Saturday, 12 July 2014

Summer Saturday

After a shopping expedition this morning to acquire some hot weather clothes to take back to the US, we went to watch James who was playing rugby locally for the Leamington Royals.  Slightly incongruous to be watching rugby at this time of year and when it is so warm.  The 'Royals' won.

Back at the house, James cooked for us on the BBQ which was enjoyed by all, and required a little testing of the new chairs afterwards..

Friday, 11 July 2014

Royal Leamington Spa

The Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington look very colourful with fully round hanging baskets of scarlet single begonias.

Across the road in the Jephson Gardens, the flower beds are also very bright.

I visited the parish church by the river which is quite a striking building.  Built around an original building dating back to medieval times, the building of the current church was completed around 1815, when Leamington was in its heyday as a spa town - the Pump Room and Baths having opened in 1814.

In front of the pulpit is a very effective and life- like modern sculpture depicting two named people living on the streets..

One of the oldest parts of the church is a stone from 1626 which commemorates a donation of 6 shillings and 8 pence towards the building.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Garden Flowers

Lauren's garden is blooming well - I think that the green fingers may have skipped a generation, but she certainly has them, even growing dahlia from seed..

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Home at last!

Our departure from Dulles last night was not as smooth as anticipated due to heavy rain and thunderstorms, locally and further north which kept us on the runway for an extra two hours, with planes queuing all around us.

Once we did leave, the sunset was spectacular.

It is good to be back in Leamington and to see Sophie who has been unwell but was today enjoying the garden sunshine.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Wild Visitors

No, not a reference to Maggie and Emma, although we did have to say goodbye to them this evening as they headed home - we will be following tomorrow.

Today has been a very busy day in the garden.  Firstly we were visited by several bird families - a pair of Blue Jays with their three oversized offspring; several Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers with their slightly dozy teenagers in tow.  No pictures I am afraid.

We were then visited by a Red Bellied Woodpecker with a large and hungry 'baby'.  The adult bird worked very hard to find insects in the older wood of the fence and fed the young bird who was looking on..

A real surprise this afternoon came when putting some bread out for the birds, when I saw movement in the flower bed..

Another not very proficient picture I am afraid.  He moved along surprisingly quickly!  

He is not an escaped pet tortoise as you might think but is an Eastern Box Turtle, one of a number of turtles that are native to Virginia.  He was about 7 inches long and they can live 80-100 years so he may pre-date Reston itself - how his environment will have changed during his life.

Our final visitors came as night fell and at first glance I thought that I was looking at a waddling Pekinese dog or Persian cat.

With a closer look and David's help we realised that it was a group of three skunks, moving as one with their noses pressed together and to the ground following a trail.  Impossible to get a decent photo but lovely to see them.  Because they are nocturnal creatures they often, like badgers, get caught on the road, so I was not sure I would ever see a live one, let alone a set of three!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Quiet Day

After all the activities of the last few weeks, today was a quiet day.  At a suitable interval after brunch we set off for a refreshing dip in the local pool.

Emma put us to shame by swimming lengths for 15 minutes or so..

This evening we set off for Bethesda, Maryland, on the outskirts of Washington DC to visit our second cousin Fiona and her family.  We had a lovely evening, returning home quite late via the rather busy 'Capital Beltway' (M25 equivalent).

(The picture at the start of this blog is not, as you might think, a stack of brunch buttermilk pancakes, but is a rather large and exotic looking fungus which we saw in the woods).