RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


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Day trip to San Clemente

The first thing I think about when I hear the name San Clemente is “The Western White House.” But that was during Richard Nixon’s presidency which dates me–and by the way, his sprawling beachfront estate was on the market for $65 million last year. I don’t know if it sold. San Clemente is a city in Orange County, California with a population of 64,000, less than 75 miles (120 km) from my home in Culver City.

I met friends at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to hop on the Amtrak train for the journey to the San Clemente Pier. Our first order of business was to eat lunch–always the most important element of any adventure for me. Breakfast or dinner are also acceptable.

We sat at the end table on the corner overhanging the ocean–like being on a cruise ship!

View of the coastline looking south towards San Diego

I liked the contrast of the red umbrellas against the blue sky and ocean

This bird was getting impatient: “Where’s my take-out order?”

Are we in Fiji or Southern California?

Some nice cloud formations that day to make an interesting background for the palm trees

When I arrived home that evening I felt like I’d been on a week’s vacation. Always good to get out of town even if it’s for a few hours.


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Magical Memories – #6 – Miami 2013

Palm trees before a storm is my favorite photo from a trip to Miami in April 2013. I had my DSLR for about 4 months and didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I was still using it in Automatic mode like a point & shoot camera and only shooting JPEGs, not in RAW. I didn’t know much about photo composition either, but as an artist and graphic designer I suppose it was innate. Nevertheless, looking at this photo today I can see if I had moved around a little I could have done a better job positioning the buildings. I had it printed on canvas and hung it in the bathroom where I still enjoy looking at it. 

You can view the original posts (4 of them) with more photos by starting here: https://onegoodlifetravels.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/miami-an-unexpected-love-affair-part-one/


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Santa Barbara – part two – by evening’s light

After freshening up at the hotel in Montecito (stay tuned for Part Three) we drove to the beach area. To be accurate, BG did all the driving. Thanks BG. As we strolled along Cabrillo Blvd we noticed this lovely restaurant patio. The menu looked good so decision made.

We ate dinner at Due Lune Ristorante-Bar. I ordered the Garden Party salad accompanied by the house red wine which was pretty decent. BG chose a pasta dish which looked very pretty in bright green.

We could easily have been in Sorrento, Italy! There was a nice view of Stearns Wharf, the beach and people passing by.

I love taking these Southern California getaways. We have so much to do and see in our own back yard!

It was such a gorgeous evening. The few occasions over the years when I’ve been in Santa Barbara as the sun is going down I have always been struck by the golden light as the mountains are bathed in a pink and purple glow.

Click on an image below to start the slide show:

On the walk back to the car this quirky abandoned mail box on the street caught my attention… I couldn’t just leave it standing there without taking a photograph!

 


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Ventura Adventure

ventura city hall

Ventura City Hall

Ten of us adventurous souls met in Ventura for another exciting day. Seven of us took Amtrak from Los Angeles Union Station. The other three met us in Ventura.

Father Junipero Serra

I was out of bed at 3:45 to meet my friend at the bus stop at 6:15. The Expo Line was down for upgrading so we were stuck with the Metro #733 bus.

Father Junipero Serra looking out on the city of Ventura

It takes me two hours to get out of the house these days. Cleaning out the cat litter boxes, making the cat’s breakfast, watering my crops of tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, parsley, etc, making coffee, cooking breakfast, getting dressed, wandering around in a fog… it all takes time.

Ventura Botanical Gardens

I was ready to walk to the bus top by 5:45. It was beautiful walking through Culver City at that hour of the morning with only a couple of people walking their dogs and barely any traffic. So peaceful.

We arrived at Union Station with time to spare. I always like to be early instead of running at the last minute. As I always say, I would rather be two hours early than two minutes too late!

The Amtrak train left at 7:50am and we arrived in Ventura about 9:30. I LOVE traveling by train and Amtrak is soooooooo comfortable. It’s lovely to see the scenery go by from the top deck.

Our first stop was the Ventura Botanical Gardens.

The area was totally burned out in the Thomas fire of December 2017. But the gardens are being replanted and coming back quickly. You can still see the extent of the burned out areas.

The gardens are built on a hill with the option of switchback trails or stairs. I opted for the switchback. Whichever you chose there are some lovely views.

Plants are resilient and manage to grow in any situation.

Click on the first image below for a slide show:

After the hike up the hill we walked back through town towards the pier and lunch, always my favorite activity!

