Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ten Things I've Learned

It should come as no surprise to you that I like to read the BBC website.   Haven't I told you that I read it all the time? No? Well, I do!  I love the "Quiz of the Week", where they test you on the news from that week.  It used to say, "For those who didn't have anything better to do this week than to swot up with the latest happenings", but that was dropped.  Perhaps someone suggested the BBC was a news broadcaster and that phrase might not be the thing to say?

 There is also a section...Ten Things We Didn't Know Last Week.  I enjoy reading both of these!

You all know how my mind works by now (poor you)- are my ten things:

1)  The big leaf magnolia (pictured here) is native to the southeastern United States and eastern Mexico.  It has the largest simple leaf and single flower of any native plant in North America.

2) The Great Smoky Mountains Park is a Unesco World Heritage Site, as is the Statue of Liberty.  (I think these are the only two I have seen in the USA.) You may see a list of them here. 
The park is closed just now including all the trails due to the wildfires.  By the way, it is the most visited national park in the USA.
Gatlinburg, which you may have just seen in the news, is very close to the Great Smoky Mountains Park.

3) The variegated fritillary butterfly looks like this:

Euptoieta Claudia
"The flight of this butterfly is low and swift and even when resting or nectaring, is extremely difficult to approach, and because of this, its genus name is taken from the Greek work, "euptoietos" meaning "easily scared".

 Richard was very lucky to get this close to take the above photo!

4) The actor who played "Potsie", Anson Williams from the TV show "Happy Days" is a cousin of the man who invented the Heimlich maneuever, Henry Heimlich. 
(Anson Williams, born Anson William Heimlich.)

5) Leon Russell and David Gates (Bread) went to the same high school in Oklahoma and at one time even played in a band together.

6) The massive turnout in Chicago for the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series this year was the 7th largest gathering of people ever in history.

7)  There is a statue of George Washington in front of The National Gallery in London.   Since George Washington had made the statement that he never wanted to be on English soil again, tons of soil was brought in from Virginia to be placed underneath the monument to him.

8) Close to the George Washington statue, just across the street is St. Martin-In-The-Fields Church and under the portico of the church is a work of art...Christ Child Statue.
The Christ Child, St Martin-in-the-Fields.jpg

I saw this in September from the taxi as we went by and found out what it was just recently!

9)  The sourwood tree is a lovely red in the autumn and I most certainly can identify it now!

10) The Tyburn river flows through an antiques shop in London!

Oh dear, that is only just a few things I've learned recently!  I am constantly learning, aren't you?  Now, if only I can remember them!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Color In November (And Rain!)

Thank you for all the kind wishes for our son's birthday!  Much appreciated, my friends.
Even in the last days of November, we still have lots of color.  And if you notice, I changed my header photo and that means, we had some rain! The wildfires continue in the mountains and because we had high winds that came in before the storm front, it fanned the flames to such an extent that in Gatlinburg, Tennessee many people had to be evacuated and three died. 

We have enjoyed our autumnal walks admiring the leaves, they have really put on a show.
You wouldn't believe how much time I have spent trying to identify all the trees.  It is much harder than you might think!
Hickory, sourwood, sweetgum, white oak, red oak, serviceberry, blackgum scarlet oak, beech...and many more!

I even had to take photos from the car on the way home from our walk...the trees below are in front of the middle school which is just across from our neighborhood.

And the trees above are in our own back yard!  We don't even know the names of these trees...the burgundy red one was a brighter red last year and the peachy/orange tree was also a bright red last year! Honest!
I know I must be driving y'all crazy with these fall leaves but don't worry, it will December soon, and the trees will be bare.  We will enjoy them while we can! 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Happy Birthday, Christopher!

Monday is our son's birthday. Happy birthday to Christopher!  I have photos here of him throughout this year.

I swear even this dog looks like he has had enough of me. HA!

Christopher playing badminton on Thanksgiving day. You know he hit that birdie over the net!

