Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Greenville, North Carolina - and great PIZZA!

WELCOME TO THE EMERALD CITy


Tar River, Greenville, North Carolina


Lovely Southern home in Greenville.

Greenville, North Carolina is widely recognized as the thriving cultural, educational, economic, and medical hub of Eastern North Carolina. Enjoy world-class events and East Carolina University and the Greenville Convention Center. Experience our vibrant art, live music, and culinary scene in the Uptown Greenville and Dickinson Avenue Districts.

AND

If you're ever in town be sure to visit Luna Pizza Café

Perhaps, like us, your travels sometimes include crazy, one-off visits to places you hadn't really planned to visit. Right now we're taking a road trip to Eastern North Carolina to use free hotel nights before they expire on June 30th! Just returning from the UK, I hadn't expected to be packing up again and leaving hearth and home!
First stop was here in Greenville because I had read an article in a magazine about this amazing pizza place. The owner, a former university professor at East Carolina University, enrolled in a famous Florence, Italy pizza academy to learn the intricacies of making fermented dough and how to lightly char Neapolitan pies in a high temperature oven. Long story short, he retired from teaching and opened Luna's here in Greenville......and soon there will be more locations, hopefully one closer to home for us. . . . . . like right across the street from us in north Raleigh's burgeoning Midtown PLEASE owner Richard!
Our favorite Neapolitan pizza EVER was enjoyed in Palermo, Sicily. Our ship dropped us off for a day ashore and after sightseeing we ended up sitting outside with friends overlooking the water enjoying fabulous pizzas!  A VERY close favorite  has to be this pizza Margherita tonight at Luna's right here in North Carolina, excellent in every way, along with an amazing appetizer, Involfini do Melanzani (rolled, stuffed eggplant), and we shared the best Tiramisu dessert ever!  The dining experience was so enjoyable. Beside the wonderful food, Walt the Manager, and Kelly our server, were most hospitable and helpful, and took time to chat with us.

Perfect Pizza Margherita 
Good to the last crumb!
Very good Italian rosé!

We just may be heading back to Greenville again soon as tonight's meal
 was fabulous!
Back on the road tomorrow heading to Elizabeth City via the historic towns of
 (Little) Washington and Bath. 

I had hoped to post this last evening however the WIFI in the hotel room quit!


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Time flew by with new friends -



I do like being at home again. . . . . . but getting away and flying across
 the pond was so enjoyable after such a long time.

Seeing family and old friends, and meeting new friends or making
 acquaintances was fun.
Our new friends included a sweet elderly blind man, Monty, from Wales, 
whom we breakfasted with at the hotel on several mornings, and two
 amazing ladiesMyra and Pat who are gorgeous, funny cousins in their
 eighties. They were on holiday from Newcastle. They kept us in stitches
 even when we couldn't quite understand their Geordie accents. 

There was also Wendy whom we met on a bus ride and discovered
 we were at the same school together. We talked about the teachers we
 had and the silly things we did as teenagers. Such as sit in the classroom
 seats next to the French doors and stick our legs out sideways to get a
 tan on those few and far between sunny days of early English
 summer. . . . before the school holidays started and we were
released from uniforms, Panama hats, ankle socks, and uptight
 rules and regulations of an all girls' Grammar
 School back in the 1950's!!!

An evening visit, one of several, to our favorite pub, and luckily
 just a hop and skip away from our hotel, was interesting. We ordered
 drinks and food and settled in to listen to some awesome live music. 
We sat at a table next to two men, one a surgeon, both part of a 
Trauma Team who go to Africa to help provide free surgical care for
 patients with broken bones and traumatic injuries in rural Kenya
Very interesting conversation for us as we have visited there and have
 seen how botched, or often no surgery, leave men, women and children
 unable to walk properly, or to use their arms to work and provide for
 their families.
If interested in reading more about, or supporting this worthwhile charity,
go here:  https://www.futurehealthafrica.org/traumateam


Bob outside the Hole In The Wall, favorite Torquay pub.
Bend your head though, the beams are very low!

Torquay's Oldest Pub – Circa 1540

With its cobbled floors and low-beamed ceilings, the Hole in the Wall has been a regular for smugglers and business people alike. Providing a traditional pub atmosphere with great food and quality beer, the Hole in the Wall aims to provide first class service with a great social experience for all. Good selection of ales to include Doom Bar,  Butcombe Bitter, Otter Bitter and with as many as four changing guest beers and traditional real cider too, you will not be short of choice!

I'm busy catching up here at home. Unpacking and laundry, lots of garden chores as lack of rain and very high temperatures - it was 99F when we disembarked our flight in Raleigh - have wreaked havoc on plants and shrubs, and the grass is browning out. However the figs are plumping, daylilies blooming, and some hydrangeas survived and welcomed us back with paler shades of blue.
 Have a great weekend - I'll be around to catch up with you soon, and hope to add more stories from our really fun trip.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Up, up and away!





