Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Elvis’s Birthplace, Tupelo, Mississippi

Following on from Savannah, Georgia  in my last USA 2014 post today’s post chronicles our journey home to Arkansas.  A journey which would take us back via Atlanta.


Here you see the looming skyline of Atlanta, a great city, home to the mammoth brand of Coca Cola no less, but not a city that was on our Places to Visit List.  We experienced a hairy moment along this stretch of rush hour Interstate.  We needed to get off the next exit and were over on the outside lane.  Navigating five or six lanes of busy, seriously busy, traffic was no mean feat.  My poor brother-in-law, Jerry, who was driving had three backseat drivers plus a Sat Nav shouting instructions at him to get over there.  How he pulled it off I don’t really know but thankfully he did otherwise we might have been more familiar with downtown Atlanta than we needed to be.  It took him a while to unclench after that little episode for sure!


Anyway we made Exit 247 and heaved a big sigh of relief!  Look at those city names.  Is that the Chattanooga as in Chattanooga Choo Choo?  Imagine that.


We broke our journey in Douglasville, Georgia staying overnight at the lovely Holiday Inn Express.  We ate pizza in the hotel lobby.  We had been to a restaurant but we declined to eat there when they declined to serve me alcohol because I didn’t have any picture ID with me.  I had my British Driving Licence with me but it’s an old style one and doesn’t have a photo on it.  So they wouldn’t serve me.  Honestly, it’s not as if I don’t look my age which is a long way away from twenty-one I can tell you!  But no picture ID, no alcohol.  It’s the law in those parts.  So pizza in the hotel lobby it was and we really enjoyed it along with the convivial company of other hotel residents around us.  It was a fun night.


Up and at ‘em the morning after and the tank needed filling up.  Jerry got out to do the job but he couldn’t fathom out the machine and its card using instructions.  Maureen got out to help…


… then William got out to help, then another customer came over to help. It took a while but between them they managed it!  I hasten to add this was the only machine they had any problem with.  They had used their cards on tons of other machines – I think this one was just different.  It gave me the giggles though while I sat in the car watching the proceedings.


We were soon back on the road again.  


Being a tourist I tried to snap as many state signs as I could.


This road sign grabbed our attention and heralded an unexpected pull off the Interstate.


Woo hoo!  I couldn’t believe it! 


That’s me - sitting on Elvis’s childhood home’s front porch swing!  Never in a million years did I think I’d ever do that!


Several large plaques on the walls of the visitor centre recount the memories friends and neighbours have of Elvis from that time.


It was a totally unplanned detour and a complete thrill for me to visit Tupelo.  I love Elvis’s music.  My older sister, Jean, used to like Elvis way back when we were just kids and she would take me to the pictures with her to see his films.  Magical memories of happy days.


Another state sign.  This one my signalling that we were back on home territory and the end of this road trip was in sight.  And what a trip it had been!  To say that we all had a good time is an understatement.  We’d all had a great time and happily our USA 2014 trip was by no means over at this point.  I have plenty more photographs and memories to share.  So…

Until next time,


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Ligularia Dentata and Sizergh Castle

“What on earth is Ligularia Dentata?”  You might well ask.


Well, this is what Ligularia Dentata is and William and I took a fancy to it when we were at Beetham’s Garden Centre at the weekend. 


And if it does what it says on the label we’ll be very happy, thank you!


We also took a fancy to one of these whose name escapes me at the moment.


Here’s a close up look at that one.  Isn’t that dramatic?  I think it’s beautiful!  I just hope both these plants like living with us and last this summer at least for us.


We always enjoy a look round Beetham’s.  It is such a well maintained and nicely laid out nursery.  A simple pleasure for sure.



Saturday afternoon we visited my sweet friend Sandra and her husband Dave in their gorgeous little cottage.  Sandra mentioned that she would be holding a stand at a local antiques fair the following day and so Sunday morning William and I found our way there.  The venue, only a short drive away, was The Heaves Hotel.


This is Sandra’s stall.  Full of china and glassware.  The kind of stuff I’m always attracted to. 


In fact I purchased a little Coalport figurine from Sandra and I love it.  I took these pictures with my iPhone and they don’t really do her justice.  Take my word for it though, she is very pretty!


Naturally we wandered through the hotel and looked at all the other vendor’s wares.  There seemed to be a lot of lovely stuff for sale.


The hotel itself seemed a trifle rundown, but attractively so.  One of the vendors described it as being “faded grandeur”.  I like that, it sounds a lot better than rundown don’t you think?


From the antiques fair we drove just round the corner to Sizergh Castle, a National Trust property and well worth a visit.



There’s a rather nice cafe and picnic area. 


Always a bonus in my book.


Needless to say we’ll be going back on a sunny afternoon one day soon to check out one or two of the short walks signposted from the car park.


A sheep-at-rest-in-a-field photo for good measure.


And our accommodation when we’re at Bay View. 

Counting my blessings,


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Life is Full of Little Things…

… and here are the little things in my life from the last few weeks.


Something new.  I don’t think I’ve seen them arm wrestling before.  This was Nicholas’s idea.


