Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A boy and his bicycle

Yesterday the Boda Boda went for its first ride on British soil, I wish I could say I enjoyed the ride but I wasn't actually the rider. Instead our good friend Andy took the Boda Boda out and Kyle took the Mundo, and they headed off for a trip down the Strawberry Line.  It seems only fitting that Andy enjoyed the first Boda Boda ride as we wouldn't be here in this glorious part of England without his help. Andy was researching cargo bikes one day when he came across my blog, when I mentioned wanting to move to England he volunteered to help us find a place in his area of North Somerset. He and his wife Sarah are amazing people and have been an immense help to us since we've been here, we feel so lucky to have moved and had instant friends on arrival.

This area of the world has proved to be everything we'd hoped for, it is simply stunning, the people are friendly and welcoming, the prospects and opportunities seem abundant and overall we are intensely happy to be here. Getting settled in has been a challenge, Jack is still homesick and asks to go home everyday, but Kyle and I are sure he will love it here one he's settled in a bit. There are numerous activities and playgroups for children, we have signed up for and attended one already and Jack wasted no time in immersing himself in play with the other toddlers.

A bakery bike we have admired.

The weather has been mild and wet, the streets are narrow but drivers seem very aware of cyclists on the high street. I am a little intimidated by the thought of a new bike on new roads, especially with my precious cargo, so I find myself procrastinating my first ride. I think I will plan a solo ride on some quiet streets before I attempt a ride with Jack.

Kyle has been loving the Mundo!
We have been on the hunt for a bike for Jack since we got here, yesterday we located a wooden balance bike here in the village, picked it up for twenty pounds and made Jack the happiest 2.5 year old in the world. This morning when he got out of bed I think he'd forgotten about it, as his whole face lit up with glee when I reminded him he now owned a bike. I can't describe how good it feels to see him get something he's wanted so much, after we had to sell 99% of his toys before our move. It was heart wrenching and I felt verging on cruelty to sell all his toys, but I think the bike may have slightly made up for it. As I sit here typing, he keeps turning to me with a look of amazement on his face, proudly announcing repetitively "Mumma I got a bike!"

Jack's little "Mosquito"

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Boda Boda in Britain!

Conviction that we made the right move runs strong after our first four days here, honestly I feel like we've been here forever and am more in love now with my homeland than I ever have been. You know when you build something up in your head, you begin to wonder if you are seeing it in it's true light? Well, I was a little worried that England couldn't live up to my expectations, but it has shattered them and gone beyond. Kyle too, everyday he just smiles and says "thank you for sharing". Our main goal was a better standard of living, more freedom, less stress,and better opportunity for our son and there is no doubt in my mind that we are closer to those goals here than we were in our previous lives. It will be a long journey of hard work to get us to those goals, but they are attainable to more than the privileged here (in my opinion of course).

Now back to bikes...look at what our good friend Andy did.... He helped us build Britain's first Boda boda, well at least I think it is! And let me tell you, it is one lusciously gorgeous bike and everything I had hoped for. Sadly we haven't got a pump so I'm off to buy one today and then I can take the Boda out for it first spin around the village. Love those cork grips! 

Sorry about the wrong date stamp, I keep thinking I've fixed it and then it comes back...I assure you these pics were taken yesterday!

Blondy locks helping Daddy!

Andy putting the front wheel in place, whilst Jack checks out the ring-a-ling bell!

Notice the green pedals too! I love the stunning colour. Andy's wife, Sarah who describes herself as not liking bikes says she has proper bike envy for my Boda Boda and they were both impressed at the price point!

Nice bamboo rear deck with a handle!

I think he thought it was Christmas all over again, it surely felt like it for me too!

Andy is a real gem and whipped the bike together in no time, even with Jack's "assistance"!

I opted for the double kick stand as I was so impressed with the Mundo's, sure enough the Boda's stand is solid too!

I think I will be ordering some bamboo steps for it too!

 Thank you Yuba for my wonderful Boda Boda, I feel so privileged to have two of these amazing bikes and they have and continue to improve, change and inspire me.

