Thursday, July 28, 2022

Cityscapes -


Raleigh is the capital of the state of North Carolina and the seat of Wake County in the United States. It is the second-most populous city in North Carolina, after Charlotte, tenth-most populous city in the Southeast, 41st-most populous city in the U.S., and the largest city of the Research Triangle metro area. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees, which line the streets in the heart of the city. The city covers a land area of 147.6 square miles (382 km2). The U.S. Census Bureau counted the city's population as 474,069 in 2020. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. The city of Raleigh is named after Walter Raleigh, who established the lost Roanoke Colony in present-day Dare County  via Wikipedia

We did enjoy the city staycation despite torrential rain and winds in the afternoon hours. We still managed to visit a few places of interest including the fairly new train station and saw one train arriving; a 'food hall'; and one of our always liked, though offbeat, coffee shops where the iced coffee was the best and served in a lovely glass tumbler rather than a paper cup!  We were however the only seated people not on laptops, so we actually talked to one another while seeking shelter from the storm!  Dinner later was at our favorite Greek taverna, and delicious.

We have another downtown staycation planned in the near future - hopefully not so hot and humid, no scary thunderstorms, and the chance to see other new parts of the city.  Surprises seem to be around every corner. . . .the old Raleigh of our days working downtown is being obliterated by new buildings looming over everything!

Apparently it's called progress!

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Taking advantage ----------

Leaving home and garden.
A staycation today - just down the road to downtown. 
A free night in a nice hotel.  A little city sight seeing and strolling.
It grows by leaps and bounds and we can hardly keep up with the
 new construction and changes, sometimes losing our way. 
Dinner on a hot night without having to cook, and breakfast in the
 morning before heading home again.
Sounds a little crazy perhaps but sometimes you have to take
 advantage of an offer. . . . .hotel linens and a rain shower are always treat!
Travel while you can.


Friday, July 22, 2022

Sun on my face . . . and short hair!

This week, like last week, has been quite busy.  
I tried to take it easy while waiting for the steroid injection of last
 Friday for my back/leg pain to literally kick in, and sheltered indoors
 due to the continuing heatwave.  I did manage to get out for an
 afternoon tea with a dear friend. We had much to catch up on as we
 had both been across the pond since our last meeting, she to Paris and
 Provence, me to England. We both had a wonderful time and there
 was so much to chat about.

I also had to get my hair cut as I was two weeks overdue and beginning
 to appear a bit shaggy . . . . . . and yes it's really short for this hot spell
 which isn't promising to end any time soon.  Summer in the south is
 always like this so not such a surprise for us.

~ A few more notes for the week gone by ~

  • The figs are now ripening fast on the monster tree!
  • I made my first Roasted Feta Pasta dish - it was great.
  • Baby rabbit sticking close to the house nibbling mostly grass and growing big.
  • Robins, dozens of them, eating the figs high in the tree along with ones falling beneath.
  • Hydrangeas fading BUT a few new blue ones opening.
  • Rain yesterday, just a shower, but heavy and the garden soaked it up.
  • Cat sitting Ms. Nala - she's warming up to me this second week as always.
  • An 'ant attack' in the kitchen, coming through the electrical outlets, yikes!
  • Cleaning countertops and putting out bait - think they've gone as of today.
Oh yes, the spinal injection seems to have worked this time (first one in
 Jan. didn't help) and I'm so thankful. Have tucked the big bottle of Tylenol
 away for now in hopes I won't be needing it.

Stay cool, those of you in your unusual overly hot locations.
Water bottles, lemonade, iced tea/coffee, extra chilled wine if that's
 your thing - I put my wineglass in the freezer for a little while, makes
 a difference to a great rosé or white on a hot evening!
"Cheers" to a good weekend.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Beach Huts and Dame Agatha!


Life at the shore often includes beach huts in the UK, and there are about
 20,000 of them scattered along the island's coastline which measures
 approximately 8,000 miles.
The history of these small wooden buildings is timeless.
To own one is like having a precious piece of shoreline history in your 
pocket. To purchase one these days can be like buying a quite decent 
full-sized house. . . . . . .you'd need deep pockets!!
One hut, in Dorset, was recently for sale at over five hundred
 thousand pounds, twice the price of the current average home. 
Apparently it's cute but doesn't have a toilet!