We ate at Beach House Fish. I ordered the wild snapper with mashed potatoes. I am a potato junkie… the way it is…

I thought this image represented the beach at Ventura!

Eating!

What a view as you eat your seafood lunch. Life is good.

After my delicious lunch I took a stroll along the pier. It’s a fishing pier.

Click on an image below for photos of the pier and views from the pier:

What a beautiful day we had with great friends!

Waiting for the Amtrak train back to Los Angeles.

 

 

 


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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – day five – the homestead

worthing

You might think I would be in a hurry to visit the old neighborhood right away. But I was enjoying getting the feel of Worthing first before making the trip over there.

worthing

I was now pretty familiar with the walk up to Worthing Station.

worthing

This was my first trip on a train since arriving in the UK. I had intended to travel by rail from London but that plan didn’t work out. And I had opted to take the bus for my journey from Worthing to Brighton two days before. So it was exciting to be on the Southern line as I LOVE traveling by train.

worthingMy destination was Durrington-on-Sea. When I was in high school I would travel by train between Durrington (where we lived) and the Worthing Station. I haven’t figured out the difference between towns designated as “on-sea” and those named “by-sea.” Durrington is about one mile from the sea front.

worthing

worthing

This is the street leading from the station. There certainly weren’t as many cars or as many buildings when I was walking home all those decades ago. It’s like another planet.

worthing

This pub was certainly there on the corner but I don’t recall if it was the Golden Lion back then.

worthing

The Strand Parade was our local shopping spot. My mother would send me to buy a loaf of bread or a can of beans. But for any big shopping we would take the bus or ride our bikes into Worthing.

worthing
Maybridge was the name of the elementary school I walked to. Now it’s called Orchards Community Middle School.

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The bridge over the railway line at the end of Bolsover Road where we lived. My father rode his bike over this bridge to work every day. This bridge was the culprit in the decision to leave England and move to a warmer climate (which happened to be Florida). If my dad had just bought himself a car with a heater for the winter months, I believe we would have remained in Worthing!

worthing

The roundabout at the end of Bolsover Road. When I walked to Maybridge my cat Koko would follow me as far as the roundabout. I have memories of him meeting me there on the way back from school but that could be a fantasy, I’m not sure. I lived in Worthing from the age of approximately eight until twelve… so about five years. But they are the last years of my life I have a clear memory of until adulthood.

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The Homestead. 45 Bolsover Road, Worthing, Sussex, UK. I began looking at The Homestead on Google Satellite about a year ago. And that spawned the idea of visiting Worthing. The house was brand new when we moved in. The area was newly developed in the mid 1950s.

worthing

There were no cars parked in the street back then. Each house had a tiny garage. But nowadays pretty useless to park a car in I suppose. We lived in the right hand side of the duplex or semi-detached house. This was, and probably still is, a pretty common configuration in England. You can see “our” side of the building is sporting a new roof! My bedroom was at the right side top with the small window. On summer evenings (when it was light until about 10:00pm) I would hang out of the window wishing I could be outside. I still vividly remember the wallpaper. Two walls with pink, highly patterned squares and the other two walls with a light grey background and pink dots.

worthingEvidently the Hosier’s live there now in my house. My mother (who was born in Argentina of British parents) named the house Mirasol (look at the sun). As none of the neighbors was familiar with Spanish, my mother recounted that they thought the name meant Miriam and Solomon and that we were Jewish. In fact, the neighbors on the left hand side were Jewish. And at the end of the street, lived a Catholic family. This is important to note because in the 1950s in Sussex, if not all of England, the population was primarily homogeneous: white, Anglo-Saxon, Christian, Protestant. That was us!

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Looking back from the end of the street.

worthing

worthing

The walk from our house to Orchards MIddle (or Junior) School, formerly Maybridge Elementary, is a little over half a mile. I didn’t even need Google maps, the route was still in my head. It was like I had walked there yesterday.

worthing

This circular building is new (since my time).

worthingThis is the building I remember. Mr. Last was the last teacher I had at Maybridge before transfering to Worthing High School for Girls. I loved that man as a teacher. He was a kind soul. That final term I was the top student in my class. And I think that was the last time I really liked school… until AFTER I graduated from UCLA and started attending continuing education classes at UCLA Extension in my mid twenties!!!

worthing

I walked back to Bolsover Road and over the bridge on Shaftsbury Avenue. This was Goring Congregational Church where my mother forced me to go to Sunday School. It is now Goring United Reformed Church. Goring and Durrington are both districts (along with seven others) within the Borough of Worthing. As far as I remember, our address was always Worthing, not Durrington.

