Saturday, 25 January 2014

Day 86 - Leamington Lunch

A very stormy day in Leamington with strong winds, thunder, hail and heavy rain.

David and I retreated to Wagamamas for lunch and this was my very artistic looking Sesame Chicken and Mandarin salad, which was very good but took quite a while to eat with chopsticks!

Friday, 24 January 2014

Day 85 - Flower arranging for beginners

When I was in Leamington yesterday I bought a selection of flowers for Lauren and spent a bit of time putting them together in the vase.

Flower arranging has never been my strong point but I was pleased with the resulting display.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Day 84 - Walk in the Park

I headed into Leamington with Lauren this morning when she went to work.  After a few showers the sun came out and I went for a stroll through the Jephson Gardens, a Victorian park by the river.

The lake was busy with ducks and Canada Geese and they were busy formation diving and retrieving food from below the water..

The swan's underwater trawl was a little more subtle..

The last time we visited the park there was a huge beech tree which was due to be cut down due to fungal disease.

It has now been transformed into seats and sculptures.

This last seat/sculpture was quite 'beastly' in form!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Day 83 - Safely Home!

We arrived at Heathrow early this morning, just a little later than anticipated.  David had a mad dash to his flight to Hamburg and James very kindly met me at Terminal 5 and drove back to Leamington.

Emma was snuggled up in her bed and I soon followed her example for a couple of hours.

Meanwhile back in Reston temperatures have dropped very low indeed and with a cold wind too.   However the forecast was for sunshine today despite the cold and no doubt some amazing photo opportunities have been missed!

I have therefore been looking in the web to see what others have posted.  The snow is very dry and powdery and therefore we had told Lauren when she asked that it was definitely not suitable for making snowmen (or snow cats). However, in Washington DC someone has proved us wrong...

This lovely picture of a snowman (with Oreo features) in front of the Lincoln Memorial appeared on the website today with hundreds of other pictures of snowy scenes in Virginia, Washington DC , Maryland and New York.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Day 82 - What a difference a day makes !

After Monday's mild weather it was hard to believe that we would see the forecast snow and at first light it was still mild, water unfrozen.  However from 9am a steady fall of dry powdery snow began and the temperature fell just as steadily.

By early afternoon we wondered if we would be going anywhere and half expected to hear that our flight to the UK had been cancelled.

When we left the house all was very white, and quiet.

At the airport it was also quiet as many internal flights were cancelled.  The snow continued to fall steadily but our aircraft was there and the flight due to board on time.

It was still snowing when we moved off the stand for the plane to be de-iced en route to the runway.

The de-icing process is barely discernible here due to the floodlighting and antifreeze being sprayed on the fuselage, wings and cockpit by men on cherry pickers with hoses (what a job).  This was followed by further spraying of an anti-icing agent to protect the plane.

After a delay of about an hour and a half we were on our way to Heathrow.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Day 81 - New Bird on the Block!

Today was Martin Luther King Day and hence a national holiday.  

The weather was surprisingly mild and the birds were out in force - including this new visitor who appeared during our leisurely morning.

He soon got down to the serious business of suet eating, with some rather uncomfortable-looking enthusiasm..

He is a Northern Flicker, from a family of birds related to the woodpeckers and he reminded us of the Red Bellied Woodpecker but is a heavier and bigger bird altogether.

Eventually he sorted out the best way of getting the suet whilst remaining balanced.

This afternoon in the interests of fresh air and exercise we set off on a route march through the woods near the house for a couple of hours.   It was very pleasant and quiet and we saw some deer enjoying the sunshine and foraging for the very small amounts of edible green amongst the leaves..

The mild weather is due to come to an abrupt halt tomorrow with winter storm 'Janus' sweeping in from the north and due to deposit heavy snow over Boston, New York and Washington.  As we are due to be flying out at 6pm we are rather hoping that it won't be as bad as predicted..

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Day 80 - Goodbye Fall, Hello Spring?

After a major assault on the Autumn leaves carpeting the front 'garden' this morning (we have still to tackle the back), there were 14 large bags for the garden debris collection this week!

This afternoon, amongst the leaves at the foot of a large tree in the back garden, David spotted these tiny signs of Spring in the winter sunlight.. (Let's hope that the forecast temperatures of -12C for the coming week is only a blip)