Christopher calls his Grandfather in America, "Papa" and he was very pleased to see a tower of biscuits that Papa had made for our Thanksgiving dinner!

We had a great meal on Thanksgiving but hey, on a nice day you really need to get outside and play some games!
Daddy is very good at a game called "Cornhole".  See the wooden board, slightly elevated behind us?  There is another one just like it  27 feet in front of us and you have to throw a bean bag into a hole at the top of it. It's not easy to do, but you know that my Daddy can!  Richard got this photo and you can see the concentration on Dad's face! (This was also on Thanksgiving day, a very warm day, I did NOT need that long sleeve shirt!)
Besides badminton and cornhole, we also had fun with that air rocket (see it behind Daddy?) have to pump air and then, the rocket goes very high.  It is just a small thing but you still have to make sure you are out of the way when it comes back to Earth!

Christopher was able to speak with his grandparents in England on Thanksgiving day. Of course, it is not Thanksgiving over there but they know we have the day off, so it is a good time to speak with them .  I know he loves his Nana and Grandad!  Christopher was born on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving...just like him to let me enjoy a nice long Thanksgiving weekend! Thanks, son! Hope all of you had a great weekend also and are looking forward to Christmas, it is around the corner now.

Happy Birthday, Christopher! Hope you enjoyed your chocolate birthday cake!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

November Leaves...But Not Yet!

This November has been a beautiful month for the leaves in Georgia. It seems to me that the leaves have lasted longer than they ever have before!  We went for a walk this past Saturday at Panola Mountain State Park and the trees were amazing in their colorful display.
There were a few pinecones in the Ladies room for decoration  but somebody had to go and find a few colorful leaves to go with them. (Can you guess who?)

Hope you enjoyed this as much as we did! 

(A leaf fell onto Richard's lap as we were having our coffee. The leaf had a small hole in the middle, perfect for me to look through and see you!

 Out of This World Dressing - Hey Y'all!  If you click on that link, you will be directed to the NASA website and they have a recipe for dressing that the astronauts will enjoy on the Space Station.  Isn't that the neatest thing?  I am making it myself.  Wish me luck!
(P.S. I will add eggs to the recipe and maybe a bit more sage!)

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends, and love and hugs to my family and friends in England and my blogging buddies all over the world!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Happy Jalapeno Corn Casserole! (Let Me Know If you Make This!)

Hey!  I honestly thought I had this recipe on my blog, but searching for it, I see that I only had taken a photo of it.  Perhaps someone will let me know if they can find where I shared it with you.  No worries, I will give it to you now!  (Sorry, I didn't mean to LIE to you!)  Enjoy the Inkspots while you read the recipe!

Kay's HAPPY Jalapeno Corn Casserole:

1 cup uncooked white rice
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1-2 jalapenos chopped, finely
2 cans cream style corn (17 oz. can)
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese (could use Pepper Jack)
(Optional- Green pepper rings, red cherry tomato halves, parsley sprigs....For decoration!)  You don't HAVE to put a face on it like I do!

Cook the rice, set aside.
Melt the butter or margarine and saute the onion, green pepper and celery until vegetables are tender. Combine rice, sautéed vegetables and the next 4 ingredients, stirring well.  Place into greased baking dish and bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes. 

That's it!  I sometimes make this into two smaller casseroles. So if you are thinking that my photo shows a 2 quart casserole dish, you are correct!  By the way, this recipe is one that I have made for years, it is from the Southern Living 1983 Annual Recipes!  And my casserole dish was a gift from my sister when Richard and I got married in June of 1983!  I still have it, it is a brown glass casserole dish and it fits inside a wicker basket, very useful to transport a hot casserole. (It has a glass lid also, but hey, had to take that off to take the photo, didn't I? HA!) 

If any of you make this, please let me know! The only thing that I sometimes change with this...I will use 1/2 green pepper and 1/2 red pepper...just because I like the color! 

I don't like a lot of jalapenos, so sometimes I only use 1/2 of a jalapeno pepper, you just make it to YOUR taste.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Hearts A Busting!

