The one you’ve been waiting for…

I know you’re on the edge of your seat waiting for pictures from our London trip…

The easiest, quickest, laziest way to share my pics with you is to make them into these little videos. I didn’t take the time to edit the photos and Lord knows they need it, but when you view them for short seconds, you don’t notice so much how bad they are. Each of the videos lasts about a minute. I used the cheesy music to achieve more of a music video effect rather than a slide show, but I don’t blame you if you want to mute the muzak.

Day 1- Windsor Castle

Day 2 – Buckingham Palace, Queens Walk, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus

Day 3 – London Eye to Tower of London

Day 4 – Westminster Abbey

And a bonus video — Signs and Pubs

My allergies are assaulting my head and throat and my eyes were gommy and sticky this morning. I’d love to be outside, but the pollens are overwhelming my benadryl. I won’t complain (much) since I’ve had these pictures to go through. Hope you enjoy seeing them!


We’re back!

We ran into a little difficulty on our return flights from London on Tuesday morning 4:00am, when our 12:15pm flight was cancelled, but it turned out to be for the best. We had booked our Covid tests, required for re-entry to the US which is stupid, for 8:30am at the airport and though we would have had the results in time for the flight, we would not have made it through security, baggage drop, etc. without a lot of stress. As it was, we caught a 3:15pm flight and had some lunch, bought some souvenirs at Heathrow. We arrived at DFW about 7:30 to find that our Eville-bound flight was delayed, giving us more time to navigate our way to the gate, but we didn’t make it home until 11:30am — about 25 hours after I woke up in London.

I was pretty pooped yesterday, but managed to get my tomatoes in the ground. I’m waiting to put out the bell peppers and basil until the predicted storms pass. No hurry, as we are supposed to have beautiful weather by Mothers’ Day and all of next week. I’m stocked with seeds, ready to dig…

Saturday is the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby, so it’s time to do some stretegery and calculate the winner. We can’t just bet the Baffert horse this year, so it’s a little more challenging. Historically I’ve made more winning wagers on the Fillies, so I’ve got to focus first on tomorrow’s Oaks, also in its 148th year. I have been spending the same $$ for years now, managing to eek out a profit for quite a while, but last year nearly wiped me out. This is my year, though…

On our last evening in London, we took a quick walk around Kensington Gardens, through Queens Gate past the Prince Albert Memorial to the Peter Pan Statue near the Serpentine, then back to Round Pond and Kensington Palace, finishing up exiting at Queens Gate. It was a lovely way to end our trip. The video only takes a minute…


London Calling

No Clash…in fact, we’re feeling very much at home now as we finish up our 3rd day here. All has gone well.

Our first day was spent touring Windsor Castle.

Our second day we walked 10 miles, from our hotel through Hyde Park to Buckingham Palace, then past Westminster Abbey and Big Ben across the Thames to Queens Walk. We proceeded all the way down to Tate Modern where we stopped spent some time. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre doesn’t look at all like it does in the ads, but the gift shop is nice. We crossed Waterloo Bridge to Trafalgar Square and visited the National Gallery where we ate before we roamed their collections, then strolled through Piccadilly Circus to Green Park and on to Buckingham Palace and through the Hyde Park back to the hotel.

Today, our 3rd day, we took the Gloucester Road tube to Westminster, then back across the bridge to the London Eye. That was kinda fun and very viewful… We walked from there past London Bridge to Tower Bridge where we crossed over to the Tower of London. The Beefeater tour was so informative and funny; I loved seeing the Crown Jewels. Just up the hill was the tube station where we made a quick connection back to Gloucester Road.

The food has been so-so, but expensive. Our hotel bar stocks Magners Pear, my Favorite Cider Drink of All Time. I usually drink it at the Rose and Crown in Epcot and have never found it Anywhere else, even NYC, so I am filling up regularly while I can.

Tomorrow we wind up with Westminster Abbey for sure, but the rest of the day we’ll wander through the parks and such.

You know what? This place is really not even as big as Disney World, kind of a shock to me, even though NYC also surprised me with how easily you can walk to Everything. I’ve adopted a British accent, learnt from listening to the voice on the tube, and avidly Look Right, Look Left, and Mind the Gap…

We’ll be home late Tuesday night and probably sleep all day Wednesday, but by next week I will have sorted through the photos and will share.

Thanks to Michael for keeping an eye on the cat and our plants.


