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About: The Kate behind UKate

From Texas to Toronto to Trowbridge, I have always been a ‘new-comer.’  While teaching high school in the US, I learned the most important yet ridiculously simple lesson – LISTEN to people.  Everyone has a story to tell, every place has legends waiting to unfold.  I’m not particularly interested in  learning about my new home from Wiki, although that certainly isn’t a slur against wikipedias.  I want to taste, smell, watch, ask and hopefully learn.  There are times when I’m absolutely certain that I am coming across as a complete fool, but more often than not, people are delighted to talk about themselves and their homes.  The most amazing thing that I have discovered so far?  Listening to people tell their stories is genuinely fascinating.

So here I am, in England for the very first time, engaged to be married and exploring my new home.

38 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2011 3:28 pm

    hello kate, thought i would drop by and say hello, hope you are enjoying the Uk

    tristan

    • September 16, 2011 6:23 pm

      Heya, Tristan – great to see you here! And thank you, I am enjoying the UK immensely so far. The people have been wonderful and the food has been amazing – what is there not to love? Please drop by any old time. 🙂

  2. September 21, 2011 10:30 pm

    Hi Kate,

    I just came across your site via Technorati, I love your writing style. I’m a long time travel writer that is about to launch an online travel magazine at the start of October. I’ve love for you to submit an article. If you’re interested check out our submission guidelines: http://www.vagabundomagazine.com/want-to-contribute/

    Cheers,

    brendan

  3. AthenaShenaShehawk permalink
    October 3, 2011 3:17 pm

    Herrrrooooooo! I am finally fully caught up with your blog – and have reread several of them – and laughed out loud more than once at the office. Oh, I miss you two so much! But I’m happy beyond words that you’re loving your new home. My love to you both, as well as the very best from Tater, Reggie, ChanChan and PepsiCola!

  4. October 5, 2011 9:16 pm

    Hi, I just came across your blog, and love it. Reading about Downton Abbey and Bacon Butties as seen through your eyes is a treat!

    • October 6, 2011 6:44 am

      LOL I have to say, the butty was a HUGE treat for this bacon-loving American girl. 😉 (Plus, it’s called a ‘butty!’ You just don’t get any better than that.) Thanks so much for popping by – hope to see you around again!

      Kate

  5. October 5, 2011 9:50 pm

    Sounds like a fantastic adventure! Is your fiancé from the UK?

    • October 6, 2011 6:49 am

      Hello! Yes, ma’am, she is. 🙂 Her desire to go home is what brought us here, so I took a big gulp, packed a bag and came with her! Totally crazy, I know, but worth it. 🙂

  6. October 6, 2011 9:19 am

    Hi Kate

    So you’ve made it to Bradford-on-Avon then. Beautiful town – shame about the traffic spoiling it. Recomend the little village of Winsley just a little bit further on going towards Bath. Great pub! On the subject of bacon butties what is wrong with my home town of Trowbridge? If you need a bacon buttie fix Kate then don’t come over here!

    • October 6, 2011 10:01 am

      Heya, Robert! There is absolutely nothing wrong with Trowbridge whatsoever – I was just there the other day and had a *gorgeous* sausage butty from the bakery…what was it called? Gregg’s? I think that’s right. It was a fabulous sandwich, regardless, and a lovely little town. We’ll be spending lots of our time there, for sure. 😉

      Bradford-on-Avon was my first little village where I was free to wander about with my camera. I *loved* it! Hopefully Salisbury is next.

      Ciao for now,
      Kate

      • October 6, 2011 9:04 pm

        Ha ha, Greggs! They are a bakery chain all over the place – try a steak bake next time you go there.

        Watch out though because they are like mince pies in that they never, ever cool down enough to be eaten safely.

      • October 7, 2011 10:47 am

        It *was* Greggs! Haha – I’m so glad I got that name right. 😀 I did see the steak bake – it looked too scrumptious for words. I will take your advice to heart and make sure that I have a cold drink on hand for emergencies. Please don’t ever hesitate to share any more helpful tips/advice to this clueless American girl. 🙂

  7. October 6, 2011 9:03 pm

    Hello Kate. I stumbled upon your blog from the ‘What’s Your Latest Blog Post About’ thread. From the title I thought it was going a misguided American rant about English people not accepting US dollar notes in the shops… but it wasn’t!