I have spoken of seeing the Hearts A Bustin' bush on my blog before.  I first discovered it beside the trail at Panola Mountain State Park. The seeds are bright orange encased in an equally bright pink seed pod.  The bush at Panola Mountain State Park was cut down so I have looked for it on the other trails this Autumn.  On Sunday, I found it!  Walking at the Monastery with my son, I do fear that I let out such a cry of delight, he must have thought that I had discovered gold!
Did I have a camera with me?  NO! Luckily, my son had his phone with him and he was able to get a few photos for me!  Thanks, Christopher! (Notice, the few drops on the leaves...this was the same day that I had 17 raindrops, so the Monastery must have gotten about the same!)

See the sign above?  Let's get a bit closer...

Don't worry! I didn't go past this sign, I promise!

Richard and I went to the late afternoon/evening service called Vespers. At the altar, the cross has a light shining upon it and from a distance, where the dark meets the light, it looks like a shape of a heart, doesn't it?

Hearts! It is true that I see them very often, in places that are unexpected.  What if you were very tired and came home from work and saw a package on your doorstep, and when you opened the package...

You find a lovely package of hearts from your friend in Germany! (Herzen means hearts in German!)  Those are lovely soft cakes with a soft center and they are unlike anything I have ever had before! I have had only two...I am saving them to take to my family for Thanksgiving! My Dad will be so tickled to know they came all the way from Germany! See the soft red pillow at the back of the photo there...
It is not only a heart shaped pillow but it has holes at the it is also a hand warmer!  Perfect for me and my cold hands!  Oh my, I loved the Autumnal note that was sent with this also and the PAPER it was wrapped in!  What did I do to deserve such a gift? Why, my friends, not one single thing... but I can tell you that I am very grateful for such a sweet gift!  Thanks, Meike!
Remember I told you I let out a cry of delight when I saw the hearts a busting bush?  I did the same thing when I opened this package.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Coming Home For Christmas (Song by CHAS & DAVE!)

HEY!  Would you like to see one of the sweetest TV ads ever?
It features the wonderful Chas & Dave! I have spoken of them before and have had some videos of their songs on my blog. Just recently, I felt that one of my blogging friends could use some cheering up, so I suggested that he listen to Chas & Dave! (I am sure you do everything I advise, right Ad-Man?) And then today, I see this brand new video! I assume this will be on TV in England, but by the magic of YouTube...I have it here for all of us! 

Everyone is talking about the "super moon" yesterday and today.
It is pretty and bright but let me tell you a secret...the moon is always super to me! The photo below was taken last month! Here is a link to an article that I think you might like.... Super Moon or is it?    Anything that makes people look at the moon is a good thing, and a full moon is a marvelous thing but I honestly love the moon in all its phases. 

Guess what! It RAINED in Georgia yesterday!  Not very much, I am afraid, and I think our house must have received about 17 raindrops, that's IT!  (Other places just a few miles away got more rainfall than we did.)
Also, the forest fires have intensified and the wind changed direction, and the smoke was back today in the Metro Atlanta area.  Today, the smoke blocked the sun...I have never seen that before.  We are still hoping and praying for rain.  Now, I am praying that rains will come to help the firefighters.
P.S. I know I said I would change my header when I got rain but doggone it, 17 raindrops...I wanted more!!

Friday, November 11, 2016

November Leaves

Love the colors of Autumn!  The photos above are from the past three years.  I marvel at the many colors of leaves in my own yard...when I rake them, I like to choose some and place them in artistic arrangements around my front door.  Doesn't everyone?
In Georgia, our leaves peak the first week of November.

