We arrived in Chichester to find Heather, the owner of the apartment waiting for us. She had very kindly got us supplies enough to do the day, and sorted out a litter tray for the cat. I stayed in the apartment with the kids while Paul and Heather unloaded the van. In the 20 or so minutes yes the van was unloaded, it's wing mirror was hit!
The apartment is on a narrow road. It has parking on one side of it (permit parking), so cars have to take it in turns to go down the one open lane for traffic. And they don't go slow. It is a narrow road, with narrow foot paths.
The kids were all in bed by 7.... Paul and I managed to hang out till about 10. And no one was up before 10 the next day. Paul headed to the airport to drop back the hire car and meet his dad and brother and collect our car, the big blue bus. About 2 months ago we purchased a Chrysler Grand Voyager 7 seater thing, in the hope that keeping the kids separate will make car journeys easier. We had already decided that we were going to go to Hayling Island on Sunday. While in the states we had decided that this was the place we wanted to live, despite paul never being there, and me only going once as a kid.
Hayling Island is about 25 minutes from Chichester, along the most boring stretch of the A27 known to man. It is one road in, over a bridge. Then divides into two after a long twisty section. We drove around the west side of the island, as that is where a new build we are interested In is taking place. Very nice. Very quiet, houses set back from the road.
We then headed to the beach front. It has a mini amusement park, with a train and some roller coasters. The beach is shingle, and the tide very calm this day. It was also incredibly beautiful
We were set, this is where we wanted to live. Now to wait for houses to come available to rent. In the mean time, Paul went to work on the Monday. The boys and I tried to find a routine of school work, followed by some form of exercise (stretches, physical training, running around the garden, anything to keep them active), then computer time (kindles)
The kids managed to find a slow worm I the garden. This is a type of leg less lizard you get here. This one is about 30 centimetres long, a good size!
I have been struggling with a lot of things. I think you might call it cultural acclimatisation...... Biggest thing for me has been the car. I have been used to brand new BMW cars. The Chrysler is about 12 year old, and quite clunky. Although we have a drive way, and the Chrysler does fit, I have struggles to get it in. It has to be reversed due to the parking circumstances. This has made me anxious about driving and parking. Even parking in the supermarket is tricky.
We did make it out on Tuesday. Thanks to one off my friends, I found out about a local farm that makes camomile essential oils. They open their fields for 2 weeks a year. Me and the boys went along.
It really was a quintessential English scene. So peaceful and beautiful even with my boys. We then drove to Selsey sea front, which was ok, but not as nice as Hayling! Driving I back into Chichester to collect Paul from work was trying. I went the wrong way, road works, just a little scary in places.
Tuesday evening I got very anxious, worried and nervous. Just really upset. I knew this was going to be hard, but I don't think I realised how hard. Paul and I spoke about it at length, but no matter how many times he told me it would be alright and things would work out, I was still pretty upset. I cried myself to sleep that night.
But Wednesday was a new day..... Thanks to friends on Facebook, I found out about the Picturedome in Bognor Regis. This is the towns cinema. Tickets are advised to be booked in advance, as they get busy, some of the screens are small, and the price is very reasonable. I booked the 4 of us to go and see the Secret Life of Pets that afternoon. It cost £11 (about 14 dollars) for the tickets. The snacks we purchased there were only a pound more too. The cinema was tiny, with only 30 seats! And pretty much sold out! The kids loved it (apart from Seb who could not handle the volume, or mild peril in the film)
Wednesday night I met up with a lady to discuss taking over a Zumba class on a Monday evening. She was lovely, we chatted for over an hour. I went to the class this Monday, and was introduced as the new instructor. I cannot wait to get started next week!
The rest of the week got better. We went to Arundel Castle on Saturday (more in a separate post). I have been to Zumba, which always help! I have been to a couple of different supermarkets, looking for different ingredients for various recipes, and am slowly getting used to how day to day living works here.
Every one seems so grumpy. I know that things here are far from perfect. I might just be used to the American cheerfulness. The consideration for others here seems very low. The weather is pants, but we are still all wearing shorts to make a point!
Although the apartment is nice, it is still small. Paul and I are sleeping on a sofa bed, which is comfortable, but a pain in the butt to get out and put away every day. Luckily the kitchen diner here is a really good size, and even has a sofa in it. Very comfortable for day time naps......
We went to have a look at the new build development on Sunday just gone. The houses are just too small, boxy with no character what so ever. I think when it comes to buying we will be going for an older house on this land eventually. It did give us another chance to have a look at the island and make sure it is where we want to be. We parked at another area along the seafront, nearer the east of the island. They had some entertainment on, a country band, and that line dancing. Line dancing I am so pleased, and have already found out where the lessons take place!
We have some things in place this week, fingers cross next time I write we will have somewhere to live and the kids will have schools to go to!