Christmas lights, 2014

It’s so much nicer to walk around and admire neighbors Christmas lights, without needing to wear coat, gloves … although the rain that started while I was taking pictures was a bit unwelcome! Anyway, here is our house for Christmas (decorated by Margaret while I was in England) and an assortment of neighbors homes:

Living in Florida

Margaret and I met and lived in Newcastle, England, for a while before moving to America – and we loved living there. Newcastle is a great and thriving city with plenty of entertainment, shopping and restaurant choices including many excellent Indian food options. We lived by the Metro Centre (once Europe’s biggest shopping mall), and regularly saw our friends Sheila & Paul, and Barnie & Dave.
Returning to England recently I was reminded of all we’ve left behind – but also reminded of the damp grey cold weather and the challenges sometimes of driving on England’s busy roads.

We emigrated almost 20 years ago now and spent most of that time in Gloucester (chosen because my work is the next town over, in Essex); we had wonderful neighbors Joanne & Earle and Pat & Dave and we certainly miss them all (we are visiting at the end of this month so another reminder is coming).
But again the extremely cold winters and regular snow shoveling make Massachusetts a place that we finally chose to move away from.

So now, we live in Florida; the Disney parks are less than half an hour away (we can even see the nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks!) and it’s not much longer to make the easy drive to the airport. We’ve not yet formed the same close friendship with neighbors that we did in Gloucester, and Orlando is less accessible for entertainment than Newcastle, but we love our new home – and on days like last night when our evening view looks like this, it’s pretty close to perfect:

It helps too that I can work here (with zero commute) just as efficiently as I could in Essex, and that we can even in the middle of “winter” go out walking in our neighborhood or around the Disney parks in T shirt and shorts.
Of course it does rain here in Florida, but even the rain is often impressive with torrential downpours that leave as quick as they arrive – and since a cold Florida winter is still warmer than a warm Massachusetts winter, we don’t much worry about that!

I’m sure there are many places we’d enjoy living, but right now our new home in Florida suits us just fine.

Castle Coomb

Driving south from Newcastle yesterday, I met more and more traffic (Friday evening so no surprise) and eventually abandoned my route when I hit the end of stopped traffic on the A46 heading to Bath (I’d guess it would have been a couple hours to do the less than 20 miles). So I asked Tom Tom for the nearest hotel and it found a winding single car width back road that led me to expensive but fabulous Manor House Hotel in Castle Coomb (for my American friends, this manor was originally built starting in the 1300s – older than USA!)

 

This morning with frost everywhere but no cold wind I took a walk around the village (and discovered how tiny it is, end to end is less than half a mile!):