Sunday, 27 November 2011

Thanksgiving Week Hodgepodge

Well, it's been another fine week here.  Just so happens that it was Thanksgiving week.   First time I've ever worked on Thanksgiving or the day after for that matter.  It was a little odd, but with the kids in school it was pretty much business as usual.

We had a really nice Thanksgiving meal on Saturday with some other ex-pat families.  The Lheureaus were nice enough to host and we were joined by our friends the Seppanens and Holloways along with another couple that we met for the first time.  It was nice to get together and swap adventure stories about life in the UK.

No grand trips this week, but Nicole did have a special field trip to London and we got in our share of domesticated livestock/animals at Matlock Farm Park.  We also had a couple of firsts on the cooking front.

Nicole's school took a busload of kids to London to participate in the 200th anniversary of Nathaniel Woodard's birth at Westminster Abbey.  I guess that Derby High is a Woodard school.  Only a select few got to go.  Most were selected based on essays they had written last year.  Nicole was an at-large selection but we weren't told why (she does well at school though).  They also got to take a trip on the Thames, shop in Covent Garden and see a musical.  We dropped her off at 7 am and picked her up at 1:30 in the morning!  What a day.  I'll turn it over to Nicole to give you the play by play.

After the service, we had pack lunches on the bus, then stopped by Hyde Park to change into our normal clothes [on the bus].  A very interesting experience, don't need to repeat it. :)

After getting changed we were dropped off near the Thames for a boat trip.  The boat was waiting right by the London Eye.  As you can see, luckily enough, the sun was out today.

On the tour, we saw a lot of sites and had pretty good commentary that came along with it.  This is the reconstructed Globe Theater, which was where many of Shakespeare's plays were performed.  Now that it has been reconstructed, they are now being performed again.

Before turning around on the boat, we saw the Tower of London.  This is was used as many things over time.  It is most known for its executions and being a prison.  It also holds the Crown Jewels.  [We went there back in 2009 and hope to go again some day.  --Dad]

The Tower Bridge.  Once powered by hydraulic action, the two sections of the bridge that the cars drive on can be lifted for boats.  It is now powered by electricity. 

After the tour on the Thames, we walked over to Covent Garden, which is actually a shopping market.  My group went to a couple of stores, this being one of them.  This one was called Cybercandy and it had a bunch of American candy that I miss so much like Hershey's, Butterfingers, Laffy Taffy, and Jolly Ranchers.  They also had Pop Tarts!  I didn't buy any though.

The covered section of Covent Garden.  It was very well decorated for Christmas.

After shopping, we had a nice dinner at Pizza Express.  After we walked to the Savoy Theater where we saw Legally Blonde The Musical.  All the actors put on surprisingly good American accents.  They even had the dogs as well! When the show was over we got back on the coach and took a long ride home.  I attempted to try and get some sleep, but in the end I didn't sleep at all.  We got back to Derby High at about 1:30am.  Once back home, I went straight to bed.  Not surprising.  Overall I had a really good time and was glad I was chosen to go.

Okay, I'm back.  Thanks, Nicole.

I decided that Nicole was ready to start helping me in the kitchen.  In fact, we decided that she would take 1 night a week to pick a menu and cook it with me supervising.  She was actually enthusiastic about it.

She selected sticky chicken.  She's made the sauce and is applying it to the drumsticks that she cleaned and skinned.
Here's the final result along with corn and snap peas with pomegranate seeds.  It was very tasty.  Well done Nicole!  I'm looking forward to this week's choice already!

As mentioned above, we had a nice Thanksgiving Saturday at the Lheureaus.  On Sunday, we cashed in a Groupon voucher to Matlock Park Farm (about 35 minutes away).  The day started sunny but started to cloud up.  The lack of sun and a brisk breeze made for a chilly day.  Shivering with a pig here.

They had your standard and not so standard animals.  Here are rheas which I assume are in the ostrich/emu family.

For 1 quid (pound stirling) we got some feed and carrots.  Needless to say, the animals knew what to expect when we walked up.  They certainly weren't shy about it.
nice beard, Billy

huge rack on this deer

nice afro on this Alpaca

is that a donkey evil eye?

 Alex feeding a small sheep.  All the animals would carefully eat out of your hand.

Bracing for the cold.  We were all sporting our new "wellies" (Wellingtons--rubber boots).  Trying to fit in with the British way . . .

these fellas were quite agressive but still friendly

llama -- much bigger than you think

Nicole liked the goats the best

Nicole usually made some sort of face when feeding them directly.

red-tailed hawk (no feeding here)

Well there's no easy way to transition from the nice cuddly barn yard animals to a nice leg of lamb.  I felt like trying a Sunday roast and tried a leg of lamb for the first time.  The recipe called for cooking the lamb directly on the rack with a veggie dish underneath to catch the juices.  Mmmm.

Final result with green beans and the roasted vegetables (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, swede (rutabaga) and garlic).  The vegetables were outstanding.  The lamb was good but not as spectacular as I had hoped.  It probably cooked about 5 minutes longer than necessary.  It didn't have as strong a flavor has other cuts which we found odd.  I also realized that I don't know how to carve a leg of lamb  -- need more practice.

Not something we'll have every week.  I'll try it again some other time.  It was fun trying something new.

"See you" next week.  Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. Hi!
    I have enjoyed looking at your blog. I found it through an internet site that was discussing Ireland. My family and I will be moving to Northern Ireland this summer so I am reading a lot of things in preparation.
    If you could e-mail me, I have some specific questions about things like shipping our belongings and such.
    my email is
    thebryantbunch5 at