Sunday, August 21, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

As we enter the last weeks before Labor day, our tradition last day of summer, New York has been having lots and lots of dramatic thunderstorms. These storms are usually proceeded by a beautiful day, and then a strong wind blows a new weather front in from the west that brings the thunder, lightning and lots of drenching rain.

One of these storms arrived Friday night just as I was about to leave work. The sky grew very was not yet sundown time. And then, the big show began. I delayed my departure for the subway train station for a while, hoping that the storm would quickly roll over the city.

The storm, however, had other plans, so I got my little folding umbrella out and took my chances splashing my way along very wet sidewalks, uneven cobblestone streets and tried to avoid deep puddles and other folks' umbrellas. It was Friday night and lots of evening plans were rapidly being altered.

My usual commute requires me to transfer between subway lines at the Times Square station. Last Friday night my usual plan required amendment, because some train lines were out of operation. When water gets on to some electrical tracks, it is too dangerous for the trains to proceed. So I along with thousands of other damp travelers found other routes to get to our desired destinations. We all just slogged along, and nobody seemed to be complaining very loudly. After all, nature is much more powerful than we are!

Today has been a beautiful day, and although we are under a thunderstorm watch, the local sidewalk vendors are having more luck with their stylish hats than their stocks of umbrellas.
The church in the next picture is the First Baptist Church, but its architecture is inspired by that of other countries. There is no bell in its little bell turret.

I was also lucky to have a day off yesterday, and did some more sewing machine research, culminating in my ordering a new machine, which I should receive later on this week. I am looking forward to trying out its features that will greatly surpass those of my trusty old Singer.

Meanwhile, I have been doing a bit of playing with color while crocheting and knitting. The following photo shows the current sock project.

When I have two consecutive days off, I also have the opportunity to get caught up with tidying up the apartment and doing some cooking. Although I have not precisely followed any of its recipes, I have been inspired by thumbing through the following Elizabeth David collection that I found deep in the stacks of the New York Society Library.

It is back to work for me tomorrow morning. I am hoping that the sun will shine and the commute will be drama free.

I thank you all for your comments, and advice on many matters. I have recently been having pretty good luck negotiating blogger by employing Chrome.

Enjoy your final summer weeks!


  1. Thunderstorms may clear the air, but when the wreck havoc on the one's commute home, one wished they'd waited a bit, until everyone is safely tacked into bed at night!

    I wished you a good start into the new week, with gorgeous late summer weather, low humidity and no thunderstorms before you reach home,

  2. Oh dear, I meant to write "when they" wreck havoc and, of course, safely "tucked" into bed (that "tack" hurt, ouch!). My apologies!

  3. I have much better luck with Chrome also.
    We've had the same sort of storms here, which is all well and good, but when that thunder wakes me at 3pm I don't like it too much.
    Hape a good week.

  4. I enjoy a good thunderstorm when I don't have to be out in it. As a matter of fact, one was predicted for tonight, but nothing has come of it yet.

    I use Firefox and am quite happy with it. It hasn't let me down yet.

    It's nice to hear about the projects that keep you busy. I should be as industrious.


  5. That's a very Kaffe Fasset photo of your knitting and crochet
    I've shown no aptitude for knitting or crochet, what with tensions uneven and stitches dropped - how very neat your work looks!

  6. Glad you've survived the storms, Frances. Even if they did complicate your daily commute.
    I can see that your hands have been busy, to good effect. You are such a creative person, and your new sewing machine, I hope, will make you even more so.
    Life on the Prairies has been a mix of wet and dry, but as we're approaching harvest people on the land will hope for a dry spell.
    Blessings and Bear hugs.

  7. We had a little thunderstorm this evening too – it is good for our plants. I like the colors of your current knitting project. I bought some yarn for knitting another baby blanket for the new baby of one of my daughter’s friends. The selection here was not too good – last year I went into a store on Broadway and W. 82nd street, a couple of blocks from where we usually stay in NYC, it was called The Yarn Company I believe and they had beautiful yarns (an upstairs store.) If you would like to know our schedule in New York please send me an email at as I don’t like to write all this on my blog.

  8. You've explained, perfectly, the way the storms run in from the water here too - but such storms usually come after a time of bad weather and bring with them better weather.
    I'm sure that commuting everyday in NYC must be an adventure. I love to imagine you in your fashionable clothes and chic haircut, umbrella held as a shield against the driving rain as you battle elements and the traffic.

  9. We ahve been threatened by storms here, Frances, but they havent arrived yet, just grumblings in the sky. However, today is very wet.
    I loved your photo of the hats. I hope he sold some!

  10. Here it has been almost a storm free summer and umbrellas don't always work because of the wind. Umbrellas are a technology that is centuries old. Why don't they change more. Why isn't the umbrella handle at the side? Better still why do umbrellas need handles at all - why can they not strap to our shoulders? Then why don't umbrellas come down over our shoulders with a little window over our faces?

    Love the little (or not so little) church and the socks! I want a pair! (Actually all I wanted last time I was in Times Square was a fake Rolex for $13 but didn't quite have the courage to buy one fearing I might get arrested by the seriously awesome NYPD).

  11. My dear Frances,
    I came here looking for a hint to try to find out what you will choose as your new creative platform. What will it be?? I'm so curious!

    Oh! And I loved the hats stall. I want one with a black ribbon!


  12. What dramatic weather you seem to have in NY, do you think it has any effect on the personalities of native New Yorkers? Enjoy your new sewing machine, what a dream it will be after after your old Singer (not that there is anything wrong with old machines, I use one myself!)

