Sunday, September 13, 2020

Heat Wave/Cold As Ice


Ice cubes! We might be the only ones who still use ice cube trays. When I was a kid, the ones that we had were the metal kind. Remember? You pulled up on a lever and bits of ice would fly all over the place? (Maybe I was just too little and didn't know how to do it but that is my memory.) Somewhere along the way, these plastic kind came out and those were much easier to use.  Guess what I just learned?  You know I am always fascinated to learn the history behind inventions. (Even ice trays, you are thinking? Yes, even that!) I hope you remember the singer, Linda Ronstadt? Well, it was her grandfather who came up with using plastic for ice cubes trays! It is called the flexible ice cube tray and his name was Lloyd Groff Copeman. He had over 700 patents to his name! You may read more about him just here! He noticed that he went on a walk on a wintry day and the ice just fell off of his rubber boots...that was the idea behind his invention!

So, you don't have come up with something brand new, just something that is out there and can be improved upon. ( Now, I do know that the majority of people use the ice makers that come in their fridges but ours stopped working years ago!) Now, let's just talk a bit about color, shall we?  For years, I used plain white ice cube trays.  They were perfectly adequate but when I saw that bright red and the bright (what color would you say...teal, dark turquoise?) I knew I had to have them both! Those two colors together just make my heart sing! (I truly do have a thing about color.  By the way, the cherry tomatoes and banana peppers that you see on the counter behind the ice cube trays are also very colourful (there, don't underline it and tell me I am wrong, the Brits spell it that way!) That bright red and light green together...I do so wish I could paint them! (Of course, I would then eat them! So wonderful when you grow them yourself!)

What song? A Linda Ronstadt one, of course! HEAT WAVE!

That's a good one to think about when you are talking ice cubes, right? Take care everyone and remember to appreciate all the little things in life!

Oh okay, you know you want one more...COLD AS ICE!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Otis Redding

 Thanks very much for the birthday wishes for my husband on my last post!  Today (Sept. 9th) would have been the birthday of a fellow Georgian, Otis Redding.  Sadly, he passed away in a plane crash at the age of 26 on Dec. 10, 1967.  "Sittin' On The Dock of the Bay" was recorded just days before his death.  Written by Otis Redding and Steve Cropper, it was the first posthumous single to reach the top of the charts in the USA.  So, not only did Otis Redding have that incredible voice, he also was a songwriter! (You might first think of the great vocal from the amazing Aretha Franklin when you hear the song "Respect" but it is Otis Redding who wrote it!)  

"These Arms of Mine" is the video I have for you.  Amazing song written and sung by the one and only Otis Redding. This was written in 1962. Once at the sunflower festival that I liked to attend with my Dad,  a band did a cover version of this song.  Everyone was loud and chatting away but when this song began, they all went quiet and listened intently to the music and the words. Hope you like it too.

Otis Redding   Click on his name and that will take you to the official Otis Redding website.  Well worth a read, I promise you.  I have told you before, I admire songwriters very much but I like nice guys even better!

Monday, September 7, 2020

The Shadows (Happy Birthday, Richard!)


Do you play the guitar? If so, you will most certainly know "The Shadows"! They were the backing band for Cliff Richard from 1958 until 1968 and they have performing since that time on their own! (Cliff Richard? Very well known in the UK.  In the USA, you might remember his biggest hit, "Devil Woman" from 1976.)

I found the above video celebrating the 60th anniversary of the song "Apache", one of their biggest hits. I enjoyed this video so much, I wanted to share it with you!  The photo of the Shadows guitar songbook belongs to Richard and is in pristine condition! It is not for sale, I am just always amazed at how well Richard takes care of his things! (It is from 1964.  I saw a similar one displayed at a museum in London!)

