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

January Dreaming: A Summer Afternoon in Laguna Beach

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

Time for a Detour

Pulling into Laguna Beach - there's the water!
We followed our friends into town – there’s the water!

Headed to LAX after a lovely time with friends in the wine country of Temecula a couple of years ago, we had time for a detour in Laguna Beach. What a wonderful town – more quirky than cool (fine by me!), colorful, artsy and fully embracing its California beachy character.

Lunch First!

We landed at The Cliff as though it was fate. Literally perched on the edge of the cliff, this restaurant is perfectly situated for dining al fresco with a view of the deep blue. The Cliff serves hearty, unpretentious coastal fare and throws in the view for free. Their tag line is apropos: “Beauty on the Beach”. See for yourself below.

The Cliff was a great place to enjoy a meal and “pass a good time” as they say in Cajun Country.

Brown’s Park

Just next to The Cliff is Brown’s Park. The land was donated to the city of Laguna Beach by a businessman after his grandfather’s seaside house, which had been in the family since the 1930s, was demolished by a winter storm in 1998. It’s an unusual park consisting of a single scenic walkway and a beachside lookout with stained glass.

An enchanting, almost hidden pathway leads to a lookout point
An enchanting, almost hidden pathway leads to a lookout point

Along the way, there are benches, and the table and chairs are actually bronze statues.

Bronze table and chairs statues at Brown's Park in Laguna Beach
There’s a bronze book on the table between the chairs; it’s the little things

The brickwork itself is intricate and beautiful.

The brickwork is artwork
Brickwork as artwork

At the lookout, there is a poem embedded in two stained glass panels which heralds the park’s purpose:

In this fleeting moment 
what extravagant respite
as booming surf speaks its
mystical passage across
the undreamed depths.

There’s also a plaque with a poem from the original owner of the land:

Let me live in a house by the side of the sea,
Where men and women wander by
Where there is beauty and grace and excitement that's free
On the beach, in the sun let me lie
Let me listen to ocean's melodious roar
And its rhythm, so soothing to hear
As the foam-covered waves seem to reach for the shore
Under skies that are sunny and clear.

-Joseph E. Brown

“Where there is beauty and grace and excitement that’s free” – we felt it!

A Quirky and Artsy Town

We spent just a bit more time on this lovely June day walking through the city. It oozes beachy personality.

Flora and Fauna Abound

The trees, plants and flowers in Laguna Beach are abundant and vivid, almost as though they’re in Technicolor in an old Hollywood movie.

Goodbye, Laguna Beach

No trip to a seaside community is complete without a walk on the beach.

Pondering the mysteries of life in the music of the azure sea and crashing waves
The Grill-Meister pondering the mysteries of life in the music of the azure sea and crashing waves

Back on the road, we were already reminiscing about our short time in this charismatic little haven, and we still are on this cold January day as we dream of summer good times.

The 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

Reminder: all recommendations, such as those in this post, are based on personal opinion and experience and should not be considered as advertisements (Glover Gardens is not a commercial blog).

January Dreaming: Frangipani Winery on an Afternoon in June

This is the third post in a series, January Dreaming. Click for the series.

Wedding arbor at Frangipani Winery in Temecula, CA

We’re conjuring up some summer to get us through January. Are you with us? (See more about the January Dreaming series at the bottom of the post.)

Today, we’re reminiscing about one of the wineries we visited on our ‘Wine for No Reason’ trip in June of 2017 to California’s Temecula Valley, which sports over 50 vineyards.  Frangipani Estate Winery is quiet, verdant and lush – and the wine is good, too! “Just off the beaten path,” says the Frangipani web site, encouraging visitors to “drop on in today”. I’d love to, especially on this chilly, blustery mid-January day! But for now, the memories will suffice.

As you can see, Temecula is beautiful, probably almost as nice in January as it is in June. We’ll be back.

January Dreaming: The Background

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

Reminder: all recommendations, such as those in this post, are based on personal opinion and experience and should not be considered as advertisements (Glover Gardens is not a commercial blog).

January Dreaming: Paris in July from the Taxi Window

This is the second post in a series, January Dreaming. Click for the series.

If you read yesterday’s 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.

Paris is charming just about any time…in the springtime (like the song says), summer, fall and winter… but I was especially enchanted last July on the way back to my hotel from a business meeting. The parade for winning the World Cup had taken place earlier that day, and everyone was either happy or in a hurry. I had a point-n-shoot camera with me and spent a very enjoyable 40-minute rush-hour taxi ride snapping pics of the tourists and locals as they darted about this very walkable city.

In Paris, even a taxi ride during rush hour is enriching and interesting.

© 2019 Glover Gardens

January Dreaming

Nancy Harvell in the Gulf

This is the first post in a series: January Dreaming. Click here for the rest of the series.

My late Mom always hated January. For many reasons.

The emotional let-down after the excitement of the holidays.

The dreary, gray, chilly days.

The lack of a real identity for this also-ran of months. Nothing big happens. All the other months get the glory.

Mom was a warm weather person, and grumped her way through all her Januaries. I think she kind of enjoyed putting down her least favorite month, and she had a real patter going about it “too cold, too damp, too boring, no spice to it!”. She spent her January days dreaming of warmer good times and letting everyone know about it. I miss that, and her.

That’s Mom above at the beach where I grew up, in Gilchrist, Texas along the Gulf of Mexico. The floppy hat illustrates her personality so well – she definitely marched to her own drummer. So in Mom’s honor, I’m going to do some January Dreaming posts about warmer days. First up will be scenes from a Paris taxi ride in July (my next post – stay tuned).

Scenes from the Paris taxi: joggers along the Seine

Update: the January Dreaming series ended when January passed its chilly baton to February, but you can dream of good times in warmer months at any time by clicking here.

© 2019 Glover Gardens