Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sometimes I forget that I don't live in a city

In case I ever forget that I live out in the countryside, things like this bring me right back to earth.

We have some friends who live on a farm - they have a cosy farmhouse, a veg patch that makes me drool, and a zillion chickens. I think I'd miss being able to walk to the library and the station, though.

And when we parked our car in the farm yard across from their house, the combine harvester was sitting there. I'd seen them in the fields and on the road, but never up close. They're enormous!

And, this one was special: I got to stand on it!

In other rural pursuits, we bought some plums last weekend, and I made my first jam. It's not going to win any prizes (and I've come to the conclusion that I don't really like plum jam), but it's a start. I need a better funnel, though - there were a few dribbles of jam that ended up on the counter rather than in the jars.

Oh, and we washed our sheets and discovered a stowaway at the end of the wash. Oops. At least he's clean now. Looking a bit reproachful, though, don't you think?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Adventures on two wheels

I spent a day in London a few weeks ago, where I went on a Fat Tire Bike Tour. I went on the Paris tours (and applied for a job as a tour guide) when I lived there. I think Paris is a slightly more bike-friendly city, since most of the London tour was through Hyde Park/Kensington Park/Green Park.

Lovely parks, all, (and the guides were great), but if I only had a weekend to see London and spent it on the insides of the parks, I might be annoyed. As it is, I know London pretty well and enjoyed the spin through town on the bikes. Especially as it was Sunday so the roads around Buckingham Palace were closed.

The bikes all had names (of people mentioned on the tour). I was being shown the town by a Mr. Eric Clapton. We got along very well.

I learned in Paris that taking a picture from the bike while riding to your health.  So here is the back of 10 Downing Street with the London Eye in the background.

Continuing the bike theme, John and I took our bikes to Cambridge on the train last weekend. In spite of the extortionate ticket prices (and recent railway strikes by overpaid but disgruntled employees), it was actually pretty painless. Bringing your bikes on the train is free (woot!), and there are special racks for them. I could see how the racks might get kind of full on a weekday, but we had plenty of room when we were going.

We met up for the day with some family friends from New Ro, who were enjoying a vacation in Paris/London/Cambridge. We rode our bikes out to Grantchester, where we hit up The Blue Ball Inn for some extremely tasty warm, flat beer of the Adnams variety. YUM. We then wobbled to another pub for more beer and lunch. Tough life. Then we went into Cambridge itself, where we walked through the gardens of Clare College and went into the Kings' chapel.

If you can't make it good, make it RED.

We had a blast of a day - the weather was gorgeous, the company was great, and we have now decided that the ONLY way to get around Cambridge is by bike. It's a long walk from the station to town, and the car situation is a nightmare. There was even a free bike parking garage at the mall. What more could you want?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pictures, soon, I promise!

There are pictures on my camera that I'd like to blog, but they're downstairs and I'm upstairs and it's not going to happen.

While I was in Rhode Island, there was a huge marketing campaign on for "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane." I definitely thought the book looked interesting, but not so much that I wanted to buy it. Instead, I went to the super awesome magical Stowmarket Library. Apparently in the UK, the book is called "The Lost Book of Salem". And it was a great read. I love magic/witches/historical fiction/romance, and while the end was a little unsatisfying, the book on the whole zipped right along.

It was my father-in-law's birthday a few weeks ago...I made the "Best chocolate cake ever" (according to the website). I have to say, I agree with them. It was pretty darned awesome. I left out the coffee, and put strawberries on top instead of the chocolate curls. Make it - it's yummy!