From my post title, you can see that it is Richard's birthday! Isn't he clever to arrange it on a holiday? (Labor Day today in the USA.)
Not only that but our weather is gorgeous just now! Amazing! We have some kind of dry air that came from somewhere, we hardly ever have it, it means that the temp feels just as it says it is, rather than 10 degrees more! (Out in Colorado, I am feeling for my friend, Louise and my sister, Pam...their temps were in the 90's yesterday and for tonight, they say the temp will go down in the 20's. A 70 degree drop...I can't believe it!)

So...Richard's birthday. I hope that you all enjoy the photos on my blog, I am able to use many of his great shots! We are planning on a long hike today.  That is what we love to do!  In the evening, I think that he will be playing the guitar! There is a song that he is "Romance", I really love it.  I am hopeful that I can get him to play it one day and I could have it here for you. In the meantime, I found someone else playing it for is really lovely. (As good she is, Richard's is even better, honest it is.)

Hope you all have a lovely day too!  Take care, my friends.

Look!  Here is a photo that I was thinking is from 2010.  It is on the seafront from Eastbourne!
Happy Birthday, Richard! (This is ONE photo that was taken by me!)


Thursday, August 27, 2020

Still Wild About Harry (Harry Warren)


In 2013, I wrote a post about Harry Warren.  (Oh you know you want to read it again! You may read about the great songwriter just here!) Just in case you don't have time to go and read it, I will tell you that Harry Warren was a great songwriter and chances are you know many of his songs and yet, you don't know this songwriter's name! ("Chattanooga Choo Choo", the music by Harry Warren,  was the very first gold record, meaning it sold over one million records.)

In that post, I mentioned that I had found a great video of Harry Warren singing with Ian Whitcomb but was unable to get the video on that post. Better late than never, I have it here for you!  Looking further, I was sad to learn that Ian Whitcomb passed away in April of this year. He was 78 years old.  (Harry Warren died in 1981 at the age of 87.)  

"Home In Pasadena" was one of the earliest songs written by Harry Warren.  He wrote the music, the lyrics were by Grant Clark and Edgar Leslie.  It was published in 1923.  The British band, "The Pasadena Roof Orchestra" which specializes in 1920 and 1930's swing music was named after the song.  


If the sun is shining, the butterflies are out on our Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia).  If you want a flower to attract butterflies, I highly recommend this flower! It is like a magnet.  What a pleasure it has been to see all the butterflies! This is a photo that Richard took of the butterfly called "American lady".  I can never remember that name so I always say, "you know, the one on the cover of our butterfly book!"  Ha! It's true, it is on the front of our butterfly is very distinctive with those very lacy wings. Just gorgeous, but then,  aren't we all that way, my American lady friends?  Well, ya'all are anyway!

Take care everyone! Remember if you hear a song, try to look it up and see who wrote it, music and lyrics. These songs just didn't fall out of the sky, you know! 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Rainy Night In Georgia


Anybody remember who first named the clouds? (I told you I would test you on my blog posts!) It was an Englishman by the name of Luke Howard, you can remember it because it should remind you of "look high-ward"! Richard took a photo of the sky in the early morning recently. Now, is it an alto cumulus or could it be strato cumulus? Or something else? Not sure, I just know it was beautiful.

We have had some stormy weather lately. I had Richard take a photo of the TV screen to show you the lightning we had one evening.  155 strikes in a span of 10 minutes. And the white strikes all bunched together on the screen? We are directly under that! Scary!

We have hot sunny days and then, we will have thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening...plenty of time for birds and butterflies!

The Zebra longwing is not that common to see here in Georgia. It is the state butterfly for Florida! It is a very fast butterfly...I took this photo through a window, and as soon as I took the photo, it was gone!

Goodness me, I hope you are all getting along okay these days! How about some music? You know you can count on me!

Oh! I watched a documentary again on TV that I really loved. "Hitsville: The Making of Motown".  If you haven't seen it, make sure you do! You will thank me! I have David Ruffin singing for you here. You know the song!

