Friday, 18 May 2018

And the horse you rode in on

We've been living in Texas for nearly a year and I still haven't been on a horse!  Given I'm often mistaken for a cowboy as I walk around town in my Stetson and leather chaps, this problem needed to be addressed.

Luckily, at Pete's school's annual fundraising picnic, a local horse ranch had donated a gift certificate.  I put in a bid, then proceeded to intimidate any other parents who sniffed around it.  And what do you know?  I won.  Today we headed north to Cypress Trails Ranch, ready to ride out into the wilds on barely-tamed horses.

The wilds of Texas turned out to be picturesque woodland around a large creek, and the barely-tamed horses were...heavily tamed.  I rode Crow, Hannah was on Aria, and we followed Tammy (human) and Joe (horse) at a gentle walk along the sandy trails.  These animals knew what they were doing; any time I tried to urge Crow to maybe turn, or speed up, he responded with an annoyed snort and just kept following the leader.

It was all very relaxing, even when Tammy asked me what breeds of horses we have in the UK and the only answer I could think of was Shetland ponies.  The morning wasn't too hot - it got up to 109F later - and the gentle rocking of the saddle was most relaxing, even if it didn't quite live up to my rodeo dreams. Still, every cowboy has to start somewhere.

The ranch.  You can volunteer here and earn "horse dollars".  I'm thinking about it.

Hannah's horse Aria eyes us up.  "Uh oh, tourists."

 Out on the trail.

And...back home.  It wasn't the most event-filled ride, let's be honest.

Howdie, y'all.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Gone again!

Argh!  My parents and sister have left!  Now I have to clean and tidy, and take responsibility for my own life, or something.  Pete is bereft, of course, and told me I can't say the words Grandma, Grandpa, or Aunty Emily because they make him too sad.  I clearly need to do better coaching him in the British stiff upper lip.



Sunday, 6 May 2018

Ocean emotion

We like Galveston in this family.  It's just the right sort of touristy, slightly-run-down but ever alluring seaside destination.  It's hard to come up with a UK equivalent...maybe the Isle of Wight, but with oil rigs on the horizon, and a casino boat.

Unfortunately, that casino boat wouldn't sail due to "high seas".  An island race like ours laughs at such things, but nevertheless Dad and I couldn't repeat our previous trick of cleaning them out at roulette ($6 profit on a $50 stake!)  Instead the beach and the pool called, so we spent three relaxing days doing just that.

How could I let this momentous event of all the Davieses being in one place pass without notice?  I couldn't, and so booked that most American of things: a family photo shoot.  "Can British families be affectionate?" asked Treva the photographer as she tried to make us stand closer together.  "We could shake hands, I suppose," I told her.  I await the results...

The Gulf coast.  Not highly thought of, which is fine by me as it keeps the hotel prices cheap.

Mum dips her toes.

Pete goes a little deeper.

A local runs.


Which country are you from again?

Less crowded than British beaches on the record breaking Bank Holiday.

What beaches are really for: kite flying.

The man who taught me, on a beach in Woolacombe.

Major construction.

Getting ready for the hot tub.

Aimlessly floating: a metaphor for Emily's life.

Whale riders.

Family bath.

A(nother) little treat.

A short round of crazy golf, because that's certainly a holiday tradition.

Augusta here we come!

Excited to consume one of the UK imports.  Yes, Marmite chocolate!  Sadly not filled with Marmite though.

And after all that relaxing...time for a rest.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

What to do in Houston

You need to find plenty of entertainment when you're hosting your entire family for three weeks, and thankfully Houston has plenty of entertaining things to do.  The days have settled into a comfortable pattern of morning trips out and afternoon naps (the nap length dependent on whether lunch was taken at a brewery or not).

Pete, as ever, is over the moon that he has a wider audience for his shenanigans, although discipline has been slipping: Grandma allows far more books at bedtime than Mummy or Daddy, so has become the tucker-in of choice.  Many miles have been added to my car as we zip from coffee shop to coffee shop, and Dad has developed a dangerous interest in both basketball and Bud Light.  Hmmm.

Cake time for the 85-yr-old.

Green with envy.

Purple with...mood lighting at the planetarium.

"The Cabinet of Curiosities" at the museum of natural science.  That's about right.

All heart.

My parents have belatedly developed a taste for classy coffee.  Here's one of the twenty cafes we've frequented during their stay.

As Texan as you can get.

A little nitrogen ice cream.  In Britain we make ice cream by leaving cows outside.

Inside the space shuttle at NASA.  How much to launch these three into orbit.

Still waiting for it to turn into a butterfly.

Shave ice, the food equivalent of air conditioning.

Dad picks from the margarita menu at our local Mexican.

Gosh, there are a lot of pics of people eating.

And some more.

A short cruise around Port Houston, the biggest by foreign imports in North America!

More Texan.

In sync.  There's always a first time.

Liquid lunch.

Emily, before she gets really aggressive, like she always does when she's been drinking.

I blame the parents.

In front of a nurse-themed Damien Hurst at the Museum of Fine Art.

Atlas shrugged.

We did put them to work planting a lime tree in the front yard (home-grown gin and tonics next year!)  Pete "helped".

Related?  Possibly.