Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Window boxes of SPRING......

May flowers always live in your "window boxes" and sunshine light your day. May songbirds serenade you every step along the way. May a rainbow run behind you in a sky that's always blue. And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through. (An Irish blessing)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The new cards are here!

If you are not a Mah Jongg player you won't understand our excitement when "the new cards" come in....but this was the week when Debbie, (our 'master' player) brought back the 2009 cards from the States. To use an American term...It's a whole new ball game, Ladies! The tile patterns that we have memorized over the past year are no longer the same. Those of us who are addicted to the game gather on Fridays at the AWC, set up the tables and tiles, and get out our special Mah Jongg purses full of 20 pence coins. We barely win or lose enough for a Starbuck's Skinny Latte. In the official rule book it states that it is a game of skill, strategy, and calculation but to be honest there is a certain degree of luck involved....you've got to have a few jokers to win....just like LIFE!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Antiques again?

We arrived at the Ardingly Antique Market by coach around 9:30 am and we followed our calculated plan to start at the back first and work our way to the front - with 1400 stalls and a departure time of 4:30 pm, we knew it was going to be a long day. It really can be so overwhelming that not many purchases were made until after our delightful lunch (on the run!) of a ham, cheese, and pineapple toasty and a warm diet coke....not on anyone's diet but very tasty. Then the real haggling and quibbling began and I started to see a few ladies making trips back to the bus to drop off a load and regroup. Some of the things we looked at, but did not bring home, were these beautiful poster beds, a child's chair, a plate stacker and footstool, and some great birdhouses.

This is a picture of the things I brought home...
Don't you just love this petite French woven cane chair with new cushion and pillow ? It fits perfectly in "the queen's room" (which is Aunt Sandi's room unless the Queen comes to visit!) I won't tell you what I paid but I will tell you the dealer came off his original price by £70!!! Rick is not allowed to sit in it. At his request I found a cricket bat, which was not as easy as it may seem since I was obviously following a dealer who was buying them all, probably to resell at London prices. And my final purchase was this heavy silver bowl - just the right size for icing a few bottles of Prosecco. My friend and antique specialist, Carlton, promised me that I would not polish it because it's been polished so much that the copper lining is showing through and that is what gives it it's character.....SOLD! The dealer only came down £5 but it was the nicest one I saw all day.

The animals were out in force today. In addition to crates of assorted antlers, I spotted a few interesting "accent" pieces.

Can you spot which one is still breathing?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A bike ride through SW 10

The wisteria is in bloom and everyone is outside on this beautiful spring day so Rick and I decided to explore ....by bicycle. I recovered from a close call with a cab vs a traffic cone and a sm.ass pro bike rider who told me to "Stay to the left mam!" which would have put me in the middle of one of those bottomless water puddles. I just said, "Good luck with that!" and didn't turn to see if he just took out the couple with the pram or the dog walker with four leashes attached to dogs going every direction. I'm really much calmer after a stop at the pub...my new spring refresher is a Bulger's Pear Cider with ice. We stopped to take pictures along the way..........

Hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I did!

****Note to self****
When I win the lottery, purchase property in "The Boltons" off Old Brompton Road, SW 10!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hever Castle and Chartwell House

This was a trip I have been looking forward to and it was a glorious spring day....we (me and 39 other American Women) traveled by coach to Hever Castle and enjoyed coffee, tea and biscuits then a private guided tour of the castle before it opened to the public.

The charming castle at Hever dates back more than 700 years and was once home to Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII's second wife and then was passed into ownership to another of Henry's wives, Anne of Cleves. It was bought and restored by the wealthy American, WW Astor in the early 1900's . The castle now reflects a harmony with history and 20th century convenience and comfort. The beautiful gardens at Hever Castle were laid out between 1904 and 1908, turning marshland into a lake and a 125 acre garden.

The Astor Wing and Castle can be rented for private events, such as weddings...can you just imagine?

Next on the trip, Chartwell House was Sir Winston Churchill's home until his death in 1965 and is now a National Trust Property. Churchill saw it as a place where he could truly escape the pressures of his public and political life to be with his family. Many of his paintings are in the home and in his art studio surrounded by breathtaking views and gardens.

"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it." Sir Winston Churchill

***and a special thanks to Mercedes and Barbara for finding and returning my cell phone and keys (yes, the same keys I lost on New Year's eve!) It's a good thing I have friends looking out for me, and Lillia keeps an extra key! Cheers!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

FFF for less than $5.00!

That is "Forced Family Fun" and still a good deal for 2 hours of entertainment on a cold rainy day. All you need is a PAAS egg dying kit-$1.99 to tie dye this year!, Heinz vinegar (of course), and a few hard boiled eggs.

Happy Easter !!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sunrise on the East Coast

I know those of you who travel through different time zones can relate to this story....Although we are in Boston, Rick is still on Australian time and I am still on London time so we both were up REALLY early this morning! We didn't fight it, got up, grabbed the dog, borrowed Haley's car and drove to Scituate Harbor to watch the sun rise, with a side trip through Dunkin' Donuts for 2 large coffees and one donut hole for Tucker. The lighthouse marks the town harbor which has always been at the heart of the Scituate community. Once known primarily for the active fishing and mossing industries, the waterfront now has boat slips, a movie theater, cute gift shops, and some great seafood restaurants.

Good morning sunshine!