Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Morning in Budapest. . . . . . . .

This morning ~ the view from our hotel window in Pest toward Buda on the hill.
In an hour we'll be heading to our ship, now moored nearby on the Danube.
 Later in the afternoon we'll be unpacking in our stateroom, and settling in for the cruise.
Another day in Budapest tomorrow will include the full 'city tour' by bus, come
evening it will be 'anchors aweigh' and we'll head for Bratislava, Slovakia.
No time now to tell you all about the amazing time with Jane and Lance - just
 take my word for it, it was fabulous in every way. I definitely will be sharing the rest 
of the story soon, with a lot more photos of this charming, fun couple.
This pic was from lunch yesterday as, sadly, we said goodbye. They were heading
 to a meeting with their director to discuss their upcoming starring rolls in their  
movie which starts filming here in June.

Beautiful corners of Budapest as we walked around the past two days. . . . . I love this city.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Bohemian Rahapsody in Springtime. . . . . . . .

Looking across the Danube to Buda at sunset - April 2015

If there's ever a city I've loved, it's this one! I fell for Budapest on my first visit in the 
Autumn of 2013. 
Now, back here in springtime, I'm truly head over heels in love. . . . . . and I hope 
I will return again and again.

Heathrow airport stopover.

Those of you who follow the fabulous Jane & Lance Hattatt will, I'm certain, 
recognize them immediately! 
That's all I can share as it's the middle of the night here in Hungary and, after an 
amazing day with Jane & Lance, I must away and get some much needed sleep!

More coming soon, so be sure to check back.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Goodbye garden. . . . . . . .

As much fun as it is to travel to far away places, leaving home has it downside.
For me waving goodbye to the garden is always hard. Having to say au revoir
when it's just starting to thrive in the warm springtime sunshine, brings a catch 
to my throat and even a tear to my eye as the car backs down the driveway.

Last weekend I picked parsley and scattered annual seeds. There will be no 
languishing at the garden centers this Spring, sighing over all those gorgeous 
pots of perennials just waiting for a garden spot. 

So right now the garden IS lovely, things are growing rapidly with April showers 
and warm sunshine. Although the azaleas are late this year they have bloomed and 
I've enjoyed them this past week before leaving. Above you can see the first fig
leaves appearing - by the time I return perhaps there will be tiny fruits.
The grass was mowed - hopefully it grows slowly. The neighbors will watch the 
cottage and hopefully the weather will be gentle whilst we're away, with just quiet 
breezes to blow the last of the pollen off the roof. 
I know it will look like a jungle when we return mid-May!

What do you miss most when leaving home for an extended trip?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

On the way to Hungary. . . . . . . . .

We'll be flying away come Saturday. . . . . . . .and by Sunday 
evening will be ready for a good night's sleep here in the truly 
fabulous city of Budapest.

Image from my visit in October 2013

Looking across the River Danube from Buda to Pest.

via Viking River Cruises

From Hungary to Holland ~  and many beautiful places in-between.
'Postcards' from the rivers and roads later! 

As several of you have already figured out, we are thrilled to be 
meeting up with the wonderful Jane & Lance Hattat who live in Budapest.  
Prior to embarking the Viking Cruises riverboat the Aegir (Norse name
 meaning 'of the gods'), these fun Brits will show us parts of the city we 
missed on our last visit.

Some of you already follow their always interesting and erudite blog 
HATTAT - click here
There's great news on their current post . . . . . . Jane & Lance are soon
to become movie stars!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Let's go. . . . . . . . . .

I used this collage previously when leaving on another trip. 
I like it so much I'm posting it again. 
Actually it's because I don't have time to make another! 

Not going to Paris or Sweden, but will be on a wonderful river trip aboard a 
Viking river boat. These boats are often denoted as 'longships'. We embark our 
boat in beautiful Budapest, where first we'll meet up with some special blogging 
friends - can you guess who? 
Then we'll sail the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers, visiting Hungary, Slovakia, 
Austria, Germany and ending in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
We'll be a group of eleven friends - American, British/American, British and Canadian. 
We've traveled often together, thanks to Paula, who will be at helm - though 
hopefully not steering the boat, ha ha!