The latest News

We are enjoying a couple of days of warm and sunny after mostly gloomy and wet earlier in the week. The windows are open with the birdsongs wafting in on the wind. Casey’s already outside tilling the Edible Garden and I’m on my out to repot the basil. All of our plants are growing strong and it looks like the weather is going to be perfect to get them planted when we return.

As I’ve Planned and Planned this trip to London, then planned some more, I have come to the conclusion that my best option is to have an outline rather than a rigid schedule, giving us flexibility for bad weather or just feeling tired. After a half-day trip to Windsor Castle on Friday, we will have no other “appointments” and we’ll buy our tickets at the door of wherever we decide we want to stop. We know that will include Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, The Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, The Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The National Gallery, Buckingham Palace, St. James Palace and Park, Kensington Palace and Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park, Wildlife Park, Victoria and Albert Museum. I have mapped out several walks to see all of that and who knows what else we’ll see on our way? I am not sure if I’ll be able to write much next week, but I am going to try.

Leaving Wed. 4/27 Return Tues. 5/3

The Queen had a Birthday, her 96th, on Thursday. Of course, we had a toast to her Health. Whilst checking out the latest Royal Gossip, I came across this fascinating little clip.

It is such a Fine Day! I’m going to go outside and play.


Easter Greetings…

We had an Egg Hunt with the Jrs. yesterday…

We definitely had the best week-end day for our activities; today is gloomy and cool, better suited for Good Friday. My preferred plant place opened up on Wednesday and I stocked up on herbs… I may have to repot them before we travel… The Predictors say it will be chilly until Thursday, so we’ve got All of our pots in the laundry room.

We managed to cross everything off of our to-do list last week, moving around perennials and shrubs, so I’ve spent little time on the London Plans. This week, however, I’m free to pore over the maps and websites.


The Sunday Scoop 4-10-22

It’s been a busy week, sort of…well, it’s been a week, anyway, rainy and cold with a smattering of sunshine interspersed. We have a young pileated woodpecker showing up to the suet.. and that’s been pretty exciting…

Today, however, is sunny and warming up nicely so I am planning on attacking my Garden To-Do List.

We dug up our daylillies and daisies and I have no idea where to put them. I am not really fond of daylillies, especially where I had them, but I planned on giving them away and got no takers. For now, I think I’ll toe them in around the Big Tulip Poplar and see how they do…or maybe not. We need to plant a leftover rosebush out back and pull out the grape vine, too.

We visited Hillside Gardens on Thursday and I bought 3 Better Boy tomato plants and 6 california wonder pepper plants. I am going to repot them and wait until after our trip to plant outside. Ronnie’s fruit stand should get their first shipment in this week and that’s my place for herbs and flowers and other vegetables. They’ll look pretty out on the enclosed back porch and I’m quite grateful that my looming travel will hold me back from making my same old mistake of putting warm-weather crops in the ground too early. My cool-weather garden bed has peas a-poppin’ and tiny little beets, carrots and spinach peeking up. I’ll spare you the picture of dirt this week, but when you look real close you see them…

It should work out pretty well to have everything ready to go upon our return from London May 4–May the 4th be with me!! I couldn’t resist. I’m spending the rainy days engrossed in my planning and the Youtube has been so helpful, though a real rabbit-hole once you start watching. I watched a guy *gal? walking around London silently, just traffic sounds, etc. in the rain, for longer than I care to admit. However, it has really given me some looks at the Most Popular Sites and I get more excited every day.

Back to the Here and Now: My Irish Dancers are in Belfast, Northern Ireland, competing in the World Championships. My #2 grandie, Olivia, is on a school trip to Washington, D.C., so I’m kept busy sending out the long-distance Love. Samantha was here yesterday to play, though!

The Sun is beckoning me — lighting up the dust in the house, too — so I’m going to pretend I didn’t notice and go Outside and Play!

Even if you’re stuck inside, I hope you enjoy this Beautiful Day!


The Sunday Scoop — 4/3/22

The Excitement of planning my upcoming London trip has pervaded this week, eclipsing all other tasks. I’m wallowing in over-thinking, imagining all sorts of scenarios and timeframes, then re-imagining it, then fretting and changing the Plan again. Even after all the attention, I’m only Sure that we will leave EVV April 27 5:15 and arrive LHR April 28 12:45pm, check in to The Queen’s Gate Hotel in South Kensington where we will stay for five nights and return to LHR 12:15pm May 3 to arrive EVV 9:15pm.

