Silver Bells Reminiscing: “It’s Christmas Time in the City”

This photo I took in London last week reminds me of the lyrics of Silver Bells. I could feel the Christmas classic’s rhythm in the busy sidewalks, hustle and bustle, and general air of festivity and expectation as folks hurried on their way in the December dusk of this great city.

Shoppers rush home with their treasures near Hyde Park's Marble Arch and Marble Arch Station.
Shoppers rush home with their treasures near Marble Arch station at Hyde Park.

Silver Bells, by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans

Silver bells, silver bells
It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, (ring-a-ling) hear them ring (ting-a-ling)
Soon it will be Christmas day

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas
Children laughing, people passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on every street corner you hear

Silver bells, (silver bells) silver bells (silver bells)
It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, (ring-a-ling)
Hear them ring, (hear them ring)
Soon it will be Christmas day

Strings of street lights, even stoplights
Blinkin’ bright red and green
As the shoppers rush home with their treasures
Hear the snow crunch, see the kids bunch
This is Santa’s big day
And above all this bustle you hear

Silver bells…

And in memory of my Dad, who would probably be listening to this right now while drinking his coffee and reading the paper if he were still with us, here’s the iconic recording of that ubiquitous holiday song by Bing Crosby. Perhaps Dad and Bing are harmonizing on it in heaven.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Bye-Bye Barbie

Barbie waves buh-bye!

We’re doing my 87-year-old mother-in-law a favor by selling a few of her Barbie dolls on eBay.

There are lots and lots of Barbies on eBay, but not many of them have exquisitely hand-crocheted outfits in their wardrobes. My mother-in-law is a genius with the crochet needle.

Look at the detail in that gorgeous petticoat!

I took pictures for this effort and grew contemplative – it’s a different world than the one in which these Barbies were the gift of choice for little girls.

And that’s a good thing. A thing to celebrate.

Barbie may still be with us, but the automatic “dolls for girls” association is an anachronism. 

Bye-bye, Barbie.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Deck the Hall at Heathrow

London during the holidays is teaming with people admiring how it glitters and glimmers with over-the-top decorations. Here are a couple of photos I snapped from the top of one of those iconic double-decker buses as it passed through Regent and Oxford streets.

That’s cool.

In stark contrast, here’s a little tree that was all by itself in a long, lonely hallway between terminals at Heathrow Airport.

A Charlie Brown tree in a hallway at Heathrow is full of holiday spirit and pluck.
A Charlie Brown tree at Heathrow

That’s cool, too. The hall was decked.

Someone has a sense of humor.

That’s really cool.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Window Shopping: C. Lidgate’s in London

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From outside the window, looking in

Dear Reader, I stood outside this butcher shop and charcuterie at 110 Holland Park in London and gawked.

And then I went inside C. Lidgate’s and gawked some more.

Oh, to have a local butcher shop like this nearby when planning a dinner party or Christmas feast! It’s a carnivorous cook’s dream (with apologies to all of my vegetarian friends). There’s a huge selection of meats, fish, poultry, sausages, cheeses, house-made pies and casseroles, condiments, cured meats and deli items (even Scotch eggs!), and everything is displayed beautifully, looking almost Victorian in its lushness.

From a review by author and food writer Hattie Ellis on the Lidgate’s web site:

Chefs, dedicated carnivores and the locals of this foodie neighbourhood come here for anything from a lunchtime sausage roll to a magnificent rib of grass-fed beef for a dinner party.

The staff are super-friendly and were quite welcoming to this Texas foodie gal, telling me that the shop has been in the same family for 5 generations since it originally opened in 1850. They didn’t mind my gawking at all.

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This photo from Lidgate’s Facebook page perfectly captures the vibe of the staff: “we’re here to help, and we’re happy to do it”

I refrained from snapping photos inside Lidgate’s, because there were customers eager to be waited on, and I was something of an interloper, a traveler who could only window-shop and imagine what it would be like to have a neighborhood butcher shop like Lidgate’s where I could source all of my meat. I think I may have emitted a bit of a jealous sigh when a man asked for a chicken carcass to make stock, and the butcher said, “Right away!” That just wouldn’t happen at my local grocery store meat counter.

But if I’d been willing to annoy those regular customers going about their meat-shopping day with my shutter-bugging, I’d have gotten images of the house-made pies for you. They were things of beauty. So for you foodie-tourists, here are some of the photos from the Lidgate’s Facebook page.

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Oh my goodness! Can’t you just see this bounty on your holiday table?

Just a reminder, Glover Gardens is not a commercial blog and has received no compensation from Lidgate’s. I’m just sharing as a public service, so you can window shop along with me.

And for the family, I’ve put Lidgate’s cookbook on my Christmas list. 🙂

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You can find the cookbook on Amazon

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Haiku: Magpie’s Blue Period

In almost six years, we never saw a magpie at Little House in the Rockies.

And then on the Fall Colors 2018 Trek in late September, there they were at Tarryall Reservoir. With the blue on their wings, they are mag(pie)nificent!

