Several ‘summer false starts’…but I think we might just have spring!

I wrote this last weekend but never got round to posting it…..

So it’s now April, Happy Hours have started and we still haven’t got any sign of the summer. Even the Bermudian’s are complaining it’s been a long winter – so it’s not just me folks! ūüôā

Last weekend had the trappings of a summer weekend…

It was Easter weekend so we had 3 days off work and a packed schedule. Kite Flying on Horseshoe beach on the Friday, Whale Watching all day on the Saturday and Easter Brunch on the Sunday. A busy schedule is a sign of summer! And better than that, some people couldn’t make certain aspects because they were DOUBLE BOOKED! (We’d obviously have preferred it if they could make it though!) This is it – summer!

However, by the Friday the weather wasn’t looking great and while we grabbed the kites and set off, it didn’t quite have the same feel as last year with the bright blue skies, bikini and suntan lotion on, picnic for the afternoon packed. As Toby pointed out, we didn’t have the same expectation! We sat on the beach in jeans and hoodies and patiently waited while not one, not two but three showers passed. Mmmmm, this isn’t what we signed up for! However, the sun did eventually come out, our crew came together and it was certainly fun! The wind wasn’t quite strong and consistent enough but as you can see Toby got the kite quite high.

Toby the kite flyer boy

Spectators required jeans and hoodies!

Hoodies required on the beach!

Here you’ll see Toby’s little kite dwarfed by the kite owned by someone with something to prove! ūüėČ Although not caught on camera, Toby managed to clip the edge of the big kite and take it down!!!!

Big vs small

Saturday was whale watching with Ninjo. The weather looked as if it would be cancelled for sure. 7-11ft waves outside the reef is not ideal. We weren’t expecting to go and indeed hadn’t bought any picnic ingrediants. Then at 9am we got a call to say it was on, we were to meet at 10:30am. Mixed feelings at this – whale watching was a highlight of last year so a chance to go out again was exciting….but the weather didn’t seem ideal! So we got ourselves ready, arrived, boarded and set off. The whales tend to congregate around Challenger Bank, so that’s where we set off too. Through the waves! The boys braved the back of the boat for a bit…

Smart move?

But soon returned when the spray was more than the seat was worth!!

Wet boys!

Anyway, battling to Challenger Bank proved too much of a challenge. Black clouds were approaching from multiple angles and there were no other boats out. We opted for a lap of the island which was never going to be a great route for whale spotting. Disappointing. The only cool thing were did was drop a microphone into the water so we could ‘hear’ them! Good, but not $170 and a day of our life good!

Next up was Easter Brunch. This was never going to fail! We’ve had a Lido brunch for both the Christmases we’ve been here and they know how to feed us well! Having none of the several bottles of Christmas champagne there was no swimming in the sea and rorcous laughing….we did have a great time though and the sun even came out to allow us chance to enjoy a cocktail in the sun after. It felt like the start of summer….

Yummy Easter Brunch at Lido!

Cocktail decision making

Of course the following week was only ‘OK’ and this weekend is stormy again!!! Arrghh!

………So ended last weeks post…..

And now we’re another week on, I’m daring to think it might be spring! Yesterday was lovely (if windy at times) and we got out to the driving range and then a surprise birthday party for Katie and today I’ve been sat outside having lunch with the girlies and have got a little sunburned despite the suntan lotion….. What will next week hold? Dare we hope for spring?!

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Sporting Success for the Crawfords

The last few months have been very football focused for us here in the Crawford house.

Toby’s Robin Hood football team train hard and they train regularly. The team have been getting better, fitter and stronger….and from a fourth place position at Christmas they started climbing up and found themselves in second place. All very exciting! On Friday it was their final game of the season and they lay 3 points behind the leading team, and 1 behind on goal difference.

Corona League Table

Their last game was against top placed Flanagans Onions. Therefore a win would be good enough to win the league, and on goal difference at that!

