Monday, 23 October 2017

I stopped to smell the roses...

It's been a week of roses.

I grabbed a bunch of white alstromeria and pink roses a few days ago whilst doing my grocery shop.

Then on Sunday afternoon I decided to duck out for a quick trip to the hardware shop.
But when I was nearly there, I decided I'd first make a little detour to the Werribee Park Mansion to see if the roses were flowering in the Victoria State Rose Garden which is on the grounds.
It was a little more than a small detour. About 15ish minutes past the hardware shop, but when a garden filled with roses calls, you must obey.
It's very Spring here in Kangarooland. I have been working hard in my baby garden planting seedlings, tubestock, perennials, annuals, vegetables, shrubs and trees. I've been mulching, fertilising and weeding!  It's been sooo good for the soul.
Papa Meilland
I took photographs of all my favourite roses which was actually every single thing with a flower on it. Would you like to take a walk with me?
More big beautiful tea cup flowers of the Belle of Berlin
Precious Michelle
Edith Holden trained on trellis.
Love In. How gorgeous!!
The Weeping Standard roses were not yet flowering...

Ebb Tide

Brass Band: I looooveeeed these delicious flowers!
Victoria Gold. Sounds like the name of a beer.
A row of Bridal Pink standards

Blueberry Hill

Young Lycidas

Minnie Watson
Many Minnies

Climbing rose Tiffany. With guest.
How beautiful are these Mme Greg. Staechlin?!?  A bit of a mouthful. I'll just remember it as 'Greg'.
Greg up close.
Memoire standards
Memoire up close and personal...
Fiona's Wish
Lots of Royal Danes!
This little climbing rose was one of my favourites: Fourth of July
Royal Dane

Tropical Sunset

Monica. I have this one in my garden but it's still a couple of weeks away from flowering.
Bloomfield Courage
Double Delight
Hot Cocoa
Perfume Perfection standards
Perfume Perfection smells so delicious!
Eyes for You. I'm lucky enough to have one of these in my garden too!
Paradise. Really!
La Sevillana
Named after one of the great racehorses Makybe Diva
Maria Callas
Frullingsmorgen. Gessundeit.

I fell in love with these roses called In Appreciation.
After my little ramble around the grounds, I left to go to the hardware shop as originally planned and found a potted In Appreciation which is now in my baby garden!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

A Little Trip to The United States of OMG America Part 2: Washington D.C.

If you haven't read Part 1 yet, check it out here!

A few months ago the Bear and I discovered a wonderful little T.V. series on the Netflix called Designated Survivor.

Have you seen it? 

No spoilers but basically Keifer Sutherland accidentally becomes President of Squirrelland (AKA the United States of OMG America) and from that moment on, whatever happens in the show has probably happened in many other T.V. shows and movies before but it doesn't matter because Keifer Sutherland is the nicest, coolest President since King Barack.  

Actually the most reasonable, nicest, level headed, non- Twitter using President who doesn't piss off anyone from North Korea or any other countries with Nukes and we all love him and I totally want him to be my President foreverafter of the whole world.

Note the total lack of comb- over and I promise you that he doesn't even mention grabbing any ladies by the domestic felines or any other part of their anatomy.

And what any review will tell you which is also not a spoiler is that at the very beginning of episode 1, the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. is blown to smithereens. 

So it was totally refreshing to see that by the time I arrived in the capital city of Squirrelland, President Keifer Sutherland had rebuilt the Capitol Building.


Look, I'm probably making a controversial statement here, but I loved D.C. way more than New York.

There, I said it.

And I'll tell you why. I was born and raised and lived in Australia's capital city Canberra for 38 years.

And Washington D.C. is like the big adult, grown up version of Canberra. If Canberra was a toddler and Washington D.C. was in its' late middle age and had paid off the mortgage on a large 6 bedroom house with a garden including tennis court, and a 4 car garage with a Bentley, Porsche and a BMW 4WD to run out to the supermarket in.

And had Country Club membership.

So as soon as I stepped out of Union Station I immediately felt comfortable. The city felt like Canberra (but more adulty), the weather felt like Canberra. For the end of Summer/ beginning of autumn the weather was fairly similar. Very warm and dry.

