Life has gotten busy and it amazes me that two months have gone by without a post here. Mid-April took the three of us off to the Annual General Meeting of the General Assembly of Unitiarian and Free Christian Churches, a lovely meeting in a lovely setting, though it was a little disconcerting to be at a gathering of Unitarians without knowing many people. Peter, as a member of the staff, was better known than I was, and that, too, was disconcerting. After that, it just seemed the one thing after another got in the way of getting here to update the blog. I promise I'll try to be better about it.
Our transition has been much more difficult that we had anticipated, and that's part of the reason for so little posting. Just getting through the days has been enough most days, and adding in extra tasks has been challenging.
One of our American friends here noted that everything here is just >---< this much off, it winds up taking an enormous amount of psychic energy to put everything to rights. We've been extraordinarily tired, and I think that's just the reason.
Even so, the shape of our lives is getting more form, and the rhythm of the days is settling in even better.
Some news and notes:
Claire is the most settled of any of us, I think. She is increasingly happy at school, and soaking up the culture and language like a sponge. Her accent is shifting, and she introduces us to new usages every day. She loves taking Italian on Fridays, and has sought in vain to teach a little to Peter and me. She has been known to sing Old MacDonald Had a Farm in Italian for hours at a time.
After several days on which the bus service has been erratic (one day we waited 40 minutes for to get on a bus!), Claire has taken to walking to school. For most folks that wouldn't be much of a change, I suppose, but the walk to school is between 1 3/4 to 2 miles, and takes us just over a half an hour to walk. Admittedly, it is a lovely walk almost all of it along the Thames. We watch the birds, and Claire walks along the top of a couple of low walls on our way. Still, a year ago, Claire wouldn't walk more than a block or two without demanding to be carried by one or the other of us. The change in her has been startling.
We celebrated my Induction Service at the Church on 9 June. It was a lovely service followed by quite a delightful tea with plenty of sweets and savouries to eat. I rather stumbled through it without a lot of information how they work here. It was nonetheless a splendid time, with a charge to the minister offered by my cousin Andy Backus who came from the States with his wife Chris. Having family in town made the event even more special, and provided us with a nice touch from back home.
To the Dentist!
We're starting to get connected into the health system here. We registered with a local dentist and all three of us are getting checked out. Claire's visit was about 5 minutes and involved getting her teeth counted, and a little plaque scraped off. They don't routinely do x-rays for children here. She goes back in 6 months for another check up. And all her regular care is covered by our National Insurance.
My visit was a little different. They did do x-rays on me (with the dentist staying in the room while they were being taken, and no lead cover for any part of my body), and made a recommendation to replace a filling. The NHS would cover a gold replacement, but since it would be visible, he suggested that I go with a composite which would cost nearly £500. A thorough cleaning would cost me £60. It is a little more expensive than I had expected, but the care seems to be mostly good, especially for Claire.
That's likely enough for now! More soon!