Checking out the neighbourhood

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One of my favourite activities is an early morning walk and it was the best time to check out Duluth. It was a wonderful time to start July 4th.

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I was delighted to come across these flamingo planters. They look like a lot of fun.

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I loved this group of Adirondack chairs.

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These bleeding heart were so pretty. With a climate like Duluth’s, I realise it is a lot of work to keep gardens looking nice so I thought it was lovely to see the hard work that people put in their gardens.

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I was so pleased to see my favourite Peanuts character out for July 4th.

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I liked this heron very much.

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I was a bit surprised to not see that many flags out so I was glad when I saw one.

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Birds were quite a feature of my walk. I loved these ones.

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I was amused by this line of birds. Starting with swans, moving to chickens.. I’m not completely sure if that is a dog or cat at the end of the line.

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The most precious moment of the morning is when I came across this deer. It is most certainly not something we see in England and we stood looking at each other for a very long time. It was such a beautiful moment.

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Just as the heat was starting to ramp up, I got back to see these beautiful kitties and a wonderful breakfast. I am rather taken with strawberry creme cheese and hope it takes on in the UK.

Caturday’s got a clean bill of health

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Claude had a visit to the vets and he was pronounced well!

We also took Tamyra and Katerina along, too, as Tamyra was due to have her shots. Tamyra also got a good report having lost weight (slight yay for kittens devouring her food, perhaps) and was pronounced magnificent. Claude was pronounced well and the vet fell in love with Katerina giving her a cuddle and kiss on her pretty little head. We are getting used to people stopping to talk to the kittens especially when they see Katerina. It isn’t often that you get three Norwegian Forest cats in one place. When we tell people that Claude and Katerina will be Tamyra’s size, they are quite amazed. I think I’ll have to do more weight-lifting in preparation!!

A Claude-stine post

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We’ve had a sickly kitten on our hands. Poor Claude has had a upper respiratory tract infection still.

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He’s on his second course of antibiotics and has to come into the shower with us every day so he can inhale some steam and has eye drops.

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Most cats would freak out but he is a champ.

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He is such a sweetie. He even sits patiently on the loo when he is getting his steaming. Lucky it was he who was poorly and not Katerina. I don’t think she is at all calm and serene.

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Get well soon, Claude! Another trip to the vets tomorrow. Hopefully, he’ll get signed off with a full bill of health or he’d have to special tests and samples.

Caturday’s Duluthian Cats

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Eileen and Tom do have some beautiful kitties. Jasmine is a big old softie to look at but is very quick when it comes to catching chipmunks even on a leash!

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pao and Jeanne were sitting outside when she quickly dispatched one in the middle of the lawn.

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Libby is a great beauty. She isn’t as forward as Jasmine but is lovely all the same!

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Check out that pretty face!

On the right track at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum

Now we are immensely lucky people. Immensely as no one else would have been as lucky as we did to get a personal tour of the Lake Superior Railroad Museum.

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It is situated both outside and inside and there were many interesting examples of different trains.

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The McGiffert Self-Propelling Log Loader was one of my favourite exhibits.

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This train reminded me very much of the Orient Express.

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It was really good to get inside and take a closer look at the inside.

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I can’t remember what this train was. I thought it was the Duluth and Iron Range Car 19.

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This is the William Crooks. The first steam locomotive to run in Minnesota.

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The is the Minnetonka – this one ran on a wood-burner.

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It was really interesting to get a glimpse of life of the railways. Many crew would be on their trains for weeks and months.

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I thought the snow plows were particularly interesting as we don’t have snow enough to warrant such equipment here.

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This was the most impressive of the snow plows we saw. It was quite a stark reminder of the kind of weather they get in Duluth. It is something that we take for granted as we don’t really get snow but Duluthians really do know how to do weather!

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It was an interesting reminder that foodstuffs got moved a lot by rail in the past.

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This is a car that pao would be interested in.

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I really enjoyed looking around the post office car. We don’t really have these much in the UK now so it was interesting to see the mobile post office.

