Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

25
Dec

Christmas in Peebles

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Friday, 25 December 2015

Christmas Lights

Kyle and the Babes 2015. Day Nine.  Christmas Day.

Today was just exactly what we needed.  A day to relax and enjoy life and each other.

Santa dropped off some little presents for us to open this morning and Roxy and Mandi fixed delicious eggs and such for breakfast. As the day wore on, there was plenty of food and drink, including a visit to the wonderful Bridge Inn.  There was cheese and avocado and wine and cider. There was silly comedy, fabulous music and of course Her Majesty’s annual Christmas address on the telly.  And, there was a wonderful drive around town, up and down many of the back streets of Peebles, as we attempted to gather more information about the lay of the land and the personality of this little town we love so much.

This photo today, although shot in such low light that it’s not as good as I’d have wished, was taken in the neighboring small town of Traquair. The charming display of Christmas spirit included not only a giant Christmas tree, but, Santa and his reindeer and their respective stalls, a “building” representing Santa’s workshop, and even Olaf with some penguin buddies. I was charmed and shot a few pics, never successfully figuring out the identity of the building in the background.

I don’t think it will be a late night, as tomorrow we have a full day planned with an eye on Stirling for overnight.

From Kyle and MaritaBeth (and Roxanna and Mandalyn)–a very happy Christmas to all!

 

 

 

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24
Dec

We Made it to Scotland!

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Lochmaben Castle Ruins on Castle Loch

Kyle and the Babes 2015. Day Eight

Our day of driving from Nottingham to the North, was made a bit more challenging by some rain and a lot of very high wind. The winds of winter storm Eva, as they whipped across the moorlands and dales of Northern Yorkshire were so strong they buffeted the car about the highway and prevented good photography. We got pretty good shots of the sign welcoming us to Scotland, though!  And, we did the happy dance in our seats.  The wind died down and the rain and flooding took over as the main attraction as we made our way to our destination town of Peebles. Less than twenty miles from town our proposed route was closed due to flooding and we did two legs of the triangle instead of only one.  But, we finally made it, checked into our little rented house, and went to the grocery store.

Grocery store trips here are rather like safaris…you know what you want to see, but you have no idea if it will be there, or exactly what it will look like if it is. (I call my fabric shopping trips “safaris,” too, for the same reasons.) We knew we needed to find food and drink to get us through this evening (Christmas Eve) and all of Christmas Day, as well as the morning of the 26th.  On this island, they take Christmas very seriously, and we’ve learned on previous trips that we cannot count on ANYthing being open on the 25th or 26th.  This is a bigger problem in England than in Scotland, (even the trains and undergrounds and buses don’t run in London on Christmas!), but we figured better safe than sorry!    The house came with the basics, like coffee and tea and sugar and cereal.  And we have stocked up on amazing local cheeses at various places. So, we bought some meat and veggies to prepare for dinner tomorrow. We bought milk and eggs and orange juice and avocados … you know the staples one cannot live without. 😉  And, we bought wine and beer and gin and tonic … you know, the staples one cannot live without.  😉 😉 I also succumbed to a salesperson offering samples of an amazing Irish Creme-like liqueur with a “salted caramel” flavoring!  We should be able to get through the day, watch the queen address her people on TV, and never run out of yummy things.

Our one real distraction from our day’s goal, was also the highlight of the day. As we found ourselves on familiar roads passing familiar places, I voiced a wish, and my husband granted it.  We made the last minute detour to share one of our very favorite places with Roxy and Mandalyn–Lochmaben Castle. Lochmaben is a sweet little burgh near Dumfries and right down the road from Lockerbie, which many folks know of for its unhappy involvement in a 1988 plane crash. Lochmaben Castle is nothing but a ruin of a medieval castle believed to have been the childhood home of Robert the Bruce.  Kyle’s family, the Caruthers, are in Scottish terms, a sept of the Clan Bruce.  So, we have an historical connection to the place.  And, since the very first time we ever happened across it (on our honeymoon) it was so completely by accident and without proper signage, that almost anyone would have to agree that we were simply meant to find it, we also have a very deep emotional connection to it. It sits on the shores of a small lake known as Castle Loch, completely hidden, especially when the trees are in leaf.  It is sadly, greatly diminished even in the twenty years since we first found it, with areas we’ve climbed all over, now fenced off due to unsafe masonry and being allowed to be engulfed by ivy and weeds. But, it is truly beautiful, nonetheless, and will continue to be on our travel plans any time we are near. We walked around for a short bit as the daylight faded, shot some great pictures, and logged this sacred place once again into our memories.