The Queens Gate Hotel is a couple of blocks from the Wildlife Garden/Museum of Natural Science, and a couple of blocks in the other direction to the Victoria and Albert Museum. I chose this hotel quite a while back for its location 0.5 mile from Kensington Gardens and I feel like I know the route through the Gardens and Hyde Park (about 2 miles) to the Buckingham Palace by heart now.

In order to get the full Royal Effect, we’ll take a bus trip to Windsor Castle where HM The Queen is currently residing. Maybe I Will get a glimpse of ERII after all, but I’m Sure to Feel Her Presence there (thanks, Mary-my-old-nursing-school-roomie, for pointing that out).

There should be time to see The Tower, The Globe, The Eye, The Tate Modern and The National Gallery and any green space I happen upon — and there seem to be plenty.

Today is a lovely Spring day here at the Acres, so I’m bringing my attention back to Our gardens. I can see about a dozen peas peeping up and a scraggly row of spinach can be spotted if you look closely; the radishes are filling in their space nicely. I don’t expect the beets and carrots to show up too soon as it has been cold.

We’re planning on moving some forsythias and a viburnum to the East side of the house. Of course, “we” is just a euphemism. Casey’s got his own list of outside work and I have to put my requests in, hoping he’ll schedule them soon. We’re dodging rain showers this week, so I wait patiently.

Heading out into the Sunshine, hoping All is Well where You are, too!


The Sunday Scoop

We got the countertop installed last Wednesday! There’s always something more to do, but we’re calling it done-for-now.

There’s more storage, more workspace, and it feels so New — something rare in this old shanty.

The Jr. girls were here Thursday and Friday and we had a blast going to the mall, the zoo, and to the Theatre to see Sing 2. Another Spring Break is behind us and I wish the time didn’t go so quickly…

I must make a decision today — tomorrow at the latest — regarding my visit to London. >sigh< Let me explain…

This trip was planned and paid for in 2019, kids, and there have been so many changes that I can’t say that I care about it much. You see, the Goal was to see The Queen at Royal Ascot; back then she attended Every Day and I was assured, veritably certain to get a glimpse of her from the Queen Anne Enclosure as she arrived in a Royal Carriage from Windsor. She was only 93 at the time and was still making all of her usual appearances. Then Covid. Three years later, she is having problems with walking and currently doesn’t want to be seen in a wheelchair. Since Prince Philip died last year she has appeared to be increasingly frail and her appearances are few and far between. She is determined to be at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Memorial Service this week and to take part in as many Platinum Jubilee events as possible, especially Trooping of the Colour in June, but her family have had to take over Most of her duties.

So here I am with a hotel reservation for The Jubilee Week, her birthday week and the week of Royal Ascot. Face it, the crowds in London that week will be insane and I’ll not get Close to Buckingham Palace to see her, though I may be able to find a spot on the Trooping the Colour parade route as her carriage goes by if I manage to get my butt on a curb the day before, but I’d be better off watching it all on the telly. I’ll be very surprised if she makes it to Royal Ascot more than one day and what day will that be?? Probably not the day I’m there!

To make matters worse, the Price of the plane tickets has Doubled for that week! When I chose those dates I underestimated the power of the Platinum Jubilee to make it all so much more expensive! What with the price of everything — Everything — inflated, I have to admit that I just can’t afford this trip…not in June, anyway.

What I can do is go at another time, if our hotel will allow us to change the reservation Again. I’m looking at late April now, just one month from now. I’m going to contact the Queens Gate today and see if they’ll cooperate. If they do, Wow, we’re going to London next month! If they don’t, I’m okay with that, as well, because I’m tired of thinking about it.

You’ll be the first to know when it’s all settled…


Poems by heart

Happy Spring to you! Today is the Equinox, when the daylight is equal to the night. Having planted peas, beets, radishes, carrots, and spinach three days ago, I’m ready for this week’s predicted rain, though I dread the gloom.

This time of year always reminds me of a poem, one that I know by heart. I’m not even googling this, so it may be off. I must have memorized it more than 50 years ago, possibly closer to 60!

The year’s at the Spring,the day’s at the morn.

The morning’s at seven, the hillside’s dew-pearled.

The lark’s on the wing, the snail’s on the thorn.

God’s in his Heaven, All’s right with the World!

