Edinburgh Castle and Indigo Sky

Coming in for a landing yesterday evening over the Firth of Forth

A quick trip to Edinburgh has me tromping around on my post-surgery foot in the padded surgical shoe, camera in hand, ready to capture whatever this majestic city has to offer. I’ve taken more than 350 photos in the 24 hours since I arrived last night, and at least three of them are good. 😉

The foot is keeping up with me, too, I’m glad to report. My Apple watch recorded 13,000 steps yesterday, which isn’t too bad for being just 4 weeks post-op. I am soooooo ready to wear a regular shoe!

But this is not about that. This is about those magical moments when the light is just right, and you get a photo you didn’t expect. I was about to head out to dinner (more on that later!) and looked out my hotel window…the sky was indigo, and the camera was close by. The street below the castle is Grassmarket, where pedestrians stroll amidst pubs and restaurants.

Haiku: Edinburgh Castle in Indigo Sky

daylight turns to dusk
the witching hour's upon us
castle standing guard
Edinburgh Castle in perfect indigo dusky light

I love Edinburgh!

National Haiku Writing Month

Note: because February is National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) and I’m a habitual haiku-er (is that a word?), all posts will have a related haiku. For more Glover Gardens haiku, click here.

© 2019 Glover Gardens

Thumbs Up in Paris

Cesar's statue in La Defense

Well friends, you know I go to Paris sometimes. I take pictures as much as I can, to share with you, and also, just to remember.

A Different Place: La Defense is Not Like Old Paris

I was in a different area than usual this past week. La Defense. It’s new (comparatively) and glitzy (comparatively). I like the old Paris areas better.

La Grande Arche de la Défense
Glitzy buildings and 90s high-end architecture

My hotel was smack dab in the middle of a mall.

The view from my hotel window; I used to see Montmartre or the Eiffel Tower, now it’s a mall

Stuff to Like, Even in the Modern Area

But. There’s stuff to like there. I don’t have to always be a snob. (Just most of the time.)

What’s to like? Well, Paris is Paris. Everything just looks so cool there, like these scooters.

And people walking amongst the impressive modern buildings.

Street Art!

And – my fave – street art, like this big thumb.

Here’s another angle.

Don’t you just love it? César, the artist, created multiple sculptures of his thumb, “Le Pouce,” and they can be found in various parks and museums around the world. He was “all thumbs!” (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)

This particular thumb statue, at 40 ft. tall, is his largest, and probably the most unusual juxtaposition – the worker / artist hand amidst the high-tech knowledge worker setting.

The Official Write-Up, a Plaque on the Ground

Here’s the plaque about the statue. The cigarette butts made me sad, but I left them in to keep it authentic.

Thumb
Polished, waxed and varnished bronze,
1990

Like an obelisk, this monumental enlargement of a mold of César’s thumb stands 12 meters high. It is the tallest of the sculptor’s Pouces since the first one created in 1965 which measured only 40 centimeters. Referred to as a New Realism in 1960, César is known for his work on common consumerist objects which he gathered, compressed and enlarged in a spirit similar to American Pop Art.

The Bottom Line

Paris is a diverse and constantly surprising landscape of compelling and thought-provoking scenes. I can’t be a snob, or I’ll miss something cool and memorable.

Haiku Time

Note: because February is National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) and I’m a habitual haiku-er (is that a word?), all posts will have a related haiku. For more Glover Gardens haiku, click here.

Haiku: Thumbs Up

 ❖ gotta love Paris ❖ 
 ❖ yes, that’s a giant thumb ❖ 
 ❖ reaching for the sky ❖ 

© 2019 Glover Gardens

Haiku: Santa Monica

twilight on the pier
santa monica sunset 
the benediction

Overrun with tourists and souvenir-hawking vendors, the Santa Monica Pier remains a worthy destination.

The sunset guarantees it.

The benediction of a sunset

Trust me on this.

Note: because February is National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) and I’m a habitual haiku-er (is that a word?), all posts this month have a related haiku. For more Glover Gardens haiku, click here.

© 2019 Glover Gardens

Haiku: Youth Means Never Being Sleepless

Can't sleep

Do you ever have those nights when you just can’t sleep? That was me this week. I was sleepless at a hotel in Pasadena, California.

I tried it all:

  • Toss. Turn. Toss. Turn.
  • Punch down the pillow.
  • Imagine flowing in a peaceful river.
  • Breathe in, count to 4, breathe out, count to 4, repeat…
  • Relax every body part, starting at the feet and working upward.
  • Count My blessings (Instead of Sheep)…as in the Irving Berlin song.

But it didn’t work. 

Nothing did.

That’s ok.

I got a haiku out of it, thinking about how being young means never having insomnia. And how I never knew to appreciate that when I was young.

Haiku: Youth

those long-ago days 
when “I’m going back to sleep!”
could somehow come true

It was nice to remember the Irving Berlin song about insomnia, and how I used to watch White Christmas (the movie in which it was featured) with my Dad. So maybe sleeplessness isn’t all bad.

Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)

Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney singing the classic Count My Blessings
in the movie White Christmas

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds
If you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings
I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds
If you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings

by Irving Berlin

National Haiku Writing Month

February is National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) and I’m a habitual haiku-er (is that a word?)... For more Glover Gardens haiku, click here.

© 2019 Glover Gardens

A London Fish and Chips Story: Sometimes, You Can’t Go Back, But You Can Go Forward

The famous fish and chips at Geales
London is just so London – Foggy day or not, I love it!

I’m an Anglophile

Glover Gardens followers know that I love London. I have for a long, long time. I’ve been an anglophile since reading The Secret Garden and Great Expectations as a child. My first actual foray into that foggy town was in 1997, and I’ve probably been there 20 times since. Every time I get into London, I’m torn between retracing my steps and trying something new.

Tell me – how does a gal decide between serendipity and going back to enjoy a beloved spot once again?

Retracing My Steps to Geales

Serendipity often wins, but last December, I finally went back to a cozy little seafood restaurant I had happened upon early in 2004 and returned to several times that year as part of a series of business trips. Just off the beaten path in Kensington near Notting Hill Gate, Geales has been open since 1939. That’s 80 years of serving seafood – they know what they’re doing!

From the Geales website

More Posh Than I Remembered

It was cold and drizzly on that December 2018 evening when I went back to Geales, and a little spot at a corner table was just what I needed to warm up. The place was more sophisticated than I remembered; back in 2004 it was loud and crowded, had a fisherman’s-wharf / corner market feel with fish and chips served in newspaper, and maybe even red-checked oilcloth on the tables. Travel-weary and in T-shirt and jeans, I felt a little underdressed in the genteel surroundings; you’ll note how smartly dressed the folks at the next table are.

View from my corner table; I did some people-watching and got caught (by the lady)

While researching Geales to write this post, I learned that there was a big revamp done in 2007 and a change of ownership, which explains the more upscale decor (slick but unfussy).

Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor
This photo courtesy of TripAdvisor
Photo from Geales via USA Today article

Let’s Talk about the Food

But let’s put the decor aside and talk about the food. The menu has definitely been updated. How updated? Well, alongside classics like mussels, fish and chips, fish pie and fish cakes, there are choices like lobster linguini with sun-dried tomatoes, and wild mushroom risotto with truffle oil. I’d have dressed better if I’d known that!

Lobster linguini from the Geales Facebook page

My first course was taramasalata. It was an excellent version of this special cod roe-based spread, very light and creamy, and not dyed an artificial pink like so many are. I’m pretty sure that Geales didn’t have taramasalata back in the early 2000s; that’s part of its new sophistication.

Taramasalata with grilled flatbread

My dish of choice back in 2004 was usually mussels served in a tin bucket, but I went for the grilled fish this time. However, it was my waitperson’s second day on the job, and she brought me fish and chips instead. She was delightful, young and earnest, and I didn’t have the heart to complain. So I ate it. Wouldn’t you? When in London…

Fish and chips with mushy peas

I almost never eat fried food, but the fish and chips were delicious, and the mushy peas were the perfect accompaniment. So very British. Breaking with tradition, I went for Tabasco instead of malt vinegar, threatening my Anglophile status. But hey, Tabasco is a global thing, right?

A Worthy Fish and Chips Experience

I didn’t realize until I was writing this post that Geales was ranked #3 on USA Today’s article, the 10 Best London Fish and Chips Restaurants. Perhaps I was meant to have fish and chips on that rainy London night. Serendipity.

All-in-all, it was a nice meal and worthy experience. While I was expecting the homey warmth and fish-market ambience that I had enjoyed in the earlier version of Geales, I got over my surprise at its more upscale vibe pretty quickly as I savored the food and the people-watching. (People-watching was always good at Geales.)

The Serendipity of the Unknown and Surprising

My conclusion is that sometimes, you can’t go back. What was there before no longer exists in the same form. But if you take a step back, look at it as something new, an opportunity, perhaps you can go forward. When the known and comfortable becomes the unknown and surprising, it can be serendipity.

Haiku: The Chip Shop

serendipitous
mushy peas and fish and chips
unspoiled by poshness

National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo)

Note: because February is National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) and I’m a habitual haiku-er (is that a word?), all posts will have a related haiku. For more Glover Gardens haiku, click here.

© 2019 Glover Gardens

Dog Haiku for Humans

Cute dog picture

This is Luna.

She runs, jumps and plays. She loves her life with her humans, The Girl Who is Always Hungry and The Best Eater.

Luna wrote a haiku to accompany her portrait below and telepathically transmitted it to me through the camera lens.

you could make my day
if only you understood –
pick it up! throw it!

I really appreciate Luna’s haiku contribution, which is kicking off the Glover Gardens participation in National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo). More to come!

© 2019 Glover Gardens

January Dreaming: April in Paris in the Gardens

The seventh post in a series, January Dreaming. Click for the series, and see the end of the post for the backstory.

It’s January. It’s cold, dreary and wet. So I’m dreaming. Of Paris in April.

