Welcome to It’s A Hard Mutt Life.com!

I’m so glad you stopped by to visit my page! I created this site with the sole intention of sharing everything mutt, everything British and everything Bex! “Bex? Who or what is Bex?!” you say. Well, i’m Bex and every Tuesday and Friday I dedicate to letting you dive a little more into my wild life. A British born, green card holder, business owner, dog groomer, “pet expert” karaoke super star, living the “American dream” in the south with far too many comical and extraordinary stories going to waste at my local Irish pub.

If you like dogs, nature, TRUE supernatural experiences (Ancient Astronaut theorists say yes!!!!) , travel, international relocation or just plain hilarious stories that you would not believe, you have come to the right place! I hope through this blog, you will come to know me a little better and maybe my stories, recommendations and my journey will make you smile, inspire you or maybe just help you fall asleep quicker at night! Who knows? I guess we’ll find out!

In the wilderness

About me:

I was born in 1989 to a typical working class family in the southern suburbs of London, England. I spent the first 24 years of my life wandering the streets of London, visiting museums, becoming enthralled in the history and natural world, enjoying the theater and nightlife that that mysterious city had to offer but do you know what the best thing about growing up in London is? Public transport! I didn’t drive a car until I was twenty one years old. Now, I did at one point own a Piaggo 125cc City fly scooter, which at the time I thought I was the coolest red head on wheels, however, with access to ample trains, buses, trams and coach connections around the country, you could get just about anywhere! Those trains sent me to so many amazing places. I cannot wait to share them with you! Maybe I will help give you some unique travel destination ideas for the next time you want to visit the British Isles.


Growing up in the U.K as a red head, (and a very bright red head at that) my school memories aren’t the most pleasant as I was often bullied (more stories to tell later). It was during my school years that I realized I had no patience for humans. I began forming a very harmonious relationship with animals but one animal in particular- dogs! My whole life since, has been surrounded by dogs. After all they are mans best friend for a reason! With my bias towards animals, I decided to go into the dog grooming industry so that I could have an outlet for my love and appreciation of dogs. I also wanted to be able to have some creative freedom and an outlet. I did not realize how much I would learn about dogs, pet care, relationships, love, life and nurture from that one career decision. It opened up so many avenues for me. I intend on sharing so many of those tips, experiences and adventures with you!

I am sure you want to ask the question everyone asks me at our first meeting? “What brought you to America?”. Well let’s just say a very young and naive marriage, that did not go very well! But, if there is anything that those school years truly taught me, it would be perseverance and resilience! There is always a silver lining to every difficult endeavor and always a light at the end of every tunnel, no matter how long they may seem! So here I am, 5 years into owning my own Dog grooming and pet care business, living in a log cabin on 2.5 acres, in the middle of a quaint southern town named “Waxhaw”. Here I am surrounded by woods, wild animals, ducks, chickens, dogs and a ghost named “Emily”(Definite more stories about her later!) .

I look forward to sharing with you, but also cannot wait to invite you, first class as a passenger on my journey and all the chaos and fun that goes along with it. So buckle up, relax and sit back and enjoy the inflight entertainment!


Paint, Painting, Painter and Painted

This title about sums up my week! I hope you have all had a great Christmas and New year! It’s only January 5th but I think I have seen more paint in the last 5 days than I have in the last decade. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration. I did use 16 gallons of paint to paint the entire cabin by hand a few years ago. That was ah-lot. Especially as it took me about 5 weeks to complete. Walking up and down a 20ft ladder, battling wasps and other North Carolinian flying insects and camouflaging frogs… it delayed progress… The insects here are pretty Jurassic…. and stingy….

Little Percy has grown!

I have been very busy and productive this week. Again, i’ve been putting off admin and other vital paperwork… more to come on that at a later date…. but i’ve been trying to get on top of some DIY’s as well as helping my best friend get his new office redecorated! I also made Percy a new wardrobe for his growing collection of collars and sweaters! Needless to say he loves it! Check out the closet remodel on his Instagram @perseus_the_kat. There is also a cute video of him having fun in the closet!

