Tuesday 16 May 2017

Spring Greens and Baby Birds.

Bearing in mind we are super busy at work it seems odd to say I have just had a couple of days off, but it was kind of now or never and I have also had a less than gentle reminder I still have two thirds of my leave to take before September so how about I get on and book some hmm?
To be honest it's a combination of having slightly more holiday and a completely different leave year to Himself and also the fact that I thought I would need time to move again.
As it goes our landlord hasn't got round to filing his planning application yet and offered us this place for another year. We both admitted we couldn't face having to move again this year so we said yes. We haven't exactly got on with our downsizing so it's no bad thing really!
It does mean I have 2 weeks in hand and I don't really know what to do with it. We can't afford a holiday so I'm kind of stumped .
Mostly though I need to keep busy, it takes my mid of stuff so I keep on working, but I'm also aware of how horribly tired I am. There are worse problems to have.

I did a bit more tidying in the garden. My Mum is of the opinion 'Why bother?' but as you know I love gardening, it's how I relax and unwind, also the landlord did ask would we mind trying to keep on top of the wilderness so I feel I'm kind of doing that and a bit more. On the one hand I find it hard as a keen gardener to have such a an overgrown mess but on the other the wildlife it brings is an absolute joy.
Red Kite watching what I'm up too.
The bit that still needs tackling.....
Believe it or not there is a veggie  patch under there.
The bit that has been tamed.

The path and round stone edging was a surprise, it's fascinating to see the bones of what was once there, sort of garden archaeology. If it were down to me there would be more flowerbeds but hey it's not.

I absolutely love the bird life, it's such a lovely way to start the day sipping tea and watching them busy on the feeders. I have a robin with no tail (who is so damn friendly I'm not surprised he has no tail!) There have ben baby starlings an baby robin and this week 2 baby goldfinches. They are teeny tiny and so, so, SO cute
Himself has named them Harry and Barry, they may not have figured out how the bird feeders work yet but they have figured out if they sit underneath enough food will get dropped for them to get their fill. They are not stupid these two.

In other news we haven't been able to get to the park much due to other commitments and the weather ,but we are still getting out for a walk when we can. We have discovered we are about a really pretty 20 minute walk from a great pub so I foresee a lot of summer evening walks in that direction!

This is an old railway line that is now a cycle way & footpath.
I took this picture on a walk to christen my new flask, As I mentioned before Himself has a theory that I have a 10 mile limit before I get grouchy, I however have a theory that I have a 10 mile 'I need a cup of tea' mark so decided to invest in a new flask to test whose theory was right!

Being out in the air does my soul good. Last year when all the shit hit I would get this feeling like I couldn't quite breathe inside, I'd just have to get out and walk, even when it was blowing a hoolie. I need to make more time for walking.

It's not just work that has been busy. May is the big birthday month between friends and family they cover 5th, 6th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 22nd & 29th, as you can imagine it's a bit ouchy on the pocket and tough on the waistband and liver.

Himself's Dad is the 9th so we whizzed down to Margate last weekend to catch up and go out for dinner and a few drinks.

Though, hand on heart I am absolutely thrilled with how the town is regenerating after years of decay.
There does come a time, and in my case it was about midnight last Saturday, when you look around and find yourself stood, trying to get a drink, in trendily wood clad micro brewery, amongst a crowd of braying, bearded & man bunned DFL hipsters, whilst a guy with headphones and a laptop who thinks he's a hip DJ but is actually a prat, plays Jive Bunny (I kid you not) and you just have to wonder what the hell has happened to the town you loved.

I am getting too old for this shit.

Luckily we got to spend quality time with friends and family as well. We also had a couple of excursions to the cinema, I'm sure you have come to expect nothing less.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Which I loved, though not as much as the first one. Baby Groot stole every scene he was in.

Their Finest
Which was a surprise. For some reason the trailer had made me think it was a lighthearted comedy, it's absolutely not. Apart from Bill Nighy playing himself (as he seems to do in everything these days) which irritated Himself no end and Gemma Arterton's ever roaming Welsh accent we both enjoyed it. Sam Clafin is superb as always.

Which was extremely silly and didn't amuse me as much as it did Himself.  

We have tickets for the new Pirates of the Caribbean which I'm excited about, it will probably be shit but I don't care I love those films.
I did also see a trailer that sent a chill of horror down my spine. For some reason they have decided to do a remake of Daphne Du Maurier's book My Cousin Rachel. This fills me with despair why oh why do they feel the need??

If you haven't head it, I highly recommend the audio book read by Michael Maloney, or if you can possibly find it, the one read by Richard Burton, they are both superb. Whatever you do, do not listen to the one read by Mel Gibson!!
(The perks of working at a copyright library back in the day meant I got to plunder their vast audio book collection!)

I shall leave you with my solitary frock purchase since Easter. Not a single handbag either. I had hoped I might find a gem in New York but we didn't manage to make it to the flea market we had hoped to go too, so other than a couple of t-shirts from Uni-glo, smellies from Bath & Body Works and gifts I came home empty handed.

I bought this frock when I was browsing the Attitude sale page for stuff for Nephew Number One.

Apologies it's fresh from the wash and in need of an iron!

*DFL = Down From London

Monday 8 May 2017

In Art Deco Heaven

Well I didn't think it would take me quite this long to post about New York! Life since I have been back has been absolutely mental, but more of that another time!

