Friday, April 22, 2011

Old photos

My sister Clare dragged out some old photos and I thought I would share some of them with you. There are not too many photos of me as an adult without a beard, so enjoy them.

In 1973 when I was living in Melbourne with my sister Clare, we held a fancy dress party. We hired costumes from the Theatre Royal and mine was a cardinals outfit. Inside the cloak was a label with Frank Thring's name. He was an Australian character actor famous for his role as Pontius Pilate in the film Ben Hur. 

Clare made a pretty good bunny.

In many ways I think a cardinal would have been a pretty good job. You get to wear this big cloak which you can swish all over the place.

And of course, people bow down to kiss your ring. I have no idea who the young lady was.

The girl friend of my friend Max. She was older than Max and was quite a character. She was on board the Andrea Doria when it sank. Obviously she was a survivor.

There comes an end to all drunken parties when even the best of cardinals needs to have a rest.

Another party. Anne and Mark Palmer on the left with the dishonorable Wes Patterson and his floozy (Ric and Clare).

Adonis is the word that must spring to your mind.

When I went to Europe and was travelling around, there were days when I could not shave and I noticed little old ladies would shy away from my partially scruffy face. I solved the problem by becoming even more scruffy and growing a beard. I did cut it off once in 1976 and shaved for a week or so but soon got tired of it. So the last time I shaved was on September 13, 1976.

When I was living in Reading, PA in the late 70's, I worked for the Bank of Pennsylvania. The IT group had a great bunch of blokes who treated me very well. We mostly played tennis, but we did have one famous basketball game. Despite knowing virtually nothing about the game, I was invited to join the team. I didn't do too bad running up and down the court passing the ball, but shooting a basket was beyond me. Absolutely pathetic. I think I heard laughter.

I still have the T shirt with the tie on it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Hand Made Garden

My sister Clare took me to see a new garden that has been created in Athens, GA.

Through her trips to Ethiopia, my sister knows the woman Karen Witten who is the real inspiration behind the garden. 

The garden is situated in a predominately african american neighborhood in Athens, GA. The garden is maintained by a mix of local residents, students and even the homeless who live or work in the area.

This was a barren area that was formerly full of kudzu which is a weed in the area. Karen said they took out five thousand pounds weight of the stuff.

It cost nothing to develop the garden other than the cost of human labour.

Karen admiring the garden. To hear her talk about the garden, try this youtube link and here.

The local church beside the garden that is predominately attended by african americans. Karen has been invited to attend.

A photo of what the area looked like before the garden was made.

Strawberries in April. You won't find them in Maryland at this time of year (April).

All this is scavenged stuff that might become sueful.

These are collard greens which I like to use as an ingredient in cooking. Remove the thick stem and use like spinach. There was also a bed of lettuce and Karen told us that she had been reminded that the local african american population didn't eat lettuce. Not that I am too keen on the stuff myself, particularly the iceberg abomination. Give me some spinach or collards any day.

One of the local homeless guys had created this secret garden where he had planted melons.

An interesting sculpture showing the topography of the area, Click on the photo below to read how it was created.

This was an unexpected find and is an inspiring community project.. My sister is now planning to help out tending the garden. 

Two trains to Georgia

Travelling by train has always been one of my favourite things to do so when I needed to go to Georgia and buy my sister's car, I decided to go by train rather than yet another plane flight.

The first train  was a MARC commuter train that runs a few times each day on weekdays. It is a convenient and inexpensive way to go to Baltimore, BWI or Washington and avoid all the traffic and parking problems. It cost $11 to go to Washington one way.

The rain had just moved in and only a few people got on.

The stairway to the trip. America never believed in high platforms and it seems you always have to climb up onto a train. It must be hard on old people.

Rogers Tavern at the northern side of the Susquehanna River. Everybody in colonial times used to stop there for food, drink and lodging.

Housing developments at the mouth of the Susquehanna. Just up stream, the housing developments have to built on stilts to allow for the occasional flood when too much water comes down stream and they have to open the gates on the Conowingo Dam

Part of the Hatem Bridge which carries Route 40 traffic.

North East Baltimore. The facades look ok here but the following photos shows the shocking state of the housing in the area. Click on the photos to get a closer look.

It amazes me that the whole lot hasn't been bulldozed and redeveloped.

There were a couple of hours to fill in at Union Station in Washington, so I wandered around taking photos.

It was almost a shock to go outside and realize that was the Capitol Building. 

So if you go to Union Station, take the time to walk around.

The Amtrak Crescent which took me to Georgia.

Its very dark, but a photo inside the carriage. The train was packed when it left Washington, but there were only a few passengers left by the time I got to Gainesville. The staff were very friendly and helpful and I had a good meal in the dining car. I had the Oven Baked Southern Style Chicken . . . . . . . . $14.75 as recommended by Seat61, the bible of train travel, and it was good.

Fortunately, the woman next to me got out at Danville at 11:15 pm so I had both seats to myself and managed to get some sleep. Some women were complaining about the cold and I was glad of my lightweight blanket that I bought in Europe back in 1974. It still worked.

Finally at Gainesville, GA. It's a bit like going on an overseas plane flight but with more leg room.

The end of the train manages to block the road crossing for quite some time. You would think they could move forward by ten yards and let the traffic across.

I was pleased to see they still have cars that can ride on the rails.

And the train headed off to Atlanta and New Orleans. I basically enjoyed the trip, but I wouldn't want to do it too often. It was a pity that so much of the journey was at night.