Monday, July 30, 2018

Friendly People and Take-Away Stores

We have found the people here in England extremely friendly and helpful. Today we drove to do our laundry. We had purchased a TomTom gps to guide us when driving our rental car. When we couldn’t find the laundromat, I went into a post office and the clerk gave me very good directions to our location—only about 1 1/2 blocks away.

We parked and took our dirty laundry in.  I had very few coins and didn’t really know what they were worth and there was no change machine in the laundromat.  However, there was a money store next door—they transfer money for customers.  The man there came to help me—the 2 businesses are owned by the same person, and he gave me the change I needed and explained how the machines worked.

Another customer was in the place and he helped us 2 or 3 times, even calling the correct person over to help when one dryer didn’t work.  And he was interesting to talk to as we all did our wash.

After taking the laundry back to our apartment, we walked to the Birmingham Library, hoping to find historical information about this area and do some family history research.  In the USA, the 1630s and 40s are important history—Winthrop Fleet, Massachusettes Bay Colony, etc.  Since some of John’s family had lived in the Birmingham area, we were hoping to learn about them at the library.  The staff member we talked to at the front desk and another in the history section both said those dates are way too early for written records here.  Even churches weren’t required to keep records of birth and death till a later century and there are almost no written records available before printing became more widespread.

We did find a little religious history on-line at the library and a history book that explains the early history of this area from Roman times forward.  But nothing really helpful to us.

We did, however, see more of the Birmingham city center, including the city hall and lots of new, modern construction.  So it was a very interesting day.  This is England’s second largest city and it is obviously a vibrant place.

Something else stands our here and in London.  There are lots of take-away stores.  Think a cross between take-out food and grocery stores with prepared food.  Since we have a very small refrigerator and can only stock about 1 day’s food at a time, we have been buying remade entrees for dinner, plus salad and dessert.  Today we bought a sandwich to “take away” for lunch.  Two familiar stores now are Tesco Express and Sainsbury Local.

These stores do have some fresh vegetables and some canned—very little canned.  And we have frozen a bottle of 7 UP and a head of lettuce so we are careful what we put in the fridge.  One day I turned the temp up a little and the whole fridge defrosted!

It’s all about learning to live like the locals, I guess.

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