Sunday, October 19, 2014

Travel to USVI

 The day began early with the ever reliable Franklin picking me up at 48th Street and this time to JFK for an 8:30 flight to St Thomas.
Today was a new airline- Delta. I have to say it was speedy to check in and then to get through security.
It was good to have large glasses of water and a tiny snack offered. That's all I really needed and then my bag was there- what more could one need.
 I've chosen to stay again at Bluebeards Castle Hilltop Villas. Not only are they reasonable priced, the views of St Thomas Harbor are fabulous. I came to check in with a little trepidation given the experience I had last time. This time it was such a different experience. Admittedly it was different personnel and she welcomed me back and couldn't be more helpful. 

The blue sky and the cloud patterns are fantastic.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The gang got together

Friday nights in our early days in NYC gave Tiina, Sue and I the chance to "debrief"after a week in schools in a place far from Victoria Australia. We'd travel from our different parts of the city Tiina the Upper Eastside, Sue Midtown and me Bay Ridge Brooklyn. We'd try out different places and be absolutely exhausted. Some things don't change- we were still exhausted but the places we used to go have either closed or changed to some other restaurant/bar

On Friday night we got together at a new place that Bernadette found for us- Bathtub Gin 

We had a fabulous time and went on to have dinner elsewhere. So that was Friday night done and dusted.

Saturday lunch was spent helping Sheena celebrate her birthday at Stella 34 a restaurant in Macys. Good food, good company and a great view.

Then off to the theatre to see a fantastic piece of theatre.

Wow the staging as well as the acting was brilliant

Friday, October 17, 2014

Flowers of the Highline

Tiina and I caught a cab to the 34th Street end of the Highline and on this gloriously sunny day walked the length of this beautiful space.

So many of the flowers were out and together with the beautiful weather combined for such a pleasant morning in NYC.

 And then there were the autumnal tints

Thursday, October 16, 2014

She's b-a-a-a-ck

Tiina arrived Wednesday night after the Kitchen Tablers had left. Sue and i sat and chatted and waited and finally the front desk buzzed 16P and "Miss Tiina is here!"
And indeed she is. Just like old times.
Tiina, Sue and I arrived in NYC at the same time to be consultants with AUSSIE. We had such great times together, Friday night catch ups- me coming from Bay Ridge- the other end of the R line- Tiina from the Upper Eastside and Sue from Midtown.
Now it is time for us to catch up and enjoy each others' company and this wonderful city. Yee Ha!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Subway journey

The J train is an interesting commute... catch the Q or N to Canal and then up a flight of stairs to the J train platform. Yesterday when i did that trip there was a rather large rat at the end of the platform that I kept a close watch on as I waited for the train to arrive.It was scared onto the tracks by a young fellow commuter :)
We journeyed swiftly or as swiftly as a J train goes until we pulled into a some stop in Brooklyn where we waited on the platform for a while then the announcement that a train was stopped ahead of us and needed so mechanical issues addressed so someone was going onto the track for a look see (my words not theirs).
Next it was announced the next stop would be Broadway junction involving expressing through a few other stops. Fine by me we'd catch up time. Then we did another express to get further ahead of the train behind. Then we pulled into Crescent Street and again going express- given that Cypress Hills where I was headed was the next stop I got out of the train along with a number of other commuters and as the train pulled out of the station this was the sight we could see...

A sharp intake of breath! What happened here and how long will it remain like this.
I turned around to look at the other side of the platform and what a contrast !

Soon another train arrived and I traveled in a rusty old train dragged out from somewhere. A boy from the school i was heading to was made anxious by the delays as he wanted breakfast at the school and he was/did miss it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Back in NYC

A conversation with Michele has put new purpose back into my blogging. Well getting back into it is the idea. We were talking about a reminder of an event and she had looked back at her blog and realized that it was around this time that our new kitchen was installed in 2011. Then she had looked at other things happening over the past couple of years.
I've been thinking about that conversation and since thought that I really should get some retrospective use of my photos and my blog so hopefully I'll be able and inspired to continue to do this and get things up on here.

Some of my fellow commuters
Having returned from the USVI I've spent a couple of days writing for work and it was the day to go and present some of the writing to the school. This journey involved a trip on the J train which goes over the Williamsburg Bridge. Great views down the river on the Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridges. All around me people were on their phones reading playing games and chatting to someone. I watched one woman who was holding her phone to her ear and I wasn't sure if someone was on the other end of the line as she was talking very quietly and chewing gum so it appeared she was talking constantly. This made me think (again) that some of those people one sees on the streets of NYC who are always talking to the voices they hear only need to hold a phone to their ear or even just have one of the blue tooth things in their ears to fit into the city people-scape.

