27 April 2012

Living On A Different Timeline

Posted By Happy Homemaker UK

It's been hard to put my finger on
but I feel I live on a different timeline in the UK
with history stretched over a bigger canvas

The Victorian era does not feel so long ago here,
as I hear it referred to frequently and see visual reminders daily
(1837 - 1901)

A real turning point in English history was
the Industrial Revolution
which created
a huge migration of people
from the countryside to cities
in search of work

As the pollution was horrendous in London,
wealthy Victorians built houses in the suburbs

It was the age of Darwin, Dickens, Carroll, Beatrix Potter,
Oscar Wilde, French Impressionism, and the construction of Big Ben

The Empire was at its most powerful,
extending across one-fifth of the earth
with almost a quarter of the world's population under the Queen's rule

The culture had an emphasis of all things pretty and nature-related 
as Victorians often craved the countryside they left behind

Plant and science exploration exploded
which we still benefit from in our gardens and classrooms

Today, beautiful Victorian buildings and homes remain a visual reminder
of this Golden Age

Victorian walled gardens enable tender plants to grow better with its warmth and protection

the United States was in a very different place at that time
with few visual reminders still standing

Andrew Jackson was US President when Queen Victoria was crowned
That seems quite incongruous to me

Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, California Gold Rush, The Wild West, American Civil War,
and Oklahoma was still 'Indian Territory'

Goodness, doesn't that seem like a REALLY long time ago?

Another significant turning point in recent English history was
World War II 

with its years of rations, effects of continual bombing, shattered families,
personal sacrifice, and generally changing the way the English lived yet again

Gardens that had been a source of beauty 
became an important source of food

All of England was re-purposed for the war efforts
Castles and country estates were turned into hospitals and served other military needs

Today visual reminders include
Brutalist Architecture replacing bombed buildings,
war memorials, museums, red poppies
and 'pillboxes' that dot the countryside in southeast England

WWII Pillboxes were strategically built in case of a German land invasion

Here's a few significant turning points 
in American culture and lifestyle over the past century

The Great Depression, Civil Rights Movement, The Women's Movement, 
Vietnam War, the Digital Age, 9/11

America has had smaller bursts of change more frequently in a shorter amount of time
whereas it appears England has big watershed years that last decades

To me, it feels like 'recent' history began
in the 1960s in the US,
the late 19th century in England

From my observation,
an English era generally lasts the length of a reigning monarch

This year the country celebrates the 60th year of Queen Elizabeth II's reign

Although the English can rattle off an impressive list of monarchs of the past centuries,
not so for their Prime Ministers, which seem less significant and almost a 'flash-in-the-pan'
(Churchill, Thatcher and Blair were quite memorable)

Yet with American presidential elections held every four years,
the 'eras' change quite frequently

Think of these past US Presidents and their eras over the last 60 years
while Queen Elizabeth II reigned continuously:

Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama

Each US president practically represents a shift in thinking, culture, and history
every four years!

( or eight, if re-elected )

See what I mean?

A different timeline

- all photos by me -

Reference: Wikipedia
Timeline of Queen Elizabeth II (here)

Psst - don't forget to submit your post to Post Of The Month Club at Gifts of Serendipity in a few days :)

25 April 2012

Forest Frolic: Bluebell Season

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

There is nothing like seeing the forest
carpeted with bluebells

Like purple fog hovering over the forest floor

Also, 'tis the season for wild garlic

It smells amazing when walking by
and is featured on local menus

The rain hasn't let up in weeks,
but I am enjoying the fruits of its labor

- all photos by me -

Last year's bluebell post (here)

Post Of The Month Club has moved to

Submit your best post of the month
on the last day of each month

See you there ;)

Linking to Project 52

22 April 2012

Golden Fields of Rapeseed

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

With a break in the rain, I
 grabbed my camera and dashed to the fields 

to the welcoming sounds of a rooster, 
a pheasant (sounds like old car horn), 
and a great tit (squeaky bike pump)

and this sweeping view...

In the mustard family, 
rapeseed is commonly used in the European Union
as edible oil (Canola), animal feed, and biodiesel

You can see the fields are abloom :)

{ Stunning }

- photos by me -

19 April 2012

On Vacation With The British & Airplane Suggestions

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

We went to Florida for Spring Break last week

You can see we had the place to ourselves

English schools always have Spring Break during Easter

Because most American schools had had their break weeks earlier, 
it felt like (sounded like) half the tourists were English in Orlando

I felt a deeper appreciation for English roundabouts which keep traffic moving
for the countless Orlando stoplights were ill-timed, making me a little ill-grumpy

As you would expect, the English are very polite tourists
with well behaved children

But something about Florida brought out a different side to the English travelers
I hadn't witnessed in other countries I'd seen them in

1. Curiously the English seemed more patriotic than usual, 
often wearing English paraphernalia such as
the Union Jack, the Flag of England, or the Royal Arms of England
(however, their patriotism would be lost on most Americans
who are not familiar with the last two)

Flag of England & Royal Arms of England
via Wikipedia

2. Quite a few tempers flared among English family members at the water park 
like an episode from The Osbornes 
(perhaps too much sun?)