    I know what you mean about the choice of crisps – I have been to the US a few times (Jacksonville in Mississippi was brill) and the sheer amount of crisps and stuff is mind boggling. Me and some friends got to fire a shotgun at a tree and a plastic bucket which was good fun. One of my mates wore a kilt which confused the locals a bit.

    Hope you enjoy Somerset and the UK. I think that is one of the only parts of the country that gets a decent amount of ‘surf’ for surfing on, but it’s pathetic compared to the proper surfing places in the US. If any of the UK surfer plebs give you any stick just laugh at them.

    • October 7, 2011 10:45 am

      Greetings, Michael!

      LOL I’m sure my post absolutely did appear to be yet another example of an American behaving badly… I’m really glad that you didn’t find it so! (But stick around – I’m sure I’ll end up covering that too.)

      oooOOOo You’ve been fortunate enough to experience the American Deep South. I have to say, of all the American culinary cultures, that is one of my absolute faves. I really hope that you were treated well and ‘fed up right,’ as the locals would say. In spite of the fact that I lived in Texas for many years, I only had the opportunity to fire a gun one time and I have to say, I had a great time. It was in a highly supervised situation and our prey was clay pigeons – those bastards. I had an absolute ball trying to take ’em down for an hour. (The clay pigeons were very, very safe that day.) I can only imagine the looks your gun-toting, kilt-sporting friend must’ve gotten – that’s priceless!

      I am loving every minute of living here in Somerset so far. It’s beautiful country filled with great people (and great cider!). When you were in the States, did you constantly find yourself a little bit confused about cultural references and colloquialisms? Gosh, I am here. Watching British television shows and movies prepared me in NO way for the reality of day-to-day living here. And in a weird way, I’m really glad – it’s helped me to clear the table of any expectations I had so that I truly appreciate the differences between our two homes. Great, great fun.

      Thanks a ton for following the link back here to my blog! It’s a bit difficult to get readers sometimes, isn’t it? At least, I’m finding it so. I can say in complete sincerity that when I log in and find a new comment like yours, it really does make my day. Thanks for that. 🙂

      • October 7, 2011 11:58 am

        No problem at all Kate, I know how precious every extra comment and view stat can seem sometimes. To be honest I have found that one of the best ways to get visits to your blog is to comment on other blogs. I sometimes click on the ‘tag surfer’ option in the dashboard and just go down the list commenting on the odd blog entry. People who post pictures of food they have cooked like getting comments.

        I was in Mississipi for a friend’s wedding and there was a whole coachload of us Brits so we didn’t experience all that much of the locals. I did like the use of “ya’ all” though, especially from the women. I tentatively tried some Key Lime Pie and was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was, the green colour put me off at first. Barbecue flavoured baked beans are great as well.

        One last tip – you could try posting a link to your blog in this thread here on the forum: http://en.forums.wordpress.com/forum/showcase

        Also, that Brendan van Son comment further up looks like spam. Don’t be worried about deleting such posts, I get them fairly often.

      • October 7, 2011 1:23 pm

        Commenting on other blogs is excellent advice – I’ve been trying to do exactly that for the last couple of weeks. But holy cow, there are SO many! I could easily spend four or five hours just reading such wonderful material and never get a line written on my own. Another blogger suggested to me a ‘five a day’ plan, in which I strive to be an early commenter on five blogs a day. I think it’s a good system, although it’s becoming abundantly clear that it’s a system that will only bear significant fruit after months of dutiful commenting. Regarding the ‘tag surfer’ feature – you know, I haven’t tried that (or even looked at it, to be perfectly honest). I definitely will give that a go. Thanks a *ton* for that info! (Actually, that might be the perfect way to find my five a day, huh?)

        LOL Ah, yes – Key Lime Pie. One of my absolute favorites; I’m so glad you liked it! It can be so cool and refreshing – just perfect on a hot southern day. Did you try guacamole? Many folks are put off by the green-ness of that as well.

