Saturday, February 24, 2024

Seventeen Years of Blogging. . . . . . almost!

 SPECIAL DAY arriving soon!

On Tuesday, February 27th - 17 years ago (2007) - I wrote

 my first ever blog post. 

~ Saturday - early morning sun and shadow ~

Blogging changed my life! It made me see more clearly the corners and colors of the world close-up, often through a lens, and it gave me the wonderful chance to write down my thoughts . . . . . . . . and to become acquainted with you

Thank you for the many times you have stopped by to encourage me to keep writing and taking photos. I love to read your generous comments and, when possible, have truly enjoyed meeting several of you in the real world. Knowing each one of you, and being gifted with your friendship, whether in person or online, has been a part of my life which I will always treasure. This year I may not be traveling as much or to such exotic places. Our home needs a lot of TLC as, like us, it's aging and has issues, and we need to address them. I still hope to bring you stories and images, some perhaps from special places, others leaning more toward memories from everyday life over the years.  

I just want to thank every one of you, my friends who are my 'blog family', who visit here from around the world, share your lives, ideas and tips, support me when I'm feeling up, down, mediocre, or indifferent, and have stuck with me for so long. All I can say is thank you so much, I hope I can continue to take photos, post them, and add words and stories you will enjoy.

Postscript:  My reason for posting this a few days early is due to Bob
 having eye surgery on Tuesday ~ our day will be very busy!

~ With love and thanks ~

Sunday, February 11, 2024

When snow falls ~~~~~

In winter I like to sleep a little later but a couple of weeks back I actually set my alarm for 5:30am. Other than doing that to catch an early morning flight, it's probably something I've not done since getting up for the day's first game drive in Africa, or an early morning docking of the ship in some country in the world, the latter two happenings one doesn't want to miss.

How I miss those exciting days.

Knowing that the snow, if it had come that particular day, would be here around sunrise, then within an hour or so would turn into freezing rain and sleet for the remainder of the day, I wanted to be ready to get a few photos. I stepped out to get the newspaper, crunching through frosty grass. . . . . it was bitterly cold. The birds, mostly wrens, sparrows, cardinals and finches, were already hunting for breakfast. I spread extra seeds and nuts along the porch rail.  Over the years, many of my special bird photos have been shot from the window, the porch being a favorite place for visiting garden birds. 

The weather forecast was wrong. Not a snowflake arrived that morning........or any other time this winter so far.  

Last night, while trying to fall asleep, I found myself counting the places where I've lived in my now rather long life. Not so many compared to other ex-pats I talk with. While growing up in England I lived at three addresses in the same town from birth until moving to the USA just prior to my nineteenth birthday. That move was to be for just one year - a working visit with no plans to actually emigrate. That's what happens when a special someone comes into your life and changes your plans, your outlook, your entire future.  No regrets though. In sixty one years here I've only lived in four places. Washington D.C., New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. This last address has been my home for over forty seven years.  

My first American winter in Washington was a very cold one, especially when temperatures plummeted around Christmas. Not only did I see snow, I learned to ice skate - well stand up and take a few gliding steps - on the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.  Frozen solid and not exactly smooth ice for a beginner, I fell down a lot!  

On moving to the New England states, winter was all about snowfalls. Mostly deep and never-ending for several months. Nor'easter storms often caused crippling blizzards. Plowed snow piled up in dirty grey heaps until the next fall made it look lovely again. I skated a little on outdoor ponds and a couple of indoor rinks, never becoming proficient, but loved to go to holiday ice shows, such as the Ice Capades in Boston. I also viewed a couple of Bruins ice hockey games, shivering and miserable in the cold of the now demolished Boston Garden, and anxious for all to be over.  

Raleigh is in the southeast and has a great climate...........most of the time!  Rather too hot, and definitely far too humid for this Brit in the height of summertime. Spring is beautiful, Autumn even better. Winter can be fickle. Yesterday when writing this, the afternoon was almost hot at 72F and the sun brilliant. Dog walkers passed wearing shorts, Bob was sunburned a little on his head after spending time in the garden without a hat!  I changed from a cozy sweater into a thin one while making vegetable soup over the hot stove! This morning it's cool again. Rain is pouring down This current season brought sufficient rain in January but apparently we'll get plenty more over the next few days.

We still haven't seen a single snowflake! I doubt we will.

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Who doesn't love a collection -


Borne ceremoniously to the table, the soup tureen has always been a symbol of family warmth, and often a showpiece as well. To make a dramatic and grand impression, there was no other more suitable vessel than the soup tureen. 

I have to agree that a bowl of hearty homemade soup, or its thicker version more like a stew, is at the top of winter's list of soul-satisfying meals. Following a slow, aromatic cooking on the stove, it's always fun to consider your collection of serving pieces for a hot liquid offering. Tureens with lids are perfect and probably the way soups were kept hot when being brought from long-ago downstairs kitchens ~ such as the one we all loved in 'Downton Abbey' ~ to the gorgeous dining room above stairs.

Symbol of love and communion, soups have often celebrated the gathering of families, friends and kindred souls. Prior to the Renaissance (14th to the 17th centuries), people did not travel far from home and everything at the table was shared. Not only soup and bread, but bowl and spoon. When travel began, new and exotic foods were discovered, and by the 18th century choreographed dining feasts with a huge choice of dishes were served to impress guests. Often two or more tureens would be brought to the table allowing diners to choose a favorite to have ladled into their soup bowl.

Though the word "tureen" is probably derived from "terre", Old French for clay, some early examples were crafted from precious metals, even humble pewter. In the golden age of porcelain (from the mid-1700's to the late 1800's), when botany became a universal passion, florals, fruits, even vegetables were hand-painted on white, oyster and cream oval and round tureens.  

My personal collection of tureens take up most of the shelving on each side of the fireplace. I enjoy them displayed there with a few other items mixed in. Over the years I've added shapes and sizes, some antique, others vintage and a few even new. I'm still tempted when I spy others for sale, however realize I have nowhere to put them so leave them for other collectors who do.

Do you have a collection of special, much-loved items?  Are you still adding to it?

Winter Warmers
"Of soup and love, the first is best" : Anonymous