Saturday, 26 September 2015

Luau Party

Today started well - although it was a little cloudy, we had several visits from the hummingbird early this morning and David managed to photograph him.

The Women's Club Hawaiian Luau Party was this afternoon and so much of this morning was spent chopping a variety of fruit for the Pimm's and for the fruit kebabs.

The party was held in the outdoor (but covered) pavilion at Reston Golf Club.  It did not rain as originally forecast but it was quite breezy!

However, everyone entered into the spirit of the event and a good time was had by all!

Friday, 25 September 2015

Nocturnal Sweet Treat

Although we very rarely manage to capture a photo of a hummingbird we do enjoy their brief visits in the summer months.  We try to keep the feeder topped up with the sugary 'nectar' mix that they love.

For some weeks now it has been obvious that it is not only the hummingbirds that love the nectar - on many mornings the feeder has been completely empty.  We suspected squirrels, deer, even woodpeckers.  

But we were wrong, as we found out when David set up a motion-triggered night vision camera..

This cheeky raccoon spent twenty minutes tipping up the feeder and drinking the nectar..

The game is up!  We are now bringing the feeder in overnight..

Thursday, 24 September 2015

National Harbour via Alexandria

Setting off from Old Town Alexandria, we visited National Harbour today, crossing the Potomac by Water Taxi.  This was not of course the lovely paddle boat 'Cherry Blossom' which ventures out only rarely on the river, but was a very pleasant air conditioned boat.

We decided to take the fresh air option (there was plenty of it!) on the front of the boat.

Arriving at National Harbour we contemplated a ride on the Capital Wheel but decided to have lunch instead, overlooking the waterfront and the extraordinary 'Awakening' sculpture in the sand.

We visited the 'Peeps' shop...

and admired the glass mosaics on the steps up to the main shopping street.

These are by the artist Cheryl Foster.  I particularly liked one of the portraits of a local Maryland fisherman included within the work..

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Museum of American History

We visited this museum yesterday afternoon, or at least a small part of it.  In the foyer we were greeted with this giant model of the Stars and Stripes, made entirely out of Lego bricks - thousands upon thousands of them!

The first exhibition that we visited focused on transport through the ages...

We then looked at an exhibit about inventions that had changed the world..

A good visit but we only scratched the surface of all that there was to see.

Today we had a more relaxed and local day - a visit to the Bargain Loft.

Followed by an 'al fresco' lunch at Lake Anne.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The White House

Initially we were in two minds about whether to visit Washington today as the Pope arrives late afternoon for a two day visit and there were many warnings about how busy it would be.

In the event the only real evidence of anything out of the ordinary was the 'Papal Visit' t-shirts for sale on street corners and the miles of barriers around many of the roads and pavements - and especially around the White House itself.

On the north side there was an additional security cordon and rather more visitors, protesters and Secret Service police than this photo would suggest.

On the south side it was possible to reach the perimeter fence.

We moved on to visit the newly refurbished White House Visitor Centre a couple of blocks away.  This unusual view in the exhibition must have been taken from the top of the Washington Monument.

The Visitor Centre was an interesting and interactive museum of photos, video clips, artefacts and models of the White House and of the succession of Presidents and 'First Families' who have called it home for over two hundred years.

The exhibits were very varied - above  the original golden eagle from the top of the flagpole.  Below, the squirrel soup which was apparently requested by a President in the 19th Century ('take three or four good sized squirrels..)

This was included in an exhibit called 'who ordered that'..

Most of the orders were a little more run of the mill such as Ronald Reagan's jelly beans.

There was the usual reminder of the actions of the British Army in the war of 1812 - in this case the burning of the original White House (as well as the Capitol building).

All in all, an interesting exhibition.