So, four years now (or, rather, next week it will be…here’s the annual reports for years Three, Two, and One for historical perspective).
We just received our new visas valid until 2016 but plan to take the next step toward citizenship in a year, Indefinite Leave to Remain…sort of the British Green Card. There is an exam, first, but in general it is all downhill from here.
The view from Western Street near the new house…also all downhill
Additionally, we are in the process of moving house (which is why I rushed the annual report a week forward) from just north of the Oasis over to Old Town to a house situated close walks to either the Beehive or the Castle or the Globe (recently reopened!)—three locals instead of one and all three of high quality—and dozens of others a short walk. The new house has three bedrooms each larger than its counterpart in the old house, the two receptions are larger and made into more of an open-plan configuration, the bath is larger and has a tub (not just a shower), and there is a finished basement; on the down side, the kitchen is a little narrower and more primitive as is the small garden but everything we do and everywhere we normally go in Swindon (save for the butcher) is so close.
The only races I did this past year were the London Marathon (5 pubs plus a can of Carling on the last mile) and the Beerathon (5 miles with a pint and a hefty food item between each) and the mileage run for the year suffered from this lack of focus—1950 give or take about 25 (most estimates pretty good using gmap-pedometer), while the last several years (except for the year of the wreck) were in the 2200-2500 range.
On the runs, I visited 255 new pubs with a stunning 67 new ones (steep part of the graph) in September when I took two weeks off work and ran at least 10 miles per day in new territory each day. The 1000th wasn’t as big a thrill as I thought it would be, but I saw some really nice places and met some really fine folk. The September holiday found me visiting Gloucester, South Wales, Slough (exotic, I know) and Exeter along with some nearer-to-Swindon trips. The 100 Yellow Beer Challenge was responsible for a lot of second visits to pubs I might not otherwise have gone to after an initial stop and many of these seemed better the second time around. Oh, and my Workingman’s Club appears to have failed or at least hasn’t been open the last several times I’ve popped by (I have a grand one scoped out for the new neighbourhood, though).
Best pubs in Year Four (reverse order by First Visit write-up):
The Southgate Inn, Devizes
The Hop Inn, Swindon
Dicey Reilly’s, Teignmouth
The Brass Monkey, Teignmouth
One Eyed Jack’s, Gloucester
Ye Olde Red Lion, Tredegar
The Rose of Denmark, Woolwich
The Volunteer Rifleman’s Arms
The Green Dragon, Marlborough
The British Lion, Devizes
The Blue Boar, Alsbourne (for the Dr. Who connections)
British Citizenship Exam Prep
Assize Court, Bristol
Paul Simon in Hyde Park
The Bremen Musicians (German children’s story)
Sex Tourism in Wiltshire
Modern Algebra for Omid
Burns’ Day Lunch
There are others search for ‘made me laugh.’ The blog may or may not have made some of the over 100,000 visitors laugh, but the damn fools keep checking in (that’s you, that is).
My initial work visa for the UK.
I just turned in my Visa application and documents for our last year before I become eligible for what is known as Permanent Residency in the States and Indefinite Leave to Remain here This is my first big step toward citizenship, and involves a test of my knowledge of British Culture (some of which is reproduced here).
Note: I haven’t actually started revising for the test.
Also, answer “b” is always chosen by an American, or a foreigner more suited to America. It’s “B” for Bugger Off.
Answer “a” is always correct but “c” or “d,” when they appear, are always acceptable.
a) 20 Imperial ounces (18.2 US ounces)
b) 16 US ounces
c) not enough, matey, not enough
a) verb, defend oneself OR to attack someone (generally at drinking up time)
b) noun, vitrified sand
c) smallest acceptable unit of whiskey for a man
a) adjective, drunk…badly drunk, y’know, like every weekend
b) verb, past tense, urinated
a) equivalent to shrieking, “YOU FUCKING PILE OF STEAMING SHITE HOW DARE YOU FORCE ME TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR EXISTENCE.” But quietly and reflexively and it really doesn’t mean ANYTHING most of the time.
b) a notification to the recipient that you are culpable and remorseful for an action you are responsible for
6. Your town is ___________.
a) “a bit shit, really.”
b) “the best town in the WORLD!”
c) “Are you looking for a slap, mate?”
d) a & c
I never got a photo of it, but for a few weeks I drove past a sign that said “Welcome to Luton” which was defaced with spray painted grafitti saying “…you can’t polish a turd”
7. As someone approaches they say, “alright?” You respond:
b) “Yes, I’m fine thanks, how are you?”
8. It’s bleak ________.
a) up North
b) down South
c) on Albert Square
[This one actually happened in front of me and, yes, the correct answers are a & c.]
9. An old man is knocked off his bike by a lorrie in Olney. You offer _______.
a) a cup of tea
c) a large brandy
[This one involves actual top two answers from a poll of Brits.]
10. Aliens land from outer space. You ________.
a) offer to put the kettle on
b) alert the authorities, or fight the things, or run for cover abandoning family, friends and colleagues
c) ask, “alright?”
11. Walking on the pavement [sidewalk], you find yourself on a trajectory that will crash into an oncoming pedestrian. He clocks this and moves to the other side of the pavement to avoid confrontation. You respond by _____________.
a) readjusting your trajectory to crash into this sad bastard…fuck ‘im. Nance.
b) smiling and acknowledging their courtesy
c) a AND only using peripheral vision to navigate, thus gaining plausible deniability that this was intentional (see VOCABULARY question on “Sorry”)
12. Do you know who Vicky Pollard is?
a) yeahr but no but, yeahr but no but, yeahr but no but, yeahr but no but….
Update 2015-06-05: Here’s what eventually happened: https://drunkenbunny.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/indefinite-leave-to-remain/