Goodbye Texas

It’s time to say goodbye to Texas! And, yes, there will be (& has been) tears. 😥 sads

 

Almost 2 years ago now, my husband was made an offer to work in the USA for 12 months. What an opportunity – we could live in Texas, experience a new culture, do something different for a while and maybe have the odd adventure or two! We have now lived in Texas for 19 months and it has prematurely and abruptly come to an end.

Although this is a very sad turn of events – I think I recognised myself passing through most of the acknowledged stages of grief with anger and depression featuring strongly – I have now moved into acceptance and am trying to move past my sadness and bitterness and appreciate all the wonderful experiences I have had whilst here in the US; things I would not have done otherwise.

It wasn’t easy at the start, but I managed to make a life here and I have meet some amazing people; some will be friends for life!

Living in the North Texas town of Sherman, we have tried to experience as much of Texas (and Texoma) as we could, and also explore further afield when we could. There have been so many wonderful experiences. I was going to list our experiences here – but I now realise that we have done so much, it’s way too much to mention it all.

We have had opportunity to visit quite a few of the local sights and have enjoyed the uniquely Texan experiences of shooting rifles and pistols both at a gun range and on a ranch.

Cate_shooting

Other places we have visited in Texas are Fort Worth (where we saw the longhorn drive),

Cattle drive at Fort Worth Stock Yards

Cattle drive at Fort Worth Stock Yards

Texarkana, San Antonio – the Alamo and it’s wonderful riverwalk,

Riverwalk-view_from-bridgeWichita Falls, and the Texas hill country town of Fredericksburg. I also managed to get to visit Houston.

With Dallas being so close we managed to see most of the major touristy sites. We visited Dealey Plaza and the Book Repository, took a look at Old Red museum, checked out the DMA, enjoyed a visit to the Dallas Aquarium, took in the view from the top of Reunion Tower and enjoyed several visits to the Arboretum (one of my favourite places).

 

arboretum

There is so much to do in Dallas – make sure you visit some time!

We also enjoyed the very unique experience of visiting the Texas State Fair.

BigTex

In addition we also caught a couple of Baseball games at Arlington.

Cate_baseball

Besides Texas though, I have had the privilege of visiting another 13 states! Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Washington, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Iowa and New York.

Some highlights:

View from the Space Needle, Seattle, Washington

View from the Space Needle, Seattle, Washington

The Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Grand Canyon, Arizona

Monument Valley, Utah

Monument Valley, Utah

Statue of Liberty, NY

Statue of Liberty, NY

Beale Street, Memphis, Tennesee

Beale Street, Memphis, Tennesee

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge – New Mexico

I had no desire to visit the USA before coming here ,but I have a new appreciation of America and it’s people. Texas in particular will always have a place in my heart.  💕💕

I hope I can come back one day!

 

A Visit to Houston – part 2

Well, I had less than 48 hours in Houston (we had to high-tail it out of Houston early to beat the storm approaching as a result of hurricane Patricia), so not really enough time to explore the city; but what I did see was interesting. There are lots of tall glass buildings offering some wonderful reflections. I thought the following photo was very cool:

Building Reflections!

Downtown Houston has a wonderful system of underground pedestrian tunnels; not only does it keep you out of the way of the traffic, but keeps you out of the heat and humidity. And, boy, is Houston humid! I wouldn’t like to be here in the height of summer.

A map of Houston's underground pedestrian tunnels

A map of Houston’s underground pedestrian tunnels

However, back to the main reason for my visit; Quilt Market. This event is huge! It occupies the entire conference center in Houston. Quilt Market lasts for 3 days and is essentially a trade event where retailers within the quilting industry source products from wholesalers; but there are also training and education sessions. My friend Becky Goldsmith from Piece O’Cake was there to present at one of these “Schoolhouse” sessions (I played the role of assistant/model for the presentation) and to do a book signing:

QM_Becky_signing QM_Becky

This is a photo of Becky and I at the C&T Publishers booth:

QM_B&C

Below is one of Becky’s designs which a talented quilter (sorry I can’t recall who, so I can’t credit the owner) had entered into the Special Exhibit quilts display:

This quilt is one of Becky's designs - Piece O'Cake on display at the INternational Quilt Market and Festival

This quilt is one of Becky’s Piece O’Cake designs on display at the International Quilt Market and Festival

QM_quiltstalls Quilt Market occupied the entire ground floor of the George R Brown Convention Center. There were 29 aisles with more than 530 exhibitors. It was the largest event of it’s type that I have ever been to. In fact the International Quilt Market & International Quilt Festival (which runs for 5 days after the Quilt Market) are Houston’s biggest event! Thousands of keen quilters descend into Houston for a taste of quilter’s heaven!