Travel Tips

Pack light
Make sure your shoes can handle cobble stones
Take a rain jacket and collapsible umbrella 
Protect that precious passport 
Buy travel insurance
Have a load of Fun

Monday, April 20, 2015

Goodbye to Queen of the Night. . . . . . . .

Queen of the Night

The rain pounded on the roof last night, sending gurgling rivulets of muddy water 
down the back garden, pooling around the gazebo and deck, stirring sand, clay, 
gravel into a murky mess.
I was happy I took photos on Saturday as now the azalea blossoms are scattered 
about the soggy garden, branches bowing to the ground under the weight of water.
April showers became a storm ~ Nature can be less than gentle.

Thank you for the generous comments on my previous garden post.
I too would enjoy having you each here to share a nice cup of tea, and something
sweet to nibble on, while we talked about the hard work and huge pleasures a 
garden brings.

The tulips were literally swept off their stems in the storm.
However, a little forethought, and a growing love for flowers at 
the end of their blooming cycle, produced these.

Queen of the Night ~ a tulip of a dark maroon which looks almost
black when it first opens. They are quite stunning mixed with pink
or white tulips blooming at the same time.
I noticed that the last phase of bloom changed the petals, they
became lighter with shades of purple, plum, aubergine, ink blue,
really magnificent.
I cut tulips for these images just knowing I would enjoy playing with them 
before their petals fell and drifted away on a Spring breeze. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Saturday garden. . . . . . . . .

I started early as showers were forecast - but they haven't arrived yet! 
It's already mid-afternoon and sunshine is plentiful.
A little garden work encompassing trimming, pruning, deadheading.
I can't do what I used to in the garden, and sadly my now 20+ years 
old garden is really in need of some professional help.
Meanwhile, Bob mows, trims and blows, and although I say
it myself, we do have the most lush front lawn on the street. 
Back garden. A fairly quiet respite filled with bird songs. . . . . and these 
days with pollen.
My favorite azalea  - George L. Taber

Honeysuckle on the back fence seems early this year
Wisteria leafing out and climbing over the arbor - I bet I'll miss
the blooms whilst away!
Perky variegated Solomon's Seal

All images from today's garden here in North Carolina.
I'll post soon on where we're headed next week.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Precious Paper Goods. . . . . . .

I'm always on the lookout for interesting paper products.
When at Oxford Green I found some beautiful things actually made 
here in the USA 

I'm loving the paper table runners. They are long rolls of heavy paper, 
some white and already illustrated with line drawings such as knives, forks and 
spoons. My favorite however is plain black which comes with its own chalks so 
you can create your own art and write wonderful quotes about food, life and the 
love of cooking and creating for your guests. . . . . as Shawna, the very 
creative owner of Oxford Green has done here.
I bought a roll and hope to find a smidgen of artistic talent lurking somewhere
so I can make a lovely table later.
These oversized notepads another paper goods from are great 
and have many uses. They also come in different designs, all just lovely. 
Shawna suggests using them to print menus - there are matching place mats
available also.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Recalling the days. . . . . . . . .

Remember those days - those precious days
when backs were hardly thought about.
Youth had no time for aches and pains.
Getting out of bed to start the day was easy.
Doing anything was easy, and pain free.

Did you run, skip, do handstands, and back bends?
Were you a gymnast, a skier, a cheerleader, a dancer?
Did you dance the romantic tango?

There are about 16 treatment rooms at my physiotherapist practice.
I've been stretched to my limits in most of them, then relaxed with a 
heating pad and ocean sounds. I always choose the ocean which is 
so peaceful, and sometimes, I admit, I have a little 15 minute snooze 
at the end of my session.

This vibrant print was hanging in Monday's treatment room. . . . 
I love it and wish my back could do those sensuous tango bends.
Meanwhile, there is good news, the hip and leg pain caused by my
arthritic spine problem is so much better after two months of PT. . . 
and an injection. I am so thankful to those who have helped me.
Chronic pain is so debilitating and depressing.
I will go on my trip next week and hopefully be able to do 
everything - but I will be careful too.