First half of summer 2017

It’s been a great first half of summer — lots of mini heat waves which I’ve totally loved!  Aled and Morgy cool themselves off in the back garden in Morgan’s mini pool (while Momma enjoys just taking off her cardigan and warming her cold-blooded body in the sun!)  Yay vitamin D!  I could really get used to this…

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The raspberry plant (pictured on the right behind the boys above) has been fantastic — it delivered a small bowl of raspberries nearly every day for about 3 weeks straight.  Love them!

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We took a number of outings in June to take advantage of the warm weather, including rowing on Roath Park Lake with Armanda and Daniel (one of my favorite things to do in Cardiff):

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My first (and possibly last!?) trip to Barry Island:

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And a really nice hike in waterfall country (near Ystradfellte):

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We met up with the UK Evans clan in Herefordshire in late June to celebrate Ann and Steve’s 70th birthdays this year.  As always, it proved to be a nice get together with all the UK brothers and sister-in-laws and great for the cousins to bond.  Here we are at a fantastic National Trust property called Brockhampton Court, a 15th century manor house.

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It was a gorgeous day and an absolutely idyllic location.  This sort of thing is the best of Britain (as far as I’m concerned!).

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Later that day we celebrated the occasion with a cake and some champagne.  Happy 70th Ann and Steve!

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The next day we were off to Ludlow, where we went for a walk along a nice river…

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And then shared a Sunday lunch in a nice pub overlooking the river.  Here you can see we are preparing the next generation of Evans beer drinkers…

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Lots of other chores were completed outside of work in the past month including preparing for our [very infuriating] immigration appointment which we attended on 12 July 2017.  Before you ask: YES I still have to do immigration even though I am married to a British citizen and have given birth to another British citizen.  That’s just the rules.  For your information, to extend my spouse visa for another 2.5 years, I had to fill in a 79 page paper application by hand, collect over 300 pages of supporting evidence such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, bank statements, and lots of paper correspondence.  It cost 2000 pounds (approximately $2600 USD/$3500 NZD), which included a 500 pound “health surcharge”.

There she is, the good old FLR (M) — just in case you are dying to know what that stands for: Further Leave to Remain (Marriage).  Anyways long and bureaucratic story short, of course my visa was approved, and I have the absolute privilege to stay in the UK until February 2020, at which point I will most likely have to pay another 3k to apply for indefinite leave to remain.   #lovebeinganimmigrant

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In other triumphant news, we have mostly finished the downstairs loo…

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And today the double glazing went in our front bedroom — HURRAH!  Massive milestone — the whole house is finally double-glazed.  Can’t wait to update our “EPC rating”.

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Before I sign off, I’ve got to mention one last outing we went on earlier in July to a lovely spot called Llangorse Lake.  I love being on the water so we’ve been rowing a lot 🙂

There’s a beautiful thatched hut on the edge of the lake:

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And on the way home, we found a place to go horse-riding on a very stubborn horse named Lancelot:

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And finally, just this past Thursday we welcomed some of our best friends from Wellington, Simon, Kate and their two kids Alistair and Olive:

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It was so great to see those guys but every visitor from New Zealand makes me want to go back ASAP!  Big hugs Wellingtonians — still miss you XOXO

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