Composing this in the hotel's Concierge Lounge. Looking out through the large
 windows at Heathrow's runways at the landing and taking off of planes.
From all corners of the world, displaying their colorful painted tails, we can
 name them being this close.
They are different from this hilarious illustration of 'flying machines' 
I found in a corridor downstairs when searching for the gym - not to exercise
 just for something to pass the time!

We're stuck at the airport hotel today.
This day, of all days, brought the greater London transportation strike.
There are no trains or subway, the busses are limited and being
monopolized by commuters requiring an alternate way to work, so our
 planned day into the city for a look about, and perhaps a bit of shopping, has
not materialized.  

You win some, you lose some!
The old plan for this day included keeping a costly pre-paid appointment
 for the required COVID test to return to the US. Thankfully that regulation
was lifted a week ago and we are hoping to have the fees refunded.
Instead, what was going to be a free day, has turned into a minor lockdown
day. We had breakfast here. We took a walk around the large hotel property,
 and will walk again later as it's a beautiful sunny day. 

Now I'm sipping Britvic Spicy Ginger Ale - "Lifting Spirits since 1938" it says
 on the bottle, it works! I'm nibbling Brontë biscuits, "Great British Biscuit
 Bakers since 1895".
Silly as it sounds, it's little things such as this that make me feel I'm really
 at home again.


Traveling to London yesterday via the National Express coach, the
 green, grass of home flew past the windows. . . . . 5 hours of great
scenery in sunshine and blue skies.



Supper last night was at the nearby Pheasant Inn pub. 
We've eaten here for many years when flying out of Heathrow as it's
just a 15 minute walk from the hotel.
This time tomorrow we should be back in Raleigh following the long
eight hour direct flight.  
I'll be back here once settled and caught up with the most
important tasks awaiting at the house. . . . . and definitely 
the garden.

It has been a wonderful trip home and I'm already planning the next one!



Thursday, June 16, 2022

Kissing cousins, brother, husband - "my guys" ---------


A short distance along the coast from Torquay is the smaller, a little more old fashioned seaside town of Teignmouth.  At the mouth the of the River Teign, beneath the cliffs and sloping hills, it was for several years the home of my mother her parents and siblings, and has always been the home of my dear cousin Sue. I spent many summer holidays there as a child and teen, we two girls were loving cousins then and still are to this day despite an ocean between us!

 

Teignmouth seafront


Mary (me), cousin David, cousin Sue, my brother John

We are the four cousins, our three mothers were sisters. Sue (79) lives in Teignmouth, David (78 today) in Torquay, John (70) in Southwest France, and yours truly (78) in Raleigh, North Carolina. Getting together has taken three years due to the pandemic, however yesterday we managed to do it. . . . . .. and in brilliant, hot sunshine we hugged and kissed like never before!

Bob, looking debonair in a borrowed hat, when we sat on a rooftop restaurant for
lunch in Teignmouth. Unbelievable weather here - hot, dry and non-stop sunshine every day.

Supper last night with John (today he's flying home to France) at our favorite fish 'n chip shop SALTWATER in Torquay.

Off to meet up with a really 'old friend' this afternoon - at a quaint tea room overlooking the bay. Jackie and I have known each other since before birth!!! Our respective mothers actually met at the maternity hospital before we were born!  We've remained good friends all these years and always pick up where we left off last time. . . . . . .as only best friends can!


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Home sweet home - I'm really here!

 

Just so you know, we made it and we are having beautiful weather to 
see Devon at its best - sunshine, perfect temperatures, light breezes and blue skies.

So much to do, places to go, people to see.
No time to do much on the computer. . . . . but I'll catch
 up once I'm back!

Best wishes from South Devon, England.



Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Garden wildlife surprise -

 Oh deer!!!!
This sweet faced doe (I think) was resting quietly in the back garden
when I opened the kitchen window blinds early yesterday morning.
She must have had breakfast as the hosta leaves were decimated, the 
climbing roses nibbled, she looked very comfortable and relaxed. . . .and
didn't hurry off.




Look at those eyelashes - I want them!


Thatcher Rock, Torquay, Devon. . . . . . . .I'm on my way home!

Many thanks for all the kind wishes left on my last post wishing me
a great trip home to see my family and friends after waiting so long.  


Friday, June 3, 2022

Those were the days. . . . . . .


Great vintage train travel posters remind me of how
 my home town looked when I was growing up there.
Some things have changed, others remain the same.
Torquay will always be home though and I'm longing
 to get back next week after three years away due
 to the pandemic. 

 









Today a hair cut. Tomorrow manicure and pedicure.
Items to be packed are ready and waiting.
Fingers crossly tightly that this trip will go without
 hitches. . . . because "there's no place like home."


Thursday, June 2, 2022

Long May She Reign............

