I used to be indecisive…

…but now I'm not so sure


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Friday letters – the rain jacket edition

Dear weather,  What is this?  I didn’t move to California to be wearing my winter woollies and a raincoat!  Apparently there is another week of it to come but then after that I hope you will resume your seasonal norms as far as the temperature is concerned.

Dear Girl Scouts,  Your winning smiles and polite requests are very hard to resist.  Our kitchen cupboard now has more boxes of your cookies in it than is really good for us.

Dear kitchen sink waste disposal,   I’m sorry to have to write to you again this week, but you still don’t seem to be feeling quite yourself.  We may have to call the plumber out again, which is not ideal.

Dear  legal U turns,  Along with turning right on a red light, I am very appreciative of the fact that it is quite normal to be allowed to make U turns at traffic lights – it has saved me from having to make a few detours as I am learning my way around my new location.

Dear Google Snow Games Doodles,  I’ve been enjoying your amusing daily representations of different winter games while the Winter Olympics are taking place.  Once again I take off my hat to whoever it is that comes up with these ideas.

https://www.google.com/doodles/series/snowgames?id=71389806

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Larger than life

At Borrego Springs, in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California, they have some big creatures…

grasshopper

scorpion

camels

elephant

These sculptures are the work of sculptor Ricardo Breceda.  There are dozens of them on the outskirts of the village, in an area called Galleta Meadows – horses, llamas, tortoises, sabre toothed tigers and wild pigs in addition to the photos I’ve posted here.


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Friday letters – the ‘Days’ edition

Dear Pancake Day,  Please accept my apologies, I am so sorry – I completely forgot about you.  In my many visits to the supermarket in the last few weeks, there has been nothing to jog my  memory.  Back at home, it would be hard to walk into a supermarket in the two weeks before Shrove Tuesday without almost bumping into a display of flour, eggs, packets of ready made pancake mix (just add milk…) and lemons, but here there was nothing.  I will try and do better next year…

Dear Valentine’s Day,  I was struck by how big a ‘thing’  you are here, with people wishing each other “Happy Valentine’s Day” in the same way that we might say “Merry Christmas”, or “Happy New Year”, and handing out small Valentine gifts.  The shops were full of multi-bags of sweets, and multi packs of Valentine cards intended for children to hand out amongst their school friends.  At first I thought it was a bit over the top, but realised that actually it makes it an inclusive day for everyone to enjoy and not just those who have a romantic partner in their lives.  Of course it has just turned into yet another commercial enterprise, getting us to part with our hard earned cash, but at least everyone can join in.

Dear kitchen sink waste disposal,   I hope you are feeling better now that you have been given a thorough clear out and your pipes have been unblocked.  I wasn’t particularly impressed when you decided to spray ground up food and water all over me and the kitchen last weekend when I switched you on.  I would like to point out that it was not due to our thoughtlessness at pouring fat into you that caused your temporary disablement, but we still had to listen to the lecture of the repair man who came out.

Dear  local library,  Your modern light building is very welcoming and I am going to enjoy borrowing books from you.  I’m also impressed by your pretty laminated membership card with a photograph of flowers on it.

Dear Winter Olympics,  Some of your activities look so painful.  Who thought that hurtling face first down an icy track on a thin metal tray was a sensible sport?  Or launching yourself high into the air wearing skis and performing all sorts of acrobatics? Some of the athletes must be so cold too, apart from the snow boarders and the freestyle skiers, who are wearing sensible thick clothes, gloves and scarves, everyone else seems to be very scantily clad.  Brrrrr.

Dear Oceanside Pier,  At 592 metres (1,942 feet) I am not surprised to learn that you are one of the longest wooden piers on the west coast of America.  I think you look very impressive.

Oceanside Pier

Oceanside Pier


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Friday letters – the second California edition

Dear weather,  Nope, I’m still not fed up with the blue skies and warm sunshine.  We did have a cloudy afternoon earlier in the week, and I felt quite downhearted, but it didn’t last long and you were back to normal and all was well.

Dear turning right at a red light (if safe to do so),  What a great idea – I wish we have turning left on a red light at home, it would make the traffic flow so much more smoothly at some junctions.

Dear supermarket ice cream selection,  I have never seen so many different varieties of ice cream in one place.  As a lover of ice cream I feel it is going to take some serious dedication on my part to work through them all.  It may have to be ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Dear Girl Scout cookies,  Having got over my initial disappointment at your size, based on the box that they come in, I will agree that the two varieties we tried (mint, and a new caramel coconut one) were very tasty indeed.  I’ll be looking out for another Girl Scout so that I can buy some more.

Dear sanderlings,  You bring a smile to my face every time I see you at the beach.  Your little legs move so quickly as you run down to the water and then turn and run away as the waves come up the shore.

sanderlings


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A wintery walk beside Loch Achray

Sitting here in California’s warm sunshine and blue skies, I finally find myself with enough time to write a post about a walk we went on one afternoon during the Christmas break, when the temperature was quite different from what I’m experiencing today, although the blue sky was the same.

Loch Achray is in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and we approached it along a path accessible from The Byre Inn in the village of Brig o Turk.  The Byre is a great place for a fortifying drink before setting off on your walk, or for a tasty meal or warming drink by the log fire after your walk (or both!).

Following the path we walked across the bridge over Black Water and through the farm.  This chimney pot looks as little bit precarious!

Snow covered Ben Venue is in the distance as the loch comes into sight.

From the water’s edge we could see the small Trossachs Church on the other side of the loch.  The church was completed in 1849 and is still in use today.

We decided to turn back at this point as the light was soon going to start fading and we wanted to get back to our starting point before dark.

Nearly back at the Byre Inn again, some Highland cows wandered through the trees to get a closer look – maybe just curious, but perhaps they thought we’d brought them some dinner.

The sun was dropping lower and lower as we approached the 18th century Brig o Michael which would take us over Black Water and to the end of our walk.

I’m linking this with Jo’s Monday Walk where you can join in with other walks, short and long.