Archive for March, 2008

The Boat Race, 2008

March 30, 2008 Leave a comment

oxford_team_boat_race_2005 Yesterday Milo and I walked over to Bishops Park to see if there would be a big crowd for The Boat Race like there was last year. Despite the beer tent, pig roast, big screens (to see the race if the crowd is too big next to the river), and two portable rock climbing walls, there was hardly anyone there. I think the cold rain and wind was a bit of a deterrent. I find this event somewhat fascinating, probably because I’ve never run across a sporting event like it before. Some facts I find interesting:

  1. It’s quick: It’s one race and takes about 21 minutes from start to finish, and as a spectator, you see 2 boats cruise past just once, and that’s it.
  2. It’s old: This is a rowing race between Oxford and Cambridge universities that happens each year and has been going on since 1829 – there have been 154 races.
  3. It never ends: So far, Cambridge has won 79 of the races and Oxford 74, but there was a tie back in 1877. Oxford won this year. Basically, this is an ongoing match that never ends.
  4. It’s popular: 7-9 million people in the UK watch it with millions more outside the UK watching it.

Essentially, it is a good excuse for people to lounge around at or near a pub along the river with a bunch of other people. In other words, it’s an excuse for a party.

English or British

March 27, 2008 1 comment

EnglandFlagflag_british_1 At a pub the other night, we got into a discussion with an English friend who explained that someone who is British is not necessarily English, and her opinion was that if someone is English then they will probably not call themselves British. To quote the Wikipedia article "The term British is also used by naturalised immigrants and their descendants", which is what our friend was getting at. We explained that if you are an American citizen or green card holder, then you are basically an American and there really isn’t a distinction between someone who has lived there for five generations or just recently moved there. We are expats, so we’re not considered English or British! We enjoy living here though.smile_regular

Weekend in Florence, Italy

March 23, 2008 2 comments

Florence skyline We spent 2 nights in Florence (Firenze) during the Easter weekend, which of course included some great Chianti wine (among others), cheese, olive oil, gelato, and a good amount of rain mixed with a little bit of sunshine. Lorie went shopping instead of joining us on the bicycle ride, which started and ended at a castle built in 1199 that is now a winery and olive oil "factory" (it’s pretty small). The winery has about 700 acres of vineyards around it and makes about 500,000 bottles of wine per year, so it is considered a small-to-medium sized winery. Thankfully the weather held out and we had sunshine all day! Oddly enough, of the 14 people on the bike tour, 2 were English and the rest were American with about half of them still in university. Half way through the ride we had lunch, which was a big meal of pasta, wine, and dessert – all of which was great, until we did the hill climb. I was only 1 of 3 that rode all the way up the "mountain" (that’s what the tour guy called it), which wasn’t that big of a hill, but enough to make me wish I hadn’t eat all of my pasta or finish my 3rd glass of wine.

Walking around the city and seeing Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore), the markets, wine shops, meat shops, and the various meandering streets of Florence was fun. We are all looking forward to our next Italian holiday… whenever we can get there next.

I have posted a bunch of photos on the site too. 

UPDATE: Megan has posted a great summary of her and Alan’s trip, including our shared part of the trip. And she has posted some photos too, like the one below of me on the bike ride.


The Terracotta Army in London

March 21, 2008 Leave a comment

Terracotta Warrior We just saw the Terracotta Army and learned a bit about China’s first emperor. There are a few terracotta warriors, other characters, horses, and artifacts at the British Museum in London and even though it has been there since September, it has been difficult to get tickets. I think I bought ours back in December and we just went tonight (March 20) at 9:30 at night. Apparently it has been a bit popular, but now we want to go see the entire army of them in China.

And for something completely different, in the morning we fly off to Florence, Italy for the weekend!

Ginger wine and Heidi pies… must be Borough Market

March 15, 2008 Leave a comment

Ginger wine and a pot pieWe went to the Borough Market today, a favourite of Megan and Alan. This is a farmers market only open on Friday and Saturday located in the heart of the city. It gets quite crowded by noon, so get there around 10am to avoid Fresh seafoodthe crowds. In addition to the variety of cheese we always seem to purchase, this time we picked up some ginger wine and pot pies. Specifically a Heidi pie (vegetable) and Moo pie (beef). The ginger wine is a sweet white wine with ginger, so the colour is sort of brownish-red and it has a ginger bite to it. I like it (not love it), but Lorie thinks it tastes like cough syrup.

And yes, they have fresh seafood too, as indicated by the octopus dangling over a stick in front of the normal ice-bed of fish. Sorry, but I didn’t take a picture of the cider, mulled wine, sausages, cheeses, and wide selection of vegetables.

Greetings from the Groth flat

March 13, 2008 Leave a comment

SANY0004When Milo is on his best behaviour, this is what anyone visiting our flat will see…. right before he runs down the stairs and bounces all over the place, which is how he greets friends. I imagine an intruder would get the same greeting, but with more teeth. 

Sunny weekend in California

March 9, 2008 Leave a comment

SANY0018 An hour north of Berkeley are the little beach towns of Stinson and Boninas. We spent the weekend there with our friends Fred and Nina, their two kids, and most importantly, Clifford their pudgy, fuzzy, and lovable dog. I just copied other photos online too.

We fly back to London on Monday, landing on Tuesday and can’t wait to get back home and to see Milo’s always smiling face.

Great snow in Utah

March 5, 2008 Leave a comment

Brian is a happy snowboarderWe had 2 great days of skiing in Utah, complete with about 18 inches of fresh, light and fluffy powder snow on Sunday and a bright sunny day on Monday. It was certainly much better than the Alps last week.

I skied on Sunday with the family at Alta; snowboarded on Monday with dad at Solitude; then later in the day we picked up Michael and went to Snowbird, which is terrible for snowboards so I switched back to skis. Click the picture of me snowboarding for photos.

One weird thing I experienced at Snowbird was the tunnel at the top of the resort that lets you get from one side of the mountain to the other. The tunnel has a conveyer belt that you stand on. 

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