I kind of got the heebie jeebies as I was passing this building as I never really did grasp the idea of religion, much to my mother’s dismay.

worthing

Still walking on Shaftsbury Avenue on the way to the beach.

worthing

Here we are at the Worthing Sailing Club at the end of Sea Place. My mother and I would walk down to the beach on a summer evening (when there was no school) around nine o’clock… a less than half hour walk. The tide would be way way way out and we walked through the tide pools looking for sea anenomies and crabs. Life was good at that point in time. Would be nice to freeze it right there.

worthing

Looking east from Goring to downtown Worthing.

I walked along the sea front snapping random photos sucking up the sea air, reliving memories of life at the beach in Worthing. Click on an image for slide show:

I walked to Marine Gardens where I stopped for lunch. Fish ‘n chips and apple cider. I was soaking up the moment.

worthing

How wonderful life is! No matter what has gone before, I am thankful and fortunate to be here now. And in Worthing, no less!

worthing
worthing
It seems this seagull was attempting to impress his potential mate with a gift. If you look closely it is actually in the shape of a heart. Seagulls are not stupid.

I continued on with my walk towards Worthing Pier and my hotel. Click on image below for slide show:

I was intrigued by the custom of placing flowers on the benches. I saw this on multiple occasions. Very nice.

So Day Five’s adventure came to an end… and looking forward to Day Six!

 

 

 


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The UK – Brighton, Sussex – the big day (day three)

brighton

Six years ago I was on Brighton Pier in Sussex, England for a big birthday. I was staying in London and East Anglia with friends. Then on May 9 I took the train to Brighton, where I was born. Rain was coming down in giraffes and hyenas. I had booked a Hop on Hop off bus tour of the town. I was the only passenger on the bus! But I had a great time anyway. What ya gonna do?

Brighton

So last year, another even bigger birthday (they get huge after a while) came up and I had intended to visit London again with a friend. But I couldn’t get my head wrapped around it.

Brighton

And I gradually came to realize it was because I needed to go back to Worthing, the last place my parents and I Iived the first time we emigrated to the US.

Brighton

So this year I decided to stay in Worthing for nine days to check it out.

Brighton

One of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my entire life!

Brighton

So on my birthday I took the Stagecoach #700 bus to Brighton. It was a super day. A day I will never forget.

Brighton

I was fortunate to have such great weather on this visit. It rained one afternoon during nine days.

Brighton

I bought my fish ‘n chips at the same place at the entrance to the pier. Found a seat and ate. I don’t have words to express how I feel about this. So many emotions.

Brighton

My view as I ate my fish ‘n chips.

Brighton

The cousin of the seagull who stole my fish ‘n chips on my birthday on Santa Catalina Island (see post here).

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/my-private-island-part-one/

I love piers. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere there was not a pier! How else can you walk out into a serious body of water?

I walked all the way down to Hove and the West Pier, closed in 1975 and destroyed by fires in 2003.

BrightonFrom Brighton, my parents and I (what choice did I have?) moved to Argentina where my mother had happy memories of her childhood. But apparently living there as an adult didn’t quite cut it… at least for my dad. When we returned to England we settled in Hove. Brighton and Hove combined and were granted city status by the queen in 2001.

Brighton Look at that wonderful pebbly beach. I love that more than the sandy beach at Santa Monica. You can wrap your toes around pebbles.

Click below for photos I took as I walked down to Hove and then back to the Brighton Pier.

I stayed on the Brighton seafront this time. I’ve visited other areas of Brighton on previous trips including a tour of the Royal Pavilion. I’d like to do that again on my next trip. You only have one birthplace. Honor it.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – day two afternoon

 

worthing

Upon returning from Highdown, M and I retreated to our respective hotels to freshen up with the plan to meet up in an hour. Neither of us was interested in dinner as the late lunch at the Highdown Teahouse had filled us up.

When I first arrived at the Chatsworth Hotel the previous afternoon I stepped out on to the little terrace outside my room.

worthing

I wasn’t terribly thrilled with the view of the Stagecoach bus depot next door but the idea wasn’t to spend too much time in the room anyway so it wasn’t a big deal.

I heard cats meowing and thought some strays were living out on the roof. I thought it would be a good idea to report this to the front desk.  I looked around for the cats but couldn’t see any felines.worthing

worthing

Is this a plush nest or what?