When I’m in Paris, I do my best to visit as many gardens as possible.  My oh my, do I love Paris! Especially in the spring.  It’s no wonder that the City of Lights has inspired so many songs, including the classic April in Paris.

There’s a link to one of my favorite recordings of that jazz classic at the end of the post, along with the lyrics.  But this post isn’t about jazz, it’s about the dazzling colors and green spaces you find all over Paris.  There just isn’t enough time, however long the trip, to enjoy them all. Ever. So … you just have to go back, again and again. Here are a few gardens pics, from just one trip in April of 2017, taken over just one weekend between two very busy work weeks. I’m not giving details about the locations in this post, because it’s really about the big picture: just GO. Paris will not disappoint you in April. And dreaming about it in January is… Just. So. Right.

April in Paris

https://youtu.be/XeKC0vxCc_w

Lyrics

Composer:  Vernon Duke
Lyrics: Yip Harburg*

I never knew the charm of spring
I never met it face to face
I never new my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace

‘Til April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom
Holiday tables under the trees
April in Paris, this is a feeling
That no one can ever reprise

I never knew the charm of spring
I never met it face to face
I never new my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace

‘Til April in Paris
Whom can I run to
What have you done to my heart

*Did you know? Yip Harburg wrote the lyrics to all the songs in The Wizard of Oz.

The Backstory of the January Dreaming Series

If you read this post, January Dreaming, you know that the inspiration for this series is my Mom’s longstanding loathing of the pitiful month of January. Like her, we’re dreaming of good times in warmer months, and celebrating those good times in this series.

© 2019 Glover Gardens

January Dreaming: Scotland’s Stonehaven Harbor in August

Stonehaven Harbor

The sixth post in a series, January Dreaming. Click for the series, and see the end of the post for the backstory.

Sunny good times of the past get us through dreary Januaries of the present. Today, the focus is on Stonehaven Harbor on the Scottish coast.

It was a glorious August Saturday when two colleagues and I happily found ourselves in Aberdeenshire’s picturesque Stonehaven Harbor, giddy from a trip to nearby Dunnottar Castle. The castle is the subject of a future post, so I’ll just share one photo here to whet your appetite.

Approaching the ruins of Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire

Glorious, isn’t it?

The nearest town to Dunnottar Castle is Stonehaven, and the harborside is delightful. Enjoy these memories with me.

The street along the harbor is shared by pedestrians, cars and dogs and we even saw a dad pulling a small boat on a trailer while his sons pushed, no one moving with a sense of urgency.

Pub customers took their beers outside to enjoy the sunshine and blue skies on that August Saturday. I took out my camera and started shutter-bugging. I had just learned from Ray of The Storyteller blog how to ask permission to take a photo with a glance and a nod, which I did. (Thanks, Ray, it worked!)

Happy with the beer in the sunshine

This gentleman reminded me so much of beach locals on the Bolivar Peninsula in Southeast Texas where I grew up. Tanned, laid back, slightly scruffy, reveling in the coastal, outdoorsy life, not caring at all what the rest of the world thinks, marching to his own drummer. He was really nice and somewhat bemused by my interest and intent to put him in the blog, as were the young ladies he had stationed himself beside.

The scenery and people-watching is fantastic at Stonehaven Harbor. And like everywhere else in Scotland, there are flowers, flowers and more flowers, and benches for enjoying the view.

If you find yourself in Scotland’s Aberdeenshire region, don’t miss Stonehaven. The memories you make will linger long afterward, and warm you up on a cold January day.

The Backstory for the Series

If you read this post, January Dreaming, you know that the inspiration for this series is my Mom’s longstanding loathing of the pitiful month of January. Like her, we’re dreaming of good times in warmer months, and celebrating those good times in this series.

© 2019 Glover Gardens

January Dreaming: Kensington Palace High Tea and Gardens

The fifth post in a series, January Dreaming. Click for the series, and see the end of the post for the backstory.

In the dead of winter, it’s nice to dream of warmer good times. On this overcast January afternoon, I’m sipping some Earl Grey tea and reminiscing about the time The Grill-Meister and I enjoyed a traditional English tea at Kensington Palace in late summer.

Image from Kensington Palace Pavilion Restaurant in The Orangery

Let me tell you, Old Bean, this lifelong anglophile and foodie from Southeast Texas was in high cotton that day! Afternoon tea at the palace where Queen Victoria grew up – by Jove, it was a jolly good show!

Soaking up the history and sipping champagne

Check out those desserts!

After this scrumptious afternoon feast, a walk in the garden is not only pleasant, it’s required! It is so lovely there.

I’ve been to London quite a few times since this summer vacation with the Grill-Meister in 2010, but haven’t gone back to have tea at Kensington Palace. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem right to go without him. If he doesn’t come with me soon, though, I might just have to!

The January Dreaming Series Backstory

If you read this post, January Dreaming, you know that the inspiration for this series is my Mom’s longstanding loathing of the pitiful month of January. Like her, we’re dreaming of good times in warmer months, and celebrating those good times in this series.

© 2019 Glover Gardens