Wednesday, December 13, 2017

But is it Art?

Here's another partial snowman I found on my way to work yesterday morning. Doesn't it look like something that could be housed at MoMA?

(The snowman, or snow creature, is sitting on a little shelf above a mail slot in a plywood wall around a house under construction.)

I was completely wrong when I wrote about the weather in yesterday's post, by the way. In fact, I went back later in the morning and re-edited it, I was so wrong. Yesterday's first snowman was not "gone," as I initially said -- he'd melted a little, but he's still there. And the weather yesterday was frigid, certainly in the morning, so there wasn't much melting going on in general. Even my title was misleading!

Sometimes I write things and then later wonder what the heck I was thinking. And I'm a former journalist! That post was Fake News!

Last night was our office holiday party. I stayed a bit too late and had one too many pints. I feel OK this morning but I didn't get to bed until midnight or so. It's going to be a long Wednesday.

Yesterday I finished reading "The Chosen," by Chaim Potok, which I really enjoyed. A colleague recommended it to me, and not knowing much about Hasidim and Orthodox Judaism, I found it fascinating -- as well as a good read. Now I'm about to embark on Amanda Craig's new book "The Lie of the Land" which looks intriguing, from what I've read.

Oh my gosh -- I just looked at the news and ROY MOORE LOST!!! I can't believe it. I was sure he was going to win, Alabama being Alabama. I am so impressed with those voters! Way to go, people! And thus continues my streak in recent years of predicting major election results incorrectly...but at least this time I can be happy about it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Melt

Our dramatic snowfall pretty much vanished as quickly as it came. Yesterday I passed this miniature snowman on my way to work, evidence that someone at least tried to get creative with the few inches of snow we received. But he'd partly disintegrated by the afternoon, after a day of rain and snow that didn't stick.

Likewise, Olga and I found a tiny, lopsided snowman on our morning walk. He's probably gone by now.

The weather was frightful yesterday -- cold and wet and just generally miserable. But at school it was massage day! Woo hoo! We had a team of massage therapists in one of the conference rooms offering short shoulder and back rubs for faculty and staff, paid for by our parents association. I not only remembered to schedule a massage, I actually remembered to go -- which is harder than it sounds in a workplace setting where one is busy and easily distracted.

My back appreciated it, but I was sitting in one of those massage chairs with the donut-shaped cradle for my head, and it wasn't positioned very well. I kept feeling like I was slumping forward while my head was being sucked into the center of the donut like time/space into a black hole. I was afraid I would emerge with a very stretchy face. But I did not. The body is amazingly malleable.

Remember "the monster," our neighbor's climbing rose bush -- the one that collapsed along with its wooden arbor during a windstorm a couple of weeks ago? Well, the neighbor had the arbor repaired and in the process the monster was drastically trimmed. At least it's still there, which I'm happy about -- the birds like it and it provides a barrier between our patio and hers. It's much more contained than it used to be.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Snow Day

We did indeed get an impressive little snowfall yesterday. And it was cold enough to stay snowy, even on the ground, throughout the day. London doesn't often get snow, so it was pretty unusual for us!

Here's what it looked like coming down in the gray light of early morning. This should finish off some of our annuals for the season -- I can't imagine the nasturtiums, for example, will pull through.

By the afternoon, this was the garden. There's still snow on the grass out there as I write this, from what I can see in the moonlight.

And this is what things looked like inside. Olga could not be budged from that position on the couch. She was utterly disinterested in even attempting to go outside. I did finally motivate her to take a walk halfway around the block, which was far enough to make things happen, if you know what I mean, but then she turned right around and pulled for home.

As usual, the snow managed to partly paralyze London's transportation network, but I nonetheless managed to go to Dave's high school band concert in the afternoon. The kids played some challenging pieces really well, including one by Dvorak, and then the band teachers and I adjourned to a pub for a celebratory post-concert drink. Dave has two more concerts this week -- eighth grade and fifth grade -- and then he's done for the season.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Frosty Leaves and Snow

Winter has descended upon us. I took Olga to the West Heath and Sandy Heath yesterday afternoon, and the fallen leaves were all coated with a thick layer of hoarfrost.

Olga, however, didn't seem to mind the cold at all, and played and chased squirrels with abandon. We even found her a frosty tennis ball...

