I have been asking Peter for about a year to come to Liverpool to do a “Beatles” weekend but we never had time to do so. When Peter told me that his next actuarial conference was to be in Liverpool and asked me if I wanted to go I simply said “Hell Yeah”. I knew I had to put up with 3 evenings with actuaries who cannot stop talking business, (honestly when they talk I feel like the adults in the Charlie Brown movies, whan, whanwhan, whan), but I figured that was a small price to pay to go see where the Fab Four were born and where they began toplay.

Tuesday night we arrived at our very cool Hard Days Night Hotel and took it all in. There are pictures of the Beatles everywhere and their music can be heard in every single room. Love it. We quickly checked in and changed. We were having dinner with a colleague of Peter at a restaurant called “The Art School”. Great food, lovely wine pairings on the tasting menu. Nice evening NOT discussing business.

Wednesday morning Peter had to go the conference so after a quick breakfast we parted ways and I started exploring Liverpool. Nice place by the way. Very clean and friendly people. The old red brick factories and warehouses from the docks reminded me of the mill yard in Manchester, NH.


Just like the Pont d’Archêvé in Paris they have the locks of love.


Albert Dock


The Yellow Submarine. Beside it on the left is a much smaller version of the Titanic.


Entrance to Albert Dock

I just walked around the city, took in all the sites and also did a little shopping at several Beatles stores.

Early Wednesday evening Peter and I met back at hotel to change and then head over to a dinner back at the conference center. The theme of this dinner was “The Fair”. We had fair food, and you could go on bumper cars and play fair games. After a quick bit to eat Peter and I made a quick exit straight for the Cavern where we sat drinking pints and singing with the rest of the crowd. The singer was quite good singing tunes from the Beatles, The Ronnets, Fleetwood Mac and even some Elvis Prestley. Great evening, much better than bumper cars.







Thursday morning I went to the Tate in the morning and then I took in the Magical Mystery Tour in the afternoon. The Magical Mystery tour is all about the Fab Four. Where they were born, where they met, where they went to school etc….Two hours of fun facts about the Beatles and Liverpool. The tour ends at The Cavern where I went on a small shopping spree.


We learned all about the lyrics of Penny Lane and how the song was written while John and Paul waited for the bus at a round about where Penny Lane goes into.


Where George Harrison grew up. Six people lived in this tiny council house.


We then stopped at the famous Strawberry Fields gate.


“Strawberry Fields Forever!”


Quick drive by John’s house where he lived with his aunt Mimi.


One of our last stops was at Paul’s house. This is said to be the most famous house of Rock n’Roll since this is the house where the band rehearsed and this is where 100 Beatles songs were written, 20 of them became #1 hits. You can visit the house with a National Trust tour but you must get your tickets about a year in advance since it’s only opened certain times of the year.

Thursday night we had a black tie dinner to attend. That meant a suit for Peter and a dress for me. The theme of the night was “Dancing with the Stars”. We had a nice dinner, the actuaries started to talk shop again, blah, blah, blah. Peter and I made our exit when the professional dancers started ballroom dancing. Watching ballroom dancing is NOT our thing.

Friday morning Peter had one last morning of conferences. I just chilled, read some more stuff about the Beatles and just went to meet Peter for lunch around 1:30 pm.

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Last night, Peter and I finished our Liverpool Beatles night by going to see the musical “Let it Be” right in Liverpool. The show was actually only in Liverpool from October 8th till Nov. 14th. How lucky are we?

Dinner and a show was £40 each. It was very cool. Especially watching these guys sing Beatles songs exactly where the Fab four started. The crowd was fun. Singing, and dancing to all the songs. LOADS OF FUN. Great way to finish our week.

Ockley to Warnham

I recently joined the Kensington & Chelsea Women’s Club, a.k.a. the KCW. I joined because of all the different activities they offer especially, hiking. Today was my first hike with this great group of ladies.

We met at Victoria station and took a train an hour out of the city to Ockley. We then proceeded to walk five miles through the English country side. Of course, we stopped at a pub for lunch. After lunch, we hiked another six miles to Warnham. By the time we got in the train to get back to London I was pooped. I could feel the jet lag coming back in my legs.

I brought my camera and took some pictures along the way. Beautiful day for a hike.


Clock tower on our way to Warnham. It was erected in 1891.


Wouldn’t be a hike in England without some sheep.


The Pub where we stopped for lunch.


This swing was just hanging by a field. A few of us just went back to our childhood for a moment…



Old country church built in 1290.



Climbing the many fences along the trail.




LHR to ORD, ORD to YUL, YUL to LHR (All in a week!)

Last Monday morning I left for Chicago. I was meeting two of my Bermuda floaties. Floatie #1 has moved back to her hometown of Chicago and floatie #2 was meeting us. Floatie # 2 got delayed due to a disturbance called Joaquin but she managed to join us a day late.


Monday I got picked up by Amy and Rick at O’Hare. I was a little tired but I’m a trooper so I pushed on by visiting Amy’s LOVELY new house while drinking a nice glass of red with Rick. Amy and Rick are silent partners in a vineyard in Napa. It produces a very nice wine called Comstock. If you ever see it on a wine list, I recommend it. It was nice to catch up with them, the kids and see their house. They did an amazing job on the addition and renovations. I hit the hay around 9:30 pm Chicago time (3:30 am London time), I was exhausted and Amy’s bed was HUGE and quite comfortable.

