Category Archives: USA

Friday Bench: Stormy skies

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Friday Bench: Spun II

Following Barbara’s discovery of these seats in South Africa in a previous Guest Bench,  I was delighted to find some of Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘Spun’ chairs on the 16th Street Mall in Denver.

They were very popular and there was lots of laughter and squeals of delight as people spun themselves round or got their parents to start them off.

Judging by the results from Google when I looked for Thomas Heatherwick chair, one of these can be yours for around £340.

The 105th Meridian West

This line illustrates why Denver is 7 hours behind the UK timewise. Just like we have an imaginary line through the Prime Meridian in the UK which gives us Greenwich Mean Time, so Denver has its own which goes through Union Station. It shows they’re 105 degrees west of our line.

Every 15 degrees east or west (approximately 1035 miles at the equator – the actual distance varies with how far north or south of the equator you are) marks an hour’s difference in time from the previous imaginary line of latitude we’ve divided the earth into from north to south. These lines were established as reference points for astronomical survey work, so that an accurate picture of the sky could be established. Their role in determining relative time across the world came later.

How come there’s a 7 hour difference now we’re in British Summer Time? That’s because the USA also puts their clocks forward in what’s called Daylight Saving time. The particular time zone in Denver is also called Mountain Time.

The time difference meant I woke up very early each day I was there. Sunrise was at 5.30am and that’s when I’d give up trying to sleep and I’d pad over to the huge picture window to watch the changing light over the city from my perch on the 24th floor of my hotel. I spent a lot of time just looking out of the window. The changing light on the distant mountains and the gold dome of the state Capitol building; the occasional thunderstorm moving across the Plains 50 miles away; the shapes of the clouds; and the moon rising over the city were a delight to watch.

Friday Bench: Along the median strip

I first came across this bench when Diana shared photos of it sometime last year. I loved its redness amongst the soft wispy grass, and I never dreamt I’d get to see it for real.

Fast forward to this year’s Garden Bloggers Fling in Austin, Texas and there it was waiting for discovery on  Saturday morning. We were visiting Colleen Jamison’s garden – which was gorgeous – but it’s what she’s done with the median strip outside her house which merits attention on this particular blog.

Not only is there the sassy red bench, there are plenty more, with most of them primped with inviting bright cushions. I was concerned about theft, and Colleen assured me there has been very little since she’s  tended this strip of land.

It’s now Colleen’s favourite area, because “people seem to really enjoy it!” She also describes it as the most challenging part she has to garden because “the space had terrible soil, no irrigation, and was covered by weeds and browsed nightly by deer. I wanted to see if I could garden successfully in the worst of the worst conditions.” … “Little by little, a garden emerged.”

It’s a triumph. At the end of our visit it was fitting we Flingers chose this inviting area to gather and chat whilst we awaited the return of our tour bus.

Madison, Jefferson, Monroe

The fourth (Madison), third (Jefferson) and fifth (Monroe) Presidents of the United States stand guard over one of the main entrances to downtown Charlottesville from their eyrie on City Hall. Jefferson and Madison are two of the States’ founding fathers, and James Monroe is considered to be one too, depending on which online sources are consulted.

The best form of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil.” ~ James Monroe.

Not far away is the Freedom of Speech wall on 605 E Main Street. On it is inscribed the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which ironically usually lies unseen beneath all the chalked free expression.