Monday, August 25, 2008

Epic Bike Ride

After all of our riding in RI, we both remembered how much we love to ride bikes. We added 'bikes' to our budget, and figured we could get some later in the fall when we'd saved up for them. We looked around quite a bit, and settled on a pair of Raleighs. We're so dorky with our matching bikes.
And then my parents decided to give me my bike as my (somewhat early) birthday present (THANKS!), which meant that we could buy them both now and get riding! Which we did. We picked them up on Saturday morning from the bike shop in Stowmarket, along with a helmet for John, some high-vis gear, and a set of panniers for John's bike. We rode home, had a few issues with John's bike, rode back to the shop, had everything sorted, and rode home again.

Saturday's total: about 5 miles. Yay us.

Then on Sunday, we rode (in the drizzle) to the Alder Carr farm in Needham Market. Here we are, on the way back. Well, here's John, anyway - I was taking the picture. Sunday's total: 8 miles.

And then today, we knew we wanted to go for ANOTHER bike ride. So we went along back roads, to Mendelsham and the A140. And then we crossed the A140 (carefully). And then we rode to Wetheringsett. And then we went in search of a pub. Further on. And then we got hungry and tired and thirsty and looked at our map and realized that home was VERY far away. Thankfully our getting lost involved doubling back on a parallel road to the one we'd taken, so when we looked at the map we were much closer to home than we thought. The wind was in our faces the entire way home and we were SHATTERED when we got back. I really like riding in Suffolk, though - there are so many 'B' roads and single-track lanes, where you get the odd car but it's mostly just other cyclists and walkers. Crossing the A140 was kind of scary, but there's a nice little crossing spot with really good views in both directions, so we just stood and waited until there was no traffic.

According to Google maps, we rode 27.2 miles. That's more than a marathon, people. Granted, we were on our bikes, and it was relatively flat and not too hot and not raining and the company was lovely. And our bikes have awesome gears and are really light. But still, 27.2 miles is FAR. And we only had my one little nalgene of water. And we kept getting lost and not finding any pubs. Next time, we'll bring more water and some snacks. And sort out the pub(s) before hand.

In other news, I went up to Redenhall (over the Norfolk border) to ring bells with them on Thursday night. I really liked the people and the bells but at 40mins each way it's a bit too much of a schlepp for a Thursday night. It was really fun, though - I got to ring the treble through Grandsire triples (7 bells, the 8th blowing behind), and then I rang some plain hunt on the other bells. It was a treat to ring methods on 8 bells - Old Newton has 5 and Buxhall and Finborough both have 6. Stowmarket has 8 but I've never rung methods on all 8. Supposedly there's going to be a Thursday evening method practice at Stow starting up again - and I can ride my bike to it!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

NYC Recap 2 - SMILE!

After our adventures in Rhode Island, we went back to New Ro for the rest of the vacation.

We also spent the first afternoon back in the city - we took the train in, and were completely flabbergasted by the 75 cents Family Fare kid's ticket (one way, off peak only). John and I were on a ten-trip and so the whole thing cost $11.75 each way. Do you HEAR me, National Express East Anglia? OFF PEAK family travel can be reasonably priced! Sorry, rant over.

We subwayed ourselves up to the Met, where James extended his run of blue-tongued ice creams.

Exhibit A: blueberry Del's in Rhode Island

 Exhibit B: Inspecting his pre-Met ice cream with a taxi in the background.
Exhibit C: At the end of the pre-Met ice cream. Man, was he sticky.

James had never been to the Met, so we paid our $5 each (it was 3:30 and they were closing soon - the $20 suggested donation is just that - suggested), and zipped through the museum. Ancient romans, the temple, and a search for the Frank Lloyd Wright house (being renovated - sad!). We found a really funny Egyptian statue of a hawk, who was wearing what looked like a cross between a fez and a birthday hat, and had the most hilarious expression on its face. It was sort of a "you're REALLY not going to sculpt me for all eternity with this stupid hat on my head, are you?"  I couldn't get a decent picture without the flash, otherwise it would definitely have been LOLcat worthy.

On our way out, James spotted a sign for their SuperHeroes exhibit - he got to see the "real" Iron Man costume and various other Super costumes. It was a small exhibit but quite cool.

After the museum, we met up with Andrea and Liz in the city for some Yama crispy-shrimpy love. Mmmm. James decided at the last minute that he wasn't going to eat sushi, so he wolfed down some edamame and had teriyaki chicken while the rest of us ate the sushi.

