May 202013

Sunday, 19th May, was an exceptional day in London. The weather was unusually warm and sunny and so we walked the 2-plus miles from Walthamstow up to Whipps Cross Road and the enormous park we call “The Flats”, in a section of Epping Forest that sits on the edge of Leytonstone.

Gorse was blooming everywhere and the smell of it was intoxicating – “…a distinctive coconut smell, said to be quite pungent to some individuals, but weak to others” [1]. Mark and I are both lucky enough to have the gorse-scenting gene. I can’t find any place that bottles and sells gorse essential oil – as wonderful as it smells, perhaps it’s just too thorny to handle. I did, however, spot a few brave women collecting gorse cuttings. The flowers are supposed to be edible.

The pond in the last picture is the same pond that we discovered on our very first trip to London, when Athena was only 5. It feeds a little stream, which yesterday was dry, but in August of 1998 was full of tiny silvery fishes that darted about and tickled our fingers.

Today is rainy again. Museum weather, I think.

Linda in East London

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May 182013

Note: all the pictures below are thumbnail galleries – click for full pictures and to scroll through.

Mark and I arrived in London late on 13th May, just in time for England’s second Winter. In other words, Spring.

Our first day out was a quick trip to Hackney on Tuesday to visit Barn the Spoon and buy a few of his handmade wooden spoons. Since the BBC did a video profile of Barn, he can’t keep make spoons fast enough and we were lucky to grab a few – they make beautiful, useful gifts.

Yes, the weather has been cold for May (I even had to buy some gloves at a car boot sale), but we have had a few bright spots, particularly on a walk with Caroline and Tom through a bluebell wood in Freston, Suffolk. That was on Thursday, our one day of sunshine so far.

On Friday the weather got a bit chilly and very gray again, but we avoided a downpour.  We spent another day with Caroline and Tom, driving around the countryside – we stopped at a car boot sale and had a walk around the town of Lavenham, with its old Tudor buildings that look like they are holding each other up.

To wrap up this post, here are a couple of bonus cat pictures. There’s always a need for pictures of cats.

Linda in London, UK

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Apr 282013

Last weekend we visited Laurence Harbor, a section of Old Bridge Township, NJ that sits on the Raritan Bay, in view of the Atlantic Ocean. I guess you might call Laurence Harbor one of the “gateway-to-the-shore” towns.

The day was chilly and crisp and very clear. Here are a few photos from our walk. Click on one of the small images to get the slide show.

This photo gallery is enhanced by a WordPress plugin called Lightbox Gallery. It’s the simplest gallery plugin I was able to find and it seems to work well (believe me – I have spent days obsessing over this).

I would love some comments – anyone out who uses galleries in WordPress, please speak up!

Linda in NJ

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