Monday, October 29, 2012

On a wing and a prayer

As November 11, Remembrance Day, approaches I am beginning to see the familiar blooming of red poppies on jacket lapels.  I have a special fondness, because of my Dad's history, for this new monument at the corner of Green Park. It is a memorial to the Royal Air Force Bomber Command. It serves to commemorate the 55,573 airmen who lost their lives while serving in the Second World War. Their average age was just 22.
When I look up close I can see "Deke's" face!  This Monument provides a place where families and future generations can reflect on the price of war and how these extraordinary men helped to deliver peace in Europe.

It reminds me to be thoughtful of the presidential election about to take place in the States - the world is a tumultuous place!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Put the Kettle on!

I can't believe I did this!
 I grew up in the South where you put a saucepan of water on the stove and when it boils you add several Lipton tea bags, tied together, and let it steep. When it cools, add sugar and cool water and store it in the 'frig'.... quenching sweet iced tea! The very first day we moved to London I bought an electric kettle. It was fantastic! It boiled water in minutes and I could have a cup of my favorite Twinning's Earl Grey or Teapig's Licorice and Mint tea before my wellies were off.
Lately I have noticed that my tea has a film of "sludge" floating on top so my friends all advised me to use bottled water. I washed out the kettle and filled it with fancy bottled water. When Christy was visiting last week she commented on the "crud" that was in my kettle and I noticed she heated her water in the - say it isn't so - microwave! So when I placed my Ocado order this week I included an appliance scale cleaner.
(Had to slip in another picture of the kids!)

Here is the "Say it ain't so" part of this story. Did you know that some kettles have filters in them? For six years I have been boiling water in this kettle and never knew there was a removable - cleanable filter! If you can imagine what your teeth would look like if you didn't have the plaque scrapped off for six years you can imagine what this filter looked like.....
I am lucky I didn't poison anybody... on second thought, when my friends come over we drink Gin & Slimline Tonic anyway. But if you want a cup'o tea, my kettle is now shiny clean!

Monday, October 15, 2012

If you only have two days in Dublin........

With just two days in Dublin we had to concentrate our time and maximize our sight seeing. Our driver from the airport was certainly entertaining as he captivated us with his Irish brogue and stories about everything from overpaid footballers to his wife and a squirrel...had to be there! We stayed at the Drury Court Hotel - nothing great but certainly reasonably priced, clean, and the perfect location for walking to the Temple Bar area. Our driver recommended a new "Masterchef" restaurant called the Rustic Stone - fabulous!
The steaks - Irish beef, of course - and the Tuna, came to the table on sizzling hot stones and you let it cook to the temperature you were happy with. It was a cool concept. From there we went to the original Temple Bar for music, beer, and people watching.
After a morning of shopping for some special Irish Christmas gifts we hit the Guinness Factory for a tour and tasting.
If you have the chance, don't miss the "free" Guinness, poured to perfection in the Sky Bar with a view of all of Dublin below! Fortified with a "light" lunch of Sheppard's Pie and Fish & Chips we met Shane and our bus mates for our "Rural Nights Pub Tour" - "Take in impressive sights whilst visiting some of Ireland's most traditional country pubs on this full-day tour. Experience live music, friendly locals, and traditional hearty meals as we make our way over the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains."
The highlight for me was our last stop where local musicians with traditional instruments just kept showing up to 'jam' together. It was a great evening and the Irish Coffee kept me going! The next morning armed with umbrellas for protection against the pouring rain, we toured the Jamison Whiskey Distillery. Doug volunteered to be a taster and learned to taste the difference between Irish, Scottish, and Kentucky whiskey....not easy to do after a night of pub hopping!
Our last stop before heading back to London was a cute pub across the street from our Hotel - appropriately named The Long Hall! (for those who do not know - I was Holly Hall and Christy married into the Long family!)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Newark Antique Fair

This mind boggling antiques market has in excess of 2500 stalls at any given show! Yes, you read that right - over 2500 dealers in antiques and collectibles offering a huge variety of furniture, architectural pieces, porcelain, pottery, silver, jewelry, paintings, books, maps, prints, toys, and you name it. If you collect it, chances are someone at Newark will have it for sale.
Robin found this gorgeous christening gown for only £35! One of us should have bought it and packed it away for the future, kicking myself!
I loved everything in this booth of Scandinavian furniture...
This was the "hot" item of the day....Cute hats and lampshades made from scraps of wool plaid and a few feathers. How cute is this?
I searched every glass booth for "limon-cello" glasses to add to Christy's collection. I won't pay more than £2 each, the trick is to walk away!
I could not have made it through the day without the help of RITA - the trolley! The bus ride home is always the best part of the trip! We share goodies, sip a little wine, and have show and tell with all of our purchases ....(notice Pam's rather large Mahjongg bracelet).  Newark is worth going back to!