Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Alan's Brick Oven, Part 4

Just when you thought we'd forgotten about building this thing...

Alan has taken the week off work, so on Monday we went to the brick shop to order some bricks. Today a very large truck brought one little pallet of 200 firebricks, and some heat block cement.

Watch this space...

Monday, April 25, 2011


These two wandered in for a visit. Very friendly cats! Lots of mewing, winding around our legs and wanting into the house. Their collars list a neighbouring house as their home so we'll not be feeding these ones ;-)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Horse riding

Diane wanted to go horse riding, so I asked Terri for advice (she keeps horses) and Terri gave me the name of White Fences Equestrian Centre up in Manor as a good place to go. We were not disappointed!

We arrived at a really impressive facility. Here is the indoor school/dressage arena, complete with mirror on the back wall:

Here is a stable block, all bright and clean:

There was a show jumping arena, a lunging ring and many fields filled with horses. It's a big place. And they have many white fences. Lots of rosettes, too.

Here's Diane with her new friends. I do hope her cats accept the new arrivals once she gets home. ;-)

We were here to do some trail riding. They assured us that the horses were docile and suited to beginners.

This is Diane's horse, named Frosty. He is wearing a Western saddle. We were excited to try riding Western style. Neither of us had been on a horse since we were kids, and of course we did English riding, which is quite different.

I got it all wrong at first, naturally, until I got the hang of the neck rein instead of English reining. My horse, Charlie Brown, was a veritable eating machine. Every tree we passed got nipped at, especially if it was a Mesquite. Apparently those are tasty.

The lady in front here is instructor Angel, who was guiding us around. The other lady was just out for a ride; I think she got bored with our slow pace and disappeared off in front after a while. Diane and I were really enjoying the Texas trail, it was very pretty. And they grey skies were a blessing, it was not even slightly cold, it was perfect.

Angel took the camera, so the next few shots are by her. Here's Diane and I being all Western! All we need are Stetson hats ;-)

And finally, Diane with her horse.

We had a great time riding here and would definitely go back. Once our legs have ceased to ache ;-)

Diane's Visit

Here's a few pictures from Diane's visit this week. I am going to split this over my two different blogs, just to be annoying ;-) Look for the Air Race and our forthcoming Road Trip over on the action and adventure side of things at http://futurshox.blogspot.com/. Meanwhile, the more gentle pursuits of animals and culture will be sprinkled here.

First up was a visit to the LBJ Museum. Here's Diane in front of the sign. Everyone takes this picture!

Inside, we have exhibitions of American history during the time of LBJ's Presidency, and exhibits about his family and life. This is a very poor representation of Michael O'Brien's portrait of LBJ's family, but I absolutely adore this photograph. Everything about it is fabulous. Everyone in the picture looks really happy, down to the youngest baby. It's hard to explain, but it makes me choke up every time I see it. They don't have any copies for sale, or I'd buy one.

On Tuesday we visited the town of Wimberley, where we had a lovely time wandering around all the arty crafty shops there. Don't go on a Tuesday though, a lot of them are shut! However, enough were open to keep us entertained. Lots of them had cats wandering in and out, demanding attention. All the shopkeepers greeted us with comments about how nice the weather was, and they weren't wrong; it was gorgeous. We had lunch at Ino'z Brew and Chew whose food was OK, but sitting outside on the decking by the river was beautiful.

Below is a wireframe aeroplane that sits outside a cluster of (closed on Tuesdays) shops.

Yesterday we went to the Alamo Drafthouse cinema, always a good move. They take out every second row of chairs in the theatre and replace them with bench tables, and serve food and beer through the movie. It is very civilized. We saw 'Paul' which was great; very funny.

Then on the way home, we dropped into the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture, as Diane wanted to see what it was. I had no idea what was in there - it is one of those places I've driven past a thousand times and though 'One day I must visit'. So this was the day, and inside we found it to be a display of a collective of Austin artists who specialise in rock concert posters. The artwork was really excellent, and our enthusiastic artist guide, Henry Gonzales, was kind enough to give us a couple of posters each to take home.

This is Diane posing in front of the mural and art cars at the back of the museum:

So, onwards... Watch this space!

Monday, April 4, 2011

New grill

Behold Alan's shiny new grill! He is very pleased with it. First meal was some chicken, then he spent about 14 hours smoking some pork in there; it was delicious.