QM_aisles

I saw some amazing quilts, crafts, fabrics, notions and embellishments, and embroidery, quilting and sewing machines – there are some truly talented and creative people out there.

I partake in, and enjoy many craft forms, but I have never tried quilting before; I think I may just have been converted after attending this convention and feel I may need to give it a try! Whatever I attempt, you know it will have a celtic theme though!

Anna's Amazing Applique quilts on display at Quilt Market

Anna’s Awesome Applique quilts on display at Quilt Market

There was so much to see – I just can’t share it all – but jump onto Instagram and search #QuiltMarket or Google images from Quilt Market 2015 and you will find plenty to admire and inspire – it’s a feast for anyone who loves fabrics, crafting and especially quilts! I particularly liked this clever design from a very talented (& modest) young designer – Maureen Cracknell from Art Gallery Fabrics:

QM_deerpillow

Attending Quilt Market 2015 was quite an experience (I thank Becky for the opportunity to attend) I had no idea quilting was so HUGE. I also met some amazing, friendly people and some outstanding leaders and big names within the industry. It was quite a privilege really and it has opened my eyes to the fabulous world of quilting! I wish I could have stayed for a look at the quilt festival; but it’s probably just as well I didn’t as I would have been tempted to spend way too much money. Truly a quilter’s nirvana!QM_QuiltwLove

 

A Visit to Houston

So, I am spending a couple of days in Houston with a friend.

Yesterday, after a 5 hour drive from Sherman, we took in some culture and visited the Museum of Fine Arts Houston

I was particularly taken by the Roman Vishniac photographic exhibition and his photographs of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. Many poignant and candid photos giving the viewer a real glimpse into a life that many of us can only image, particularly those taken in post war Berlin. I could have spent so much longer pouring over these images; it was fabulous.

I also got to enjoy some more classic paintings from the masters – Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet & Matisse.

  

I have seen some wonderful art whilst in Texas – we miss out on so much in Australia, where we have to wait for a special traveling exhibit.

Also at the museum is the Shadow Monsters interactive display – we made scary shadows and had fun! Great for young and old! 

  
There was also a fabulous interactive LEGO building exhibit where you could indulge your inner architect or city planner. Everyone is encouraged to add to the LEGO city creation.

  
The MFAH is a very interesting museum and is spread over 2 buildings. Between the two, is an interconnecting walkway which is a piece of art in itself – a light tunnel, where the color changes every 6 minutes.

  

If you get to go, Thursday’s are a great day to visit as entry is free!

Anyway, the reason I am in Houston is that I am accompanying a friend on a business trip – so I took the opportunity to see a little more of Texas and poke around a little in Houston. My friend is a well respected quilter and author (Becky Goldsmith) and is attending the Quilt Market in Houston. Now, this ‘convention’ is a BIG deal – I didn’t realize just how big. More later!

Pumpkins at the Arboretum – Autumn is here!

One thing I really love about America is how the arrival of each season is celebrated wholeheartedly.

Autumn has now arrived in the northern hemisphere, so there are plenty of decorations around celebrating Fall and Harvest; with many scarecrows, hay bales and pumpkins! All the stores and so many porches and balconies around town are displaying their Fall decorations. It is wonderful!

harvest-decorfall-home-decor-2

Fall_signToday I went to visit the Dallas Arboretum with a friend to take a look at their Fall Festival, which features a huge pumpkin patch – with more than 75,000 pumpkins, squash and gourds. It was amazing! I had such a wonderful time; I just had to share – Here are a few photos:

Fall_Texas_pumpkins

Fall_UglyPumpkinPatch

Fall_PumpkinBed

Fall_PumpkinPath

I have been to the Arboretum twice before (one of which was for the Springtime bloom event) and it has been great every time. A visit to the gardens is truly delightful and there is something to see at any time of the year. If you are ever in Dallas – go; you won’t regret it. It also has a fabulous Children’s Adventure Garden for the kiddies (and adults).