I stopped off at 34th street and heading to the office from the N train. This bridge between buildings caught my eye. I've since looked it up and found the follwoing on the "Forgotten New York" website
Filigree and decoration like this would be deemed unnecessary, ostentatious and needlessly expensive in ensuing decades. Since 1925, when the overpass was built, inter-building bridges have gotten ever more utilitarian and boring.
But, when Gimbels’ Department Store, Macy’s great rival, decided to bridge West 32nd Street at its 6th Avenue flagship, they hired the Shreve and Lamb architectural firm. A few years later, the same firm designed the Empire State, the King of All Buildings.

I needed to get some pages printed off for the house purchase. A simple matter one would think however for who knows what reason the US still use feet and inches and also has paper sizes that no one else in the world uses. So having something printed on A4 was an issue. However I found via the web a  place where I just emailed my attachments and they printed them off on A4 paper (or perhaps they cut some paper down who knows).
I could have had the pages sent back to me but i chose to walk to 55th and Lex. A pleasant day to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city.
The difference in walking around the city during the working week is that there are so many more food trucks out offering a huge array of "cuisines". The "Halal Guys" have two carts on either side of the corner of 53rd and 6th. The queues are always long- apart from anything else i couldn't be bothered with the queue. I found a review/comment online about it....
The yellow umbrella is the food cart
 As it accompanies all places that are super hyped, I was bracing myself for some disappointment. It was a little cart at the corner of an intersection, and the line was short: only about half a block long. My friend got me a classic chicken and rice bowl, which was basically.. a bowl with chicken and rice. Nothing more nothing less, exactly what the name implies. After I got my bowl, I was instructed to a section devoted to the sauces. There was a thick white sauce, and a lighter red sauce. Do not be fooled by this "lighter" red sauce. It is one of the spiciest sauces I've ever put on anything ever.

I think the white sauce is where the money's at for this place. It is a mayonnaise-based sauce that is simply delicious with the food in your bowl. Most people drench their bowl in this sauce, and I followed suit. I have to admit, the seemingly mediocre bowl of chicken and rice suddenly tasted unique and delicious. However, I think the bottom line is that this place depends 100% on their white sauce, while their rice and chicken is nothing special. Still not a bad deal for like 6 bucks, and they give you a lot! Overall, these places never live up to their hype, but I think Halal Guys comes pretty close. It is a place you definitely want to check out if you're in the area.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

From Dornie to Oban

 We left Dornie after the B&B baked goods breakfast. We drove in the opposite direction from our end of day destination as we wanted to visit the village of Plockton.

Winding narrow roads and little villages and thirty minutes later we were in Plockton.

We had settled on going there because of its name more than anything. We read that it was a pretty little place and then we heard of some of its fame.

 The village is a popular tourist resort, especially because the TV series Hamish Macbeth, starring Robert Carlyle, was filmed there, substituting for the fictional Lochdubh. Plockton was also used for various scenes in the film The Wicker Man and the Inspector Alleyn Mysteries TV series.

We saw some small yachts on the water and spoke with a local about the sailing class that was going on. Young kids learning to sail in such a safe and picturesque environment.

We drove much of the morning and early afternoon arriving at Lochnell Hotel and booking in early enough to enjoy the vistas.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


 Having spent a day thoroughly enjoying the sights of Skye we retired to our room at the B&B and i was doing a little work, glancing up I noticed how the light had changed.
We rushed out with our cameras and drove to various points in and around the castle and were lucky enough to reflect on the castle beauty and the late evening light.
 As one of the most iconic images of Scotland, Eilean Donan Castle is recognised all around the world. Situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet, and surrounded by some majestic scenery, it is little wonder that the castle is now one of the most visited and important attractions in the Scottish highlands.
 Although first inhabited around the 6th century, the first fortified castle was built in the mid 13th century and stood guard over the lands of Kintail. Since then, at least four different versions of the castle have been built and re-built as the feudal history of Scotland unfolded through the centuries.

Dornie (Scottish Gaelic: An Dòrnaidh ) is a small former fishing village in the Kintail district in western Ross-shire Highlands of Scotland, with a population of 360 (2006 census [1]). Dornie
It is near the meeting point of Loch Duich, Loch Alsh and Loch Long.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

First day out of town

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Our blue and silver Audi took a little while to collect due to the loooong line at the car hire place.
But it was worth the wait and we headed south to  Melrose a lovely little village with lots to see.

 Our first pub lunch for this trip. The women beside us had ordered a "healthy sald"- they were huge serves. Fortunately we ordered a sandwich which was a truly delicious meal and sufficient- so glad we didn't get a huge plate of food.

 Melrose Abbey is said to be the burial place of the heart of Robert the Bruce.
The abbey was founded by Cistercian monks and has a long and fascinating history spanning from the 12th century.

 Perhaps the first of the gardens for this trip