Sunday, February 5, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

Later on today a championship football game will be played in the City of Indianapolis.  One of the teams is officially a New York team called the Giants.  I am not much of a football fan and most likely will skip the televised spectacle.

Let me instead show you some evidence that our strangely mild weather has continued into February.  Yesterday was an overcast Saturday, and I took a walk across Central Park to see what flowers might have courageously bloomed.

I saw these clusters of daffodils in a sheltered area that gets lots of midday and early afternoon sunshine.  The trees around them are fruit trees that so far seem to be observing a proper winter rest.

My curiosity then took me towards the Shakespeare Garden, and I saw quite a few hellebores that seemed to have no fear of frost.

It was just after 12 noon when I passed by the sundial.  I thought that the clouds overhead were keeping the dial's timekeeping very discrete.

There were very few signs of blossoming in the Garden, just a few isolated snowdrops and a smattering of blossoming quince buds.  I thought that these branches were very beautiful, but can now see that my camera work did not capture their subtle colors, that were sort of iridescent rosy and purple.

Along the Shakespeare Garden's pathways are numerous little plaques quoting plant-related lines from the Bard.  Currently, the park's gardeners have arranged greenery and pine cones around these plaques to help draw the attention of passersby.

I wandered away from the Garden, and soon was walking along the western side of the Lake.   There were some icy patches, but not enough thicker ice to safely encourage skaters.  However, some mallard ducks were definitely enjoying the swimming and fishing potential of the lake.

New York views like this seem so peacefully tranquil.

Not long after taking this picture, I was quickly doing some grocery shopping, gathering ingredients that I will use later on today to make a hearty split pea soup.  The weather cannot possible stay so mild much longer, and it will be great to have homemade soup available.

Since it won't be long before the Academy Awards are given out, I thought that I might do well to actually see some of the films that have gained nominations in varying categories.  I very much enjoyed the remake of Tinker Tailor and plan to see The Artist before long.  Hugo also interests me, but I am not sure I could endure the 3 D effects.

My reduced work week continues to give me fresh opportunities.  I am looking forward to sharing some more of my wing-spreading happiness.


  1. I for one am a big fan of your reduced work week, as I love visiting your blog and the more posts the merrier... I thought we would come back to New York this year, but we have decided to go back to Barcelona as there were many things we missed doing on our last visit. We are going to go when it is cooler so we can wander around Park Guell when it is not as crowded. So your photos of Central Park are so wonderful for me, as the park holds a special place in my heart... if you are ever passing the Ladies Pavilion could you take a photo as this is where we got married and we haven't been back since. The frozen wool is my favourite photo also!

  2. Lovely to see signs of spring in Central Park - this weekend we're plunged back into the depths of winter!


  3. We have all the snow here in the UK!

    Central Park looks beautiful.


  4. What interesting Hellebores, Frances. They are very similar to the wild ones that grow in the South of France.
    Daffodils already! I have buds but so far not open. I love the days when their bright flowers shine in the garden.

  5. I always like your walks in the park. Our azalea bushes are budding already. I hope winter won’t come back as so many early buds would freeze.
    As you we decided to go and see some of the nominated films. I had not seen a 3D picture in a long time but enjoyed Hugo. It happens in Paris in the early 1900s but mostly in one of the station – it was 80% taken from the Gare du Nord. A train historian Clive Hamming provided many historical documents and advice to Martin Scorsese. It is a fantasy movie based on many facts. We also saw The Artist with the French actors Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo – no subtitles needed since they don’t speak – a great movie. I also enjoyed The Descendants tremendously. The Hawaiian music gave it such an air of authenticity. I think you would like this one too. I am pleased you are enjoying your extra free hours.

  6. What a view of New York on a February day!...more proof of the incredible climate change that is affecting all of us.
    I'm so glad to know that you are enjoying your reduced work week. You will be wishing a further reduction at this rate!

  7. Hi Frances,

    Love the first signs of New York in spring! It's still white and very cold in Holland! My husband and the girls have been ice skating today :-)

    Happy new week!