Thank goodness I didn’t report the cats.

With my zoom lens I noticed on the roof of the building across the way there were several seagulls nesting.

worthing

Dad is on lookout while Mom sits on the nest

The baby birds were quite vocal. “Meow, dinner! Meow, dinner! Meow! Meow!” I would never have lived that down as the crazy American tourist who can’t tell seagulls from cats…

M and I met up and decided to walk eastward along the Worthing seafront. Worthing sits on The English Channel about 60 miles (96 km) south of London and approximately 160 miles (257 km) from the nearest point in France.

worthing

This had been another lovely day but both of us needed to be up early the next morning. M was returning to his home in Chelmsford and I was headed for Brighton, so we said our goodbyes.

worthing

When I’m in England there are certain things I absolutely have to eat. One of those is Cadbury Flakes. Marks & Spencers sold them in packs of four so what could I do? My plan was to eat one a day… yeah, right. So the pack was my dinner. Oh, yum.

I was rather restless and getting my second wind after eating the chocolate so I wandered on down to the lounge area in the hotel. I was in time for Happy Hour so I decided to be happy. I purchased a glass of Merlot and sat by the open window watching the cars go by and some young men playing football (soccer) in the park across the street…. the Steyne.

worthing

worthingLife doesn’t get much better than this. I was determined to suck up every moment and engrave it in my mind, because as much as I would like to return, I don’t know if I will ever have the opportunity to visit Worthing again.

worthing

 


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My private island – part two

catalina island

As I mentioned in My private island – part one, we were experiencing May Gray when I embarked on my two-day birthday trip to Catalina Island. As I boarded the Catalina Express at 9:00am Monday morning, there was light rain.

I was hoping by the time we reached our destination the sun would be blazing away. No such luck. But although the weather was trying pretty hard to dampen my enthusiasm, I am happy to report it did not succeed!

The above photo was taken through the window about half way across. I didn’t feel like exposing myself to the elements that early in the morning. The photo says more than I can about the weather conditions.

catalina island

Walking along the beachfront Crescent Avenue visitors are immediately reminded about the severe drought on the island. A reservoir capacity of 1149 acre feet down to 183 acre feet. Maybe I should skip brushing my teeth? Of course the paradox is how can an island—by definition surrounded by water—be suffering from a lack of it? Something is definitely wrong with this picture.

catalina island

Catalina is famous for its tiles and don’t you just love this tile fountain on Crescent Avenue? This was the inspiration for my hand-painted tile “Catalina Cats.” You can see it here on my Hot Out of the Kiln blog.

https://hotoutofthekiln.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/catalina-cats/

Avalon Bay with the Carnival Imagination in port.

catalina island

As I was walking through town I came across this intriguing sign in a front yard. One can only imagine what this refers to!

catalina island

The colorful hibiscus certainly brightened up this dull day with a little sunshine of its own.

catalina island

On the walk out of town to the Wrigley Memorial these bougainvillea and palm trees stood out against the gray skies.

A long long time ago there was a bird aviary on Catalina. You can read about it here. Fortunately a lot of the original tile work remains.

The Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden is a 45-minute walk from town (up hill all the way). Once inside the gate it’s another ten minutes to the Memorial itself. But well worth the effort. Click on an image to start the slide show.

catalina island

With some limited exceptions, cars are not allowed on the island. Golf cart rentals are very popular and walking back from the Memorial I felt like I was on the freeway with a constant stream of golf carts buzzing by. I prefer to walk as I like to stop and look and take photos. Not to mention working off the fish and chips I ate for lunch!

catalina island

Catalina Island used to be full of cats. Probably because for decades the island was used as a dumping ground for unwanted feline pets. On this trip this was only cat I saw… and I doubt he was feral.

catalina island

My first day was winding down. With all the walking I did I was ready for the comfort of my hotel room.

catalina island

So while others were still enjoying the many activities available on the island, I headed back up the hill.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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The giant Cheetos Puff sighting on our way to the pier

shuttle fuel tank

My friend K wanted to ride the new Expo Line extension to Santa Monica on Sunday. After my experience on Friday (see post here) I warned her the train would be stuffed to the gills but she didn’t believe me. And she wanted to go anyway.

At the Culver City station I mentioned we really would be better off riding to downtown LA first so we would have a better chance at a seat on the train. The train to downtown arrived so we jumped on it.

