My home is situated in a small loop of a development, a road which is about 15 years old.
For unknown reasons, one building lot was left alone. On paper, a prime spot for building a home - but it had remained undeveloped, and had changed hands several times over the years.
This open plot gave me a clear mountain view - a front room with a calming and inspiring spot from which to drink a cuppa. But alas, no more.
About a year ago, the excavators moved in, a concrete base was poured...
and the timber frame grew out of the snow melt. It is a large walk-out bungalow - some 3,400 square feet.
Some neighbours call it a monstrosity - because it is bigger than surrounding homes, with a much higher roof-line and it just looks quite different from the homes already here, particularly in colouring and style. A mini McMansion maybe.
Me? I quite like it, in a I-wouldn't-want-to-clean-it kinda way - the layout is great for two people, with some interesting features (well, of course I've been to look around it) - plus it has that wow factor from a wall of modern glass at the back, namely my mountain view!
There's just a small matter of the price. The realtor isn't even joking either. For you madam, just $1.15 million (roughly the same for US $, and at today's rates, that's about GBP £735,000, EUR878,000 or AUS$1.19m).
When I tell you most homes in this road go for less than half that price, I am now intrigued as to who my new neighbour might be - if the house ever sells of course.
But I probably won't like them on principle - they stole my view afterall.
This has been rumbling around on YouTube for a couple of years now so you may already be aware of Eric Whitacre. But if you have not heard of him, take a few moments to look at the attached videos.
He is a Nevada-born fella who is a Grammy-winning composer and conductor - a contemporary musician of great skill. He is a lecturer of choir work-shops that I would pay good money to attend - and while in no way downplaying his skills and talent, it must be said that from a truly shallow point of view, he is also very easy on the eye too!
Only in this YouTube and digital age could he have come up with such an inspired way to make music.
Look at this for an idea of how a Virtual Choir works.
And then watch this link to see it all come together.
Bloody fantastic if you ask me.
Signed off by a very self-doubting and amateur alto!
We have just spent a couple of weeks back on my old home turf in Surrey and the south London borders in the UK.
(Guildford High Street, the County Town of Surrey)
(River Wey, Guildford, Surrey)
It was initially quite a weird sensation and I felt no affiliation to the place at all. It was all so familiar but I felt disconnected. Perhaps it was a combination of jet lag, a lumpy mattress and low grey skies? And look at that butchered tree!
The network of public transit is absolutely fantastic around the South East. I have a new appreciation, now living in an area with none.
I felt rushed, and claustrophobic - by the volume and speed of people and traffic, the tiny twisting roads and miniature parking spaces.
Days out in London do not help with inner peace, but the architecture can be lovely! Especially when highlighted with sunshine.
And as usual, we were drawn to the the West End - theatreland - and saw the musical Billy Elliot while we were there. Brilliant.
But after a few days, as my time clock and my senses adjusted, and the skies opened up a little, it was defintely a great trip - filled with people and food and shopping - a wonderful and fattening combination that assaults the wallet and pulls at the heart-strings.
And, to my chagrin, I barely paused to take many photos - that tells you how busy we were.
So here are just a few snap shots of a very scenic and lush south of England in February.