Wednesday, April 29, 2020


These photos were taken in the summer of 
2015, at Paignton Zoo in Devonshire.  
('Paignton' is one of those words with a silent 'g', and is pronounced Painton.)
When my father retired in 1965 my parents moved to Devonshire.  I had one year of schooling to complete and that school was opposite the zoo.  I walked by the zoo twice a day, the second time on my way into town back to the bus station, where I rode a bus home.  
After I married I went home as often as I could to visit my parents.  This was usually when hubby was on a six month, sometimes 8 month deployment.  If my parents didn't visit us for the summer, then I would take our son and we would stay with them. We all had a fun time visiting the zoo. It seems another lifetime ago now with a lot of great memories.  
 On this occasion in 2015, hubby and I were with my niece and nephew.  My niece remembered visiting the zoo with her parents when she was little, so there was a lot of nostalgia for both of us. 
 The peacocks were putting on quite a display I remember, which was one of the many things that made our visit memorable, along with talking about the old days.  As I was putting this post together, hubby and I enjoyed some of those memories.  We were sorting through a few things and came across a box of old photos, which gave me the idea for today’s (and yesterday’s) post.
Two maps to show you the location of Paignton.  Just like in many other areas, it looks like a lot of places are closed right now.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020


How are you all?  I hope everyone is hanging in there, and that your days are going well.  
As you can see by the date on my laptop, I started this post on the 22nd.  This was the screen shot on my laptop that day.  More often than not I like the ones that appear when I turn it on.  They change every few days and come courtesy of the laptop company.  They show very pretty scenes around the world.  I enjoy my lessons in geography as my curiosity gets a reminder that it is a good thing to learn.  I always find out about the place shown with the snippet of information they provide.  At first I thought this was the Arches National Park in Utah, but I looked closer and read that the area is called the Spitzkoppe and the description reads, "A group of bald granite peaks or inselbergs located between Usakos and Swakopmund in the Namib desert of Namibia.  The granite is more than 120 million years old and the highest outcrop rises about 1,728 metres above sea level.  The peaks stand out dramatically from the flat surrounding plains.  The highest peak is about 670 m above the floor of the desert below.  A minor peak - the Little Spitzkoppe - lies nearby at an elevation of 1,584 m.  Other prominences stretch out into a range known as the Pontok Mountains."  Fascinating, and now we know.  One day I am going to make a post just of these screenshots.  Wildlife is also shown.

Our morning (on the 21st) started early at 8.00 a.m. when an electrician came around to fix one of the lights on the front of our house.  At first I thought it would be a much longer and harder job, but it was all done in less than half an hour.  Nice young man, interaction all conducted at a safe distance. We will get him again if we have any more problems, but I hope that won't be for a while.  

As soon as he left we delivered a couple of bags of food to a friend of ours.  We have been making meals and putting one aside for the freezer, and I had a couple of these for our friend.  It was good to see her but we did our part and kept several feet away on the doorstep.  Unfortunately a chilly wind cut short our conversation, but we sent air hugs and were on our way.  
And who is this handsome lad?  When we got home the phone rang and it was our son.  I asked him to send us a photo as he was out on his morning walk. Mum always asks for a photo. We are definitely a photo-taking family.  This was our reward which was designed to make us laugh. I am always asking him if he is following all the guidelines when he goes out.  This proved it.  Yes, I tell myself,  I know he is 40 but he's still our kid, and more often than not he turns around and asks us if we are following the same guidelines in a very stern, authoritative voice, and we assure him we are, and inwardly smile.  Roles tend to get reversed these days.  Turn around is fair play.  His glasses were fogging up because of the mask which his Mother-in-Law very kindly made for him, and for us.  I asked if I could share it here.  He doesn't mind at all, hard to tell what he looks like with that mask on anyhow.  The three of us had a nice long conversation until he got back to his place.  Usually our daughter-in-law joins him but she was busy that day as, like our son, she is working at home.  We talk most days and never run out of conversation.  I guess you could say we are talkers!  

