Monday, January 24, 2011

Our weekday routine

So we three are getting into somewhat of a routine during the weeks.  At least for Monday-Thursday -- Harlaxton doesn't have classes on Fridays typically, so we have a three-day weekend to play!!

But on week days, Alan usually heads down to breakfast around 7:30 while Coop and I are (hopefully) still sleeping.  We finally get up and moving around 8am, and go down to breakfast.  (All of our meals are provided here at the castle!)

Coop and I have about an hour or so after breakfast to play in the room ("flat" if I want to be British) or clean or whatever.  We catch the 10:10am shuttle into Grantham, which is about a 10 minute drive.

[Try this link to google maps.  The A is Harlaxton Manor.  It sits at the end of a long straight drive that's the location of the Naked Mile.  (More on that at a later date.  Maybe.)  It's technically in Harlaxton Village, which is just a small cluster of streets and houses.  But the closest big city is Grantham, with maybe 40,000 people, just a couple of miles up the road to the northeast.)

Anyway, Ziggy the shuttle driver, takes us to the Grantham bus station.  Here's a picture of Cooper and his good buddy Jack, who also is at Harlaxton this semester, riding next to each other on the shuttle.  Jack goes to preschool with Cooper on Mondays.

From the bus station, we walk about 10 minutes to Puddleducks, Cooper's preschool for this semester.  It's a pretty sweet place, and this picture totally doesn't do it justice, but that's where the sign with the name was:

Coop seems to love it, and we've been blessed with a kid who's easy to leave with strangers as long as they have toys.  And this place has TOYS.  So he's done well there.   He's usually driving this tractor when I pick him up---"Just a minute, Mama.  I need to plant the field a little bit more."

Note the sack lunch in the picture with the sign.  Since our meals are provided by Harlaxton, if we let them know in advance, they'll make us a sack lunch for any day we won't be at the manor.  So Coop and I each take a lunch four days a week.  It really saves on our food budget (but I am getting tired of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches).

Coop's made some fabulous art at Puddleducks:
That's a picture of me, people.  Or rather "mummy"!  I love it!

Anyway, back to the routine.  I drop Coop off there around 10:30-ish, and then I walk a couple blocks to a pub called Wetherspoon.  They have free wi-fi, so I set up my laptop, order a Diet Pepsi, and do some work (I'm working part-time for my KC judge while we're over here, so this arrangement forces me to get those hours in).

And then when I'm tired or when the laptop battery runs out [update: I found an outlet -- drat, I don't have that excuse anymore!], then I walk around the town and poke my head in some shops.  Grantham has some really great thrift stores, called "charity" stores because they're run by and for specific charities.  I've found some fantastic bargains there, including a tan suede skirt for 1.50 pounds (about $2.25) and some pirate rain boots ("wellies") for Cooper for 1 pound ($1.50).  Score.

I also found this store, which I love:
It's the British version of the dollar store:  Poundland, where everything's a pound!  I stocked up on all sorts of random things.  And it's a great place to take Cooper on weekends because we can pick out a toy (or two! or three!) for cheap, which is nice since we sort of promised that we could buy "a bunch" of toys when we got to England.

And this store:
It's ASDA, the British version of Walmart.  Owned by Walmart, actually.  So it felt quite home-y.

One last thing that sort of ties into our routine. I'm getting better at being a pedestrian. It's still a little daunting because I don't have an innate sense of the traffic flow---I still can't predict which way a car is going or where it is allowed to turn from which lane. And I also don't like this:
This is how the stop lights look in between red and green.  So when the light is red and is about to turn green, it gives drivers a yellow as a "get ready" sign.  Which means they start revving their engines and are ready to gun it when the light turns green.  A bit disconcerting for a pedestrian.

I pick Coop around 2:15, and we walk back to the bus station to catch Ziggy's 2:30 shuttle back to the manor.  When we get home, we try to have a little Quiet Rest Time (what we've instituted since Coop's stopped actually napping) by watching some Blue's Clues videos on my ipod. 

Alan usually finishes up teaching and working around 4:00 or 4:30, so he and Coop play train or cash register or tea party or race car.  We head down to dinner around 5:30, and, barring any college event, start getting Coop settled for bed around 7pm.

And then, just like at home, Alan and I stay up way too late on email and Facebook and computer games and reading.  But that's ok, because we have a three-day weekend to recover!!


DMcC said...

Love the pics (especially Cooper and Jack), love the narrative. And then there's the memories you evoke for me; especially crossing the street. I honestly thought if anyone was watching me, they would think I was nuts. I was continually looking back and forth, and back and forth. You gotta be careful!!!!! It sounds like everything is falling into place ~ yeah!!!

Rhonda said...

As a mom of two who is trying (not too successfully) to keep the house going, feed the family, work "Part-time" (as if there is such a thing in education), make sure everyone has clean main thing captured my attention and made me drool a little.....all meals prepared!! SCORE!!!

Thomas said...

I can't get over how amazing this whole experience must be for all of you. Emily, you went there during undergrad, right? I thought you did for some reason, but I might be completely wrong. Its just amazing to have your family over there together and get to see the Coopenator romping around pillaging for loot all over England. I envy you, my friends.