Saturday, 21 March 2015

'Old Town' Alexandria

Our trip into Washington DC today was to explore the city of Alexandria, an old port on the banks of the Potomac river.

As you alight from the metro at the top of King Street which bisects Alexandria, you cannot miss the George Washington National Masonic Monument, which faces straight down the street.

We took the free trolley bus down to the waterfront and then walked back.  From Alexandria there is a water taxi across the river to National Harbour as well as pleasure cruises up the river to see Washington's Monuments or down to see Mount Vernon and Fort Washington.

This wonderful old paddle steamer is available for party cruises and events.

The huge Art Deco torpedo factory building, put up after WWI - which is now an arts centre - dominates the waterfront area.

Walking back up the Main Street there are many restaurants, speciality shops and even a few thrift stores.  It was warm enough, once the sun came out, for people to sit outside.

This colourful restaurant on a side street caught our eye, as did this rather unusual  vehicle and cargo outside the 'Hard Times' cafe.

Friday, 20 March 2015

First Day of Spring

I am not really sure why this is the first day of Spring - shouldn't that be the 21st?

It certainly didn't look very much like Spring this morning and the birds were busy at the feeders, like this Northern Flicker...

The snow fell in large, wet, flakes and pitched mainly on the grass.

By this afternoon it was raining hard instead.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Almost Spring..

In the last few days, warmer temperatures have brought out many more crocus flowers in what is otherwise a very barren looking garden. 

Some of them have been nibbled, not sure by whom..

There were five deer in the garden at dusk this evening.  There is very little new growth for them to eat as yet, they were pawing at the leaves to see what they could find.

More changeable weather ahead - a 3C maximum temperature tomorrow followed by 17C on Saturday - which will be a good temperature for the first day of Spring!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Beautiful Bug?

Much of the day today was spent at the Bargain Loft and researching donated jewellery.

This beetle brooch - in pewter or low-grade silver with an art glass body is, hopefully, from the Art Nouveau period. 

 He is proving quite challenging to identify.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Glimpses of green

To celebrate St Patrick's Day today  in Chicago, the river was dyed green - very green!  (This is not my photo of course, it is borrowed from the web -

Here we are grateful for the little spikes of green pushing up through the mulch of dead leaves.  In the sunshine today these tiny flowers looked very beautiful..

Quite how they cope with the changing temperatures I just don't know.  Today the temperature rose to 22C during the day -  which seems warm to have snowdrops and early Spring flowers out.  Tonight it will drop to -2C.

On Friday we are forecast to have some snow, so then this little flower will be aptly named..

Monday, 16 March 2015

Monday at the Bargain Loft

On Mondays the Bargain Loft is closed to customers but it is a day for the back room team to make progress on sorting and pricing the many donations which are brought in, especially over the weekend.

We have recently received some donations of jewellery, including many pairs of vintage clip and screw back earrings.  It is fun to research these.

The large green hoop earrings are vintage Bakelite and the clear ball earrings are an Art Deco design, known as 'pools of light' - they are in fact undrilled orbs of rock crystal with a band of silver around.  They are very sought after, as are the matching necklaces - unfortunately we don't have any of those..

Other items in the Loft today..

This is Maxine - a cartoon character here.  Note the slippers.  Note also that ladies of a certain age in the US don't have hot flushes, they have hot 'flashes'.

I think that having these vintage perfume bottles on sale - still half full of the original contents - is probably a mistake.  They are really being sold just for the bottle but several people have opened them and splashed them around and they don't smell as good as, presumably, they once did!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Pottery Barn 'Kids'

Pottery Barn is a popular US 'interiors' store and at Fair Oaks Mall today we visited the Pottery Barn 'Kids' store featuring furniture, bedding, decorative items and toys for babies and children.  

In the entrance was a display of Easter baskets and toys and a child's size table laid ready for an Easter picnic!

We liked the Peter Rabbit plates but they would spend a long time in the cupboard each year.

We also liked the Peter Rabbit bedding which reminded me of the curtains that we had when I was a child.

We gravitated to the baby toys..

Large stackable soft toy farm animals and fluffy zoo animals!

Bath towels with hoods!

More soft toys... I have a feeling that we will be back here in a few months...