Robert Browning…

Over the years I’ve often quoted that “God’s in his Heaven” line whenever I am immersed in Nature’s Beauty. The All’s right with the World, is encouraging and I look to the perennial changing of the seasons to reassure me. Just like Life, Spring is not lived in just one day, but in a succession of days spent seeking sunlight and warmth; it is a process of steady renewal that culminates in verdant color that All God’s creatures enjoy!

cardinal on the lamp

It was a busy week here at the Acres and I have acutely missed the hour we lost. I read an article that said Napping is a sign of creeping dementia, so I’ve forced myself to pull All-Dayers this entire week. Well, dozing in front of the TV doesn’t count, does it?

We’re getting our countertop put in this Wednesday, but Casey has to pull out the old one and the countertop people will pick it up and use it for a template to cut the new. This means I won’t have a kitchen sink or workplace for 2-3 days. I’m down with that and looking forward to eating out!

Olivia and Samantha aka Nova and Unicorn, will be here Thursday for a sleepover to celebrate their Spring Break Week! Last year we were at Disney with them, so we can’t top that, but we’re going to have Two Days of Fun and Feasting, an event that may become a tradition — one never knows…

One really does never know, does one? Who knew that the poems we memorized as kids would bring us such comfort and joy in our old-ish age? I believe I always knew how precious Springtime is, though we try to hurry it along when it insists on staying cloudy or cool or rains incessantly.

magnolia tree buds

Despite its whimsical nature, Spring always brings to me the desire to refresh and renew, to try again: This time my seeds will grow; this time I’ll really quit; this time I’ll really begin, this time I’ll get it right. There is Hope as the trees and shrubs bloom and we watch the birds mate and feather their nests and it seems appropriate, even necessary, to remember the poems of our past.

There is another Spring poem, or verse of it, anyway, that I quote to myself often, though it has only been lodged in the old brain for about 30 years:

sweet spring is my time, is your time, is our time, for springtime is Love time and viva sweet love…



Plantin’ o’ the green…

My family are Irish by my great-grandmother, Kathleen Kinkade, a Most-Honored Ancestor, and we attribute most of our talent, smarts, and wit to our Irish DNA.

Have you noticed, though, that most of our cherished Irish traditions are actually American? Surely the Irish-Americans have been involved, but the wearin’ o’ the green in rivers and beer is all-American, as are the parades and excessive drinking. In Old Ireland, the taverns were all closed and the churches were open for “celebration”. It wasn’t until 1995 that Dublin organized a parade (NYC’s is still bigger) and week-long festival to attract tourists.

Leprechauns, of course, are real, as are fairies. My grandie asked me last week if I believed there was a pot of gold at a rainbow’s end. I cannot prove it one way or the other, but that’s the magic of leprechauns, dwarf elves, usually shoe cobblers, who love a good practical joke. Though they originated in Ireland, many emigrated to our country over the years and we now have a sizeable population who live peacefully amongst us. It’s true with fairies, also, who used some family-chain-migration to populate our wooded areas. I’m sure there is a fine Leprechaun living in our woods, but he prefers his solitude and I respect that. Our fairies are definitely Irish, as I’ve heard the sound of their dancing in the grove.

My traditions are corned beef and cabbage, in the crockpot right now, and planting peas. Planting peas on St. Patrick’s day is supposed to bring luck; I guess most celebratory traditions are to bring Luck, aren’t they? I do it because it’s a good time to get cool-weather crops started, even in cold years.

This year we’ve cultivated our newest garden bed and it’s ready for some early crops before we use it for melons this summer. The area is 3.5′ x 16′; beets and carrots will be sown in the front 12″, and spinach and radishes in successive plantings in the middle 12″. The peas will go up against the trellis along the back 6″.

I’ve never grown beets or carrots well, trying several years ago with absolutely nothing to show for it. I’m determined to bring in a crop this year! My peas don’t always do well, either, but I usually get Something for my efforts. I must confess, in case you didn’t know, I can’t control the weather…

But we’ve got a beautiful day here today! There’s lots of good Irish music to play while we work –it’s more of a “Whisky in the Jar” day than a “Danny Boy” day, and I believe some Irish beverages are in order.

My NYC Irish Dancers have been Busy this week, marching in parades and performing in bars, country clubs, meetings… For your St. Patrick’s Day pleasure, here’s 5 minutes of fierce Irish Dancing from 2020 starring Emma and Eliza O’Casey Jose’…