Welcome to Friday's Five, my regular feature that asks a fabulous follower 5 random questions.
I'm visiting today with Angela, also known as Cambridge Lady, who blogs at Just Waffling . . . I stumbled across her site just as she was posting pictures from her holiday in Australia. I lucked out with this fab blogger because not only does she take an awesome vacation, but she lives in England! If you're like me and enjoy traveling vicariously, you'll love Cambridge Lady's commentary and photographs of flowers, animal life (yay for hedgehogs!), and gorgeous architecture. Angela also runs a weekly Mystery Picture Competition and puts up interesting videos that often reflect a British perspective and/or humor.
1. How old are your children and what do they say they want to be when they grow up? I have a son aged 13 and a daughter aged 10. They are very different characters. My son is somewhat academic and, much to my amazement and joy, loves a lot of the subjects that fascinated me at school—history, geography and maths. He is a whiz with computers and, although he hasn’t expressed any particular career ambitions, I can see him doing something that combines IT and multimedia with his academic interests. My daughter is very creative and has the most incredible imagination. She loves and is talented in acting, singing, dancing, and drawing and says she would like to be either a book illustrator, an actress, or a model (hope she leans more towards the first two choices!!).
2. You've spent some time in the U.S. Where did you live and how was your experience? We lived in the suburban area just to the west of Portland, Oregon. It was an “easy” international move in the sense that we kept a similar standard of living and we spoke the language. The bureaucracy was extraordinary though! I loved the people we met—Americans truly are a very friendly and generous people who will go out of their way to help you. You all seem to have so much energy too. There were loads of stay-at-home Mums where we lived who got really involved with the school and community and they made it very easy for me and my kids to feel at home.
I loved the natural environment in and around Portland (coast and mountains, bliss!!) and a lot of the flora and fauna were new and very beautiful. I liked the summers in Portland—wall to wall sunshine for 3 or 4 months—but the rain the rest of the year was a bit much!! I did get very homesick—I was surprised how much I missed the UK (silly things like food, the BBC, the daft humour) and also being so close to mainland Europe. I found the suburbs a very depressing environment—endless characterless retail and restaurants, with no sense of being anywhere in particular. Everyone drove everywhere and I love to walk and use public transport. Now I am home I take great joy in walking to the park or the town centre, sitting in a café by the river and just being amongst old buildings and fabulous architecture. We have the big box retail and shopping malls but I’m happy to avoid them!
I also felt very isolated from the rest of the world. It’s probably not apparent to Americans who have never left the USA but everything is so US-centric (TV, news, magazines, etc. . . . ) In school the kids only learnt about US history, US geography and US scientific achievement. It was like the rest of the world didn’t exist at times. It was a great experience, one I might consider repeating when my children have finished their education, but it has made me appreciate what “home” actually means to me and I now know the UK is where I feel happiest—before there was always the possibility that the grass was greener somewhere else.
3. As someone who has never traveled to your country, but desperately wants to some day, what 3 places should I see if I ever get the chance to visit? I think a lot of people, understandably, look at the physical size of the country and think they can “do England” in a few days. I have lived here most of my 44 years, travelled a lot, and yet there are so many places I would still like to visit. Every village, town, and city has its own character and history, and the countryside, whilst not on the scale seen in the USA, is very varied and beautiful. Three places? Impossible to narrow it down but I’ll try . . .
I’ll assume you would automatically go to London – it’s an amazing city and you must go but it’s not the real England. I would probably choose North Yorkshire – wild countryside and coastline, little villages and towns full of character, and of course York with its Viking and Roman history and Minster. Secondly you have to travel around the coastline of the West Country (Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall) with its mix of isolated coves and traditional seaside resorts, great walking routes, and opportunities for fossil hunting. There are loads of pubs and restaurants in which to enjoy the local seafood, cream teas, and English ales. Lastly, well you’ve got to come and see me in Cambridge! The city is full of great architecture, museums, and culture and the University is something special. The history of the surrounding area is very interesting as well.
4. I love the English turns of phrases you use in your writing. For those of us Americans who can't get breakfast foods out of our minds, can you explain how you came up with your blog's title? Well, waffling in British English just means talking a lot, often about nothing in particular. Actually I had no idea this word wasn’t used in the USA. We seem to have a lot of vocabulary that hasn’t travelled to the USA. I started my blog as somewhere to put my photos from Australia—not all my family and friends were on Facebook—and thought I might occasionally write a bit on the blog but didn’t want to have a theme or limit myself to just one aspect of life. So I can, and do, use my blog to waffle about everything and anything. I’m not sure how many people have found my blog because of a love of all things patisserie but the search term “Belgian waffle with cream” has brought one hungry soul to my writings in the past couple of weeks!! They must have been a little disappointed!
5. What did you have for dinner last night? Duck and beef wraps/fajitas with sweetcorn followed by apricot and peach crumble with custard.
Thanks, Angela! You can bet your bippy that if I ever make it over there, I'll be showing up in Cambridge . . . asking for some of that apricot and peach crumble! Until then, everyone grab a candy bar and meet back here next Friday for a chat with another great blogger.
Previously on Friday's Five . . .
Friday's Five: Karen (A Peek at Karen's World) Friday's Five: Karen (Karen's Journal)
Exactly two years ago: