Skip to main content

A few outings

This is a beautiful time of year in North Texas, when the days are warm and the nights are still cool; when the grass is green and the flowers compete to bloom before the heat sets in; when butterflies emerge in clouds of bright colours and proud mother ducks shepherd little balls of fluff around the lake.  We haven't made any big excursions, but like most people, have been making the most of the time before the wilting heat drives us inside.

A few miles north of us, the small town of Roanoke markets itself as "The Unique Dining Capital of Texas", and recently put on a "Unique Week".  The festivities included live music for several evenings, so we went to hear a group called Brave Combo.  They play dance music in the widest sense of the word - their website boasts that they can turn their instruments to polka, salsa, rock, chacha and much more - and they do so with vigour!  One thing I love about Texans is that they're not ashamed to dance in public.  Any live music event is incomplete without a few older couples swaying to a two-step or a waltz, some teenage girls swinging each other round in some giggling spins, and a few kids jumping up and down in the middle.  Urged on by the lead singer, this crowd did all that, plus provided a creditable number of people willing to embarrass themselves by doing the chicken dance.  We were excluded, you understand, by having to look after Toby.  Not from any fear of embarrassment, of course.



A few more miles away, the somewhat larger town of Grapevine has a botanic garden which we had never visited.  It's not quite on the scale of the Dallas or Fort Worth gardens, being more of a glorified park, but nevertheless a very pretty one.  On a pleasant Saturday morning it was crowded with photographers and picnicking families.  Toby loved the pool with a handy trickle over the edge to splash his fingers in.  Water features are one of his things right now; he happily points out everything from a neighbour's little plastic waterfall to a huge spraying fountain.





And we just had to head downtown for the annual Main Street Arts Festival.  After a harrowing attempt to navigate the crowds with a pushchair, we settled it that one of us would entertain Toby on a nice shady patch of grass while the other one toured the art.  That proved to be a much better way of seeing things.  Graham admired some intricate beaded platters, while I was taken by some handmade sets of drawers inset with beautiful leaf and flower designs.  Some brightly coloured blown glass almost made my mouth water, it looked so much like candy.  The crazy spinning mobiles are a regular feature, though there wasn't much wind for them this year.  Meanwhile, Toby met some other little boys, waved at all the buses, and relaxed with a book or two.





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Twelve Steps of Humility and Pride: Spiritual Formation Book 13

"Love is a sweet and pleasurable food because it gives rest to the tired, strength to the weak, and joy to the sorrowful. Love makes the yoke of truth easy to bear and its burden light." Bernard of Clairvaux was born in 1090. At the age of 22 he became a Cistercian monk, and persuaded about thirty of his relatives and friends to join him on this path. He became the abbot of Clairvaux when he was 25 years old. During his lifetime he founded many other monastic communities. This edition includes two of St Bernard's books: The Twelve Steps of Humility and Pride and On Loving God . They are short books, with very short chapters, often only a page or so long. The first was written for his fellow monks; the second for "the illustrious Lord Aimeric, Cardinal-Deacon and Chancellor of the Roman Church", who had apparently been asking Bernard questions about the faith. What is the book about? Twelve Steps spends its first half describing what the goal of humility is, b

San Antonio

San Antonio is towards the south of Texas and feels very much more Mexican than American. The balmy evenings, the colourful Mexican market, the architecture of the buildings, and the number of people speaking Spanish around us all added to the impression. The city, in fact, grew out of a Spanish mission and presidio (fort), built in 1718 as part of Spain's attempt to colonize and secure what was then the northern frontier of the colony of Mexico. Texas was then a buffer zone between Mexico and the French-held Louisiana, and Spain was keen to cement her hold on the area by introducing settlers and converting the natives to Catholicism and loyalty to the Spanish government. The missions in general had no great effect, but the San Antonio area was the exception to the rule, growing into an important city with five missions strung out along the San Antonio river. The first of these, San Antonio de Valero, later became well-known as the Alamo, where 182 Texans died in 1836

Melbourne Art Festival: A Surprisingly Good Afternoon Out

Maybe it was the warm autumn weather.  Maybe it was the fun of peeking into other people's back gardens.  Maybe it was the novelty of standing with other people, listening to real live musicians.  Or maybe it was just the giant pink ice creams. Whatever it was, Melbourne Festival had turned into a surprisingly satisfying afternoon.  I'd seen the posters for it and thought it might be a nice change from yet another walk on a Sunday afternoon, but that was about as high as my expectations had been. When we arrived, the male three-quarters of the family were immediately pleased to see the signs for classic cars at Melbourne Hall.  Shortly afterwards, I was pleased to discover that there were only about half a dozen of them, so that we could rapidly move on to less mechanical works of art. The festival was spread out around the village of Melbourne, in churches, halls, and private gardens.  Melbourne is one of those fascinating places anyway, with archways and alleyways and houses