Gypsy's Travels

Monday, September 29, 2008

Odd Shot Monday - "Silver, Not Stone"

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

PhotoHunt - "The View"

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Hampton Court Palace - "More Costumes"

More costumes from the movie, "The Other Boleyn Girl."

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Travels with Em - "Hampton Court Palace"

Not only did we have audio tapes to guide us through the Palace, we had a guide who worked as a character in the Tudor time period. This lovely lady talked and moved fast. Since no photos were allowed inside many of the buildings, I have few visual offerings. "Lady Jane" was on her way to petition the Queen and invited us to go along. Her counterpart, Lord Gerald, was on a similar mission. Thus the large group was split prior to attending the audience with the Queen.
Amid lively repartee, we learned of the procedure for presenting a petition. A spirited discussion in the chambers ensued and Lady Jane's petition was bested by Lord Gerald's. She made it quite clear that one reason she gave in was that a man's voice was more likely to be heard than a mere woman's.
As the Queen entered the chambers, we were advised that we needed to bow very low. I whispered to Emily that we had won the right to stand, and stand we did. The entire exercise was a delightful way to learn some history.

One small room in the Palace temporarily houses a collection of garments from the movie, "The Other Boleyn Girl." It is an interesting display.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Travels with Em - "Hampton Court Palace - The Tudor Kitchens"

Some time before Em and I left for England, I began reading Margaret George's "An Autobiography of Henry VIII." Not a REAL autobiography, but a well-researched historical novel, it was an excellent read for insight into our travels around London. One night Em, so tired she could not relax enough to fall asleep, asked me to read to her. The only book I had with me was Henry's "autobiography." I read selected parts to her and, over the following days, brought her up to speed on the story as well as continuing the readings at night per her request. She asked questions and we discussed the situations and facts. I was surprised and pleased that she was so interested, The readings and discussions bore fruit as we visited many of the places mentioned in the book and heard more stories of Henry and his Court. The look on Em's face as she connected the information to the sites, was priceless.

We spent one day at Hampton Court Palace and its gardens. Audio tapes helped us understand the various parts of the large Palace. The Tudor kitchens with authentic-looking displays, supported by recorded sounds and even some piped-in smells. were not for Henry. They were built to feed the six hundred or so members of the court, entitled to eat at the palace twice a day. Although widely known as "The Tudor Kitchens," they also served the Stuart and Georgian monarchs and were used as Royal Court kitchens for two hundred years, until 1737.
For the last five years, the kitchens have been home to a research project run by Historia food archaeologists who bring the kitchens to life experimenting with traditional recipes, ingredients and cooking methods to prepare feasts fit for a king! We just missed a festival that offers tastings of food, cooked by olden standards. Realistic replicas of the early, prepared food gave an idea of what was available during that time.
A room was equipped for record-keeping and organization of the kitchens and their provisions.
Another room held dishes.
Replicas of pies standing in the room devoted to producing pies.
A large pot of beans ready to feed the hungry people in the castle.
One of the huge, open hearths devoted to cooking pots of food and heating water.
Working in the kitchens could be a sweaty and dirty job. Henry VIII had to give orders that the scullions should stop going about ‘naked, or in garments of such vileness as they do now, nor lie in the nights and days in the kitchen or ground by the fireside’.

An open hearth for roasting meat. The meat was turned on a spit before the fire to roast it on all sides. The "spit boy" sat all day turning the spit. Although this hearth appears to be outdoors under a tree, it is really soot and grease deposited on a white wall by the roasting process.

The annual provision of meat for the Tudor court stood at 1,240 oxen, 8,200 sheep, ,330 deer, 760 calves, 1,870 pigs and 53 wild boar. This was all washed down with 600,000 gallons of beer.

Two examples of recipes from the times can be downloaded here.

Realistic replicas of meat prepared for roasting on the huge hearth.

Realistic replicas of the roasted, sliced meat, complete with skewer piercings.
Several small "oven" hearths used for bread and smaller meats like fowl.

The food from these kitchens was for the 600 or so people who made the Palace function.The King's table was much more elaborate and often graced by fancy desserts.

Tickets to Hampton Court Palace were pricey but all-inclusive, and everyone was so NICE. It was a great experience and I could return many times. We got tired and over-filled our brains before we saw everything.

Live cookery will take place on the following dates:
4, 5 October / 1, 2 November / 6, 7 December /27 December - 1 Jan 20097, / 8 February 2009 / 7, 8 March 2009

Today's Flowers

Well-planned color
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy Birthday

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - "Silver Gladiator"

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Yes, he is REAL!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Whose White House?

I said I didn't want to be political, and I ignored it the first time, BUT.....

Obama said it again....

It won't happen in "MY WHITE HOUSE," he says.

In my book the White House belongs to the PEOPLE!

Just had too get it off my chest.....

Et Tu, Ute

I don't really want to get political on this blog, but I am wondering.....

Listening to a speech by Obama yesterday, I heard him thanking everyone who was even remotely within earshot. One thank you was directed to a Native American tribe in Colorado.
"I want to thank the Utes," he said.
He pronounced it "You - tay." Someone by his side must have caught it because he quickly, and quietly, pronounced it again, properly. Now, I wonder.....

Am I the only one who heard it?

Was the tribe offended?

Why did Obama, or someone on his trusted team, not bring him up-to-speed on the pronunciation of something that important. That is like mispronouncing someones name.

Why does the press pounce on a Conservative faux pas, and pass on the Liberal?

