Monday, 20 November 2017

Christmas is Coming..

In Reston, the Christmas tree is up and the Pavilion ice rink in place for the winter.

The Christmas lights will be switched on after the Thanksgiving Parade on Friday.

In the Bargain Loft, the last two days have been full of frenzied activity as 20-30 volunteers moved in, unpacked and displayed the contents of literally hundreds of plastic dump bins of Christmas items, stored throughout the year..

By the end of the today everything was priced and in position and looking pretty good..

Tomorrow at 10am the doors open..

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Images of Atlanta

We returned from Atlanta on Friday night but a few more photos from my walks around the city.

Near the Centennial Olympic Park are a number of huge sporting venues including the Mercedes Benz Stadium, above, and The Philips Arena, below.

Close by the world headquarters of the Cable News Network, known more commonly as CNN.  A vast building with a huge central atrium open to the public.

We started our guided tour on a huge escalator which took us up the side of the atrium..

Of course there was no photography allowed as we passed the live newsrooms and studios which were all explained to us - as a 24 hour news operation there are many reporters working on stories in three shifts around the clock, with many more on call.

This was a mock-up of a news studio where the equipment was demonstrated, including the use of green screens.

In the city some of the leaves had changed colour and framed the big wheel and extraordinary cylindrical Westin Hotel.

Atlanta is an interesting mix of historic buildings and new, mainly glass, skyscrapers.

Plenty of building is still underway as this evening view from our hotel showed.  This is one of the largest cranes that I have ever seen - we were on the 7th floor and it towered high above much taller buildings.

 In Autumn 2014 I took a photograph over the lake in Piedmont Park looking back to the Midtown skyline.  The photo is on our wall.  

As it was the same time of year I wanted to compare with photos taken this week as I had the impression that the trees had not changed colour so far this year.  I put the two photos together - the older one at the top..

I was right about the Autumn colour, but that is not the most striking difference!  I was aware that more buildings had gone up but was surprised at just how much the skyline had changed in three years!

Ford’s Theatre

On Saturday we took the metro into Washington DC to visit and see a performance at the historic Ford’s Theatre.

We had booked for a tour of the theatre at 11am - when we arrived there was a very long queue of visitors also waiting to do the tour.

Across the road from the theatre in the Ford’s Centre for Education and Leadership, a large black and white photograph of Abraham Lincoln looked down on us all.

When the tour began we visited a museum in the basement of the theatre.  The museumtold the story of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, his actions to abolish slavery and the events of the day in1865 when he was shot in the Ford’s Theatre.

He was shot by an actor who crept into the box where he and his wife were watching a performance.  Shot at point blank range, he did not die immediately but was taken across the road to a private boarding house where, despite the attentions of doctors, he died several hours later.

After the museum we were shown into the theatre itself where a National Parks Ranger (the theatre is run by the National Park Service) told us the story.

It is a modest sized theatre and in fact a replica of the 1860’s theatre, created in 1968, the original theatre having fallen into disrepair after the assassination.

The presidents box was marked with flags - as it would always have been.

We then returned to the theatre for a matinee performance of A Christmas Carol, which was excellent.

No photos allowed during the performance of course but I managed to take a few of the stage set and  the auditorium before and after.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Autumn Morning in Piedmont Park

This morning I walked to Piedmont Park, adjacent to the Botanical Garden, while David was finishing his meetings.

It was a beautiful sunny morning and the lake was very still.

I expected that the trees would have started to turn, but with the warmer temperatures in Atlanta, very few had changed.

This Northern Mocking Bird was very tame.

The view of the skyscrapers of the Midtown area of Atlanta is always very effective over the lake.  Here it is framed in a bronze dogwood sculpture.

A few roses were still in bloom.

Another view of Midtown over the baseball field.

This magnificent evergreen magnolia tree growing by the lake has a beautiful shape.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

‘Garden Lights, Holiday Nights’

There is a strong tradition in US Botanical Gardens of attracting visitors in November and December with illuminated displays and light shows.

This one at the Atlanta Botanical Garden is one of the best that we have seen with a new light show set to music in the woods over the woodland canopy walkway.

In the more formal part of the garden, nets of lights illuminate the flower beds and trees..

On the main lawn, ‘Orchestral Orbs’ - these surreal looking lights change colour and pulse to the accompaniment of dramatic and seasonal music..

In the fruit and vegetable garden, themed light sculptures..

Inside the conservatory and orchid house, some different tableaux (and photo opportunities)..

It may only be mid-November but with the lights, music and   Holiday theme, we started to feel quite festive!