Walking Through Manhattan

We decided to walk up through the districts of Manhattan. We weren’t sure we could manage to walk down, and then walk back up to our hotel, so we decided to brave the subway. Bearing in mind that we walked 21km by mistake in Central Park, I was slightly worried that we might spend all day going the wrong way on the subway, so I asked the concierge, who assured me it was easy—and promised to send a search party if she never saw us again.

Actually, it was very easy. There were ticket machines, and you can pay for a single journey (seems to be to anywhere within a certain time). You can also pay for multiple journeys, and pass the ticket back to another person at the barrier (we were told to do this by the woman in the ticket office, so it’s allowed). All we needed to know was which line, and where to get off, and the concierge had told us that.

We decided to get off at the WTC stop. It feels very odd to me that the World Trade Centre is no longer there – when we lived in New Jersey, we brought so many visitors to the twin towers, and you could see them from Route 17 (the main road nearest to our house). Now there is just a memorial to 9/11, and a museum. Actually, there were several memorials and museums, each showing something different. I have never been in them, and I found I didn’t want to this visit either. It’s too close, I know (vaguely) people who were killed, I would find it too upsetting.

We walked up the island twice. Once we took the China Town, Little Italy, Greenwich route; another day we walked up the West Side. I think I preferred walking up the west side, as we saw more ‘real’ New York: homes and schools and places of work. We stopped for lunch in a little Italian cafe, and while we were there it started to snow. The snow grew heavier, and we decided to stop again, for pie and coffee (really, I only come to New York to eat). By the time we left, the paths were slushy and slippery, and the snow was being cleared by men with snow-blowers, and the traffic was at a standstill. It was pretty though, and made me feel it was nearly Christmas.

We sat in the hotel lounge, watching the world struggle past, glad we weren’t caught up in the rush-hour chaos.

The other event of note was that, during one of our walks around Central Park, we did actually manage to see that Mandarin duck I told you about. It was on the south lake.

The poor thing was surrounded by photographers with long lenses (not that it seemed to take any notice). There was even a news crew there, interviewing people. They interviewed me: Are you excited to see the duck?
No, actually, I wasn’t, because we have a whole flock who visit our pond at home.
I don’t expect they used my interview for their super-excited news report.

It was pretty though, and I’m always surprised by how ‘painted’ they look. A lot of photographers were happy to see the one there anyhow.

The week ended all too quickly, and my sister had to return to Canada. It has been wonderful to spend time together, walking and chatting and eating (and drinking lots of coffee). I don’t like thinking about how rarely we’re on the same continent. I have a whole lot of selfies to remind me of the week, though I have to admit, I’m not very good at taking selfies, and it’s not always easy to spot the famous monument we’re in front of (because usually I miss completely).

My next stop is Florida. I have to travel on my own again, so that will be stressful. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Thanks for reading. Take care.

Love, Anne x

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The Safe Place

The Safe Place.
An Animal Garden Story

The Safe Place

by Anne E Thompson

It was very cold. All night, soft snowflakes had fallen and now the garden was white and silent. The dogs were very happy. They had leaped around in the snow, eating great mouthfuls of it and had left big muddy footprints across the lawn. The cats were cross. They looked at the beautiful white snow and decided it was much too cold to go outside. They had found somewhere warm and curled up to sleep. The chickens stayed in the coop, they were safe in there.

Annie was worried about the ducks. The pond had frozen and the water was hard, so Mr Fox could walk across it. He could walk to the island and catch ducks there. He could walk across the frozen water and into the nesting box and could catch ducks there. He could even catch ducks on the actual water, where they stood in an unhappy huddle, wanting to be able to swim.

Annie went to the pond. She took the dogs and her family. They moved the ducks into the big cage. The ducks would be safe in the cage.

Every day, Annie went up to the big cage. The ducks needed clean water. They couldn’t swim in the pond or drink the water. Every day Annie carried big bowls of water into the cage. Some of the little call ducks jumped into it and splashed and swam. The big ducks dipped their heads into it and had a wash and a drink.

The ducks couldn’t sleep in the nesting box. They couldn’t poop in the pond. Every day Annie took away the dirty hay and cleaned up the duck poop. Then she gave them clean hay to sleep on.

The ducks needed food. They couldn’t catch insects in the pond or eat the plants on the bank. Every day Annie took them duck food and corn to eat.

When Annie went to the pond, she saw fox footprints. They went round and round the cage. They went round and round the pond. They went round and round the island. But the ducks were safe. The ducks lived in the cage for a long time. They were sad. They wanted to play on the pond. They wanted to eat grass. They wanted to swim. But they were safe.

After lots and lots of days, the sun started to shine. The weather grew warmer. The ice began to melt. Mr Fox couldn’t walk onto the pond when the ice had gone and he didn’t like to swim. When all the ice had melted and the pond had turned back into water, Annie opened the cage door. Out flew the call ducks. They landed ‘splash!’ onto the pond. Out waddled the fat white Aylesbury ducks. They stepped carefully into the pond. Out ran little wood duck, she jumped straight into the pond. The ducks were all very happy. Now they could play and swim and find food, and they were all safe.

In some countries in the world, people are not safe in the places where they live. If there is lots of fighting in their country, sometimes they have to leave their homes and go to a safe place. This is called a refugee camp. The people need food. They need somewhere to sleep. They need clean water. They need toilets. Sometimes they need other people to help them. People in our country can give money to a charity to help people who have had to leave their homes. Tearfund is a charity that helps people. Ask someone to help you find tearfund.org on the computer and you can see pictures of some of the people they help.

Please share this.

Anne E. Thompson

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