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I love seeing the old typefaces and fonts in old brochures

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I could have spent quite a long time looking at this railroad china. It really conjures up images of the importance of railways and what an amazing experience it must have been to travel by rail in those times.

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Of course, you know I can’t resist a kitty and some clever marketing person used kitties on the china on the C&O and B&O Railway.

Thanks very much, Tom for showing us round this quite brilliant and interesting museum. It was fascinating to hear about the different trains from someone who is really quite passionate about the subject. :)

Caturday’s Kitten Love Distractions

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I’ve been a little distracted by the arrival of these guys last week to continue my posts about my super trip to the US – I do promise I’ll post more when I get a moment.

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The last week has been interesting to put it mildly. We collected these lovelies Claude and Katerina last weekend. Since then we have had one student depart, another arrive and a bout of kitty Upper Respiratory Tract infection to deal with. All in a week’s work. This was the moment they got to leave the travelling basket.

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Katerina was entranced with the feather toy her breeder sent with her.

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She was quite a bit braver than we thought she’d be.

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She is even prettier than I remembered.

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Claude is a dude. Quite simply.

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Katerina likes to have fun.

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Claude looks a lot better here than he did all week. It was scary – he had to have two vets visits. He’s had antibiotics, eye drops, powder on his food. The final misery was that he had to take a shower with each of us so he could inhale the steam. He took all of those like a champ. Poor guy. We took both kittens together as they are so well bonded.

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Tamyra was not impressed.

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She has spent a large part of the week hiding under our bed. It is weird but she is quite scared of the kittens! We’re working on her slowly.

Not sure where we are but I know it’s pretty and we met Xena Warrior Princess

After our 5 hour car trip, Jeanne’s dad took us all out for a ride in his truck after dinner ( my first ever Sloppy Joe’s – they were brilliant, E ) and showed us some amazing places. Whilst we were watching the sun go down, we met a guy with his dog Xena Warrior Princess ( I kid you not ). Xena took an immediate liking to Jeanne – I figured she probably smelt more cat-like than we did :) I’m not sure where we were but it was somewhere that took your breath away. I could have spent many hours just staring at the view – it is such a wonderful place.

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Brighton Beach but not as I know it

I came back from the US with over 2000 images on my camera (thank goodness for pao who bought me a new memory card for my camera just before we left) and I’m just going through them whilst plunging back into normal life. We were so lucky to be invited to E & T’s lovely home in Duluth for a few days soon after we arrived. Jeanne drove us ( it was quite an eventful trip of 5 hours where she discovered that she really should listen to Deidre and we ended up on dirt roads and pao was running up a railway track in bare feet (don’t ask) ) and we had our first ever visit to Dairy Queen ( a chicken one not a burger one ) at Pine City, MN where they think St Paul is foreign enough.

Although Jeanne had been driving 5 hours, she was kind enough to take us down to Brighton Beach for a sit by the lake. I don’t think I have ever been to such a beautiful place that took my breath away. It is hard to compute that we were by a lake and not by the open sea but in the far distance you could see the other side of the lake. It was like a mill pond and so still (unusual I am told). It could have been possible to sit there for hours and hours just staring at the beauty of the surroundings. I wanted to just drink it all in as much as possible. I was struck by how clean and how quiet it was even though it was the height of the tourist season.

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In which I should start at the beginning of July

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We went on a trip to the USA at the beginning of July for just over two weeks. Of course, we had to go to MN which we have become immensely fond of and we stayed with Jeanne and Michael (and Jeanne’s parents) most of our trip. We became great friends straight away with Bette who crawled right between us in our bed the very first night and revelled in the warmth. She is a cheeky minx :)

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Louie is quite the brilliant, lovely friendly chap who is always immensely pleased to see you but is so chilled out.

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Nora (my favourite) was rather skittish around us to start with but with some time and gentle persuasion, she became my friend. The first night she sat on the dresser and stared at us the whole night.

And so, we started our journey with the downstairs faction.. :)