Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Proper Texas Hold 'em. With Guns. Austin indoor ranges (In which it transpires I am much less badass than I thought...)

Hand guns basically horrify me (I'm a teacher. There have been 74 school shootings here in America since the Sandy Hook horror in 2012. This is a healthy fear) but I've always been a little bit fascinated - as one tends to be by things that scare you. Having grown up mostly in England, where the only guns you can legally own are sports rifles for game shooting, I'd never even seen a pistol in real life until we arrived in Texas - and I rapidly learned that holsters are an actual thing outside of spaghetti westerns and fancy dress parties. Who knew..! 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Bandera Texas: Cowboy Capital (where you won't get a DUI on your horse as long as you're not touching the reins)

Austin, although a generally pretty brilliant place to live, is a bit of a disappointment if you're expecting a stereotypical Texan holiday. I've spotted a guy on a horse going through the burger drive-thru once but other than that - no lonely cacti, deserts, bolo ties or genuine cowboys hats. I've been gagging to get out of town and see proper cowboy country ever since we arrived and we've been waiting for Horse-friendly visitors to go with. Luke and Marina were perfect: like Jon and I - she's a horse-loving, mud wallowing, stable stomping rider and he is completely nonplussed by them. 

Bandera likes to market it self as the 'cowboy capital', and 'red neck riviera'. While much of the rest of the states has seen a gradual disappearance of genuine cowboys, the Rodeo lifestyle is going strong in central Texas - so we piled in to a car and made the three hour drive to Twin Elms Guest Ranch for three days of Roping, Rodeo and Riding.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Paddle Boarding Austin: A Stand up Safari

I've only started paddle boarding regularly this month but it's definitely my current favourite way to spend the early evening. Town lake is rarely particularly windy and has reliably calm water so balancing is easy for beginners like me and you can get up some speed pretty quickly - so whenever I have a quiet afternoon I can nip down to the Texas Rowing Center on Town Lake and borrow a SUP board for an hour or two.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Mexican BBQ. Better than all other BBQ.

Two of the most glorious things about living here are 1) Texas BBQ and 2) Mexican food. So when our new neighbours here here invited us to join them at the pool for Mexican-BBQ I was expecting to have my mind blown. We were not disappointed. Jon and I, very inexpertly, made a huge jug of margarita and we sauntered up to the pool where Mauricio was presiding over the BBQ with a cooler full of oaxaca, chorizo, chili marinated steak, limes and avocados. 

Friday, 23 May 2014

Let's get pie. (Almost) professional apple pie.

As an enthusiastic amateur baker (definitely more about quantity than quality) i was intrigued to hear on the expat grapevine that another originally-British-teacher locally had been doing some work at one of the bakers in town and was starting to sell her 'English' cakes and pies at events locally. My ears pricked up and I tracked her down at a Sunday morning netball game (as you do..!) and talked/exuberantly waved my arms at her about how much I liked cake for ten minutes before she could escape.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Krause Springs

We said goodbye to our baby foster-dogs this week. So very much sadder than I thought it would be. Although we would have loved to have kept one of them our planned travels this summer made it unfeasible so after a week of interviewing people (probably rather more fiercely than was strictly necessary!) we found them both lovely homes with gardens, and children, and other dogs to play with.