These are the colorful huts along the beach at Corbyn Head in my
 hometown of Torquay. I spent a lot of my childhood beach days
here, swimming, fishing for hermit crabs in the rock pools, picnicking, 
and even managed to almost get stranded with a friend at high tide
 in the red sandstone caves in the cliff!

Behind the beach is The Grand Hotel where author Agatha Christie
 spent her honeymoon. Born and raised in Torquay she is now celebrated
 annually - info below if you are interested in attending in September.
What an amazing author she was!

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady MallowanDBE (née Miller
15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) was an English writer known for her
sixty-six detective novels and fourteen short story collections, particularly
 those revolving around fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple

She also wrote the world's longest-running play, The Mousetrapwhich
 was performed in the West End from 1952 to 2020, as well as six novels
 under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott

In 1971, she was made a Dame (DBE) for her contributions to literature. 
Guinness World Records lists Christie as the best-selling fiction writer
 of all time, her novels having sold more than two billion copies. 
via Wikipedia

Sunday, July 17, 2022

A Summer's Day -

I'm spending a lazy weekend in the cottage per 'doctor's orders' - and it's
 enjoyable as it's far too hot to be outside today.
I'm playing this classical music which makes me think of England, the 
countryside, the history, MY history!

This is my favorite recorded version - click HERE to play.
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
 has to be one of Britain's best composers.

The focus is of course on the stunning music. Here, in the
magnificent Gloucester Cathedral, the cinematography, editing,
and lighting all come together to add an amazing visual atmosphere.
The way the orchestra is spread through the massive cathedral is
wonderful, can you imagine being there and hearing the music
surrounding you?

Fantasia On a Theme of Thomas Tallis

The BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis at
Gloucester Cathedral, where in 1910, it was played and conducted
for the first time by the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.

The 'magic of a summer's day' doesn't happen too often for me. 
I do not thrive in heat, humidity, blazing sun, glaring swimming pools, and 
hanging out around outdoor grills, slapping at mosquitoes.
Afternoon thunderstorms are often welcome. 

I am a winter person I came from damp, rain, clouds, winds, cool.
I love moorland, gorse and heather, wild ponies, quick showers from
overcast skies, river banks, chilly babbling brooks. 
Afternoon tea in a shady, ancient apple orchard on an August afternoon. 
Raincoats, umbrellas, even rubber boots were good. 
No need for air conditioning, ceiling fans, ice!

Noticed this past very hot week. . . . . . . 
Home builders around the neighborhood spread out under trees or across
 their truck seats eating lunch or taking naps - much-needed breaks from
building oversized million dollar-plus houses.
Near death among the garden pots - canna lilies, caladiums, the few herbs
 I was trying to keep going, all on their last legs.
Birds are few as we are not feeding for a while - they look untidy
with their tired feathers.
The baby bunny is now large, golden in color - its ears so long it 
resembles a hare. . . . .which we don't have here. It nibbles the now
 browned out grass and hides under the fading hydrangea bushes.
A chipmunk comes to the small fountain in front of the porch - do you 
know they will eat almost anything, including your tomatoes.
Figs, small, unripe, hard and green are dropping fast and furious, rolling
 down the driveway - perhaps not a good harvest this year due to weather.

This past week was busy. My car required a new windshield as it was
 cracked by a thrown up stone.  
I had the final part of the root canal completed. The dentist, and his staff,
were stellar in every way. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .and then on Friday I went to the pain
 clinic for another, my second, steroid injection into my worn out spine.
It was unbelievably painful this time and I will admit I screamed!
This is why I'm laying low this weekend in hopes I will get relief 
from the nerve pain down my right leg within 3-5 days.

Sunday afternoon now, 90F but no storms predicted.
The entire week ahead will bring even higher daily temperatures
and little if any rain.  From what you my dear readers share, wherever
you are in the northern hemisphere, you are also having a heatwave.
Stay calm, cool and hydrated and make the most of each day.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Golden + wallpaper!

 Do you ever look through your photos and discover a particular color jumps
 out at you? Seems like golden yellow was predominant during my Devon days
 last month.

Photos Clockwise:   Discovering a ballroom dance hall - best locally 
caught haddock 'n chips - old mossy roof view from our new modern
 hotel room - icon at St. Mary's Church in Totnes - the 'Gold Bus' running
 between towns - the Devon summer countryside - inside the oldest 
Torquay pub - and my English friend Emma's fantastic new kitchen
 wallpaper which I want too!

