Skip to main content

The Londoners Have Left

All good things must come to an end and Matt and Tom's Christmas visit is naturally no exception. It was not without sadness that we saw them off at the airport yesterday afternoon, however, as I told them, I couldn't be more thrilled with the life they have made together in London. I was trying to think the other day about how old Matt was when I was his age....13 years old already. Plus, it wasn't too many more years and he flew the coop, never to return for any length of time. So, you see, I'm accustomed to it, but don't confuse that with not wanting him to live here! That said, if he'd never moved to London, he would have never met Tom, and that my friends, would have been a tragedy. They are like ying and yang together--fantastic.

The time flew by, filled with baking-- more bread by Matt: (I convinced him to try cutting the top of one of the loaves with kitchen shears, which as you can plainly see, was not the best idea I've ever had)
and beautiful cut out gingerbread cookies by Tom; regretfully, I have no photographic evidence, but believe me they were perfect.  In fact, the first batch came to the market to share with my customers, followed by a second batch, which is no longer with us as you can well imagine. Fantastic.

Mostly I cooked food, but I did get into the sweet act a wee bit, making an apple pie with way too many apples!
The crust was made in my brand new Kitchen Aid stand mixer, an unexpected gift from Tom and Matt.
Perhaps, unbeknownst to me, they had planned on buying a mixer while here, but I don't think so.  While they were out shopping with Bruce (yes, plenty of shopping was squeezed in), they came across, what I'm hoping, a deal they thought too good to pass up at TJ MAXX. In the foreground is a cute-as-a-button camera lens timer from Tom.

Shopping, baking, giving and receiving.
We forgot to do the Crackers! Matt, however, kept things spirited. He was not the only one wearing a bit of holiday fun on his head; somehow he managed to get Baxter to keep his Santa hat on--well, actually only about a minute or so. Unlike dogs I see at the market, Baxter has no interest in dressing up. Come to think of it, perhaps those dogs don't either?
Matt had a bird theme going on with several of my gifts, including this cool calendar from Matt Sewell, whom, those with exceedingly good memories, may recall is the illustrator/author of "Our Garden Birds", as detailed in my previous entry!
I'm not sure which is cuter, the above calendar or this charming mobile:
Cute, cute, cute! There were even more gifts, in fact this post would be crazy long if I showed them all. Plus, Tom's parents sent beautiful gifts from England. During the afternoon Matt finally got Facetime to work so we were able to wish them a Happy Christmas face-to-face, so to speak.

No holiday is complete without a family gathering. Lisa and Danny are kind enough to host the Christmas dinner, always providing a lovely space and delicious food. Matt and Tom are visiting with Aunt Maureen, with Dave closest to Tom, and Bill on his right.
After leaving Lisa's house in Longwood, we took in a few lights, beginning in her neighborhood. My gosh, I could hardly believe this yard which seems to have left no square foot without some decoration or lights. Tom was keen on being photographed in front of this house, which if nothing else is a bit of a testament to American excess, or optimism, whatever you want to call it!
I will say, they did a remarkable job of keeping their stories straight--Lord Jesus on one side, with Santa, all eight reindeer, and toys on the left! The light bill must be incredible!

Closer to home, a stop to see Santa was in order:
Sadly, Bruce was under the weather during much of their visit, going so far as to skip the gathering at Lisa's house. Nothing serious, a stubborn cold and the neck pain that refuses to completely disappear. He made the most of the quiet house to sleep and relax. Happily, he is now nearly as good as new!

Unlike Matt's Mom, his Dad is more than willing to brave the day after Christmas crowds at Milennia, taking Tom and Matt for their final shopping trip. According to them, it wasn't nearly as bad as one would think. Sadly, the weather was not nearly as sunny as I would have liked during their visit, however, once the cold front passed through after lunch, the sun finally came out, allowing us to take a little walk in the neighborhood. Baxter came along for good measure, however, once we were down by the lake, he developed a limp. :-(

Carrying him, we continued our walk over to Eric's house. Knocking on the door, I told him I'd brought my family to see his gardens; characteristically, he dropped what he was doing to give us a guided tour. Were we ever glad he did because there is so much to see and learn. His array of culinary shrubs and trees is remarkable, along with many varieties of citrus. Picking a perfectly yellow fruit ,he claimed it was a lime, which, after carrying it home, I confirmed after cutting it. Who knew a lime could look like a large lemon? Bay leaves, several types of sage, anise, curry leaves, all spice and loads more. What is so remarkable is he had no idea how interesting this would be to us, particularly Tom who loves the science behind cooking. Furthermore, he has a bergamot citrus tree. So what? The oil from the skin is used to flavor Earl Grey tea! Who knew you could grow it in Orlando?