3. How the English loved the American burgers! (Me too!)

With a smile,
I wanted to tell my fellow British air passengers to expect
an 'overhead locker' instead of an 'overhead rubbish bin'
when the flight attendant referred to the overhead bin for luggage storage :)

Sitting in the 'cattle car' section on the LONG flight 'home' from Orlando to London (7+ hours)
I was thinking about ways my travel could be improved and time maximized

LOVE British Airway's On Demand entertainment system

Just a few ideas airlines should consider on those long hauls
that feel like they last forever...

Built-in ice chests next to seats stocked with yummy drinks and treats
Airplane seats double as massage chairs
Seat belts jiggle to melt away a few pounds
A pedicure and fresh hair-do while in seat - during no turbulence, of course :)

Free WiFi
A chill out zone for kids
A library-like work area with tables, chairs, good lighting
Lectures and crash courses about your destination (history, foreign language, etc)

Stationary bikes for exercise
Lighting to help adjust biorhythms to new time zone

And for goodness' sake, more bathrooms!! Blimey!

Ahhh, depart the plane pampered, productive, and revitalized :)

Just dreaming,
but do you have anything to add? 

Any good ideas on tackling jet lag? Do share :)

photos by me

15 April 2012

American & British Food

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Some tasty, some not so much
Some very local or seasonal
And most are not winning any health awards :)

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Tomato Soup
is classic American comfort food
( image via Nation's Restaurant News)

I've jotted down a list of foods that are rarely found in the other country
See if any of these are your comfort food, trigger a memory, or just make you want to hurl :)


Velveeta Cheese
Cracker Jack (baseball food)
Tater Tots
Cinnamon Rolls
Biscuits & Gravy
Loaded Potato Skins
Buffalo Wings
Indian Taco
Sloppy Joe
Corn Dogs
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches (PB&J)
Mac & Cheese
Grilled Cheese
Philadelphia Cheesesteak
Buffalo Burger
Frito Chili Pie
Chicken Fried Steak

PB&J, mac & cheese, and quesadillas
are staples for many American kids

Mexican food still is on our dinner menu 
at least once a week at home - yum!

Yep, that's 'cheese' in an aerosol can
(image via Toccata)


Kool Aid
Minute Maid Lemonade
Root Beer
Light Beers


Chocolate Chips
Cool Whip
Bubble Gum
Candy Corn
Milk Duds
Junior Mints
Nutter Butter
Funnel Cake
Ice Cream Cake
Fried Ice Cream
Banana Split
Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Key Lime Pie

S'mores are an American tradition on every camping trip
(image via Wikipedia)


Hamburger Joints
Doughnut Shops
Frozen Yogurt Shops
Mix-In Ice Cream Parlors
Drive Thru Fast Food (drive thru laundry, banks too)


Peanut Butter
Melted Cheese

Often made in the UK with leftovers: Bubble & Squeak
(image via BBC)


Coleman's Mustard
HP Steak Sauce
Hula Hoops
Walker's Crisps in chicken, bacon, and steak flavors
Welsh Cakes
Hot Cross Buns
Scotch Egg
Jellied Eels
Wide variety of potatoes
Pancakes with lemon and sugar (yum!)
Marmite on toast
Beans on toast
Yorkshire Pudding
Chip Butty
Jacket Potato with Tuna
Fish & Chips
Bubble & Squeak
Plowman's Lunch
Bangers & Mash
Cornish Pasty
Toad In The Hole
Meat Pies
Sunday Roast

Scotch Egg
(image via BBC)


Large variety of tea
Hot Toddy
Alcoholic Apple Cider
Mulled Wine

(personal photo)


Digestive Biscuits
Jaffa Cakes
Millionaire Shortbread (love!)
Fairy Cakes
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Christmas Pudding
Bread Pudding
Spotted Dick
Victoria Sponge Cake
Banoffee Pie
Cream Tea (scones, clotted cream served with tea)

Spotted Dick
'Spotted' refers to the currents and 'Dick' is slang for pudding
(via RecipeWise)




Curry/Indian Food
Use of root vegetables

What would you add to the list?

Any thing you couldn't live without in a foreign country?

11 April 2012

Quiz: Could You Pass The UK Citizenship Test?

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

After five years of living in England, I could apply to become a UK citizen

You, too, can try a few 'Life In The UK Citizenship Test' questions here

I found it fascinating (and failed miserably)

At least I got the driving question right!

How did you fair?

04 April 2012