Before Friday though, was Thursday, which was Toby’s birthday. Do I have something to report? Well, with a big match the next day, this was a very quiet night and I wouldn’t even let him have birthday steak as it would take too long to digest! ūüôā

So back to the football! It was an 8:30pm KO so me and fellow WAG Katie went for dinner beforehand. By 8pm though we were getting too nervous ourselves so the remaining pizza was boxed up and we set off to soak up the spirit. The Premier league side were out in force to support and had been getting into the spirit for quite a while before we got there! Needless to say it was a lively and noisy crowd with lots of ingenious and not so ingenious chants!

We were worried it might be a cagey game as the opposition only needed a draw to win the league but we were not disappointed. It was a great game and the Robin Hood ‘Hoodlums’ were definitely the ’12th man’ that cheered the team to a 3-2 victory.

Robin Hood Team

Toby and fellow centre back Martin look rather proud!

Toby and Martin

After this the boys jumped into a rather noisy motorcade round town. Apologies for the swearing but here’s a little outtake

ūüôā

Needless to say, the celebrating continued into the early hours and Saturday was a bit of a write-off! Not for me though, this is where I came into my own….

So the knee is nearly 6 weeks post-op now. The previous weekend I’d done 50 minutes of walk 2 mins/jog 30sec/repeat. Impressed?! Having got approval from the physio, it was time to step it up….with Toby’s weary legs a perfect match for my unfit and recuperating legs, we set off to ‘Zoom around the Sound’ on our bikes. For those outside Bermuda, ‘Zoom around the Sound’ is a yearly race by foot or bike. And a visual is always good! Here it is on the map;

Michelle's Bike Ride

Admittedly we didn’t ‘Zoom’ – it was more of a sight-seeing pace….but I was extremely pleased with my 11.5km ride! So much so, today while Toby’s helping out with security for one of the football matches followed by cheering on the Premier side, I did it again. It might not compare to the Robin Hood team efforts, but I feel like a superstar!

On my ride I saw people getting in the water for a swim. And they weren’t tourists! And others were cleaning up their boats. I think we’re getting ready for summer! I better progress quickly with the exercise to get ready myself!

We found something cheap in Bermuda!

Another update in quick succession, am I back on form…or just in rehab?! The latter I think.

In the last post I mentioned our golf lessons. The boys were keen to check out their new skills so booked a round at the Southampton Princess. It’s a gorgeous course overlooking the sea and with most holes only par 3, it’s a good course to ‘practice your short game’ (or if you can’t hit it that far! :-)) I’m still practicing walking so wasn’t involved. Anton from work did want to get involved though and having apparently only ever picked up a club once, and that was for ‘crime prevention’ (?!), Toby and I thought a quick trip to the driving range was in order. As it turns out, Anton was quite the natural and after getting through a bag of balls he had quite a consistent swing. Impressed! Next challenge was a bag. The boys had enough clubs to share round but everyone needed a bag to get on the course. Hiring, as you’d expect in Bermuda, is expensive. Jon recommended we check out ‘The Barn’. ‘The Barn’ is somewhere I’d heard about early on in our Bermuda Days, but I had never made it. It’s a second hand store with the proceeds going to the hospital. Finding it was a bit of a mission, but once there, we were greeted with about 10 bags and 7 sets of clubs. The things people leave behind when they leave the island! Anton got kitted out and as I’m’ hoping to join them soon too, I got one too. Guess how much….

New golf bag

On the basis a loaf of bread can be $6, a bag of grapes $12 and I have paid $20 for a large block of Cathedral City Cheddar cheese I’m sure you’ll be surprised to hear I paid $10! The barn will be getting a more thorough rummage through soon!

The boys set off, had a few beers, some fun and enjoyed their first round of the season. No pictures I’m afraid.

