The Royal Yacht

Visit to the Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh

The Royal Yacht

The Royal Yacht

Jackie and I toured the Royal Yacht Britannia yesterday and just loved seeing it. The yacht was magnificent, and I am posting some photos of our tour.

The yacht was decommissioned in 1997, and Edinburgh was chosen for the location of where it would serve as a floating museum. One of the great things we got to witness on the tour was the number of former royal yachtsmen who were on board cleaning, repairing, and visiting. We talked to one of them who had served as a photographer from around 1967 to 1970. We asked about his dealing with the royal family, and he told us he loved visiting with the Queen Mother when she was on board, and that Price Phillip was rather stern in making sure that photographs of him did not have a cable and line in the background that would appear to be running out of his head!

Retired yachtsman recoating boat trim

Retired yachtsman recoating boat trim

Captain's office

Captain’s office

The verandah

The verandah

Sofa in rear lounge area

Sofa in rear lounge area

Rear lounge area

Rear lounge area

Beautiful silver serving pieces

Beautiful silver serving pieces

Officer's dining table

Officer’s dining table

Area outside of the Queen's bedroom

Area outside of the Queen’s bedroom

Queen's bedroom

Queen’s bedroom

Port deck view

Port deck view

Lounge area

Lounge area

Sailor's bunks

Sailor’s bunks

Operating room

Operating room

Laundry room

Laundry room

Spotless engine room

Spotless engine room

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Jennifer and Lauren spying the food

Lauren’s tea party

_MG_6516Lauren just loves tea parties, and as her grandfather, I get the chance to participate in these quite often. In the fall of 2014, Jennifer, Lauren, Jackie, and I went to a restaurant in Plano to have a tea party one Saturday morning.

I am posting photos from this event, most of which are us just hamming it up. These parties allow all of us to have some semblance of formality, but most important, some time together for all of us to act both grown up and childlike at the same time.

More tea parties will be in the future, and I am happy to be invited to each one of them.

Lauren telling Jennifer something

Lauren telling Jennifer something

Lauren very excited about the tea party

Lauren very excited about the tea party

Jennifer and Lauren

Jennifer and Lauren

The food arrives

The food arrives

Jennifer and Lauren spying the food

Jennifer and Lauren spying the food

Jeff, Lauren, and Jackie

Jeff, Lauren, and Jackie

Face off between Lauren and Papa J

Face off between Lauren and Papa J

Big kisses after the tea party

Big kisses after the tea party

Lauren and Papa J

Lauren and Papa J

Big hugs for Mama J

Big hugs for Mama J

Laughs for all

Laughs for all

 

Jackson and his Weber Performer

Jackson’s best birthday gift ever!

Jackson and his Weber Performer

Jackson and his Weber Performer

For some time now, Jackson has wanted a barbecue grill. He has been fascinated with grills and smokers from a young age, and requested a grill out of the blue several years ago.

Jackson turned 9, and it just seemed like it was the right time for him to get a grill. What started out to be a simple Weber grill turned into a Weber Performer so that he would have a side table to use when he cooked.

We purchased the grill from Amazon and had it shipped to Jackson’s house. At his birthday party, it was the last gift he received. He just jumped up and down in excitement.

Jackson getting the surprise of a Weber Performer

Jackson getting the surprise of a Weber Performer

What joy!

What joy!

After the party, Jackson, Papa J, and Thomas began the process of putting the grill together. We tried to let Jackson put as much of it together as he could so he could learn about getting gifts where there was “some assembly required.” He did pretty well on putting his grill together.

Jackson opening the box

Jackson opening the box

Jackson unpacking the grill

Jackson unpacking the grill

Papa J and Jackson looking at the instructions

Papa J and Jackson looking at the instructions

Jackson using tools

Jackson using tools

Jackson working on a leg

Jackson working on a leg

Jackson and Thomas assembling the legs

Jackson and Thomas assembling the legs

Jackson putting the lid on his grill

Jackson putting the lid on his grill

Mama J, Papa J, and Jackson with his Weber Performer

Mama J, Papa J, and Jackson with his Weber Performer

Jackson cooked some chicken wings for a New Year’s Eve celebration and did a great job with them. We look forward to many more great meals prepared by him in the future!

 

Beautiful views

Prosecco country in Italy

On our recent trip to Italy, Antonella and her husband took us on a quick tour of the Prosecco country in the Veneto region. What beautiful country. Here are a few photos of our Sunday drive through this region.

Of course, there needs to be some sampling, too. Here we found a winery we just dropped by and knocked on the door, even though they were closed. Luckily, the mother of the wine maker was there and insisted that we come in, sample some wine, and await her son to get out of the shower!  What a nice visit and what wonderful wine!

