02 August, 2015

Home again, home again

We are back!  My goodness, my poor old blog.  I really miss the days of not working when I had time to invest in this space.  As I return to work on Monday (tomorrow! EEK!) I thought I'd better do a catch up here with our summer, aka the last 5 weeks!

I finished work on the 22nd of June, and we flew out that night, after saying goodbyes to the animals.

 I flew with Kit and Ella, Matt was already in NYC after a week and a bit in London for work, and Oscar and Remi arrived a day after us after flying out from Tassie the day after Remi finished his mid year exams.

NYC, was as always hot and dirty and just gorgeous.
 We got a car straight up to CT where we stay with my lovely dear friend and her family across the road from where we used to live.  It's always such a strange experience going back to the town we called home for 6 years; the kids really think of it as home, and yet...  It is such a wonderfully seductive place in summer time. I went out for a big walk on our first morning there; it's so nice to catch up with the places I know.

 We all regrouped on the Saturday and with our 2 little toyota yarises filled to the max with suitcases (did I mention that we always spend a few days shopping in CT; stocking up on clothes and what not for the year ahead) we headed up to VT.

On the way we stopped for some lunch at the house of one of Matt's old bosses; a lovely guy who has the house to die for.  He and his wife lived in India and Thailand and have generally collected antiques for years.  Their house is like a museum.

 I drove with Oscar and Ella and Matt had Kit and Remi.  It was so nice to spend that time with my eldest and catch up with him as we drove North.
 Usually I hit the ground running when I get up to VT; working on the house in various ways.  As Oscar and Remi were only with us for just over a week, they stipulated I wasn't allowed to do any work and I had to spend the time with them.  We had a bunch of activities (outdoor) planned, but it literally rained the first week we were up there, apart from the day of Oscar's 21st birthday party.  So we had to find other things to do.

We hit up antique stores, art galleries, thrift stores,  etc.  and had lots of fun.  The boys made fun of my hat that I wear to keep the rain off my glasses.
Manchester ,VT.
I made some fun purchases like this little cabinet and this mexican woven runner (there's a FABULOUS shop in Manchester VT which sells all kinds of American indian, Mexican and Inuit art).

One of our other favourite towns to browse around in is Brattleboro, VT.  There's a train that runs through there once a day which goes to Stamford, CT and NYC (although it takes about 5 hours from CT as it stops in lots of other places).  It's a very handy service for the boys when they want to come up from or go back to CT, so we will often find ourselves in Brattleboro over the summer, but we went just to go. There's a fabulous art gallery in Brattleboro I've bought art from many times (although not this trip) and Matt loves all the record stores.
Street art in Brattleboro

 We had this landscaping done on the house after we left last summer, and while I saw it during the winter time, it was just such a fabulous asset to have this time of year.  (these photos were before I'd done anything to tidy it up from winter; hence the Xmas tree).  It really has increased our outdoor living space.

Read the next post for more....

A walk in Vermont

So, I had grand plans of walking every day while in Vermont this summer.  I am totally ashamed to admit that it happened only once!  I obviously need a dog to get me out the door as I've walked Meeka everyday since I've been back.

But I did go out earlyish one morning in our first week (about 7 am I think) and it was rainy, but I took my camera anyway.
 The West River (our river) looking down towards our new swimming hole.

 Living in VT I am constantly reminded that it is always a battle against nature.  I go and work on my house constantly because this is what happens if you don't.

this place is along our road.  I have no idea when/how/why it was reclaimed by nature.  But they are some impressive foundations.
Here's another one: this is on the corner and the story goes that years ago a stunt plane crashed into the house.  It's been in a state of decay since we've known the area, but it looks like someone is systematically taking it apart and sorting out what can be reused.

 Next door , up the hill, is this place which must have been stunning in it's prime.  An old guy still lives in this house (although I suspect that only one or two rooms are liveable).  He's a bit of a hoarder and there used to be all sorts of crap collected and piled up in his yard, although it looks like someone has been cleaning that up for him.
 Just a bit further up the hill is the wonderful SOLO farm and table restaurant.  We are so lucky to have this in walking distance from our house. We always try to have at least one dinner up there.  Outstanding food all locally sourced (if not grown on the premises).  We love it.

 And just a bit further another place that is looking worse for wear.  This place had a fire in the last year or so and it's just been left as it is.

 Once you get up to the top of the hill (when the pickups aren't zooming past) you get a beautiful view like this in-between the farms.

Not this one, anyway.

A lovely place to walk.

Read the next post for more....

Birthday boy and Caving girl

Our biggest focus while the boys were in VT was Oscar's 21st.  Not many of his friends came (2 from high school-one flew over from London) but lots of family friends came, so it was as much a celebration for us in our house as anything.

These two are getting married next week - our VT neighbours

 I was lucky enough to have my Norwegian friend and her family come up to stay.  Hilde moved to NYC the same day we moved to Singapore.  And while I've seen her a few times here, I'd never met her family.  Her 3 kids are roughly the same ages as my older ones, and we had such a blast with them.  Next year we plan on visiting them in Norway as they are moving back.
 There was masses of meat, cakes and embarrassing photos.

 It was a good party.
The next night (July 4) Oscar went down to CT with his friends and then Ella went off to camp for a week on the 5th.

 I drove Ella over to her camp in New Hampshire, which should only have been an hour away, but I got hopelessly lost and it took us 2 1/2 hours.  We had lunch there, and then I drove back to our house in VT checked with Matt who was picking up Oscar and then drove 45 minutes to Brattleboro to pick up Oscar off the train.

On the drive home again, we stopped so Oscar could take some photos.  We drive past this Jeep repair place all the time.  It's fabulous.  Oscar has been wanting to stop and take photos for ages, and as it was just the two of us, and the light was gorgeous, we did.

Then it was time to say goodbye to my boys.  I miss having these two around so much, but I'm so glad that they are really happy in their new house in Tassie.  

And before we knew it it was time to pick up Ella from camp.  She was doing a camp called caves, cliffs and waterfalls which was mostly caving (actually not far from us in VT).  Here's some pictures from her week away.

She had a fabulous time, met lots of new friends and just loved the caving.  Tiny dark spaces are her thing.  She now wants to do the Vermont semester that they offer where they spend part of the winter x country skiing up to the Canadian border and then spend the spring, canoeing, cycling and walking back down. 5 months long.  I'd love to find a way to make it work for her.

Oh, and the discovery of this summer: our new swimming hole in the river.  Literally right across the road.

That's our house in the distance there.  There used to be a house right by the river next to the blue one.  It was pretty basic; two rental flats.  But it got absolutely trashed in the Hurricane Irene floods a few years ago.  The town (with money from the govt) bought up the property and this year they demolished the house and have turned it into a small park area.  Which means we have direct access down to the river.  Nothing like being able to sit in cold river with a cold beverage washing away the dirt and sweat from a day's gardening.