I have to say, it’s been a bit of a blue week. Not because I have been feeling blue, but because most of my projects have been BLUE!

I created a theatre room in one of the spare rooms down stairs…. and talking about stairs…. I repainted the stairs in the cabin. We have since been enjoying several classic and new movies in there! When I say “we” I mostly mean the animals and I. Not so much the ducks and chickens. They probably would honk and cluck throughout the entire movie but would certainly enjoy the popcorn more than the cat.

I also made a piece of artwork for my friend’s new office, which was also blue! Took some inspiration from Etsy and made a dash to hobby Lobby to take advantage of their half price canvases this week!

You may wonder why I chose to talk about painting and redecorating this week. Well, I feel it has a lot to do with my creative side but it also has a lot to do with trying to get things done whilst owning pets.

I am not sure whether you have tried redecorating while owning pets, but I am telling you it’s a struggle!!!! Between repainting steps, after little mischievous cats (who we shall not name) have trodden through them and pulling out pet hair from freshly rolled walls, it was a nightmare. Try taping baseboards with a naughty kitten attacking the painters tape or having to shut the dogs out while you are painting a wall, I’m telling you it’s like having toddlers. Or at least that’s what I imagine it to be like!!!

I had just got done with painting the white stripe down the side of the steps so I went to make a cup of tea to quench my parched throat. I turned around to find 11 white foot prints in the hallway. Yes, you guessed it, Percy had walked straight through the white paint and made a beeline straight down the hallway! His little front feet were coated perfectly in white paint so he got a bath in the laundry room sink.

I also had to lock Perseus away whilst I was painting my friend’s artwork. He was a nightmare! He was stealing my paint brushes, paper towels and kept jumping on the table. I found myself screaming “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!” a lot! It does seem like the second I start doing anything, he becomes “Curious George”. It is humorous but after a while it makes any task difficult.

SO getting back to my projects this week. I have had boarders to occupy in between but I have got a lot accomplished!

My friend chose an elegant art deco blue and gold theme for his new office. It’s very 1920’s but with a modern twist I think. The wall paper definitely gives it a wow factor!

Teaching my best friend Shawn to edge and roll whilst redecorating his new office space! haha

Check out the gallery of blue works and DIY projects this week! when I look at the photos in the gallery, i’m not sure how I get so much accomplished in such a short space of time. I don’t think I have an off switch sometimes.

Any who, now that projects have slowed down, i will have more time to write about some other exciting things on the farm. Little Percy has grow a lot over the last month and i’m not just talking about his size. His personality has become very BIG too!!!!

I look forward to telling you more stories about him over Christmas next week as well as uploading the final pictures of the finished office and theatre room!!!!

The first of my Mug collection!

Valentines day is just over a month away! Each holiday I’ll be bringing out a limited edition mug!

20% of proceeds will go to my favorite rescue, South Charlotte dog rescue!
They have been inundated with surrenders and puppy litters this year already! They need all the help they can get through donations and volunteers!

If you would like to consider fostering or volunteering for SCDR please visit their website:

www.southcharlottedogrescue.com

You may also pledge a donation directly to them there too!

Visit the store to purchase!


https://itsahardmuttlife.com/product/valentines-mug

Always take care of your hooves….

Sometimes it’s very easy for me to forget to take a moment to pamper myself. I am always working, taking care of the farm, the house and the dogs! I try my best to take care of myself! So occasionally I will get my hair done or my nails. It is really a good opportunity to relax and feel refreshed! However, I will admit the past few months have been nuts so my feet, especially, have been neglected! I booked an appointment at my new local nail salon but this time I roped my best friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, into coming with me!!!!

Why do men have such a stigma over pedicures? Do they not think their feet are ugly too and need some TLC? There is nothing worse than a guy who wears Jesus sandals but add in some ugly hang nails and enough heel calluses to pave Rome, then no wonder there are so many singletons on Tinder today!! GUYS! Take care of your feet!!!!!

Now my buddy, let’s call him “Morty” (named after his favorite cartoon) has pretty nice feet as it goes. HOWEVER, I was shocked to find out that he’d never had a pedicure in his life! Shocked by learning this, I enrolled him into a pedi-mani combo!