I meanwhile stayed at home looking after my knee. I’m now two weeks post operation and just like after a bad illness, every day I’m delighted with how much better I feel. Day 1 I was dosed with medication and so relieved I’d got through it all I was running on adrenaline and very happy. Exercises for days 1 and 2 were wiggling my toes! Day 3 the compression bandage came off and I had to try and bend and straighten my leg. Knee was pretty swollen and this felt very wrong. For some reason I hid my head under a cover when I did this! Day 4 I was hobbling more effectively with my cane and by day 5 the cane was gone and I was practicing standing on one leg (the bad one!). The following week I progressed to walking on my toes, on my heals and balancing on a balance-board-thing (to start with holding on to something and then without to ‘some’ success!). By day 12 I was doing gentle lunges but confused why ‘pin steps’ (heel-toe-heel-toe walking) was too much for me. It fascinates me how the body heals and what’s possible with medicine. Gosh, anyone would thing I’d had a cutting edge operation the way I go on rather than a standard churn-em-out type! ūüôā Either way, the rehab process has activated my mind and got rid of the bored-because-I-can’t-play-sport mentality…if I can see progress I’m happy! Today I mastered pin-steps! ūüôā
This afternoon I went for a walk to get the knee moving. Walking now feels quite comfortable on the flat but I’ve got a slight limp. I don’t need it – it offers nothing! My knee isn’t quite strong enough to comfortably manage walking downhill, but on the flat, no excuse! Hence the reason I was walking along the Railway Trail doing high knee steps to try and remind my brain no limping is required….I’m not sure what anyone would have thought if they saw me…not that I care!
While out I had another rather strange objective. February has been a very stormy month and the winds have been howling round our little cottage on the hill. As I was setting out to north shore for my walk I thought I’d get some good pictures as it can look quite menacing. Unfortunately the wind died down and it didn’t look bad at all.

North Shore

North Shore

North Shore

Sometimes this view is just filled with white capped waves and there’s sea spray in the air, well back from the road. I struggled to believe it for a bit, but sometimes you can see what looks like large white ships near the horizon. It’s actually the waves breaking on the northern reef! How glad I am we have that reef! Anyway, my weird mission to show our stormy February was a fail.
I then got distracted and saw a pretty flower.

Charming little flower

Unfortunately while moving some dead grass to get a better picture I got a whiff of something that told me I was taking a shot of a dogs latrine. Charming.

At least the flowers in our front garden put on a good show for me when I got back. Spring is in the air and you’ll stop hearing me complain about the cold and the wind soon! ūüôā

Spring is in the air

Country life

We’ve now been in the new cottage for 3 months. ¬†When we were looking round, the landlady was keen to stress we would be ‘living in the country’ compared to our old apartment on the edge on Hamilton. ¬†The bugs would surely come and find us and were we ready?! ¬†We’d had our fair share of ant and cockroach encounters so felt we were ready….it’s¬†definitely¬†different though!

(Toby didn’t want me to share these stories because he thought it would make us sound like we’re dirty. ¬†He’s in bed though….! :-))

The cottage hadn’t been lived in for a while so despite the thorough clean the landlady gave the place, despite the fact it is well maintained so doesn’t have lots of cracks and hiding places….there were things hiding out and waiting for us, delighted that humans had moved in and would be bringing some new food! ¬†We soon got¬†acquainted¬†with the two lizards who lived in the cottage. ¬†One in the den and one behind the sofa. ¬†I remember well playing ‘catch the lizard’ when living in Florida but in light of the warning there were ants and cockroaches aplenty out here, and they’re favorite snack food for a lizard, we were happy to let them stay. ¬†I actually got rather attached!

In the first couple of weeks we’d find we’d come home to disturb a cockroach ‘hanging out’ in the cottage. ¬†And they were big ones too. ¬†I’m afraid to say they all quickly met a ‘Raid-related-death’. ¬†They’re far too quick to be shepherded¬†out! ¬†And then there were the ants, if you spotted one, it was always worth focusing on the area as there’s often a trail to be found! ¬†I feel a little guilty at this, but they too met a ‘Raid-related-death’. ūüė¶

After feeling like we were only scratching the surface, it was time to be proactive and we invested in some cockroach and ant bait food. ¬†The back very cheerfully explained the roaches would eat the food and then ‘crawl away to die’. ¬†How charming. ¬†Normally an animal lover, I’m afraid it didn’t stop me.

