Saturday, 27 February 2016

Algonkian Regional Park

I have been very keen to see the film version of Alan Bennett's book and play 'Lady in the Van' starting Maggie Smith. 

It has not yet reached Reston but we found that it was showing at a multiplex cinema in Sterling, not too far away - we went at lunchtime today, after visiting a local shopping mall.

I really enjoyed the film and would now like to re-read the book!

On our way back we followed signs to the Algonkian Regional Park, just to see what was there.  It is a large state-run park on the banks of the Potomac river and it is obvious that in the summer there would be plenty going on!

Apart from the boating access to the river and hence large boat park there is a golf course, picnic shelters, swimming pool and water park and even riverside cabins to rent and a campground.

For today we contented ourselves with a short walk along the river bank on a path made rather muddy by this week's rain.  It will be good to return and explore further when the weather is drier.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Another orchid?

Yesterday I was helping out with some general pricing of items donated to the Bargain Loft.  Amongst the items was this very colorful but completely 'unreal' orchid.

Underneath the pot was a label and I was able to look it up to find that it was hand-made in the USA and part of a very large range of artificial 'designer' orchids with prices ranging from $175 - $545!

So here it is on display in the Bargain Loft and waiting for its new owner.

The price?  $145.  We'll see what happens..

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Tiny signs of Spring

I photographed these tiny snowdrops a couple of weeks ago, just after the snow had melted.  They had been a little flattened - and nibbled too.  They are looking a little better now after warmer temperatures and heavy rain.

This morning, returning from a walk around the block to clear the cobwebs and see what was still standing after last night's storm, I saw this tiny dot of colour in the front garden - a little Winter Aconite bud.  Hopefully there will be more!

Another tiny touch of colour from this purple veined crocus, still in a tight bud.

It can't be too long now..

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Getting Ready

With Theo's visit (together with his Mum and Dad, of course), just a few weeks away now, we are preparing!  Above a few clothing items from our local children's consignment store.

Today a couple of toys - one for the high chair - to help to keep him amused.  Both of these and the Little Tikes lorry, below, are from the Bargain Loft.

We purchased this little bath time companion in the supermarket...

Some of the other supermarket offerings for babies are a little different to those that we see in the UK..

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

'Cascades' - National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC is a building of two halves.  This is the original west wing - classical style architecture similar to other Smithsonian museums on the National Mall such as the Museum of Natural History.

The east wing, currently under renovation, is quite different in style and houses some huge modern sculptures, including this work by Henry Moore at the entrance..

When we visited the Gallery on Saturday it was not, on this occasion, to marvel at the fabulous European and American paintings, although there were tantalizing glimpses of impressionist masterpieces as we hurried through..  Our mission was more basic - to have lunch at the Cascades restaurant in the basement.

The 'Cascade' in question is a huge water feature covering the best part of one wall of the restaurant area where millions of gallons of water pour down from the fountains above over a stepped wall to create a noisy,  bubbling waterfall.

It is behind glass, of course, but so full of movement that visitors reach out as if to put their hands into the cascading water.

After lunch we viewed it from outside and above, looking back down to the restaurant window..

Monday, 22 February 2016

Native American Beadwork

Around the foyer and galleries of the Museum of the American Indian, when we visited on Saturday, were a series of Native American crafts such as the dugout canoes, above, as well as glass cabinets with examples of beadwork.

In this cabinet, beautiful beaded leather footwear, the colour and pattern of the beads denoting the tribe, clan or family of the wearer.

These two pairs of children's shoes are separated by almost a century - on the left from 1890 and on the right from 1980.

These shoes were more of a designer fashion item - made for Christian Leboutin using Native American bead colours and techniques!

These items are a mixture of fashion and traditional beadwork.

I liked this replica of a traditional beaded baby carrier.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Museum of the American Indian

The Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, at the top of the National Mall, is a very unusual shaped building, as can be seen from these photos of the inside, taken from the top floor.. 

Firstly looking down..

Then across the atrium..

Then up to the roof..

There are a number of different exhibition galleries on each floor.  The one that we spent most time in detailed the history of the original Indian nations and their interactions, both peaceful -through treaties - and not so peaceful - through conflict and resettlement marches - with the white settlers and colonists over the last three hundred years.

One wall of the exhibition (picture above and at start of blog) showed the relatively modern visits by Indian elders to meet with presidents and senior politicians in Washington DC, making for some interesting images such as this one..

Although the museum is primarily dedicated to the American Indian there are also exhibits about other Native Americans such as those living in Hawaii when it was a separate kingdom, as well as the Inkas in South and Central America.

There was much to see and ponder about at the museum and I will share some other images on a future blog.