July 19, 2007


The UK is somewhat crazy in terms of measurements. They have speed signs in terms of miles per hour (50 mph) but then the directions are given in kilometers - it is 50 km to that town.

We even saw a sign that mixed up both - it was a maximum height sign that said something like 7 meters, 5 feet.

When I first got in my car, I thought that the speed limits would be km/hour and I saw 50 and wondered, that is pretty dang slow. I had no idea which one so I kind of went in the middle of both until I confirmed it. It seemed very strange, eh?

July 2, 2007


Lucky for me, the no smoking extends beyond just Gatwick airport – every workplace bars smoking!!! That means no smoking in pubs, restaurants etc. etc. Those of you who know me well know that this makes me very ecstatic!

June 24, 2007

Sink Faucets

I have very strong views about sinks and faucets. For example, I am a big fan of the one sink kitchen sink (I have no use for divided sinks). But this is not really about sinks, it is about faucets.

Throughout the UK (it was this way when I lived in Scotland, too, in 1990-91), all the sinks have two spigots - one for hot and one for cold. Some older homes in the U.S. have these separate water spigots but most updated bathrooms have one spigot - they might have two handles, but one spigot.

I just don't know and have never learned the best way to wash one's face when you have the 2 spigot faucet. The hot water is coming out of one while the cold water out the other. So here are my approaches:

1. Try to use just the hot water before it turns really hot. [this usually does not work so then I must move on.]
2. Cup my hands under the cold water and then under the hot for mixing and then splash on face. Usually I still burn my hands a bit with this method.
3. The third and least clean is to put the sink plug in, let the water join in the basin and then just rinse with increasingly soapy water.

June 23, 2007

Innovations go awry

So last night I stayed at the dorms at the University of Plymouth – I feel for the students who are going to live there while taking our classes this month! In this very small room, there is an en-suite bathroom that is a small corner of the room with a sink, toilet and shower all in one area. As my colleague and friend, David Wong, said, you can use the toilet and shower simultaneously. There is a small shower curtain that prevents everything else from getting wet but the floor is all the same and when the shower drain does not drain well, as in my room, by the end of the shower, the entire bathroom has an 1? of water on it.

In our new digs out in the country (see later post), there is a water and dryer unit in one. One of the other instructors who just got here commented how innovative it was and that we should consider these in America. David quickly told her that she might reconsider that after actually using the unit. The dryer does not actually vent, so as you might imagine, it does not function well. The owners of the cottages, thoughtfully, have provided a drying rack for our use.