I used to be indecisive…

…but now I'm not so sure


Six Word Saturday


On Monday we are expecting our first visitors here in California.  It’s going to be a full house and a full schedule of sight seeing and general touristy-ness (I think I might just have invented a new word there!) for two weeks.

Linking with Debbie’s Six Word Saturday.



Friday letters – the May 18th edition

Dear Bakery cafe,  How difficult can it be to make a latte and deliver it to me?  I went up to the counter, ordered a regular sized latte from the young man at the till, confirming that I would like only one shot in it rather than the standard two.  He took my name and my money and asked me to wait and my name would be called when the drink was ready.  He went on to serve the two people who had been waiting behind me.  Some five minutes later, when I had been standing round the corner from the counter at what appeared to be the order pick up place, he came over and presented me with my drink, showed me where I could get a lid for the cardboard cup if I wanted it, and then I took it to the table to join the group I was there to meet.  That’s when I realised that what I had been given was a black coffee, so back to the young man at the counter I headed.  He apologised for the error and asked me to wait and the correct drink would be with me straight away.  I then hovered around for almost ten minutes.  The bakery was not busy.  One or two people came in and either ordered at the counter, or ordered via screens just inside the door.  What on earth took you so long?  It is possibly the longest wait I have ever had for a simple drink.

Dear Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende,  I was expecting you to be about a young woman starting an adventure in California, having travelled from Chile.  I am over half way through and she has only just arrived there.  Really?  I take issue with your ‘blurb’ on the inside of the book’s jacket – it led me astray.

Dear local council swimming pool,  I popped along to check you out yesterday and you look fabulous!  Two spacious outdoor pools, a good sized hot tub for the adults, a great water play area for children and plenty of shady areas where you can sit and see the pool.  Oh, and loads of shaded parking. I’m looking forward to trying you out.

Dear bare patches on the grass,  I am awaiting eagerly the sprouting of the new grass seed.  There have been no birds pecking at it.  I’m not sure if that is due to my superior bird scaring measures involving lengths of string and tied on strips of cut up plastic supermarket bags, or the seeds being coated in something the birds don’t like, but whatever it is, it has been bird free.  By this time next week, the seed packet promises lush green growth.  We’ll see.

Dear garden birds,  It’s been good to see another newcomer to the visitor list.  I think you are a Spotted Towhee and what a lot of mess you leave as you scratch around pecking up all the seeds that have dropped from the feeder.

A rather blurry photo, taken through a window as the light was fading.

 Have a good Friday everyone.


Friday letters – the bookish edition

Dear Book Club,  Yesterday afternoon was my first visit to an ‘official’ book club, run by the local library.  My book club at home was a group of friends who all live within walking distance of each other, have known each other for years, and we took turns to host the evening.  The book discussions would last for five minutes (ten if it was a really exciting book!) and then we would have another glass of wine and catch up on each other’s news and local gossip for the next two hours.  Sitting in a room in the library, round a large rectangle of tables so that we could all see each other, and with a glass of water rather than wine or coffee, was quite a different experience.  First of all we had to go round the group and give our thoughts on the book – luckily I had some!  Following that there was some general discussion with members of the group offering further thoughts, or personal experiences relating to the book.  An hour after we started, papers were gathered up, books were put back into bags and that was it, all over.  I enjoyed hearing different viewpoints on the book, which hadn’t occurred to me as I was reading, and didn’t feel out of my depth, which I was worried I might be.  I read books to enjoy the setting and story, not to delve into the inner thoughts of the author!

Dear A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles,  I did enjoy reading you for the book club, and found your main character (the said gentleman of the title, a Count) very likeable.  Finding himself under house arrest at The Metropol Hotel in Moscow, he makes the best of his situation and in the course of that we learn a lot about Russia in the first half of the 1900s, and in particular the life of someone who has enough money to live comfortably.  I do take issue however with your ending – I would have liked more ends to be tied up thank you.  I got to the last page (which I had no idea was going to be the last page because it was one of those books with an excerpt from the author’s next novel so I thought there were many more pages to go) and turned it eagerly for more of this exciting, dramatic section of the storyline to unfold.  But no, that was it – most exasperating.

