Saturday, 31 October 2009

Unfair advantage?

The title of this posting is not a theological discussion point, but that is where our day started, so that is where the posting starts (this being my blog and not some clever film like Memento). We dropped into the Basilica, which was the first catholic cathedral in the States (a good or a bad thing, depending on your point of religious views, I suppose) and has recently been beautifully restored. As well as the dome, which Latrobe designed to be lit from above by a series of skylights, the crypt is pretty fantastic and there is some incredibly complex brickwork down there, often with three interwoven arches at the same point, and some very interesting inverted arches, whose function I don't quite get. I am sure someone who knows engineering could fill me in. After tea and the rest of the pumpkin roll, we went for a walk round the harbour to run up an appetite for dinner. We found a great new fountain,which has a whole network of jets coming up out of the ground, firing very unpredictably, and just begging you to try and run across. Did Daddy resist the urge? Of course not. And did he remain dry? No - although to be fair only one leg got wet and he didn't slip over and end up in hospital, so in a lot of ways it was the best possible outcome! We poked our heads into the Science Center and it turned out that entry was free as part of the FreeFall program, so we had a play in the hands-on area. Mummy took great delight in using her knowledge of the laws of physics to obliterate a seven-year-old girl in the tug of war. By the time four chidren were pulling on the lever-disadvantaged rope across from her, it was starting to feel rather too much like a pastiche on american racial politics, so we moved to another exhibit.
To top off the day, we had a feast at Cinghiale, the Italian restaurant in the ground floor of our building. This was Mel and my second trip there, and it didn't disappoint. Yum, and yum.

Friday, 30 October 2009

The Eddens have landed

After a great trip down from Canada through New York state, Vermont, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, the Eddens (senior) are here. It is great to see them and they were (relatively) restrained in the number of exciting things they brought (see photo). Other highlights include some bits of grass, a log stolen out of a beaver lodge and my Selwyn whisky glasses that we bought at graduation!
We had a nice cup of tea and some pumpkin roll, then went for a walk around to Fell's point to work up an appetite for dinner. Spaghetti Bolognese and a nice evening in, hearing all about the trip.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Sunflowers: painting and eating

Another week draws to a close, with Baltimore doing its best impression of Welsh weather. We have spent a lot of Saturday painting a table - got to keep ourselves busy! This is a blue LACK from IKEA to which we added our impression of this sunflower photo.
Friday night, we ate tapas at
PAZO, which did not disappoint and PAZO is still our favorite restaurant in Baltimore. An incomplete lists of ingredients we ate: sunflower seeds; apple; pear; fig; olive oil; rosemary; fennel; aniseed; serrano ham; cheese; duck; pork tenderloin; bread; wine; prawns; potato omelette; prosciutto; caramelised cauliflower; trout; mushrooms; risotto; cardamon cream. A feast for two!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

How do you escape a marathon?

Not, as you might think, the first half of a hilarious new joke, but a real-life problem. This weekend was the Baltimore marathon and half-marathon and unfortunately we live (the photo is runners going down our street) and also rented a car inside the course! It took us an hour and a half to find a street where the po-lice were letting people cross when there were gaps.
Incidentally the house over the road from the car rental place is the house where the american flag that inspired the national anthem was sewn by Mary Pickersgill during the 1812 war. If you're extremely observant, you'll see that the flag only has 15 stars on it - an old-style version of the flag as it was then (each star representing a state) which is flown at historical sites round Baltimore.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Spot the difference

On Thursday, I went to Patterson Park to play basketball. Highlights were an enormous dunk on some poor guy that stopped played for about 3 minutes while everyone else went completely crazy and I stood there feeling slightly embarrassed. So English. During the course of it, I pranged my thumb. In honour of Manus, who is convinced that both his thumbs are unreasonably large, I am posting this picture. For the visually impaired, the spot-the-difference answer is: one thumb is bigger than the other. For the picky, the answer also is: one thumb is a left thumb and one is a right thumb.
In other 'spot-the-difference' news (and this one really is for beginners) can anyone tell me why I am convinced that Wayne Rooney and Lebron James look similar? Expecting a 2-1 win in Ukraine today for England. C'mon.

Fauna of Maryland

Where to start? It appears to be about 2 weeks since the last post, so I'm playing catchup here. Last weekend we went down the Fells Point Festival round the corner, where they had shut down most of the streets for stalls and music and stuff. It was a really fun atmosphere and goregeous weather too. On the way back, we saw some Monarch butterflies on a hanging basket, which have probably just started their long flight down to Mexico for the winter. Amazing.Earlier in the week, Mel saw a praying mantis on the outside of the window. I wanted to claim that it was climbing up the sculpture and was 5 ft tall, but that would have been dishonest, so I didn't. Fortunately it didn't get in the apartment and nobody died - another close escape. It has yet to return to our window (it may have been traumatised by the enormous pink hand), so I am still waiting. It joins 'the beaver' on my sublist of maryland fauna that Mel has seen and I haven't.In the evening, we went to an allegedly impromptu birthday party for Rich Dowd, husband of Patty, ,who is a friend and colleague of Vicky, who went to school with someone from St Andrew's in Impington (who starred in Point Break with Kevin Bacon). It was a really fun night - featuring many animals. Patty is looking after 5 kittens for the animal shelter to get them used to people while they are still tiny. Very cute. And they also have 2 turtles (box turtles?). Not so cute.In non-animal related news, we have learnt that our shipment doesn't arrive in Boston until the 30th (seriously?) and presumably not here until a couple of weeks after. It is starting to feel like a race to get it at all before we go back for Christmas.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Books Books glorious Books, nothing quite like them for...

It is now a week since my last blog. Something of a personal inter-blog record, and a real step in the right direction to get my 'real-world' life back on track. But here I am. Saturday we went to the book festival in Mount Vernon with Gene. I mention this both because it was very fun, but also because they had a 'top 100 best books ever' list there, which Mel has decided to tackle. She has started off with Treasure Island, which came onto the list at number ..... (drum roll) ........ Actually it didn't make it on teh list so far as I can see, but it is definitely a book. Just not one of the 'top 100 best books ever'. I suspect it might be in the top 1000, or the top 100 books about pirates (possibly creeping into the top 10, just above 'That's not my Pirate'). To be fair to Mel she just finished Lorf of the Flies, which is accidentally (in the sense of 'she read it before we saw the list') there at Number 41. The best book ever is Ulysses by James Joyce, which is also the name of a pub round the corner (James Joyce, not Ulysses, which sounds more like a male strip club) so I think I should read it.
So that's books covered - On to sport. This was a great week of results. Everton won away in Europe (after going a goal behind) - Marouane Fellaini's hair scored a goal, and the mighty Ravens trounced someone lame. Also Manchester United and England centre-back Rio Ferdinand is hosting the 2016 Olympics. That's the sport covered then.
Beyond sport there was more good news from the world of hair - Tony Blair's hair may be made the President of Europe.