        Navigating to that forum thread now and then I’ll check out the spam. It looks like it’s already been placed into my spam folder because it’s not even showing up in the comments list. Do you get a lot of spam? I’ve gotten around 10 so far, but I have no frame of reference so I don’t know if that’s a lot or a little.

        I simply cannot express how much I appreciate you taking the time to pass along these tips and words of wisdom. Keep ’em coming! 🙂

  8. October 7, 2011 2:33 pm

    No problem at all! That tag surfer function is definitely easier than manually going through blogs trying to find something to comment on, pretty much each time you use it different posts will show up. The Readomatic bit seems similar as well.

    Also try and categorise your posts. You have done the tags which is good but you should use categories as well, even if you only use one (I only have three). These are setup in the Post > Category section.

    I get less than one spam post a day myself, no idea what is considered a lot. Also, when people comment on your blog you can click on their name to go their blog (assuming they have one) and leave a comment somewhere. Some people will then visit your blog in the same way, and if you see a comment that someone else left that you like then you can visit their blog in the same way…!

    Finally there is the blogroll widget that can contain links to other blogs you like. You use the Links option in the dashboard to setup the links and then go Appearance > Widgets to put the Links/Blogroll widget where you want it.

    There are several themes that you can use and preview without messing things up. The one you are using now is fine for the most part, it’s mostly down to personal taste. I would advise keeping with a light background and dark text so that it is easy to read (most magazines and books are white background and black text for example).

    I did try guacamole, yes! It was surprisingly nice for something that looked like old sewage.

    • October 10, 2011 1:16 pm

      Holy cow, I’m so sorry that it’s taken me forever to reply! I appreciate your patience, Michael. Also, this is exactly the kind of advice I need – I’ve made some notes and will be going through this point by point and trying to implement your ideas. When I first started the blog, I read tons of information from WordPress and more experienced bloggers about ‘the right way’ to go about setting up and maintaining a blog, but there was just SO MUCH information that I found it all a bit overwhelming. Now that I’ve been doing it for a month or so, I feel a litle more confident about going through and changing things. (I’m also better about learning the blog lingo now, which helps a ton!)

      Categories – you’re so right. I need to star thinking about the different ways in which I could categorise my posts. I was thinking ‘Tours,’ ‘Dining/Drinking Recommendations,’ and ‘British Life.’ Does that seem reasonable? I’ve had some ideas in recent days about starting to write up little reviews of the restaurants/pubs that I go to, and it would be perfect if I could just slot them into a pre-established category. What a great idea!

      As per your suggestions, I’ve been making a point of going around and looking at other travel and related blogs and making comments on the ones I enjoy the most. Holy cow, there are a lot of great blogs out there!

      Hrm, you know, I hadn’t even considered using the Blogroll, but I definitely need to start doing that! Especially now that i’m following so many other great blogs – if I can help promote them, that’d be awesome. And who knows? Like you said, maybe they’ll return the favor. I also do need to play with the theme a bit, I think. I like this one okay, but I think it was prettier when I used the dark background with light text. Other people had let me know that that particular color scheme is hard for some people to read, so I changed it right away. Now I’m thinking that I just need to do away with it altogether. I feel like a cyber-interior decorator here! Loving it.

      Michael, you’ve really made me think. I know I keep saying this, but at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I really do appreciate it. 🙂

      • October 10, 2011 2:39 pm

        No problem at all.

        Your category choices seem fine to me. You can change them, add extra ones and delete them whenever you want and also make posts fit into more than one category at once.

        Three blogs I can recommend are:

        Spite Wall – A cartoonist who posts a new single-panel cartoon each day, usually around 2pm’ish – http://spitewall.com/

        Moose Licker – Nothing to do animals, just someone who posts amusing stuff that is on his mind – http://mooselicker.wordpress.com/

        Whimsy Whims – A lady who is quite possibly insane but she is amusing, sends me funny and complimentary emails and also posts witty comments on my site so she is fine in my book – http://whimsywhims.wordpress.com

  9. October 9, 2011 2:21 pm

    Because you’re awesome and your blog makes my mornings, I have nominated you for that silly Versatile Blogger Award thing 🙂

    http://evolutionofhatred.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/versatile-blogger-award/

    • October 10, 2011 4:04 pm

      Oh, my goodness! Pete, I don’t even know what to say! I’m incredibly honored; thank you for mentioning me in such illustrious company. I hope this doesn’t sound too daft or ignorant, but what is the Versatile Blogger Award? How does one nominate others for it? I never even thought about the fact that the blogging community might spread encouragement and support in such a way, but it’s a fantastic idea. Thank you SO much! 😀

      • October 15, 2011 12:17 pm

        Sorry for the late reply, I forget where I post things.

