There’s Something About an English Apple

There are a lot of things that America does well, but grow a delicious apple is not one of them. I am consistently disappointed by the quality of the apples here. They are all mushy and powdery inside. Even the ones that seem like they might be wonderful are mush in your mouth.

An English apple on the other hand is like heaven. It’s a frothy delight. When I bite into one I swear I hear angels singing. If you are wondering what could be so great about an apple, you’ve obviously never tasted an English apple. If you had you’d know exactly what I mean.

I often wonder what the English secret is to growing such delicious apples. Maybe it’s the thick layer of clouds covering the country. Maybe it’s the constant supply of cold rain. Maybe it’s the Wellington boots worn by the English farmers or the ability to complain about the weather no matter what it is. Or maybe apple trees thrive on dry, cynical humor. Whatever it is American farmers need to get up to speed.

For now I’m considering starting an English apple import company. My English apples will blow American taste buds away. That’s my big idea for the day.

Photo by A Guy Taking Pictures

Drive My Car

Okay, so here’s the truth. I’ve been here for nearly a year and still haven’t started driving. I drove when we visited Florida for the Christmas holiday, but I’ve managed to avoid getting behind the wheel of a car in England. Isn’t that pitiful?

Part of the problem is that I don’t really like to drive. I never have. In New Jersey, you can’t get your license until you’re 17, and I was in no hurry to get mine. I think I was forced to learn to drive by my parents. They were probably tired of driving me around everywhere. Even after I learned, I hardly ever drove.

My mother’d say, “Why don’t you drive around the corner and get some things I need from the store for dinner.”

“How ’bout I walk around the corner?” I’d always say.

Then my reluctance to drive was fear mainly. I was inexperienced and terrified of getting into an accident. While I’m still terrified of getting into an accident, I have to say that now my reluctance is more laziness than anything else. I’d much rather do something other than concentrate on the rode when I’m in the car.

I’m considering hiring a driver. I think that would be a good solution to this problem. I could climb into the back seat of our 13-year-old Peugeot 106 that sounds like a tractor when you start it  and say, “Driver, take to the grocery store.”

“Right away,” he’d say. He’d wear a black suit, chauffeur’s cap and white gloves.

That would be great!

My husband doesn’t like wearing a suit, but maybe I could get him to put on a chauffeur’s cap and white gloves when he drives me to the mall this afternoon.

Let it Snow?

Many of you who have television heard about all the snow that fell here last week. There was quite a bit of snow. Schools were closed for three days. On Monday morning while children joyfully frolicked in a winter wonderland, I was filled with dread.

We have pay-as-you-go electricity that we hadn’t topped up. We’d spent Saturday in London and by the time we got home we were tired and didn’t want to go anywhere to buy electricity. Sunday was Sunday and we didn’t get any electricity then. We’d planned to get it on Monday morning, but when I looked outside and everything was covered in snow and the streets were void of cars, I panicked. Then I did what any normal panicking person who was about to not have electricity in their home on a cold snowy day would do, I went back to bed.

I lay in bed staring at my husband until he finally woke up.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“There’s a lot of snow and more is supposed to be coming. We only have £2 left on our electricity and then what? We’ll have no hot water and no heat and no electricity. We’ll be snowed in with no electricity. I’ll have to turn the oven on to keep up warm.” I could barely hold back the tears. I’d really worked myself up by this time.

“I’m sure the shops are open. I’ll go get the electricity now.” He and my stepson went out in inappropriate footwear–we’re from Florida and unprepared for this kind of weather–to get some electricity. It only took them 15 minutes to save the day. Men are good for something after all.


My husband took the car to a place called Kwik-Fit the other day to get the oil changed. The mechanic who has been working on the car is far away so he’s decided to try out some places nearby. We were spoiled in Florida because we had the best mechanic ever.

With a name like Kwik-Fit, we expected it to be something like Jiffy Lube. It’s a chain. It has the word quick–though strangely spelled–in the title. You would expect their service to be quick.

When my husband came home only a few minute after leaving, I knew that either Kwik-Fit really lived up to their name or there was a problem.

“I have to make an appointment,” he said.

“You’re kidding.”

“Guess when the first available appointment was.”


“Next week.”

I was shocked and appalled but the shock and appallation (Is that a word?) grew even deeper when my husband told me that he’d have to leave the car there all day.

He asked the guy behind the counter, “If I drop it off at 9 in the morning, it should be done by 2:30, right?”

“Maybe,” the guy said.

Maybe? How long does it take to do an oil change. My husband said that when he was there, there was only one car in the whole place. Kwik-Fit should definitely change it’s name.


I’ve been ignoring the blog recently. It’s not because I don’t love all of you and want to tell you every detail about incredibly fascinating life. It’s just been because I’ve been busy or preoccupied or cold. Enough excuses. Here are some pictures.

English Lesson

The most surprising thing about living in England is that the English haven’t yet mastered the language that bears their name.

First of all, they don’t know how to spell. It’s not just a few cases either. I see misspellings everywhere. They’re even in the newspaper. The mistakes are small, like for some reason most everyone seems to think that when spelling words like labor and favor, they should add a random u that just doesn’t belong. They also tend to replace z with s in words like realize. I tried to point this mistake out to someone once, and that’s when I discovered that part of the problem is that no one ever taught them the proper names for the letters in the alphabet. I don’t know what this zed thing is, but it needs to be corrected.