Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day Seven (England Continued)

I promise we'll eventually get through the telling of this tale! 
We were gone 13 days, and i'm on Day 7 (technically Day 8 but i didn't think you wanted to hear about the "real" Day 1 since it was allllll about traveling...)

The day began with breakfast at our hotel. Have i mentioned that we loved our hotel?  It was great!
Anyway, next we took the Tube to go see The Tower of London, but just outside the Tube Station there is a wall that the Romans built waaay back in the day:

Roman Wall outside the Tube Station
which is just down from
The Tower of London.
The history here is AMAZING!
This wall is somewhere around 3000 years old!

Next we walked the short distance to The Tower of London and took a tour.  The Tower of London is where many people were be-headed back in the day.  The tour was led by a Yeoman Warder, better known as a "Beefeater" (though no one really knows why they're called that!  There are plenty of tales about it, but nobody knows the REAL truth behind it.).  Our Yeoman Warder was humorous and cute:

Our Yeoman Warder ("Beefeater") Chris,
though he said if you didn't like the tour, then his name is 'Bob'.

The Yeoman Warders and their families live at The Tower of London. 

There was more than one "tower" there,
 and this is one of them.
I guess technically it should be called
The Towers of London...
But it's not.
And nobody wanted to change it on MY say-so...

The Bloody Tower, where people convicted to die (by be-headings mostly) walked through on the way to their deaths.

Just outside The Tower of London.
This was the fortress wall around it.

One of the Yeoman Warders' jobs is to guard the Jewel House.
This is where the Queen's crowns and jewels and other valuables are kept.
The Queen says she leaves them there so "the people" can see them whenever they want.  (hmmm...)
There are so many Crowns in there!
Also the Queen's (King's) Coronation Robe (which weighs
20 pounds!) is guarded there.
Check it out on Wikipedia.  This place is fascinating!

Outside The Tower of London
We went in by a different way, but we exited through here.
Yes, we had to pay to get in.

The Tower Bridge
(spanning the River Thames [pronounced 'tims'])

The fortress wall surrounding the Tower of London (on the left)
and the Tower Bridge (on the right).

Boyfriend and i on the Tower Bridge.
It was chilly and we were getting hungry.
Well, *i* was anyway.  Boyfriend kept hanging around
snapping pix of everything!
(Thanks Honey, really!)

The Tower Bridge

Next we stopped for lunch.  Finally!  =-)
We  ate at a place at the end of the bridge called, oddly enough, Tower House.  I got the Shepherd's Pie (made with lamb).  YUM!!

Shepherd's Pie

After lunch, we caught the bus and  went to the Tate Modern.
That's what everybody calls it, but it's short for 
The Tate Modern Museum of Art.

Jackson Pollack

Salvador Dali
(We couldn't get a shot "straight on" because there was this little girl,
about 9 years old, perched on the floor in front of it with her sketchbook, copying the egg.  We didn't dare disturb her!)  =-)

Andy Warhol hanging on
an Andy Warhol wallpapered wall

(It was MUCH bigger than the cheap imitation copy
that props my bedroom door open.)

I was kinda surprised that this modern museum
doesn't look modern at all from the outside, but rather like
an old industrial factory.
It's right on the Thames.
The picture is taken from the Millennium Bridge that crosses the river.

The Millennium Bridge from inside the Tate Modern.

Me and Boyfriend beside the Millennium Bridge
just before we got on to cross it.

I really like this bridge.
It's one of only two "pedestrian only" bridges
that cross the Thames in London.

After our long day of being on our feet all day, we had supper at a nice restaurant just a couple of blocks from our hotel.
It was good to sit, and really good to have a nice glass of wine.  =-)

Il Portico.
Italian restaurant not far from the Kensingon/High St Tube Station.
VERY good food and servers!

As a "reward" for all the walking we did, we treated ourselves to dessert.
A lava cake with "molten" chocolate inside, and ice cream on the side.

W & C had Creme Brulee

We had "one more" drink at our hotel bar before we mozied upstairs for bed...   Zzzzzzz...

Another wonderful day!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Finally Finished Another Quilt!

Like most of the East coast, we had snow on Xmas day!
It's still here, mostly...
and it's still beautiful.
But i don't know how much longer it will continue to be beautiful
for me.  =-)

I made this water lily the same way i made the sunflower on Bunny's quilt, but with more "rows" of petals.
I really like how it turned out.
Each petal is a separate piece of fabric, folded and folded and ironed and sewn down on a base.  The "fronds" in the middle are random length embroidery threads with a randomly placed knot on each one.

Embroidery threads on the lily pads

I really love how the water lily turned out! 

I've been working on this wall hanging "off and on" for quite awhile now (but mostly "off").  It spent a lot of time "just sitting" on my quilting chair.  I had to think about it a lot!  I also had to go out to the quilting store a number of times to purchase stuff for this one.

The different blues came from a fat quarter pack (or 2) from Moda (purchased online).
The green lily pads and the orange fish were made from batiks (purchased from a vendor at a local quilt show).
The pink & yellow were from my stash.
The grey binding was purchased at Hobby Lobby.
The shocking-orange backing was purchased at Hancock Fabrics.  (I didn't have Bunny take pix of the back 'cause it's just a "plain" orange back.  Nothin' fancy.  Just plain.)  =-) 

This quilt just popped into my head one day.  And oddly enough, i automatically knew how i wanted it quilted too, which is totally unusual for me!  The actual quilting is typically the last thing i think about!

I still have to make a sleeve for the back so i can hang it up...

