Driving on the Left

Sorry we haven’t posted in a while.  We’ve been a little nuts with all we have to do to get set up before my husband starts working.  We tore the band-aid off and jumped right in to driving on the left.  We rented a car and the next day drove approximately 20 miles to a small town to look at a car for me.  I drove there my husband drove back.  Results: 2 curbs hit, and one run-in with our left side mirror and a parked car’s right side mirror but I won’t say who did what.  We ended up buying the car we went to look at a few days later.  It will be my car and we will pick it up in 2 days after a new bonnet (hood) badge, a new battery in the key-less entry and a windshield chip filled.  It also had to go through MOT inspection and apparently it passed “with flying colors”.  I will post photos as soon as I can but it is a black BMW 5 Series Wagon, or Estate as the model is called.  I am very excited.  BMWs are very common over here like a Toyota, not considered a luxury vehicle like home but they do have a very good reputation.  Here are some driving on the left photos of us in our rental car.

My husband was a great instructor reminding me of which lane to be in at roundabouts which are EVERYWHERE here.

Our rental car, only 60 pounds (about $90) for a week with free Sat Nav (GPS).

On Sunday we took a computerized driving exam.  The military requires passing the test before you get a British license.  My husband passed on his fifth try and I passed on my eighth! I guess we’re even since he hit the side mirror! 🙂

Also my husband bought his dream/hobby car on Wednesday and we were able to turn in our rental which had NO pick-up! Yippee!  It’s a 1985 Land Rover Defender.  He is thinking he’ll bring it back with us to the states. He’s so excited! Here are some interior photos since I only posted exterior in the previous post.

The previous owner installed new comfy seats and replaced the bench seat.

He's shifting with his left hand, signalling and navigating a roundabout. Let's here it for the man! We bought a Sat Nav immediately after we returned our rental car! We'd be lost without it. You can also see the radio the previous owner installed with an iPod auxiliary outlet.

Speakers the previous owner also installed. You need volume to drown out the diesel engine 🙂

The back with bench seats with seat belts! This is where the previous owner rode when we were test driving 🙂

We’ve been looking at between 4 and 6 houses a day! Ann is our favorite agent and she’s been really trying to find us a great place.

Ann from Just Lets!

It’s been hard because we don’t know the area so we have been driving around small village to small village to see what we like.

St. Ives

As it goes the great villages don't match with the great houses or location to the base.

This is me in Huntingdon a larger city nearby where we went to get mobile phones.

We had a house in Oundle (our favorite village) but the landlords only guaranteed a two year lease and only a 20% chance of a third year.  We don’t want to move our last year and the move would be out of our pocket.  So we kept looking.  This house we looked at today doesn’t have an address it’s just called Stable Barn and it’s a barn conversion.  Amazing isn’t it?

The rooms upstairs were a bit small, carpets were torn and walls were angled making placing furniture difficult.  The letting agent said the landlord wasn’t going to replace carpets.  We thought that was a bad sign.  It’s a shame, we ate at the pub ACROSS THE STREET! and it was wonderful.

This isn’t a house we looked at but I just had to snap it’s photo.  I think it’s just beautiful! We did look at a thatched roof house but it was a bit impractical in the end. But it had a carving in the mantel dated 1528!

Now we’ve found a house in Geddington Village we really like but it’s contingent on the current resident and our future landlord (we hope) having no problems buying a second home (a windmill conversion).  So in the mean time Ann has found us a temporary living arrangement in an amazing cottage outside Oundle.  We will go to the housing office tomorrow to discuss this possibility.  We would like to have a kitchen so we can cook some meals.

What else? We borrowed a phone from the Airman Readiness office on base for a week but were able to get 2 iPhone 4s for free with an 18 month contract so we now have our own phones!

Rental Phone

I have to do a weather update for my dad.  We’ll call it Bill’s Weather Update.  It’s been gorgeous everyone has been telling us to take photos of these days because the rain and cold WILL come.  But it’s been warm with blue skies everyday.  I am actually in shorts today. It’s the hottest day so far.  We are noticing the leaves change even with the warm weather.  I now understand when people from up north talk about how they miss the season changes when they’ve moved to Florida.

I love it here.  I am happy here.  Everyone both military and the British have been very friendly and helpful.  It is just beautiful driving through England countrysides.  Only one night did I cry a little missing my parents but that’s it.  Maybe I’ve been too busy to realize I am homesick but I really like it here and I feel like I am here to stay (for 3 years).

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3 responses to “Driving on the Left

  • Katie

    Hell yeah! That Defender is AMAZING! I love the seats in the back! I really like your new “mobile” phones. I hope they help you stay in touch with the “letting” agent. Tee hee.

    I’m oh-so curious to see the house you finally end up in. I hope it’s one you’re happy with on all fronts. Thanks for posting the photos, it’s really neat to see the candidates that didn’t make the cut.

    Love you!

  • Kristi

    Thank you for the update! So good to see you via the pics! I hope you find your new place soon. It will be fun to set up all your wedding presents in your new home! 🙂

  • Erin

    Sara! This post was so worth the wait! You and hubby (I sense we can’t use his name?) look amazing! I love your boots. 🙂 And those towns are so cute! I’m envious of your new life. It’s going to be so fun, I can tell already. And I feel you on the homesick, that’s inevitable I think, but hopefully the good days will far, far outnumber the sad. So happy you’ll soon be settled and I can’t wait to see pics of the new digs with your fabulous decorating. I take it as a good sign that the housing post has already been removed. 🙂 Much love to you both (from Haiti, where I am for work…talk about homesick)!

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