Thursday, March 31, 2016

Spring has Sprung around Sperryville

Saturday morning meant another cycling session with the group. I almost pulled out as it was very cold and windy when I loaded the bike on to the back of the car, but I quickly berated my cowardly self and started driving. There were only 6 of us today and then after 8 miles or so, we dropped to 4. I was working really hard and felt pretty chuffed as I started using gears that I'd never engaged before and made myself pedal on the downhills instead of just freewheeling and relaxing as I'd done previously. We covered just over 21 miles and Alex announced we'd soon be ready for the 'big boy' route with a dreaded  hill which was then discussed for the next 5 minutes and was obviously held in revere. I may have to check it out on the sly before they jump me through that hoop!
On the way home, I stopped at a local park to see if there were any cherry blossoms in bloom.
 Looking up I saw Elsa from the Disney movie, Frozen, grinning down at me. It was an excellent day for flying kites yet some poor kid's pleasure had been cut short. It wasn't that high up though so I was curious as to why nobody had got it down for her. Maybe they were on their way back with some steps....
Back home I started on spring cleaning. Throwing open all the doors and windows so the gusts of wind could blow through the house.
 Kota was most put out that his nap had been disturbed and so my punishment was that he refused, very adamantly, to look at the camera when I wanted to take his photo. He twisted his head every which way, then finally jumped down and sauntered out the door flicking his tail furiously. Rosie Lee watched her big brother's dramatic exit and then chose to adopt his attitude, trotting out of the door after him before I could focus my lens on her.
On Sunday I drove to the Sperryville entrance of Skyline Drive but was bitterly disappointed when I got to the park and realized in my attempt to travel light, I'd left my pass at home in my handbag. The rangers have computers at the gate but can't check membership so I had to accept the fact that I would not be getting in today. Boo! I drove back down the mountain and stopped at Little Washington to see how spring had made it's entrance there.
I saw this view from the street and was very carefully balancing on my toes while trying to lean forward without encroaching on what I was sure was private property, when a young waitress approached laughing at my dilemma and informed me that I could walk through as it was the garden of the Little Washington Inn. This has a very expensive and well reviewed restaurant, and as I wandered through the courtyard I wistfully wondered if their food was prepared with as much care as their garden. I'm sure it was.
As I spotted this rock in the flower beds wonderful nose-twitching aromas were wafting out towards me and I looked longingly at the kitchen window where brightly polished copper pans hung. I could see I was being watched by a chef sporting a tall white hat so I didn't take a photo of the window. I'm sure he spotted me licking my lips though. I'll never have the privilege of eating here as the prices are so high, but I've heard the food and experience is exquisite. An idea of pricing is here.
It brought to mind the Blues Bothers' famous restaurant scene.
I carried on my stroll around the village but the cold was soon biting through my thin sweater so I made my way back to the car.
Driving through Sperryville, I stopped at the Creekside Cafe and Deli. I'd been meaning to try this place and was sure I could afford their prices! I walked into the small building and was promptly greeted with smiles. I ordered a breakfast egg, cheese and sausage (made locally) biscuit and a freshly made lemon slice. They had just brewed Sumatran coffee, earthy, heavy and rich without a hint of bitterness. My lunch came to less than $10 and was absolutely delicious. If I had room I would have wanted to eat the whole meal over again. The sandwich was full of fresh flavor, the biscuit buttery and warm. The lemon slice was divine, not too sweet with perfect pastry. I shall definitely be returning. I had to stop and finish my meal as I was dropping bits everywhere and spotting some vultures in a tree I stopped to watch. This was the 4th venue of vultures I had noticed this morning, and wondered if it was the time of year for migrating vultures to return.They were all watching me quite intently so I finished my meal with my window wound up. I'm sure they were eying the pastry!
I later followed some back roads that wound and bent along tricking streams. There seemed to be little brooks bubbling at every turn. Old long forgotten houses were on the verge of toppling from hilltops, clumps of daffodils brightened dreary leafy woodland floors and forsythia splashed bright yellow along dull brown branches. A fresh breeze was blowing through the car announcing spring with every waft that ruffled my hair. And there were little farm animals frisking through fields, lambs and calves chasing each other or sleeping under their protective mother's eyes.
The lambs didn't want to come close but I came across a calf who was very used to human contact and was obviously a family pet. He had no teeth so licked and sucked my fingers and arm while enjoying a lot of stroking and scratching from me. When I left after about 10 minutes I was filthy, but it was worth it. Who can ignore a baby animal wanting affection?
 This old school bus rotting quietly in a field made me slow down and stop for further investigation. There was other rusting machinery lying nearby and as I looked beyond it I spotted a beautiful old wooden house on the brink of collapse. I toyed with the idea of clambering over the gate and hiking up there to see it closer but the multiple 'no trespassing' signs made me nervous. Just as well I held back, because as I leaned close to the fence to frame a shot of the bus, a pickup truck drove by very slowly, its occupants glowering at me as they passed. I was glad I'd listened to my inner voice to not leap the gate, and also that I'd left Stuart's engine running. I finished up and decided it was time to head home, my 'drive about' completed with a photo of this very handsome longhorn youngster, who was happy to pose for a portrait.

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