Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bric A Brac (eight months later)

This was on my own regular everyday blog, but I'm duplicating it here. Cross-filing, or something.

So... I got up too early and full of awakeness, and got up to start sorting through all my papers from last year for taxes. Fun, huh? (Not fun for me.)

So I was sorting through my receipts from the UK, throwing away the things that weren't deductible and remembering how much I love museums and books and charity shops (not, not, and not deductible).

I thought I would add this to the knowledge base of anyone who didn't know and might care a teensy bit: In the U.S. when you buy something from a thrift store and it wasn't worth a category of its own, they call it misc (for miscellaneous). In the UK, it's BRIC A BRAC (a term I knew for the little statues grandmothers put on little shelves). Or on a receipt that's not all upper case, capitalized with a weighty three capitals: Bric A Brac

I hope someone needs to know this and can maybe win some money on Jeopardy, or Countdown.

Here's some bric-a-brac (American spelling):

I bought that round Elizabeth II cup, second from the left, for Bea Marshall. I have the receipt sitting right here. Marie Curie Cancer Care charity shop, 107 GLoucester Rd. Bishopston, Bristol. June 30, 2011. I mailed it to her, worried that it might break, but it didn't. I sent it because when I had visited her earlier in Sheffield, she'd asked me who my favorite member of the royal family was. I said Charles, because I felt sorry for him. So I got a Charles and Diana memorial teacup. I think it was supposed to be a commemorative teacup, but poor Charles. So I thought an older Elizabeth might be good for her everyday teacup collection.

No good way to get this home, but England is swimming in cool teapots:

And egg cups:

I almost bought that one. Then I thought a photo of it was plenty.

They have a much better quality of bric-a-brac than the U.S. has:

... though maybe when it's useful like a teapot it should be dishes. According to what I can learn from my receipt, though, if it's not toys, books, or womens accessories, it must be Bric A Brac!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The talk I gave in London, with visuals

This has a more permanent home with a bit more information here:

The Past, the Future and Now
When thoughts are stuck or whirling, which way can we go? Where can we turn? What helps with natural learning, and what hinders? Can people go too far, or not far enough? Is it possible to mess this up?

A presentation for parents interested in unschooling, given at the LiTTLe Conference in London in 2011:

If you don't see arrows, try moving to the next picture with your finger, depending on the device you're using.

The talk can be downloaded from, or you can listen to it directly here or maybe here:

and change the image when it seems right to do so. :-)

The introduction is by Julie Daniel. I wish to point out that to put a book in the toilet, in British English, means to put it in the bathroom. In American English, it would mean to drop it into the water in the toilet bowl. So the recommendation was to use it as a bathroom book. I think. :-)
BRUCE saved a journal from his great aunt. Bernie is his wife. I was nervous.

When I said "the bus from Derby," I meant "the train." (I did ride the bus from Selkirk to Edinburgh, but I was sitting.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Medieval tile at Winchester Cathedral

I saw this on July 3, 2011. Someday I might re-order these blog posts in chronological order and remove this top line.

I've had a book about medieval tile for a really long time. I saw some, way up on the wall, at the British Museum 30+ years ago.

Later I got another book, with more information and color photos.

I saw some, salvaged and random, but actually on a floor I could walk on, at Hammond Castle in Massachusetts.

Then I got to see swaths of matching patterns. No nine-squares, but lots of fours. And some random scrappy-sections which might have been covered by carpet at one time, or were put in to repair a floor where the building had been sinking and breaking. But real tile.

In some places, it was being cleaned, and that shows in some of the photos. In some sections, parts had been walked on and other parts were glossy.

Here's a page with information and images on how those were constructed:

I was excited to see so much tile where I could touch it and admire it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


12:40 p.m. Thursday, July 14; home in Albuquerque for the first time since mid-May. NICE!!

I'm glad to be here. When I saw the desert, from the plane, when we came down through clouds, I cried just a little bit. I had to wipe my eyes. I thought I might cry when I saw Keith, but I didn't. My suitcases ended up being on the same flight I was, and now they're here.

