Saturday, 14 June 2014

Taste of Reston

Today was the second day of the 'Taste of Reston' food festival in the town centre.

There were stalls representing local restaurants selling taster sized meals and a variety of other stalls, live music and cookery demonstrations in the main street.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Chunky Chipmunks

When the chipmunks first came out of their long winter hibernation they were skinny and looked in poor condition.  From time to time we put out a little treat like this grape that was swiftly carried off.

Today I was surprised to see one of the chipmunks climbing the pole of the bird feeder (up to now I thought that they were content to just pick up the crumbs and seeds scattered by the birds).

The woodpecker and chipmunk didn't seem to take much notice of each other despite being quite close.

I soon saw what the chipmunk was after..

They are so light that they don't trigger the 'squirrel buster' part of the feeder and he was able to chomp away to his heart's content, as well as saving some for later..,

I watched him make three more trips to his hole and then back to the feeder to fill up.  Perhaps he is already preparing for his next hibernation.  He certainly doesn't look quite such a skinny little thing now, he looks more like his singing cartoon cousins!

Thursday, 12 June 2014


This unbearably cute kitten was one of a pair that I encountered at Lake Anne the other day.

We do miss our cats although they have the happiest possible life with Lauren and James.  We have had feline companions for 30 years and so it is inevitable that we gravitate to any feline that crosses our path.  Usually this is Cyril, the chunky grey cat who turns up on the decking from time to time or Bastille, the large black cat who lives (literally) in our local pet shop.

Leaving Lake Anne the other day I noticed a window with lots of cat toys and climbing posts in it and then saw four kittens - two tabbies (6 weeks) and two black & white (8 weeks).  

I couldn't work out what the business was initially and so went in - it was a cats only veterinary practice and the kittens were there from local animal rescue charities, waiting for new owners.  The receptionist, obviously recognising a mad cat-woman when she saw one, invited me to go in and join the kittens..

Did I need asking twice??  Well you know me..  In a few short minutes I was on the floor in the shop window and after a few minutes play the little tabby boy who would have been my take-home choice had I been able to do so, was taking full advantage..

Fast asleep...  I stayed as long as I could and was invited back another day but I haven't dared...

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Under the Weather

This is the second rose that I discovered in the garden.  It is an old rose I think, and has an amazing fragrance.

Because of the heat the flowers are quite short-lived and tonight we have been battered by extremely heavy rain and thunderstorms so I doubt that there are any petals left at all..

When I opened the door to take these photos, it was like opening the door of a steam room, despite the rain.  It is no wonder that everything grows at such a rate here.

We did in fact have a warning of the possibility of even more severe weather tonight...  Enough to frighten the life out of you -  but fortunately it didn't materialise here..

'Tornado Watch in Northern Virginia

Active for next 3 hours, 16 minutesPosted 2 hours, 19 minutes ago – National Weather Service

How likely:
How soon:
How severe:

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Summer at Lake Anne

Today I went to see a friend who lives at Lake Anne, a complex of houses and apartments built around a large man-made lake in the early 1960's.

It includes shops, restaurants - with extensive outside seating now that summer is here - and a community centre.

The bronze statue relaxing at the edge of the water is Mr Bob Simon who was the founder of the planned community of Reston - Lake Anne was the first part of his plan that was realised.  In April of this year there were celebrations on the plaza by the lake to celebrate Reston's 50th birthday and Mr Simon's 100th!

There is a very tempting fountain on the plaza - especially on a day like today when the temperature was over 30C.  It looks rather like a sandcastle.  Despite the sign saying that children and animals should stay out of the water, two or three small children were having a great time running in and out of the spray!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Seen in the Swamp

When we visited Jamestown on Saturday morning we drove along a causeway to Jamestown Island and then walked on a boardwalk over the swamp, which was very lush and green.  

It was, apparently, the swamp and the effect of the diseases spread by the mosquitos and other insects that caused the deaths of many of the early colonists.

The wildlife that we saw was more benign, like this rather large and somewhat submerged turtle (approx 2ft long nose to tail!)

There were many large dragonflies flitting backwards and forwards over the water..

In the far distant trees we saw a 'new' woodpecker with striking blocks of colour.

He is a red-headed woodpecker, of medium size.  Apologies for the photo - he really was a very long way away..

This crow and his crow-nies (sorry) were much closer and extremely noisy!

Sunday, 8 June 2014


Richmond is the capital city of the Commonwealth (State) of Virginia and was for a short time towards the end of the 18th Century a British Colony.  Above is the main government building (Capitol).

We travelled to Richmond yesterday afternoon, having had lunch in the King's Arms in Colonial Williamsburg - the inn and the menu as well as the entertainment and the waitress were all authentic.

We explored the city of Richmond a little last evening.  In the park behind the Capitol we narrowly missed getting watered by the automatic sprinkler system.

The Governor's House, Old City Hall, Church and Bell Tower are all impressive buildings in the centre of the city.

This morning we decided to follow the Canal Walk to see the Civil War Museum.  The walk took us through a derelict power station with some dramatic art work!

The canal runs alongside the river and was built because at this point the James  river features falls and rapids - the canal was needed to make navigation possible.

The Civil War Museum was housed in the former Tredegar Ironworks which had contributed to Richmond's strategic importance during the war.  Photography was not allowed inside but David took these shots outside.

We had one more port of call before we headed for home.  David had seen a bus which said 'Ampthill' on the front.  Since this is a market town some eight miles from Shillington, he was intrigued..