You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
Marlowe, Dima, and Will grace us briefly on their American road trip. Having stopped in to visit Alison briefly in Alexandria, our welcome guests have popped up for a few days on our figurative doorstop, 17 May 2022.
The Covid seems not to be going away anytime soon, at this point, but wisely or unwisely the Canadian/U.S. border has finally been opened, and Marlowe, Dmitri, and grandson Will have finally been permitted to make an appearance -- 1019 days since the last time we saw them in person. (A few zooms in the meantime, of course.)
Choupette is a favorite with everyone, and Will is a renowned cat fancier.
Despite all the excitement >>> insouciant cats!
Explaining apples to an attentive cat
A metal crow, a bunch of Venetian gondola ornaments, and a scowling cat
Few cats can resist a bouncy cat-toy on a string.
We're catching up on the news in a tiny memorial garden down the street . . .
. . . oblivious to the eavesdropper.
Our visitors have never been able to visit us in our new digs in the USA, so we're resuming our introductory romp round historic Staunton.
From time to time, Melvin needs to withdraw from the party for a brief respite.
Melvin is not at all unfriendly, but neither is he exactly gregarious.
A Lake Sherando outing. And look! Salamanders! Tadpoles! And very few people here to jostle us or pass along the covid.
Salamanders practicing for the invasion of hundreds of summer screaming and splashing bathers to their now quiet squirming grounds
Many people find them pleasant to watch, squirming and wriggling and dashing back and forth at random. For others, it's just symbolic.
Presumably there'll be a seasonal triage, but if all of these chaps were to grow to a decent size, there'd be no room at all for swimmers, or fish.
We progress to our favorite benches -- though the lake is presently open ($4 per car for a day visit), and the day is balmy, we're free to occupy our favorite benches without having reserved in advance. At midsummer, this beach will be thronged (but we won't be back until October).
Despite the most grotesque speculations we might come up with, these appear to be huge globs of tadpoles (i.e., pre-frogs) just trying to get their bearings and set off on their own.
If they should ever get themselves organized, with these numbers, the human race might be in great danger. Or in even greater danger than it presently is. (Add another 0.5°C to the climate and there might not be any tadpoles here at all, or humans.)
Our favorite Lake Sherando island there, and indeed it's only island.
The Great Sherando Salamander Hunt (great care is being taken not to harm them).
We're not alone after all, but it's okay, they're scarcely disturbing anyone, and apparently not the fish either.
Setting off across the little bay
Returning successfully from the expedition
A snobbish robin
Wet, but indefatigable
The visitors' centre, not open for the season yet
The always beautiful CCC architecture
(Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps may be the greatest US public project ever, right up there with the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Marshall Plan.) (And on the Republican side, maybe the Benghazi hearings? Iran-Contra?)
Our hikers are returning along the lake loop trail.
Enough for one day
Next up: Marlowe, Dima, and Will inspect Staunton's Frontier Culture Museum