Keith, Ashlee, Marty and I are going to Garduño's. I'll see Holly about 4:45 and am very much looking forward to that!

I'll put up some more pictures, observations and memories, and will complete the set of links to photos (in the file linked up near the title of this page), but for now I'm going to have a green chile chicken enchilada and other familiar foods.

THANK YOU everyone who hosted me and took me places and shared your lives and towns and made the adventure so big and memorable. Thanks to those who read the blog and cheered me on in my Quest to Document. :-)

Breakfast in Atlanta

Not a typical breakfast, and definitely not MY typical breakfast, but this morning it seems very comforting: a big Oscar Meyer hotdog with mustard, and Barq's rootbeer with lots of ice.

The line at Dunkin' Donuts was really long, I don't drink coffee anyway, and had a donut for dinner. :-)

The hotel room was really nice, I slept six hours straight (and then a bit more), their alarm AND my computer as backup went off nicely. Mine was singing in its robotic voice "Tea is ready," and the radio had a bit about Alan Rickman's Snape having been voted the most popular Harry Potter character of all. Then they played "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson.

I packed up easily, walked out and waited about two minutes for the shuttle, and was at the airport two hours and twenty minutes before the flight. It's a morning full of nice moments.

Here's something I wrote last night, about the scheduling problems:
Calmer than I used to be (on Just Add Light and Stir)

Holly's working today, so Keith will take off early to pick me up at the airport and I can ride in the new/used car he bought while I was away.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm not in Europe, and I'm not home.

Things happen, sometimes, and the frustrating bits are over now. I'm in a hotel in Atlanta. They have free internet without a password.

Here is my dinner:

Delta airlines paid for $6 worth of it. The package with the grapes, carrots, cheese and ranch dressing. I bought the milk, Chex mix (to go with the cheese), and the Dunkin' Donut. The Jaffa Cakes I brought with me from the UK. They wrote that on my customs form. "Cookies."

I haven't eaten yet. I'm about to. Then I'm going to take a shower without getting my hair wet (because Atlanta is a humidifier, though my room has an air conditioner). I thought of taking a bath, because my feet are swollen, but 1) it's not the UK where tubs are huge and wonderful, and 2) even though I would settle for an American tub, there's no stopper, no drain stuff of any sort, just a big scary hole with standing water down there. Eeyew. It wouldn't bother me to take a shower there, though. Nice shower curtain.

I have two beds and eight pillows. I wish I had enough time to sleep ten hours and then mosey down to the shuttle at a leisurely pace, but I can sleep eight hours and hurry down to the shuttle. That will work.

The lucky thing is that my luggage was re-checked by people who thought my plane hadn't left. And they might've been right. But between me and the plane were about 300 people lined up to go through security, and some distance between where we were and the gate where the alleged departure was. Well it was a real departure, but I missed it. Again, then, because when we got off the plane from London, half the connecting flights had been missed already. Blah blah blah, but airport for hours, and now hotel with quiet and a table and eight pillows.   <i>(I have my toiletries and some spare clothes, too.)</i>

I'm in room 104 which suits me fine. Others who were in the same long Delta-sent-us-here line were sent down the hall, up the elevator... but I was "down the hall, on the left" and mine is the first room, right off the lobby. Peachy. I'm for it.

I couldn't have a better dinner, but the restaurant attached to the hotel is a Mexican restaurant, and I was advised by a Delta employee that the hotel is nice, but the restaurant isn't as nice. So I got things I could carry cold and get to the hotel before the other bounced passengers beat me to it. The vouchers cover a room so thoroughly that they didn't even ask to see my ID, nor for a charge card.

I used to be seven time zones from home, but now I'm only two. I'm getting nearer.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"A chute, to put rubbish down the skip"

"What's THAT!?" I asked one day.

"A chute, to put rubbish down the skip," they said.


Photos will follow. I wanted to write down the text so I could throw away some of the little pieces of paper I've been carrying around in my pockets.

The chute collapses for transport, I should add.