Does the Press not know how to pronounce Ute, thus missing the mispronunciation?

Just wondering......

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Yikes! It's Ike!

Hurricanes are a way of life on the Texas Gulf Coast, but residents have been lulled into a false sense of security over the past decade. I feel as if I have lived through dozens of these storms, but the truth is that I could probably count the number on the fingers of both hands. The memorable ones have been bad enough to leave a sit-up-and-take-notice feeling that surfaces any time a tropical storm threatens our coastline. I have moved about three hours away from Houston, which lies inland from some more coastal cities but, as many will ascertain, the storms do not come to a screeching halt after crossing from Gulf waters on to the land.

I was visiting my son, d-in-law, and new grandson, last week when Hurricane Ike made his presence known. There is a window of time before a storm lets the world know where it has chosen to visit. I was hoping Ike would turn and show us his "clean" side as so many of the recent storms had. Capriciously, the hurricane flirted with the various options and finally raised enough concerns to warrant interventions by governmental powers. The evacuation of Galveston was mandated.

The main evacuation route from Galveston goes right through Houston and smart coastal dwellers hit the road early. There are always a few ninnies who think they are smarter and stronger than Mother Nature. The Galveston Mayor warned that EMS workers would not be allowed to risk their lives in rescuing the idiots who chose to stay behind, host "Hurricane Parties," then call for help when things got bad. There will be a few who will brag about surviving their bravado, some who will never be able to brag about anything ever again, and, hopefully, many who will have learned their lesson.

DS lives more inland in Houston, not within the 100 year flood plain, and in a soundly built house from the era of soundly built houses. My brother lives closer to the coast but still in a safer position than other coastal dwellers. He and his wife have his m-in-law and our mother living with them. They decided it would be best to evacuate both, aged 80 year plus, mothers. I was already in town so it was easy for me to take our mother to my home in Georgetown.

The decision to leave early from my visit with DS and family was far less taxing than the logistics of leaving. The roads were still crowded, supplies were scarce since the hurricane related runs on the stores. Bro-J braved the roads from his house to DS. Mother and I finally hit the hit road from Houston to GT about 6 p.m. I know most of the back roads from several years of intense travel over them so Mother and I made it to GT by 11:30 p.m. That was with 2 stops for food, fuel, and stretching our legs.

There were quite a few cars by the side of the road as we traveled along. Most appeared to have flat tires. We observed and met quite a few people fleeing from the storm. All were amiable and pleasant, tired and worried.

This account has been delayed because I had computer / internet problems. Family in Houston & Pasadena are safe and well. No one has electricity and DS said their neighborhood is planning and end-of-the-fridge potluck. Everything in the fridge will be taken out, cooked, and shared since a fridge only holds its cool for so long. Poor DS, I had to break the stockmarket news to him today. He has not had any access since the storm.
I don't understand the fuel price complaints. I buy diesel for my car and it is lower now than it has been for a while. There are 1,956 evacuees in shelters in Austin and almost every family I know is sheltering family or friends. The cleanup has begun.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A wake Up Call

My article, below, was first printed by Story Circle shortly after the 9-11 Tragedy. Now, seven years later, we are still reeling from the blow. Unfortunately, this September 11th, Gunner (my SIL) is serving a third tour in Iraq as we attempt to maintain our freedoms here at home. The support for our troops is high, but public support for the war has waned and our military faces an increasingly lonely journey. I pray for Peace but not at the price of our Freedom.
Give Sorrow Words: The Day America Changed - September 11, 2001

A Wake Up Call

The phone doesn't usually ring at 6 AM in my mother-in-law's home. Even if she were not in the hospital, no one would call at that hour since being 86 years old has some privileges. I could feel my pulse quicken as I reached for the insistent telephone, which could only be the harbinger of bad news. Mom had been better when we left her last night. What could have gone wrong?
I had hardly voiced the obligatory "Hello" before my middle daughter's excited voice rang out from the other end. "Are you watching the news? Turn it on right now! A plane has hit a building in New York! Oh no! There's another one!!"
I seemed to be moving in slow motion as I turned on the TV and watched in silent horror. Time seemed to stand still as I listened to the background telephone noises of my grandchildren busily starting their day. I desperately longed to gather all my loved ones around and keep them close and safe. This daughter’s husband was active military. Where would he go? Our son and his wife lived just across the river from Manhattan. Would they be safe? All our children, grown and responsible, were scattered from one side of the continent to the other. I could only wait, watch, and pray.
I sat by my mother-in-law’s bedside for the next week watching her valiant battle for her life. I also watched the horror of 11 September 2001 as it unfolded, again and again and yet again against a background of public grief and world pain. As I drove home each evening, the sight of American flags waving from homes, businesses, and cars buoyed me. The condolences offered by other countries were reassuring. America did not stand alone.
Like willful, free-spirited children, Americans have always fought the loss of personal autonomy and individuality. This latest and most blatant terrorist attack, while striking hard at our sense of security, has helped forge the links of world friendship and cooperation. My children are safe; my mother-in-law is better; our beloved America rises like a Phoenix from the ashes.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

PhotoHunt - "Strings"

Reproduction of an Olde Dressmaker's Shoppe at Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London. I am always awed by the clothes people could produce without pattern or machine. There are plenty of "strings" noticeable in this photo.
More photos here.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Today's Flowers "Water Lily"

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Water Lily at Warwick Castle Garden

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - "Blue Man"

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Birthday DD-Ko

It was actually yesterday....we had a great time!
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