...which, needless to say, didn't stay frosty for long.

In the morning we went walking through Cricklewood and I took the camera. I haven't been carrying it much lately, except on my LOOP walks, but I'm missing my urban street photography. Maybe I'll have a chance to get out and do more of that after the holidays.

Last night, while Dave was at school for another concert, I watched a movie called "Say Hello to Yesterday," with Jean Simmons and Leonard Whiting. It's from 1970 and depicts a daylong intergenerational romance between an older woman and younger man. I really liked it -- watched it twice straight through, in fact -- partly because of the groovy fashions and sappy music and all the old images of London in its swinging heyday. Parts of it were filmed in Holland Park and Kensington, near where Dave and I used to live. None of the characters ever revealed their names, which I thought was an interesting touch.

And as I look outside now, it's snowing! Quite a lot, actually, at least by London standards. I'm glad I got Olga some exercise yesterday, because today the chance of precipitation is 100 percent and it's supposed to be miserable out there. Unfortunately the high school band concert is today so I'll be off to school in the afternoon, to see the fruits of Dave's labor over the past several months. At least it's not an outdoor event!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

A Long Boring Post About Nothing

Olga has been downright annoying the last few mornings. She's up before the crack of dawn, whining and thumping her tail on the mattress and staring at Dave and me until we're both afraid to so much as twitch. If we do, she leaps up and all her excitement is renewed. I don't know why she's so eager to get up, because once we do she's very nonchalant about it. She usually comes out to the living room and promptly falls asleep again.

I closed the library 15 minutes early yesterday. It's the first time I've ever been able to do that -- my boss always said that if no one was around, especially on a Friday afternoon, I could lock up early. But someone -- and usually it's just one person -- is always there, or I have computer chargers still out and I need to wait for their return. (Not to get into the weeds about our library policies, but chargers are only checked out for the day, and if they're not returned by closing the borrower faces a penalty -- so I wouldn't want to close early and be the reason that person couldn't return their charger.)

But yesterday, Dave and Gordon and Carolyn and Mark came into the library at 4:40 and announced they were going to the pub. I only had one teacher in the back of the library, grading papers. So I told him he could stay without me, and I locked all but one door and turned out the lights (except where he was sitting, obviously). I still had three chargers out, but I'm pretty sure (knowing those specific kids) that they weren't coming back yesterday. If a kid complains that they tried to return their charger and I wasn't there, well, I'll give them a pass on the penalty.

Anyway, this is all very boring for you, but it was a momentous day for me. And I got to go to the pub! Woo hoo!

Afterwards, Dave had a concert, so I came home and watched several episodes of "Absolutely Fabulous" and ate peanut butter on toast and split pea soup. What a wild life I lead.

We're getting a real blast of cold weather this weekend -- subfreezing temperatures (a low of 27ºF today) and a 100 percent chance of rain tomorrow. I'll take the dog out today to work off some of that excess energy. (Right now, predictably, she's lying next to me on the couch snoring.)

(Photo: A "ghost sign" on my most recent LOOP walk. It mentions "His Majesty the King" at the top, so it must be from 1952 or earlier. I wonder what "invalid specialities" were?)

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Rosy Glow of Memory

I've found a lot of things lying in London's waterways on my various walks around town. But until my most recent LOOP walk, I had never found a sofa. At least, not that I recall.

Today is the anniversary of John Lennon's death -- 37 years ago, which is mind-blowing in itself. Almost as many years have passed as Lennon was alive. He packed an incredible amount of living into his four decades on the planet. I will never forget that awful event -- the news reports, the shock, the endless Beatles songs on the radio. I was in ninth grade, and the next year I was given Lennon's "Double Fantasy" album for my birthday.

You know, I feel like I am a forgiving person. I can see the tragedy, for example, in the women of the Manson family who were essentially victimized by Charles Manson -- as I said the other day, every time one of them comes up for parole, part of me hopes they get it. But any trace of forgiveness in me vanishes at the thought of Mark David Chapman. I hope that guy stays in prison forever.

