Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Summer came to northwest Washington this year much as one might expect- with a cold, gray day. But today we were treated to one of those glorious summer days when you wake up thrilled by the sunshine, light dances off the waters of the bay, and you finally start to understand why it is that people live here. Today, June 24, was actually the first day this year that I was able to wear a short-sleeved shirt without a jacket. The weather report suggested that it might even reach 90 at the end of this week, which would THRILL me. So, in honor of the glorious day we're having, I'll be focusing on some stuff that reminds me of summer.

Today's Book:

Frommer's London from $85 a Day by Harriot Lane Fox

I've chosen a London travel guide for today's book because London is just about my favorite place to be in the summer. During graduate school I was lucky enough to spend a number of summers there on research trips. I've celebrated more of my adults birthdays in London than in any other place. I adore London. London love may have to become a future feature of this blog. And London in the summer is especially fine. London has a fantastic series of parks that are wonderful to explore on a summer evening.

But enough musing, and without further adieu, on to the review:

This was my first London travel guide, the one I bought when I had never before been to the UK, when I knew very little of London, and when I was on a student budget. It's been an exceedingly valuable resource ever since I purchased it in 2000. London is notoriously expensive, but this guide manages to seek out restaurants and hotels that don't break the bank. I especially appreciated the specific section on restaurants which are open until the wee hours- essential when arriving late and fighting jet lag. London being a large city of distinct neighborhoods, this guide is organized by neighborhood, and discusses specific hotels and restaurants within each neighborhood.

This book has many virtues, but by far its best section, in my opinion, is the section on sightseeing and entertainment bargains. London has many fine museums which charge no admission. Its churches offer a wealth of affordable, sometimes free, concerts. This guide doesn't just explain which well-known sights can be enjoyed at a low cost, it also introduced me to a whole range of sights and events I didn't know existed.

I've been to London a number of times since my first trip, but I still reach for this guide. A very valuable resource. London has always been an expensive city, and with the poor exchange rate it has become even more so. This is not the most recent edition of the Frommer's guide. In 2003 they published a new edition where the price had gone up to $90 a day. In 2005 the newer still edition was at $95/day. I'm trying to ride out the current poor exchange rate in hopes that the dollar will rise in value sometime in the future, and it will be more economical for me to plan a trip back. Part of me desperately wants to try and go back in September, but I just don't think I can swing it.

Today's Smelly Thing

Yankee Candle Tarts in Mango Peach Salsa

I bought this tart during my last trip to a Yankee Candle store. As there aren't any here in Bellingham, I'm pretty much restricted to when I'm back east. I love Yankee Candles. I generally prefer the large glass jar candles, the housewarmers, to the tarts and votives, as they're so much more potent, but given that everything now gets carted back across the country in a suitcase, the housewarmers are pretty much restricted to what I can find at Ross and TJ Maxx. But the tarts are nice enough, so for the summer theme tonight I chose Mango Peach Salsa. Yankee describes the scent as follows:

Sweet and zesty ... juicy mangoes and peaches livened with citrus, ginger
flowers and pink pepper

What I'm smelling is a smooth peach and mango scent, but I'm really not getting the salsa. I don't smell any spicy notes: nothing cilantro-y or anything like that. It worked nicely with my summer theme, as there's nothing that screams summer to me like ripe peaches. I looooove peaches. I love summer fruits generally so much better than winter ones. When I was poor in graduate school applesauce was one of my winter fruits. Ick. But to get back to the point, I think this scent is really more mango-peach than mango peach salsa, but I suspect salsa sells better. I've become rather disenchanted with Yankee's pricing lately. The tarts are now nearly $2 each, and some of the car air fresheners have gone up to $4 (from $2). That's crazy. Needless to say, I buy far fewer of these things than I used to.

I've been having a heck of a time sleeping this week, and given that it is now 2:20 am, I should just post this and get on with it.

1 comment:

Steve sculpts critters said...

Ahh, Londinium.
I used to live there.
Sure seems a million miles away from Santa Fe.