away we go


my last post in the uk for a month and as tenbellies is packing yet more shoes before we head off on our hols my last post will be dedicated to family OTW. as it is them that we will be spending the most of our summer with. we are truly excited to get to California again but most of all to see our gorgeous little princesses that we have dearly missed since they left just over a month ago. to spend summer with family and friends is surely bliss and i really can not wait to sit and relax in the Californian sun, although I'm not sure there will be much relaxing with these two running around going mad but hey its the job of an uncle and auntie. so terrah all and here we come.

4 days to go

this post is dedicated to my first visit to the mecca of new world wine, Napa Valley. being a wine lover this was one place that i looked forward to seeing the most. i love San Francisco and the Vegas and I'm sure i will see more amazing places in the future but napa valley was absolutely breath taking. i thought id seen the valley at its finest time of year, during the summer. but photos from thud in the autumn proved to be just as beautiful. during my short time in napa two years ago i was able to take part in bottling courtesy of vinogirl and vinomaker(click here to see pics and post on that) truth be known they made our visit sublime and we really couldn't of asked for anything more in that we are truly very lucky to know fine friends. the atmosphere in napa is very light and happy with a diverse mix of people from all manner of life and in this i think is the secret to why they produce the finest wines in the world. oh and they got great dirt. we visited vineyards and drank plenty of wine but the finest would no doubt have to be chateau liles 2005 cab franc. i truly can not wait to get back to napa and see vinogirl, vinomaker and of course the vinodogs to sit on the deck amongst fine friends amazing views fabulous wine and dancing babies.

6 days to go



well its 6 days to go and today marks the finish for summer, as i wait in work for some delivery with not much else really to do hoping that i may get home early. I'm searching the net for things that i would like to see in San Francisco, we visited the city the last time we were in America and loved it, with its steep hills and massive china town. thud, as usual filled us in on all the historical buildings and gave us a cracking tour, such a fountain of knowledge that one. last time we were unable to to see Alcatraz so I'm hoping to do that this time as it always fascinated me since watching the bird man of Alcatraz. we may also go and see one of its many exhibitions that the city is famed for, a little bit of homework maybe. any way i think its time for tenbellies to get the suitcases out from under the bed, less than a week to go.

10 days to go

its ten days to go yeah baby, and i feel due to the current state of the weather i will dedicate this post to Californian sun. thud informs me that its hitting 90 while back here we have a hose pipe ban and floods of rain. last time in America the weather was wonderful but it has to be said that the most extraordinary thing about the west coast would be the fantastic fog the rolls in over the bay in the morning like a huge tidal wave and can come as far in land as Napa only to be burned off by the rising sun not before refreshing those lovely grapes. at times it would look almost dull but if you think that you would be safe from sunburn in such circumstances you would be very much mistaken and this coming from a monkey that burns in the thick fog, in fact so did mrs OTW and vinogirl. anyway i love the sun and the hot weather and summer holidays would not be right without it, it seems we may have had all ours now so here's to California sun.
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english country garden

everything is growing in the garden right now, i spent an hour or so separating my carrots and beetroot as they had started to bind so before it got too far i split them and re planted filling almost the entire patch. i tried some of the larger beetrrot and they are not quite ready, but it seems we have alot so im thinking beetroot ale/wine, what do you think thud?
the Green house is doing well too, i have had to cane up the toms again as they have grown bigger than ever and now they have fruit. the vines are loving the temperature in the glass house and last years vine has had a new lease of life. out of the 6 pumpkins that Thud and i planted only two have survived but they too have started to fruit, ill do a little playing around with these before i leave for the California as i they need more space.

Tasty


check out the patch

mmmm toms


Chateau Brimstage

the first pumpkin

18 days to go!!

its 18 days to go and we are both starting to plan our little drive that we will be taking after a week or so of being in California. we did this the last time and found driving in America an excellent experience and we both cant wait to do it again. This time we plan to take the coast road from San Fransisco down towards LA where we plan to stay for an evening ether in Santa Monica, Venice Beach or Los Angeles itself. then we will drive through to Las Vegas for 3 or 4 nights. This trip is quite important as even though it will be a holiday it will also be the start of the planning for our wedding next year which Will be in Vegas.
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HDRI

i have recently been playing with my works camera which is alot better than our farty point and shoot. i have had some cracking photies off it and will be taking it on our hols too. i have been experimenting with aperture and hope to do some HDRI (high dynamic range imaging) work using photoshop. Im really lucky to have an excellent location to shoot (thanks Thud) and im sure even though a little arty farty there is the making of some great pics here.



21 days to go!!

Firstly lets pretend they say 21 days to go instead of 21 seconds to go and we will be groovin. so its 21 days to go and America has made it possible for these angry young men to get off the street, off the dole, off the corner selling crack and popping caps in ass and instead made them into respectable musicians. you see its the land of opportunity and even though we are across the pond it rubs off on to our people and makes things possible. optimism is strong in the US where here in blighty we seem to lack it with our dull grey clouds. ahh sun shine awaits.
romeo done!
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23 days to go


its now 23 days to go, and another small thing that I'm looking forward to is the morning coffee. we brits have tried to copy the Americans who copied the Italians in their love for coffee however we got the shitty end of the stick with our not so great coffee that is way over priced and once more you can never sit outside and enjoy the morning with a pastry. Our last visit to the US saw us sitting outside most morning enjoying coffee and a pastry listening to the locals go about their business, the sun would shine and for a mere $20 or so it would feed family OTW tenbellies and i and it would set us right for the day ahead. we have tried to recreate this time and time again but nothing is like the Starbucks in wallnut creek.

sorry about the pic but it was the only one i could find.