Monday, 17 August 2009

Welcome to the Toffee Pudding!

After a fair amount of internal musing, a sluggish UK job market, and the behest of an old friend, I finally have the motivation in critical mass to start... a blog! (Insert screams of dread here.)

Should any among my fair readers not know the full story, I supply a pithy synopsis: my husband (who I shall henceforth refer to as Chumley in a veiled attempt to conceal any remaining shred of his privacy) is a Brit, and I am American. This could be the subject of an entirely separate blog, such as "Chumley in Translation" or "Not Another Blinking Cup of Tea! Aren't You Seriously Overcaffienated by Now?" He took a job transfer to the U.S. in 2004, met me in 2005, and after years spent in my patented, "Where Did My Good Mood Go? Relocating Your Personal Cheeriness" course, we got married in August 2008. In May 2008, we moved from the US to the UK as an adventure, and I now find myself in the land of the ubiquitous sticky toffee pudding. (I should clarify that I adore sticky toffee pudding, especially when they don't skimp on the toffee sauce. I proceed with caution - overindulgence can easily result in an ass the size of the Lake District.)

I enrolled in Facebook, but it's just not quite cutting it. For starters, I can't seem to figure out how to post more than 80 words at a time, so it's certainly sub-optimal for those F. Scott Fitzgerald moments we all have now and then. And while I am an avid practitioner of the stream of conciousness school of conversation, and living, for that matter, I just can't seem to get jazzed about confessions on fleeting gastrointestinal issues and declaring one's self a fan of a particular goth-ska band passing for meaningful communication.

Thus, for your amusement, I shall get on with it and segue to my reader mail segment.


Lexi said...

This is great! I'm looking to move to Bath next year and your Blog is full of good points and very witty! Thanks for putting it out there!

Claire said...

Thanks for the fanmail, Lexi. It's always nice to be validated, as Chumley is largely scared of me and my mad musings. If you think of a burning question, please let me know, as answering reader mail helps break through the occasional precipitation-related bouts of writer's block

Anonymous said...

My name is Morgaine L, and I live in Colorado. I'm married to an American, neither of us had British parents of grandparents, and we're 20 and 22 respectively having been happily married for one year thus far.

But we are being eaten alive by this burning desire to migrate someday, after college and the successful hunt for a job and income HERE first.. But I have to ask. Is it a silly idea to run away to the UK? We have no family, know relatively little about the process (considering all books and internet sources are AMAZINGLY roundabout..) and in general almost feel silly for wanting it.. but there we are, daydreaming about the future.

The weather would be no problem, and we would have talents to offer by the time we could ever afford to dream it. But the whole green card and work visa things, even the official websites, are shockingly confusing. Radio instructions are easier understood.

Can you offer any pearls of wisdom, as it were? Please drop a line at

Claire said...

As you commented, I'll post my reply for the benefit of all who might have similar musings. To tell you my own experience, I was not a stranger to the UK entirely upon arrival this year. I had spent a summer living in London as part of a study abroad program in grad school. It was the best training I could have received, aside from my tutelage from Chumley. It gave me a taste for the culture and lifestyle without committing to how to eek out a living. If that's a possibility for you, I'd highly suggest it. A student visa isn't required if your stay is below a certain time - you probably know better than I do.

Wanting to up and move here without work? I hate to say it, but the visa situation isn't exactly rolling out the welcome mat. I'm on a spouse visa, so I can work and the process was relatively simple (with the help of a law firm to expedite.) Immigration controls are very tight. Hear the sound of a boot administered to a backside right now? And don't go hiding out on cargo ships or anything silly. There are large spiders in with those bananas.

My best suggestion? Purposefully seek out US-based multinational companies with a UK operations with the goal of seeking a transfer in the future. People who come here without jobs seem to get in on student visas, and then try to get the approval to extend them after establishing themselves. But that doesn't always work out... see