Raid

We then found we’d be coming home to dead/dying cockroaches which we’d show some mercy to and kill off with a spray of Raid. ¬†Very quickly, we seemed to get on top of it and we no-longer had visitors. ¬†I guess this is a Raid endorsement! ¬†One day though, we came home find a cockroach that must have died early in the day and the ants had¬†descended¬†enmasse and were tearing it apart to take back to the nest. ¬†There were wings and legs and¬†antennas¬†everywhere. ¬†I’m glad to say Toby does his man duties and deals with it! ¬†Unfortunately this happened in the den where a lizard lived so we had to catch him and put him out so he¬†didn’t¬†get gassed – one pet lizard down. ūüė¶

The second lizard must have moved into the den after this and unfortunately that’s where Kirsten stayed when she visited. ¬†While we’re happy to have them defending us from bug invasions, I don’t fancy them in bedrooms so he had to go too. ¬†We’re being defended by chemicals alone now! ¬†That said, I haven’t seen a cockroach for a long time and ants come in ones. ¬†We have control!

I thought the other creepy-crawly we regularly came across was the millipede but having looked them up in our Bermuda Wildlife Book (thanks Ninjo!), I can now identify them as Church Worms. ¬†I have to say, I’m surprised evolution hasn’t resolved this pest for us. ¬†They seem EXCELLENT at dying. ¬†It’s very rare to see these alive, their only¬†nuisance¬†is that they need sweeping up!

The other thing we’ve got fascinated by is water! ¬†Gosh, what has our life come to?! ¬†In the old place we were living in a building with 3 apartments housing a total of 9 people. ¬†It seemed a lot of people considering the size of roof we had and the amount of rain water it could collect. ¬†Unfortunately we ran out of water several times and needed to get the water truck out to top us up. ¬†Here, we’re masters of our own destiny! ¬†I think we’re reasonably water conscious and as we have access to the tank, we can check how we’re getting on, and so far so go. ¬†After a downpour last night the water level rose ‘past the step’ which is what we’ve been aiming for for a while – we were delighted! ¬†Tank is very full and we might just treat ourselves to a bath!

Aside from the rain, we’re also making good use of the wind. ¬†Our cottage has a flat roof which is why (I believe!) we don’t have ceiling fans. ¬†As you know from my ‘humidity obsession’, we need to keep the air moving and try to bring dry air in to stop mould growing. ¬†We have the system worked out for the cottage. ¬†It probably made easier because we live on a hill. ¬†Still, it feels like success!

So, I’m pleased to report we’ve made the adjustment to countryside living very well ūüôā

Now I’ve prattled on about all the¬†mundane¬†things, time for some general updates.

Toby’s loving football at the moment. ¬†Other sports have died off a bit as the sprint to the end of the season hits us. ¬†Winning the league is ‘in their own hands’ as I’ve heard numerous times so it’s getting very serious. ¬†I joke, but I love it! ¬†All very exciting.

We’ve had some golf lessons the last few weeks so are expecting to be pros this summer. ¬†For me, I can’t wait to enjoy a walk – there’s really not many options for a long walk here so it’s going to be great.

I had an operation on my knee this week. ¬†After injuring it playing netball in October I patiently waited to see if it would heal itself, but unfortunately it didn’t. ¬†So I finally got in on Monday and it all went brilliantly. ¬†The staff at the hospital were wonderful and even with my weak ways when it comes to all things needle/blood/guts related I felt fine. ¬†It was like I had 10 ‘mums’ with me! ¬†The nurses were absolute sweethearts and from what I can tell the surgeon and¬†anesthetist¬†were pretty sharp to! ¬†Turns out I had a torn meniscus and have a lax cruciate ligament. ¬†Rehab now and the most simple of exercises – the first being bending and straightening my leg and I’ve now progressed to standing on one leg! ¬†Hopefully back to sport in 6 weeks – can’t wait.

Last¬†night¬†we went to Liz’s (second!) leaving do. ¬†Sad times. ¬†Liz is a great friend and someone we’ve spent a lot of time with while we’ve been out here. ¬†To a new expat she IS Bermuda! ¬†Having been here 7 years she can help with most questions and has a canny way of making everything work out. ¬†Happy hours/quiz nights/volleyball/boat trips/etc won’t be the same! ¬†It’s sad how we all come and go but to be expected at the same time. ¬†She has the most amazing job in London to go to so we can only be happy for her. ¬†Last night we agreed a good Sunday feed was in order before she goes. ¬†Food, alcohol, food, alcohol….our life!

