My neighbourhood

When we’re not travelling, our permanent base is a townhouse in North Plano, a suburb north of downtown Dallas. It is a nice, quiet place, with a commercial area within walking distance. Having shops, pubs and restaurants within walking distance is a boon in suburban Dallas, where you cannot survive without a car.

Come with me on a walk to The Shops at Legacy, where we shop, eat, drink and catch a movie.

Let's go
Let’s go
Communal mail bank
Communal mail bank
It's all apartments when we cross the road
It’s all apartments when we cross the road
Pretty square with cowboy and longhorns sculptures
Pretty square with cowboy and longhorns sculptures
Welcome to The Shops
Welcome to The Shops
Boutiques share space with restaurants and bars
Boutiques share space with restaurants and bars
The Angelika, where we can watch art-house and  foreign films, very rarely found in Dallas.
The Angelika, where we can watch art-house and foreign films, very rarely found in Dallas.
The lake at the end is very popular for photoshoots
The lake at the end is very popular for photo shoots
A view of Bishop Street
A view of Bishop Street
No a pit stop at our favourite pub
No a pit stop at our favourite pub

 

What do you like about your neighbourhood?

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Cycling in Dallas

Helmet. Bottle of water.  Padded shorts. Gloves. Brightly coloured clothes. We´re ready to hit the road and cycle around our Dallas suburb.

Ready to set out.
Ready to set out.

We have two options: to use dedicated trails or use the on-street bicycle routes designated by the City of Plano. If we decide to use the trails around, say, Whiterock Lake, we have to loadour bikes onto the truck and drive across the city. It is more practical for us to cycle along the street.

A brave, lone cyclist
A brave, lone cyclist

I prefer to go cycling early at the weekend because there are not as many cars on the road. Although the rules state that a bicycle is entitled to the whole lane on designated routes, I don’t really trust drivers. I see so many of them getting distracted while driving becausen they are talking on the phone or texting or even applying makeup. The fewer cars around me, the better.

The weather has a say in what we do, in a manner of speaking. During the summer it gets so hot that I prefer to hit the road at around 8 o’clock but my husband doesn’t always agree. He doesn’t like to have a strict timetable at weekends and I can understan that. But still, it gets hot!

Which way?
Which way?

It can get very cold in the winter and it’s no fun to cycle with almost freezing wind in your face. The wind blows all year round in Dallas and in all directions at the same time. If we c ycle in one direction against the wind, you’d think you’d have the wind in your back when you cycle in the opposite direction but no, never. The worst is when you’re going downhill and have to pedal hard anyway instead of coasting because the winds stops you. It is very tiring but I’m always glad I’ve done it. I feel great and full of energy.

So go cycling if you can and remeber to wear a helmet, hydrate and stretch afterwards.  Why not even make it a New Year’s resolution?

Christmas madness in Plano, Texas

Every year, the residents of Deerfield (Plano, Texas) go over the top with their Christmas decorations. Some do it themselves, some hire  a business to do it for them and some even go the extent of hiring a designer to do the mise-en-scène.

Visitors can vote for their favourite house by sending a text message with the address to a specific number. Traffic can get heavy in this quiet neighbourhood at weekends. I can only imagine how annoyed residents must feel getting in and out of their garages while trying to avoid gawkers.  There are organized tours of the neighbourhood!

Without further ado, let me show you some of the most outrageous Christmas lights.

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Would you vote for this one?
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A giant manger
Minnie and Mickey went round and round in those teacups
Minnie and Mickey went round and round in those teacups

 

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I love how the shadows of the menorah on the wall behind
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Angels and renindeers and lights, lots of lights
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Walt Disney characters are a staple

These homeowners hired a designer to do the work. I had to video the whole thing because it was impossible to fit all that in one shot!

Which one is your favourite?

We hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner!

Fried turkey? Why not? A generous friend offered to fry a turkey for us and deliver it to our house. How kind is that!  And it was delicious.

I baked up a storm the previous day: I made an apple and cranberry crumble, a tangerine tart and cookies, as well as the cranberry sauce. On Thursday, we made mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing and roasted sweet potatoes. We didn’t follow the tradition to the letter because we don’t care for marshmallows with our sweet potatoes. We also had dinner rolls.

Cranberry sauce in the making
Cranberry sauce in the making

This was our first Thanksgiving as hosts and was a total success. The funny thing was that we were all foreigners, 4 Brits and me! But we had a great time. As custom dictates, the guys went upstairs to watch the Dallas Cowboys game, which was rather disappointing, and the girls stayed in the lounge and chatted away with a cup of tea in hand.

My table
My table

Back in the mists of time, a friend invited us to spend our first Thanksgiving ever at his aunt’s house in San Antonio. We weren’t sure what was going on but we had a fairly good time. We spent the next Thanksgiving with our friends from Salt Lake City, who used to live round the corner from the apartment in Buenos Aires. One more Thanksgiving in Boston and then we went abroad every year to visit whichever family we weren’t spending Christmas with. So hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time was a fun and pleasant experience.

My plate
My plate

 

What’s your favourite Thanksgiving dish?

If you do not celebrate Thanksgiving in your country, what’s your favourite holiday?