Thursday, April 02, 2009


I spent the weekend with Andy and Sarah. Andy is an old friend form the UK and now lives in the bay area with his American wife Sarah.

We met up on Saturday on the eastern side of the bay, opposite San Francisco, had lunch and went on an amazing cycle ride along the bay trail, a pedestrian and cycle way running along the shoreline, stopping to enjoy the view, check out the renovated warehouses, do a bit of wildlife spotting and, of course refreshments.... We were out for the afternoon and probably covered a good 17miles which was more than enough exercise for anyone with a bit of a hangover.

Sarah created a wonderful meal and we sat and chatted about the old days and caught up on the last ten years until the early hours.

On Sunday, Andy took me to a viewpoint overlooking San Francisco bay, way above Berkeley, and then dropped me a small way down the hill at the Botanic gardens. They had a busy day and my plan was to meet Zach, Cynthias' son later in the day to take their truck back to the farm. Zach had been home for the week and is currently studying at Berkeley University which was still further down the hill from the gardens.

The air was clear and the view amazing. As was the botanic gardens. I spent several relaxing hours strolling through the flora of asia, australasia, europe and the US. The California natives was the most extensive and also the most surprising for me. I had no idea how many garden plants we commonly grow in England originated here. Ceanothus, Heuchera, Garrya, several sages to name but a few. Fascinating.

Hungry, i headed down the hill and through the university campus, full of grand buildings sponsored by the good and great citizens of California, towering trees, rolling lawns and open spaces. A wonderful place to study. There was a bell tower , the Campanile, it was open and for $2 i caught the lift to the top to be treated to more panoramic views of the city and the bay, under the threatening weight of 62 huge bells. Thankfully they didn't chime as i think that i would still be deaf today.

I eventually satisfied my hunger in a rather uninspiring Thai restaurant. The decor was erring on faded but the food was amazingly tasty and a very good price. I had time to kill so i read my book for a while and ordered the only dessert on the menu. Shaved ice over beans. I had no idea whaat to expect. It arrived and i was none the wiser except to see a sundae glass full of red beans, like chilli beans topped with plain shaved ice. Try to imagine what it tasted like, i did and was delighted by the first spoonful. Sweet and delicate, soft beans in a syrup sauce, infused with coconut cream and little chunks of coloured jelly for added texture, truly amazing, i wish now that i had taken a photograph of it to show you all.

I caught up with Zach a little after 8pm, got completely lost driving south and ended up navigating my way over several bay bridges and through central San Francisco in the dark, which was interesting. Eventually getting on the correct highway and heading back to Ben Lomond.


Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful!! ...x M+P

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that you continue to have adventures. Thank you so much for the card and the seeds. I will be planting out carefully tomorrow. Tania continues to grow and the bump is now known as 'Alix', Tan will be starting maternity leave early soon (i"ll leave her tell you). All is well and we have gone into over drive on nesting and bought another house right in the city - we now have to practice selling one or two...All go here G20 summit meant two days working from home and yet we are still on the sofa in London tonight exhausted..wondering how the veg is at love apple farm. love J&T&A

Anonymous said...

Tomato seeds it was a 'fruit' day on Monday! And harvested the first purple sprouting broccoli too...yum!!
Hope all is going well on your side of the pond still and you all get time to enjoy an easter egg or two :-)
Glad to hear all is good in south London ladies...stay well!
Happy Easter Sam!

x Moi & Peter

Anonymous said...

Hiah Sam

Happy Easter

I am not sure anyone could describe beans and ice in quite the same way as you did!!! I'm really pleased things are going well. Any news on post 90 days?

We are all haveing a very lazy easter break at home and at the allotment although we are way behind. Don decided to take on the other half so the same level of bramble clearing to do that you helped us with 3 years ago! Not sure the bonfire will be quite as fun as the one we had at Charlton though.

Fergus is steaming a head running everywhere but great company - fun, fun, fun.

I hope you are enjoying that sun on your back

lots of love Gin, Don, and Fergus x

joy said...

Hi Sam . .sounds heavenly. Nice to see you are talking about people as well as all that is grand in flora and fauna and culinary experiences. Great you are getting about a bit as well .. you'll be a local soon . . . Have now managed to cut the grass and dig up a few weeds . .How are your plans going with application for visa and business?? I have decided that Alix is really Daisy : )

take care much love xx joy

Anonymous said...

hello all, the end of a hectic but sunny easter - tania is bigger - spent some great time with my family and especially with mum who amazingly is home (after four months on hospital)... everyone asked after you Sam especially Mia who asked me to 'roll her up in the carpet' as a surprise.... I had to decline as i gave 'allotment back' and am just about able to bend to get the the ice cubes for my gin and tonic...

moi - can't believe you have broccoli already?
gin - hope fergus is better
joy - 'daisy' sounds like a cow....

Sam - how are Con & Don enjoying Carliforniae?

love J x

Anonymous said...

Hi Jac,
...purple and white sprouting broccoli...a little late up here...not the 'calabrese' type broccoli...tho will try again this year! ...and can see the first spud shoots peeking through!

...hope the back was relieved by the G&T...fizz worked for me last night!
x Moi

Anonymous said...

How is the Royal Visit going?

Love U Miss U

Lil bro XX