Friday, May 31, 2013

To Recap the Week

It's been an interesting week around here.

Monday:  Forest fire.

Tuesday:  Grass fire.

Wednesday:  Earthquake.

OK!  That's enough!

We are so fortunate that these events were not worse.  The first fire started in a campground.  The official cause has been ruled accidental:  "It appears it began as a result of embers escaping an approved fire-use site."  Here's a video from some campers evacuating.

The second fire started from power lines sparking in a high wind. It swept through an open field on the edge of a small town. Had the wind been blowing the other way, the town would have been in jeopardy.

The earthquake was only 4.6 and did no damage.

All in all, we were lucky.  So that's what I'm thankful for this week.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dear Prudens (A Tomato Update)

Three out of four tomatoes are doing well.

The fourth, well, I don't know what to do about her.  She gets the same treatment as the others, yet she is shriveled and yellow.

Dear Prudens Purple, what can we do for you?

Maybe if we sing to you?  

Dear Prudens, won't you come out to play
Dear Prudens, greet the brand new day
The sun is up, the sky is blue
It's beautiful and so are you
Dear Prudens won't you come out to play

Dear Prudens, open up your vines
Dear Prudens, see the sun shine
The wind is low the birds will sing
That you are part of everything
Dear Prudens, won't you open up your vines

Grow around round round
Grow around round round
Oh grow around

Dear Prudens, let me see you grow
Dear Prudens, like a good tomato
The water is very clean
So let me see you turn deep green
Dear Prudens, won't you let me see you grow?

Dear Prudens, won't you come out to play
Dear Prudens, greet the brand new day
The sun is up, the sky is blue
It's beautiful and so are you
Dear Prudens won't you come out to play

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Eldredge Knot

A digression from my travel pictures!

Ernest went to prom while we were away and I came across some pictures on Facebook.  
Sometimes that's the only way I see him!  
I was fascinated by his tie knot. 
When I eventually saw him again, he told me it was an Eldredge Knot.  

This site has some great tie knots.  I could see Ernest in the Trinity or Merovingian, too.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus, at the junction of several major London streets, seems to be the place where everyone congregates. In addition to the shopping and the tourist attractions (how many Ripley's have I visited?  I skipped this one), it's the western gateway to Soho, Chinatown, and the theatres.  Oh the theatres.  I'll revisit our four nights of theatre next time.

Here's a quick panorama...

Well, the man in the kilt certainly caught my attention.  A fine piper.

With a fine fox sporran. (Ernest has a fox sporran too.  A ren faire souvenir, it is dyed red and if I remember correctly he named it "Roy."  Must find a picture!)

Here's another view of the fox.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Abbey Road

No, we didn't photograph ourselves in the crosswalk.  Too much traffic.  And yeah, self-consciousness and not wanting to appear like an idiotic tourist (we see so many here where we live)  did also play a part.

But there it is, the famous Abbey Road.

Rather than the sidewalk shown on the album cover, I think that Handy was more interested in the studio itself.

I was fascinated by the graffiti.  We saw very little graffiti in London, but here was a place where it was allowed and even honored.

This just in time for Mother's Day.

Oh, Darling.


11 am in London was 3 am here?  I doubt anyone here saw us.

More of my favorite graffiti.

And more crosswalk views.  Here is a great article about the iconic Abbey Road cover photo shoot.

After, we walked around the lovely St. Johns Wood neighborhood a bit, and had a delicious greek lunch.

UPDATE:  Just to add this video.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Oh my, what to do!

There is a free lunch time barbecue at our local family-owned grocery store.

And a book sale at the library.  Also a school rummage sale and an open house at the museum around the corner.

If Frank bakes a cake, that's all I need.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Pub Grub

The first question my Zumba friends asked was "how was the food?"  The bad rep for English food is long gone.  All out meals were fantastic, but these were the most ... locally ethnic?

To start with, we had a full English Breakfast available every morning.  It was like the Irish Breakfast of 4 years ago (oh my, it's been so long since I traveled afar), but without the white and black pudding.  Small eggs, perfectly cooked, with beautiful dark golden yolks.  Hammy bacon,  cumberland sausages, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes.  Not to worry, there was fruit too.

We had two delicious pub meals... first a lunch at the Carpenters Arms in Windsor...

Order up the pints, Handy!

Ah, thank you!  Hey, this works for the Saturday PhotoHunt:  Glass!

We both had lamb pie.  To be specific, a lamb shank pie, because that is a real bone sticking out the back of it.  Puff pastry top, lamb melting off the bone with a dark and delicious gravy.  Also fresh beans and mash.  I really wanted a scotch egg but they were out.  So I'm going to be making scotch eggs on my own very soon.

I caught a glimpse of fish and chips in another pub window as we walked past.  It might have been the Dutchess of Cambridge pub.  That is a giant piece of fish.  But we steered clear of fish and chips on this trip, due to the unfortunate tartar sauce incident Handy had in Dublin. In our future, malt vinegar will be the safer choice.

At the Hereford Arms near our hotel this was a light dinner for me upon our return from Stonehenge - ha! Chicken salad with bacon!  It surprised me with the hefty amount of chicken and bacon!  Oh, so good.  Homer would have been envious.

And steak and chips for the Handy man.

We saw their fish and chips served at another table, another massive piece of fish.  Best fish in the borough, they say.  OK, I'll order it next time.  Because we are going back.

And a shout out to Pret a Manger, which is a UK company even though the name is French.  They are everywhere in London (168 stores).  Our airport guide told us they treat their employees well and they donate unsold food to homeless shelters.  All I know is it was quick and delicious.  Freshly made sandwiches and sides, a lot of variety and reasonably priced, around the corner and at the airport.  We grabbed some to go before we got on the bus to Stonehenge, and I got something at the airport before we left which was far better than the airline food.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Hats of London

Thanks to Gary's comment the other day, I am featuring hats today!  I saw a lot of hats in addition to the darling little Madeline school children.

Historical hats in the Tower of London...

And on real people too!

Everyone should have a tiara.  (Notice that the queen is looking right at me!)

The bobbies look quite sharp.

Bowlers were popular with the men.

And the women's hats were fascinating.

You could even rent a fascinator, if you desired.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

London Spring

We were told that spring arrived 5 weeks late in London.  Well,  I was glad we arrived at the same time.  It was beautiful.  Especially coming from So Cal, which is already dry and brown.

There was only a sprinkling of rain later on in the week. Our tour guide in pink just used her umbrella for identification.

English Bluebells.

Flowers of St. James Park.

Even the grass had flowers.

Flowers of Whitehall Gardens.

I'm enlarging the next one for my wall.

Flower stand outside the Gloucester Road underground station. But £40 for a bouquet? Ouch! Around the corner by the Waitrose market were less expensive flowers.