Another day another garden centre.  Since he retired William has become a gardening fanatic.  I suppose that’s what retirement is all about.  All those activities that were once crammed into a weekend can now be indulged all day long if the mood takes him.  A visit to the local library? Another coffee and cake?  Yes, why ever not!


Last Friday was Charlie’s school sports day.  For the first time since he started school this event was held outdoors.  Rain stopped play the two previous years and the races took place in the school hall.  Not ideal but this year it was good weather all the way.  The egg and spoon race, the sack race.  Nothing much changes in primary school sports days does it?  I like it that way though.  I attended with Caroline who was still suffering the effects of a painful grumbling appendix.  How she stood for 90 minutes or so I do not know!   


One of George’s favourite jobs is deadheading this magnolia bush in our front garden.


He’s been deadheading this tree since he was only half the size he is now.


All three boys stayed overnight with us on Saturday night.  Their parents all had a rare night out and went for a meal together which was very nice for them.  However, on my menu was a stroll round the neighbourhood with the boys.


Friendly (most of the time) fighting broke out every so often.


The peaceful street became a war zone.  The boys became a Bomb Disposal Unit.  George was the officer in command and the other two had to follow orders whether they liked it or not!  -  The enemy is everywhere guys.  Stealth is the name of the game!  -  That’s what the leader said but I don’t think his men heard him.  As I recall the men had a very hard time with that order!


George tells his men what their strengths and weaknesses are.  Serious business.


Hunkered down discussing tactics.


I admired pretty gardens and took pictures.  I took this photo with my sister, Maureen, in mind.  Like me, she too loves poppies and lupins.


Charging back to base now.


Where it was bathtime, storytime and bedtime.  (Nicholas got his pjs wet through at bath time so he slept in one of grandad’s old t-shirts).


Almost up to date now.  Yesterday the weather was too good to stay indoors so William and I took a little trip over to Uppermill.  There we ambled along the canal towpath to the Lime Kiln Cafe.  They have a veranda overlooking the canal and it was very pleasant to while the time away there.  Until it rained that was!

Then we retraced our footsteps back along the canal towpath stopping to watch the ducks with their babies.


Leaving the canal behind we meandered through the little side streets lined with old stone fronted cottages.  One of the residents has a whimsical side to her I think.  These are her plants outside her front door.


  And on the windowsill.   Unusual containers for plants don’t you think?  They brought a smile to my face.

So, there we are.  It’s true.  Life is full of little things and I for one am not complaining.

Until next time,BlogSignature

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Bay View Again and a Birthday Boy

And the birthday boy is Charlie.   


Charlie turned six a couple of weeks ago. 


Caroline, his mum, took the above two pics with her iPhone5 the weekend before last when we were together at Bay View.  I really like them.


Unusually it was just Caroline, Charlie and me for the Bank Holiday weekend.  The men were otherwise occupied.  The weather forecast was not too good for Saturday and Sunday but Monday was going to be sunny.  Sunday morning in view of the forecast rain Caroline decided that she would take Charlie swimming over at Silverdale.  While they were in the pool I got myself a coffee, took my iPad out of my bag and seated myself where I was able to watch their antics in the pool.  A happy arrangement for each of us.


The predicted rain held of for most of the day which meant we were able to spend a lot of time outdoors. 


After Silverdale a pleasant short drive over to Arnside seemed like a good idea.


And it was.  


We found a vacant park bench where Charlie enjoyed a chippy lunch.  Actually we all three enjoyed Charlie’s chippy lunch!  There’s nothing quite like eating a bag of chips outdoors and by the sea even better.  They were delicious too! 


For entertainment we had gulls flitting around just a few feet in front of us.


Onto Sunday.  A new place for us is Half Moon Bay.  Caroline had been told about it by a friend who grew up in this area.  It’s a sweet and sour kind of place.  The sweet is the uncrowded beach, the view, the sea, the coastal walks, the cafe, et cetera.  And the sour?  Well, that’s the power plant that’s visible at the bottom end of the bay.  The trick therefore is just not to look that way and choose instead to look out to sea and over to the hills of beautiful Cumbria.  Simple!


The cafe at Half Moon Bay.  It was very busy so we presume the food is good.  The coffee was definitely up to scratch.


And the view in front of it wasn’t too shabby!


Plenty of room to play around on the sand.  Lots of rock pools.


And a few more pics of the birthday boy.  Looking cool in his shades.


Looking cheeky and relaxed in his shades.


And dancing around in his shades! :-) 


Following a long afternoon on the beach we called at a local MacDonald’s just outside Half Moon Bay and that’s where Charlie got his face painted.  For free I might add!  He was one happy little chappy.


One more picture before I go.  I snapped this pic from the car with my iPhone on the way up the motorway.  I have never seen such a beautiful, ornate gypsy caravan.  It was immaculate.  There was another one in front of this one too.  Perhaps they were going to a rally somewhere. 

Seeing these gypsy caravans sent my mind flying back through the years remembering how my Aunty Edie, my mother’s sister and my lovely cousin Sylvia’s mother, would always say how she fancied a holiday in one of these horse drawn caravans.  Rambling through the countryside in one seemed to appeal to her a lot.  Happy memories of my favourite aunt.

All in all it was a lovely relaxing weekend.