Early Tuesday morning I was jet lagged and up around 5:45 am. Amy was already up getting the lunches ready for the kids. I had coffee and chatted with the Irvine family while they were busy getting ready for their day. Rick had business in Philly for the day. He had a car pick him up and we said our goodbyes. Soon after, the kids were off to school and Amy and I were hitting the pavement for a nice 4 1/2 miles. It was very cool to run the flat course of Amy’s Arlington Heights. Pretty area with large trees, wide sidewalks and people who say hi to you as you run pass them. Refreshing!

After our run we took a quick shower and headed to a local dinner for breakfast. When Amy and I lived on the Rock we used to run at the crack of dawn (before the humidity got too bad), drop off our kids at their respective schools and then meet at our favorite dinner, Specialty Inn. It was nice to redo this little routine with her. After breakfast we hit target for a recon mission…before Lorrie’s arrival.

We picked up Lorrie from the airport and after some quick catching up we were off to help the American economy at Target. I LOVE TARGET in the States. After Target it was back to the house with take out Chinese food and wine. We did some more catching up by the fireplace. Nice evening.




My floaties.


Wrigley building.


Awesome bloody Mary while we wait for the architectural tour. 


Trump tower.


River walk.


Wednesday morning after the kids left for school Amy drove us to Chicago where we would take a boat/architectural tour, do some shopping, have the best pie (pizza) in the world and watch the Cubs win the wildcard game and advance to the playoffs. We stayed the night in a hotel downtown not far from the magnificent mile and had a great day.

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and Thursday at noon Amy and I said goodbye to Lorrie at the train station. Lorrie was off to visit another friend in Milwaukee. And then Amy drove me back to O’Hare. I was on my way to Montreal to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with family.

Peter met me at the airport on Thursday night. He arrived from London about an hour after I arrived from Chicago. Thing 1 picked us up at the Trudeau and off we went for another weekend of spending some time with the kids and extended families. Great weekend and now we are back in London. Peter is back at work and I am back at doing what it is I do…

First World Problems

By Definition, First World Problems, also known as “White Whine,” are frustrations and complaints that are only experienced by privileged individuals in wealthy countries. It is typically used as a tongue-in-cheek comedic device to make light of trivial inconveniences.

I encountered one of my First World Problems yesterday while I was shopping for sheets. My problem is I live in the UK where you only find, single, double, king, and super king. Where the heck is the queen? why no queen? Is it because they don’t want to offend Elizabeth? After several attempts at buying queen size sheets, I figured out my problem. Simply put, when it comes to bed sizes a single is a single, a double is a double, a king is a queen and a super king is a king. For all you Americans that have California kings, those don’t exist here. They are probably too big and can’t get through the doors. If you move to the UK and have a California king size bed, just sell it. It will be easier when you go out to buy sheets.

Another one of my first world problems that I seem to have adjusted to (most of the time) is the flour. Yes something as simple as flour can get you stumped in the UK. In North America we have plain bleached, plain unbleached, whole wheat, and last time I checked when I was in Canada, Robin Hood came out with an Omega one that smells fishy. Anyways, here in the wonderful world of the United Kingdom we have, plain, self-raising, whole wheat, stone ground, wholemeal, strong Canadian and very strong Canadian flour. Over the three years we have lived here I have shall we say “adapted and survived”. I slowly found out for cookies and bars you want to use strong Canadian flour. For breads or pizza dough, Very strong Canadian flour. For cakes, most of the time use self-raising flour, unless the recipe specifically asks for some other flour and for pancakes I use plain flour. Once in a while when somethings comes out wrong I just blame the flour. That and the measurements…..

Yes another world-class problem. Did you know in the UK a pound of butter is 500 grams while in North America it’s 454 grams? Is the Canadian Dairy farmer association stealing 46 grams of butter every time I buy a pound? Also, when one of my old recipes requires a stick and a half of butter what do I do? I will tell you what I do. The fridge in this house is full of pounds of butter cut in 4 sticks. Then I usually shave a sliver off (you know the 46 extra grams) and put that in a container for cooking while I use the other 4 sticks to bake. Ha! I have fooled the butter people….Yeah okay, going nutso here with this. Think I may have to start looking for work or simply stop baking for a while….

Side Note: Today was a lovely day and I had a nice lunch in Notting Hill with a girlfriend. On the way back we were stopped on the street and asked if we would look at a 5 minute magic show that ABC was filming for nightly news. Sure why not. The lovely magician lady converted one of my £20 note into a £50. I wanted to keep the £50 but before I could yank the bill out of her hands she changed it to a £20. Merde! Don’t know when that segment will air, or if it will air at all but I thought I would mention it.

Took some photos of a not too busy Portobello Rd on the way back. Quite nice actually.

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This one is actually in Hyde Park. We don’t see blue skies like these too often.

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Alice’s antique shop. One of my favorite’s on Portobello Rd.

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