Saturday, 30 November 2013

Snowy Montreal

We flew to Montreal this morning where it is as cold as we anticipated!  

The water in the old port on the St Lawrence river - where boats used to come and go across the North Atlantic from Liverpool - is frozen.

We walked around the old town which is very reminiscent of an old French town, although perhaps with more skyscrapers.

This is the Basilica of Notre Dame de Montreal, which was very beautifully lit - the photo does not do it justice.

We returned to our hotel via the underground city, emerging through the Palais de Congres where David's conference takes place on Monday.  It is on the right of this picture taken from our room on the 10th floor (of 26).

It is due to snow overnight so we may need even more layers to explore tomorrow!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Day 29

Today was the holiday parade (as well as Black Friday sales) in Reston, so we went along to have a look.  In Fountain Square the tree was sparkling and everyone waited in the sunshine in anticipation.

We were all issued with bells and here is David modelling his!  Unfortunately as you can see our vantage point was not on the sunny side of the street and this meant poor photos as well as freezing hands and feet.  The parade featured marching bands, dancers (note Ugg boots), clowns, vintage vehicles and balloons:

On a different note entirely, the birds and squirrels in the garden were perturbed to have a visitor:

He quite often passes through but doesn't usually stop.

Thursday, 28 November 2013


Our first experience of Thanksgiving - this morning we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade and decided that next year it might be a good excuse for a long weekend in New York.  Even viewed via the television, it was quite a spectacle:

Our own celebration was on a more modest scale..

Well you have to try, don't you?  Even if a little surreal with just the two of us..  

We then settled down to watch 'Miracle on 34th Street' (1947 version as recommended by Lauren).

Better get out and get some exercise tomorrow!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Maggie's Birthday!

We were pleased to receive a photo from Maggie with one of her birthday presents - in preparation for her visit in 2014..

This evening we went to the cinema in Reston to see 'About Time'.  

This is our second visit to the cinema here and on both occasions the same guy on the desk has assumed that we are 'seniors' and looked perplexed and unapologetic when David has responded 'certainly not!'.  We now feel there are two courses of action open to us:

1.  Break out the Grecian 2000, vamp up the wardrobe a bit and go on a diet;

2.   Save a few dollars each trip by just asking for seniors tickets and wait in the hope that someone will challenge us, say 'surely not' and demand photo ID.

We enjoyed the film anyway and will be back shortly to see 'Philomena' which has just opened here.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Day 26

It has rained steadily all day today and remained very cold.  Visitors to the feeders have been infrequent but we did have a visit from the elusive Red-Bellied Woodpecker, although the photos are still rather unsatisfactory..

Monday, 25 November 2013

Day 25

The dry, cold weather over the last few days -  the temperature has struggled to get above freezing today despite the sunshine - means that we have had many visitors to the bird feeders throughout the day.

This is an American robin - according to Bill Bryson, named by an early settler from England who noted the 'red' (orange) breast colouring.   However it is much bigger than 'our' robin - about the size of a blackbird - and is a member of the thrush family.  It can be seen in flocks in the parks in Washington.

This little bird prefers to feed on the ground really - he is a Dark Eyed Junco.

This is a female Cardinal - less colourful than her male counterpart but displaying her crest rather nicely.

We have also been visited by a different woodpecker, bigger than the Downy Woodpecker who visits frequently and with a lovely red colour - but no decent photo as yet..

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Just one month to Christmas Eve!

A trip to Leesburg outlet mall today to make a start on our Christmas shopping.  We visited it back in May, on Memorial Day weekend, when Lauren and I came over to stay and it was much warmer then..

Today it was bitterly cold, a strong wind from the NE kept the temperature below freezing all day - despite the sunshine - but much quieter than before too.  This may have been due to the weather or the forthcoming sales.  

Many of the shops are scheduled to open at 6pm on Thanksgiving - this coming Thursday -and then stay open until 10pm the following day - Black Friday - when the prices are as low as they go.