As I was transcribing my old paper journals a few nights ago, I came across an entry from Dec. 9, 2000 when I described going to dinner with coworkers at a swanky restaurant in New York. And then:

After the dinner last night, Ann and Colley and I went down to Central Park to sing at the John Lennon memorial at Strawberry Fields -- we sang a bizarre mix of Beatles songs, from "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" to "I Am the Walrus" (very hard to sing a cappella, I must say). There were huge stacks of flowers and candles. I may go over there again today to see what remains -- somehow it seemed rather carnivalesque and far less somber than I expected it to be. It wasn't the crowd-bonding experience that I anticipated, like singing "Let It Be" at the gates of the AFB at Cape Kennedy during the Trident missile protests.

(I was referring back to a nuclear missile protest at Cape Canaveral, AKA Cape Kennedy, that I attended in college in the '80s. We all sang "Let It Be" huddled around the gates of the Air Force base, to the accompaniment of some guy's boom box.)

Anyway, what's interesting about that journal entry is that I remember that evening in 2000, memorializing John Lennon in Central Park, as very much a bonding experience -- certainly with my coworker Ann and her husband Colley. I specifically remember singing "In My Life" with them, surely one of the most beautiful of all Beatles songs. I don't know why I wasn't more touched by it at the time. Sometimes it takes a while to appreciate the impact of an event, I suppose. Or maybe the rosy glow of our memories fills in the gaps in our actual experience.

RIP, John.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Avocado, and Wagon Ho!

Last night Dave and I had elaborate plans (well, not so elaborate) to go get a Christmas tree. We were going to walk up to the local lot, but just as we were about to head out the door, we began debating the possibility of adopting the library tree when school closes next week. After all, it just gets thrown away.

We figured, why buy a tree of our own when we can probably bring that one home?

How to get it here is still an unresolved question. But never mind that -- we took off our jackets and abandoned our tree-buying plan. Meanwhile, in lieu of a real tree, I dug out the Christmas lights and wound them around the avocado in the living room. It's the most festive avocado tree in London, I'm pretty sure!

In even bigger news, I finally solved a mystery that has been bothering me for years.

When I was a child, there was a restaurant on Florida Avenue in Tampa shaped like a big covered wagon, with a statue of a bearded guy at the front, his arm raised as if driving a team of horses. I remembered this place vividly, even though I never ate there. (I tried to get my parents to go, but Mom said it was "nasty." I'm not sure how she knew.)

Anyway, every once in a while -- maybe once or twice a year -- I'd do an Internet search to try to find a photo of this place. I was never successful, which seemed very strange. Wouldn't you think someone would photograph a building shaped like a covered wagon?

I seriously began to wonder whether I'd imagined it.

But finally, last night, I dredged up a couple of pictures. Turns out the name I remembered for the restaurant wasn't correct, at least not originally, which probably hampered my earlier searches. It was called Wagon Ho! and there were several of them in Florida. I don't know which location is in the photo above, but the Tampa building looked just like that.

Here's an interesting blog post about the brief history of the Wagon Ho! chain -- according to the article, it went bust in 1970, though the buildings hung around for a while after that. (Which is probably why I remember the restaurant being called Michael's.)

Whew! I'm not crazy!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Workplace Christmas Tree

On Monday I decorated the Christmas tree in the school library. (Am I supposed to call it a "winter tree"? A "holiday tree"? I'm not sure.)

It was delivered in the morning, sheathed in mesh with what appears to be a new tree stand. I cut away the mesh and dug the lights and ornaments out of our supply cabinet, and spent the afternoon putting it all together.

I have to say, though, this year's tree doesn't excite me much. It has no pizazz. Remember how last year we had flags, and a few years ago we had the dog-penis paper chain? This year we just have lights and baubles -- which is why I experimented with my camera to at least make the photo of the tree more interesting.

I think I may go down to the Lower School this morning and borrow some of their ornaments. They have much more interesting ones that a previous principal collected in her travels, and they have so many they don't even use them all.

Meanwhile, Dave and I have yet to go get our tree. I was thinking we'd do it sometime this week but we haven't been motivated yet. It sounds like we're going to have some friends over on Christmas day, though, so now we have to decorate!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Another iPhone Photo Collection

Time for another random assortment of photos from my phone. First, a strange creature in the window of a local ceramics shop. I thought it was the Cheshire Cat until I saw that it has six caterpillar-like legs. Now I'm completely confused.

Olga discovered another striped cat lounging in the window of a Cricklewood cleaners. She wasn't all that impressed, though, and neither was the tiger.