  13. Tremendous thunderstorm here the other night which shocked us into wakefulness. The air seemed a little fresher afterwards. Our ground is so dry here that the rain which accompanied the storm has made little difference.

    I love you sock knitting - socks are such a satisfying project don't you think? Not to big to finish and just complicated enough t be interesting.

    Best wishes.

  14. Glad to hear that blogging is a little easier with Chrome. I also use it when Safari plays up.

    And so life trundles on, ever calm, ever peaceful and pleasant, thunderstorms notwithstanding. Deriving pleasure from favourite tasks and happy routines is a gift, no wonder your posts always give me the impression of a lady's life being well lived.

    Have you any idea how many pairs of socks, shawls and scarves, etc. you have knitted in your long career?

  15. I am glad that your Chrome is working for you - I don't have many problems with Blogger, so I suspect that much of the time it is browser related. My problem is rural broadband - dead slow!

    We are expecting thunderstorms here - maybe they are the ones from over your way!

    Pomona x

  16. Hello Frances
    Your thunderstorm description was a very powerful one...what a shame you didn't get home first...I loved seeing your beautiful subtle crochet and knitting, how lovely the colours look.
    I love to read Elizabeth David's books too, they fascinate me...though I actually like to eat very light simple food most of the time.
    Enjoy your week and I hope the weather in NY settles down to a pleasant trouble free kind.
    Helen x

  17. This is not my first visit but my first comment.

    I really enjoyed this post and would be very grateful if you could let me know which sewing machine you have settled for as my 'trusty' Singer is on its last legs and I am consequently looking for another.

  18. Hope you are okay . I heard you had an earthquake recently and haven't seen a blog from you since...

  19. Francis, we will be keeping you in our thoughts and prayers, after the earthquake and now the soon-to-arrive hurricane. It never rains but it pours, no pun intended.
    Please take care of yourself. We will be thinking of you, and hoping the storm is less strong than expected.
    Canadian Chickadee

  20. Hello Frances,
    A new sewing machine, that has my imagination conquering up so many wonderful projects for you. I too ventured into that world, the joys are having the needle threaded every time by pressing a lever. Getting older makes threading a needle time consuming with many attempts. I can do button holes, fancy embroidery stitches and so much more, all selected by a touch of a screen. Still getting to know it, felt so strange after my old singer.
    Strange weather here too. I could feel myself there with you in your rain storm you described it so well.
    Autumn seems to be almost upon us. The hedgerows are showing signs, cooler evenings and back to school fast approaching. Dark evening..time for more crafty projects. X

  21. Hi Frances, I am back, summer seemed to get in the way of everything. Lovely to catch up. How well you capture the city commute in the rain, loved reading your words. I am so terrified of being caught in a storm, yesterday saw me racing home with Ruby dog and youngest to try and beat the black clouds lurking above the fields x

  22. Necchi sewing machines "or bust"?.
    Hope that they too are not made in China.
    Now we in NYC are positioning
    ourselves for a major Hurricane named Irene.
    First time ever mandatory NYC evacuations
    and just imagine all public transportation here being stopped at noon Saturday?

    Stay Safe & good knitting .

  23. Just checked in to see if you are OK Frances and whether you have been evacuated as I heard that a hurricane is heading your way. I hope it will not be too bad. I experienced the hurricane(s) in Sussex in the 1980's - I will be thinking of you.

  24. Yes, I do hope you won't be affected too much by the hurricane.

    Let us know how you get on.

    Really lovely socks!

  25. Thank you all for your comments.

    What a strange weather week in New York. We got a taste of an earthquake, and are now preparing for a possibly vast hurricane.

    So odd. I really need to write another blog about all this.


  26. Hi Frances, I'm reading on Yahoo of Broadway shows and subways closed!
    Yikes. I hope the predicted weather wallop wears itself out before reaching you.

  27. Hello Frances,
    I just discovered your blog,
    very interesting, I love New York
    There have been years ago and I liked very much.
    I'll be back to visit you often.
    See you soon
    Suzy x

  28. Batten down the hatches, I hope the hurricane is merciful to NYC. Our friends in the Bahamas weathered the storm although the winds were fierce. Take care my friend and keep safe.

  29. Yikes, Frances, your weather seems about to get even more extreme. I do hope you have plans to either get out or stay safe. Thinking of you - please take care. Karen xo

  30. Stay safe as 'Irene' passes over later this weekend - think of you and all your friends and neighbours in NY.


  31. Oh I missed this!!
    I hope you won't be heading out today will you?
    Times Square does not have the proper equipment for flooding - it's shocking. I saw a guy trying to 'SWEEP' away excess water! In Paris they have vacume machines to scoop it up:(
    Why is NYC so behind Paris??
    bon Chance with Irene

  32. just checking in - hoping you haven't been evacuated - my thoughts are with you all in NYC and elsewhere x

  33. Hello Frances,

    Just heard on the news here that a Hurricane may be heading your way, bad storms too in North Carolina. I hope you won't be heading out to work in NY with such serious weather.

    Thinking of you dear Frances, stay safe. I have heard a lot about that great cookery writer - Elizabeth David, must check one of her cook books out one day.


  34. I've been away Frances but am thinking of you now as we hear news of the hurricane. I hope that you are safe. We experienced a hurricane when I lived in Boston over 20 years ago and it was terrifying.

  35. I hope you are OK. I still have vivid memories of the night of the 1987 hurricane here with my 6 month old son. Our garden wall collapsed but this one sounds really serious.

  36. Oh dear Frances, keep safe. Please keep safe. Janexxxxx

  37. I hope the storm passes and leaves behind only the pleasure of having some extra time off!
    Thinking of you,