One thing I know about puppy raising is the importance of a routine. So I’m making an effort to be lot more regimented while I’m here and it’s paying off with a puppy who is increasingly easy to mind, less stress even when I have a large workload (as I do this weekend), and being able to truly enjoy the experience. Puppy is very affectionate and always up for a cuddle, so I must be doing something right.

Work has been funny. I had a very slow week and I spent quite some time looking and applying for one-off contracts. And then, boom, all my clients apparently came back to life and I have a very full roster through at least Monday. With one of the clients, I’m only allowed to sign out two files at a time. They’ve been really slow since mid-December, so I take what I can get from them and signed out two very small ones that came up. Then, of course, they got a bunch of longer files in. You can’t abandon files just to take others (“cherry picking”) so I was stuck with what I had, disappointing as it was. But then, as we got closer to the end of the work day in California, there were still tons of files in the queue, so I emailed my contact to ask if I could have more work even though I had my quota. Next thing I knew, he’d assigned me as much as I wanted! I’ll have been with this client a year by the time I get settled in Mexico in May, so between that and consistently getting good reviews, I should be in a position to negotiate a bigger allotment.

With my out of the house time being so limited, I continue to like Tesco delivery, even if I have to pay for it now. I had shopping delivered only on Monday and it felt ridiculous to put together another shop today, but I was out of meat and veg. It made more sense to do another order than to take a couple of hours to run to the shops today. I definitely should have just done a bigger shop the first time around since I now have to pay for delivery, but I’m still not very good at gauging how much I should be buying to last me the time of my stay. It ends up being more advantageous to plan about 10 days out. I still have tons left from that first shop, though, but I seriously underestimated how fast some things, like the almond milk (which comes in smaller containers here) would last. Tesco delivery costs depend on the day and time. I would have had to wait till 10PM Tuesday to get a £2 delivery slot. Before then, the cheapest slot was £3.50 on Monday. I was able to get a slot tonight for £4, so I just went for that. The shopping will come between eight and nine, which fits into Puppy’s and my evening routine, but just barely.

Have I mentioned just how cute she is? You should see (and feel!) those floppy ears of hers. 🙂

I can’t believe I’ll be back in Canada this time next month (and hopefully over the jet lag). I really need to start working on the Montreal to Haven to Mexico thing that’s coming up… 🙂


I didn’t have any work today, but I chose not to go out to give puppy my full attention. The weather was beautiful and she accepted a long walk, though, so we got some fresh air, in addition to playing a bit in the garden.

This is an enormous responsibility I took on, essentially taking care of a baby during three weeks of her most formative months. It’s not a job I took on a whim and I’m treating it extremely seriously. I want to make sure I’m as consistent as I can be with her routine while using plenty of positive reinforcement in her continued training so that there are no setbacks when her parents get home.

She’s very intelligent and extremely affectionate, always up for a cuddle (guess where she is right now). I feel privileged to have a chance to play a small role in raising her.

Work has come in for the next couple of days, but I should have time to get out to the museum at some point while Puppy has her afternoon nap. I’m rather jealous of how much sleep she gets. 😀

Shrewsbury Abbey

I managed to get away for a few hours this afternoon during Puppy’s nap. I decided to head out to Shrewsbury Abbey. First, I thought to grab something quick for lunch, but was lured by the signs for La Lanterna Italian restaurant that took me through twisty medieval streets to the back of St. Mary’s Church.

The restaurant was in the basement of this building, the old church vestry.

The interior was tiny and very cosy, with the theme decidedly Italy.

What had caught my eye was the set menu for £8.50. It came with a glass of wine, bread, a really lovely salad…

…a slice of very garlicky bruschetta, and a generous portion of creamy pasta with greens, tomatoes, olives, and bacon. Wow!

This gourmet meal was a bargain even by Balkan standards! I was really impressed. Service was stellar, too. It wasn’t till I got home that I checked out reviews for the restaurant and they all praise it highly. I really discovered a hidden gem.

Here’s the lobby of the basement entrance with the entrance to the restaurant. Love the stained glass.

I made my way down some stairs to the High Street and turned left to cross the river and get to the abbey.

First glimpse of Shrewsbury Abbey!


