Thursday, March 26, 2015

St. Louis Zoo

Earlier this week I took the train to St. Louis for a fun getaway. The first day I went to the St. Louis Zoo. It was the only day I took my camera along, but I made up for it by taking 517 photos. After looking through them, though, I noticed that they either looked a little blurry, as though they were taken through thick panes of filthy glass – which most of them were – or they could accompany a treatise on why zoos are the most depressing places on earth, which hadn't been my intention at all.

So, here are the most innocuous photos of the bunch. And maybe I'll put a few more on my Flickr page in case anyone wants to see the rest…

The walk to the zoo; taken in front of the St. Louis Art Museum.

You can't go wrong with penguins.


You can always have fun swimming.

Comical expression!

And a cheetah for Lynn!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Glory-of-the-snow (chionodoxa)

On Monday I managed to get myself out of the house for the first time in quite a few days -- but only as far as the garden.  There was plenty to see:

 Yes, there will be roses climbing up the side of our cottage, just as you'd expect

 One perfect iris

My first hydrangea in 21 years of gardening -- and there are TWO of them

 This is just outside my back door, and I am giddy at the thought that it might be hawthorn

One of many roses, and a deliberately blurry shot because oh my, the weeds & downed branches yet to address!

 And just beyond the garden were plenty more declarations of spring.

 Seabirds enjoying snacks in a newly plowed field... a companionable blackbird and robin looked on.

 And on the neighbor's stone wall, somebody bearing old berries and new leaves.

(This might look familiar, but please note the new color emerging)

 Not too shabby a place to live, I reckon.

(Alert readers will notice that the shrub in the second photo is not, in fact, a climbing rose.  Oops! and Ha!  I think it's probably the ornamental cherry that resides in the hedge by the driveway.  But I'm leaving it here because its foliage is more interesting than the rose's.  Or maybe because I really need to wrap this up and eat some lunch...)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Daffs and Gratitude

I have had a chesty virus, and have had to swap my walks for time spent in bed with a laptop, researching Scottish Cistercian abbeys founded in the 12th century (isn't that what you do when you're poorly?).

But yesterday I could take indoorliness no longer, and I ventured out (only as far as the garden) to see what was happening.

Sunshine-y splendour!  Not a lot, but just enough.

In spite of all of the phlegm, I am feeling especially grateful at the moment -- for a successful house sale, for the dear ones who wrapped things up in our absence, for some good financial news...and for the sun's finally making an appearance at week's end.  Spring is off to a darned good start.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

You Know It's Spring When…

Daffodil shoots; like us, frost-bitten but determined

Tiny ringneck snake

Green frog hangin' with bullfrog

Orchard oriole

Maple tree buds

Maple tree

Maple tree budding at sunset

Happy Spring!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Norham After the Rains

From the sodden churchyard...

To the swollen river and muddy paths...

There was plenty of evidence of our recent gully washers when I took a stroll in one of my favorite villages late yesterday afternoon.

But you know what those spring showers bring.

 I don't know who was happier about it, me or the birds.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Yesterday was lovely.

I drove to England and had a brisk walk around the castle by the sea.

Preceded by an invigorating hike up one of the smaller Cheviots.

And a stop at a wide place in the road to look at vistas.

But today?  It is cold and gusty and grey and pelty-rainy, and I am hunkered down at home drinking rose tea and eating toast.  Which is its own kind of lovely, I suppose.

Friday, March 6, 2015

To Coldstream for a Loaf of Bread

My plan was to have a brisk hour-long walk along the Tweed and through the woods before popping into the Co-op for school-sandwich bread and arriving home for 6:30 dinner (or tea, as we have come to call it).

But first I was distracted by something blooming in a pretty little park.

And by the views therefrom (see top photo).

But I made my way via a shortcut to the Nuns' Walk, a path high above the river (no railing or wall -- imagine those medieval nuns scurrying along that precipitous path pre-pavement!).

I was trying to achieve something artistic featuring dried vegetation and the bridge to England when a couple of walkers stopped me.  "What do you see?" the man asked.

"Oh, just the shifting clouds and the reflections in the water and the changing colors of the mountains."

And then we stood there for 25 minutes, talking about his life as a shepherd and then farmer who lost his flock to foot and mouth disease; about her struggles with food allergies; and about their new home on the grounds of a mansion whose owner is absent but who drops in via helicopter from "down south" when the fishing is good.  They told me about good river walks, a favorite "secret" tea room, and the best place to see bluebells in May.  It was lovely.

Then I sprinted to the Co-op, bought my bread, and zipped home (as much as one can zip on those curvy roads), arriving just in time for dinner.  No serious exercise under my belt, but happy from having made new friends.