Monday, July 14, 2008

Golf Pros

We've seen two movies recently: Juno and Prince Caspian. Juno was not as good as I was expecting it to be, but still reasonably entertaining. I thought Allison Janney stole every scene she was in, and that it had a very witty script. We saw Prince Caspian with the small boy two weeks ago. I didn't like it as much as the first movie, but it held all of our attention for the full 2 1/2 hours (not easy).

We've both been wiring our way through the Dresden Files books, having watched the series on DVD. The books are fun, especially having seen the series - it's like getting a whole new set of episodes that we haven't seen!

J and I went to the Suffolk Smallholders' Show today at Stonham Barns - it was pretty cold for July (we were glad we had our jackets) but the usual sheep, sheepdogs, geese, chickens and tractors were all out in full force.

We were pretty much smallholder-d out after an hour and a half, so we walked back to the car. As we went past the driving range, I suggested we hit a bucket of balls. Instead, we played 9 (little) holes of golf. Fun times. Except for my experience on the first tee with the group behind us watching when I sliced two balls into the pond in quick succession. Luckily, we had some extra.

John won, by a few shots (he's had more lessons than I have!) and we had a blast. We were enjoying the spectacle of the guys in front, too. We were both playing with somewhat beat-up rented clubs, and I was wearing flip-flops. They were dressed to the NINES and had the full set of clubs, fancy bag and trolley, and all the required accessories. And they STUNK. Balls in hedges, over fences, in the sand, onto greens other than the one they were aiming for. Teehee.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Garden railway

We had such a blast with the trains in the back yard last weekend that we've been plotting the best way to make them permanent. John has a great program called WinRail, where you tell it the scale and brand of your trains (and tracks) and it helps you build a to-scale plan using the tracks available. The current plan is to gravel the top of the garden (where nothing really grows well to begin with) and lay track up there. Ideally we'd also have a 'branch line' coming down the south side of the garden (along a north-facing wall that never gets any light).

Wait, why am I telling you this, when I can show it to you? Here it is, a monument to our epic computer/train geek-ness.

In exchange for the trains, John's agreed that we can also extend the patio so there's room for our chairs and table. There should still be plenty of grass in the middle of the lawn for croquet and we're planning it out so it doesn't foul the clothesline.

The grand master plan is to build a small retaining wall along the right hand side of the garden, as the lawn slopes down a bit more than the train can handle. The grand master plan is to use the dirt cleared from the top to build up the bank on the right. If we ever want to sell the house, we'll just lift the track and all of the train areas can be used for planting.

If nothing else, we're having fun dreaming about it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

4th of July recap (super-late)

We had a fantastic 4th of July (on the 5th - we had to work on the 4th). We had some friends from choir over - an American couple and a Brit couple.  So with the three of us, there were 3 Americans and 4 Brits. Enough for the locals to be able to quell any rebellion in case we got too rowdy.

The weather in the morning was really nasty - it was drizzly and windy and generally gross. Then, at about 12, it suddenly cleared, and the sun came out and we had a gorgeous afternoon. It was about 75 and sunny - perfect for a bbq. Plan A had been to fire up the grill (thanks, mom & dad), which we did. I grilled burgers and garlic-marinated shrimp on skewers, and then left some peppers to roast over the coals. YUM. I also made my grandma's world-famous potato salad and a green salad. We had one piece of pepper and about half a bowl of potato salad left over - everybody wolfed everything else down.  For dessert, James and I made brownies (I let him lick the bowl - i'm nice like that), which we ate with blueberries, strawberries and ice cream. 

We retired outside, where we had a rip-roaring game of croquet.

Then, the hubby had mentioned to Graham that we had some trains. Graham is a bigger train geek than he wants to admit, so we ended up with this:

And this:

Our little LGB train merrily trundled around the garden - grass didn't phase it at all. It even went up and down the hill, after some rearrangement of the track. I took a video but it doesn't want to upload. Bummer.