 

Experiencing some classic culture

This past Tuesday, I experienced a wonderful day of culture!

I was invited by a friend to tag along on a day out with a friend (and a friend of hers) who were going to take in some of exhibitions at a couple of museums in Fort Worth. I saw things that I would not have experienced in Australia, and have to admit, I had a lovely day!

We drove down to Fort Worth, which is almost a 2 hour drive from where I live in Sherman (so, about the equivalent of driving from Newcastle to Sydney). We took in the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and then the Kimbell Art Museum, where we also enjoyed a delicious, light lunch.

I have experienced quite a few museums and art galleries during my travels, but I must admit, the art I took in on Tuesday was noteworthy; I saw quite a few paintings from artists that I have only seen once before (at a special exhibit in Canberra), or not at all.

The Amon Carter Museum of American Art is not an overly large museum and we were there primarily to see the special exhibits – Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art and Audubon’s Beasts. The Amon Carter museum opened in January 1961 and was established by Amon G. Carter Sr. (1879–1955) to house his collection of paintings and sculptures by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. The museum contains only American art and artists (to the best of my knowledge) and “aims to collect, preserve, and exhibit the finest examples of American art; and to serve an educational role through exhibitions, publications, and programs devoted to the study of American art”.

The exhibit of Audubon’s beasts was a collection of maybe 20-24 (I can’t quite remember how many there were) of hand-painted prints of some of North America’s four-legged creatures; these were extremely detailed and wonderful to see. John James Audubon (1785–1851) was a famed scientist and painter, best known for his work depicting the birdlife in America in The Birds of America, a book of 435 images – portraits of every bird then known in the United States.

The Indigenous Beauty exhibit was fabulous too – there were plenty of native American Indian art and craft works, with some excellent examples of textiles, pottery, basket weaving and beadwork. It was very impressive and I am glad to have seen it – if you get the chance – go see it!

Again, the Kimbell Art Museum is not large, but it does have some quality works, all housed in a fabulous, modern, noteworthy building. The museum is especially noted for the wash of silvery natural light that enters the building through its vaulted gallery ceilings.

The reason we went to the Kimbell was to see the special exhibit: Botticelli to Braque – Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland. There was some very fine art in that display by famed artists such as Titian, Pissarro, Degas, Botticelli as well as Monet, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, Cezanne and Rembrandt. However, before we got to this exhibit, I was very excited to have witnessed works by some of the great masters that exist as part of the Kimbell’s permanent collection where I saw works by Picasso, Matisse, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet and Cezanne . Like I mentioned, I saw paintings that you just don’t get to see the likes of in Australia, unless they are part of a special, travelling exhibit. These paintings were part of the museums regular, permanent collection – available to view in downtown Fort Worth, Texas!

If ever you find yourself in Fort Worth, Texas, I can recommend a visit to these two museums!

If you made it this far – sorry for the long post and the absence of pictures, but I did think it was worth writing about! 🙂

Shopping! A tale of 2 very different shopping malls…

There are some great sales happening here at the moment! If you are a bargain hunter – now is the time to be shopping in the US. Read to the end to see my bargain buy!

This past week I went shopping to 2 very different shopping malls and I thought it was worth a blog post. On Thursday I took a drive down to Frisco (almost an hour away) to Stonebriar shopping mall. On Friday I went to a local mall 10 minutes away – the contrast between the two couldn’t be more different.

Stonebriar Center is classified as a mid-range shopping mall (I would equate it to a Westfield shopping centre in Australia) and hosts 6 major anchor stores (including Macy’s), a 24-screen movie theatre, a couple of restaurants (including the Cheesecake factory) as well as the other food court regulars and smaller retailers; in all 165 tenants. It’s a great shopping venue! I went to Stonebriar because I was after something particular that I knew the local stores wouldn’t have and only a larger retailer might carry.

The Carousel at Stonebriar

The Carousel at Stonebriar

I like Stonebriar; it’s light and fresh, has lots of stores that I could spend days looking through and it even has a merry-go-round to entertain the kids (as opposed to the ice-skating rink that Dallas Galleria has). It is probably just as well that it takes nearly an hour to get there or I would go more often and spend too much money!