He wasn’t sure, but he had no choice. He chose a very fancy package, “The Voesh” which included the expected cuticle and callus removing etc but also a very extensive leg massage, mud wraps, hot towels and an aromatic lavender soak and exfoliation!

The initial “foot shaving” freaked him out a little. He was pretty ticklish. Laughing and almost knocking the poor pedicurist out with his knee jerk reactions…. twas pretty comical, but i’m almost certain he lost half an inch in height after she was done filing his heels! once the exfoliation scrub was applied however, he began to relax and I started hearing the groans of enjoyment!

Now, feeling very relaxed after he had his feet rubbed and his legs massaged, we moved over to the nail bar where another gave him a manicure! And boy did he need it! A quick and painless experience, he even had his nails buffed out! He was very impressed with how shiny his nails were! I don’t care what you do guys, construction, surgery, IT or waiting tables, please take care of your cuticles!!!

Morty totally loved the female attention (although he will deny that to me haha) but I know it felt good to chill and be pampered! I think I may have convinced him to do it more often!!

I hope this post serves as a reminder for you guys to take care of yourselves! Don’t be embarrassed, don’t be ashamed and don’t feel silly! You deserve pampering too! Like I said, pretty feet get more right swipes!!!! Have you seen some of the “only fans” profiles!! $$$$$

Mug Launch!

I am very excited to announce my new 2022 mug collection!
Every holiday in 2022 a new mug with a new holiday logo will be available for a limited time! There are 8 to collect! 25% of proceeds will be given to charity!

Here is a sneak peak of some of the mugs coming this year!

Mugs for Valentines, Easter, July 4th, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and the Royal British mug!

I hope you will collect them all!!!

First mug will be launched for Valentines!!!!!

The Owl man

7 feet tall with red glowing eyes

In the UK he is known as the Owl man and in the USA, something similar has been called the Moth man. Rumor has it that he appears as a warning when something bad is about to happen. The most famous sighting of the Moth man was just before the Point Pleasant bridge collapsed. Since then Point Pleasant holds a Moth Man convention every year. Trust me, after coming into very close contact with something I feel is the same or similar creature, I do not think I want to ever see him again.

When I was a teenager, my best friend and I would walk home from the bus after school and go to either my house or hers and just hang out, doing teenage things. I remember it was a beautiful summers afternoon and Lil and I had climbed up on top of the garden shed at the bottom of my garden. My garden backed onto a wooded area and a rail way track. We would often sit on the roof of the shed and wave at the passengers going by on the train. We’d sit up there and eat sweets (candy) and talk about school and our friends and who was dating who.

View of my garden growing up. The sheds were at the bottom of the garden, around 300ft from the house.

As we were talking and giggling, a huge black blurry shadow flew past us and I distinctly remember the gust of wind pushing me backwards. We both looked at one another and sat there a little confused at what just flew past us. It was not uncommon to see crows or magpies in the garden but I remember thinking to myself, would a crow cause such a big gust of wind?

We sat there for a moment a little confused but then shrugged our shoulders and continued with our gossip. As I sat there with my friend to my left, I turned my head to look at her and in the corner of my eye, I saw a black figure below us, in my next door neighbors garden.
I turned my head and as my eyes focused I said in shock “What the hell is that?!”. A tall black figure with the head of an owl, pointy ears, and red glowing eyes, stood there staring at me. He had no emotion upon his face, but the red eyes just stared through me. His wings were draped over his body and he stood there motionless for a few seconds. Lil turned her head quickly and looked over towards him. The moment she turned her head, he opened his wings and shot up into the sky and disappeared. His wing span was as wide as his body tall. As he shot up I recall seeing his two toed, claw like feet dangling below him. He made no sound. He had no personality, he just created an eerie feeling around us. What had we just seen?

We were both very shaken up, we scarpered off of the roof and climbed off the shed. We ran as quickly as we could to the house. To this day my friend doesn’t want to talk about it. We were both very shaken up.