Dear Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende,  You are the next Book Club book and until I picked you up from the library yesterday I had no idea what you were about.  I had heard of you, or maybe I had just heard of your author (whose surname I was incorrectly pronouncing Ah-lendy, rather than Ah-yendy).  On reading the blurb I see it is a very appropriate book for me to read because it is about a young woman who travels from Chile to start a new life of opportunity in San Francisco and north California.  I am looking forward to finding out what happens to her.

Dear bird at the bird feeder,  This little bird feeder was installed in my garden to attract “finches and chickadees and other small birds”.  I wasn’t quite expecting you to turn up and enjoy a feast.  According to my Audubon Field Guide to California, I think you might be a Western Scrub Jay.  Although you do look a bit large on the feeder, it was very nice to see you.

 Have a good Friday everyone.


That was then, this is now #2

Looking through my photo albums recently (real, rather than digital for a change), I came across the photos from my first trip to Iceland which was, I think, in 1980/81.  Unfortunately I didn’t write the exact dates in my photo album.  It was the first time I had flown anywhere, and I did not enjoy the experience at all – my ears were so painful when we were coming in to land that I seriously considered finding out if I could get a boat home!  The return flight was fine and since then, of course, I have flown many times.

When we were on our coach tour of Rejkyavik this sculpture caught my attention.  When it was completed in 1937 Vatnsberrin (The Water Carrier), by renowned Icelandic sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson, was originally placed in the sculptor’s own garden because the people of Reykjavik generally felt it was not beautiful enough to grace the heart of the town.  In 1967 it was moved to the hill at Öskjuhlíd, on the outskirts of the town and that is where I saw it on my visit.

The Water Carrier in Öskjuhlíd

Fast forward to February 2013 when I returned to Iceland.  Imagine my surprise when walking round the centre of Reykjavik to spot the Water Carrier in a very prominent spot.  It was moved to its new position in August 2011 as part of Reykjavik’s 225th anniversary celebrations.

In its rightful place in 2013.

Coincidentally (although I didn’t realise this until I started researching the sculpture for this post) I was back in Öskjuhlíd  on my last visit.  There is a building there called Perlan which is a set of hot water tanks with a glass hemisphere on top and has a museum inside, a large observation deck on top, and a restaurant inside.  Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of the outside of the building, but I enjoyed the views from the top.

I’m linking this to Becky’s #PastmeetsPresent



A brilliant flash of bright red

I’m still striving for an excellent photo of a hummingbird.  I stationed myself on a chair in the garden yesterday, near the feeder, with my camera close by and a cool drink in my hand and waited. It wasn’t long before this little chap turned up and obliged by staying long enough for me to pick up the camera and focus .  My challenge now is to get the bird in sharp focus and both wings, but perhaps I am asking too much!

Posted for Six Word Saturday


Friday letters – the early May edition

Dear May,  Hello and welcome – you do seem to have come round rather quickly though.

Dear new bird feeder,  Having established that hummingbirds are happy to come to their feeder, I thought it was time to cater for other types of birds, so you are now in place hanging from a tree and filled with ‘mixed seed’ which should suit various small birds apparently.  So far, you have attracted a House Finch and an as yet unidentified yellow and black bird.  Keep up the good work.

Dear Spring Street Fair,  You were very enjoyable, thank you, and we had a good time browsing the stalls and generally drinking in the atmosphere and watching the world go by ( from the comfort of a pavement cafe with the most delicious French Toast for brunch).  I’m looking forward to attending your Autumn version later in the year.

Dear garden,  You are looking a bit better now that I have removed some of the ferns that were engulfing other plants and shrubs – it’s going to be exciting to see if they flower now that they have some space and light.  It was also good to uncover several sprinkler heads, so they should now be able to do their proper job and distribute the water widely which should benefit the plants.

Dear little soft toy pig,  I don’t know how long you lay hidden in the ferny undergrowth, with a few snails for company, but I hope you are feeling better now that I have rescued you and given you a wash.

Dear weekend,  I can’t believe you are nearly here already – how did that happen?

Have a good Friday everyone.