I try to read a lot. We do not get a newspaper here, so the iPad and our computer have become our connections to the world when we wish to read about what is going on. I check the Oregon news a lot, so I am up to date on the local elections, the weather, and anything going on with the schools. I also read news from the BBC and the USA from the larger web sites.
Our local paper is the Melton Times, which comes out once a week. I usually go to their online paper instead for local news, but will occasionally pick up a copy. Being a small town you can imagine that the news is small as well. For example, have a local movie theatre which shut down last summer (before our arrival), but now there are new owners and it hopes to re-open by February 2013. This is big news in town. Road accidents, local sports clubs, and small business reports all make the news. Sometimes there are articles about kids in the local schools doing a fundraiser, or scoring well in their government reports (OFSTED).
More recent big news, both locally and nationally, was the elections for local police commissioners. Well, in the Midlands voter turnout was about a measly 10%, while nationally it was only about 18%. Very disappointing in my opinion that the British did not take this election seriously. I only found one teacher in my building who voted. Most said it was because they were not informed enough to know how to vote. I asked them whose responsibility is it to be informed? That did not make me any new friends, but they understood my point. Most of the country felt the same way anyhow, and the talk is how to get messages out in elections. Apparently a super arch-conservative in another county was elected, though he has a chequered past and people were dumbfounded when he won. If only 10% vote anything and anyone can get elected.
More on reading. We do have a library in town, though it is rather small. The space is just right, but the selection of books does not fill the building. It is part of a conglomerate of Leicestershire libraries. I can look for books online or just show up at the library and take my chances on finding something good. There is always a good book at the library, but I find myself reading genres I usually do not choose to read. I can order a book to be delivered from another library branch, but it will cost me a pound to do so.
Recently I finished ‘Sovereign’ by CJ Sansome. His books center around a Tudor era lawyer named Mathew Shardlake. They are crime mysteries with involving Kings, torture, lots of mud and rain, and bode well with me since I am living in the country portrayed. This particular story was set mostly in York, about two hours north of us. All his books are set in England, and since I enjoyed this one so much I am going to try another. They are quite long books, but the characters are engaging. I was close in guessing who the bad person was as I got towards the end of the book.
I also read Tolkien’s The Hobbit, partly because there is a new movie coming out, and partly because I have tried the book before but never committed to getting into it. This time it was easy to find myself in the story. Surprisingly good book and I finished it quickly. I am not sure why I was unable to get into it on other occasions. Maybe being in England has made it easier for me to read these British authors. I do not read a whole lot of fiction for pleasure, since I mostly read it in the classroom, but now I have consumed two fiction books. In our home is the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy, so I may attempt that too.
Lastly, I am currently consuming The Dummies Guide to the Tudors, or something like that. This is mostly for school, but Henry VIII comes across as quite the interesting King. I will begin my unit of study on him next week. We already made ‘parchment’ paper using tea bags that steeped in cold water, then dripped and rubbed the bags onto paper. Thus the paper turns brown and crinkly. An idea I pinched from a new colleague.
The other way I used to entertain myself was going out to see live music. In Portland there are a lot of places to go, and even though I am older and my bones are creakier I still got out either with friends or Rebecca to see bands that came through town. As a birthday gift, Rebecca got us tickets to see Adam Ant up in Nottingham!
She was able to work with two of my colleagues and their newly teenaged daughters to babysit my kids. And it worked. Nottingham is only 18 miles away, but it takes about 40 minutes to get there. Don’t ask why it takes so long unless you have lived here. We ate dinner at an Indian restaurant beforehand, with the hottest Chicken Vindaloo we have had so far in England. Then caught the show. Played all the hits, the place was packed, and I actually was one of the younger people in the audience. For those in the know, I did not do the Prince Charming dance, though most of the audience did. Nottingham has the closest club for touring acts and there are a lot more coming in the next few months, so we will see if I get back up there.
Today we celebrated Thanksgiving. That post will have to come when I upload some more pictures. We are currently having severe internet problems, so if I get this posted consider yourselves lucky. Our internet connection has not worked for a couple days, though Virgin is ‘working on it.’