Did this creature show up for a reason? Was it watching us for sometime? I’ll never know. I cannot help but wonder if visited us as an omen. I have had so many weird experiences since that day. It seemed every house I have lived in, barring one, has had some kind of spirit attached to it. My last house in the UK had an unhappy spirit living there. He would lock me out the house or throw Pastaroni boxes across the kitchen counter. Could all of this possibly be linked to that weird encounter back in 2003?

After that day I didn’t want to go into my garden alone. As most memories from teenage years do, that day faded from my mind until one day I was watching a sci fi documentary and a photo of the Point Pleasant moth man flashed on to my screen… is this the same thing I had seen? Of course I began researching and found so many photos, stories and myths. I wasn’t alone.

Since, I have been seeking answers, unsure if I will ever find out what it was that I saw that day. I wonder how many others have seen this creature? Or what it may mean!? I can assure you though, that I never want to see it again!

“Did you hear that?”

I am not the only one to have heard the “Growler”, who creeps up in your ear. Friends, family and even a few guests have heard his bear groan!
I will admit I did play a prank on my Irish friend Eoin, once. After a party one evening I told him the story of the “Growler” and he got the “heeby jeebies”. As he walked up the driveway to his car I snuck up behind him and growled in his ear and I could have sworn he jumped out of his skin and soiled his underpants.

I did laugh.

But, getting back to the “Growler”…. I am not 100% sure who or what it is. A friend who senses spirits, said she felt an angry native man outside. Which is interesting because on a occasion I have posted pictures, innocently, of the dogs on Facebook and everyone commented that they could see a Native American in the reflection. I did not see this even after it was pointed out to me.

Could we have a Native American Spirit?


My first interaction with the “Growler” happened on one summers afternoon. I sat on the front porch with an old friend, chatting about life and jobs, long before Covid hit. I remember the day being so humid but we sat there on the high top tables with our backs to the cabin wall. As we spoke, from out of nowhere, I heard a big growl in my left ear. I looked around wondering if one of the dogs was on the porch with us but they were all safely inside. I turned to my friend and said “Did you hear that?”, to which she replied “No” and then continued to ask what it was that I had heard. We carried on talking for a few more minutes and then came the growling noise again from right behind us. We both turned to one another immediately and she said “I heard that!!!”. We quickly got up and came inside the house. Locking the door behind us.

A few weeks went by and best friend Karri and I, were outside grilling chicken. I told Karri about my recent encounter with the “Growler” but she is always very skeptical of that kind of thing. At the time, the deck had not been built so the Weber grill was on the front pathway. I stood on the front porch while Karri went down the steps and wandered over towards the grill to flip the chicken. As Karri neared the grill I heard the big growl again and Karri jumped up, span around and said “Did you hear that?!?” to which I replied… “YEAAAAP!” and we both ran back into the house. Still since that day, neither of us can explain the “Growler”.

Karri is now a believer.

I know I have not told you about my experience as a teenager yet. It’s coming!!! Only a handful of people know about this, so going public is a big deal. I cannot help but wonder if there is a connection to the “Growler”. Although I think he warrants a better name. Let’s call him “Fred”. From this day hence forth we have dubbed thee “Growler”, “Fred”….

The closest image I have found, to date, of what my friend and I encountered 18 years ago!

Tune in on Friday when I tell you about (probably) the most scariest day of my life and more about Fred and Emily!

Sleep tight……

If you think you saw a ghost, it was probably just “Emily”.

I have always said “You couldn’t make this sh*t up” when it comes to talking about my life. Everything always seems like something from a movie or Discovery channel documentary.

It didn’t take long to discover that there was something different about the cabin when we purchased it four years ago.
Before we could even move in, we had about two months of renovations to complete before it was even livable. In fact, the entire house was pretty much gutted. Renovations are still on going today, but in the beginning it was pretty chaotic. We had an entire team of painters, contractors, flooring layers and electricians in here during the day and night. It was a 24 hour operation. Walls were removed and replaced. Electrics were fixed and redone. The house was repainted and carpeted inside (I took on the task of repainting the outside later that summer- another story of battling wasps and other wildlife!). So you can only imagine it wasn’t just dust and spider webs that were stirred up.

