Saturday, 17 May 2014

VIP Arrivals

After a morning of food shopping and final preparations, we set off to Dulles once we knew that the plane had landed.

Just a short wait and Lauren and James were through customs and we were soon at home enjoying a cup of tea on the deck.  Unfortunately it seems to be cooler here now than in the UK but it was dry today.

Later we went to the local Sports Bar for dinner where we could choose to watch football, baseball, racing or cycling on the big screens although we didn't manage to get the commentary box on our table to work (in theory you can tune in to the commentary of the game or sport that interests you and have it broadcast just to your table).  

We sampled the Philli Cheesesteak Sandwich that was Lauren's favourite when we came to visit David at this time last year.  Unfortunately nobody except me is prepared to eat the dill pickles so I ended up with an overdose of pickled cucumber.

It is great to have our first visitors here and we are looking forward to sightseeing with them during the coming week.

Friday, 16 May 2014

The Art of Pricing Art

The lady who researches and prices all the pictures which are donated to the Bargain Loft is off to her summer house in Maryland for a few months.

Talking to her yesterday at a Women's Club lunch I found myself volunteering to hold the fort for her while she is away..

My first challenges today were the above print of the Madeleine Church in Paris and an oval framed picture of the Madonna and Child in a border of (?piano) ivory..

Well it should keep me busy for a few months!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Rain..and more rain

The weather forecast was for very heavy rain this afternoon and evening and there is a 'Flash Flood' warning in place until tomorrow afternoon.  It is certainly very wet indeed.

The trees are heavy with water and the ground awash.

At the side of the house the drainage channel has become a water feature.

We have just bought an outdoor table, chairs and mat, planning for the summer weather - not much use at present!

This evening, driving home from Pilates, the heavy rain created coloured reflections of the traffic lights - there is no other road lighting, which makes lane control and navigation a little difficult..

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Why did the geese cross the road?

There are lots of lakes and ponds in Reston and we have got used to seeing Canada Geese paddling in roadside puddles and grazing on grass verges .  

This evening, however, as we slowed down approaching a red light on a dual carriageway between the airport toll road and Reston town centre (above, but taken from the other direction) we saw a tiny convoy ahead - a family of five - fairly oblivious of the traffic bearing down on them.

They had crossed one half of the road when we saw them and luckily set off across the second half before the traffic had started moving when the lights changed ..

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Stopping for the School Bus

Approaching the turning into our road this afternoon, a School Bus was just dropping off some children at the corner. 

The majority of children of all ages here catch the bus to school and so there are fleets of yellow buses around for several hours in the morning and afternoon.

It is the law in the US that when the school bus stops with its lights flashing and it's 'stop' sign up, then all traffic must come to a complete halt at least 50 feet away and remain so until the bus moves on and the road is clear of children.

Traffic must stop in all directions (except on a dual carriageway, when the other direction can keep going).  Even another school bus approaching the road junction has stopped - as shown in the right of this (not very good) photo.

PS. After completing today's blog, the very hot and humid weather turned into a huge thunderstorm this evening, heavy rain and suddenly... power!  It is now a very quiet evening indeed..

Monday, 12 May 2014

Golf Day at River Creek

This morning, after dropping David off at work, I drove to Leesburg, some 15 miles from here, to volunteer at a Charity Golf Tournament in aid of the Arthritis Foundation.

River Creek is quite a large gated community of rather grand colonial style homes built around a very impressive golf course and country club, on the banks of the Potomac River.

About 150 golfers set off between 8 and 9 am around the course - with forecast temperatures of 90 degrees for today.  They had a number of promotional items given to them before they started and were served  drinks and lunch at grill points around the course.

Once all the golfers were out, the function room overlooking the course was made ready for their return for 'cocktail hour', formal dinner, auctions and raffles, including the 'trip raffle' - ticket price $100 - to win a luxury golfing holiday in Ireland.

Unfortunately I had to leave before the dinner and fundraising, I would have liked to have seen how it worked as they had both silent and live auctions.  The whole day is projected to raise around $250,000 for research, individual and family support and outreach activities.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Dollars and Dolls

At the Bargain Loft on Saturday I came across my first dollar coin.  They are uncommon and unpopular here because they are said to be too easy to confuse with a quarter (smaller, silver colour).  To me they make so much more sense than the dollar note...

The other problem with the dollar notes is that they are almost identical to the 5, 10 and 20 dollar notes, which is not helpful.

In terms of the exchange rate at present the dollar is certainly not on top as far as the pound is concerned - but it's a good time to come shopping in the US!

One of the things which happens at the Bargain Loft is that we all end up spotting things that we like and spending money when we are there.  This week I fell for this lovely Prairie Doll - a hand made replica of a doll which early settlers made for their daughters from scraps of cotton from bed linen and petticoat.  

I can't claim to have made it (who would believe me?) but it (she needs a name) will be waiting for Lauren when she arrives with James for a visit on Saturday.