        Basically all you do to accept it is write a post explaining that you accept the award, list seven random facts about yourself then pass it on to as many blogs as you want 🙂 I used Tumblr for ages and I didn’t know if I was getting viewed at all, it was only until I came to WordPress where my obsession for blogging and reading blogs began 😀

      • October 16, 2011 2:03 pm

        Hrm…okay, I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit. The honest-to-God truth is that I don’t even *know* that many blogs. LOL *hangs head in social media shame* Rather than start looking randomly for blogs to start reading and then nominate, I had an idea. Would it be alright if I sponsored a contest of sorts? I could have people nominate their own blogs, preferably travel blogs (I guess), and then I’ll read them all and decide which 10 are the best and then pass along the award to them. I figure it’ll help me learn about some good blogs as well as driving at least a little bit of traffic to my own. What do you think? (I’m really excited about the idea – I hope it’s okay.)

      • October 16, 2011 11:07 pm

        Haha you can do what you want, you can just nominate the blogs you do read though, I only nominated five after all 😀 yours is one of the ones I currently read the most.

        But yours sounds like a great idea 🙂

  10. October 17, 2011 9:27 am

    Loving the new layout by the way 🙂

    • October 17, 2011 10:03 am

      Thank you!! I’m excited about it myself. I just think it looks a little tidier. I’m working on my Versatile Blogger post right now – am making myself giggle. 😀

  11. October 20, 2011 11:06 am

    Hello! Thought I’d have a little look over at your blog, seeing as you so kindly posted on ours! I’m looking forward to reading your posts and I hope you enjoy the UK! 🙂

  12. October 20, 2011 12:39 pm

    Hi Kate! You’re blog is so fun/ny to read! I’ve never been to the UK so I’m excited to learn ALL about it from your blog!

    Thanks for visiting my blog 🙂

  13. October 25, 2011 4:01 pm

    I’m taking the other half away for a few days in a couple of weeks and was thinking of Bath or Bradford, which one out of the two did you prefer?

    • October 25, 2011 4:11 pm

      Pete,

      This popped up in my inbox, but just have to say:

      Definitely Bath! Lots of my family are from there and it’s lovely and romantic. Also you should take them here-

      http://www.thermaebathspa.com/

      They’ll love you, it’s amazing! Hope this helps. 🙂

      • October 25, 2011 4:14 pm

        Ooooh! Thank you so much for this! Definitely going to check out the spa! 😀

    • October 25, 2011 5:30 pm

      Limebird is SO RIGHT! Go for Bath and get that Pump Room Glory dessert while you’re there – the restaurant is right next to the Thermae museum (it’s all in the same building with the Roman baths). The whole downtown area is just fun and relaxed. And I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had such a crappy week – I’m sending you a telepathic margarita for you and your other half right now.

  14. October 25, 2011 4:24 pm

    No problem! The spa is amazing, it has a roof top hot tub!

    Also definitely check out the Roman baths (and the museum) Haha! So many things. You’ll really love it there if you go 🙂

  15. October 25, 2011 4:25 pm

    (Sorry for hijacking your post Kate!)

    • October 25, 2011 8:36 pm

      LOL Hijack any old time. 😉 oooo Now you’re both making me wanna go back to Bath…

      • October 25, 2011 8:38 pm

        Mwahaha, I’ll be sure to take some photos while I’m there! Not that it’s nothing you haven’t seen, surely there’s some strip bars in Bath 🙂

  16. November 3, 2011 10:51 pm

    Bah where are you?! I have posted a couple of posts from my trip to Wales if you want to take a look at somewhere other than England 😀 also the hotel for Bath is booked! Boom.

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