We’ll miss you Liz!

Easter Bunny still rocks!

 

A second winter in the sun

When we first moved here there were lots of fun (and mouldy!) observations I could share with you all back home. ¬†We were learning about life in Bermuda and the blog was a great way to keep you all in touch with our progress. ¬†What’s there to say a year on? ¬†Nothing new you’d think…but Toby and I have started noticing a difference second time round!

Last year we arrived to get the very tail end of the summer, were settling in over the quick ‘autumn’ that we get and in no time at all were experiencing the Bermudian winter. ¬†Now of course ‘winter’ is around 20 degrees C and quite different to home, but work with me on this!

A year on an we’re amazed how cold we feel zipping round on the scooter, particularly on the way to work and at night. ¬†We are seriously¬†wrapped up in jumpers, coats, scarfs and gloves. ¬†I asked Toby, “Did we not go out on the scooter last year, because I really don’t remember this cold!” ¬†We’ve obviously acclimatised…

And then there’s Christmas. ¬†Last year, lights and decorations start going up from Thanksgiving onward. ¬†It was just odd! ¬†We’re on a sub-tropical island, regularly on the beach, not quite adapted to the heat and really not feeling very Christmasey. ¬†We did our best and surprised ourselves with the fun we had, but dare I say it was ‘fun-fun’ rather than ‘Christmas-fun’. ¬†This year is different though. ¬†This isn’t an island paradise that we’re still exploring and getting to know. ¬†This isn’t somewhere we’re trying to establish ourselves. ¬†It’s ‘home’ now! ¬†And I’m pleased to say now we’re properly settled into the island, it’s possible to feel Christmasey in the run-up to Christmas. ¬†So much fun!

Last night we headed to St George for the National Trust organised ‘Christmas Walkaround’ with Naomi and Jon. ¬†St George was lit up with Christmas lights (and¬†bizarrely a lot of trees had jumpers!)¬†;

House with lights

Old National Trust owned homes that throughout the year are rented out to live in are opened up for us to look around;

Old house

And the kind owners often offer eggnog, mulled wine or sherry as we explore the most adorable houses ever. ¬†Dare I say part of the appeal was the very ‘old British’ feel, but it was so lovely! ¬†We’re actually frustrated to not have managed a more organised route to see more houses. ¬†I can see we’ll be moving back to a country cottage in the UK rather than a modern city apartment based on the ‘oooo’s and ahhhh’s’!!

For all we feel Christmasey, everyone still feel’s it’s not quite authentic unless you’re cold though. ¬†We are all creatures of habit after all!

Sand Santa

Toby and Chelle become Eastenders

‘Eastenders?’ the UK posse ask – Yes, we’ve become Eastenders. ¬†On an island of only 21 square miles it’s still possible to have and ‘East End’ and a ‘West End’….city’s do it, and as a small territory, we apply it to our whole island!

When looking round for our first place to live we realised compromise was going to be required. ¬†We were keen to be sociable so put proximity to Hamilton as the priority. ¬†We found somewhere ‘average at everything’ as I put it, and it did the job. ¬†Our aim was during the next year to work out where we’d like to live and what was important to us. ¬†We soon identified the ‘East End’ as our preferred location – no crazy traffic to get into Hamilton like there is from the West End, we have the joys of Flatts Village and the Swizzle Inn and easy access to some great quiet beaches like John Smiths. ¬†We also have a growing number of friends this way which certainly helps!

So, the search was on. ¬†Having found somewhere ‘average’ the first time, we then came across Ninjo’s (Naomi and Jon) place. ¬†It’s somewhere I’d actually looked at myself when a few months after moving into our place we were being denied pets despite the contract not being clear about it. ¬†I wanted to see what was out there and this place came up. ¬†It looked great but we couldn’t move. ¬†In a weird ‘Bermuda’s a small place’ way, we then made friends with Ninjo and when we went to visit, they directed me to the flat I’d ogled at few months beforehand!

