Saturday, June 26, 2010

Farewell my Friends

This week has been such a mixture of joy and sadness. When I moved here three years ago I really wondered how I was going to meet people, no children, no school activities, Rick traveling, a foreign country (but so was Boston when I moved there!)
My first outing to the AWC of London was a going away party for someone I didn't even know and I'll never forget, she talked about growing up in a military family and how you learn, through instinctive survival not to plant your roots too deep. You make friends quickly, hang your pictures on the wall, enjoy the time you have together, say goodbye, and move on to start the whole process again. That's the way I grew up! She said she tried that here knowing that London was a 3 year assignment and that she would be moving on soon but the women in this club made it impossible! I remember standing in the corner, sobbing (it didn't take much) and thinking, "Lord, just let me make one good friend here!" And that is where the story friend became many and now some are pulling up roots to move back to the States. But here is what I have learned .......

A farewell is necessary before we can meet again Ann, Anne, and Rita,
.......... And meeting again, after moments or years, is certain for those who are friends!
So Bon Voyage my friends and as the Colonel always said, "Tally -ho and keep your wings up!" (That's another story!)

Monday, June 21, 2010


I can't see a thing without my "reading glasses" now.... not the menu, the price tag, the caller ID, the measurement, the prescription....I just enlarged the print on my Kindle, why fight it? I found myself staring at this advertisement for spectacles at the tube station the other day and chuckled out loud. Sometimes you just need a quick laugh to turn your day around!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Let the races begin.....

Opening Day at Royal Ascot 2010

Our Aussie friends, Tim and Sandra arranged our fabulous day at Ascot starting with a coach ride to the track and a private box next to the Royal Enclosure where we were wined and dined ...and tea'd to our hearts content! Tim even presented us with the "inside guide" for selecting winners for each race - didn't help us win but it did make the races very exciting! We did not want to disappoint our hosts so we dressed the part in Ascot attire and by the end of the day we were singing "Rule Britannia" in our best English accents!

A walk around the grounds between races was best for people watching.........

Her Majesty The Queen and members of the Royal Family enter the racecourse at Windsor Castle and proceed up the Straight Mile to the grandstand. All bets are placed....let the races begin!

Monday, June 14, 2010

774 days to go......

...the 2012 Olympics, right here in London!
This 500 acre plot of land in Stratford, North East of Central London was once the center of some of the cities more "unwanted" industries, including chemical plants, sewage plants, the Yardley Soap plant, and the Royal Docks. The contaminated soil has been sorted, analyzed, and cleaned to be reused on the Olympic Park.

Today, on our walk overlooking the construction site, we saw the Olympic Park Village which includes the Stadium, the Aquatics Center, the Velodrome, and the Village where the Olympian athletes will be housed and fed during their stay. When the Olympics are over, this whole area will be transformed into a community of new homes, parks, shops, and sporting facilities.

Now look back at the first picture....can you see the 2 0 1 0? Cool huh?

Monday, June 7, 2010

St. Petersburg's Blue

If you took a little "Martha Stewart Blue" and mixed it with "Tiffany Blue" and added some "Fortnum and Mason Blue", you might get what I now call "St. Petersburg Blue"! So many of the beautiful buildings in St. Petersburg were a contrast of blue and white with accents of gold.

The Cathedral of St. Nicholas, Tsarskoye Selo - Great Catherine Palace, and The Cathedral of the Resurrection know as "Our Saviour-on the-Spilt-Blood"......the architecture of these buildings was astounding but truly, it was the color that captured my attention.

This picture of the "White Lights" was taken at 11:00 at night with at least 3 more hours before sunset ....could it be that this is the inspiration for the famous "St. Petersburg Blue"?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

St. Petersburg - The Hermitage

In preparation for our trip I read the book "The Madonnas of Leningrad" by Debra Dean. It was an unforgettable story of love and the survival of wartime, specifically the 900 day siege of Leningrad - now known as St. Petersburg. Although the main character suffers from Alzheimer's she remembers vividly the glorious ghosts of paintings in the Hermitage before they were all removed and stored for safety. She remembers the starvation and surviving the air raids and the freezing winter. As I walked the halls myself I could recall the stories of specific paintings and I felt her pride in the notion that after the war, the art was Russia's gift to the people. The Hermitage acquired authentic masterpieces by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso....just to name a few! Connected to the museum is the Winter Palace, the main residence of past Russian monarchs. "Ornate" and "grandeur" only begin to describe the interior rooms of this beautifully restored Palace.

It just happened that we were there on the day of the city's birthday celebration. The square was full of lively activity and characters - people on stilts, flag dancers, gymnasts, musicians, even people dressed in aluminum foil!