So I searched for Emma's golden tropical illustrated wall covering, but
 couldn't find it over here.  This led me to other discoveries as only
 trolling through the Internet can.  Am I planning a wallpaper project?  
Not really. Are there beautiful wallpapers out there? Oh definitely.  
Are some golden yellow and tropical?
Look below.  
Perhaps not the look for my cottage home - but so gorgeous,
even a bit daring.

This yellow is a gorgeous golden touch, similar to Emma's . . . . . . 

. . . . . and I love this green still with a touch of gold.

This one above could be my more classic colorway choice - and I would
 use it in in my entry hall which is painted charcoal grey.  Maybe just as an
 accent on one small wall area surrounding the front door . . . . . . . it would
really liven things up.


. . . . . . or even this one on a white background with that brilliant touch
of gold, plus those beautiful blue birds!

Nothing is written in stone. This idea is going into the 
'House Projects' folder.  Who knows, on a cold winter day when
the sun is hiding and I have some free time, I just might have the
 urge to hang wallpaper which I've not done in many, many years.
Emma, if you read this, just know that I loved seeing your beautiful
 new kitchen. . . .and that your stunning wallpaper is keeping me
 awake at night, haha!

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Recalling the colors, sounds and views -

 Here it is another weekend and I'm still chasing my tail! The heat of July is upon us, and yes it's unbearable for me. Late afternoon storms have brought some relief to the shrubs and flowers struggling as they always do at this time of year.

But my deeper thoughts are about home. 
The one across an ocean. 
The one where I recently visited
The one by the sea where the gulls fly overhead as the fishing boats bring
back the daily catch. 
Where the clouds temper the heat of the sun. 
Where friends of many years hug me as always and say they miss me.
Where family of an entire lifetime show their enduring love in many ways.

My roots are there in that corner of an island. 
Overlooking the bay and the English Channel beyond.
Until I can return again I have the photos, recollections, memories.

I'll do a few more posts about the trip to England so as to share more photos. 
I didn't take a camera other than my phone this time. 
Less to lug about with a painful shoulder issue, but not as good
 quality photos perhaps!

Have a super weekend wherever you chose to spend it.

I miss the longer Summer days enjoyed in Devon. 
Waking to bright sunshine at 5 am, strolling around the harbour
 on those long, beautiful evenings when the sun didn't set until
 almost 10 pm. . . . . .and no mosquitoes. Heavenly!!!

Sunday, July 3, 2022

HOME is where. . . . . . .

. . . . . . . one's heart beats faster, then settles quietly and allows the memories
 to flood back. At least that's how it always feels for me when I step down on to
 the bricks, concrete, grass of my hometown in England.
It never changes, it is a feeling I've had for almost sixty years, each and
 every time I've been fortunate enough to go home. I've lost count but think
it must be around fifty times I've 'crossed the pond' with England in my 
sights. 'Going home' has been a very important part of all the travel I've done.
Seeing new places around the world has been wonderful, but heading back
to where I began is always the special trip. It's the one I need because loved
ones are there, thankfully still many in person, others gone but the sweet
memories of times with them come back to mind more clearly when I'm
treading the streets and lanes of childhood and teenage years.
I breathe differently. . . . . the sea air perhaps, along with the green 
countryside, both give me a lift which feels like my true home.

View from our Torquay hotel room across Tor Bay to Paignton.

Torquay -- Princess Theatre & Victorian Fountain.

Thatcher Rock, Tor Bay.

Across the bay to the fishing town of Brixham where my father was born.

Torquay, Inner and Outer Harbours on a summer evening.


Inner Harbour, Torquay - St. John's Church.

Torquay rooftops and a sculptured frieze depicting 
King Neptune and sea creatures.

Old and new buildings. . . . . . .of course you know which are my favorites.
Another view from the hotel.

We're now back from the road trip to Eastern North Carolina which was
 really good despite my hesitancy in leaving home again so soon after an
 overseas trip! I have a lot to do here and, after celebrating the
Fourth of July, followed by Bob's birthday on the fifth, I'm hoping to 
catch up with everyone, write more posts on the UK trip, leave comments 
on your posts etc.
Then there's the garden which has run wild and is longing for attention as
 the rains apparently didn't come while we were away . . . . . but it looks
 promising for the days ahead with some late day showers at least.

Enjoy Independence Day.