Food Market in ground floor of Palazzo della Ragione, Padova, Italy

In the center of the major produce market in Padova, Italy located between Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta are the market stalls in the ground floor of the Palazzo della Ragione. According to “Rick Steves’ Italy, 2013,” this H-shaped arcane, was, for centuries, the location of the market for luxury items such as furs, fine cloths, gold, and silver up until the devastating loss to the French in 1797. After that, with no market for luxury items, the arcane reverted to selling meat and cheese in this covered area, and this explains why these shops are now located in an area with imposing iron gates that are used to lock up each evening.

As with any Italian market, meat such as prosciutti, salame, beef, pork, and chicken are abundant, and with this being Northern Italy, there is plenty of horse and rabbit meat sold here, too. Formaggi (cheese) and pane (bread) are standard fare, too, and both are so lovely to view and sample. Truly here, you eat first with your eyes before you do your mouth.

Here are some photos of the “macellerias,” which are the butcher shops as well as other small shops that specialize in all sorts of processed meats and cheeses.

Here are some of the shops and products that merchandise horse meat (“cavallo,” in Italian).

There are “supermercati” (supermarkets) here, but the draw of these small shops that open early in the morning and are closed by early afternoon just presents such a wide array of beautiful foods that look and taste so great that it is refreshing to experience such markets that have been going on here in Italy for centuries. Here is hoping for many more centuries to come.

Butcher and client

Mercato Centrale, Florence, Italy

The Mercato Centrale, ranked 10th on USA Today’s Best Food Markets Around the World, is one of our favorites to visit on each trip to Florence. The market is always full of great food, and it is crowded with many locals and tourists. We were there on a Saturday morning in the rain so it was even more crowded than normal.

Here are some of my favorite photos of meat:

Here are some of my favorite photos of other foods:

Mirror-image effect

Reflections, Murano and Burano, Italy

Jackie and I have spent the weekend in Venice, Italy and have hundreds of photos to show for it. But this afternoon when we took the vaporetto to Murano and Burano, we found some wonderful photo ops of reflections of houses and boats in the water that were just lovely. I wanted to capture these photos separately so that they did not get lost in all of the other great scenes in this lovely part of Italy.

Colorful vegetables

Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta in Padova, Italy

Rick Steves says that the produce in these two market squares are second only to what you would find in Bologna, which is supposed to be the best in all of Italy. Jackie and I paid a visit to this market one morning to shop a little and look a lot. It is a sight to behold.

One of the interesting points of this market is that shortly after lunch, it all comes down. We were in Piazza delle Erbe one afternoon during a light rain having pizza at a sidewalk café and watched with great interest this daily ritual of demolition. It was quite a production of the careful repacking of produce, takedowns of booths, folding or rolling up of awnings, and putting everything back into a truck or cart it off to some untold storage spot ready to start the process all over again in the early hours of the next morning.

Here are some wonderful photos of the market. By the way, the produce we purchased was wonderful!

Work in progress

John the Carver Man

When we were in Maua, and next door to our hotel, we met a wonderful person named “John the Carver Man.” He has a little booth set up on the street where he works all day carving and selling his wares to the public, especially those tourists or missionaries who are at the hotel next to him.

John has such a pleasing personality and was fun to visit with each day. We saw some of his work at Jim and Sue’s house at the Maua Methodist Hospital compound, and just fell in love with it.

On about Tuesday of our week in Maua, we saw a very short ebony log and asked John if he would carve something for us. The log was not very big, but John had a vision of carving three elephants in it, one large and two small, because the log was larger on one end and then tapered off. That sounded fine to us and we then negotiated a price for this work. Once we did this, I asked John if we could photograph him working on the project throughout the week and he said yes. The log came from Mount Kenya, and John picked it up himself.

Each night, Jackie and I would go by and see how the elephants were coming along. Some of our fellow missionaries would go by and check on John’s progress and tease us that they were going to outbid us for the elephants. Luckily, they did not and we were able to pick the finished piece on Thursday night of that week.

The elephants are headed home with us, and we look forward to displaying them at our house. We told John we would send a photo of them in their new home when they arrive.

Snail or camel

Playful images from Cappadocia

Jackie and I are in the Cappadocia region of Turkey and are seeing some strangely wonderful geography. Because of volcanic activities long ago where ash was deposited and because of centuries of erosion caused by wind and rain, there are some very unique features called “Fairy Chimneys.” In one area, there are some that remind people of certain animals or people or even hats.

Here are a few of the Fairy Chimneys. See if you agree with what our guide told us these look like.