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And over Thanksgiving, they finally came right up to our front porch to feed on the suet. Despite their chatty reputation, our maggies were a little shy, so I wasn’t able to get many photos of their tuxedo coloring with bright blue wingtips. However, the one below, which is accidentally dark, made me happy enough to haiku. Intensifying the blue made me even happier. So I give you, Magpie’s Blue Period:

blue-winged forager 
stopping at the suet bar
gorgeous in profile

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© 2018 Glover Gardens

Random Thankful Lists

I am thankful for…

bright blue sunny skies

quiet and rainy afternoons

warm blankets on snowy nights

murder mysteries and PBS

guilty pleasures

wine by the fire

cooking with friends and family

food magazines

pepper(s) of all kinds

chocolate

hibiscus

stories

cast iron

Turner Classic Movies

brie

brown eyes

quiet and enlightening conversations

diversity

traveling to places familiar and unknown

health insurance

I am thankful for…

meaningful work

stimulating challenges

surprising opportunities

unexpected blessings

authentic hugs

spontaneous smiles

candor

tears of joy

having learned from mistakes

listening and being heard

mindfulness

I am thankful for…

music and musicians

birds and bird-watchers

cameras and photographers

poetry and poets

gardens and gardeners

books and writers

art and artists

chefs and restaurants

I am thankful for…

clever people

who make me laugh

warm and optimistic people

who give me hope

servant leaders who teach

creative minds 

that look at the world in new ways

smart people

who develop practical solutions

loyal friends 

colleagues

family (born and chosen)

unbreakable bonds

people who pray and people who do

soldiers, first responders and protesters

good and loving people of all kinds

who make the world better

in their own ways

I am thankful for…

cats who cradle

dogs that wag

mountains that loom majestic

snow that sparkles

sand on my toes

the roar of waves

aspen trees

honey bees

wildlife and wilderness

the wind in my face

I am thankful for…

curiosity

the wisdom of children

empathy

the friendship of strangers

faithfulness and forgiveness

acceptance and love

silence

independence

collaboration and community

free speech

joy

hope

I am thankful for…

faith of all kinds

I am thankful for…

memories

I am thankful for…

tomorrow

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that’s me, thankful for the camera, the snow, the birds and this amazing life

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Thanksgiving Roundup

Thanksgiving-themed posts and recipes are getting lots of traffic here in Glover Gardens this week, so I thought I’d make it easy and round a few of them up.

Best Supporting Actors

It’s really all about the sides at the Thanksgiving table, right? I mean, when else do you get the harvest bounty of all those gorgeous fall vegetables all dressed up in their holiday best?

Our family’s approach to corn is here: Best Creamed Corn Ever – Handed-Down and Upgraded Scratch Recipe from My Dad and Grandmother. This creamed corn is a rich, creamy dish that makes you nostalgic for the old days when life was simpler, people were kinder and you could borrow an egg from your neighbor, even if you never experienced any “old days” in that way.

Another favorite with corn takes a spicy, southwestern turn: Food Magazine Treasures: Serrano Ham and Corn Pudding

The Grill-Meister is a reluctant vegetable-eater, but even he will dig into these Brussels sprouts (it’s the Bacon Effect): Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries, Bacon and Bacon-Jalapeño Jam.  Almost blackened, these sprouts are spicy-sweet-tart-crunchy-soft yumminess and perfect for the holiday table.

A new addition to the repertoire is Sweet Potato Stacks in Browned Butter with Sage .

Gotta Have Yeast Rolls

My grandmother “Mema” fed us in classic grandmotherly style: something was always just out of the oven, just for you. Her legendary yeast roll recipe was a star at every Thanksgiving, and is captured in We Call Them “Mema Rolls,” She Called Them “Refrigerator Rolls” – Call My Grandmother’s Delicious Yeast Rolls Anything You Want, but Don’t Call Me Late for Dinner if You’re Serving Them.

Let’s Talk Turkey

We like the spatchcock method for turkey these days. Spatchcocked turkey is everything you want in a turkey: moist on the inside, with crispy, savory, mahogany skin on the outside. Check out our experiences with it here:  Spatchcocked Turkey. Say What?

We also recommend Alton Brown’s Deep Fried Turkey, if you are ready for a turkey adventure.

The Sweet Ending

This pie is a wonderful mix of textures – the crunch of the toasted pecans with their caramel glaze and sea salt garnish balances perfectly with the soft, fudge-like filling. Find it here at Food Magazine Treasures: Salted-Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie.

But First, Start the Day Right

We have a family tradition of starting our Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings with a humble little breakfast: Sweet Potato Biscuits: Family History, Love on a Plate.

A Co-Created Centerpiece

A co-created centerpiece brings the family together in a meaningful discussion of what we’re thankful for; see how easy and fun it is at Thankful for…Bay Leaves and Family .

That’s All for Now

There’s more to share from our Thanksgiving repertoire, but those recipes aren’t documented yet. Maybe next year!

© 2018 Glover Gardens