When I came downstairs on the day there was a wrapped present waiting for me on the kitchen table, with a lovely, sweet card. Inside the wrappings was a book about gardens in the Pacific Northwest. Some of them I've been to, but there are lots of entries in this book about gardens I've not visited yet. I wasn't expecting a present, so it was a nice surprise.
I had to drive Nigel to work, so after opening the gift and the card we both hopped in the car so I could drive Nigel to the train station. For a gardener, no birthday is complete unless there's plants involved, so I spent a leisurely hour or so down at Windmill Nursery, where I bought an Australian tree fern called Alsophila australis (also called Cyathea australis). I had an Amazon Local coupon for Windmill, which allowed me to buy it for $20 off. Since the actual price was $49.99, that means I got it for $29.99, which I think was a good deal.
|Australian tree fern out in the greenhouse|
|Also called rough fern, because of the rough, furry nature of the fronds|
|Perhaps hard to see, but there is a new frond sitting in the center getting ready to unfurl|
The next day I met Nigel after work in Seattle at the Fairmont Olympic hotel, where we had a luscious dinner at The Georgian, followed by an overnight stay in an executive suite at the hotel.
|Thirty-foot tall Christmas tree in the hotel's lobby|
|This Santa was waiting in the lobby, and every time the doors opened, the paper list would flutter|
|Nigel disagreeing with Santa on his "naughty" status.|
|The entrance to The Georgian|
|Nigel's Black Cod with squid ink risotto and vodka foam|
|My duck breast with black trumpet mushrooms, lentils and baby turnip|
I haven't had duck in years, even though I adore it. Over the last few months I've been following a very strict diet of fish, vegetables, no sugar and no simple carbs. So this meal was quite special.
|Nigel looking very Christmas-y|
|The birthday girl -- big smile because I'm waiting for a black and white souffle for dessert!|
And now, after a birthday and all the excesses of Christmas eating, it's time once again to go back to an austere way of eating. It was nice while it lasted!