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Let's Move It! (With Music)


Don't you think it would be a good idea to get in and out of buildings quickly these days? Now, if you have medical issues and cannot move with any degree of swiftness that is one thing but if not, then you should try to move with a sense of urgency.  I have a good song for you to keep in the back of your mind and this might help...

There! I hope that will make you smile and also appreciate the amazing Glen Campbell. Not only was he a songwriter and singer but an amazingly talented guitarist!  Sadly he is no longer with us but his music will live forever.

Just saw a bit of a film recently and I think I have mentioned how much I love Doris Day.  Hope you love this video as much as I do! I would like to tie up this virus in a box and throw it into the deep blue sea! (No wait, I am afraid it might hurt the never mind, but you get my meaning!)

Enjoying the butterflies in our garden just now. The Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia) that we plant for seed might look a bit weedy but they are worth it for the butterflies. (And we saw the Mexican sunflowers blooming at Lewes Castle in England once. Very happy to recognize them there.  Of course, this was years ago. We have not been to England in 2020!)

Take care everyone and remember, keep moving!  Look for beauty! (Look at that blue on this eastern tiger swallowtail...that means it is a female. Oh, it makes me smile sweetly knowing that fact. It's the little things.)

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Joseph Paxton- Crystal Palace, Orchids, Bananas ("A Thing Disguised" by Kate Colquhoun)

The following has been a draft for some time...let me tell you that I sent a package to my father-in-law for Father's Day.  I sent him a book -"A Thing Disguised" by Kate Colquhoun, which is a biography of Joseph Paxton.  I was thrilled to discover this book for him because during our chats I had asked him what was his earliest memory. He told me that in 1936 when he was 5 years old, he saw the burning of the Crystal Palace from his grandfather's upstairs window. He saw the actual flames!  If you read this book you can understand why this would have made such an impression.  The smoke could be seen for miles, across seven counties.  Peter would have only been 3 or 4 miles away in Spurgeon's Bridge, Croydon.) This book is so well written and goes into such incredible detail. I can't begin to tell you how pleased I was to find a book that my father-in-law enjoyed so very much.  I think he liked it almost as much as the ginger biscuits from Scotland that also came as a gift! My idea, send a book along with something to have with a cuppa tea.  Okay, now I will let you read what I had written about this subject...please forgive me if my writing is a bit scattered.  The state of Georgia is one of those that is very high in the rates of the virus and let's just say that high anxiety is not good for writing, not for me anyway.  Take care, all of here is my story on Joseph Paxton. Hope you enjoy learning about him as much as I did. You know I had to get myself the same exact book, "A Thing Disguised-The Visionary Life of Joseph Paxton" by Kate Colquhoun.

Hello, my friends! Look at these lovely flowers! I have shown you these is a picture of the beautiful "carpet gardens" along the seafront in Eastbourne in England, which is where my father-in-law lives.  Now, here is the thing...these gardens have been carefully planted and tended and it has been this way since Victorian times! (Except during the times of the world wars, I imagine. I think I read that they planted vegetables there during WW2.)  Did any of you see the marvelous TV series "Victoria"? If so, I hope you remember the episode about the Crystal Palace.  What, you didn't see it? And when you hear Crystal Palace, you only think of a football (soccer) team from England? Well, read on...

The Crystal Palace was a marvel of architecture by Joseph Paxton. You might think he was from a wealthy family and was highly educated. There, you would be wrong! Born to a poor family in 1803 on a farm 50 miles from London, most of his knowledge came from his time at Chiswick Gardens where he lied about his age in order to attend a study program there. When the truth of his age came out, they must not have minded since they hired him as a gardener, when he was still a teenager. Chiswick Gardens were close to the gardens of William Cavendish, the 6th Duke of Devonshire, who one day  happened upon Joseph Paxton working in the gardens. He must have been quite impressed by the young man, he offered him the position of head gardener at his estate at Chatsworth. Joseph Paxton would have been only 20 years of age.  (Now, I have to tell you, I have never seen Chatsworth but do you have any idea of how much I LONG to see the gardens there? I sincerely do! Look, I have a link to them...Chatsworth!)