 

On the other side of the coin is the local Midway Mall (so named because it is midway between Sherman and Denison). Midway Mall is a very sad place to shop – there are not many retailers and the décor has been left to deteriorate. I am sure it once was a great mall, and I really don’t understand its decline. Midway Mall is undercover and on one level, with plenty of parking and even has a movie theatre. There are more than 90 leasable holdings for retailers, yet I would guess less than 1/4 are occupied. There are never many people at Midway Mall and I would assume most people go there for one of the 3 main anchor stores; that was my reason for visiting – Dillards (for Aussie readers – think DJ’s).

An empty Midway Mall

An empty Midway Mall

Very few retailers at Midway Mall

Very few retailers at Midway Mall

This could be a great mall again; I would prefer shopping here – undercover in air-conditioned comfort with all the retailers in one spot, where I could easily browse the shops, stop for a snack, lunch or a coffee, etc. rather than going to the strip mall – Sherman Town Center (which led to the decline of Midway Mall) where the shops are spread over an enormous area (it measures ~1.3km in length), are all out-doors and I have to drive from one end to the other. It’s not any easy place to shop and I am less likely to hang around to browse or stop and have a coffee or bite to eat.

Anyway variety is the spice of life (even when it comes to shopping), so I appreciate what I have as well as what I can look forward to. I do hope that Midway Mall makes a recovery though!

P.S. Among my bargain purchases this week was a lovely Fossil leather wallet for $25! (It cost a bit more because it had a fancy pattern – the plain one was only $16!) 🙂

My new wallet!

My new wallet!

For the Birds……

I love learning new things. And this weekend I leant some interesting facts about the local birdlife in Texas. This, in turn led me to think about the birdlife of my home country, and how considerably different it is from where I am living at present. So, I thought I would share with y’all what I learned.

We were at another pool party/ film night this past Saturday and while there we got onto discussing birds (the flying, feathered variety)*. While relaxing in the pool before the movie, we noticed a flock of chimney swifts overhead. Chimney swifts are swallow-like, with very long, narrow, curved wings. Australia doesn’t have any chimney swifts – they are only found in the Americas and nor do we have many of the other common birds we see around here. * NB. Women (particularly young and attractive ones) are often colloquially referred to as ‘birds’ in Australia.

Barn Swallow (and nest built on a fire sprinkler head next door to us).

Barn Swallow (and nest built on a fire sprinkler head next door to us).

For example,  we regularly see the barn swallow (they are very common where we live with many nesting around the apartment building we live in). The barn swallow is apparently rarely seen in Australia, but we do have the Welcome Swallow, which is very similar.

However, what really prompted me to write this post was the mockingbird (I wish I had a photo, but, alas, I do not – here is a link to a nice picture though).

When we sit out on our balcony, we often hear a bird that can produce many a different variety of calls and songs – it has quite a repertoire; we asked a friend about it (who happens to be a Professor of Biology and the Dean of Sciences at Austin College) and he told us it was a mockingbird – this seems so obvious now!If you would like to hear a Mockingbird – check out these 2 YouTube links: Mockingbird sounds or Mockingbird Song Serenade. Mockingbirds aren’t in Australia (or at least not as far as I know). They are very clever birds and just happen to be the state bird of Texas! Mockingbirds are fairly non-descript and are dull grey in colour with white patches on their wings and tail which are visible when they fly.

Actually most of the bird life here seems to lack any remarkable colour; so different to the birdlife of Australia (although,, we do have our share of dull looking birds). There are a lot of birds with some wonderful colour in Australia, particularly our parrots. For example:

Crimson Rosella

Crimson Rosella

A Galah

A Galah

Finally, I must make a confession: While I can really appreciate the beauty and majesty of most birds, they are not my favourite type of animal. I generally am a bit “flightly” around them myself – they make me nervous. Now this is largely due to an encounter with many lorikeets at a bird sanctuary (being thrust amongst them during a feeding frenzy – at least that’s how I see it) when I was a small child, which I apparently found terrifying – the scars are now reasonably well hidden, but they are still there and birds still have the power to scare me! Crazy, I know! 🙂 

You say…, I say… – A look at the American Vernacular

Americans do not speak English. Well, not proper English anyway – it’s a bastardised version (i.e. it is a unique, distorted version of British English). I once was told a story about an American woman who was at an overseas ATM wanting to withdraw some money. When the teller prompted for the language to use, she complained that there was no button for American – someone nearby told her to use the English option – this hadn’t occurred to her (I am not sure if she was blonde, or if this happens regularly)!