And so it was our time together was nearly done. Following our walk, the Pilot was packed, and off we went to the airport but not without first showing them the pine tree where I see the eagles. There I go, as if I'll be doing it daily! I wanted them to see it for themselves so if in fact I do have the opportunity to photograph them again, they'll have a reference. Bruce was riding along so naturally I had him guesstimate the tree height--80 feet in the air. No wonder my shots are slightly challenged!

Finally, the sun is out, so much so Tom has to shield his eyes to see us...And no, despite appearances, his bag is not leaking! Leaving at 6:30PM EST, they arrived at 7:30 AM GMT. Lord knows, I hope they were able to sleep. After a day of rest, they will make the train journey to visit with Tom's Mum and Dad for the weekend. I'm pretty confident those short sleeved shirts will not make another appearance until their trip to India in a month. Pray for sunshine!

The Londoners have gone, the Austinites are here until my birthday, and the Orlandoans have stayed put.  More on the latter two groups when next we meet...hope your Christmas was as wonderful as ours.

p.s. This just in--Bruce has returned from taking Baxie to the vet who thinks he has a torn ACL.... Boo hoo!
2 comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Garment Sewing Continues

A headline I read online, from one of the local news outlets, caught my attention: "2017 Homicides in Vancouver on the Rise", or something to that effect. Thinking it might be worth reading, I checked it out learning that there have been 17 homicides here in 2017. No wonder a local homicide gets plenty of attention! Contrast that to the 84 so far this year in Orlando, and you'll get a notion why I feel so safe here.

For the record, there are still beautiful leaves to be seen, they have not all fallen, but lots of them sure have. The Japanese Maple trees are outstanding with such intense color it is hard to imagine.
The park workers, on the other hand, are working mighty hard to keep the lawns mostly leaf free.
In spite of the dire weather prediction for the week, we've had no rain until today, and what we are having is very minimal; good news for me as I'm taking Baxter to the vet in about 45 minutes. I'm not wishing it to be true, however, there must be some…

So I've Been Told

It must have been Sunday evening that I ran into our next door neighbor downstairs as I was taking Baxter out. Knowing that I am a photographer of sorts, he asked me if I'd been taking a lot of autumn photos. Well, we all know the answer to that question now, don't we? He added that the display this year was much better than last years, so how's that for good fortune for me? When I explained that I'd never experienced a true fall season, of course he was shocked. It's not that I have never seen fall leaves before, maybe twice, but never have I watched the actual day by day transformation and frankly, I am finding it thrilling, even if it means some ugly rainy days. I will remind myself of this fun sign I saw in a Robson Street shop window during the upcoming months.
It must have been Thursday morning, during a little break in the rain, that I got out early to pick up the dry cleaning and food for Baxter. Dark and dreary still, this brightened my morning.
There'…

Hither and Yon

Looking back on things, it does seem kind of crazy I did not know what was happening to me. No more so than on Saturday when we took a little trip to Steveston. But first we went to Richmond, a largely Asian community to meet up with the fellow who makes all of the furniture for Earls restaurants. By hand no less. Well, machines are involved, of course. Sewing machines and all manner of wood working tools. But, we'll get to that in a moment.

First, let's take the Canada Line to Broadway and Cambie Street, shall we?
The Canada Line actually runs from the waterfront all the way to both the airport and Richmond. Now you know.

Back in early July, the day we were having one of our two garage sales, we quit early to attend Judy's retirement party which was just lovely. So, not only was the party great, but Judy's sister Margie gave me a Lonely Planet guide to Vancouver and has it ever been helpful, with suggested neighborhood walks, points of interest, maps...the whole sheba…