This quilt is 42" x 42".  I had intended for it to be rectangular.  I thought it was a rectangle, but i guess the two "scalloped" ends cause me to merely think it's rectangular.

I embroidered the lines on the lilypads with number 8 variegated green embroidery thread.  I've been looking at Laura Wasilowski's blog and lovin' it!  Thanks for the "embroidery on quilts" inspiration, Laura! =-)

I love this quilt, and i'm actually keeping it for myself!  =-)
That's a first.  I'm going to hang it in my dining room (if i can convince Kitty to let me take her picture down) where i can look at it every day.  I'm tellin' ya, this is gonna be a first

I hope you like it as much as i do. 


Saturday, December 25, 2010

I don't usually say this, but...

Merry Christmas!!!

Retro picture:
our first Xmas tree as a married couple
in 1983

I hope all of you are having a WONDERFUL Christmas!!!
May you have all the family and friends (and food) you need!

Friday, December 17, 2010

England, Continued: Day Seven

I swear i don't mean to let so much time pass between posts, but...  You know: Stuff happens.  =-)

Our seventh day in England, and our 2nd full day in London.
This was a FANTASTIC trip!!!

After breakfast, we went to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guards.  We got there at least a half hour before it was supposed to start, and it already looked like this:

Buckingham Palace before
The Changing of the Guard

Me and Boyfriend in front of Buckingham Palace
with hundreds of our best friends (ha!)

First came the guys on foot in their red uniforms

It was a little scary for me because the US travel dept had issued warnings before we left, saying to stay away from "large crowds" because of possible terrorist attacks...

After the guys on foot came the guys on horse, with the first horse being white and all the rest were dark brown and/or black

I wish someone had been there to explain all this "pomp & circumstance" to us...

After they finished marching into the "yard" behind the gates/fence, the Guard did a bunch of stuff we couldn't hear, and really couldn't see.  If you were one of the "lucky people" who got there who-knows-how-early to get a good spot, then i suppose you could see and hear everything.
But we couldn't.
So we left.
We weren't really too comfortable, anyway, being in all that crowd, and constantly needing to think about pick-pockets (as the Bobbies reminded us while we were standing around waiting for things to begin!)

So we walked around town, down to the Thames near Big Ben...

to go ride the London Eye.
(Google that sometime.  It is FANTASTIC!)

The London Eye is like a HUGE bicycle wheel with little "bubble cars" attached to it.  I was a little concerned that i would be scared up there so high.  I get scared on the Ferris Wheel when it comes to town for the Fair, so...

But the view was so marvelous that i didn't have time to think about it!
I absolutely LOVED it!
It took right at an hour to complete the circuit, but it really didn't seem like that long.
What a gorgeous city!
We loved the London Eye, even though it cost SO much!

The Thames River and a piece of the "car" in front of us

I could  show you tons more pix we took, but i won't.  =-)

After The Eye, we walked around to find a pub for lunch. 

A directional sign for a Roundabout.
Remember, their traffic goes on the left, so the first street off the roundabout goes to Lambeth Bridge, then the next street goes to Victoria Station (and that funky red & white symbol means there's a railroad station there too).  It's "different" there, but not "un-translate-able".  =-)

We found a pub just across and down a bit from 10 Downing Street called The Red Lion.  Delicious.

Next, we took the Tube to Kings Cross Station to see...

Taking the escalator down and down and down to take
the Tube to King's Cross Station to go see...

Platform 9 and three quarters!!!
(This meant nothing to W & C, but they were such good sports about it.  They even took pictures!)
It was difficult to find, but that was kinda appropriate since it was difficult for Harry Potter to find it in the book.  =-)

Boyfriend & me at King's Cross Station,
Platform 9 and three-quarters.

After King's Cross Station, we went to St Pancras Station to try to get re-imbursed for our Chunnel train tickets to Paris.  We had planned on going to Paris, but with the "million" people striking (due to the president trying to change the retirement age from 60 to 62 [or something like that]) and rioting in the streets, we decided not to go.

A sign in the EuroStar office confirming that we may have problems if we try to go to France
But did that make them refund us the price of our train tickets?
No it did not!!
Whatever. We still had a BLAST in England and Wales!  =-)

After no success at EuroStar, we went back to our hotel for a little drink and a nap, and then we headed to...

Is there some law or something that says every large city must have a ChinaTown?  =-)

We were looking for some place to eat. 
We wanted Chinese, so what better place than ChinaTown?
Only, ChinaTown may have been a "little" too authentic for us...

Duck in the Window at Hung's

We weren't the only ones looking for Chinese food on a Wednesday night.

We went into a place called The Golden Pagoda.
But still, maybe a little too authentic for us.
The menu was MANY pages, and i wasn't sure what i could eat that wouldn't upset my stomach, so i went with something that had Ginger in it, thinking it would be "safe".

It was called Crab & Ginger.  I should have known better.

We didn't think about taking a picture of it until i'd already "attacked" it, but...

They brought me an ENTIRE CRAB!!!
I wasn't sure how to eat it,
but i TRIED!
It was VERY tasty, but slightly intimidating.  =-)

Then we walked through SoHo back to a Tube station to get to our hotel.

SoHo at night.
TONS of people, and we were very conscious of pick-pockets.
Anytime we got in a crowd, we kept our purses close.
Paranoid?  Maybe
Safe? Absolutely!

SoHo at night

We stopped at W's "favorite" pub, the Lamb & Flag, and had a drink before walking to the Tube Station to get "home".

Tube Station (that was very deep into the Earth)
on the way back to our hotel
after another long but wonderful day.

Lovely day.
Lovely weather.
Lovely friends.
Lovely time!