Sunday, 30 September 2012

Final Day in Utah

We had been invited to Heber for a barbecue by Leslie's friend Melissa so the first plan was to go for 4.30pm to Soldiers Hollow for a Battle Enactment from the Civil War but unfortunately by the time we had arrived it was all over. They explained they had just decided to start early which was a bit stupid.
We then had an excellent time at Melissa's and were back home for 9.30pm with the kids fast asleep in the car and just to transfer to bed.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Gabrielle and Almond

Gaye and I took Almond for her favourite walk to City Creek. This is next to The Avenues Area of Salt Lake City where Fraser & Leslie used to live and as soon as the car turned into the Avenues Almond began to get very excited as she knew where she was going. We parked on 11th Avenue and then walked down to City Creek and up the pathway which is one of the few areas in Salt Lake City that you can let your dog off the leash. Within seconds Almond was in the river and swimming like mad. She had a great time and we loved walking in the shade along the valley. We ended our walk with lunch in a lovely outdoor cafe on 2nd Avenue where we met an Alaskan couple who had spent a lovely holiday in Scotland last year and were very enthusiastic about Orkney.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

American Grandchildren

We had a photo session at a specialist children's photographer today and you can see the results below.
Eleanor and Thomas were not the most cooperative of models but the results were very good.
The kilt is Graham tartan of course.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Fall Colours

Driving from Salt Lake City to Mendon in Northern Utah was real treat as the trees were all changing colour to a glorious red.
At Mendon the views from the house were spectacular and I spent several hours sitting on the veranda in beautiful sunshine just taking in the views.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Looking after Eleanor & Thomas

Along with Leslie's mum we had to look after the kids for 3 days while Fraser & Leslie went to Washington DC for a wedding. Saturday afternoon we took them to a lovely park in Daybreak which has a lovely landscaped lake and great play areas for kids and even a sandy beach.
The kids were very well behaved and it was a pleasure to look after them although we were glad when Mum and Dad arrived home on Sunday night after a lovely weekend in Washington DC.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Real Salt Lake Soccer Match

I was delighted to accept an invitation to attend the match between RSL and Portland tonight in the superb Rio Tinto Stadium.There was a full house with 20,500 spectators there in one of the nicest small stadiums I have seen. The pitch was immaculate and the nicest grass surface I have seen in many years and they even switched the sprinkler system on for 5 minutes just before the match started. There was a lot of razzamatazz before the KO and this was a bit silly but the Americans seem to like it but they would not like it at Old Trafford or Anfield or any English ground.Real won 2-1 and I am ashamed to say I missed both their goals as I was talking to Kelly at the time but I did see them a minute later on the big screen. A great night sitting out on a warm evening so thanks to the Hopkins family for their hospitality and pleasurable company. I hope to repay it when they come to Scotland in 2014.

Monday, 17 September 2012


In Salt Lake City water is such a precious commodity as the area would just revert back to desert if there was no irrigation. Fraser's house in West Jordan has a very ingenious method of irrigating the 1 acre of land which is used by Father in Law Carlo to keep a couple of head of cattle and also to irrigate the large vegetable garden.
There is an irrigation ditch which flows with water for about 12 hours every 8 days so they divert part of it to water the field and Grandma's garden next door. The main garden is watered from the metered mains on a daily basis.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

American Family get-together

Since Fraser married Leslie her family have really looked after him and he is now just part of this big family. Gaye and I appreciate all they have done for him and for making him so welcome. Today we had a family lunch and once again Gaye and I were surprised with a nice present of a Quilt from Carlo & Sidne for our 40th Wedding Anniversary. It was also Leslie's sister Nancy and her husband Kelly's 19th Wedding Anniversary so a combined cake was produced. It was all very enjoyable and lovely to be part of such a big family.

Sunday morning walk

Granny Gaye out with the family this morning.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Almond at City Creek

When Fraser & Leslie lived in the Avenue's area of Salt Lake City my walk every morning with Almond used to be City Creek as she was allowed off the lead and also she loved swimming in the many pools in the creek. When they moved to West Jordan we missed out on this regular walk and only managed it a couple of times last year. Fraser and I took Almond this morning up to City Creek and she was so excited to be back on her favorite walk.

Friday, 14 September 2012

The Last Day in Canada

The day started with a late breakfast and then at 10.00am we headed on our way to Calgary via a traditional ranch.
This proved to be very interesting as the rancher was related to British nobility and had been educated at Eton but fell out with the family and moved to Canada over 50 years ago. He is now an honorary chief of an Indian or as they are now called First Nation Tribe. At the ranch they have an excellent museum about the Indian Tribes and also the early Mounties as the owner Stan Cowley had served as a Mountie for a few years. The other interesting feature on the ranch was a white buffalo and the only one in North America. This animal is held in reverence by the Indian Nation and people come from miles to see it. After this visit to the ranch we had lunch in the Winter Olympic Training Centre in Calgary. This has 3 Ice Rinks plus Ski Jumps and taboggan runs. The highlight for everybody was watching a young skater probably no more than 10 years old and she was fantastic and the turns and leaps she could do were amazing. One of the staff told me she has the potential to be an Olympic champion in the future. Gaye has decided that she will enroll for the Taboggan after all her daring exploits this week. We then headed to Calgary airport where most of the party would fly back to LHR while we stayed at an airport hotel as we fly back to SLC tomorrow afternoon. This has been a great holiday and both of us have enjoyed every minute of it helped by superb weather, fantastic scenery, and excellent fellow travelers.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Helicopter trip through the Rockies

I have always wanted to do a trip like this so was really looking forward to the experience. Gaye decided the shops were more of an attraction so we went our separate ways on a cold but beautiful clear morning. The trip would last 30 minutes and the helicopter would take 5 passengers 4 in the back and 1 up with the pilot.
I don't think I have ever experienced anything quite like it as the scenery was just fantastic and the fact there has been quite a lot of snow in the Rockies over the last couple of days made it even better. Unfortunately the 30 minutes were soon over and we were back on the ground but I took loads of photos so will be able to remember the occasion for many years.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Sulphur Mountain and the Bow River

This was to be a much easier day starting with an 8.00am breakfast and then just a morning bus trip in the Banff area. First stop was to Sulphur Mountain and a ride in a Gondola up to almost 7500ft. With just 4 of us in the Gondola Gaye was a bit apprehensive but we made it to the top in just 8 minutes. The view from the top was spectacular but it was very cold and had been snowing. Our next hour or so was spent in Banff where we saw the Bow River Waterfall and the Banff Springs Hotel. This is a town of 10,000 people and there are strict controls in who can live here in that you have to have a job in Banff before you can buy a house here.
Our afternoon is free so we will make use of the Hotel Spa before going out to dinner and a show tonight.

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