Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 489

Friday night lights

On the bucket list was a desire to attend a high school football game and watch the marching band geek it up with their trombones and aubergine slacks, see cheerleaders flick flack, high kick and shake their pompoms whilst keeping their hair in perfect ponytails, and witness the school jocks come running on out to whoops and cheers from smitten freshman girlies. Oh, I wanted it to be totally and utterly clichéd in a Glee-type way, and I was not disappointed.

Gawd love 'em

Gawd love ‘em

The marching band

The marching band

I really, really don’t get, or even particularly like, American football (there is a lot of preening and time out and chest and fist bumping, and I can’t see their faces so I don’t know who they are or what in their outfit is actually theirs and what is really padding), so we didn’t stay for the game. I was only really keen to see the pre-game shenanigans.

This is the pre-game shenanigans :)

NYC

This was our second trip to NYC (read about our first trip, back in December 2012 here), and since we’d visited most of the bars last time we went, it seemed only fair to get a bit of culture in ;)

This trip, it was these things:

Ground Zero – emotional

The High Line – fabulous

Greenwich and Washington Square – I’ll take a nice little town house here please ;)

The Statue of Liberty – wowsers (Dear Frenchies. I get it. She rocks.). What a chick.

Times Square – still crazy

The subway – don’t love it

New Yorkers – genius clothes choices

Cab drivers – wtf?

Food – we made some bad food choices :(

Central Park – massive and lush

Joggers of NYC – yes, I see you are fit, congratulations

People in costume – thanks for not over-bugging a six-year old

NYPD – charming ladies and gents

NYC skyline

NYC skyline

Liberty with her ice cream

Liberty with her ice cream

Me loving NYC

Me loving NYC

Ground Zero

Ground Zero

It's a cool city

It’s a cool city

People were still sunbathing NYC style! :)

People were still sunbathing NYC style! :)

That Brit Guy NYC

I did meet up with a charming fellow Brit in NYC, who you might remember from the blog back in April.

We met up and talked expat lives, NYC kookiness, American humor, British humour, and what we’ve made of hanging out with Uncle Sam. Check out Chris’s comedy here.

Me and Chris :)

Me and Chris :)

Good times!

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Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 488

Happiness USA stylie

I’m pretty happy in the USA, thanks very much!

With a relatively high standard of living, Americans generally are happier than those in other countries around the world. According to a United Nations analysis of national sentiment, the happiest people in the world live in Denmark, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands. I had a Dutch boyfriend once, and he was very jolly indeed!

Check this out:

Happiness in the U.S.
Source: TopCounselingSchools.org

The Essential Guide to Not Being An Expat Desperate Housewife

I’m writing a book! And that’s the title above!

It will be an irreverent and tongue-in-cheek, but ultimately helpful, guide for expats about how to get out of the house, meet people, socialise, join a community, and live a fulfilling life whilst you are abroad.

How not to be an expat Desperate Housewife ;)

How not to be an expat Desperate Housewife ;)

It’s mainly for women, as the title suggests, but there will be a chapter dedicated to the men out here too!

I want to include all sorts of different experiences – good and bad, funny and weird – and not just my own, so that it has a whole host of varied stories from all over the globe about how people have tackled their journeys as an expat.

If you have inspirational expat lives and advice for people about how to make the most of their experiences feel free to share them with me for the book.

My adventures have always been based on my desires and wishes to achieve and experience things that are a little different and I am a firm believer that YOU are responsible for making things happen, perhaps with a little bit of magic from that well-referenced entity called fate.

So, if you have any hints, tips, ideas, stories, anecdotes, experiences etc that you want to share (as I said, both good and bad!) please email me at clairebolden@hotmail.com asap!

If you have any questions please let me know. FYI, all entries will be anonymous!

‘Bevin Stacey’

Recently I was spotted on set alongside a certain actor, whom we shall refer to, for the purposes of this blog, as ‘Bevin Stacey’.

It was all very exciting, especially at lunch when he attempted to swat away a wasp with a plastic knife.

And that is all I can say about that (confidentiality agreement and all that ;) ).

He looks a lot like Bevin Stacey

He looks a lot like Bevin Stacey ;)

Living in a great place in the USA!

Money Magazine has named two Howard County cities as the best places to live, and I live in one of them!

Ellicott City and Columbia are being celebrated together as the sixth best small city.

Fabulous old Main Street in Ellicott City

Fabulous old Main Street in Ellicott City

“I had my fingers crossed and once again in the top 10 places to live,” says the lovely County Executive Ken Ulman (who lives just down the road from me, don’t ya know! ;) ).