Anyway, I’m getting distracted. ¬†The point it, it’s a great place with a fab view and ideal location. ¬†We knew we could be fussier second time round. ¬†The first few places we looked at weren’t too promising though – all fine and an improvement from where we were but not ‘special’. ¬†It seemed we’d need to pay more to get what we were after or live at either end of the island and have a crazy commute. ¬†And then, out of no-where, came a cute and perfectly formed little cottage with amazing views. ¬†If you wanted to be fussy, it is a little far out (25 minutes to get to work in the morning) but we knew immediately that it was right for us and put an offer in straight away.

To be honest, I was sold at the kitchen;

So cute! ¬†Here’s a place I can bake ūüôā ¬†(Ignoring the lack of workspace!)

And then we moved into the lounge area and it just got better. ¬†A comfy sofa to curl up on and homely pictures and lamps and ‘stuff’!

And the main thing is the view.  We get to see this every morning;

and it doesn’t look like much but on a built up island I just love seeing the trees!

We were missing the open space and now we have piece and quiet and views of water and trees – bliss!

I think we’re going to be very happy here! ūüôā

A Bermuda Anniversary

***For this post, you can assume you’re reading in October – the catch up continues!***

I’m not sure whether it feels like we’ve been in Bermuda for a long or short time. ¬†It’s that typical feeling during adult life when time feels like it’s flying by at an incredible rate but when you look back, lots has happened. ¬†Well, in October, we celebrated our ‘1 year in Bermuda anniversary’.

To tell you all the truth, which we like to do (!), we celebrated the wrong day. ¬†And when I say ‘celebrated’ – I mean in a public forum we advised it was our anniversary. ¬†Toby was actually presenting at the local .NET user group and I was co-ordinating it so it wasn’t exactly a celebration! ¬†It was only when we spoke to my parents that weekend we realised we got it wrong. ¬†Needless to say, it wasn’t celebrated!

I guess an ‘anniversary in Bermuda’ is when you’ve done every event in the Bermuda calendar and you’re back round to the first you attended. ¬†We therefore seemed to find more significance in the fact it was our second Halloween! ¬†The lovely Tim and Tia hosted a party which we attended…this time completely ready for the need to dress up and the fact it doesn’t need to be scary….this is no UK Halloween celebration! ¬†Enter Cleopatra and her Roman hunk!

And I’d like to publicise Kerry’s comment here; “Check out the tan!!!” ¬†I agree, in a totally unexpected turn of events, pasty white Chelle is getting some colour. ¬†Who would have thought it was possible? ¬†That’s what a year in Bermuda gives you…

So, what else do we have? ¬†We’ve certainly become localised. ¬†In fact, that happened within a couple of months but we weren’t aware of some of the seasonal specifics until we’d completed a year. ¬†When we first arrived were we told;

  • “The summer’s amazing, it’s a bit quiet at the moment” – But we were busy exploring the island and so happy with what we found, we thought these people didn’t know what they were talking about.
  • “XYZ is far away, I’m not sure if we can make it so far tonight” – Errr, it’s less than 10 miles and it’s a 20 minute scooter ride…..these people don’t know they’re born! ¬†We used to travel 2 hours to get to work/1 hour to meet friends in town etc etc. ¬†Geez!
  • “It gets cold in winter” – Pardon?! ¬†Are these weather reports not accurate? ¬†It suggests it will be in the low 20 degrees in winter, that’s a reasonable summers day in the UK!

Well, having been here a year I can confirm the winter is rather dull, 10 miles is not to be taken lightly and winter is COLD! ūüôā

We’re truly adjusted and with more than these silly points. ¬†Day-to-day life is a little different than we were used to but we now have a nice routine and less surprises. ¬†It’s been a fun year, but also a year we’ve not seen family and friends and the familiarity of home. ¬†Nick and Leki visited the month before which was wonderful but it did also make us a little homesick. ¬†We know we’re very lucky out here but we’ve made¬†sacrifices¬†and not seeing family and friends is by far the biggest. ¬†We try to Skype regularly and are more active than we’ve ever been on Facebook which bridges a few gaps too. ¬†If we’re honest, we might not manage to see some friends for 6 months anyway, but I guess knowing you can is comforting!

One great piece of news a year brought us was the opportunity to move. ¬†We had a year’s contract on our apartment and while it was fine, our wanderlust had already struck. ¬†I guess that will be the next blog…..