The little detour didn’t prevent us from getting to the house in time, grocery shopping before the stores closed, or even getting to our favorite local for dinner and a pint before retiring back to the house.  And almost immediately upon settling in, we found ourselves enthralled in first a trivia show all about Tudor times (!) and then a lovely little BBC film called The Scandalous Lady W. starring Natalie Dormer.  We recommend it!

The clock tells me it’s after midnight, so I’d better get to bed or Santa will be put out with me!  Happy Christmas to All … and to all A Good Night!

~MB

 

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19
Dec

Winchester for the Win

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Saturday, 19 December 2015

High Street Silly

Kyle and the Babes. Day Three. Happy Birthday, Roxy!

Driving in England is practically second nature to Kyle, so it was his pleasure to go out fairly early this morning and retrieve the hired car in which we will spend the next couple of weeks touring.  We checked out of our hotel and pointed the car south toward the one bit of southern England we’re going to see on this trip.  The city of Winchester was our destination, but along the way Kyle had determined that we had just enough time to locate one of CAMRA’s top-rated pubs.  Our internet provision is still not quite perfect, so MaritaBeth got to use her navigation skills and a paper map to navigate the first part of the trip.  Seems those skills are in good working order and all were rather impressed enough that a virtual badge was awarded.

Lunch, then, was at this darling little (like maybe seven tables) pub called The Plough Inn in a tiny town called Little London.  We enjoyed some very real ale (and a real first press cider) and wonderful pub sandwiches on baguettes.  A perfectly delightful travel stop, if not a bit out of our way, and worth every extra kilometer.  We were soon back on our way south toward Winchester, and easily found our lovely accommodation upon arrival in town.  We had pre-booked rooms at the beautiful Victorian Giffard House, a 13-room hotel which holds the distinction of being the number one rated place to stay according to Trip Advisor. We unloaded the car, donned our comfy shoes and began the fifteen minute walk to the Cathedral.  We weren’t headed to church, though…we were headed to what is touted as England’s largest Christmas Market!  The walk was lovely, the weather still unseasonably warm, and our goal was reached quickly.  Daylight was fading, and thousands of tiny lights were beckoning.  First things first, of course–we each got ourselves a cup of hot mulled wine–then into the marketplace we went. We left surprisingly unscathed, but there might have been a jolly holiday present or two procured. 😉  Kyle and MaritaBeth also made a great contact with a small game manufacturer that should come in quite handy for East Wind Games.

We thoroughly enjoyed the event, shopping our way around it for a couple of hours, until Kyle finally got confirmation that our friends Andy and Tony had in fact made it to town and were waiting for us in a pub on the High Street.  A short walk (and a quick stop for some Thai street food) and we were at the apparently popular Alfie’s.  It was wonderful to see these two again (and to meet Andy’s lovely lady Kate) and the evening flew by.  We shared pints, stories, jokes, and memories and sincerely deepened our friendship with and our love for these friends.  We look forward to the day when they can come visit us in the states!

All good things must eventually come to an end, and this visit was no exception, of course.  We said our goodbyes, and soon after they headed home, we took to the High Street on our way back to the hotel.  Along the way we took some photos, saw some sights (many of the buildings on the High Street date from the twelfth and thirteenth century) and even found one more pub in which to elongate our fun and wish Roxy a very happy birthday! Finally, we arrived back at our elegant lodgings and said goodnight with the promise of a proper English breakfast at nine in the morning.

~MB

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21
Dec

Shopping at the Christkindl Market

   Posted by: krmb    in Daily

Arlington, Texas is a place I, somewhat begrudgingly, currently call home. It’s got its good points, Arlington does, but its bad points are significant and will be the subject of a post sometime in the future I’m sure.

Today, I will focus on one of the good points. Arlington does have a thriving culture of outdoor markets and festivals. Four years ago, Arlington along with some local investors, created the first annual Arlington Christkindl Market. Marita Beth and I were there. The festival pales in comparison to the Christkindl Markets that I attended as a child growing up in Germany, but it’s a charming, delightful food- and beer-full event that gets better each and every year. It’s a multi-week festival and is open all 7 days of each of those weeks, so it’s quite the commitment for the vendors, but we see the same ones returning year after year, so we can only assume that its at least profitable if not excellent.

Shopping at the Texas Christkindl MarketThis shot was taken as Marita Beth was shopping and chatting with a Nepalese shop owner near the end of our visit. Its indicative to me of the type of person Marita Beth is – she will step into a shop and engage in conversation over what ever may strike her fancy. She’s lovely like that.

Today, the festival is renamed to the Texas Christkindl Market – I hope that the larger (Texas-sized) identity means that there are larger bigger things on the horizon for this lovely, if small, Christmas festival.