I couldn’t believe that I was there. Of course, I knew that almost nothing remains of the original medieval abbey.  From Wikipedia: “The Abbey was founded in 1083 as a Benedictine monastery by the Norman Earl of ShrewsburyRoger de Montgomery. It grew to be one of the most important and influential abbeys in England and an important centre of pilgrimage. Although much of the Abbey was destroyed in the 16th century, the nave survived as a parish church and today serves as the mother church for the Parish of Holy Cross.”

I walked around the exterior a bit to take in the Victorian parts.

Admission to the abbey is free, but they suggest a donation of “at least £2.” They had guides in many languages and I picked a French one. The translation was decent.

This is the only original stained glass. You can tell that stained glass is really old if it’s wavy and kind of buckling.

This is a very recent stained glass made by a woman named Jane Grey. It is of Saint Winefride, a Welsh woman tied to a number of legends.

I spent about 15 minutes in the abbey reading about its unusual history of partial demolition and reconstruction. It was a grand,  draughty old space. Its guardians are very friendly and welcoming; available for questions, but not intrusive. I’m really glad I had a chance to visit!

It was then time to head back across The English Bridge and head home as Puppy surely needed to be let out.

I passed the front of St. Mary’s Church since I wanted to pop into the Tesco Express near Barclay’s to get coffee.

It was raining steadily when I came out Tesco and, of course, I had forgotten my umbrella. But it wasn’t a hard drizzle so the walk home wasn’t too unpleasant.

Here’s a rough map of my day, although not of my route.

On a Shrewsbury Ramble

It was rather a sad day not to have work and to be waiting for deliveries since it was so sunny out! I managed to convinced Puppy to go for a decent walk around the block after the Amazon guy came, but she’s really not keen on the idea of walks yet so we didn’t get far.

I was expecting Tesco between two and three. In Hebden, they came right near the start of the delivery slot. Here, they came about two minutes before the end of it! The driver was really concerned that my pack of mixed veggies had been substituted for one that he didn’t think sounded similar. I assured him that I’d put “can sub any on offer without mushrooms” on my order form so what I ended up with was fine. I really like these Tesco stir fry “kits” for just £5 where you get noodles, sauce, veggies, and meat, which you can all mix and match in many different combinations. Last time, I did pork with egg noodles and a prune hoisin sauce. Tonight, it’ll be chicken with rice noodles and a lemongrass coconut sauce. These are really good value for me since I get three meals out of them.

The Tesco order sorted, I had a quick lunch of mediocre sushi that was on offer and then I exhausted Puppy so she could have a nap while I went out and enjoyed the blue sky and SUN.

I decided to go back downtown by way of the train station and see if I could do a loop back home. Spoiler: I was able to and it wound up being a two-mile walk. So the town is not as big as I thought it would be. I had less far to go in Hebden to get “downtown,” but there I had the huge hills to contend with while the terrain here is much more flat and a lot less slippery. It’ll be easier here to motivate myself to go out for a stroll.

The directions my host left me to get to their place had this building, Morris Lubricants, as a landmark. It’s rather impressive.

I can’t believe I didn’t notice the castle when I came out of the train station on Saturday or on my walk yesterday!

Overpass by the train station.

Shrewsbury train station. When I was there on Saturday, the emergency vehicles had “heddlu,” Welsh for police, on them, but today they were marked in English.

Passing this restaurant, I realised that I knew exactly where I was and got my first inkling that the town is very compact.

Looking back to the train station while standing in front of the restaurant. I like the tower on that building to the left.

I climbed a staircase next to this plaque, thinking I could get some information about the castle, but it ended up being a foot path on the outside of the castle walls.

Looking back down to the train station.

Should have brought my camera. My phone’s pictures suck in this kind of light. 🙁

Looking towards the castle entrance.

I ducked into a medieval alley to see what was what and turned a corner to find this interesting construction.

I turned back to the main street through downtown and from there followed yesterday’s route home.

It’s been a quiet day and a good one to get to know Puppy and her routine better. Not having work was rather lovely, especially since it looks like at least a small part of the large non-transcription project should be a go. I expect to hear back from the client about that in a few hours. Now, off to make some stir fry and try some of that very inexpensive Tesco bitter I bought. At £0.25 per can, my expectations are low. 🙂