The cabin was 20 years old when we closed on it. Built by the previous owner and not really maintained or updated since completed. So to cut a long story short, there was a lot more work to do than we first envisioned! HGTV makes it look very easy! Where was Chip and Joanna when you needed them?!?!

In the beginning things seemed fairly quiet. Our friends helped us tear the place up during the demo weekend! Pieces of panel board and old tiles were everywhere. We took out an entire 20 ft dumpster in one weekend. After the place was emptied and the real renovations began, we started to hear stories from the contractors. Tales of shadows walking across the master bedroom, caught in the corner of our project manager – Joe’s eye. Weird growling noises in the painter’s ears and foot steps across the floorboards when no one else was working in the house. Our project manager’s son ran out of the property at 6am as he heard someone walking upstairs when he was the only one here. But the best story came from our friend Ryan who was doing the rewiring and replacements. Ryan liked to work at night when the other contractors weren’t here. He would put on his country music and just get cracking on running the wires and switches. One night he cut his work night short. After his radio kept being turned off he began to get an eerie feeling and called his girlfriend to come for moral support. During the phone call, the call kept dropping despite having full signal. After he started to hear footsteps upstairs, he decided to bail until his girlfriend could come keep him company. The weird foot steps and electrical interruptions kept occurring.

And then we met “Emily”…

With our move in date just days away, there was so much still left to be completed before we could move in. We knew that the big renovations still needed to be done over time but finishing baseboards, trims etc needed to be completed by the contractors before we gave them final payment. One evening I started to take photos of the house to email to our project manager so that we could make a list of the things that needed to be finished before we moved in. I started snapping shots of unfinished base boards, flooring, paint touch ups and window trims. We didn’t have any stairs at the time, so I stood on the only step safe to stand on and snapped a photo of the window in the kitchen area. It was missing a piece of trim. Unfortunately the contractors decided to throw up dry wall on a wall that didn’t require it and didn’t replace the window trim that was damaged. When I took the photo we did not have electricity running in the house.

That evening I put together an email with all the photos to send to Joe. After sending it I went into my sent items to just double check I didn’t miss anything. I opened up the email and turned up my brightness. All of a sudden my tongue fell into my small intestine and a cold chill passed over my body. It was at that moment, I realized I had just purchased a house with a (un)live in tenant.

When you see it, feel free to shudder.

I did. There Emily stood in all her white dress Victorian glory.

About 30 minutes after sending the email Joe called me and I remember the opening line to the phone call very vividly. “You are ****ing messing with me!?”… Oh I wish Joe, Oh I wish I was!

Now there are plenty of stories I can tell you about Emily. Like the time she stood over our friend Kelly in bed and screamed at her when she stayed the weekend. The time she exploded a pendant light during a party. Or the time I was home alone taking a video of the cabin to send to my parents back home, only to catch a glimpse of a figure walking across the back window. It will take you a few times to see it, but when you do, you cannot un-see it.

Look in the left hand window, for the shadow that passes across the door.

I will definitely be sharing many more stories about Emily over the coming months. I found out some history about the land and why Emily (and friends – YES FRIENDS) may be here!

In fact there have been 3 or 4 spirit friends at the property.

“Emily”

“The bearded moonshiner”

“The unhappy native”

and “The growler”.

“The Growler” will warrant several blogs of his own. I cannot help but feel he has some connection to something scary and insane that happened to my best friend and I when we were 14, while sitting on top of the garden shed. You see how scary and interesting this all just got?

So, I guess I can put the question to you. What do you want to hear about first? More tales of Emily, “The growler” or my close encounter with what I believe was the “Owl man”? Yes…. no joke. The Owl man. Anyway, comment and let me know!

Millie Fundraiser update

I’d like to thank you for your orders from the IT’S A HARD MUTT LIFE SHOP! We Managed to raise $96.11 to go towards Millie’s medical costs! If you didn’t read about Millie here is the link to my blog about her from last week!

I’d love to raise some more funds, so have now extended the fundraiser until December 16th!

20% of all proceeds go towards Millie’s surgery and medical costs!

