ah, the gift shop.  Just what every kid needs -- a kilogram (2.2 lbs) of chocolate.  Despite the low Halloween take, we passed on the megabar though we did purchase some smaller treats.

In another part of the tour, we got to "make" our own chocolate.  Well, we got to tell the guy what to dump our chocolate on.  Alex is digging into his chocolate covered popcorn (bleah).

We didn't diss our friends the Seppanens (Lori and Jay) all weekend.  We actually all went to Cadbury World together.  Glad we got to spend the day with them and look forward to other opportunities.  They've just recently arrived from the US and will be good to share our experiences.  Jay has the blogging bug and you can catch him here.

One final comment before leaving you:  Kuk passed her driving test too!  She actually took it the day before we left for Rome.  It such a good feeling to not have any more lessons or have the test hanging over our heads.  (No more handbrake/neutral for us automatic drivers either!).

Until next time . . .

1 comment:

  1. Oh c'mon; admit it! Cadbury's is *tons* better than Hershey's over in the US. I do miss Cadbury's dairy milk with hazelnuts ... or with caramel; even though they sell Dairy Milk in the US, it's not the same!!! :)