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Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 487

Whirlwind weekend

Despite the Desperate Housewife having bronchitis (I know, sob sob!) there are still events to attend and people to see and photo opps to be had. Let’s not forget that it’s 10 1/2 months till we depart Uncle Sam’s shores and I sure as hell don’t want to spend that precious time in bed, even though that’s what the lovely doc told me to do. (Sorry doc).

Vintage event

At this event you can wine taste and raise money for Voices for Children, which is part of the National and Maryland CASA Associations. Voices for Children recruits and trains volunteer advocates to represent the best interests of children in the Howard County Courts.

Hanging with the #hocohomos and the lovely Courtney Watson

Hanging with the #hocohomos and the lovely Courtney Watson

Much wine was drunk for this great cause. (I was v sensible, tho, doc, in case you are reading this ;) )

Howard Community College Gran Prix

Next up was a horsey event that I’ve wanted to go to for the few years we’ve been here, but I kept missing. Horsey events always seem very British to me because I remember sometimes on the BBC on a Saturday there would be nothing but horse riding and jumping events on the telly.

Oddly, there was some British guy doing all the announcing. I found out later his name is Adam Cromarty and horse announcing is his job, but being the curious person I was I did try and climb up the announcement booth ladder to talk to him but got advised that he was quite busy. I just wanted to find out what he’s doing over here, cos I always want to know why Brits are over here!

Anyway, the event looked very much like this:

Horsey stuff

Horsey stuff

Ellicott City Music Fest

This event was super fun and there were some smashing Americana bands playing out in town.

One lucky band got this dancing boy enjoying their music :)

I totally love Ellicott City and its eclectic mix of people. It’s such a fabulous relief from Desperate Housewife land.

And talking of such a land, this garden in my neighbourhood changes themes with the months and seasons and I love spotting when it’s had a new decoration set put up! A lovely bit of crazy in Desperate Housewife land.

What does the Housing Association say?!

What does the Housing Association say?!

Family Shakespeare

We also attended the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s family show of Midsummer Night’s Dream in Baltimore, which was as dreamy and wonderful as one could have hoped for.

The kids love being on stage here

The kids love being on stage here

Always a chance for PR darlings!

Always a chance for PR darlings!


Theatre luvvies!

Theatre luvvies!

I don’t know any theatre in the UK that is so very family orientated and caters for the kids in this way. It’s amazeballs.

Signing out, exhausted UK Desperate Housewife USA!
x

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Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 486

It’s a NO

Well, Scotland, we loves ya, we do! I so hope that, from an English point of view, relationships with our Scottish cousins keep happy.

For what it’s worth, my fave city is Edinburgh; I love Ewan McGregor LOADS; and I support Andy Murray in the tennis :) .

Harry wore this to school today.

The flag :)

The flag :)

Maryland attractions

Living in Maryland I have discovered a lot of super lovely things.

From Fells Point in Baltimore, to Assateague Island; from old Ellicott City to Annapolis; from Flag Ponds to Solomon’s Island; and the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company to Boordy Winery, there is an awful lot to see and do in Maryland.

So, I was taken aback when a local radio show highlighted Maryland’s top tourist attraction from a survey done in Men’s Health.

This, they say, is the top one for Maryland: The Longest Escalators in the Western Hemisphere – Hop on metro at Wheaton to ride the longest set of single span escalators…115 feet up/down.

An escalator.

Here is that escalator.

Just v v v v long. That is all.

Just v v v v long. That is all.

Mind boggling.

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Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 485

I know jack about the UK

My American buddy asked me about how the UK was made up (notably because of the hot topic of Scotland), and what was Britain and what was Great Britain and I began to explain. ‘Hold up,’ said he (cos he is American, and not British – if he were British he would have said ‘hang on’ ;) ). ‘We were taught in school that Britain is England and Wales.’

‘Oh,’ said I. ‘I did not know that.’

So I checked, and goddammit, he’s right! What was I taught in school?!

Here’s the info that I did not know (hangs British/England/UK/Great British head in shame).

Great Britain is the official name given to the two kingdoms of England and Scotland, and the principality of Wales.

Is Great Britain the same as the UK?
No, Great Britain and the United Kingdom refer to different areas.

Great Britain is very often, but incorrectly, used as a synonym for the sovereign state properly known as the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’ (UK).

The UK includes Great Britain AND Northern Ireland.

Fact.

Fact.

Great Britain is a political term which describes the combination of England, Scotland, and Wales, the three nations which together include all the land on the island. It is also a geographical term referring to the island on which the greater parts of England, Wales and Scotland are situated.

Is Great Britain the same as Britain?
Great Britain and Britain do not mean the same thing.