I have now updated the store with some cute Christmas festive items! Hoodies, blankets etc! Go check them out! Our pet items also launched today too!

Maybe you’d prefer a mug? Or a fuzzy wuzzy blanket for you and your fur babies to snuggle up in?

Grab yours before they are discontinued!!! I will be keeping you posted periodically on Millie’s progress!



Thanksglutton

A celebration of giving thanks, friends, family and especially food……..

It’s a known fact that as we grow older, our families become smaller and smaller. Our time with those we love is certainly precious and limited. Appreciating those around us, such as family and friends and being grateful for what we have should be something we give thanks to everyday. With our busy lives and hectic schedules, it’s easy to lose track of those we hold most dear or those who we struggle to check in on as often as we should. For me, Thanksgiving is a day to sit back and remember to do that. Amidst the extravagant table spread, the week long preparations of turkey brining, cake baking and casserole coverings, it is a day to remember to be thankful for those WHO we have and WHAT we have around us. Thanksgiving for me, as a “Brit” seems like any typical Sunday afternoon, surrounded by the family or straggling friends, taking turns to cook the traditional Sunday roast. Stuffing our bellies until we must succumb to that wonderful food coma that we sleep off in a saggy backed arm chair. The premise of Thanksgiving and our traditional Sunday roast seem similar, however, what lurks upon a traditional Thanksgiving plate tells another tale.

Turkey, it’s all about the turkey. So much can go wrong, but if done correctly you may be rewarded with a moist, succulent and flavorful bird worthy of any royal banquet! The turkey may take time and precise perfection but she is the least of our worries. It’s what will surround the turkey upon that plate that I concern myself with.

MARSHMALLOWS. At what point did someone decide that marshmallows belong on the same plate as a yam or sweet potato? I highly doubt that the local Patuxet tribe whipped out a bag of Jet-puffs* and suggested to mix them with the nutritious vegetables. Through my curiosity and confusion of this concoction, I discovered that we must thank the maker of Cracker Jacks for this invention. A decade after mass producing marshmallows, they approached the Boston cooking school magazine to assist in getting their marshmallows into the homes of every American, by popularizing recipes that used their product. Recipe books and magazines were very popular at the time. After a recipe featuring mashed sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows was published, for most people marshmallows won and become a popular dish during the holiday season. Unfortunately, I still am yet to appreciate this dish. There are only so many circumstances in which salty and sweet may share the same plate.

Salted caramel.

Syrup and bacon.

Kettle corn.

Digestive biscuits and laughing cow cheese.

For me that’s about it. I will admit the color it brings to the table however, is picturesque.

This year, after tending to the farm and the animals in my care, I spent thanksgiving surrounded by delicious casseroles and a juicy turkey! Good company and good conversation. An American casserole is very different to those that I am used to. A casserole for me is a one pot oven dinner, consisting of a meat and several vegetables, stock and a bay leaf. Cooked for a few hours on a low heat and ready to enjoy after a hard days work. Casseroles here usually consist of a vegetable, a can of condensed mushroom or chicken soup and topped with cornflakes or fake crispy onions. Again an interesting concoction of colors, consistencies and flavors. Some delicious, some heavy and some not so much. HOWEVER it is a day of traditions and being thankful for what we have. I am thankful for having the opportunity to sit with loved ones and friends around a table in the warmth. When so many are not as fortunate.

After a delicious, non-marshmalled (by request) dinner and a selection of holiday deserts, I returned home to continue taking care of the critters. This year I had many friends and clients dogs to take care of over Thanksgiving. The morning was spent tiring them out, giving medications and tending to my own animals so that I could at least get to enjoy a Thanksgiving lunch for a few hours.

After lunch I returned home to continue playtime but soon felt that dreaded food coma catching up with me. After being outside for a few hours with the dogs, playing chase and picking up their “daily presents” my eyelids began to feel exceptionally heavy. I came upstairs to find Julian, Percy, Becky J and Evie had beaten me to the couches and had already begun their Thanksgiving siesta without me.

“A quick nap,” I thought to myself wouldn’t hurt “I’ll just lay down next to Percy and close my eyes for a moments”. AND that is what I did, until my 4.30pm alarm went off but 15 minutes later to start feeding everyone. I had to get up and leave this little boy, snuggled up looking so innocent and precious.