Anyway, as I have mentioned before, although we speak the same language, we have encountered all sorts of issues with being understood in America. Sometimes the word is the same, but pronounced differently, sometimes the word is completely different to what we would use and sometimes it’s just the spelling that is different.

Now, we can thank one Noah Webster (founder of the American dictionary) for all the variations in spelling between British English and American English. In 1801 he started work on his American dictionary because Americans were using words that just weren’t in English dictionaries – for example – ‘skunk’, ‘squash’, ‘chowder’. Webster also believed that English spelling rules were too complex and sought to simplify them; thus changing the spelling of ‘colour’ to ‘color’, ‘metre’ to ‘meter’ and ‘plough’ to ‘plow’. There are plenty of other examples, like ‘masque’ to ‘mask’, ‘gaol’ to ‘jail’ and ‘tyre’ to ‘tire’. However, he thankfully didn’t succeed in the following: ‘cloak’ to ‘cloke’, ‘women’ to ‘wimmen’, ‘tongue’ to ‘tung’ and ‘ache’ to ‘ake’.

Changing the spelling is mostly ok, since it generally hasn’t changed how the word is pronounced. However, when the word is spelt the same, but pronounced differently, that sometimes causes a bit of a smile or a “what the…” reaction. Now it is also true that there is differences between the states with what things are called as well as how words are pronounced (particularly between Northern & Southern states – and New Yorkers seem to have a dialect all their own); I have just listed a few words that we have found differences with here:

English word: How Texans pronounce it: How Aussie pronounce it:
Pecan Pe-kahn Pea-can
Bowie Boo-ey Bow-ie
Caramel Car-ml Car-a-mel
Herb ‘erb Herb
Vehicle Ver-here-cal Veer-cal
Coupon Qu-pon Coop-on
Second Sec-nt Sec-ond
Golf Goff Golf

Words that start with an “h” seem to render the “h” silent as in herb = ‘erb, hotel = ‘otel, etc, but if it’s in the middle of a word, for example, as in “vehicle”, then the “h” is almost stressed.

Then there are the instances when the word for an object is different and when we ask for something using the word we know – we can get a completely blank stare or the “huh?” response. So, here are a few notable differences we have found:

What Aussies would say: What Americans would say:
Petrol Gas
Service station (or Servo) Gas station
Serviette Napkin
Cutlery Flatware or silverware
Garbage Trash
Toilet Bathroom or restroom
Tap Faucet
Runners (or joggers) Tennis shoes
Footpath Sidewalk
Take-away Carry-out
Bench-top Counter-top
Entrée Appetiser
Main Entrée
Thongs Flip-flops
Biscuit* Cookie
Arnotts biscuits - delicious!

Arnotts biscuits – delicious!

*A note on the humble biscuit. Now, in Australia (& Britain & New Zealand too), a biscuit is a sweet, delicious thing (similar, but not the same as an American cookie) and is often dunked into your tea or coffee. My favourites are probably all made by Arnotts; check out their website to understand more about this iconic Aussie company and their products.

Biscuits in America are a bread-like item and more like a scone than anything else and are often served with a main meal and with gravy.

But some of the most interesting sayings – I have at times almost needed to ask what they were talking about, or indeed have felt the need to correct their grammar. The word “drug” is used instead of “dragged” and a bedroom suite (Aussies would pronounce that as ‘sweet’ and refers to a bedroom setting made up of bed, bedside tables, dressing table and drawers) is referred to as a bedroom suit – when I first heard this one I thought it might be something akin to your birthday suit, but worn in the bedroom!

Not all are bad though, and some of my favourite (not favorite) Texan sayings include: “Y’all” and “Do what now?” – meaning could you please repeat what you just said.

The development of language and dialect is interesting and I am not saying Aussies are perfect either – we have a terrible habit of abbreviating just about everything wherever possible – see the “servo” example above (and maybe that’s something to look at in a future blog).

Please share your views and thoughts in the comment section below: 🙂

A Rare Event for Lake Texoma

I just had to do a quick post about events at Denison Dam/Lake Texoma today.