And many of the buildings resembled Canberra landmarks but much much bigger....

Such as the Prime Ministers residence in Canberra which is The Lodge...

Quite a nice big house!  Despite all the guards and Australian Federal Police and big wall around it, it still looks like you could walk up, ring the doorbell and ask Malcolm and Lucy over for a few proseccos on a Sunday afternoon...

Then there's the White House...

Whilst I'm sure the Worlds Nicest President Keifer Sutherland would probably enjoy popping over for a few glasses of prosecco, I'd feel less inclined to pop over and ring the doorbell...
Both cities love big avenues, and big national museums and galleries. But I'm sorry Canberra: Washington D.C. does it super sized!

photo courtesy of
photo courtesy of:

Alright so enough of comparisons. We had 2 full days to check out as much as we could.

There were quite a few fun options to help us see the city.
A bus which looked like a tram...

And a bus that looked like a boat!

Not only could you sit in them and do the usual tour around the city, but apparently they also took to the Potomac River for a river cruise tour!  I was all up for that but was outvoted by my much older and apparently seasick prone companion. Very sad face.

Despite all our amazing bus options, we hopped on a boring double decker bus, popped in our earphones and enjoyed a tour of the city...

It was a bit too hot to be on the top deck, so I plugged myself in at the back seat!
Our first stop was the Capitol Building.  

It was exciting to be greeted by this little guy...

A buddhist monk and his dog were taking some time to pray for the health and long reign of President Keifer Sutherland on the grounds outside the Capitol Building....

A beautiful water fountainy thing on the front perimeter. 

This handsome individual was very happy to have his photo taken.
We jumped back on the bus and headed down the National Mall passing so many impressive museums.
The Castle is the 1st of the Smithsonian Institutions and now the headquarters of the Institute.

The newest Smithsonian Museum is the National Museum of African American History & Culture.  The building was designed to resemble a crown of the Yoruba people.

I would have very much loved to see this museum, but we didn't realise that it is so popular since its opening that tickets are snapped up months in advance even though entry to all Smithsonian Museums are free.

The museum is right across the road from...

The Washington Monument!

Which is looking alot better since Spiderman was here. But the lifts still are under repair so nobody can go up to the top at the moment...

 We decided to stop by the White House to see if President Keifer Sutherland was up for prosecco and canapes.  I even brought along my little jar of vegemite in case he wanted to sample some essential Australian cuisine.

But the very very big security guards with very very big guns were somewhat of a deterent.
So we just looked at it...

President Keifer doesn't want to build any walls. Just a few fences.
To keep the rabbits out.
Have you ever been to D.C. and visited the White House Gift Shop?

I found the funnest stuff in there!

So they didn't appear to have stocked up on anything to celebrate President Keifer yet.

But I found it quite interesting that whilst there was plenty of souvenirs to celebrate King Obamas presidency, in the very shop which is the OFFICIAL visitors centre for the White House, there were things that made fun of the other guy...

If you say this with a New Zealand accent, it would be rude...

I didn't buy Donalds Deck. Photo courtesy of the White House Online Store. Yes. The official place to buy officially official president stuff right next to this guys house sells stuff that is named after his penis. Or it would if you say it with a New Zealand accent. But even if you say it with your own accent it still sounds like they're alluding to boy appendages so what's up with that America?
Look. It doesn't matter because I think it's freaking HILARIOUS! 
And it's such a small sized deck!
Highly appropriate for the king of the trolls.
Celebrate King Obamas life in a colouring book and dress him up on your fridge, make Michelle look pretty, make fun of Don's Deck and call him a troll.

We continued on our merry way as the bus took us through Dupont Circle and Georgetown.  If I was to visit the US again, I would have lingered long in these gorgeous areas...

They think of EVERYTHING! A book shop, cafe, bar and you can have dinner too!

Now this is cool. Big freaking spiders. But it's an Italian restaurant. I don't quite get the connection unless it's a restaurant where they serve cooked spiders with pasta and a nice Chianti.
My first unattractive squirrel. Somewhere in the vicinity of the Lincoln Memorial. She kept staring at me with crazy eyes, and a massive nut in her mouth. She freaked me out so much I forgot to take a photo of the Lincoln Memorial.
Our 2nd day was given over to the glorious Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.

So when in Washington, should you visit this museum?

Hella yeah! 

We were here for most of the day.  I followed the exhibition rooms around as they told the history of being not on the ground. 

From when early civilisations dreamed of flight with myths about Icarus soaring too close to the sun, Da Vincis early sketches of balloon prototypes and winged things, to the Wright Brothers.

I really enjoyed reading all the displays as they lead me through the history and development of flight.

And from the ceilings hung all of the planes...

This quote was one of my favourite displays.  One sentence revealed so much of early passenger air travel that I had never thought of before.
Especially after having flown 17,000kms in a comfortable Boeing 747 with blankets, pillows, in flight movies and minimal turbulence!

And then towards space and space travel...

So I did mention my bucket list consisted of only 2 things.
1. See a real live squirrel.
2. Find a copy of the U.S. release of Desolation Boulevard by 70s glam rock band The Sweet.

I was obviously successful at one, but sadly not the other.

In Washington I found three 2nd hand vinyl shops within a 3 block radius of each other.

The first shop was Som Records.  The guy was super friendly and immediately knew which album I was looking for. He had both the U.S. release & the U.K. release in his personal collection, but sadly none in store.
He did however play an album by classic Aussie band The Saints for me though and I found a copy of Alice's Restaurant for only $5!

The 2nd shop Joint Custody also didn't have what I was looking for, but I was happy to snap up a copy of Overnight Sensation by Frank Zappa & the Mothers.

And the 3rd shop Red Onion Records also let me down but they did have a copy of Weezers Blue album which I slapped down cash for in a heartbeat.  This was a super fun find because later that night I bought tickets to see Weezer & the Foo Fighters when they tour Australia together next year.  

But some of my favourite souvenirs apart from the albums and my totally rocking cowboy boots which I picked up at a little vintage clothing shop in Greenwich Village are a selection of cheap badges from a street stall.

So whilst I have bombarded you with a kazillion photos over these two posts, I obviously took a million more photos but they were of more mundane objects which I found fascinating because they are very USA specific things which other people around the world see on movies and TV shows everyday and are almost iconic.

Like red & white ambulances, yellow school buses and Goobers and milk duds.

Sonofagun No.2 wanted to send me straight back to buy more boxes of Mike & Ike's until I reminded him are really just like jelly beans.

I also took loads of photos of gardens and streets, because the one things I noticed in both cities was all the greenery, and the style of gardening.  People throw lots of plants into every available space. Particularly in New York. I found it very inspiring.

Sadly the only yarny fun I had was knitting on the plane and this sign in the tunnel before boarding the A380 airbus to come home...

Where is this place America? And how am I only hearing about as I leave the country???

On the final leg from Sydney to Melbourne, I had enough reward points to spoil myself with a seat flying business class.  I have never flown business class before because it costs squillions.
It was exquisite! I had a cup of real coffee, with a delicious quiche AND one of the inflight movies was a documentary about crochet artists called Yarn. How cool is that?!?!

So for a little while I am going to rest my still slightly jetlagged body (does anyone else take as long as I do to catch up?) and find my crochet brain again.  It's a little AWOL at the moment. 

However the enforced plane knitting means I have actually finished one whole sock!!

I've been giving my Sonofaguns lots of hugs because it was quite difficult for me to be so very far away from them and they've been moderately patient with me.  Fortunately my lovely Bear missed me as much as I missed him!

There are so many more amazing places in Squirrelland I would have loved to visit, but sadly was only there for a short visit to a wonderous country which needs months to cover! 

For me the most important part of travelling to the U.S. was to see my cousin Paul marry his husband James. They have been together for so long I think of them both as being my cousins!

They are both the most big-hearted and generous spirited gentlemen who deserve an eternity of love and happiness together and it was a huge honour to be invited to their special day. Thanks for inviting me guys!! Love to you both xox


The Red Haired Amazona