Like most large feasts, one of the many benefits are of course – left overs. I certainly plan on indulging in some of those today!!!Hopefully I will get to have a bit of extra snuggle time with this guy this evening. Well that’s if he stops taking all of the ornaments off of the Christmas tree and lays down (his new favorite game).

I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving 2021!

My right or die.

My first car in the US! Fifi the frog!

When I moved to the USA, one of the things I was most worried about was driving on the opposite side of the road. You don’t realize how much your brain is programed to look a certain way when you take a turn or cross a road until you are handed the keys to a car where the steering wheel is on the opposite side of the vehicle!

I truly thought there would be ample public transport and I would have no need for a car. How wrong was I!? Once I got my drivers license set up, I rushed to Carmax to buy my first car. I was so excited to have freedom again, after depending on everyone else for months. After signing the papers and getting the key, I walked to the car and got in the passenger side. This is something I still do, until I realize the steering wheel is in front of the other seat! “Ooops, let’s try that again shall we?” I said to myself, realizing I looked very silly. I started the car and off I drove!

Now most people would opt for a more popular color i.e. black, white or silver. Not I! I wanted something bright and eye catching, so that everyone could see me coming!!!! BRIGHT GREEN! I’m not sure who should have been more terrified of the fact I was in control of a vehicle, other motorists or myself!? I found myself chanting the same mantra during every journey, “Keep them on the left..” which just meant to make sure the median or other traffic were always on my left hand side. The amount of times I took a left hand turn and ended up facing oncoming traffic was terrible. Months went by and I was successfully navigating my way to my frequented destinations. As long as there wasn’t a diversion I was pretty comfortable getting to the grocery store, work or the mall.

Now I think I am a pretty good driver. My road awareness is pretty sharp, however my road rage is stereo-typically British. Unfortunately my version of verbal road abuse doesn’t really have the same effect here as it does back home. I remember a few years ago I called a crazy lady who cut me up 6 times on the main road into Charlotte a “complete tosser!”. Now If I had said that to someone back home, they’d have been offended. Here? Not even a flinch. Let’s be fair, we don’t really cut many people up on the roads back home, because half of them are too narrow to get one car down, let alone two! Regardless, calling someone an “Absolute W*nker” or any other fantastic British insult would certainly cause another driver to reconsider their driving actions. Not here…. it is ignored and repeated.

Driving on the highway is terrifying for a first timer. You better be sure you know exactly what exit you are taking and have had a lot of experience playing Tetris as a kid. As you merge off right to exit (opposite to the UK) , you better be ready! The exit is typically about 20 ft after the entrance onto the highway. So as you merge off, you are weaving in and out of cars merging on at high speeds. There is no move over rule or give space, it’s all a game of who can whip in first and who can fit in where. Typically I take an immodium before any long highway journey. Every time I have to get off the highway on to another, it’s a game of touching cloth.

If you are not familiar with the British term of “touching cloth” I have included an educational link. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=touching%20cloth

I think I have mastered driving on the right side of the road. Seven years in and I am still going well. I will admit, I have converted my GPS to a British accent. I was getting fed up of being told to turn right at the circle. It’s a roundabout!!!! It may be circular but it is definitely called a roundabout. I feel however, these are a newcomer to American roads because I am yet to meet someone who knows how to use them. Blinkers are a thing of the past! It’s another guessing game as to which direction someone is taking! No wonder it’s not uncommon to see a car driving down the road without a hood or bumper. Years of playing Diddy Kong racing prepared me for the American roads!!!

There are some positives to driving in America. Gas station snacks are pretty interesting, you would never pick up a quart size cup of boiled peanuts or a pretty decent BBQ sandwich at a BP back home! Now, I have not been back home in seven years, the pandemic did not help with that but I am embarrassed to admit, I am a little worried about getting back there and renting a car! It’s taken my brain years to reprogram, I can only imagine the havoc I am going to cause pulling out of London Heathrow onto the M25! But at least I’ll understand the insults!

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