Saturday, 14 March 2015

Not the NSPCC Auction!

Back into our glad rags once again, this time for the 10th Annual FISH 'Fling'.

This event was held at the Hyatt hotel adjacent to Dulles Airport (and David's office).  It was a formal dinner and dance but started at 6pm with a silent auction of donated goods and promises.

The range of items on offer had a certain familiarity about them, with a US spin - tickets for the 'Nats' (baseball); 'Redskins' (football) and 'Capitals' (ice hockey).  Signed sports memorabilia; gift baskets and meal vouchers; jewellery and art - including the water colour, below of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse that we visited on the Outer Banks.

The silent auction was in two parts - one finishing at 8pm and one at 9pm.

The only problem with this type of auction is that it is hard to keep track of what you may have won.  Hence we brought home an eclectic mix of items which included the following..

A pair of 'Congressional' cuff links bearing the seal of the House of Representatives!

Meal voucher and items donated by our local pizza restaurant.

Art glass pendant.

In the raffle draw we were frankly relieved not to win the first prize of two weeks holiday in Spain - that would have been complicated!

In another draw based around a pack of cards we were down to the last six..

There was a live auction after dinner conducted by Reston's delegate to the State Assembly of Virginia who is a long-time supporter of the charity and who, from his approach, may well be a cattle or car auctioneer in his spare time!  The final few lots of his auction were non-existent - the audience was simply invited to make pledges.  That also seemed to work surprisingly well.

This event normally raises around $50,000 for FISH, the local charity that the Bargain Loft supports, so we shall wait to hear..

Friday, 13 March 2015

Wash Day - Then & Now

This not very exciting picture shows the large top loading washing machine and even larger dryer in the laundry room of this house.  There is also a deep and very practical sink alongside.

At the Bargain Loft today I came across this, rather small, washboard.

On the back are the details of this particular model which would only have been suitable for quite small items.

My fellow volunteers were surprised that I had never seen and handled one before and had many reminiscences of their mothers and grandmothers using these boards, together with mangles and boilers, on the weekly wash day.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Maymont Estate & Mansion

Maymont is a large park on the banks of the James river in Richmond.  It was donated to the city many years ago by the family who lived there until 1925 and is now a popular free recreation space for all ages.

It was a beautiful place to spend a morning in the sunshine.  

The enormous and very old evergreen magnolias will be beautiful when they come into flower.

I did not see the inside of the mansion today but the pictures advertising the tour gave an idea of the opulence of the interior..

As well as the rolling parkland there are two formal gardens.

The Italian Garden is full of rose bushes and will be beautiful in a few months.

It is connected to the Japanese Garden below by a water feature and double set of winding steps..

Unfortunately, due to the recent freezing weather, there was no water flowing today.

Adjacent to the steps is a natural water feature which runs to the natural stone grotto in the Japanese Garden.

There were some signs of Spring in the park and in another month or so, the garden will be transformed by colour and water..

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

David had a meeting in Richmond today and we drove down this morning - in the rain...

The museum was an obvious choice for me to fill some time on such a grey day.  It has a surprisingly large and wide-ranging collection - I spent the whole day strolling from gallery to gallery.

Here are a few of my favourite items..

Collection of Art Nouveau buckles, including some made for Liberty, by Tiffany and by Archibald Knox.

Wonderful Tiffany lamps.. and a most extraordinary Tiffany punch bowl ..

Print from Audubon's 'Birds of America' which must have been a huge format book.

Collection of Faberge items - unfortunately the museum's collection of eggs was away on tour. I particularly liked the Lily of the Valley...

The range and quality of the paintings was impressive..

There were wonderful early works of art, too..

I have many more photos to share but, for now, here is a Roman sculpture  - of the original 'selfie'..?

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Prey and Predator

We spotted this little chipmunk as he ran across the snowy grass this morning.  He stood out rather against the white background and we were somewhat concerned for him as he sat still, looking all around...

One reason that we were concerned was that the young Cooper's or Sharp-Shinned Hawk that we have seen several times near the bird feeders was around today, sitting high up in one of the oak trees.

So far, so good..