New York was all I hoped it would be, it's been over 25 years since I was last there and since then my passion for Art Deco has grown 10 fold. This time I spent pretty much the whole time I was outside looking up, mostly with the slack jaw of awe, at this amazing city. It's going to be damn hard to narrow my choice of pictures down......

We arrived and proceeded to take 2 hours to clear security!?! dear lord JFK is a shit airport. They had 2 desks open at passport control, 2 freaking desks!! The queue was endless as you can imagine. This after having to have my hands and the laptop work had loaned me swabbed at Heathrow as well as the usual luggage and body scans.
Coming home was no better, chaotic systems and deeply obnoxious staff did not make that an any more pleasant experience. JFK flagship airport it is not!
I learnt that jumpers with lurex metal thread in them send the full body scanner into meltdown and lead to a full body search, won't make that mistake again! It was quite amusing to see the picture of myself standing arms up, legs akimbo with my whole upper body lit up like a Christmas tree lol.

The hotel, when we finally got there, was in the garment district and terrible chi-chi industrial chic darling. Not my cup of tea if I'm honest, too stark and far too up it's own arse. I  didn't feel particularly relaxed, mind that might just have been the 24 hour jazz, god I hate modern jazz.

I had travelled with my colleague Charlotte and we went straight out for a walk as soon as we had checked in and dumped our bags, first on my to see list was the Chrysler Building

we walked until we got hungry, me taking 15 million pictures, and walked some more until we found somewhere we thought looked good to eat. Then back to the hotel for a shower and bed.

The one crap thing about my room was the shower, no power there what so ever sadly, maybe it was deliberate, having a gentle trickle, maybe it's meant to be more relaxing or something. Personally I prefer a shower with some oomph.
New York also has soft water, Oxfordshire does not. I put my usual generous squish of shampoo on my head and genuinely started to panic that I would end up in there all night as it would just not wash out. Lesson learned and after that I was a lot more economical with the shampoo!

Next day we had a full day left to our own devices so we decided to just walk as this is pretty much the best way to see the city.
Look at all those yellow cabs, could you get any more New York?

We started with the High Line which is the old rail line to the meat packing district. It has been planted up and turned into a walkway.
It gives you some great views.

I just loved all the outside staircases they just shout New York to me.
I think we got in a good mix of the classic touristy stuff like the Empire State Building and the Flatiron Building

and some more off the beaten track areas.

We even chanced upon a farmer's market which was fun to amble about. Of course it was grey and freezing cold all day, bah.

Next day up bright and early, suited and booted for work, it was what I was there for after all!
None too shabby a place to work if you have too.

The first day was not so busy and went very well.

I also managed to make a trip to Bath & Body Works, a place I love, as there was one about 10 minutes from the office. I had a blissful half hour smelling new smells and stocking up.

That evening I had arranged to meet up with an old friend Shannon who lives in New York. We went for dinner in a teeny tiny little Italian place, ate huge bowls of pasta and talked and talked. She recommended going to see the Morgan Museum & Library which has free entry on Friday evenings. I had another friend Jennifer coming to stay with me Friday & Saturday night but she was up for it too so we added it to the itinerary.

Second day of work was also great, bloody busy and we didn't get out until 6pm, so a quick zip back to the hotel to hook up with Jennifer, change and then out to the museum. It's a beautiful place. Weirdly, even though it's been 6 years since I worked at the Bodleian it still feels like a bit of a bus man's holiday to look at old manuscripts!

We mooched in the shop and then grabbed some dinner. Jennifer and I reminisced and entertained Charlotte with some of our escapades. We have known each other for almost 30 years and used to travel a lot together, so there a many stories to tell that's for sure.

Saturday Jennifer had kindly got us tickets from the water taxi through her friend. It was grey, freezing cold and pretty soon the rain came and didn't go for the rest of the day, but other than not walking the Brooklyn Bridge because it was hammering down at that point we did the whole excursion anyway. If you stay on the boat it's a 90 minute round trip but you can hop on & hop off at various points which is what we did.
It's a great way to see the city from a different side so to speak. First stop was the 9/11 memorial and the church of St Paul's which amazingly suffered only one cracked pane of glass and became such a symbol of hope and place of sanctuary in all the difficult months that followed the tragedy.
I must confess the incredible feeling of peace you find at the memorial is not what I thought you would feel. It is so busy there now and also such a recent and shocking event but there is such a feeling of serenity at the pools.It's not normally the kind of thing I would think of visiting because I would expect it to be morbid and sad but I'm glad I did.

 Of course I braved the rain and the choppy waters to takes some pictures of the Statue of Liberty!

Once back on dry land we grabbed a late lunch at Macy's and did a little shopping as you do.

Charlotte headed off to change, she had a ticket for the opera, Jennifer and I headed to Time Square to wander about and grab some amazing pizza at another place that had been recommended to us John's Pizza, it was well worth the wait. delicious.

Sunday we had to be up and check out. Typically the weather turned and it was absolutely glorious so we sat out in Bryant Park with our breakfast before walking to the Rockefella Centre. We scooted back to the hotel to check out and see Jennifer into a taxi to the bus station. Charlotte and I then decided to leave our cases and go to Central Park as we were going to be sitting on our arses for many hours on the plane home so a walk seemed a good idea.

It was glorious.

Full of people enjoying the sunshine and yet you could still find quite spots, we even did a bit of bird spotting
Amazing what you see!

Finally it was time to head back, collect our bags and take a white knuckle taxi ride back to the airport. Sometimes my job is pretty damn great.