Dave and I went walking around the cemetery over the weekend, and noticed this sign along Blackberry Path. I hesitate to point it out, but I don't think it's my poo that's the problem.

The path, by the way, has been cleared of huge amounts of brush and undergrowth and is much more walkable now.

We also found this bouquet tied to a tree, which seemed ominous. When we came home I did some Googling and learned that a woman's body was found near here about a month ago. Her death was not deemed suspicious, and I'm assuming from the coverage it may have been a suicide.

(I wonder if this has something to do with why the path was so vigorously cleared?)

Another autumn leaf, found lying on the pavement in Hampstead. This may be my last leaf photo of the season, since most of them are now brown and soggy.

My coworker showed up just before Thanksgiving wearing this sweater, which I thought was hilarious. She said she got it for about £3 in a local shop. It's so ridiculous it's art.

I asked her, "Can I take a picture of your sweater in a way that doesn't constitute sexual harassment?"

And finally, a sign from the entrance of the venue where I saw Oysterband a couple of weekends ago. I thought it was hilarious, but one of the British people I was with said, "What, you've never seen that before?" I guess it's an old joke in England.

I sent this picture to my high-school girlfriend, who's a friend of mine on Facebook. ("Hello" was "our song" when we were dating back in the mid-'80s.) "It doesn't quite rhyme," she said.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Call Me By Your Name

Dave and I went to see "Call Me By Your Name" on Saturday night. (I know! Two movies in a theater in less than a month?! Insane!) It was a phenomenal movie, achingly beautiful, and incredibly romantic and sensual. The acting was so realistic, it stayed with me all day yesterday and left me feeling a bit bruised -- in a good way.

In case you haven't heard of it, the movie is about a 17-year-old boy whose father, a professor, invites a twentysomething graduate student to come and work with him for the summer at his villa in Lombardy. The boy, Elio, falls for the older student, Oliver, and they have an affair. All this happens against a stunning backdrop of sun-warmed stone and apricots ripe from an orchard and swimming and sunbathing. As I said -- sensual. But very well-made and not at all gratuitous or overindulgent.

I liked it partly because there wasn't an emphasis on "coming out" or defining any of the characters' sexuality. They were just humans, being in love. We aren't sure, for example, if Elio will eventually live as a gay man. He's also having a romantic and sexual relationship with a girl at the same time that he sleeps with Oliver, and deriving some satisfaction from being with her. (Although he clearly does not love her in the same way.)

His parents seem a little too good to be true, but they embody a sort of European openness that could be realistic, at least among intellectuals. Add to all this a touch of nostalgia -- the movie takes place in 1983, and there are no computers, no cell phones, and all the '80s pop music comes on cassettes or on the radio. Overall, I loved it.

Speaking of nostalgia -- and entirely aside from the topic of the movie -- do you remember Dynamite magazine? It was published in the '70s and '80s by Scholastic. I only bought an issue or two, at school book fairs, if I'm not mistaken.

I got to thinking about it the other day, for some reason, and I dimly remembered that I had an issue of Dynamite with Cher on the cover. Through the magic of the Interwebs, I was able to find a picture of it -- from February 1976.

I remember that magazine kicking around in my room for the longest time. I think it had an article about "Star Trek" in it, which is why I kept it as long as I did. It also had a memorable picture of Cher and her daughter Chastity (now her son Chaz) in matching mother-daughter outfits, if I'm not mistaken.

Weird, the things we remember.

I know you're dying to know what's happened with the water main break on West End Lane. Well, the road was still closed this weekend, but it looked like repairs were finishing up. Maybe it'll be open by the time I go to work this morning. (Addendum: Nope!)

Oh, and one of my photos got used on a West London local news blog. Woo hoo!

(Top photo: A random cat, seen on my walk Saturday.)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Berrylands to Hatton Cross

I resumed walking the LOOP on Saturday, taking a train out to Berrylands, where I left off last time. This colorful mural, down in the community below, greeted me on the train platform.

I walked into Kingston-upon-Thames, where I came across the Saxon "Coronation Stone." Supposedly several Saxon rulers, including Ethelred the Unready, were made king here. The stone sits on an impressive plinth adorned with their names in Celtic script, and covered with pennies from superstitious visitors.

