Saturday, 9 July 2016

Christmas in July

There was something a little surreal about stepping off the very hot street in Occoquan yesterday and into the chilly, air conditioned splendour of the Golden Goose - a Christmas shop.

There are many different themes to their decorated trees - cats, dogs, food, travel, music... and a seemingly endless variety of ornaments large and small.

This set of traditional blown glass ornaments was packaged in a gift box ready to be given to a newly married couple for their first tree.

Will have to visit again a bit later in the year I think!

Friday, 8 July 2016

Belgian Lunch!

Today is the birthday of my friend Claire, who also volunteers at the Bargain Loft.

We drove to Occoquan for lunch and a little shopping.

We chose a small Belgian restaurant for lunch - for the good reason that Claire is Belgian by birth, although she has now lived in the USA for some thirty years.

The restaurant had a nice outside terrace, but with the temperature well into the 30's we decided to eat indoors.

Traditional Belgian mussels and frites!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Cajun Experience

This was the restaurant where we stopped for lunch on Saturday on our walk around Leesburg.

Specialising in the Southern cuisine of Louisiana, there were many dishes on the menu that we had heard of but never tried.  

Above are Crawfish Pies, which were very good.

These 'Boudin Balls' were a deep fried savoury ball of meat and rice or cornmeal, a little like haggis!

This plate (which we shared, as with all of them!) was Chicken Jambalaya with fried Catfish fillet and a cornmeal muffin.

We were more than full by this stage and had probably undone all the benefit of the big walk around Leesburg.  Dessert was included in the meal so along came these Beignets (fritters) with a generous dusting (drift) of icing sugar.

It may seem as if we ate our way through the entire menu but there were a number of things that we didn't try...Fried Gator; Fried Pickles; Fried Okra...

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Vintage Dresses

We have had quite a large donation of vintage baby and girls dresses at the Bargain Loft.  

None of them appear to be man-made materials so we are assuming that they date from the 1920's/1930's or even earlier.

These are just a few of them that have been put out for sale.  

They are all beautifully presented as a volunteer took the whole collection home when they were donated, hand washed and ironed them.  Quite a labour of love!

Some of them have shop labels but the majority are beautiful hand-made, with smocking, tiny pin-tucks and fine lace.

Most, like this one, have a generous hem to be let down as the little girl grows.

This is one of my favourites - made in the lightest voile.

This one seemed to need a frilly blouse underneath but there was nothing in the collection that fitted the bill.

This was the only winter outfit, beautifully made with the jacket lined with the dress fabric, but all the dress buttons missing, unfortunately.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Fox Cub

There have been two or sometimes three fox cubs at the bottom of the garden for a couple of weeks.

They are easily startled and it is only tonight that David has managed to photograph one of them - through the insect screens around the deck.

The cubs have been fed a diet of squirrel by their parents and they are growing fast.  We have seen the adult fox bringing the hapless squirrels back (and heard the noise as the cubs quarrel over the food).

Monday, 4 July 2016

Independence Day

I'd love to say that we went back to Washington DC today for all the 4th July activities (Reading of the Declaration of Independence; Street Parade; Concert and Fireworks).  

However the day dawned with heavy rain which set in for the whole day, so it was a day for doing chores inside.

This afternoon we went to see a film at a cinema which is new to us, which turned out to have fully reclining seats.. I already have enough trouble staying awake in the cinema!!

Guess the name of the film..

We then watched the festivities in DC on the television - concert from outside the Capitol and fireworks..

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Catching Up

Today we went into Washington to meet up with my old school friend Lynn and her husband Dave who are on a coast to coast tour of the US, visiting an enviable number and selection of amazing places and national monuments.

With just a half a day of free time in the capital, we met up at the National Gallery of Art and then headed for Alexandria and then on the water taxi over to National Harbour.

The weather was not kind to us, unfortunately.  Grey skies and drizzly rain.  Very disappointing after such a beautiful sunny day yesterday.

There were plenty of people out enjoying the holiday weekend, despite the weather.

The evening was drawing in by the time we got back to Alexandria and onto the metro to return to DC itself, where we had to leave our visitors, after a great afternoon and evening of catching up!