Cheers,

~KR

(Photo taken on 20 December, 2014)

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24
Dec

Akron, Ohio

   Posted by: crazyBobcat    in Daily

Photofunia_vintage_photo_dpfva

My wife and I have been in Ohio since early, early Wednesday morning in order to spend Christmas time with John & Kelly. It has been a delightfully relaxed, relatively stress-free vacation that was both much-wanted and -needed.
John & Kelly live in a hearty district within Akron that is full of fantastic architecture and niche shopping/eating. Part of that architecture is represented in an American Castle called Stan Hywet (Stan HEE wit) built in a Tudor Revival style, it has expansive grounds (what remain) and is approximately 65,000 square feet with 65 rooms and 23 bathrooms. A true architectural marvel.

This photo of John and MaritaBeth was taken near the end of our time there just as light started to fade and Christmas lights were switched on.

May you and yours, in whatever fashion is best for you, experience the full joy of this season.

Cheers.
~KR

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12
Dec

The Colors of Fall

   Posted by: crazyBobcat    in Daily

Wp_000208

I love the colors of fall!
My only complaint about them is that here in Texas, those beautiful colors arrive just a week or two before Christmas and are gone before the New Year arrives. So, we have precious little time to revel in and marvel at the beauty of it all.
These trees are Bradford Pears just outside my office window.
Cheers!

~KR

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25
Feb

Oh, My Darling …

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

IMG_1548

22 February 2011

I love oranges. Growing up at my house on Christmas morning, there was always an orange in the toe of your stocking. Maybe that’s why I like them. But, really, I seem to like anything that is remotely related to an orange. I have always liked tangerines … and tangelos … and mandarin oranges … and now, I’ve been reintroduced to—and learned that I like—Clementines.

These lovely little clementines (a cross between an orange and a mandarin orange) came to me all the way from California, where Shannon’s wonderful “Gnomie,” Gail, lovingly packed them up and sent them to me, because they wouldn’t fit in my suitcase!

And, fittingly, when I pulled them from the box, I put them in the hand-blown glass bowl I made (with Shannon’s help) a couple of years ago.

I learned the week I was there, that they were an awesome and super fast snack in the middle of a hot work day in the glass studio. And, even here at home, it turns out they’re the perfect pick-me-up that only takes about a minute to “prepare.”

Thanks, Gnomie!

~MB

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14
Jan

Rusted Old Ford

   Posted by: crazyBobcat    in Daily

rusted_ford

Still sick.

No new photo.

Luckily, I have lots of photos that have never been in the KRuMB.

One fine Thursday a few weeks ago – over the Christmas/New Year’s holidays – Marita Beth and I went to Ft. Worth. I don’t recall the exact reason for going in the first place, but we decided on a lark, while starting the winding way home, to stop by the relatively new T&P Tavern in the historic Ft. Worth Rail building. After parking, I spotted a wonderful old Ford truck that has most definitely seen its better days.

This is that truck.

Cheers

~KR (Written on 14 January 2011)

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8
Jan

Extraordinary Sunset

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

7 January Sunset 5

7 January 2011

I don’t know where you were at sunset on this day, but if you were in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, you likely know just how amazingly beautiful the sky was as the sun went down.

We are fortunate in North Texas that the phenomenon of a lovely sunset is rather commonplace. But, wow! Today was the over-the-top example of that fact. I was riding in the car with my friend Stephen, and I couldn’t snap photos fast enough as the sky changed! He finally took pity on me, and pulled into a parking lot so I could jump out and keep firing! My photo of the day is the happy result of that stop. This is what it looked like a few seconds before …

7 January Sunset 3

I figure I can get away with two pictures in one KRuMB post, since I missed a day or two already this week! 😉

And, on that same note:  this is the adorable photo I took a few minutes later of Stephen’s mom’s cute cat asleep amidst the pile of Christmas decorations about to be packed away!

Stella's Christmas Cat

Now, I’m all caught up!

~MB

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18
Dec

The Christmas Martini

   Posted by: crazyBobcat    in Daily

IMAG0033

My friend, and bartender extraordinaire concocted what she calls Heather’s Holiday Martini a week or so ago. After some healthy tipping and some arm-twisting I finally wrangled the recipe out of her.

Well, I’m not huge on the whole hazelnut taste and I didn’t want to buy vanilla vodka so I created my own version.

I proudly commit to the copyright gods and share with all of the interwebs my own Christmas Martini:

 

2 parts Vodka

2 parts Godiva Carmel Milk Chocolate liqueur

1 part Peppermint Schnapps

1 splash Chambord

Garnish with a candy cane

 

Alternatively:

 

2 parts Vodka

2 parts Godiva Carmel Milk Chocolate liqueur

1 part Butterscotch Schnapps

1 splash Chambord

Garnish with a candy cane

 

Be careful. One is excellent. Two is so much better. Three and it’s a headache and vague memory the next day.

 

Cheers.

Happy Holidays!

~KR

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