Great Britain is made up of Scotland, England and Wales, where as Britain is just England and Wales. The name Britain goes back to Roman times when they called England and Wales “Britannia” (or “Britannia Major”, to distinguished from “Britannia Minor”, ie Brittany in France). The Roman province of Britannia only covered the areas of modern England and Wales. The area of modern Scotland was never finally conquered.

However, it is important to note here that Britain has not existed in the true sense since the Roman times. Wales became a separate country in its own right, and then became a principality of England, which it still is today. The Union in 1707 joined Scotland and England and Wales to create Great Britain.

Britain
Britain was the name made popular by the Romans when they came to the British islands.

Great Britain
The term Great Britain was first used during the reign of King James I of England (James VI of Scotland) in 1603, to refer to the separate kingdoms of England and Scotland on the same landmass, that were ruled over by the same monarch. Despite having the same monarch, both kingdoms kept their own parliaments.

King James 1

King James 1

England
England used to be known as ‘Engla land’, meaning the land of the Angles, people from continental Germany, who began to invade Britain in the late 5th century, along with the Saxons and Jute.

United Kingdom (The uniting of kingdoms)
The ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’ was formed in 1707 by the Act of Union that created a single kingdom with a single Parliament. (Scotland has always retained its own legal system) copyright of pro jectbritain.com

A hundred years later the Act of Union of 1801 joined Ireland to ‘Great Britain’ and the name “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” was first used. (Since 1921 only Northern Ireland has been part of the United Kingdom and so the name changed).

History lesson complete :)

But, many questions remain if Scotland take independence. Such deep and meaningful questions as:

What about the Great British Bake Off?
Will Andy Murray play for Scotland and leave us with a hope in the tennis?
What will they call Britain’s Got Talent?

So much to consider! ;)

Chevrons

America, I must share with you this ingenious thing called ‘chevrons’ which we have on the roads in the UK, Great Britain or whatever the hell it’s called.

Genius!

Genius!

They are designed to make you keep your distance between you and the car in front of you. Fancy that!

Just imagine, America, if you had these and abided to them! Then you wouldn’t be driving RIGHT UP MY ARSE all the time.

;)

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Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 484

Scotland and America

I’ve heard a little rumour that if Scotland decide they don’t want to be part of the UK anymore then America might quite like to take their place. I’m not quite sure how the logistics of this would work out, but I wonder if we Brits might get to choose just one state to begin with, given that America is quite large.

I’m tossing it up between Maryland (out of loyalty); California (out of lust); and Texas (only because it would be utterly mind-blowing to see Texas and England, Wales and N. Ireland attempt to combine).

Something very serious will happen, however, if we are no longer the United Kingdom…..what the flippin’ heck will I call my blog and my twitter handle?! They’re currently UK Desperate Housewife USA and @ukhousewifeusa….right now I’m considering all options, so send them in if you have them!

Scottish independence looming?

Scottish independence looming?

John Denver Xmas special

An American friend recently told me that, for them, sitting around the TV at Christmas they had one tradition – the John Denver Christmas Special. Much like us Brits watching The Queen’s Speech, I imagine ;) .

Just enjoy.

America celebrates beating us Brits

This weekend in Baltimore it’s been all about the week of beating us Brits and how the Star Spangled Banner was written.

It’s always a bit awkward popping out to these events, because the minute you speak in a British accent someone says something all clever dick about you being British and how America whooped our arse.

Star Spangled celebrations

Star Spangled celebrations

Yes, I'm British....roll out the jokes... ;)

Yes, I’m British….roll out the jokes… ;)

Canons at Federal Hill

Canons at Federal Hill

The mighty flag

The mighty flag

For McHenry

Fort McHenry

Anyway, whatever happened, we’re all firm chums now and hoorah for us all!

I did have to make a mental note to myself after a few minutes at a presentation about the war and wotnot and it went like this: ‘When at the USA War of 1812 and freedom from the British celebrations don’t whoop and cheer every time they mention the British.’ ;)

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Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 483

Math/Legos

I know where the ‘s’ in Maths has gone in America – they put it at the end of Legos!

Lego tell it how it is!

Lego tell it how it is!

Back to school parties

We don’t have such things as Back to school parties in the UK.

But here they have them on a school night till 830pm and ply the kids full of pizza, popcorn, popsicles and Kona Ice.

The kids love it; the parents suffer it.

That is all I have to say about that.

Oh, great.

Oh, great.

Deer nibbling my bush

We have three beautiful deer who come into our garden every morning and nibble our bushes.

Hello m'dears ;)

Hello m’dears ;)

I’ll miss that.

9/11

It will be interesting to find out if the school talks about the anniversary of September 11th today. The Before-Care Club had this sign up and I explained to Harry what it was about. I hope they do discuss it.

A day of memories today all over the world.

We won't.

We won’t.

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