Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Christmas!

Merry Christmas to my family and friends around the world! I love you and miss you.

Fantastically Festive Music

Ilkley is really lovely at Christmastime.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dog-Sitting in Ilkley

I'm finally in England. The people are polite, but not overly friendly. At least it's pretty here, and the pets I'm caring for are well-behaved.

This is Tiny
That's what he does 80% of the day. He's pretty much the best dog, ever. Except that he totally judges me if I try to stay up past 11 at night. He harumphs at me until I head to bed.

This is what our walks normally look like.

A pretty park.

Look! A dog not pulling on his lead! What a sweetie.

Cool footbridge over the river.

The river is up a bit from all the rain.

Yesterday's Morning Walk
The fog actually made it look brighter out than it would have this early in the morning. Usually it looks quite dark out as the sun doesn't rise until 8:15 and we go out around 7:30.

Yesterday's Evening Walk

Can fog be gorgeous? This fog was.

By the time we got near the river the fog had reached epic levels of spookiness. I had a truly horror-movie moment when a guy materialized out of the fog just in front of me asking if I had seen his lost dog. Let's just say Tiny and I had a very brisk walk home after that.

In other news, I think I've just about assimilated. I keep finding mostly consumed cups of tea around the house.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Song of the Day: Start Wearing Purple

Nearly all the clothes I brought with me are either black or purple. Since 95% of my clothes are merino wool I had to wait and buy most of them when they went on sale. The colour most likely found on sale is, you guessed it, purple! When traveling it's a good idea to stick with a few colours so that you can wear everything together. Apparently, purple isn't a common choice though...

Here's to causing people to exclaim in surprise when they see you (not) wearing purple for once!

I miss Scotland already.

Friday, December 6, 2013

British Sweets are Awesome, or Why I'm Now Diabetic

My friend in Dundee decided to totally ruin American sweets for me entirely. The ruination actually started with the Thorntons chocolates I wrote about in my previous post. He wasn't content to stop there. Over the course of about a week I had so many delicious sweets. Not all of them are shown here, they were devoured without thought of photos.

Behold the sweet yummy treasure:

First up we have the Double Decker:
Nougat, krispies, and chocolate. Yum! It's like a Krackel bar with fluffy nougat.

Honeycomb inside, chocolate outside. Good enough reason to never leave the UK.

Pretty much identical to a Mounds bar, but without high fructose corn syrup.

 Kinder Bueno:
Hazelnut in a bar with amazing chocolate. NOM NOM NOM
If I win the lottery I'm getting my winnings in Kinder Buenos.

Little cubes of way-better-than-American chocolate.

Tastes like magic and coconut.

Chocolate, peanuts, and raisins. Meh. Still loads better than most US candy bars.

Licorice stick and a powdered sugar that's like one part Pixy Stix, one part Fun Dip, and a hint of Pop Rocks. Sounds good, but I actually prefer any of those to a sherbet fountain.

Not pictured:
Aero bars: *****
Excellent chocolate bars. I highly recommend the mint.

After Eights: *****
Pretty much identical to Andes Mints.

Poppets: *****
Little bits of chocolatey delicious heaven.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Food is Awesome, Wish You Were Here

From my second day in Scotland people have been feeding me. Americans, Australians, Scots, French... I'm not sure what it is about me, or if this happens to everyone - but it's fantastic.

The cook at Alison's Guesthouse kept urging me to eat various dishes even though she served me such a huge breakfast there's no way I could have finished it. 

The amazing people I met at the hostels in Oban and Skye kept offering to share their food with me. Everything from home-made crepes, fruit, delicious pasta, cheesecake, to unlabelled mystery alcohol. 

My hosts in Carnoustie cooked delicious meals for me, including haggis. My host's mother visited me every three days or so and always brought some kind of sweet for our tea. She also brought me various things like croissants, tomatoes, ham, yogurt, and sticky toffee pudding (my favourite). She also brought me Thorntons chocolate on her last visit.

My friend in Dundee had me try black pudding (not as good as haggis, but still quite tasty), fruit pudding (yum!), and loads of sweets. I think I've had more candy and chocolate in the past week than I've had in the past year. Here's a preview of what he plied me with:

Thorntons Premium: ***** 
Like Whitman's chocolates? You must not have tried Thorntons then.

Nougat: ***
Pink and white candy bar that resembles the nougat layer in a Snickers (but less corn syrupy sweet). I find it very odd to eat without the additional chocolate flavour, but quite tasty on its own.

Not to be confused with real Turkish Delight that tempted young Edmund in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This sweet is (vaguely) rose-flavoured candy with a chocolate covering. The texture is very very strange.