On Thursday afternoon, Mom, Dad, James and I headed to Playland. Here we are, trying to decide what else to do (besides the Dragon Coaster, which James and I rode three times):

 That's me, waving to Dad!

Here we are, after the log flume. Man, were we WET!

And here we are at the end - James was a little overwhelmed by the whole thing but we *think* he had a good time. He was frowning in all of the non-candid pictures, though!

On our last day, Mom and Dad threw a porch party. It was an eclectic mix (as ever) of family, neighbors and friends. It was great to see everyone and round off our vacation!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

NYC Recap 1 - We Love Baseball

Our first day in New York had been long-planned as a Mets game with Liz and Dan. We booked the tickets some time in February, and James was really psyched. My mom drove us to Shea (thanks, Mom!), where we slathered on the sunscreen for our poor white English skin. Shouldn't have bothered, though, since we were so high up at Shea that we were under the awning. It was perfect - we were out of the midday sun at the start of the game when it was HOT, and then when it started to rain we stayed dry. And we had a bird's eye view of the field.

As you can see from the scoreboard, the Mets CREAMED the Cardinals.

And we got to see this catch (photo from the NY Times):

Here I am with Liz, in our Mets hats. Mine is old-school - I think I got it when we moved home from England the first time (around 1994). My parents have pictures of me at camp (as a camper) wearing the hat.

Here we are in Grand Central after the game, in our matching shirts (awww). We all have different players, though.

The next morning, as we were still jet-lagged and WIDE awake at 6am, we went to the Mirage Diner in New Ro for pancakes. James had a huge stack of chocolate chip pancakes with a side of bacon, John had a v. tasty omelet, and I had the most glorious bacon, egg and cheese on an english muffin. Mine really isn't something we can replicate in the UK. The english muffins aren't the same, the 'streaky' bacon isn't the same, and the american 'cheez' definitely isn't the same. So I enjoyed it while I could. YUM.

Here are the boys, before:

And after:

I had a monster cold that attacked me on Monday and Tuesday, so instead of going to the city we noodled around in Westchester, with trips to Old Navy (yay for the weak dollar) and the mall, and some kyaking and swimming in the Sound.

Then on Wednesday morning, we drove up to Rhode Island (pronounced Roe Dylin, in case you were thinking of actually saying it right). My parents' house there is glorious - it's right next to the East Bay Bike Path and the community has a pool (that I don't have to clean!).

We got started right away on the biking (and the Del's):

And then on Friday night went to a PawSox game. I love minor league - the mistakes they make are hilariously funny. It was a total 'movie' game - the PawSox were down, 8-1, in the 8th inning, and came back to tie the game. Then a hitter with a .143 average hit a walk-off homer in the ninth to win. We went completely nuts.

More to come soon!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


OK, I really meant to blog while we were in the US. And then basically did nothing but eat, bike, swim, read, and shop. Oh, and go to Playland. Full recap to follow.

I went to bells tonight (after not getting to ring at Trinity Church in NYC - boo on the tower captain there for not emailing me back), and appeared to have forgotten everything. I was ringing inside for Plain Bob Doubles before I left and tonight I got lost while ringing the treble. Blame jet-lag, methinks.

One of the dinners while we were home involved my mom's stuffed zucchini, and since our zucchini plant spent the last two weeks producing the most ENORMOUS zucchini I'd ever seen (about the size of a large butternut squash), I decided to try out the recipe. You scoop out the middle of the zucchini, then sautee it with onion and breadcrumbs (and I added some dried herbs and mild chili powder). While it's sauteeing, put the shells (with a little olive oil) in the oven. Then stuff the stuffing into the shells and bake until there are crispy parts on the top. YUM. John looked around forlornly for seconds, but there weren't any. I think we'll be seeing the recipe again!

Of all the books I read over vacation, my favorite was Loving Frank. I picked it up in the Barrington book store, as I'd read all the other paperbacks in the 'recommended' section. My only gripe was that the author doesn't tell you how to pronounce the main character's name (Mamah) until half way through the book, and I had it wrong. I'm not giving anything away when I tell you it's "may-muh". I was reading it in my head as Maa-may and it really bothered me when I found out it was wrong. Other than that, though, a fab read. It reminded me a little bit of The Fountainhead, but in a good way. Mostly because of the 'architect sticking to his principles in the face of adversity' parts.

More recaps to come - sorry for the hiatus!