Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Nigel's Birfday Adventure

Nigel celebrated a birthday last weekend, on Friday. I won't tell you his age. It's been a couple of years since we celebrated his birthday by going away, so this year we decided to go for an overnight stay at the Clearwater Casino in Suquamish, which is a Native American town in Kitsap County, WA, inside the Port Madison Indian Reservation. Chief Sealth, after whom the city of Seattle is named, was a Suquamish Native American and is buried there. Nigel likes to play blackjack.

We chose the Clearwater Casino because Nigel stayed there this past summer for a work-related off-site meeting, and befriended the manager, who told him if he came again for a personal stay to let her know by email and she would get him a good rate. Well, he did and she did, basically she gave us the same group rate that the work-related off-site received -- $105 for a lovely room!

The hotel is located in back of the casino, and unlike many casino hotels, you don't have to exit and enter through the casino, which is very nice, because it means you don't have to deal with the casino crowds and noise and smoke-filled air. It's also very nicely landscaped, with garden beds that are colorful and well-tended, and right on the water facing Bainbridge Island.

The hotel entrance -- to the left and right behind those pillars is a sweet little water feature

The bar and breakfast area -- breakfast was complimentary

At the back of the hotel is a large garden area, which contains a fire ring where they have a real log fire every evening.

The back of the hotel

The pool and jacuzzi are in the low building on the left

Looking out onto the Agate Pass, the tidal strait that separates Kitsap County and Bainbridge Island

This tall, impressive totem pole was originally part of the Northgate Mall in North Seattle, and was moved here and refurbished a couple of years ago.

I think that sculptural tree against the sky is a Pacific madrona, Arbutus menziesii. The archway leads down some stairs to the very rocky beach.

Colorful Begonias, not exactly cutting edge, but pretty nonetheless.

Can you see Nigel way down there in the distance? This covered walkway leads to the casino.

Instead of driving home down the west side of the Sound, we decided for fun to take the ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle, then pick up I-5 there.

Seattle as we set off from Bainbridge Island

The Seattle skyline as it gets nearer

The Coast Guard and the Space Needle

The Seattle Great Wheel against the skyline

Heading toward the dock

I'm sure you'll never guess what I was doing while Nigel was playing blackjack. Go ahead, guess...Oh, never mind, you know what I was doing. Plant shopping, of course. It was the last hurrah before the end of the gardening season for several small nurseries on the Kitsap Peninsula, and so I was making the rounds, from Far Reaches Farm in Port Townsend to Valley Nursery in Poulsbo to Dragonfly Farms and Celestial Dream Gardens in Kingston, as well as one that was new to me, Bainbridge Gardens on Bainbridge Island. I also visited my friend Debbie Teashon, who created and manages the website, at her new job as garden center manager for a Kingston hardware store called Henery's.

More on that in a future post.

The Plantmobile Junior with my weekend haul

An Endless Summer Hydrangea from Valley Nursery. I had to move the suitcase halfway through the day, onto the back seat, so that I could fit more plants into the hatchback space.

Are you wondering about the misspelling of birthday in my blog post title? That's kind of an in joke between Nigel and me. It refers to the tendency of Cockney speakers to pronounce "th" as "f." In fact, there's an ethnic joke, which Nigel told me many years ago, that depends on that for its humor. If you don't like ethnic jokes, then just skip this next part.

A Cockney fella is applying for a job.

"What's your name?"
 "What's your last name?"
"How old are you?"
"Can you spell that for me?"
"Ye can't, mate, it's a bleeding number."

Nigel himself is from Yorkshire originally, although he grew up all over England. His parents, however, grew up in Yorkshire, and had working class Northern accents, which occasionally was problematic for me, an American. If you're wondering what that sounds like, the actor Christopher Eccleston's natural accent is Northern (although he's from Lancashire.) If you've followed the new incarnation of Doctor Who, you may remember that when Billie Piper's character Rose first meets the Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, she wonders why he has a Northern accent if he's an alien. He says, "Lots of planets have a North."

Or, if you're Cockney, "Norf."


  1. What a beautiful spot to celebrate a birFday! I've never made it that far west on our continent... The unfamiliar names of bays and peninsulas sound quite exotic to me.

  2. It looks like it was a fabulous Birthday Alison. Gaz's family is originally from Lancashire but our friend Don who went with us to Norfolk recently is a full on Yorkshire man :)

  3. That's exactly what back footwells were designed for, great plant haul!

  4. Such beautiful country! I hope Nigel enjoyed his birthday trip. I know you did.

  5. How cool that Nigel's birfday celebration included loads of nursery visits for you! Hooray! Love the views of the Seattle skyline; we'll have to try going home that way someday!

  6. Lovely views of Seattle! That must have been a great birfday trip for Nigel and you......plant shopping, we never get enough of visiting nurseries.

  7. What a wonderful birthday trip. Every birthday must have plants included.

    I passed on your joke to my nephew, who just could not make the connection with firty free. I never thought I would have to interpret the English language to someone for whom it is the native tongue. It loses in the translation to someone who lives not far from Jeff Foxworthy.

  8. That is a beautiful hotel. And I can't help wondering if you had more influence in selecting it than you indicate. Couldn't possibly be because many of your favorite nurseries are nearby?

  9. What a delightful place to stay! Hard to believe the hotel is part of a casino complex....I love the water feature!

  10. I always loved the pots they have. The Pottery Sisters used to do them, always fabulous, I don't know if they still do though.

  11. What a perfect weekend for both of you, lovely sunny weather too. And you got to do all that plant shopping too! I am very impressed with Endless Summer, I got one last year and it bloomed this year, I was afraid it would suffer from all the dry weather but I checked on it and it had grown nearly 3 feet!

  12. Surely this is a site well worth seeing.

  13. It is grand to get away for a birthday especially to a wonderful place with wonderful sights...I like your idea of fun instead of gambling with chips...gambling with plants!


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