From there the path crossed over the Thames, where these rowers were pulling beneath the bridge.

This woman brought some food for the waterbirds. I think she may have gotten more than she bargained for.

From the river, the path led into the immense Bushy Park. I passed beneath these trees and what I at first thought was a large flock of birds. Then I realized they were actually shoes. That's a lot of shoes!

In Bushy Park I made a slight detour to see the Diana Fountain. From the name, I thought it was going to be a memorial to Lady Di, but it's much, much older than that. It dates to 1637, from the reign of King Charles I, and since 1713 it has stood in a circular pond in the center of the park's Chestnut Avenue -- lined with chestnut and lime trees and designed by Sir Christopher Wren, who also produced St. Paul's Cathedral.

I saw this Egyptian Goose in a nearby wildlife and bird park, along with parakeets, ducks, moorhens and lots of other birds.

And although many of the pictures I'm showing you depict somewhat urban features, I wanted to include this one -- of a woodland in Bushy Park -- because it more accurately represents the kind of landscapes I was seeing for most of my walk.

I passed deer lounging in a field in Bushy Park -- but I didn't get very close. (Trusting visitors occasionally get gored by deer in the Royal Parks when they invade their personal space.)

I also passed some Art Deco houses and flats -- definitely not London's typical semi-detached!

There were many, many more sights, including the River Crane, a small river that I followed for much of the walk, multiple parks (Brazil Mill Wood, Donkey Wood, Hounslow Heath) and some interesting neighborhoods. After walking about ten miles, I finished at Hatton Cross, which is right next to Heathrow Airport. I really enjoyed this segment -- there was a lot to see!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Spicy Situation

I have been meaning, for ages and ages, to organize the spices in our kitchen. We'd been storing the spices in one of the cabinets, on the top shelf, with the unfortunate result that it was very hard to find anything. You'd have to pull out a hundred little bottles to find the one you wanted.

And that had the unfortunate result of creating a lot of duplication -- because rather than pulling out all those bottles, Dave would just buy another one.

This came to a head on Thursday night, when I stir-fried some shrimp and wanted to use some of the key-lime spice I bought in Key West years ago. I had to practically empty the cabinet to locate it.

So yesterday morning, I got to work.

A few months ago, when the handyman came to do some minor repairs, he installed a little shelf along the top of the tiles on one of our kitchen walls. (It used to be a gaping open space -- the sad result of someone's home improvement project gone awry.)

I decided to line up our spices along this shelf. If they're more visible, perhaps Dave would be more likely to use them. (I'm sure I would be, though I rarely cook so I don't really have the opportunity.)

I knew from what little rummaging I'd done that we had several jars of some spices. But I didn't see quite how crazy things had become -- we have SIX containers of cinnamon! Three of oregano! Two nutmegs, two chili powders, two ground cloves, two gingers, two paprikas.

Some of those spices definitely came with us when we moved from the USA in 2011. For example, one of the jars of cinnamon is Shop-Rite brand, which is from New Jersey. And the McCormick spices are also all American, I'm pretty sure.

Dave has said we should throw out some of the older spices, but I think they're probably fine. After all, my mom had spices from the 1960s in her cabinets right up until she moved a couple of years ago. (I'm not sure she ever used them, though.)

I did throw away a jar of lemongrass sauce that expired in 2011. I don't think we even bought it -- I think someone gave it to us. And there are limits.

Friday, December 1, 2017

A Flurry of Excitement

These may be the last of our garden flowers. I thought they might expire last night, when we were supposed to have the coldest night of the year so far -- possibly even below freezing. We had snow flurries late yesterday morning, which sent all the kids at school scrambling to the windows with cries of, "It's snowing!"

But I don't think it froze after all -- there was water on top of the trash bins when I took out the recycling just now, and it's not dawn yet -- so the flowers may keep plugging away for a few more days or weeks.

The nasturtiums, especially, just keep cranking out flowers, even though the plants themselves are looking tired and scraggly and there's not a pollinator to be found.

Dave's sixth-grade students performed their holiday concert last night, so he got home late. I curled up on the couch with the dog, finishing my latest Michael Connelly novel, "The Reversal." His books are compulsively readable!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Grumble, grumble, grumble

I finally upgraded the software on my iPhone the other day. It's been nagging me to upgrade for weeks now, if not months, and I finally got sick of the nagging so I did it. But has that put an end to the nagging? NO. Now it wants me to install Apple Pay and to use the iCloud and I just want to tell my phone to LEAVE ME ALONE.

