Photos wanted

Okay, Habershons, relatives of Habershons, and loyal readers. It’s time to pull out the cameras and submit a picture of your garden or a part of your garden or something you’re growing. Then we can all watch it progress (or deteriorate) as the year goes by. A maximum of one picture per household per week will be published.

John and I have started the album. John did most of the work, clearing and tilling a patch for some flowers, along with some vegetables. We’re growing three tomato plants (one of them bought online), a climbing zucchini plant (also bought online), some rosemary, parsley, basil and catnip.

Send in your pictures! Paul, how are those potatoes coming along?

Apartment for rent

Sob! Our tenant is being transferred to Aberdeen, Scotland. We’ve been so lucky with tenants. This one has been with us for 20 months and has been perfect. No complaints, rent paid way, way in advance, and she’s probably been away on business trips about a third of the time. Not that we don’t like having her around, of course!

We’re going to have Blake Hillegeist do all the work again this time. He was definitely worth the expenditure. Meanwhile, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to post a classified ad shamelessly on . . .

APARTMENT FOR RENT (upstairs duplex) — Houston Montrose $950/month — 15 minute bike ride from Minute Maid Park! Available June 16th. Click here for details.

Charlie's Travels – News from the capital

We finally have some pictures of Charlie’s trip. They’ve been added to the photo album. What a magnificent looking van!

Headed up into the mountains after the ocean road and camped a night in the Grampians. The national parks all have campgrounds where you can stay for free so we have been loving the great outdoors with our tent and the van. Cooking all our food on an open fire. Two nights ago we stayed with James’ Godfather’s brother (a seriously tenuous link!). They own a vineyard just north of Melbourne and really looked after us. They welcomed us with beers and smoked salmon; we had our own beds and then the next day we went to the vineyard and did some wine tasting. Had to pretend we knew something about wine but it was great fun. Yesterday we drove for 8 hours to Canberra. Distances don’t really seem to bother us as we just love the van so much. We camped last night and now we are staying with Dave’s uncle’s friends as he used to live here. They are really looking after us; had a good supper tonight and we may stay another but otherwise we are heading to Sydney tomorrow. Time is flying way too quickly here. It feels like I will be home before I know it. Dave is trying to get out to Mexico with us which would be awesome but he is not sure yet. Anyway the van is running smoothly.

OCMS and Scotch Eggs

We’re off to the Mucky Duck tonight to listen to the Old Crow Medicine Show. They’ve been recommended by a friend. Going out on a Monday isn’t really a good idea for me (the show starts an hour before my bedtime), but I’m craving scotch eggs, and the Mucky Duck is the only place in Houston that I can find them. If the band is good too, that’ll be a bonus.

Update April 26th: They were good! And so was the band. Two banjos, a double bass, a fiddle and a guitar. The fiddler also played harmonica, guitar, banjo, and sang. They were young, energetic, underfed, and knew their geography. Every song they sang was better than the one before, and the first one was good! Catch them if you can.

Cougar Baseball

We’ve been to quite a few College Baseball games over the last couple of months. Although our team, the University of Houston Cougars, is not having a great season, we’re enjoying our time at Cougar Field. It’s never very crowded. Our seats are in the third row behind the Cougar dugout, but we rarely sit there, and usually move into the front row next to Kevin and Callie, who are diehard Cougar fans.

I sent John around the field with the camera during yesterday’s game. The small picture here is Kevin Roberts pitching to someone on the University of South Florida’s team. If you click on it you can see a view of Cougar Field from the other direction.

Five crunchy pilgrims

The online Merriam-Webster dictionary e-mails me a word a day — all the better for me to improve the vocabulary quality of One of the words last week was “gargantuan.”

Yeah yeah, I knew what it meant. It’s just that the description of “Gargantua” made me giggle at the time, and it still makes me giggle. So what could be better than to share it with you lucky readers:

“Gargantua” is the name of a giant king in François Rabelais’s 16th-century satiric novel Gargantua. All of the details of Gargantua’s life befit a giant. He rides a colossal mare whose tail switches so violently that it fells the entire forest of Orleans. He has an enormous appetite — in one memorable incident, he inadvertently swallows five pilgrims while eating a salad. The scale of everything connected with Gargantua gave rise to the adjective “gargantuan,” which since Shakespeare’s time has been used of anything of tremendous size or volume.

So now you know.

International Festival

We hung out with John‘s mum and her friend Michael today at the International Festival. It has an Indian theme this year. If you like crowds and trinkets and heat and loud noise this is definitely the place for you. It’s on again tomorrow and next weekend. I don’t know. Maybe I’m getting old, but places like that are no longer fun. I can’t handle standing in line for food, only to find out when I get to the front that all they have left is the saag paneer. Then not having anywhere to sit and eat my saag paneer in comfort. Then I can’t stand not being able to walk briskly where I want to walk without bumping into people trying to walk in the other direction.

Fortunately, John feels the same way about this kind of stuff. So when I suggested we split, he was only too happy to leave. I did make one purchase, however — a new cowboy hat — made in China.

Funny, but I’ve just re-read this, and I could be talking about attending a Baseball game at Minute Maid Park.

There’s a difference. There is. I swear there is.

Charlie's Travels – The Great Ocean Road

Charlie’s travels continue:
We have been on the Great Ocean Road for 3 days now and it’s absolutely incredible. The van is doing well and we have been camping for the last 3 nights. Saw a koala bear and kangaroo yesterday which was pretty exciting and just had a big fire and a few beers. Loving the great outdoors! Hopefully we are staying with James’ godfather’s friend who ownes a vineyard tonight but we will see. Everyone is on top form and I really can’t put into words just how much fun we are having. The van is so cool and it just gives you so much freedom.