|Em is saying "Muuum! You're embarrassing me!!!"|
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
|Note the cow - the real cows are, for the most part, in barns.|
The outside of the shop looks a little mad:
|Note the flannel bunting|
But the inside ...well, let's say we both stood there with our mouths open.
There were flannel shirts and trousers, and flannel underwear and hats. There were flannel bathrobes and scarves and throws and jackets. There was simple flannel and patchwork flannel.
|Bruce tries to resist|
|But is overcome by the Power that is Flannel|
Saturday, August 24, 2013
|In the garden at Shelburne Farms|
The farm barn was pretty fun, though. It had almost a medieval feel with its central courtyard and animals. We watched the cheese makers at work (I want to be a cheese maker!!), and tasted the cheese, and discovered that cheddar is a verb (did you know that? Me neither). We sat outside the 'barn' and ate sticky buns baked on the premises, and said hello to the donkeys and the piglets.
The 'cottage' was....well, not the way you'd normally think of a cottage.
|I'll admit Bruce's white legs don't add to the view.|
|I am being Gandalf|
We had planned a quiet afternoon, since it was very hot. But our landlords popped round to tell us it was Vergennes Day and we really should go. So we set off south, and spent a happy hour listening to an excellent local jazz band on the...I want to say village, but Vergennes is officially a city - so, city green.
Friday, August 23, 2013
where we are sharing the garden with a host of little creatures.
The girls have settled into the downstairs bedroom:
There is much that is new here.
And so many opportunities to play:
And to simply sit by the water's edge in a great hat.
But my thoughts are turning to the work ahead. Tomorrow we shall visit Shelburne Farms as one last day off. In retrospect, it was probably not realistic to expect to land in Burlington on Friday and start work on Monday (you reckon?). Getting over the flight, and sorting out the issues has taken longer than we expected (a full three days to buy a car!). But with the main issues resolved - car bought, insurance arranged, piano purchased, and Bruce's office set up - and school starting next week, we will start to settle into a working rhythm.
I am, however, thinking Bruce and I might spend some of our lunchtimes, when the girls are back at school, kayaking on the lake.
One last sunset picture, because I haven't yet stopped marvelling at the sun on the lake, framed by the misty mountains.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
We needed to address two issues. The first was that we need to buy a car, and our landlord suggested the best place was in Rutland, a mere hour away to the south. So we decided to head out that way, regardless of the dozens of perfectly good car yards between here and Burlington. The second was that Bruce forgot to bring his akubra with him, and Bruce separated from his akubra is a little like Weetbix without milk, toast without Rose's breakfast marmalade. A web search showed that the only akubras within travelling distance were in Saratogas Springs, an hour or so away from Rutland. So, it seemed to make sense: we'd be half way there when we went to look for the car, and that was surely better than importing a hat from Australia. Bruce's other solution, which was to have someone send him his old hat from home, I rejected on the grounds that the only decent place to send that battered hat was to a garbage can (you see, I'm learning to think in American).
The fact that, regardless of the myriad of things that must be somehow organised (finding a desk for me to work on, getting Lizzy a working piano, working out how I will get to the university from here), we were going to travel over 2 hours to find a hat, somehow escaped us.
It was 29 degrees for most of the day. The car yard in Rutland proved largely unhelpful. We got stuck in a traffic jam for most of an hour. As we drove from village to village, there was nowhere to stop for coffee (antique shops galore - no cafes), so the natives in the back seat became more and more restless. And when we got to the shop in Saratoga, they didn't have Bruce's hat in the right size. So, we're home from a trip which took the best part of 9 hours without a car or a hat. In many ways a waste of a day.
And yet. We travelled through beautiful countryside. Vermont and New York are so green. Greener than New Zealand (you thought that wasn't possible?) - the fresh, glossy green that I associate with late spring or early summer, not late summer. The land here feels at once familiar and strange. Sometimes I think, looking at the flowers in the hedgerows and the rolling green fields, that Vermont is like England - but then the villages are inhabited by wooden colonial houses, hung with American flags. Sometimes, looking at the hills - the Adirondack mountains and the hills in the national park - I think this could be New Zealand, but the light is different. While in New Zealand the mountains are either fully visible with sharp detail, or invisible, depending on the weather, these hills are veiled, like blue shadows. Looking at them, I think of Tennyson's "the hills are shadows and they flow".
Some of the villages are so delightful, we longed to explore them - and we will. One place we stopped at, and which we will visit again, was Brandon.
And the town itself was vibrant and rich - fabulous shops, an obsession with racing and the arts:
|That's a ballet slipped they're posing with|
On our way home, we took the ferry across the lake, at Ticonderoga.
|Our girls, accustomed to the Interislander, were of the view that this was not, in fact, a ferry.|
Monday, August 19, 2013
There's plenty to do in the water.
|That's Bruce, Emil and Lizzy in the row boat|
We have been blueberry picking at a nearby farm.
On our first day here, we went past this sign. what could it mean?
We head off on our first trail (the girls complaining bitterly)
And find ourselves in fields of wild flowers.
And at the end of the day, we're sitting on the deck, drinking Vermont wine, which turns out to be really quite good. And I wonder, how will I ever wind myself up to write a book in this lovely, quiet place?