Lake Texoma (a great recreational lake which also produces hydroelectric power) sits on the border of Texas and Oklahoma and is formed by Denison Dam on the Red River. Today, a rare event occurred…

Before I left to go to Australia back in April, Lake Texoma was at a reasonably low level – a below average 613ft (we have had drought conditions in Texoma for a while). Whilst I was away there has been quite a lot of rain, so much so that the dam breached its spillway today for just the 4th time since it was completed in 1944.

The Floodgates at Denison Dam

The Floodgates at Denison Dam – May 23, 2015

Yesterday we went to have a look at the floodgates of Denison Dam (Lake Texoma), the water was raging, but the dam hadn’t spilled over yet.

The Dry Spillway at Denison Dam - May23, 2015

The Dry Spillway at Denison Dam – May 23, 2015

Today we went back to take a look at the water flowing over the spillway. The water level reached approximately 640ft at 4am this morning and made it’s way over the dam wall.

The Spillway in full flow at Denison Dam - May 24, 2015

The Spillway in full flow at Denison Dam – May 24, 2015

A great sight to see – so much so, there were hundreds of people there to observe this rare event, clogging the roads and car parks around the dam (it took us about 3/4hr to get over the dam wall, have a look and then get back again – ordinarily, this might take 10 minutes).

Also good to see was the Red River, which is now a full-flowing river from bank to bank, rather than the meandering patchy streams it resembled not too long ago.

The local TV news has been reporting on it for the past week. This is what they reported.

24hrs in Dallas

Just a quick post about our trip to Dallas last weekend. We visited a park, an Art Museum, an underground restaurant, the Farmers Market and the Arboretum.

So, although not the best weekend – overcast and rainy – we headed to Dallas for a quick break.

Klyde Warren Park

Klyde Warren Park

After checking in at The Fairmont in the Dallas Arts District we headed off to check out Klyde Warren Park (had heard a bit about it and it is ranked No. 6 in TripAdvisor’s list of things to see/do in Dallas). It is a 5-acre green space built over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway in the middle of the ‘concrete jungle’ of Downtown Dallas. I didn’t think this was anything too flash (there wasn’t too much going on when we were there), but I am sure it would be great in summer or on any lovely sunny day. A nice spot to relax, for the kids to play, listen to music, dine or even exercise the dog.

Following on from the park, just across the road, we took a look at some of the exhibits at the Dallas Museum of Art. Not just art, but ancient pottery and gold, sculptures, etc. It is an interesting place (we enjoyed it) and a really good way to spend an hour or two (particularly on a wet, bleak afternoon), and it’s free!

Dakotas

Dakotas Steakhouse – looking outside

Saturday night, we went to Dakota’s Steakhouse, a great underground restaurant just about 100 metres from our hotel – a wonderful find! Take the elevator from street level down to the delightful, somewhat upmarket restaurant that is completely underground. The history of why this is so is very interesting – it has to do with the church – read about it here. Part of the restaurant is open to the elements with a lovely garden, and waterfall fountain, which is lit up at night. This would be fabulous in summer when the doors are open and the roof is retracted. The complimentary bread served with balsamic olive oil was delicious and the pre-dinner cocktails were yummo! Dinner was divine (we both had the fillet steak) – I have not had a bad steak yet in Texas, and this was one of the best; the sides were equally great. Don’t miss this place if ever you are in Dallas – it’s a bit pricey, but really good!

The Dallas Farmers Markets were something we had heard a bit about and were told that they were great – so we took ourselves off to see them Sunday morning, walking across the city, figuring parking might be difficult. Since Dallas is a large city with a population of more than 1 million, I was anticipating something like the produce section of the Queen Victoria market in Melbourne (if you have been there, you will know they are fantastic). Unfortunately, I was disappointed – there was only one shed, consisting mainly of fruit and vegetable vendors and granted, they were very good, but even Newcastle Farmers Markets could out-do what Dallas offered.

Our final stop was at the Dallas Arboretum where we spent the afternoon before driving home. The sun came out and it was a spectacular afternoon. With Spring having sprung, the Dallas blooms were stunning. The tulips, daffodils and hyacinths provided a feast for the senses – the scent was heavenly and the colours provided a visual feast. This was our second trip to the Dallas Arboretum and it is definitely worth the trip and it is beautiful at any time of the year.

Hyacinths at The Arboretum

Hyacinths at The Arboretum

Texas Longhorn!

Texas Longhorn at Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens