Copper Beeches Meeting in Philadelphia, October 27, 2017

Steve has always enjoyed reading Sherlock Holmes stories, and so off we went to Philadelphia for the fall meeting of the Copper Beeches.  The Copper Beeches, until this fall were a men only Scion(group) of Sherlock Holmes Afficianados. Some times we made a weekend of the meetings, but as this time there was going to be a meeting Sunday night by our scion (The Hudson Valley Scionists) we elected to make it a one nighter.

 

We drove down to Philly in the trusted van, and accompanying us were LL and CL. Both are crazy about Holmes, and were founders of the Hudson Valley Scion.  LL had been to the Philly meeting before, but as CLis a female this was her first opportunity to attend. CL was a little nervous as generally one is required to prepare a toast to present at the meeting on short notice. Steve had related to me that previous toasts had been quite creative, rapping ala Hamilton, or sung by operatic quality singers. CL was kind enough to share a number of photos that she took of our adventure. 


Steve and I checked into the Union League (pictured above), where we were going to meet CB and JB.  CB is really into Holmes, and often dresses in Holmesian themed clothes.  (At the meetings, mind you!). Last year one of the brass railings was stolen from the front steps of the Union League, there was quite an uproar regarding this.

Every time we attend this event we see a couple in their wedding attire getting photographed.  tonight was no exception! 

While walking  the guys to the meeting we saw a car I had never seen before.  I asked the driver what a Saleen was, he told me to google it!   Well it is a fancy Mustang, and looked pretty hot! The car had quite the motor rumble also. As you can tell by the vanity plate, the driver was pretty pleased to own it!Here are Steve and CB on the steps of the Philadelphia Racquet Club.  In the Lacrosse bag was as a set of single sticks that Steve and CB were going to give a demonstration on at the meeting. The hat is a Deerstalker.  It looks great on CB, doesn’t it?Here is a photo of CB giving part of his talk.  Steve was waiting to the side to demonstrate.  

Here is a picture of some of the attendees.  As I wasn’t there, I can’t tell you why some are seated, and some are staring at the seated lady with grey hair!
JB and I had dinner reservations at the Union League. The food there is really good, but you either have to be a member or be staying at the hotel to dine there. Last time Steve and I made hotel reservations to late at the hotel and were closed out and JB had to treat  me, as we couldn’t share as the tab goes on your hotel bill.  Tonight was going to be my treat.  We each started with drinks, JB had a very large Martini.  I had a Blackberry Bourbon Julep that was delicious!  It was large also, although I made a mess splashing on the starched white linen tablecloth, I finished my drink!  We couldn’t get enough of the Parmesan crackers, and the bread was also quite tasty.  In fact we kept requesting more refills of the crackers! I was hoping the wàiter would slip me a cracker filled goody bag at the end of dinner but no luck! JB and I shared the green salad, JB had the cod, with green cabbage, squash and golden raisins. I had the sea bass with black truffle, gem lettuce and green apple.Here is JB taking a picture of me, I hoped I looked nice.  For dessert we shared the Mont Blanc, coffee chestnut chiffon, Caramelia milk chocolate creamaux and pomegranate coulis.  We were also given some more treats, in case we weren’t already thoroughly stuffed.  


JB and CB had to leave early the next morning to attend another Sherlock meeting in Washington DC.  Steve and I had breakfast at the hotel with LL and CL.  Here is another lovely picture of our trip that CL took.  

Copper Beeches Meeting in Philadelphia, October 27, 2017

Steve has always enjoyed reading Sherlock Holmes stories, and so off we went to Philadelphia for the fall meeting of the Copper Beeches.  The Copper Beeches, until this fall were a men only Scion(group) of Sherlock Holmes Afficianados. Some times we made a weekend of the meetings, but as this time there was going to be a meeting Sunday night by our scion (The Hudson Valley Scionists) we elected to make it a one nighter.

We drove down to Philly in the trusted van, and accompanying us were LL and CL. Both are crazy about Holmes, and were founders of the Hudson Valley Scion.  LL had been to the Philly meeting before, but as CLis a female this was her first opportunity to attend. CL was a little nervous as generally one is required to prepare a toast to present at the meeting on short notice. Steve had related to me that previous toasts had been quite creative, rapping ala Hamilton, or sung by operatic quality singers. The pictures in this post are a combination of CL’s and mine.


Steve and I checked into the Union League (pictured above), where we were going to meet CB and JB.  CB is really into Holmes, and often dresses in Holmesian themed clothes.  (At the meetings, mind you!). Last year one of the brass railings was stolen from the front steps of the Union League, there was quite an uproar regarding this.

Every time we attend this event we see a couple in their wedding attire getting photographed.  tonight was no exception!

While walking  the guys to the meeting we saw a car I had never seen before.  I asked the driver what a Saleen was, he told me to google it!   Well it is a fancy Mustang, and looked pretty hot! The car had quite the motor rumble also. As you can tell by the vanity plate, the driver was pretty pleased to own it!Here are Steve and CB on the steps of the Philadelphia Racquet Club.  In the Lacrosse bag was as a set of single sticks that Steve and CB were going to give a demonstration on at the meeting. The hat is a Deerstalker.  It looks great on CB!  Here is a photo of CB giving part of his talk.  Steve was waiting to the side to demonstrate.  

Here is a picture of some of the attendees.  As I wasn’t there, I can’t tell you why some are seated, and some are staring at the seated lady with grey hair!
JB and I had dinner reservations at the Union League. The food there is really good, but you either have to be a member or be staying at the hotel to dine there. Last time Steve and I made hotel reservations to late at the hotel and were closed out and JB had to treat  me, as we couldn’t share as the tab goes on your hotel bill.  Tonight was going to be my treat.  We each started with drinks, JB had a very large Martini.  I had a Blackberry Bourbon Julep that was delicious!  It was large also, although I made a mess splashing on the starched white linen tablecloth, I finished my drink!  We couldn’t get enough of the Parmesan crackers, and the bread was also quite tasty.  In fact we kept requesting more refills of the crackers! I was hoping the wàiter would slip me a cracker filled goody bag at the end of dinner but no luck! JB and I shared the green salad, JB had the cod, with green cabbage, squash and golden raisins. I had the sea bass with black truffle, gem lettuce and green apple.Here is JB taking a picture of me, I hoped I looked nice.  For dessert we shared the Mont Blanc, coffee chestnut chiffon, Caramelia milk chocolate creamaux and pomegranate coulis.  We were also given some more treats, in case we weren’t already thoroughly stuffed.


JB and CB had to leave early the next morning to attend another Sherlock meeting in Washington DC.  Steve and I had breakfast at the hotel with LL and CL.  Here is another lovely picture of our trip that CL took.

A visit to a Maasai  Village in Amboseli Park, Kenya. July 21, 2017

After breakfast we drove to a Maasai Village in the park.  You can see the school in the background.  Some of the older school children were playing soccer.  You can bet that Collin wanted to join in!  

​Amboselli comes from the Maasai word “empusel” the grey layer of volcanic ash from Mt. Kilimanjaro.  It was really windy in Amboseli, when I come back next time I’m bringing clear contractor glasses.  ​

​Here is the welcoming committee from the village.  There was a charge of $20 per person to visit.  Most of the males of the village were with the cattle that graze in the park.  They all had shaved heads.  Steve was given a staff and joined the group.  ​

This gentleman was the don of the chief.  He was the guide to the village.  These shoes are the traditional sandals worn by the Maasai.  They are made from either leather or tires.  We enter through the gate.  The fences are woven from the Acacia trees.  No one gets in except through the gate!  Women make the fences and the huts.  The stucco on the sides of the buildings are made from dung and mud.  Inside the compound, also called Manyatta, is a central pen for the cattle, and one for the goats.  ​

Would you like to see how the Maasai build a fire?  Of course you would!  ​ Here is a great profile of Steve bedecked in his Maasai beads and the staff that was lent to him.  Would you like to see the inside of one of the  huts?  Of course you’d like to see this too!  Watch your head!  Oops!  Looks like I ran out of space and need to make this at least a two parter!

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trusts’ Orphans Project July 19, 2017

Back to the blog.  We are now at an elephant orphanage in Nairobi. The orphanage is in Nairobi National Park, a humongous park that has many animals in it.  This section of the park is home of orphaned elephants, and a Blind rhino. They had a hippo, but he died.  Here is the gang waiting for our entrance to see what is going to happen. As always I was resting in the shade on a rock. We really had no clue what to expect here.We saw many pens with gigantic baby bottles. We thought that maybe we would be feeding baby elephants with these big bottles. That would be fun! We all lined up on one side of the path.  The gentleman is instructing us to stay to the side, and not lean into the path, as the elephants would be coming soon. Collin is ready to take pictures. ​

Here they come!  Stay out of the way, those big feet will do a number on a pedicure!  All the elephants had gotten into their pens and it was time to explore. Pumba, decided to rest and we let him be. This rhino is blind, he will stay in the sanctuary all his life as he is unable to live in the wild. He is unable to protect himself from predators.  On a happier note we were then able to visit the elephants. You can see how flexible their trunks are.  They scoop up the food and then shove it in their mouths. This guy is just starting to grow tusks. Elephants in the wild have a life expectancy of almost 70 years. The elephants were quite friendly and enjoyed sliming the guests.  ​Let’s hope the rumors of laundry at the safari camps would be true! 

​Sally fell in love with Ndotto. Who wouldn’t?  He had fun playing low five and high five with her. As part of our trip it was arranged that we could adopt an elephant for the year.  The donation subsidized the orphanage, and we would get newsletters and updates about the elephant chosen. Sadly, I don’t think the rhino was chosen by many people. Why would they, when there were so many cute elephants to choose from?  The baby elephants stay in the orphanage for about ten years until they are able to be released into one of the wildlife parks or conservatories. Many of the babies come because their Mama’s were put poached.  You can read about the trust here.  www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.orgThen it was back to The House of Waine for dinner.  Another couple was ushered into the dining room before us, which of course got me wondering,  and then we were escorted into a special room for just the four of us!  We had a lovely dinner, of which I can’t remember what we ate, but here are the pictures to prove we did receive substanance!  We were very tired at this point and eager to return to our rooms, but there was more!A bottle of champagne and a congratulatory cake for Sally!  Then after we all got a slice it was back to the rooms. Sally and Collin had their bed all decoratively arranged with towel animals, we got nothing, but it wasn’t our celebration but hers after All!  

July 19, 2019 End of Kazuri and on to Giraffes! 

​We leave the bead factory with a song in our hearts and the prayers of the workers. This is the gift shop where you could search for the perfect earrings, bracelets or necklaces to bring back home. I picked out two necklaces with matching bracelets. We were told we had a 15 kg or 33 pound weight limit on our flights with in Kenya.  As the jewelry was heavy I was planning on filling my pockets with them and not risking my luggage being too heavy!  Then it was off to the Giraffe Centre.  Here they are raising Rothschild Giraffes.  There are only 1600 world wide. 400 are located in Kenya, and 500 in captivity and active breeding centers worldwide. ​

​We are all quite excited when we found out we would be able to hand feed the Giraffes!  We were to each get a maximum of two handfuls of pellets. We actually only got one each but one was enough. Rothschild Giraffes have the white stockings. We will see three types of Giraffes on our trip.  Rothschild, Reticulated, and Masai. Here is Steve giving it a go. The Giraffe we were feeding was named EdD.  He was six years old. He wS kept to breed as were a few others.The young Giraffes were released at the age of three to other parks where they could live on their own. They were large enough to fight back against predators, but could forget being fed by humans. I was next.  Lookat those Giraffe eyelashes!  In the background is Giraffe Manor. Many people designed their safari so they could stay here. Rooms on the second floor had windows that opened wide to let the Giraffes eat their morning breakfast from trays inside the room!  Had we stayed there Sally might never have wanted to leave!  Here is Sally kissing a Giraffe!  The rules were to feed the Giraffes one pellet at a time. If you wanted a kiss you would put a pellet between your lips. I don’t even allow dog kisses so I wasn’t going to try this!  I was laughing so hard I almost dropped the phone.Here is Collin feeding EdD.  Collin got a lot of conversations going with his football (soccer) shirts. All the guides we met had different favorite teams.Lots of selfie taking here!  Here EdD is telling me “Chin down Dear, it slims the face.” Talk about being photobombed!  Here are Sally and Collin with a Giraffe leg. They are heavy. ​

​Sally is demonstrating how the jaw of a Pumba, or warthog open and close. She was a good sport to do this.  Steve was so happy to not be the designated demonstrator! A fully clothed Pumba!  They are ugly and quite stupid animals. In fact a Pumba in Swahili means stupid!  One last family portrait of EdD before we go. I’m not sure how that soup picture got in there. I’m afraid to take it out and accidentally delete my post. Next post the Eleohant sanctuary!  

July 19, 2019 End of Karen Blixen’s and visit to Kazuri 

We finished up the interior tour of the Blixen’s House, and then were off to view the Ngong Hills in the back of the house. This is also where Karen would sit and tend to any sick workers or villagers.  TheNgong hills were where Denis Finch Hatton was buried.  You do remember that tearful scene from the movie, don’t you? Very sad.Ngong means “knuckle” in Swahili.  The trees have obviously grown since Karen was here. You can see just a bit of them in the right side of the photo.Then we were off for a short stroll through the woods to see some of the coffee machinery.  I was delighted that it was actually a short walk and not one of those killer hikes in Patagonia.  I can’t remember what this machine did, but it was under a metal shed. This is the area where the fire was.  Francis our guide told us that the fire that destroyed the coffee sheds was likely due to fires that the Maori started.  The Maori used fires to clear land.  Unfortunately for Katen, her coffee bean barns got in the way of the flames.  My snarky comment of the day is that it must have smelled wonderful.  Good bye Karen Blixen’s House on to Kazuri! Kazuri means ” small and beautiful ” in Swahili.  The Kazuri Bead factory is famous world wide for the beautiful jewelry.  Any unwed mother can get a job here. They will find a place for you.  If you remarry you can still stay.  Here is rock from the hills of Mt. Kenya.  Mixed in are pieces of fired clay that were imperfect and was ground up,with the rock to make new clay.  The ground rock is mixed with water to form a slurry which is formed into sheets and hung, and the water squeezed out.  You can see the clay hanging on the top right. Gradually enough water is removed so the clay can be used to make the famous beads.  ​There are men who work at the factory, this is one of their jobs.

​Another job is the making of vases.  It takes them a year of apprenticeship before their vases are good enough to sell. Here is a potter in action.Here I am demonstrating one of the round bead making techniques.  Here we have a selection of beads, a necklace of unfired beads and then a picture of the kiln in which the beads are skewered and then fired at extremely high temperatures. Here we have a group that was touring the bead factory.  Our little group was so happy we chose not to be in a big group.  We had more flexibility, and didn’t have to wait for anyone but ourselves.  ​

​Singing always makes the job more fun.  The ladies would break out in sing every few minutes.  Then wee were off to the next building where the beads were painted.  This is the order board for the jewelry.  You can see that the demand in Scandinavia is quite high!  Here are some finished beads, ready to be strung, into necklaces, bracelets or earrings. I was curious to find out if there was a song leader.  As you well know, Linda always finds out the answers.  Here is our song leader!  

Karen Blixen’s House Part 2

Let’s enter the house now. IMG_5105.JPGThis is Francis our driver attentively listening to our tour guide. We are in the living room and you can see the fireplace in the background. Karen would create stories for her guests based on the images on the folding screen. In the movie Denis, played by Robert Redford,  would give her goo goo eyes and dream of making love to her.IMG_5106 Here we have the famous record player.  IMG_5107Here is the bed where all the action happened!  Accordingly to museum guide Karen also spent a lot of time on the day bed as she suffered from syphiliis. In the movie the Baron was the foooler arounder, but we were told that she strayed first.IMG_5109 Here s the bathroom. Originally there were doors to the outside where the house boys would enter and remove the contents from the commode. IMG_5111 This is a picture of her good friend, Berkeley  They did a great job of casting him in the movie. Robert Redford was handsome but the real Denis Finch Hatton was not an American! Denis was horribly miscast! IMG_5108.JPG  These boots were in the closet of the Baron. I thought they were worn by Robert Redford in the movie, and was looking to see how high the heels were! In fact, they were actually worn by Meryl Streep!

IMG_0153Here is a picture of Karen Blixen’s. It was a special favorite of hers. I thought I did a brilliant imitation. I think I just needed a touch less pop of lipstick and more brown eyeshadow!