Sunday, September 6, 2009

14 Days, 14 Days Rain

My friend MC warned me about the weather in the UK. Downright depressing, she said or something to that effect. Funny thing is (and I don't mean funny ha ha) she was talking about the weather in London, where she lived for 10 years. The weather in the North of England, well that's a different story. People talk about the effect of the Pennine mountains and prevailing winds, but really all I know is that it's been cold and rainy here for the last two weeks and in the South East, relatively warm and sunny. However, there are some people who have taken this experience and made it work for them. Pierre Adolphe Valette was a French painter who settled here in Manchester at the turn of the last century and, inspired by the ambient atmosphere, created some of his most well known paintings. Surely, I can turn my grousing about the weather into something inspirational?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Twice Nice

Well it's been almost a month since we're back from my blockbuster birthday holiday. Andrew planned this trip for months and unraveled it before me day by day in a kind of rolling surprise celebration. We started in Bath, England with some delightful pampering at the Thermae Bath Spa. On a pit stop (another surprise) we went to the Paragon Gallery in Exeter where, for my birthday present, I picked out a gorgeous print for our home. Next to Padstow where we indulged in all things Rick Stein, seafood celebrity chef (love him!). His presence there is so apparent, the town is also affectionately known as Padstein. We did loads while we were there, which was enough in itself. Little did I know however, that there was more, much more, to come. When we returned home for an overnight before heading out on the road again (somewhere in the North; Scotland perhaps?), Andrew announced we were instead going to New York City! Incredulous, I demanded to see the plane tickets... which were of course just email printouts (doesn't it lose something?), but there it was, proof of us travelling from Manchester to JFK the very next day. Not enough? We arrived in New York Friday afternoon, and on Saturday night, when we went to meet my parents for dinner, I came face to face with over 70 of my favorite people, family and friends, all gathered together (by Andrew) to celebrate my 50 years in this wonderful world.

Afterwards, we got to do some fantastic sightseeing, including a visit to Fire Island, the new High Line and a rip roaring dinner at Sammy's Roumanian! Here are some photo highlights of our trip...