Friday was a day of milestones in Los Angeles. Not only the first day of the passenger train all the way to Santa Monica, but also the day the external fuel tank for the space shuttle arrived at Marina del Rey after its journey from New Orleans through the Panama Canal.

As we neared the California Science Center I scoured Exposition Park just in case there was a sighting of the fuel tank. Sure enough, peeking through the trees I saw the giant orange Cheetos Puff.  We had a split second to make a decision to jump off the train before the doors closed, which we did.external fuel tank

Apparently it was being readied to be housed in a temporary enclosure so we were lucky to see it outside. A new museum is being built for the Endeavour shuttle where the shuttle will be displayed upright with the fuel tank attached. This is the only fuel tank in existence so Los Angeles was fortunate to receive it from NASA. It weighs 66,000 lbs. (about 29,937 kilograms) and is as tall as a 15-story building.

We decided to eat lunch at the Science Center as I could imagine finding a place to eat in Santa Monica would be next to impossible with the hoards of people arriving on the Expo Line. Since Trimana took over the restaurant at the Science Center (and Natural History Museum) they have a pretty decent menu.

And absolutely the best mushroom veggie burger in the universe. I was sure I had taken a photo of it on a previous visit but I can’t find it anywhere on my computer. So now I guess I have to go back soon to order another one so I can take a photo. Rats, a blogger’s work is never done!

We finally made it to Santa Monica. As I predicted, the train was standing room only. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon and who could resist a train trip to the beach?expo line

We could see that throngs of people were lining the pier so we didn’t even attempt it. As our tummies were already full we were happy to turn around after a short walk and ride the rails back to Culver City. As it was only early afternoon most people were still enjoying Santa Monica so we had no problem boarding the train.

expo line

As it had been a pretty hectic three days for me: Expo Line to Santa Monica opening day on Friday, a visit to the Los Angeles Zoo on Saturday (blog post coming up) and Sunday’s adventure, I was happy to get back to good old Culver City and my sofa!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 


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Train’s a-comin’ – all the way to the beach

expo line

When the Culver City station of the Expo Line light rail opened June 28, 2012 my late friend TL and I were passengers on the first day. You can see my post about that event here. Having grown up riding the trains in England, being able to ride the rails to downtown LA was a dream come true.

This past Friday, May 20, 2016, the second half of that dream also became a reality. The long-awaited stretch from Culver City to Santa Monica can now be traversed by train. And how could I ever guess I would be living within walking distance (one mile) of two train stations, Culver City and Palms!

langers kippers langers-kippers-102214-005-C-600px

I met my friend R at the 7th St. Metro Center, as far east as the Expo Line goes. He took the Blue Line which also ends at the Metro Center. Together we took the Purple Line to MacArthur Park and ate an early lunch at Langer’s Deli where I always order the kippers and scrambled eggs.

expo line

Expo Line arriving at the beach with the new “Santa Monica” header.

We were back at the 7th Metro station in time to take the second train to Santa Monica. I believe the first one left the station at 11:25 am and we were there about 11:35. It was so strange to see the train pull up with the Santa Monica header instead of Culver City… I am rather sad about that!

By the time the train arrived at Culver City the train was jammed to the gills and no possible way for any other passengers to board. I was so glad I met my friend in downtown LA instead of attempting to meet him at Culver City. Even though the train was packed, people still insisted on squeezing their way through the doors. It was insane!

expo line

expo line

Palms Station on the Expo Line. One of two stations within walking distance from my house.

I was afraid the overpasses would collapse with the weight or that the train would be too heavy to move. As it was, it did go rather slowly around the curves through West LA. The first new station after Culver City was Palms. I’ve been watching this station being constructed and it was cool to actually be stopping there.

expo line

When we arrived at the Downtown Santa Monica station passengers were cheering and clapping. I have to admit I was thrilled! It was history in the making as the last time a train arrived in Santa Monica from downtown LA was 63 years ago in 1953.

expo line

When the train doors opened it was like arriving on a new planet with everybody eager to explore.

expo line

People just kept coming and coming and coming off the train.

expo line

The train stops just a few blocks from the Santa Monica Pier. You can just see the entrance to the pier at the end of Colorado Blvd. in the center of the photo.

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When it was time to go back, they had things a little better organized. They had lines set up just like at Disneyland and they were allowing only so many people on the train at a time.
expo line

This was certainly a day I will never forget!

expo line

Click here for post about my second ride to the beach on Sunday.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

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