 



Commencing today and continuing through this
 coming weekend, the Platinum Jubilee Celebration
 of the amazing 70 years Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
 has ruled will hold the UK in its grip. Pageantry, street
parties, concerts, bunting blowing in what I hope 
will be a gentle breeze, and brilliant sunshine.
No other British monarch has sat upon the
 throne this long. Queen Victoria made 63 
years, no king has ruled anywhere near
 that long. 
Long live spirited, spunky British women!

Once a lovely princess . . . . . . . .


The Princess Elizabeth ~ Buckingham Palace 1945
by Cecil Beaton 

~ Attached to this photo is my precious personal memento from the
Coronation on June 2, 1953 - I was 9 years old ~


British VOGUE cover ~ April 2022 Issue


.......then suddenly a Queen!

We won't be there for the huge celebration having 
planned this trip prior to knowing it was even 
going to happen. We had to cancel so many times
 during the pandemic lockdown we lost count of 
what was occurring and when!
Anyway, crowds are not my favorite thing
anymore so perhaps it's better we will 
be arriving when it's all over!

Hoping to see some of the celebration
on television over the weekend.
Will you be watching?

God Save Our Queen.



Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Shades of blue. . . . and travel ahead!




 This will be a busy week around the cottage and garden as we'll be leaving
 early next week for that first big overseas trip since the pandemic arrived!

Thankfully, I seem to be over the food poisoning episode, a really debilitating
 two weeks, and now feel up for all the preparations required for a long
 distance flight and spending time with my much missed family and friends
 in England.


MEMORIAL DAY weekend flew by even though we did little out of the ordinary.
Still staying cautious and away from crowds with travel coming up, we enjoyed 
the garden which is lovely right now. 
There were a few surprises. 
Sitting on the porch yesterday afternoon enjoying a cup of tea, a beautiful
 large deer bounded across the lawn in the sunshine.  A baby bunny nibbled
 on our freshly mown lawn.  A chipmunk flashed by my feet when I took a
 break on the back deck, while the usual large family of squirrels were
 omnipresent under the bird feeders. Butterflies are back and quite a few
 bees, both lovely to see. Birds have hidden nests in our shrubs and I hear
 babies chirping. The 'dawn chorus' is awesome and I love opening the
 windows early to listen as the sun comes up.

I've been cutting some hydrangeas to enjoy indoors, sharing some with
 my new next door neighbors. With the intense heat we are having (it feels like
 mid-summer) and which will reach 100F on Thursday, the lovely blue flowers
 will be struggling in the sun even though we'll be watering daily.


Here's to a pleasant week ahead everyone.


Friday, May 27, 2022

Dahlia dreams -




Have you ever stood in your garden and wished you were a tall
and graceful flower?



The dahlia plants have all returned and are growing by leaps and bounds.
We have rain today and this one is opening as a bi-color bloom which I
find quite unusual. I believe it's named 'Fireworks'. The plants are already
 tall so I've staked them with bamboo canes and tied them with soft 
natural garden twine.
My mother grew beauties in her garden, the large dinner plate
versions. . . . . they were a childhood favorite.



"She is surrounded by stalks of dahlias, orange and yellow and pale
 red, with leaves so big you could write your life story on each one.  
She looks like a flower in the garden, just like her mother said."

Alice Hoffman ~ American Author 

*************

Memorial Day weekend is here and our local weather forecast looks
 good for outdoor activities and cookouts.  Do remember the real meaning
 of this holiday though.

To all my British family and friends, may the upcoming Jubilee celebration
be special.  We will miss it by a few days. . . . . .but won't miss the 
huge crowds.
This year Her Majesty The Queen became the first British Monarch to
 celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service to the
 people..............God Save Our Queen.


Thursday, May 26, 2022

Glorious Garden Days -





First I must just say that nothing we can write will take away from the
 horrific happening in Texas this week. Our hearts are heavy with grief, 
broken from sorrow, and full of great sadness for so many families and
 friends of the departed little children, their teachers and others still
 fighting to survive their injuries. Home and school is where we always
 hoped our children would be safe. Sadly, far too many times now, we
 have come to realize there really is nowhere completely safe
 for anyone.


  This week has been another busy time in the garden, much to do before
we go overseas. I'm just sharing a few photos here after some heavy rain
early in the week followed by cloudy, cooler days which have made such
a huge difference in growth of flowering plants and shrubs.
Note the late Easter lilies are now in bloom and the gardenia's perfume is
filling the air. Clematis, rhododendron, roses, hosta, and my favorite
blue hydrangeas are blooming and adding color to all that greenery!

Yesterday we mulched the front beds. Note the new, quite large and
 heavy, stone rabbits flopped by the bird bath - recent fun gift from a friend.
The waiting empty pots will be planted up with Summer herbs when we
 return from England, just too much work to expect someone to water them
 daily if it's stifling hot whilst we're away!


My bout with food poisoning is hopefully over after 11 days!  Eating is still
 requiring care and hesitancy when deciding what to add back into my diet.
  Have to say, bland steamed white rice has become a delicacy. . . . . . . who 
would have thought that possible!

Stay well. Enjoy nature. Be grateful.