The "mumma bike" as Jack lovingly calls it, the Mundo! Oh how I have missed thee!

Look at that little mechanic!

Andy has three year old James, so he's used to toddler assistants!

Bonding over bikes!

I love the fact that my little boy loves bikes!
Jack actually managed to tighten the mud guards on!

Andy takes the Mundo for it's first spin in the UK!

Lovely Grace, James and Jack enjoying a seat on the Mundo. Today Kyle and Andy are taken the little ones out for a ride on the bikes, while Sarah and I head to Bristol for a few more supplies we need.
The surrounding countryside is beyond words beautiful so I look forward to sharing many pictures and adventures in the near future. We shall be taking off down the Strawberry Line soon enough!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Jet lagged and tired, happy and hopeful!

It's been an amazing few days. Our journey has both ended and just begun as we recover from the jet-lag, the immenseness of it all leaves me a little tongue tied.

Our arrival into London was a bumpy, gusty, slightly crooked, worst landing ever, never land in the tail end of a huge storm again kind of event. I squeezed Kyle's arm tighter at landing than I did during Jack's arrival into the world and have sworn off flying ever again. We hired a porter for our luggage as there was no way Kyle and I could move it all, our van arrived and was loaded with minimal fuss and a few hours later we found ourselves wiggling down the M4 in a van enjoying that foul tail end of Sandy again. Our driver was a very friendly Bristolian fellow, who chatted endlessly and comfortably about life in general whilst Kyle drifted off and Jack woke bright eyed and bushy tailed. I for one was wiped out, having not slept for about 35 hours at that point I felt nauseous from the stress of the trip and so tired that I'd close me eyes, drift off, wake with a start and realize the driver was still chatting away to me.

A very sketchy drive made so much better by a competent driver, I'm so relieved we didn't do self hire, good investment to hire a driver after such a long trip.  Excuse the stupid date stamp!

When we checked in our luggage and the cargo bikes at Seattle I was preparing to hand over a small fortune for our over-sized bike boxes, but the lady at the counter announced our total with a big smile. Only $56 to fly each bike, I felt like hugging her! In fact the cost of transporting the bikes upon arrival, to Bristol from Heathrow, was more than their actual flight, which is why I would wholeheartedly recommend flying with Iceland Air to anyone thinking of traveling with a bike, not only did their tickets come in cheaper than all other airlines, but the level of service was excellent.

My first impressions after my 20 year absence have left me wondering why my mother ever wanted to leave, I love it here. I find it to be a breath of fresh air after the horribly conservative town we previously called home. I love the diversity, culture and heartbeat of home. I know everyone has their own cup of tea, as they say, I feel like Kyle and I are hesitantly taking our first sip off a new pot that will go down well. I thought my rose tinted glasses would get shattered upon arrival, whereas in reality we are both 100% sure that we did exactly what we needed to do for our family to have the lifestyle we want. So far anyway. We've been here 3 days, so the reality is we have a lot of work ahead of us to establish our roots, but we are both eager to get the ball rolling.

Yesterday we took a few strolls around the village, grabbed some groceries in the afternoon and a Chinese takeout for dinner later in the day. Jack has been asking to "go home" and talking about our beloved Beatrix endlessly. Her absence remains the biggest blight on the whole happy adventure to be honest. Every stray crumb of food on the floor reminds me of her and tears well up within me. Although I hear she has already settled in comfortably and is getting lots of love with her Auntie and Uncle in Portland.

Today we're off to explore a little bit of Bristol and pick up a camera and mic for our laptop so we can start Skyping our loved ones. Our new friends Andy and Sarah (whom we met because Andy read my blog) have been so amazingly welcoming. Sarah has kindly offered to run us about in her car today and Andy said he will help us put one of the bikes together on Sunday so we can be a little more independent. Our living accommodations are so lovely and well situated with the train station being just a block away and the local grocery shop being about 1/4 mile down the road, carfreedom is going well so far. I have so much to share here, but the little one stirs and showers need to be taken, so I will be on my way for now and thank you for following along!