Memories of California-  wood and succulents 

Memories of my recent trip to California keep popping up in my head. I was thinking about blogging this morning and I decided that my prevailing memory is wood, houses, paintwork, floors, textures and succulents as big as dinner plates  

Living in Europe you don’t see many houses made totally of wood. 

 I remember a friends wooden kit house as a teenager and being very curious about it – wooden window frames and doors have to be constantly protected from the weather, how long would it last? (That was in the 1970’s it’s still there) 

In San Francisco ,Monterey and Sacramento there are lots of wooden structures – maybe because the weather is so clement – without our European extremes – the wood doesn’t need as much protection? 

My Dad and I commented whilst in SF on the quality of the paint work – we thought it would be a lucrative job being an external painter and decorator . 

I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the houses in SF . They are alien to my Edinburgh and Oxford raised eyes. 

The last weekend of our stay ,in Sacremento the weather was hot and sunny – you can tell by the clothing Jon and my Dad are wearing and the light , that it was not always so in SF lol. 

Visiting 3 locations  in 2 weeks , my eyes were constantly looking at different textures and decor- The SF house was quite dark , full of books and art 




One of the things I love about Airbnb is living in other people’s houses and looking at how they decorate and the stuff that they leave in situ when people visit . 

Monterey was the least looked after location that we stayed in – but it was decorated with fab stuff and had a charm of it’s own -looking back  it was a haven from the bustle of SF and the overwhelming business of the wedding 



Below a Monterey wooden house


Sacremento – the house was near Fair Oaks a suburb about 10 mins drive from my daughters law’s home. This was light and airy with a jacuzzi and a pool 

Succulents – I have always liked what Megan’s mum calls ‘Hens and chicks’ my Dad always says that a ‘good  big piece of art is much better than small piece’, I have found the same with the succulents  after my visit to California 

Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco,

I am visiting California for my son’s wedding. Today we went to the Japanese Tea Garden which is situated with in the Golden Gate Park,  San Francisco  The park was a good 30 min walk from our Airbnb in Cole Valley. 

The park was originally commissioned for the Midwinter international Exposition of 1894. The garden consists of twisting paths, ‘tranquil coy ponds and carefully manicured trees’ ( Kristen Malsberger 2014). 

The garden was restored in 1952 after the war. There is a very pretty bridge called ‘Drum Bridge’ which has a dramatic curve to allow boats to pass easily underneath. It’s also called the ‘Moon bridge’ because the arch is reflected in the pool creating an unbroken circle. One of its main purposes is to slow people down during their walk around the gardens 


I had my heart in my mouth whilst my 82 yr old Dad climbed down it 


There is a plaque next to the bridge which tells you a little bit about its history – Shinshichi Nakatani designed and built the bridge. He constructed it  in Japan, dismantled it and brought back to the USA. Halfway through completion, the Midwinter Expo ran out of funds. Shinshichi returned to Japan and sold off personal land to pay for the rest of the project. It took 50yrs for him to save up enough money to by back his land. 

Sacrifice indeed http://www.artandarchitecture-sf.com/the-drum-bridge-at-the-japanese-tea-garden.html


Detail of a gate

Pagoda (1915) 

Detail from the gate 


Crockery and tea – from our tea tasting – we also had fortune cookies……. 

‘ an alien of some sort will be appearing to you shortly’ 

‘Today is a good time to take some extra relaxation’

My favourite thing to take photos of were the large Coy Carp