Joseph Paxton was only 23 years old when he went to work for William Cavendish, the 6th Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth. Would you like to read the letter that Joseph Paxton wrote about his first day on the job? After reading it, see why Charles Dickens (no slouch himself) called him "the busiest man in England."

"I left London by the Comet Coach for Chesterfield, and arrived at Chatsworth at half past four o'clock in the morning of the ninth of May 1826. As no person was to be seen at that early hour, I got over the greenhouse gate by the old covered way, explored the pleasure grounds, and looked round the outside of the house. I then went down to the kitchen gardens, scaled the outside wall and saw the whole place, set the men to work there at six o'clock; then returned to Chatsworth and got Thomas Weldon to play me the waterworks, and afterwards went to breakfast with poor dear Mrs. Gregory and her niece. The latter fell in love with me and I with her, and thus completed my first morning's work at Chatsworth before nine o'clock."

There...isn't that an incredible letter? And reader, of course he married the young woman mentioned! Sarah Bown became Mrs. Joseph Paxton on 20 February, 1827.  As you learn of everything that he accomplished in his life, it is good to remember that his wife worked very much "behind the scenes" and therefore enabled him to do as much as he did. I am not negating anything about the man, mind you, just wanted to point out that little fact.

While Joseph Paxton was working at Chatsworth, he began having an interest in greenhouses.( Now, let me inject myself into this narrative and tell you that I was astonished to learn that the modern way of heating homes in Britain actually came from the design of greenhouses where hot water was first circulated through pipes! As an American, I think this is a genius way to heat a home...and it means you have hot pipes on which to place your towels...and to finish drying your socks! Okay, back to the story of the great man...)
You can see from my title post that I mentioned orchids and bananas...orchids were cultivated in the greenhouses at Chatsworth and so were bananas! In fact, the bananas we eat today are called the Cavendish variety! Joseph Paxton named it after his employer. 

Now, back to the Crystal Palace. If you saw the Victoria TV series, you might remember Prince Albert working on the idea behind the "Great Exhibition of the Industries of All Nations".  Joseph Paxton's design was chosen for the building to house this great exhibition. His idea, a building made of glass and iron and the internal supports inspired by the giant water lily from Brazil, the Victoriana amazonica.  (He actually had his young daughter stand upon one of these lily pads. If you look it up, you can see a photo of this. Quite astounding, I think.)
The Crystal Palace was 1851 feet long (built in 1851, don't you know), 408 feet wide and was 108 feet high at the entrance. 60,000 people could be inside at one time and it held 104,000 exhibits. So, all iron supports and glass. Can you imagine it? You don't have to, you can look up photos of it!
Just over five months after opening, it had welcomed more than 6 million people! Here is a great thing about it, it was entirely funded by fundraising and admission fees. Not one penny from the government went toward the building of the Crystal Palace. (This was at Prince Albert's insistence.)  It must have been a wonderful sight to see! It amused me to see that many flocked to see a very large diamond on display there but something else was equally astonishing to the crowds...a flushing toilet! (I can just hear the people..."Did you see that diamond?" With the reply, "Forget that diamond, give me that FLUSHING TOILET!")

After the exhibition, the Crystal Palace was relocated to Sydenham Hill in South London. The surrounding area was renamed Crystal Palace which is where the modern day Crystal Palace Football Club gets it name. The Crystal Palace stood from June 1854 until the destruction by fire on November 1936.  As the abdication of King Edward VIII was to occur in early December of 1936, it must have seemed that bad news was never ending...and you must remember that the British still had World War II on the horizon.

Let me just finish by saying that the 7th Duke of Devonshire (son of the 6th, of course who was also named William Cavendish) is the man behind the development of Eastbourne, where the hotels were built ACROSS the street from the beach so as not to block the lovely sea views! Remember Eastbourne is where Peter, my dear father-in-law lives, if you can think back to the beginning of this post!