    Madelief x

  8. It is completely the opposite here! We have had lots of snow and it is freezing cold!

    Pomona x

  9. We all keep saying it I think - the mild weather can't last - but even though half the UK is under snow the my half isn't and it looks like it will now be mild all week. I'm beginning to think this is going to be something of a non-winter. Which is a pity ... I LOVE snow!

    Thank you for sharing your walk :D

  10. It looks very much like Spring in NY... and as you will know by now it is very much like winter in the UK

  11. Ah, the uninhibited daffodils. Must be the Welsh garden.

    Even the pigeons are cooing up in River City. Good grief! This is early February, not early April. Waaaay too early for spring.

    I have a very uncomfortable feeling about all this.

    But thanks for the lovely pictures and wonderful narrative.

  12. Our weather is the opposite to yours though my daffodils are coming up and a couple have flowered already. Thanks for your spring like pics. Enjoy those days off.

  13. C'est joli ce début de printemps à New York ! Idéal pour de belles balades.

  14. Can't wait for daffodils and other signs of spring. Our winter has been a huge non-event. Mild, muddy and wet - with the exception of the last few days of frost.

  15. I think all the snow went to Europe!
    Yes, I saw one daffodil here in Chelsea.
    Most odd.
    Hope to see you very soon!

  16. I love your posts, Frances: they remind me of the weather, spring-like, blooming and carefully crafted. We have daffodils here - though ours are not out yet, they are always very slow, but lots of buds and the weather has turned mild again. Always, in my experience, we enter a 'false spring' around the end of the first week in February. The sun shines and the weather is warm - then we are back to stinking weather in March. Enjoy your reduced working week.

  17. Not football fans- we spent the same day as you- but wandering around Santa Fe, where the sun was shining- though it was cold and the sky was filled with fluttery snowflakes-!

  18. Your views of Central Park always bowl me over, no matter the season. Extraordinary to have that huge natural space in the middle of Manhattan, with all its interesting little pockets like the Shakespeare garden.

    American neighbours of ours here have had a huge NY Giants banner hanging from a window for some weeks! (I think they won, didn't they, so I imagine they must be very happy!)

  19. It seems you live near a veritable Forset of Arden, who would have thought it in New York

  20. it's lovely to be able to have more time, i like how you put it. central park is a real treasure, i found a good app that has all the birds in the park, there's even one for all the different types of trees.

  21. Beautiful, Frances! I so wished we already were there but hélas! We are having record minus temperatures and everything is frozen. And there is a Shakespeare garden in NY! I just come back from Stratford-upon-Avon :-).

  22. Thank you for this wonderful foray into "almost spring"!
    So good to hear that you are enjoying having more time for yourself.

    Cheers from icy, snowy Vienna,

  23. I enjoyed the virtual stroll around Central Park. We are having a horrid cold spell so spring is on hold for the moment.

    I believe that The Woman in Black has been released in the USA? It has received great critical acclaim, the book is about as scary as a book can get, the theatre version even more so. I am not sure I would have the courage to watch it on a big scene despite knowing the plot inside out. Maybe you are made of sterner stuff?

  24. Your daffodils and hellebores are much further in their life cycle than mine. I thought NY was supposed to be cold in winter?

    Could you tell me/us about some of those Shakespeare inscriptions? A city where the gardeners quote the Bard has to be very special.

  25. How lovely Central Park is -- what a treasure for the city.

  26. Hi Frances you sound so happy and relaxed, and your soup sounds lovely. Last night was the coldest night of the year in England, it's been bitter, we had a log on the fire last night which was so lovely, not only warming but the glow and light the room takes on is magical, I lit a candle too and curled up with tea Nd chocolate, it would h ave been perfect for knitting or patchwork but I was too upset. I hope you have a lovely week end xxxxxxx

  27. Oh do share yr recipe for a hearty split pea soup.
    The weather is changing..
    Sounds perfect!

  28. Lovely to see the signs of spring there in Cental Park, especially the beautiful hellebores. It has been very wintry again over here in the UK. Lovely too, to hear you are enjoying more creative time, Frances.
    Have a happy week ahead.
    Helen x

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  30. Hi, Frances. Love the photos of the hellebores... They're not very easy to find in Portugal, I guess it's not cold enough!
    But right now I'm delighted with a diversity daffodils, large yellow ones and the ones with small clustered flowers in orange and white...