A couple of days ago and needing a little fresh air after a few days of rain, we took a walk around the garden.  It was still very chilly and we weren't out there for long, just enough time to take a few photos of the plants that were blooming.
This is called Evergreen Spindle according to my plant app.  In the Netherlands they call this plant Spilboome, meaning a spindle tree.  Since the Dutch make spindles out of its timber, and also that this is native to Japan, it is now called Japanese Spindle Tree.  Maybe if we have any Dutch or Japanese blogging friends out there, they can verify the information.
Next comes an Evergreen Azalea, a species of Rhododendron.  
Not much other information except that its scientific name is Rhododendron indicum.  I love its pretty red color.
The following pretty white flower bloomed for the first time this year.  We didn't plant it, it just appeared.  It is called Black Haw, a species of Viburnum.  Also known as Blackhaw Viburnum, Stag Bush or Sweet Haw.
On the ground underneath is a carpet of pink blossom petals from a neighbor's tree.
I loved its pretty white blooms.
Its botanical name is Viburnum prunifolium.
This holly tree has been here since we moved in.  We get it trimmed every year and it is way above our heads now.
The plant app says it is Chinese Holly, also known as Horned Holly or Burford Holly, and its botanical name is Ilex cornuta.
Two collages to add, one of the flowers in the back...
and the pink Azaleas are blooming in the front garden.  
We decided to sit out on the deck for a while, knowing that it wouldn't be for a long time as the hour was getting late. It was still too chilly, but we felt the need for some Vitamin D and at least the sun was still shining.  
We were late giving our backyard wildlife birdseed, mostly sunflower seeds as we are running low.  I sat waiting for Gregg to join me when a squirrel ran helter-skelter down the branch used to jump onto the rail of our deck.  When he realized I was there he stopped as though he had hit an invisible wall.  I got the full, head-on glare as he chirped and chattered furiously, staring me down with tail flashing in that squirrel way of agitation. I know I got the royal telling off for being there.  How dare I!  After letting me know in no uncertain terms what he thought of me, he headed back up the tree and went round the other side.  I pointed him out to Gregg and we both looked up amused.  We could see where he had perched to wait us out, barely making out the tip of his tail.  No sooner had we closed the sliding door behind us, he - or she - scrambled down and made a feast of those favored sunflower seeds, probably still muttering under its breath for making the wait far too long.  Our back yard friends have trained us well.

Thanks for visiting.  I do hope your days are enjoyable and passing quickly.  

Monday, April 27, 2020


Today's recipe came from Creme de la Crumb hosted by Tiffany.  You can see the original here.  I always like to go to read the recipe before I make it, and Tiffany has lots of great tips about making this meal.  

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes


4 to 6 8-ounce steaks
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried mustard
Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Whisk together balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, oil, Worcestershire sauce, honey, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and dried mustard.

Add steaks and marinade to a ziplock bag, tossing the steaks a few times to coat.  Press the excess air out, seal the bag and chill for 15-20 minutes.

Use the tongs to transfer steaks to a preheated grill.  Cook until desired doneness is reached.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Garnish with fresh parsley if using.

Denise's notes: 

This was an excellent marinade, very tasty and easy to put together.  Thank you Tiffany!

We made this just for the two of us from a large piece of sirloin instead of the 4 to 6 steaks mentioned in the original recipe.  We marinated it for three hours but you can also leave it overnight, or for as little as 20 minutes as suggested by Tiffany.  
We grilled the steak using the oven broiler, not an outside grill.  Ours was on the well done side after broiling for ten minutes each side (my preference), so you'll need to adjust the time if you want it more rare.  Gregg takes the thickest part of the meat so that it is still pink.  The thinner end I have which is well done.

There are leftovers for tomorrow.  Big thumb's up there!

The sides used were our recipe for Mashed Potato and Cauliflower Gratin which you can find here

Our other side was Brussels Sprouts which were cooked very simply, put in a pan covered with water and boiled for up to 20 minutes.  Check after ten minutes just in case you don't like them as soft as I do.  This is another veggie I have had since childhood and I cook them just like my Mother did.  I prefer this to any other way but I will have to try them roasted one time, just for fun.

I added about a tablespoon of Coleman’s English Mustard, one of my favorite condiments.  If I had a jar of horseradish in the fridge, that would have gone on the plate too. I need to add horseradish to my shopping list.  

There was a good portion of sirloin left and we will probably have steak sandwiches for lunch tomorrow.  Also we will enjoy the leftover mash dish for the next couple of days.

I hope you are all hanging in there.  I think of you often and hope all is well.  Thank you for stopping by, and however you are spending your day, I hope it is with happiness and good health. 

Friday, April 24, 2020


These are various fence post photos taken while driving around. 
 The above and below photos were taken while driving in the Virginia countryside.
Next is an old iron fence surrounding a churchyard in Norfolk (Virginia).
 A nod to our British friends, I am one day late but I wish you a Happy Saint George's Day. My photo was taken in Jamestown (Virginia), where the first permanent English settlement was established.  If you click on the red lettering above, it is a link to more information.

Thank you for hosting Gosia.  If you would like to see other Fences Around the World, or join in with your own, you will find the link here.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2020


On these days of sheltering in place, I am enjoying going through old posts.  This one is from a very hot day in July 2013.  And so we begin.

Yes I am still feeding them. The squirrels are delighted, though I haven't bought any peanuts for a while, just sunflower seeds. There is a bit of a mess outside on the deck right now.

This little one seemed a bit out of sorts that day.

Oh dear!

And diplomacy too. Look at his tail Mr. Chipmunk, isn't it a fine looking tail?

He's thinking about it.

Now here's a case of the pot calling the kettle black. It never fails after eating a healthy helping of seeds, for the squirrels to collapse on the deck rail in such a pose as this. But then don't we all sometimes feel the need to nap after a bigger than normal meal?
And let's not forget to put out a cool, fresh dish of water outside for our furry and feathered friends. They need it at all times, but especially in very hot weather. 

And as I remember how hot it was that day, I could do with a little bit more heat.  Won't be long now.

Thanks for looking and enjoy the rest of your week.