Archive for April, 2005

Sweetwater Creek

April 24, 2005

Bill had to go in to the office to do work stuff on Sunday so I decided to run off with the truck and take two excited dogs for walkies at Sweetwater Creek. I was a little nervous about venturing out on my own with two squirming dogs in the back but actually they were very well behaved and didn’t try to climb into the passenger seat to keep me company at all.

It was a really pretty day and we decided to do the river walk over to New Manchester Mill again. In contrast to when Mumsy and Dadsy were here the waters were running calmly, were much more bubbly and less of a gushing torrent.

Taking our two pups for a walk on my own was a challenge though. It’s a continual tangle of leads and sudden stops for peeing and sniffing rites. I envied those people I saw walking girl dogs who didn’t have to deal with that mayhem.

The mill at Sweetwater is cordoned off with a tall mesh fence, so I was surprised to get there and see a group of people armed with spades milling around down amongst the ruins. Being of a suspicious nature, when I passed a state park employee on his quad on the walk back I had to stop to check that scheduled work was going on down there. I was relieved to hear that, yes indeed, it was an authorised team working at the mill. They had been asked to find 4,500 bricks from the site with which to build part of a museum that is in construction there.

Usually when we go to Sweetwater we see a lot of groups of people walking along the trail. However, that day, like myself, most people there were solo. Very odd.

Had a scary Genghis moment too when he somehow managed to slip a front leg through his choke collar and begin to strangle himself after getting into a tangle with Quincy and some other dogs. I really struggled to get the blasted thing off him and was most upset. Eventually I managed to push his leg back through the chain and get him settled again. That’s it though, back to using his harness for me.

Charleston, SC – Tuesday 29th March

April 12, 2005

Bill managed to take a week off work just after Easter and we decided to all pack up and visit Charleston for a few days. We had to leave the dogs behind, but thankfully they were able to stay in their own home as we arranged for a friend to come around daily to feed them and make sure they were alright. Thanks a lot Rick, we really appreciated knowing that our babies were in good hands while we were away.

I pulled out my knitting and for most of the long drive to Charleston I knitted merrily in the back seat. Mum got itchy fingers from watching and I made great progress on the laptop bag I’m endeavouring to make.

Bill came up trumps with the hotel he’d booked us into just on the outskirts of Charleston, the Charleston River View Hotel. Once we’d trashed the clean hotel rooms by strewing our stuff around and had a bit of a breather we headed on into the town in search of some sustenance and a nosy.

Lots of ghost tours were traipsing around already once we made it into the town. As we wandered the streets we could hear snatches of all the different stories being told and small children making ghost noises at the tours as they passed by.

Several of the local eateries were so popular that there were huge crowds milling on the pavement outside waiting for tables. Not for us. We don’t do that insane waiting thing! Crazy people.

Needing a drink we chanced upon “Bodacious Burgers” which was a pub with an unresistable happy hour. We sat and supped bevvy’s while examining all the tourist leaflets we’d picked up along the way. Once our gaze moved up from these papers we realised we were sat in what appeared to be a British themed pub. Fake pub signs that looked like a child’s art project adorned the walls and photos of the Royal Family beamed sternly down at us.

Continuing on we then made our way to the waterfront which was surprisingly dark and quiet. It was not a harbour full of boats and reflected lights glimmering on the bobbing sea.

We discovered a pier jutting out over the water on which to promenade and were impressed by the swinging seats suspended from gazebos. The only annoying thing was the other people occupying them and looking like they were having a great time swinging gently in the peaceful night…rotters.

Bill had already decided where we should be eating that night so we then followed him, and his nose, through the backstreets to where the restaurant should be. And lo and behold, it was!

The menu turned out to be a little pricier than we were hoping for, but so impressed were we by Bill’s sense of direction we decided to stay at Poogan’s Porch for dinner anyway. It was very much the perfect eatery for Bill, Mum and Dad, who found it terribly hard to choose what to have because everything sounded so delicious. I, on the other hand had no decision to make at all. Spinach Fettucini or Spinach Fettucini for me! Anything else that wasn’t seafood was slathered in nuts…boooo!!!!

We dined on good food, conversed heartily, emptied a bottle of red wine and Bill discovered that the local brew, Palmetto porter, was rather delicious and worth having more of before contentedly toddling back to the hotel to pass out for the night.

Braeburn Circle

April 12, 2005

Taking the dogs for a walk around the block with Daddy. He took Quince while I took control of the Gingernuts. We were slightly naughty and had a brief exploration of the cemetery despite the “no trespassing” signs.

As you can see Mum’s wardrobe fears were unfounded and we still had some coat wearing days. Of course, my Dad is probably in shorts regardless.

Easter Sunday

April 12, 2005

First of all, my husband needs to understand that during the night the EASTER BUNNY IS SUPPOSED TO VISIT AND LEAVE CHOCOLATE (or pressies!) FOR ME!!! Gah. Bill found a packet of Ghirardelli on his pillow but there was no trace of even a forgotten carrot or rabbit droppings for me. *cries*

Good job I have a fabulous Mum and Dad though. They’d managed to catch up with the Easter Bunny in England and brought over a proper English style Cadbury’s Creme Egg Easter Egg for me. I managed to not munch on it while they were here, but it’s all gone now! Yummy!

Ok, so Easter Day started off with a breakfast of home baked hot cross buns. After the previous night’s near disaster with the sugar and having to contend with baking with only the stove light to see by I do declare my hot cross buns to be winners!

Oh, and I had to use the grated rind of an orange and a lemon instead of mixed peel as that doesn’t seem to exist over here, but that worked out rather tastily too and actually improved the recipe as far as I was concerned. Was never too fond of the hard bits in hot cross buns anyway.

Once fed and dressed in our Easter best we piled into the car and drove over to Mary and Hank’s for an Easter family gathering. Bill’s parents were there, as was his brother but unfortunately a tornado warning and general bad weather trapped Hank’s parents and they were unable to make it.

Mum and Dad got to peer out of the window at the storm outside and know there were goats out there somewhere! They also got to watch horse politics as the dominant male refused to let his harem play, or even talk to a male new comer to the paddock. We couldn’t really understand what was going on but Mary could read a whole soap opera into the horses actions.

When there seemed to be an interlude in the rain Mary took Mum, Dad, Mom and myself out for a tour of nearby Madison. Of course, once there the heavens opened once more and Madison became a grey wet blur. Mary guided us through some roads we’d have never thought to go down and we did get to see some of the old homes along what was once the Main Street. I hadn’t realised that the grand facades along the main road were actually the backs of the houses as a bypass had been constructed parallel to the old one. Mary took us down the original main road and even when obscured by the bad weather the facades along that were even grander and prettier.

Think Bill’s folks must have left for home before this pic was taken. 😦

Good Friday

April 12, 2005

Was a very good Friday as that was the day Mum and Dad came to visit a very excited Kay here in Atlanta. In fact, Kay was so excited and happy to see Mum and Dad that she burst into tears at the airport when they came through the gate. Mum and Dad looked a little travel worn and tired but they were a sight for sore eyes nonetheless.

As always the Atlanta welcome for Mum and Dad consisted of an exhausting and tedious journey through customs and immigration, and then a seemingly infinite wait at the car rental stand. The latter was somewhat relieved with lots of hugs, a touch of catching up and Dad doling out Fox’s Glacier Fruits to the tune of Mum’s “You’ll rot your teeth Mr Downes!”

Being Good Friday we should of course have had toasted hot cross buns that day, but as I wasn’t about to pay the ridiculous price being charged for them at the Aussie Bakery so that was not to be. Instead, the next day, when we took the folks to the Farmer’s Market I pulled together the ingredients to make some myself.

Mum and Dad had been to the Farmer’s Market before, but last time Mum was disappointed because we went on the last day of their visit and she didn’t get to sample any of the food we bought. Dad’s favourite part is the fish section and he had fun peering into the various tanks.

With both Mum and Dad being avid coffee drinkers I decided that having to attend to the espresso machine every time they wanted a drink would drive me insane and that we really needed to get a cafetiere to make things a little easier. This resulted in Mum and I taking a trip to Target where a panicked Mum was also able to buy some cheap clothes as the weather was a lot warmer than she’d been expecting and she’d not packed any warm weather gear.

Target in Edgewood is a new development and surrounding it there are several other big box stores still in the process of being built. I hope that was the explanation for the shaking floor that vibrated through us and made us wonder about an earthquake as we shopped. Made me feel like I was on a boat. Odd, and not a very pleasant feeling.

Back at the house in the evening, with Mum and Dad happy to chill and fight the jet lag, I set to baking up some hot cross buns. Everything was going really well, the dough had risen nicely and I was all set to divide it up and stick them in the oven when an unopened packet of brown sugar on the sideboard set alarm bells ringing. Oh pants! I’d forgotten to add it to the mix! In desperation I crossed my fingers, kneaded the rogue sugar into the dough and put it to the side for another round of rising. I can’t remember how late I was up making those buns after that, but it was pretty stupid o’clock! Gah.