Be prepared, my Dad's quite the "talker"! But in a good way - right, Dad??
Saturday morning Astrid fixed her home made sugared pumpkin doughnuts which we savoured with freshly brewed coffee (just father and daughter on the sofa) with the fireplace aglow, whereas 0ma was entertained by Nathan in the parlour whilst Garrett and Griffin munching happily away in the breakfast room.
At ten o'clock we sent sail for Cumberland, first to the antique shop where Astrid bought a few things and exchanged views with the owner like old friends.
The boys had headed to the beautiful toy shop next door which has all manner of lovely toys, most of which you would not find at WalMart.
By this time it was gone noon and I suggested returning home for a bite to eat whereupon, Astrid said it was easier to buy lunch in town. By popular assent McDonald's was given the boot, and instead we munched on potato chips, cashews, a packet of salt free SALTINES all enjoyed on the hoof, but do we know how to live! If I never went to McDonald's again it wouldn't be a hardship.
Thence to the Book Store where kittens are placed for adoption in spacious cages and always an interesting place, where we spent half an hour as Astrid perused for British needlepoint magazines and we "kids" played with the kittens. Across the street was an animal rescue thrift store just opened, and whilst not up to the standards of Lake Havasu and Phoenix it wasn't bad, in place of the camera shop which had served the city since the 1930's but gone the way of the Dodo thanks to digital photography.
We had parked by the City Hall walking in abundance, but it was a lovely day and the exercise was good. Thence to the Cumberland Swap Meet at the approach to the Narrows at North End, in what was an old furniture warehouse. I hadn't been there for at least a year and flabbergasted how much had been added and a virtual treasure trove waiting to be explored. In the area by the the cash register I happened to look on a shelf and there stood a beautiful porcelain piece of a little boy and girl with a puppy which took my attention inasmuch it was only $15.00. The hallmark showed two downward placed crossed arrows, but decided to leave well enough alone, inasmuch my darling daughter decided I have enough in the way of such things, but this is America and what is enough for some ain't so for others. Notwithstanding, age gave way to the wisdom of youth!
Thence drove across to the other side of town seeking a vantage point for fall pictures, which involved walking up steep steps to an old church and there we were fortunate to enjoy a goodly overlook to get some halfway decent snaps.
Back down again to the car and then through the Narrows as Astrid wanted some snaps of the cliffs from below, thereafter taking the fork towards Pennsylvania returning home via the rural route to La Vale for additional scenic views. Turning into the cemetery on a hill which sits above the railway track with sweeping views. Here we invested fifteen minutes walking about and observed many of the single graves in that area had the name and birth date of the intended departed but not their departure date! Yikes, talk about invoking the ever fickle finger of fate, especially as many of the "tenants" awaiting to take up residence were younger than yours truly! It is a pleasant cemetery BUT everywhere the most hideous and cheap plastic flowers.
Arrived home for a much needed cuppa but my mind was constantly thinking of the porcelain piece so bravely left behind, and checking the hallmark on line learned 'twas from Germany. The actual value was of no interest as I like something because I like it, but hated the thought of it being snapped up by some Philistine without appreciation. Decided enough was enough, whereupon Astrid volunteered to drive me back as we hadn't checked out the basement and she is a chip off the old block!
However, I first had to stuff the chicken quickly and pop it in the oven to get food on the table upon our return, and with bated breath hoped the piece would still be there, upon our return, which it was! I couldn't make payment quickly enough and hold it in my hot little hands!!! We proceeded to the basement which was positively mind boggling as to what there is within and also how inexpensive everything is. Coming out we met a chap who works at the Antique Emporium and he greeted us like old friends, having met Astrid before, who said there were more bargains at the swap meet than any other place he has been to. Thus, I shall include it more often as a port of call with the hours from 7.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday in search of classy Christmas Tree ornaments as once Halloween is gone they will be much sought after.
Stopped at the Fruit Bowl as without the kids Astrid had time to check out all the old fashioned baking ingredients you never find in regular stores, whereupon she bought a lot and by the time we returned home it was gone 4.30 p.m. and I was beginning to feel my years.
Well, Ulrike loved the porcelain piece, and like Astrid thought bigger than I had described and 'tis in perfect condition, all the flowers are 100% without chips or marks, as are the hands and feet, also the little dog's ears. However, it is extremely delicate and my biggest concern was getting it safely packed and stored out of harm's way. Rooted out a stout box in the laundry room, bubble wrap in the garage and all is well that ends well, and later will gift wrap it with Christmasy sheets of the more upmarket catalogues, as the illustrations therein are perfect. In my rush to get it wrapped I forgot to photograph yon piece, but when I do in December you will be impressed.
At 6.00 p.m. we sat down to a delightful chicken meal (all three kids loved the stuffing and the bird did not die in vain) mashed potatoes, cauliflower and gravy. Thanksgiving will be soon enough for the real McCoy! Everyone opted for Apfelkuchen but me, and I went with Astrid's sinful rum birthday cake!! Set up the camera and tripod for a family picture, and everyone changed into colourful garb as I do dislike the drab colours favoured nowadays and the day was saved with the remote - more on that below. Hand the kids the remote and they will endure lots and lots of pictures, and lots and lots were taken!!
Tidying up the big room Friday morning I plumped up the cushions when lo and behold there was the remote control under the middle one! Must have put it there when the tripod was last used, and realized after clipping it back on the camera strap it is impossible to come loose. This incredible little gadget has to be about twenty years old and has worked with every Canon camera from the old kind to digital, and is a veritable godsend for family groups. Thus, the all the grandchildren have been trained liked royalty to pose for that perfect family picture with moderate dress standards required!
With photographs taken and and the occasion recorded for posterity we all changed and by 7.30 p.m. the fire pit was ablaze, with Ulrike watching
happily with Tenny from the breakfast room. Astrid made some burnt offering on some disgusting looking branches, assuring me they were fine, and we were lucky indeed with the weather as it rained for ten minutes beforehand and whereupon, the sky cleared. Smores has been promised but somehow never delivered!! Stayed outside until 9.00 p.m. and by then enough was enough, and after Ulrike had gone to bed, enjoyed a shandy with my favourite daughter in the living area, the gas logs flickered as we put the world to rights.
Ye gods, did the calves of my legs ache Sunday morning from our Saturday excursions, but I felt better when Astrid also complained about the same condition! After French Toast 'a la pumpkin' and coffee, which is not my forte, ventured forth with the twins and we cleared all the area of leaves from the house to the garage, whereupon I lost count how many tarps they heaved over the edge. However, the brief rain previously did the trick as it kept the leaves damp and easier to rake and remove, but even with the three of us working like navvies it took over an hour.
Entering the breakfast room we found Astrid and Nathan had started on the Halloween House, which is much the same as the traditional Gingerbread House. A lot of work but the boys did it between them after Astrid had made the various coloured icing. I sat chatting with Astrid in the big room until 10.30 p.m. with the lamps lit and logs ablaze. We truly crammed a lot into the weekend.
By 1.30 p.m. we had lunch, the Buick was loaded and family pictures of Astrid and the boys taken before they headed home, which is a requirement in this family. What a weekend and we haven't had this activity in years, but must have walked miles and miles in Cumberland on Saturday. All too soon they were heading down the drive and the old folks and their Pekinese are once again alone on their hill, but memories are made from times like this and we have photographs in abundance. Ain't life grand?
On a sad note, this morning, one of their friends collapsed at home and died. Please keep Kay, their daughters, and grandchildren in your prayers. Jay will be missed terribly, and even though we know he's in heaven, it's still hard on the family.
So hug your loved ones, tell them you love them, and enjoy life!