We went to Stone Mountain last weekend and it was beautiful!
That truly deserves its own post, so stay tuned! 
Today is Veterans Day, so I am thinking of my Dad, a veteran who served just after World War II.  I spoke with him today and he told me that one of his neighbors stopped by to visit, just to say, "thank you". 
I really like that. 
Thankfully, the wind changed direction today and the air cleared and it no longer has the acrid smell of smoke! I am so very grateful.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Fresh air! You will forgive me if I look back on our trip to England remembering the fresh air along the seafront in Eastbourne. We are experiencing an exceptional drought in Georgia just now and there are wildfires burning in North Georgia.  Even though these fires are more than a hundred miles away from us, the smoke has blown down into the metro Atlanta area today. This is not considered a problem for most but those with respiratory problems are advised to stay indoors. Ah, that would be asthma inhaler is always nearby!  Oh well, you know that reminds me of a song, right?

Anybody else noticed that I have not changed my header photo in a while? I have decided to not change it until it rains again!  The last time we had rain was on Sept. 18th, and we only had a bit on that day and hardly any the weeks before. Please, pray for rain for us!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Great St Barts Church-West Smithfield, London

"When at first you don't succeed...just give it a rest and maybe it will come to you!"
That might not be good advice but I find it works for me!

Sorry about my last post, the ancient church of St. Barts deserves better.

Ancient? The very thick columns that you will see in the photos below are from Norman times, which means the 12th century!
It was once a Roman Catholic Priory which of course, was dissolved during the time of Henry the VIII.  It has been an Anglican church since that time. It survived the Great Fire of London in 1666 but fell into disrepair and was occupied by squatters during the late 18th century, it was restored in the late 19th century.

Richard wanted us to have a cup of tea in the Cloister Café and I am happy to say that we were able to do so! Funny thing, there was a special service for the Butchers Guild while we were there and this quiet space was soon filled to the brim with chatting, laughing people just after we made these photos! (Butchers? The church is in Smithfield, and you might remember the name...Smithfield Market. ) No worries, they had their tea and then, left us in that lovely quiet spot.

By the way, if you watch a British TV show and a character says, "Have a butcher's" is Cockney rhyming slang and it means, "Have a look".   (Butcher's hook = look).

I asked Richard to take a photo of the sign that greets you as you enter...

Who is St. Bartholomew? One of the 12 Apostles, he is identified with Nathaniel.   Along with Jude Thaddeus, Bartholomew  is believed to have brought Christianity to Armenia in the FIRST century. So, both Bartholomew and Jude are the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church.  (Our son's girlfriend is from Armenia, so this has a special meaning for us.) 
You may read more about St. Bart, just here.   

There was another meeting in the room above...and we had to wait a bit so we could take a photo.  It might not look that impressive to you, but for a time, this part of the church was used for secular purposes and it was used as a printer's press during the 18th century...and Benjamin Franklin worked here! (Yes, THAT Ben Franklin, the very same!)

Also, St. Bart's has been a film location for quite a few movies. Now that you have seen a few photos, you might recognize the church in some of the movies below...

I hope you have seen at least three of these ..."Robin Hood:Prince of Thieves", "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Amazing Grace".  I loved all of these.
(Yes, I know Kevin Costner didn't even attempt an English accent, but hey, he is Kevin Costner, so he can get away it!)

The entrance to the church is through this ancient an American, I found it hard to believe that there was a big church behind this! I should have known, it is similar to Canterbury Cathedral where the entrance has shops built right alongside it!
(And St. Bart's is a church, a cathedral is a seat of a Bishop. In London, the cathedral is St. Paul's...a most magnificent building which is a MUST SEE if you ever visit London...promise me!)
Keeping in mind, of course, that these are real churches and not just tourist stops and lovely buildings but places of worship for centuries.   If you go back and read the sign posted upon entry, the last sentence is this:

We ask of you respect for us, our building, our worship and our beliefs.

As we left, I managed to get us lost, I carefully turned into this lovely area which was behind St. Barts Hospital.  Adullamite, you left me a comment on my last post and said you once worked near here.  Did you ever see this?  Those little buildings, not sure what you would call them, but I can imagine it would be nice to sit there beside the fountain in all kinds of weather. Lovely!