Saturday, 2 August 2014

In pursuit of 10,000 steps

We have been wearing 'pedometer' wrist bands which encourage us to complete 10,000 steps a day for the good of our health - not as easy as it sounds!

Today we walked into the woods to try to reach our goal.  It was quiet and warm.  We saw some deer but too far away and hidden in the foliage to photograph well.  On our way back we saw this colourful fungus.

Back home we have had an unusual garden visitor.

We have a whole family of young downy woodpeckers visiting the feeders but this one is different.

Initially we thought that his adult colours had not developed but he is not changing so he is going to be a largely white downy woodpecker..

This evening we walked down to Reston for dinner.  Outside the restaurant was a peach tree.

We chose a 'tasting' starter - a series of tiny bites to share.

..and finished with tiny bites of different home-made ice-creams, before walking home again..  (Today's total 18,000 steps and counting..).

Friday, 1 August 2014

All for a Dollar

Today was a Bargain Loft day - the morning was spent trying to correctly price some very diverse 'art' works and this afternoon I was on cashier duty.  It was quiet at times and so I decided to conduct a short survey of what you could buy for just a dollar (plus a little sales tax) in the store...

The first item - above, was a generous bag of used postage stamps, mainly from Bolivia.

A tiny ceramic cat from the Isle of Arran and a promotional plastic duck;

A pair of soup bowls - either onion or mushroom;

A vintage souvenir dish from Jamaica;

A vintage Dr Seuss book..

A porcelain swan;

A new lace doily from Lichenstein - one of a selection.

A welcome sign for your front door..

A vintage house pin in acrylic and a car pin badge;

A mug with a message..

A flamingo from Florida;

A mini bird-house ornament;

A candle (stick) to light you to bed;

A pair of candles to go with it.,

An over-sized claret coloured cocktail glass...

.. and finally, a small pewter cup.

Which one would you take home??

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Evening Visitors

At dusk this evening we looked out to see three young deer grazing in our neighbour's garden.

They were only feet from our window but were fairly unconcerned, even when David went outside onto the decking to photograph them.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Boston and Harvard

The walk along the linear park between the Charles river and the city of Boston was very tranquil and felt as if you were out in the countryside.  There was a strict policy of no feeding the ducks and geese and hence they were very quiet and just ignored everyone passing by.  There were water lilies in bloom on the quiet strip of water adjacent to the river.

At the end of the park is a huge open air 'shell' built in 1941, used as a performance stage for musical concerts.  Each year on the 4th July there is a very popular concert which ends in spectacular fireworks.  A photo on a poster adjacent to the 'Hatch shell', as it is called, showed an amazing night- time view of this concert.

Leaving the river I walked towards the old part of Boston known as Beacon Hill and along Charles Street. The tree lined roads and elegant brick houses with antique shops, boutiques and restaurants beneath have quite a European feel to them.  Charles Street was widened in the early part of the 20th century to make way for the motor car.  This was achieved by moving all of the buildings on one side of the street back by 20 feet !

Part way along the street is a very traditional looking post office.

(The two apparent bins in the foreground are all too modern blue US Postal Service mail boxes).

From the end of Charles Street I caught a train back across the Longfellow Bridge to Cambridge, past MIT and on to Harvard.

These few pictures show some of the buildings in Harvard Yard, the Central and historic part of the Harvard campus.

This photo shows the popular statue of John Harvard, benefactor and founder of the University.

This church was built after the Great War to commemorate men of Harvard lost in the conflict.

Despite the fact that it is vacation time it was buzzing with life, many visitors were enjoying student-led tours which I will do on my next visit or just relaxing in the shade under the trees where tables and chairs are scattered around for all to use and enjoy.

Our time in Boston having come to an end, we flew back to Dulles last night.

Today has been a day of catching up with chores and acting as 'greeter' at a Blood Drive for the American Red Cross at Reston Library.  It was quite a busy drive as the service has been advertising its urgent need for blood supplies over the summer period.  One of the reasons for this is that there are no drives in schools and colleges during the summer vacation and normally these contribute some 20% of blood collected.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Walking in Boston

This beautiful church is on the opposite corner of Copley Square to Trinity Church - we will visit another time as did not have time to go in.

Instead we visited the Boston Public Library - still very much in use as such - which is on the same square.

We loved the barrel-ceilinged Great Hall, lined with books and with two symmetrical lines of tables with perfectly aligned reading lamps.

Elsewhere in the building there were important frescoes and very elaborate and solid marble staircases.

We also liked the Italianate cloistered courtyard within the Library.

After visiting Copley Square we retreated to a restaurant next to the Quincy Market for a late lunch/early dinner - somewhat footsore and weary.  We have been wearing step counters and our tally of 12,000+ steps for the day was about what our legs felt that they had done!

This morning while David went to meetings I set off along the path beside the Charles River in the company of many joggers, cyclists and a few other walkers.  There were some very fancy boats moored near MIT as well as many bobbing sailing dinghies with young sailors under instruction.

I decided to cross the Harvard Bridge and walk back along the other side.

The bridge, which is long, was decorated with knitted and crocheted items - a kind of guerrilla knitting I thought - it was conceived as the 'Joining Project' to link the two parts of the city.

If you still have one if these from the 70's then this could be just the place for it.

The walk on the opposite side of the river was pleasantly shaded with a narrow waterway running alongside the river, separated by a long spit of grass and trees, in use as a park.

I will write some more about Boston tomorrow as it will probably be more interesting than writing about the Blood Drive that I am due to do at Reston Library!