This is the same way I feel when the bank calls me to tell me more about Premium Banking. They want me to use their stupid app, which I have yet to download. They called a few days ago and began asking me all sorts of security questions, and I said, "But you called me. I should be asking you security questions." I told them I could do without their information.

I swear, I am becoming so grumpy.

In the holiday spirit, however, I joined the giving tree at work, in which we select a tag with a needy child's name on it and give them some small gifts. My child, Hasan, wanted a set of Sharpie markers and a certain book. Although I have doubts about the wisdom of giving a 7-year-old a set of permanent markers, I ordered everything on Amazon. So that's done.

As for my family, I've proposed to my brother that we skip gifts, and since I won't be in Florida I don't think I need to worry about anyone except my nieces -- I'll send them something. I'm not sure yet what to do about my mom. Maybe I'll just send cards and take everyone out when I visit in the spring.

I did buy one gift for Dave and me -- our now-annual donations to the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood and the Southern Poverty Law Center. As long as Trump is in power, we're supporting the forces working against his insanity.

Adding to my overall grumpiness, when I walked to the tube yesterday morning, a veritable waterfall was rushing along West End Lane from what appeared to be a broken water main. I had to jump over it, and I didn't quite succeed, and my right shoe flooded with water. I walked around the rest of the day with a wet foot.

By the time I came home, the water had stopped flowing and construction crews had dug up the roadway (above). So maybe by this morning things will be back to normal. Urban hazards!

(Top photo: A pub in Southwark.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Simpsons Van

I found the Simpsons Sky TV van parked in front of our school a couple of weeks ago when I went to work. I've photographed it before, but this time I had a chance to take pictures all the way around.

The Sky TV guys were standing next to it at first...

...but then they obligingly moved out of the way. (They probably didn't want to be in the shot anyway.)

Sky is a cable network partly owned by Rupert Murdoch's Fox empire. Murdoch has been trying to take over all of Sky, which has caused regulatory concerns in the UK. (We had Sky when we first moved here but it was a nightmare and we cancelled it.)

I could stand a lot less of Rupert Murdoch in my life. Who doesn't like the Simpsons, though?

In other news, I'm encouraged by Prince Harry's engagement to Meghan Markle. It seems like pretty solid evidence that the world is moving forward when an English prince (albeit one unlikely to ever take the throne) can marry a biracial actress with the Queen's blessing. Thank goodness for progress.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

I'm Late, I'm Late

Wow! I slept so late this morning -- for a school day, anyway. I woke up in the middle of the night and lay in bed sort of semi-awake, thinking about pollution and overpopulation and global warming and world politics and all sorts of fun middle-of-the-night things, and the next thing I knew it was 7 a.m.! Maybe I should meditate on global catastrophe more often? Fortunately I don't need to be at work until 9:15.

The British Gas inspector came yesterday morning for our annual safety survey. He checked out the boiler and the stove and the gas meter, and apparently everything is in good working order. And weirdly, while he was here, the E-On meter reader showed up (that's our electric company) so he also came in and read the meters. It was like Grand Central Station here, Olga wagging her tail enthusiastically at every new arrival.

I had to stay home until they were done, so I went in late yesterday, and it was great to have a few extra hours in the morning.

Today, though, I am out of time -- and I've got to walk the dog!

(Photo: A fencepost near Berrylands, South London, a few weeks ago.)

Monday, November 27, 2017

Sunny Sunday Walk

I tried my best to stay home yesterday. I read all morning, relaxing on the couch, and it was fabulous. But around 10 a.m. the dog began staring me down, quivering with anticipation and jumping at every turn of the page. Well, you can't read under those circumstances, can you? The pressure is too great.

So I caved in and took her to the Heath, where, as you can see, we had a beautiful sunny walk. (You can barely see Olga out in that field.)

Every time I go to the Heath I see something new -- like these trees shaped just like a treble clef.

We also found a suspiciously black and hairy object nestled in the leaves. A bear? A badger?

No, just someone's old coat.

In the end, it was good to get out of the house. I suppose that's partly what dogs are for -- to keep us moving!